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As most readers will know, the Thameslink Programme is a £5.5 billion project to upgrade and expand the the Thameslink service. More accurately, it is the name given to two related projects. One is lead by Network Rail and is a £3.5 billion project to upgrade the stations, track and signalling on this route and the other is a new build of rolling stock led by the DfT. As an RUS piece, this article is obviously about the first of those projects.

As the RUS focuses on schemes that are currently approved, one of the good reasons to search the RUS is to find out more about the plans for Thameslink. Sadly though, although Thameslink is mentioned on numerous occasions, one is not much the wiser at the end of it.

Thameslink has long suffered from information blight. Unlike Crossrail with its excellent website, Thameslink seems to fall between two stools. On the one hand First Capital Connect has an informative website but this is geared at existing customers who may be disrupted by the work being done. Network Rail does provide information on their site but the emphasis is on publicity for the work they do or – to be more accurate – the work they have done. Neither is really much use for finding out what is going to happen.

There is another very valid reason why one cannot find out how Thameslink will look when completed – nobody really knows.

Unlike Crossrail, where the final routes needed to be well defined before proceeding, Thameslink plans merely showed “indicative services” that were sufficient to justify the core scheme. If a subsequent proposal could be shown to be better then there was no reason why a change could not be made during the lifetime of the project.

Indeed, with the scheme virtually becoming a two-stage project (mainly but not entirely due to the Olympics) and the spending review meaning that things post-Olympics will not proceed as fast as originally planned, it seems that there will be a mid-project “pause for breath” whilst the project is re-evaluated and detailed preparations are made.

So what do and don’t we currently know about the Thameslink programme? Well it does seem pretty well established that 24 trains per hour (tph) will run in each direction between Blackfriars and Kings Cross Thameslink. This does seem to be a fundamental part of the scheme and without it much of the benefit is lost. If the capacity were to go down to 20tph then the reality is that eight extra services per hour would have to be found space at mainline termini that simply do not have the capacity for them. Additionally, it would be hard to justify the post-Olympics part of the project on the basis of an extra 4tph – as by December 2011 we should have 16tph (and we already have 15tph although admittedly some of these only go as far as Kentish Town).

It also seems pretty well established that ultimately the objective is to run 12 carriage trains, but this appears to be overstated as it only applies to 14 of those 24tph. It also seems inconceivable that the recently built (but currently unused) tunnels from Kings Cross to the ECML were not used in future, so our routes north of London are pretty well decided.

Indeed the only real issue seems to be whether to go to King’s Lynn as originally planned or to stop at Cambridge. Current thinking seems to be to stop at Cambridge and leave longer distance journeys to and from Kings Lynn as services that terminate at Kings Cross. Rather curiously, in one place the RUS refers to Kings Lynn being served by Kings Cross using “two x eight-car 365 stock” and in another “12-car outer suburban operations (including Thameslink)/IEP on Ely/Kings Lynn”.

Fortunately, however, the RUS details its projections for services north of the river. They are:

– Bedford (MML) eight x 12-car Thameslink stock
– Luton (MML) two x eight-car Thameslink stock
two x 12-car Thameslink stock
– St Albans (MML) four x eight-car Thameslink stock
– Welwyn Garden City (ECML) four x eight-car Thameslink stock
– Peterborough (ECML) two x 12-car Thameslink stock
Cambridge (ECML) two x 12-car Thameslink stock

Now we come to south of the river and this is where we really are in a world of speculation. Take what comes as, what Peter Snow would say on election night, “just for fun”. The RUS gives us hints and clues but we really need to look elsewhere as well.

The one thing we can know for sure is that trains on the Wimbledon loop will no longer be Thameslink trains. Basically, once it was decided to put the through platforms at Blackfriars on the eastern side, these services were doomed due to potential pathing problems. In the overall scheme of things this was probably a good thing, since any service serving Tulse Hill station is likely to be restricted to 8 carriages for many years to come.

The main Thameslink route will be via London Bridge down the Brighton Main Line (BML). This will be almost a fully-segregated route down to at least just north of Norwood Junction on the fast lines, as the only other services using it will be the Uckfield services and a few empty coaching stock movements after the morning peak and prior to the evening peak.

London Bridge is only going to have 6 terminal platforms and – according to the RUS – 34tph in peak hours are going to enter London Bridge from the Brighton main line. Some of those services really are not suitable for inclusion into Thameslink (e.g. Caterham and Tattenham Corner services) so options are limited but it seems likely that Network Rail would like to get as many BML London Bridge terminators as they can onto Thameslink.

The RUS also states that “The RUS has not been able to robustly timetable any additional trains, with key contraints [sic] identified including the East Croydon area, and London Bridge platforms.” However note that that restriction does nothing to prevent running Thameslink services to Guildford via Norwood Junction, which was originally one of the favoured options and though subsequently discarded now seems up for consideration once again. This would at least mean that Sutton would retain a Thameslink service albeit at a reduced frequency.

We also have the East Grinstead line as a hot favourite for Thameslinks services, particulary as by then it will already be suitable for 12-car trains. A possible joker in the pack is the Uckfield line which is currently diesel operated but has seen tremendous growth now the service has improved and it is now recognised that many people from this area of Sussex just drive to the nearest convenient railhead with a decent service.

We can take for granted that existing Thameslink services on the BML will be retained and Horsham trains have always been a favourite for takeover by Thameslink. In recent years these have started moving away from Victoria and now often terminate at London Bridge. Sources suggest a further two semi-fast terminating services at Three Bridges (effectively a Horsham train not going all the way). So 12tph down the Brighton line as follows would not be an unreasonable guess:

4 x fast Brighton (as present) (12-car)
4 x semi-fast Three Bridges – two extended to Horsham (12-car)
2 x fast to East Croydon then all stations to East Grinstead (12-car)
2 x Norwood Junction, West Croydon then either seni-fast or all stations to Guildford. (8-car)

This leaves four 12-car trains and eight 8-car trains that need to take over a South East trains service. This could either be via Elephant and Castle or via London Bridge. The RUS gives no clue as to what they will be so we need to look back at the original proposals and the service currently run.

Possibilities are:

2 x fast Eastbourne via BML rerouted from serving Victoria (12-car)
2 x fast Littlehampton via BML and Hove rerouted from serving Victoria (12 car)
2 x all stations Sevenoaks via Elephant and Castle and Swanley (8 car)
4 x all stations Orpington via Elephant and Castle (8 car)
2 x fast Ashford International via London Bridge (8 or 12 car)
various options to take over South Eastern suburban services in particular some of the Dartford services.

The does, however, seem to be a horrible mismatch when it comes to the length of trains. South of the river most services will be at least 10-cars long and one doesn’t want to replace longer trains with shorter ones. It is almost inconceivable that South Eastern suburban services could manage with shorter trains without a corresponding increase in frequency that simply isn’t going to happen, so the Dartford option would only seem viable once Dartford station is rebuilt to take 12-car trains. Conversely, however, the Thameslink programme includes doubling Tanners Hill fly-down by St Johns station and there would be difficult to see any logic in including this construction work in the project if it were not to include an element of taking over some services running via Lewisham.

The fact is that the final decision is going to depend on other factors and it is not going to be made until it has to be (or as a cynic might say, if the DfT is involved, somewhat later than that). If Crossrail goes to Dartford then some of the pressure is taken off South Eastern services through London Bridge. Thameslink has a limited ability to take some pressure off Victoria services from the south by rerouteing some trains but this would probably not be popular with existing customers and would be done at the expense of relieving London Bridge.

Finally, possibly the most interesting thing about Thameslink in the RUS is not about Thameslink at all but the fact that it is going to have a major effect on a lot of lines. Like the project itself these final details are undecided, but Thameslink will lead to freeing up a few train paths, in particular into termini, and it is yet to be decided which services should benefit from this.

Another factor, often overlooked, is that because Thameslink runs a 15 minute interval timetable other timetables will have to be based on this. Let us presume that Thameslink take over a suburban service on South East trains. The suburban service would have to be entirely rewritten as it is all interdependent. Take as an example the Hayes line which, in the rush hour, currently has a 10 minute service with trains alternating between Charing Cross and Cannon Street. This 6tph service will not be possible, so either the service will have to go to 8tph (but there won’t be the spare paths so some other suburban service will lose out) or it goes down to 4tph and the overcrowding certainly won’t be popular with commuters on that line.

Whatever happens, the Thameslink programme will give plenty to write about as decisions about it are made and consequential changes gradually come to light.

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There are 109 comments on this article
  1. Andrew Bowden says:

    It will be very interesting to see what happens to the franchises themselves with all this as well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Doesn't the London RUS state that one of the reasons for not pursuing BML2 (reopening of Uckfield-Lewes) is that it is pointless due to a lack of capacity north of Croydon? Would T2000 not solve that?

  3. Anonymous says:

    any idea what will happen to cricklewood station?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well written post, very clearly explained.

    The big risk for me in the Thameslink project is the fact that track capacity in the central section will not be increased, yet the number of trains being forced into it is being upped by 50%. Will there be reliability issues?

  5. Michael Abrahams says:

    The main Thameslink route will be via London Bridge down the Brighton Main Line (BML). This will be almost a fully-segregated route down to at least just north of Norwood Junction on the fast lines
    I just wanted to pick up on this point as my understanding from the 2008 South London RUS (p114) was that there would be four Thameslink stopping services on the Sydenham corridor, two from Norwood Junction and two from South Croydon.
    Is there any reason to believe that these will not be delivered to replace existing Southern Services?

    Without moving some of the Southern (not South Eastern) services to the higher level station at London Bridge there will not be enough platforms for the remaining Southern Services, even without the SLL.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Once the ECML is linked in, do we have any idea which stations will be served? Is it likely that Finsbury Park will be included? What about lesser suburban stations such as Harringay? Or will a discrete suburban service be maintained terminating at Moorgate?

    Arky

  7. greg tingey says:

    "London Bridge is only going to have 6 terminal platforms" …
    Well, THAT's a mistake, for a start!
    Put the old two on the South side back in, and demolish the horrible brown glass box that stands there.

    Uckfield.
    Sooner or later, re-opening to Lewes, with sparky traction is going to have to come – by 2020? 2025?

    What WILL the Wombledon-loop services be, then? Should be every 20 mins or 1/4-hourly, but to and from where?
    Victoria? (Already close to full) … LB terminators? (Platform space, as above) … Blackfriars terminators? … (pathing Loughboro' Jn – BlackF should be possible)

    Portsmouth via Horsham SHOULD revert to the "old" LBSC route throughout, with the via-Gatwicks terminating at Horsh.

    SER possibilities.
    How about (shock, horror!) giving Maidstone a decent service: stops being: LB, Bromley S., Maidstone, then all lamp-posts to Ashford.
    Not sure about Swanley or Otford stops, because Maidstone's present service is just so bad ….

    NOT Dartford – the possibilities for service screw-ups is too great, and, let's face it, it's an inner-suburban service.

    Lastly: to "a-nonny-mouse": Track capacity in the central section IS increasing, because they are upgrading the signalling – to 4-aspect, and closer spacings (shorter block-sections).
    You can get quite a bit extra in, if you do that.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Which RUS are you referring to?

    Thee are some fairly clear Thameslink service patterns in the Kent, Sussex and South Lndon RUS documents. Are you saying that these are no longer applicable?

    The Kent RUS has a clear analysis of why the peak service pattern in that area will have to change to a 15/30 minute one from a 20 minute one at present. Isn't this fairly firmly decided?

    Are you referring to the peak-hour or off-peak service pattern (tph)?

    JJBone

  9. Chz says:

    There's no longer anywhere to pass slow services on the old route to Portsmouth. That's going to render it a LOT slower than the service via Gatwick, and it was already the slower way to get there.

    I've always been confused by the Guildford->London Bridge service. It seems barking to have such a long stopping service (at least it's fast from Norwood now – didn't used to be!) but it's normally rammed. I can't imagine anyone would use it off-peak, much as I'd like to have my CSB-LBG service back during the day.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Are you referring to the Generation 2 RUS for London and the South-East?

    This RUS appears to focus on issues that were not fully dealt with in previous RUS documents. I think that that is the reason why there is little detail about Thameslink service patterns: these are dealt with in RUS documents like the Kent and Sussex ones.

    The decision to have a substantial number of fixed-formation 12-car trains means that most Thameslink routes have to just 12-car trains and 12-car platforms. As far as I can see, this was considered in the Kent, Sussex and South London RUS documents.

    JJBone

  11. A Nonn of Croydon says:

    As I'm sure Pedantic of Purley recognises, fast trains on the East Croydon – Victoria corridor are well-filled all day and evening (weekends too), and rammed in the rush hours. Diverting to London Bridge/Thameslink unless replaced with something else to Victoria (preferably an increase) ought to be a definite non-starter.

  12. Pedantic of Purley says:

    To try to answer most of the points now:

    @Anon 01:27

    Cricklewood station remains as it is. Enough services will remain 8 carriages long to provide it with a decent service. I suspect Cricklewood is one of these stations that rail companies would rather didn't exist but they begrudingly live with it.

    Anon @07:18

    This has been partially answered by Greg but bear in mind it is not just the track capacity of the central section but the need to avoid conflicting movements south of Blackfriars. I would love to do an article on the Bermondsey diveunder and St John's flydown to discuss this but I am reluctant to do so as any reliable up-to-date information is very difficult to come across.

    @ Micheal Abrahams

    I dismissed the possibility of the stopping services on the Sydenham corridor becoming part of Thameslink since the plans are to run 10 carriage trains along this route. I think the contract to extend the platforms was let in past few days. At a recent talk I went to (reliable source but reluctant to give much away) this option wasn't even mentioned. And RUSs get out of date very quickly. I am referring to the more recent London and South East one.

    @Greg

    I won't comment on all your points except to add my usual mantra that people with access to the critical information are generally in a better position to judge what is best than we are. However having been brought up in the South Eastern area I agree with your comments about the opportunities for screw up if Thameslink goes to Dartford. Leave Dartford for Crossrail is what I say.

    @JJBone

    See above comment about RUS.

    Yes. I understand the 15 minute interval is fairly firmly decided. Apologies if this wasn't clear.

    I admit I rather dodged the question of whether we were talking about peak or off-peak tph because it is not 100% clear to me. I have the same issue with Crossrail. Clearly 24 tph is peak service but I get the impression that the service will not go down much, if at all, between the peaks. However the difference between peak and off-peak is becoming more blurred these days and I wouldn't be surprised if 24 tph was becomes the service between early morning and late evening.

    @ Chz

    I assumed a semi-fast service in my first draft which was the one that made it to the website. On reflection I realised that this was just my presumption. I too am a bit dubious about this option but it seems to be in favour at the moment. That said, it would be nice to have a decent fast service from West Croydon to London throughout the day.

    By the way, there is another howler that made its way into the published article but no-one has spotted it and it is not fundamental to the main theme.

    If I get a chance I will try to address points raised by other people.

  13. KG says:

    Many years ago (back in the mid 90s) I am sure there was talk of Thameslink 2000 trains stopping at Paddock Wood (at the time my local station)on their way to Ashford. At that time the platforms were lengthened and I am sure this was well before the Electrostar orders that also benefited from the 12 car platforms.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What a briliant deal the Thameslink Programme is if you happen to live on the Wimbledon loop. Eight years of service disruptions and weekend closures, rewarded by a truncated train service and the same, short, clapped out 319s.

    Why couldn't they keep the through platforms on the west side of Blackfriars bridge too, so some Wimbledon trains could continue north?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why are these articles referring to THE RUS as though it's a single document? The recent London and SE (draft) is not a replacement for the earlier ones, it is a higher level regional view of cross boundary issues. There is little to suggest that the 2008 South London RUS is not still valid for Thameslink south of Blackfriars.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If you are referring in this article to the London and SE RUS, I suggest that you look at the previous RUS, especially Kent and Sussex. If these are still valid, there is a lot of useful information about Thameslink that could reduce the specukation in your article.

    JJBone

  17. Anonymous says:

    The decision not to go to Kings Lynn is confirmed in the FAQs on the 'Thameslink Programme' website, and now also appears as a footnote under their 2018 route map.

    Looking at your BML possibilities, I'd have thought the answers are clear in the Sussex RUS – and I think it's already 99% certain Littlehampton and Eastbourne are not part of the plan.

    The diagram at Fig 4.1 shows this:
    4 tph Brighton
    2 tph Three Bridges via Redhill
    2 tph Horsham via Redhill
    2 tph from East Grinstead

    Another 4 tph from the slows on the Sydenham Corridor gives the 14 tph total planned for from the 'Southern' side.

    I expect the same sort of detail can be gleaned from the Kent RUS, which also remains extant.

  18. Pedantic of Purley says:

    The reason I largely ignored the Kent and Sussex RUS in relation to Thameslink is that my understanding is that absolutely nothing is fixed or decided upon and at the moment just about everything south of the river is subject to change.

    One only has to look at Thameslink to Ely (a controversial saga in itself) to see that what six months ago was a definite and had been so since Thameslink 2000 days is now very unlikely to happen. I normally frown on wild speculation but in the case of Thameslink south of the river it can be justified because, as I mentioned at the start of the article, nothing as yet appears to have been definitively agreed.

  19. Anonymous says:

    As far as Uckfield(…Lewes) goes, is it utterly crazy to consider if OHLE might be more cost effective than third rail (which I'd assume would be the plan)?

    If OHLE were cheaper, would it be worth going for it – it's not as if it would be any less integrated into the rest of the third-rail network than it is now.

  20. Anonymous says:

    KG @ 1024

    "2tph Paddock Wood or beyond to Thameslink corridor via London Bridge"

    Is in the Kent RUS – it is potentially more relevant than current speculation.

  21. someone says:

    Why couldn't they keep the through platforms on the west side of Blackfriars bridge too, so some Wimbledon trains could continue north?

    Because than all Thameslink services to London Bridge would have to cross the terminating platforms. By reversing the layout at Blackfriars service will be able to run directly from London Bridge through to St Pancras without any conflicts.

    (Incidentally, to the author, the 24tph to Kings Cross Thameslink you cite would be pretty useless unless you also have some secret document stating the station will be reopened. If only, it offered a much quicker and easier interchange for the deep tube lines at Kings Cross St Pancras than St Pancras does.)

    It is also still not currently a certainty that the Wimbledon-Sutton loop will be removed from Thameslink, despite what this article says. It is certainly very likely though, it is the favoured option and the new track layout could force the issue. But, as states in the article, nothing has been decided yet.

    One of the options in the original South London RUS was for a half hourly peak service between London Bridge and Blackfriars via the loop in each direction, doubling the current service. i.e, 4tph from London Bridge with two going clockwise and two counter-clockwise, and the same from Blackfriars. It does not address off-peak services, but if this could continue all day it would more than offset the loss of direct services to Luton and St Albans.

    The new draft South London RUS has a more radical approach. It proposes changing both the loop and London Bridge – West Croydon via Streatham with three new services all running 2 trains per hour: Blackfriars to Epsom via Mitcham Junction, Blackfriars to West Croydon via Streatham Common, and London Bridge to Sutton via Wimbledon.

    In addition to those, which rearrange existing services and frequencies, the London Bridge to Sutton via Norwood Junction services would be extended around the loop to run back to London Bridge via Wimbledon and Peckham Rye. Although given that direct London Bridge to Sutton services ended following the opening of the East London Line I am not sure whether that is still an option, or whether the replacement 2tph Victoria to Sutton via Streatham Hill extension could form this new loop.

    At the moment though everything is just a proposal or recommendation, competing with other proposals and recommendations, and depending on proposals and studies. Nobody knows what will actually happen, and that includes whether or not through Thameslink services will end on the loop.

  22. Anonymous says:

    In April 2010, the status of 12 car trains along the Sydenham corridor was given as "From 2015 onwards the planned Thameslink train service will require 12-car capability on this route. However, 12-car capability is recommended in advance of this, to maintain capacity at time of a potentially reduced train service during London Bridge construction". In October, this had changed to "Passive provision recommended for 12-car wherever possible, as
    12-car recommended after 2015", which would seem to indicate that it is stiill possible that Thameslink will use the slow lines as per the 2008 RUS.

    Things may well have changed since October given the CSR, but with peak loading expected to reach 125% capacity by 2016, there is a significant requirement for further capacity on this route. We do not want to return to the 155% utilisation of 2006.

  23. Anonymous says:

    how about a sevice down to littlehampton via sutton, epsom, dorking, horsham.

    another to sutton via wimbledon

    this would keep the loop operational

  24. Anonymous says:

    So do we have any idea which stations on the ECML will be served by Thameslink? Is it likely to be just Finsbury Park, then significant stations such as Potters Bar, Welwyn, Stevenage, etc? Is it likely that the Hertford Loop will be included – I’m guessing not from the indicative route map. Is there any chance of London suburban stations (Harringay, Hornsey etc) receiving services that go through to South London and beyond, or will they continue to terminate at Moorgate/KX?

  25. Alan Burkitt-Gray says:

    On a slightly separate issue, it's clear that Thameslink has failed to win the same public attention that Crossrail has gained. Maybe because it was originally Thameslink 2000, which went into hibernation; and because it shared its name with a train company that lost its franchise to FCC. But …

    Why doesn't the project borrow, or steal, the Crossrail name? Crossrail 1 would be cheeky, but how about Crossrail 2? (And yes, there's another Crossrail 2 lurking deep within the planners' files, Chelsea-Hackney, but that's been there in one form or other since the 1930s, and it's unlikely to be realised before it marks its 100th birthday.)

    But with the Crossrail 2 name, people would see what it actually does: just the same as Crossrail 1, but north-to-south instead of west-to-east.

  26. Anonymous says:

    How about the 1tph Reigate and 1tph Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells, both via Redhill?

    Also any indication of how many TL semi/fast trains will stop at Norwood Junction (which has a good amount these days) and also New Cross Gate – which is now on the fast map?

    Will the Brighton trains be able to remain fast, and can they overtake at Norwood Junction?

  27. John Bull says:

    Having done some digging, I'll add the following to Pedantic's earlier comments. Everything below is sourced to a standard I'm happy with, but obviously its worth remembering that Thameslink really isn't set in stone yet. As a result the points below are very much part of the current "state of play" and not definitive.

    - It appears that a final decision on the full routes will be made in 2013-14 – which is after the commencement of the final stage of construction and Rolling Stock has been tendered for.

    - In reference to the 24tph peak through the centre, this will likely only be the peak with off-peak nearer to 18tph. Ultimately Blackfriars station will currently likely see 32tph in the peak (which translates in Thameslink terms to 8tph from the bays, 4x Wimbledon loops, 2x Rochester, 2x Ashford International services).

    - It looks like the 4tph to St Albans will, if thing stay as currently proposed, be the Orpington services. 2tph to Luton will likely be via Sevenoaks. The St Albans services will be "all stations" service to St Pancras.

    - The loop seems likely to lose its 319s – it'll get new Rolling Stock. (Indeed the plan is to ditch the 319s completely by 2017 anyway).

    - Thameslink services to Maidstone East are currently expected to be an all day service, rather than an Ashford train.

    - Post Thameslink the line from Lewisham – Orpington is expected to be full.

    - The Dartford lines via Woolwich and Welling are part of the Thameslink project for 12 car trains with SDO at Woolwich Dockyard.

    - There appears to be an idea (although just that) for an East Croydon – Finsbury Park peak all-stations service, replacing the Southern service on the slows. This seems to extended to run to Welwyn Garden City.

    - On the other side, there is a suggestion that there be an increased service along the Hertford Loop, with some ex-Welwyn Garden City trains therefore being swapped to go via Hertford and Thameslink taking the strain via the East Coast route.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The Kent RUS suggests the following Thameslink peak services:-

    Via Denmark Hill

    Maidstone 2 tph
    Swanley and Sevenaoks 2 tph
    Orpington and Sevenoaks 2 tph

    Via London Bridge

    Tunbridge Welss 2 tph
    Paddock Wood 2 tph

    These 10 tph plus the 14 tph give the total of 24 tph through the core Thankeslink route. In my opinion these may change, but are just as valid as the routes shown in the London and SE RUS (which may also change). Recent changes in the Ket and Sussex specs appear to be about which will be 12-car services (in the short-term) rather than final destinations.

    JJBone

  29. Anonymous says:

    “- There appears to be an idea (although just that) for an East Croydon – Finsbury Park peak all-stations service, replacing the Southern service on the slows. This seems to extended to run to Welwyn Garden City.
    - On the other side, there is a suggestion that there be an increased service along the Hertford Loop, with some ex-Welwyn Garden City trains therefore being swapped to go via Hertford and Thameslink taking the strain via the East Coast route.”

    Sorry to labour the question John, but the above two points both imply to me that suburban stations othernthan Finsbury Park (e.g. Harringay) could well be served by cross-river services… is this your interpretation too?

  30. Anonymous says:

    From what I remember about the South London RUS, Dartford routes were a bad idea for Thameslink, though the lengthening and Lewisham sort out would be useful anyway.

    South London RUS had the following services south of the river:
    via Elephant
    -2 Orpington
    -2 Sevenoaks
    -2 Ashford
    via London Bridge
    -4 Brighton
    -4 Three Bridges/Horsham
    -2 East Grinstead
    -4 East Croydon/Norwood Junction
    -2 Tunbridge Wells
    -2 Paddock Wood

    I'd expect something similar to be the final plan – just a couple of changes to make it less branchy, with more 4tph services. We're seeing that with St Albans-Orpington being 4tph (losing Paddock Wood as a destination is the other obvious one – have 4tph to Tunbridge Wells).

  31. Anonymous says:

    'someone' @ 1159

    The new RUS draft is a (second generation) regional RUS for 'London and the Southeast'.

    It isn't a replacement South London RUS – the 2008 version of that remains valid.

    I think you might have assumed the opposite…

  32. Anonymous says:

    Could somebody indicate if there is any official plan of what will happen to the franchises after 2014/2015?

    Is the plan to have a 'super-Thameslink' franchise taking in all relevant routes North and South of the Thames or for a mix of TOCs to operate through the core section?

  33. Pedantic of Purley says:

    In an attempt to comment on some of the other queries raised:

    * My understanding is that there will be a Thameslink franchise covering all services. It is the preferred solution because it will have a dedicated fleet in dedicated depots – itself yet another source of controversy.

    * I hope to write a piece at some future date about the Brighton Main Line (and BML2) which should cover some of the capacity issues raised.

    * A couple of comments from the RUS on Finsbury Park:

    The disused eastern platform will be brought back into use with associated platform access and secondary means to exit. This will be accompanied by the extensions to some platforms for Thameslink trains.

    … the train service frequency on both the Hertford Loop and to Welwyn Garden City can be expected to increase once the Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace section comprises six fully usable tracks and additional capacity overall is provided at London King’s Cross through the connection to the Thameslink tunnels.

    * As it is difficult to lengthen the trains from Finsbury Park to Moorgate the plan is to use freed-up paths to increase the frequency. This will need improved signalling in the tunnel south of Drayton Park.

    * My knowledge of north London suburban services is not good but my understanding is that the intention is mainly to take over existing suburban services into Kings Cross and so I am presuming that the stopping pattern is roughly the same.

  34. KG says:

    losing Paddock Wood as a destination is the other obvious one – have 4tph to Tunbridge Wells

    I expect the only reason PDW and TBW share the 4tph between them is due to capacity constraints for turn around at TBW, PDW and TON. This gives 4tph at TON with interchange for trains to Ashford, Kent Coast and Redhill, as well as other services to TBW.

  35. someone says:

    The new RUS draft is a (second generation) regional RUS for 'London and the Southeast'.

    It isn't a replacement South London RUS – the 2008 version of that remains valid.

    I think you might have assumed the opposite…

    I was not even thinking of the London and South East RUS at all!

    Although double checking it seems what I thought was a draft to a new South London RUS is in fact the original version which lead to the final 2008 one. Not really sure how that happened as I only downloaded it from the Network Rail site in December, and there is no date given in the URL or the cover to have pointed this out. It is only buried in the text it reveals this.

    I guess that means the London Bridge loop and Thameslink to Epsom and Croydon idea was an earlier one abandoned in favour of a London Bridge to Blackfriars loop rather than the other way around.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Current plans seem to suggest that suburban stations to Welwyn Garden City will have Thameslink services but the Hertford loop will not.

    JJBone

  37. Anonymous says:

    Just on a slightly separate note, does the idea behind the BML2 not involve going over the tracks currently used by tramlink? [cobarn]

  38. Anonymous says:

    kg – Tunbridge Wells had 4 tph reversing under the South London RUS's plan (two Thameslink, two Charing Cross) – swap the Charing Cross-Tunbridge Wells and Thameslink-Paddock Wood trains around and you can have 4tph Tunbridge Wells – Thameslink.

  39. Paul says:

    Those asking about Harringay need to bear in mind that both there and Hornsey have platforms only on the current slows. It seems unlikely to me that platforms or platform faces would be added to the new tracks 5+6, and equally unlikely that these stations could reasonably be extended to 12 car platforms.

    Both also have an enviable (for NR services at such small stations) frequency of 6tph all day with more in the peaks.

    However, one would hope the pattern of Thameslink services and the additional tracks might reduce the peak 'flighting' of services on the slows and give these stations a more even peak frequency, as the current uneven one is IIRC a bit of a nightmare for crowding.

    If additional platform faces were added though, this would have the side benefit of maintaining more services through weekend possessions of the slows.

    There also seems to me to be a possibility that evening/weekend services will ultimately have to go somewhere other than Kings Cross due to platform availability, especially if the off-peak frequencies increase. Maintaining longer hours on the Moorgate section seems more likely than diverting them through thameslink though.

  40. Greg Tingey says:

    Mention of Paddock Wood reminds me.

    Any hope of Ashford-via PDW getting a halfway decnt service again?
    As opposed to the NOT "high-speed" overpriced con that runs from St.P. I accept that the new St.P-ASH services are good, and an improvement, but the deliberate downgrading of the service via PDW is a disgrace, as are the prices charged for ASH – St.P.
    (For trains that are SLOWER than KX-Perterboro')

  41. Anonymous says:

    I think the Thameslink route will become exclusively a 12-car operation (especially in the peaks) otherwise the mixing and matching of different length trains will cause severe operational and timetabling difficulties. It would probably be best to stick to the standard 4-car units (as opposed to 6, 8 or 12-car fixed formation units) to maintain compatibility with existing stock, and allow splitting and joining as required.

  42. Paul says:

    Folks, West London Tram was dumped by Ken long before the 2008 election, I can't remember the PR line at the time but its unpopularity with the people it was meant to serve was clearly a driver.

    In any case, it was not a Boris-binned scheme. Those were principally CRT, Greenwich transit and the tramlink extensions. Not to mention the secondary components of the ELL clapham extension (Surrey Canal Road and the Bellingham service; one suspects Boris wouldn't have gone ahead with anything if Thameslink hadn't needed the SLL out of London Bridge).

  43. Paul says:

    Balls, I posted that comment on the wrong item. Sorry all!

  44. MiaM says:

    A question:
    Is there any good reason to not run maximum number of TPH from St.Pancras / Kings Cross to Farringdon even off-peak?
    I understand that it's probably a bad idea to keep peak TPH on the whole network, but the trains that run all day and in peak hours reverse at St Pancras/Kings Cross and Farringdon / London Bridge could perhans run through the Tameslink route off-peak, to fill upp the route through the city?

    Also another note:
    Atleast in theory you could mix 15-min and 10/20-min services on the same system. It's a bit complicated and it would be a real pedagogical challenge to explain the timetable, but you could let train numer 1,3,5,7…23 run as 10/20 min services and let train numer 2,4,6,8…24 run as 15 min services. It doesn't even have to be the same on each end of the central common section, but if you mix 15/10/20 then every train would probably have to be of the same length.

  45. Anonymous says:

    From what I have heard the Hertford loop service will increase to 6tph post Thameslink with no Welwyn Garden City trains going to Moorgate

  46. Anonymous says:

    I think the Sydenham corridor Slow Line services have been dropped as they would have crossed between Slow and Fast Lines at Bricklayers Arms Junction. All other Southern / Thameslink / Fast Line / Slow Line traffic is segmented by that stage. The Thameslink timetable will be VERY rigid (with 24tph it has to be) and Sydenham corridor Fast and Slow Line slots are already pinned down by crossing moves at Norwood Junction for services to/from places such as East Grinstead, Uckfield, Caterham and Tattenham. Clockface LOROL services are a further constraint. Introducing another set of crossing moves at Bricklayers Arms would leave no planning flexibility or performance robustness, and would effectively undo many of the benefits of the new Thameslink flyovers. Why spend millions on infrastructure to remove conflicts only to add a new set?

  47. Lemmo says:

    Yes, this was outlined in the London & SE RUS in July 2011, after this article was posted. Indeed, all the Thameslink Brighton line services in Table 5.2 on p72 will use the Fast lines.

    At least at Norwood Jn there is potential to expand to provide six platform lines (oddly, on seven platforms as Platforms 1 and 2 serve either side of the Up Slow). Although it’s not possible to segregate the routes, it might help ease crossing movements.

    We’re looking at doing a post on the Bermondsey Dive-under soon.

  48. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Platform 2 at Norwood Junction no longer serves the up slow. Because the third rail is present next, to it trains are only allowed to open their doors on the platform 1 side. It would be safer and clearer for all concerned if they put up a fence at the edge of platform 2 and not advertise it as a platform.

    Platform 7 is not currently in use and, from memory, the tracks serving it are rusty.

    As Lemmo has pointed out, the article has been superseded. But the suggested service outlined in the LUS table (which cannot be relied upon) brings its own problems. The trains are going to be fixed formation trains. Do it really make any sense to send eight carriages of dual-voltage stock down the long Tattenham Corner branch in the middle of the day or on a Sunday when it is quite quiet?

    A lot of things have changed since Thameslink was first proposed. London Overground is one such significant change. Extending services to 10-car trains making them unsuitable for Thameslink which only supports 8-car and 12-car trains is another. The number of ideally suited routes for Thameslink is fewer than the number required. Hence some slightly unsatisfactory decisions are going to be have to be made.

  49. Anonymous says:

    For those interested, there will be public meeting on Thursday night about the plans to terminate Wimbledon loop services at Blackfriars.

    Local politicians from around the loop have been campaigning to encourage people to respond to respond to the current DfT consultation. That only lists the removal of cross-London services from the loop as an option on which it wants opinions, rather than presenting it as a definite change.

    The meeting will be at the Hideaway jazz bar, which is roughly opposite Streatham railway station, at 7:30pm. Apparently there will be a DfT representative in attendance.

  50. Jonno says:

    That loop service is awful. Perhaps the best bet long term is to campaign for Wimbledon-Sutton to be one of the crossrail 2 branches and the tooting bit to get an enhanced service to blackfriars by taking over the former clockwise paths to Wimbledon. Side benefit of this is it might tempt a few people off the northern line down south.
    Eastfields people would need to be compensated somehow though.

  51. Rogmi says:

    I was always against the Wimbledon loop service terminating at Blackfriars. However, given the appalling service FCC run on the loop, meaning that a half hour service is often turned into a service with hourly or longer gaps. A shorter running distance, with a self-contained service to / from Blackfriars, should mean that there are less cancellations due to problems north of Blackfriars. Better still, replace it with a tram service on the Sutton – Wimbledon – Streatham side as previously partly proposed.

  52. mr_jrt says:

    I’d like to see a solution found for Sutton that enables LO services to be extended from West Croydon to Wimbledon via Sutton to take over the south side of the loop (and maybe Epsom Downs too). Coupled with a LO projection to Wimbledon from Clapham Junction via East Putney you end up with a simplified service pattern that lends itself well to increased capacity as it could largely be segregated. Banishing Tramlink from inside Wimbledon station (to free up the platform) and rejoining the former loop trackbed east of the station would ensure that Haydons Road and Tooting were still well served, abet passengers would need to interchange to NR services at either Wimbledon or Mitcham Eastfields/Junction. If Tooting gets a station on Crossrail 2 that just cements the deal really.

  53. Lemmo says:

    The problem is Herne Hill, which we’ll be looking at in a post in the near future. Resolving grade-separation at Herne Hill is problematic and likely to be very expensive… but perhaps not as expensive as twisting the Crossrail 2 alignment via Tooting Broadway to relieve the Northern Line. Sorting out Herne Hill and pumping an intensive Thameslink service via Tooting may present a more attractive business case, especially give the benefits it will also bring the South East main line into Victoria.

    However, there are two issues here: improving the derisory service on the Wimbledon Loop, and allocating which routes go through the Thameslink core. We’ve already discussed the flat junction at the south end of Blackfriars, which could well become the weak point in the system. If an increased service from E&C through the core will reduce operational resilience then it is a no-go. But arguably a much-improved (min 6tph) Wimbledon Loop service into Blackfriars will be enough to win people over, perhaps operated by TfL as part of Overground. But then you’d probably need more terminal bays at Blackfriars, which they haven’t built, or safeguarded… a topic we return to shortly.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Local newspaper report on last week’s public meeting about the Wimbledon loop curtailment.

    Residents say ‘no’ to Thameslink Wimbledon loop train cuts

  55. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if the cambridge line to KX is going to get a new set of trains when the bedford-brighton line is getting new rolling stock?

  56. Anonymous says:

    “The one thing we can know for sure is that trains on the Wimbledon loop will no longer be Thameslink trains.”

    Or not.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-safeguards-future-of-the-wimbledon-loop

  57. Arkady says:

    Can anyone estimate the overall core capacity decrease that will result from this guarantee?

  58. Brock says:

    The news release suggests that it will be done without a decrease in core capacity, and this looks feasible.
    Two of the four Wimbledon loop trains could replace previously proposed Bellingham services which would presumably terminate instead at Blackfriars. Not sure about the other two Wimbledon loop trains but they may replace other previously considered Thameslink services via the Catford Loop. It looks like Network Rail has worked out a way to sort out services at Loughborough junction so that the resulting pattern of Thameslink services across Blackfriars Junction is not affected.

  59. answer=42 says:

    Well, here’s a thing. If HM Govt can talk to Network Rail and persuade them to change their plans, then said Network Rail is defined as a nationalised industry and its debt included in government debt by UK National Statistics. The 5-yearly High Level Output Statement and Statement of Funds Available are carefully constructed to avoid this, no matter how prescriptive they are in reality. Perhaps another DfT outtake, due new staff?

  60. Anonymous says:

    Arkady: “Can anyone estimate the overall core capacity decrease that will result from this guarantee?”

    Under the RUS proposals there would have been 10tph (all day) from Blackfriars via Elephant:

    2tph Blackfriars to Sutton via Wimbledon
    2tph Blackfriars to Sutton via Mitcham

    2tph Luton to Sevenoaks
    2tph St Albans to Bellingham
    2tph Welwyn Garden City to Maidstone East

    So going by the release the number going through the core will remain at 6tph off-peak, but has been increased to 8tph peak. As the loop already serves St Albans and Luton presumably they will continue to do so, so I guess Sevenoaks ones will now go to Welwyn.

    Presumably those Maidstone services, along the Bellingham ones, will take over the terminating platforms.

    Although terminating the loop trains and running Catford ones through the core allowed them to be completely segregated was operationally ideal, the capacity easily exists to keep that level of service.

  61. Greg Tingey says:

    answer=42
    Oh, do come on!
    Apart from the first few months/years … in fact sincel the implosion of Railtrack dues to that firm’s gross incompetence (No engineers) the railways have been nationalised – it’s just that this model costs twice as much as the old one, & guvmint can wriggle out of it better than before, by spreading blame in several directions, instead of one.
    So that *ahem* “this week” they can blame the horrible/incompetent/corrupt [delete as appropriate]:
    ROSCO’s/DafT/OpCo’s/ORR/NotwonkFail/unions/ATOC [again, delete as appropriate]
    Cynical?
    Yes, but true!

  62. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Whatever the rights or wrongs of keeping the Wimbledon through service, the worrying bit of the announcement for me was:

    At peak times, from December 2018, 16 trains per hour will approach Blackfriars from the London Bridge direction

    In the plans this was 18 tph. The engineering work and disruption created at London Bridge will be unaltered but the future benefit at this location is now reduced by over 11% in a project with an overall cost of £6 billion.

    I hate to bang on about this but what is the point of public enquiries if the government of the day just decides to change things at a late stage of the project when all the relevant infrastructure (at Blackfriars) has already been put in place ?

  63. Greg Tingey says:

    pedantic
    Because they are lawyers & not engineers.
    When it comes to calculations and engineering-type decisions involving NUMBERS, I’m afraid that anything beyond simple addition (usually of their fees) is beyond them.

  64. Anonymous says:

    DfT had probably never noticed the change. Anyway they won’t be in power in 2018 so they can blame the other lot when it all changes by then.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Pedantic of Purley: “I hate to bang on about this but what is the point of public enquiries if the government of the day just decides to change things at a late stage of the project when all the relevant infrastructure (at Blackfriars) has already been put in place ?”

    This decision was the result of a public enquiry, and as far as I am aware it is the only one there has been asking what routes should form part of the network. The question asked in the consultation was:

    The question to be decided is which six or eight trains (depending on whether 16 or 18 approach from London Bridge) go through the Thameslink core and which terminate. Trains that use these routes today come from Sutton, Wimbledon, Ashford (via Maidstone East), Rochester, Sevenoaks, Orpington, Beckenham Junction and Kent House. We are seeking respondents’ views on which of these service groups should run through the Thameslink core and which should terminate at Blackfriars.

    Clearly people on the loop valued the through service, while those on the Catford side did not. Which is hardly surprising as many people will have chosen where to live or work based on ease of commute. I also do not see how the infrastructure is an issue when it is perfectly capable of supporting the decision, even if the RUS proposal is operationally preferable. I am sure you can redraw the entire south London rail network to remove many conflicts and reach an operational ideal, but the rail network is supposed to serve the needs of the public where possible.

    So far there have been ever-changing ideas on what routes will operate as part of Thameslink south of the river, but nothing has ever been fixed, they have just been suggestions.

  66. Brock says:

    Of the18 tph in the peak via London Bridge shown in the RUS, 4 tph serve Ashford and Tunbridge Wells.
    However, these trains are effectively a diversion of existing Cannon Street services, which has not been popular in some quarters, so I would guess that the reduction to 16 tph noted by PoP may involve these.

    Given that the news relase specifically mentions the Maidstone East service, my guess is that it will only be the Bellingham services which terminate at Blackfriars.

    It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is announced next.

  67. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Because they are lawyers & not engineers.

    Someone once said that one of the reasons for poor government decisions is because government decision makers don’t understand basic science. The defy-the-laws-of-physics IEP seems to bear this out.

    If we only have 16 tph Thameslink into London Bridge then does this mean we have totally lost two trains per hour into London in the peak hours ? Or does this mean that the two trains that were due to be part of Thameslink will now have to terminate at London Bridge ? This would then be in the terminating platforms which would now be fewer in number because it was thought not so many would be needed because …

    It is also extremely worrying when the rail minister, Steven Hammond, says “This would cause considerable inconvenience and disruption all because that would allow Network Rail some marginal seconds in efficiency gain.” They may only be marginal seconds but they block conflicting moves at vital times and reduce either capacity or resilience. No doubt this rail minister (who just happens to be the MP for Wimbledon) will be the first to shout when reliability and on-time statistics do not turn out to be as they should be in the future and will not comprehend (or will choose not to comprehend) that the two events are related. And as I have tried to point out above these things inevitably have knock on effects and other consequences that again the political decision maker does not grasp – or chooses not to grasp.

    We live in a democracy and we have a proposal that disadvantages an identifiable group of people. Unfortunately this has not been done in an equitable manner because there will another group of people – potentially more of them – who will be disadvantaged by the decision to continue these services and the voice of this other group has not been heard. Unfortunately for them they don’t yet know who they are because DfT had never got around to publishing their definitive plans for Thameslink routes. Furthermore we still do not know which group will now no longer have a future Thameslink service as a result of this decision. Its easy for a minister to announce that a rail service will not be cut after all. The difficult bit is to say to another group “Sorry you won’t get your improved service in the future as we have decided to give priority to the people of Wimbledon”.

  68. Fandroid says:

    4tph from the Wimbledon Loop sounds good until you realise that means the combined flow from both directions, so the basic train service on the loop is still 2tph in each direction. What happened to the aspiration for a genuine 4tph, or is that impossible while Herne Hill and other junctions remain as they are?

    8tph in total through Elephant & Castle still sounds pathetic for a 4-track line.

  69. Brock says:

    Another issue worth considering is the unsuitability of the new Blackfriars station to handle large interchange flows between the terminating and through platforms. The two subways are at the far ends of the 12 car length platforms, with the one at the north end currently outside the barrier lines.
    Under the previous proposal, all passengers between the Wimbledon loop and Thameslink stations north of Blackfriars would have to change, With the new proposal, they will continue to have a through service, and the folk on the Catford loop will contine to have through services as well.
    And if “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” keeps his favoured service to Cannon Street, we might actually have a result from a public consultation which keeps more people happy!
    Yes, it’s not as clean operationally, but passengers are important, too.

  70. ngh says:

    Re Fandroid 1746 21/1/2013

    Add some Southeastern services terminating at Blackfriars via Herne Hill to the 8tph?

  71. timbeau says:

    As an occasional user of the Wimbledon loop, I can’t say I would have minded if the trains terminated at Blackfriars – there would at least be a better chance of getting a seat in the evenings! The through service is not very useful anyway – for St pancras and beyond it is quicker to go via Victoria from anywhere south of Herne Hill, either via Herne Hill itself or, from the Wimbledon, Sutton, Mitcham loop, via Clapham Junction. Indeed, the quickest way from Wimbledon to Blackfriars is neither FCC nor the District Line, but SWT to Waterloo and walk!

    And FCC clearly aren’t very interested in operating the service – it is always the first to go when they decide to weed things out – as I write they are running 25% of the service (one train an hour, one way round the loop only – and even that is being disrupted by problems at Leagrave and Harpenden).

  72. Nick in Sutton says:

    The through Thameslink service may not be the quickest way from the Wimbledon side of the loop, I think it’s more useful from Sutton, especially if you need to catch a Midland train from St Pancras. It’s also cheaper when you can avoid using the tube, and there’s a much better chance of getting a seat.

  73. ChrisMitch says:

    I use the Wimbledon loop service from Tooting and Mitcham Eastfields. I too have no strong feelings about services terminating at Blackfriars. I would trade an increase in train frequency for the Blackfriars termination – however this was not an option in the consultation.

    And timbeau is right – FCC’s commitment to running the service is abysmal. Trains are regularly cancelled with a negative notice period (after they should have arrived).

    This doesn’t really help to turn the route into a useful metro-service does it?

  74. timbeau says:

    Thameslink from Sutton to St Pancras may be cheaper, (but irrelevant if you have a travelcard) but its certainly not quicker than via Victoria. Journey Planner gives you best times of 45 minutes via either route, but much more frequent via Victoria

  75. Brock says:

    On reflection, the ramifications of increasing to 8 tph from Elephant & Castle through the central core are wider than I initially thought, The Wimbledon loop services run all day and will be 8 car – so they can’t be directly substituted for 12 car or peak only services.
    What the release doesn’t mention is what the off-peak service through the core will be. The RUS suggests 18 tph, of which 10 tph are 8 car and 8 tph are 12 car. And all the 8 car services run all day.
    So if there are 8 tph all day via Elephant & Castle, all of which are 8 car, then:
    - If the overall level of off-peak services is unchanged, that only leaves 2 tph of 8 car services remaining south of the Thames. This could mean that the 4 tph service via Purley then 2 tph each to Caterham and Tattenham Corner would have to be revised.
    - Or, if the off-peak core service was increased to 20 tph, the additional trains would have to go somewhere north of the Thames. The nearest convenient point would, of course, be West Hampstead, however there may be more interesting destinations via Finsbury Park.
    And there would only then be capacity for an additional of 4 tph peak services, so my earlier comment re 16 tph at London Bridge still stands, though this would potentially also affect peak services north of the Thames as well.
    As ever, it’s what the DfT release doesn’t say that is potentially of wider interest.

  76. Anonymous says:

    Pedantic of Purley – As opposed to “Sorry after having to suffer years of disruption you won’t even get the same level of service in the future as we have decided to give priority to the people of Bromley or somewhere else where there is no interest in the service you want.” And it is hardly the party political decision of one local MP when the campaign against removing the loop from the network had a very vocal campaign on all sides of the loop from residents, community groups, and politicians from all parties, including a former Labour transport minister. And of all those which would have been affected, Wimbledon with a much faster link into Waterloo was the least interested. Much has been said on this site (notably the safeguard Blackfriars article) about how little of the available capacity from Blackfriars to Loughborough Junction is being used. Yet the way you are talking you would think it is already stretched to breaking point.

    Fandroid – You are right, an 4tph service in both directions was never an option because there is no spare capacity at Herne Hill for this. The RUS instead proposed a 4tph service from London Bridge to Blackfriars via the loop (this was illustrated as London Bridge – Mitcham – Sutton – Wimbledon – Blackfriars and vice versa but it was not clear if this was the proposal or a simplification and they would run half hourly in alternate directions.) Keeping the loop as part of Thameslink does not preclude having a separate half-hourly loop to London Bridge giving 4tph around it. The peak capacity for this would be freed up by no longer having to divert morning services from Brighton via Tulse Hill, and there is already a 2tph-ish peak service like this going counter-clockwise.

    timbeau – I used to use the Thameslink from Tooting over the Northern Line because while it may have been (inconveniently much) less frequent and take longer, I got a seat, it was a lot more pleasant, and it was a lot less hassle where I had to change. Being the quickest service does not necessarily make it the best. You would have to be crazy to want to change at Herne Hill for Victoria in the peak (which from Streatham station and Tulse Hill is the only way to get to Victoria by rail). And for Sutton itself it is worth remembering that over half the services go via Croydon and take about 45 minutes just to get to Victoria.

  77. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Anonymous,

    I think you are missing my point but I suspected I would be misinterpreted. I am not entirely unsympathetic to the cause. I have stood at Blackfriars station and seen a Wimbledon bound train already well-filled on its journey south. I am also concerned about the trend of sacrificing extremely well used inner urban services just to provide more slots for longer distance trains.

    My objections are to the decision making process and not the actual decision made.

    For the record:

    i) I never suggested it is a party political decision. I know full well it is supported by MPs of other parties. Nevertheless it is funny how this happens when a MP for Wimbledon is at the DfT. Surely there is a potential conflict of interest and something to suspect that the decision may have not have been made on a disinterested basis ? I have never heard any reference to Stephen Hammond taking a back seat to this process to ensure impartiality. It is not good enough for justice to be done, it must be seen to be done.

    ii) The fact that at this late stage we get this decision making when this was known ten years ago. Had we have had this decision ten years ago then it is possible that track layouts may have been adapted to take into account the revised flows. Or even considered an extra terminating platform at London Bridge although I suspect that will not be necessary.

    iii) The argument that people down the Catford loop showed little objection is hardly relevant when we don’t know what the consequences of this revised plan are. For instance, it may be quite likely that the East Grinstead Line will now not be part of Thameslink because 2 tph are lost through London Bridge. If this turns out to be the case then why weren’t the people of East Grinstead consulted? For East Grinstead replace it with Tunbridge Wells or whatever service gets axed as a result of this.

    iv) I think the argument about ” after having to suffer years of disruption…” is extremely shallow. If the future service is to be based on past disruption then under current plans, such as they can be gleaned, there looks like there will be far greater disruption of users of Thameslink via London Bridge than Wimbledon customers every suffered.

    v) It is not the available capacity from Blackfriars to Loughborough Junction that I was concerned about. Any southbound through train leaving Blackfriars blocks the path of a northbound train from London Bridge. These critical potential conflicts have consequences and they cannot be dismissed as “some marginal seconds in efficiency gain”.

  78. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Anonymous 05:07PM, 21st January 2013

    “Clearly people on the loop valued the through service, while those on the Catford side did not. Which is hardly surprising as many people will have chosen where to live or work based on ease of commute.”

    I am afraid that is absolute nonsense. When the original plans were announced and the Wimbledon Loop was intended to be terminated at Blackfriars and the Catford Loop would be continued through Blackfriars, there was nothing to complain about from residents using the Catford Loop from Denmark Hill outwards.

    It was only when the objections to terminating the Wimbledon services at Blackfriars belatedly bubbled up that something has to be said to ensure that the Catford Loop also retained its through services and not be sacrificed. After all, it was the Catford Loop services which were always intended to be through services post-2018.

    Of course those on the Catford side value the through Thameslink services! The vast majority of submissions have not therefore been to complain that the Catford services will be terminated at Blackfriars because that was never the stated intention but instead to support both through services from the Wimbledon Loop and the Catford Loop.

    After all, this is meant to be the Thameslink “Improvement” Works, not the Thameslink “Worsening” Works! That is what the passengers thought, anyway.

  79. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 16.56
    “…they won’t be in power in 2018” Actually, “they”, the DafT WILL still be in power, still screwing thing around – that is, in fact at least half the problem, isn’t it?

    Pedantic @ 17.37
    Actually that should have read “…will not be capable of comprehending” shouldn’t it? Given that we are inter alia discussing maths/physics/engineering understanding? Oops.
    And, even worse that your final paragraph – because no-one (even now) thinks of future-proofing, expanding Blackfriars to six platforms is not going to happen, as discussed elsewhere.
    @ 23.51 … never mind “impartial” what about “competent” (again) & your part (v) brings us back to the half-arsed design of the flyovers (not) to the SE of Blackfriars, again, doesn’t it? Oh dear.
    Like the flat junction & only 2 platforms at the St Pancras Thameslink box.

    Fandroid
    Yup. A half-hourly “service” around the Wombledon-Sutton loop, plus bottleneck @ Wombledon station, because of single-track, because Tramlink is a different money-box & Herne Hill as already discussed & …….

    Overall, one wonders if the Wim-Loop problem can’t be solved with “BR” services, at all.
    Instead:
    1 – Extend Drastic Line to Sutton
    2 – Extend Northern Line to Sutton
    3 – Extend Tramlink to Streatham
    Engineering required:
    1 – Flyover for Drastic @ Wimbledon station – expensive but do-able
    2 – Pennies by Morden depot
    3 – Very cheap, once DafT are hit over the head with something large, dragged off to Pforzheim & told to “copy that!”
    1+ 2 – terminating roads @ Sutton – difficult to find space, though not desperately expensive.
    A cheaper alternative (?):
    1 – Extend Tramlink to Sutton, with street running @ Sutton end – peanuts cost
    2 – extend Northern line also to Sutton ….
    3 – As above.
    Much cheaper!

    NONE of the above addresses the “problem” of grossly under-used capacity of 4 tracks Blackfriars Loughboro’ Jn, does it? Back to Herne Hill!

  80. Anonymous says:

    I was referring to the ministers who make the announcements. I don’t think DfT have any problem with making it up as they go along. All we can hope for is a minister that knows enough to tell the Civil Servants they are talking rubbish – Lord Adonis was the only one capable of that in modern times.

  81. StephenC says:

    As someone living in the area, I’d say that Wimbledon to Sutton would be best served by Tramlink (this wasn’t my original view, but I’ve come to see it as the most effective). Specifically, it is the ability to stop more frequently that would be a bonus along the line – 5 to 8 more stops would be feasible in terms of locations. This is partly because the areas served are very different from Tooting/Clapham/Streatham. Those have high density terraces, Wimbledon to Sutton has much lower density semis, so each station serves fewer people (maybe 4 times less people walking distamce to each station). Thus a tube lne or high frequency main line service isn’t terribly viable. Its also important to note that those travalling from say South Merton to London all tend to change at Wimbledon anyway, so conversion to a tram is not a negative in terms of changes of train at that end of the line.

    By contrast, Haydons Road and Tooting (mainline) are surrounded by higher density housing, and the rail line points more towards London, so I’d recommend keeping London services there. In fact, were they enhanced to say 8tph, then they might well draw people away from the Northern line (which is overcrowded to the point that people in Clapham cannot board). A two platform terminus for 8 car trains at Wimbledon would also be very achievable in conjunction with sharing the platforms with Tramlink.

  82. Paul says:

    Brock @ 05:36pm

    In the DfT consultation on the merger of Southern and Thameslink I think those ‘longer distance’ SE services had already been ‘airbrushed out. The relevant section reads:

    “Transfer of services from Southeastern in 2018
    7.17 We have yet to confirm the exact scope of services that we will transfer from Southeastern in 2018 and we are seeking respondents’ views as part of this consultation. Current thinking is that in addition to Thameslink core services serving Sevenoaks, these will be expanded to include Maidstone East. It is also possible that in peak hours this may include some services from Dartford and Orpington.”

    The interpretation had to be (in hindsight) that Dartford and Orpington probably had already replaced Ashford and Tunbridge Wells, although I don’t think this was widely discussed at the time?

  83. Brock says:

    Paul @ 12:13pm
    An interesting point. Dropping 2 tph each peak Thameslink services from Ashford and Tunbridge Wells would leave room for 2 tph from Dartford or Orpington within the16 tph via London Bridge. May need some more rebalancing of the the 12 car to 8 car splits, though.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Pedantic of Purley – On the layout of Blackfriars, I do not see how it could have been any different regardless of plans for the Wimbledon loop. The original proposals for routes were made as a result of the design rather than feeding into it, and at the time they were made, and until the RUS came out, there had been no suggestion of removing the loop from the network. Any issue with whether through trains come from Catford or Herne Hill have no baring on London Bridge services as those will be filtered accordingly beforehand.

    As to the change in the split between London Bridge and Elephant services, they could be entirely unrelated. If there have been complaints from residents of Tonbridge and Ashford about having their services changed then it could be a result of the loss of those. I also remembering reading that to run those services they may have to instead go via Herne Hill. Sadly I cannot remember where I read that or why. But the only reason they were added to the proposals was not to improve service or because of demand, but to reduce demands on Cannon Street. I do not know what may have changed there, but those residents there may well feel that retaining such services to be an improvement over losing the destination they value.

    Graham Feakins – Catford services were not always intended to be through services, they were only proposed by Network Rail as recommendations coming from an RUS. As for the public consultation, the question asked was which destinations approaching Elephant should continue through the core, not should the Sutton services be retained as part of Thameslink. People in Catford and wherever else had a chance to make their case, and community groups and politicians there would have been asked to make a submission just as much as the ones on the loop. Even at their most ‘hare and tortoise” complacent, with the volume of the responses from those around the loop requiring the deadline be extended, that they still chose not to vociferously make their case suggests the demand was not there. To say that the Catford line will have their service worsened when at its worst it service will stay the same, while in all likelihood will see a frequency increase regardless is bizarre.

    Greg Tingey – In what way does extending Tramlink to Streatham have anything to do with Thameslink when the two go to completely different places? I do agree with StephenC however that the Wimbledon to Sutton line would make sense being converted to a tram or District line extension as stations along there effectively feeding into Sutton or Wimbledon and are not well served for central London directly as going around the loop extends journey times on an already infrequent service. As for the single track bottleneck at Wimbledon, they already run a peak of 7tph through it. An 4tph service in each direction would only see a train need to go through Wimbledon every 7.5 minutes, which is just longer than the journey time from Haydens Road to Wimbledon Chase, let alone over the single track section.

  85. Whiff says:

    @ Pedantic – This local paper article doesn’t suggest that the MP for Wimbledon has taken a step back from the decision-making process since joining the DfT.
    http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/10174527.MP_claims_victory_as_Wimbledon_Thameslink_loop_saved/

    I’m sure I read somewhere, but can’t remember where, that the plan was to run trains from London Bridge around the loop and then to Blackfriars (now on to North London). I assumed that this meant that there would be 4 trains an hour in each direction but split between the two termini.

  86. timbeau says:

    Anon 13:41 Why does Greg’s proposal to extend Tramlink to Streatham not relate to Thameslink? Tramlink and Thameslink both serve Wimbledon, and Thameslink also serves Streatham. But if the District Line takes over Wimbledon to Sutton, either Thameslink’s route through Haydons Road will have to terminate at Wimbledon, or something else will have to operate the route – Greg’s proposal is, I think, to extend Tramlink’s Wimbledon service via Haydons Road to Streatham – although how he proposes to thread it through the complex of junctions in the Streatham Common area I’m not sure. It might be easier to serve Streatham Common station rather than Streatham itself – less central but better connections.

  87. Paul says:

    The 4 tph (4 tph each direction) from Blackfriars bays around the loop and to London Bridge (that Whiff recalls) was a proposal in the 2008 South London RUS, page 111/112.

    So is there any obvious reason why half of such a service (ie 2 tph each way round the loop) cannot run in between the newly revised service running through ‘Thameslink (which is also 2 tph each way round the loop)?

  88. Snowy says:

    If the District line were to be extended to take over the route to Sutton, where would it cross the mainline tracks? Either the london end betwen the depot & station although with the flyover all ready there would this be an engineering challenge or is there space available to continue the district line through the current stairs up to the station exit & then either a fly over or dive under to join the branch line? Does anyone who knows the track layout & surround have any suggestions?

  89. Brock says:

    Paul @ 04:48pm
    As noted by others further up the thread, the basic capacity through Herne Hill for services via Elephant & Castle and Tulse Hill is 4 tph. This is currently used by the loop services – and as we now know will continue to be used.
    The proposed 4 tph service from the Blackfriars bays to London Bridge would have used this capacity instead.
    So there probably isn’t capacity to run any more trains from Blackfriars.

    However there may be potential to run more trains round the loop from elsewhere, as currently happens in the peaks.

    Amending the previously proposed timetable to reinstate the loop trains potentially leaves “orphan” paths between Tulse Hill and London Bridge which would have been used by the Blackfriars – London Bridge service. Assuming these will still be needed to serve stations via Peckham Rye, they will have to go somewhere south of Tulse Hill.

  90. Anonymous says:

    timbeau and Greg – Sorry, I always think of Tramlink as being radial of Croydon, the idea of extending from Wimbledon to Streatham never occurred to me. I see no need for such a conversion though as it would be detrimental to the value of the train, which is direct services. Once you start having to change then for those coming from Tooting it will be easier to use the Northern line or Mitcham Eastfields. While a tram would be better than a bus from Haydon’s Road to get to Wimbledon, that alone cannot justify the cost.

    Conversion between Sutton and Wimbledon would mean Thameslink having two branches, to Wimbledon and Sutton, but I do not see why this would be a problem. Far from it, the service would be more resilient and as Stephen C said earlier, you could convert platform 9 and 10 at Wimbledon to have two southern bays for trams and two northern bays for the Thameslink services.

    As a flight of fantasy, what I would like to see is a spur built between West Norwood and Streatham (the angle at which the lines cross should make this possible, though it would be using flat junctions) and the Overground to Crystal Palace then extended to Wimbledon. Capacity for this should not be a problem on those two lines, the problem would be the junction between Streatham and Tooting should the Thameslink service be expanded with a London Bridge loop.

    Brock – You seem to be complicating something very simple. There is little difference between running separate Blackfriars and London Bridge loops as there is combining them. In some ways that would be better as a problem in Peckham would have less impact on Thameslink services, or a problem at Elephant on London Bridge ones. And half of this is already in operation as there is a half-hourly peak service London Bridge – Wimbledon – Sutton – London Bridge (and vice versa in the evening), so it is only a case of using the freed-up capacity at Tulse Hill by the removal of Brighton Thameslink services to run the same in the opposite direction. The other issue is having the service run all-day to provide loop stations a more reasonable frequency, while the RUS only concerns itself with peak services.

  91. Lemmo says:

    “…the basic capacity through Herne Hill for services via Elephant & Castle and Tulse Hill is 4 tph… So there probably isn’t capacity to run any more trains from Blackfriars.”

    Says who? The posts on the Blackfriars bays and on Herne Hill look at this in some detail, and the Herne Hill post also looks at the potential to adapt the service pattern in order to reduce crossing movements. Reconfiguring the track layout at Herne Hill could allow a more intensive 6tph crossing from Tulse Hill to the E&C route, and a new service pattern could allow more services from West Dulwich to run via E&C.

    The clear conclusion is that you have to take a network-wide view, and create a clear picture of what you want the south London rail network to look like. This will then drive investment priorities and reconfiguration of the service pattern.

    I agree with PoP. What this episode demonstrates is a shambolic decision-making process purporting to be responsive to public consultation. You don’t finalise the detailed design of a £6 billion rail project, and then consult while you’re building it, and then change the design. It’s pitiful.

    It just further emphasises the dearth of leadership and lack of an overall strategy for rail in London.

  92. Brock says:

    Anonymous @ 06:35 pm
    Thanks for suggesting a simpler solution. After submitting the post I spent some time sketching out possible service patterns, and I agree with your comments re separate Blackfriars and London Bridge services round the loop.

    Lemmo @ 07:51 PM
    Fair comment. I’ll go back and re-read your earlier posts in detail.

  93. Greg Tingey says:

    Excuse me but: With regard to [original wording replaced PoP] bays/running roads for trams & rail services ….
    In Germany, around Pforzheim, tram & “heavy” rail use the same tracks & have done for over 10 years, now.
    the ONLY obstacle to this happening here is DafT.
    I was envisaging German-style tram / train operation(s)
    Sorry about the explosion, but this sort of blinkered re-invention of the tram-wheel is really annoying (& stupid)

    Re: District passing beyond Wimbledon – see my original post… it is expensive & difficult, hence my second suggestion that trams take over Wimbledon-Sutton (with street running @ the Sutton end) + extend Northern line to Sutton. also + tram / train (train being an “UndergrounD” one, of course) between S Morden & Sutton.
    Sorry, but I didn;t realise I’d have to spell it out, to an audience that is usually as well-informed as this one?

    Lemmo
    Oh, the decision-making process was “shambolic” was it?
    I was under the impression that there had been no decision-making made at all, & that no process had been gone through.
    Merely that certain local special-interest groups had been allowed to overthrow any minimal planning that had occurred.

  94. Anonymous says:

    So Wimbledon (frequent trains to Waterloo, Tram, District Line) and Sutton (fast and stopping trains every few minutes) to say nothing of the nearby Northern line is to retain its through Thameslink services even though this makes Thameslink more difficult operationlly. Meanwhile there is speculaton about Crofton Park, Catford and Bellingham (er, nothing else other than a pitiful 2tph despite being in zone 3) losing their through service as a result. Couldn’t be anything to do with well heeled, well organised types versus poorer disparate people could it? Let’s get rid of the South London Line and replace part of it with a new Vic-Bellingham service. Oh let’s not, let’s use the cash to get trendies from Camberwell to Hoxton instead.

  95. Anonymous says:

    Where is that speculation coming from? The government release says the Sevenoaks via Catford services will go through the core.

  96. mr_jrt says:

    For me the ideal would be to extend the District south through Wimbledon station with grade separation south of it, but I suspect the raft cannot handle this. As a reasonable 2nd choice, then a flyover north of the station into the loop platforms is a good fall back option. It means evicting Tramlink, yes, but that’s no great bother as it means you can have much more room for facilities up at road level (and outside the gateline!). Conversion of Wimbledon to Haydon’s Road to Tramlink removes the need for that service to be NR, and then heading to either Mitcham or Streatham completes the Tramlink side of things.

    Extend LO from West Croydon to Epsom Downs to remove the Southern services from that stretch of line, and build new bays (or essentially a new station) on the north side of the line west of the road bridge at Sutton for the District to terminate in. This removes the conflicting flat junctions, and the line from Mitcham to Epsom becomes a simple two-track line.

    Finally, at Sutton you have the option of a proper rebuild to provide 4 through lines instead of the aforementioned bays, in which case some grade separation to connect the line from Wimbledon to the line from West Croydon creates a further opportunity to either extend the District to West Croydon, or LO to East Putney. Once there, the issue becomes adding additional lines between the old flyover and Clapham Junction, where the main problem is Wandsworth Town station, then you can have a LO loop around south London (Surrey Quays, Clapham, Wimbledon, Sutton, Croydon, Surrey Quays). Extend the Crystal Palace services to the West London Line via Clapham & Streatham and you have a much simplified set of LO routes.

  97. Greg Tingey says:

    mr-jrt
    Ideal-world solution, with money no object.
    Now, try my second, much cheaper alternative?
    Tram Wimbledon – Sutton
    Northen Line Morden – Sutton + dual running S of S Morden
    EITHER Tram to Streatham OR terminate stub service at Wimbledon
    Get dual tram-train operation up & running – the only obsatcle to that in this country is sham-regulatory, since the Germans have been doing it for many years.

    We still have the problems of Herne Hill, & the underutilisation of Blackfriars Loughboro’ Jn.
    The latter can surley cope with extra Blackfriars – Catford Loop (?) sevices
    What do we put in the (?) is the question – Maidstone stoppers?

  98. Graham Feakins says:

    Anonymous 01:41PM, 22nd January 2013

    The actual Thameslink franchise consultation said this: “Many stakeholders are aware that Network Rail has recommended, in both the South London and London and South East Route Utilisation Strategies, that Wimbledon loop services should start and terminate at Blackfriars. Network Rail wishes to see trains presented to the Thameslink core punctually, and it sees the crossing moves that the Wimbledon loop trains have to make south of Blackfriars as potential conflicts with other trains, and thus a threat to punctuality. At peak times, from December 2018, it will be possible for up to 16 trains per hour to approach Blackfriars from the south route via Elephant & Castle, but for no more than eight of these to proceed through the Thameslink core. The other eight must terminate in the new platforms on the west side of Blackfriars station. All these trains will approach Blackfriars either from the Denmark Hill direction (including Catford loop trains) or from Herne Hill (including Wimbledon loop trains). The question to be decided is which six or eight trains (depending on whether 16 or 18 approach from London Bridge) go through the Thameslink core and which terminate. Trains that use these routes today come from Sutton, Wimbledon, Ashford (via Maidstone East), Rochester, Sevenoaks, Orpington, Beckenham Junction and Kent House. We are seeking respondents’ views on which of these service groups should run through the Thameslink core and which should terminate at Blackfriars.”

    It follows from this paragraph that the Wimbledon voice was going to be louder, or at least the one the press chose to emphasise, as it was only when the Thameslink consultation was published that the Wimbledon loop folk woke up and found the need to be vociferous.. I can assure you that major representations were indeed made by those concerned from Denmark Hill outwards, including the major hospitals, local transport groups, MP’s, local councillors etc. in support of through services – in addition to the Wimbledon services. Many worked closely with the Wimbledon/Herne Hill groups to ensure a consistent approach.

    One point I made at the time was that I disagreed with Network Rail’s suggestion concerning conflicting moves (see above) as there are effectively three crossing places on the 4-track layout between Loughborough Junction and Blackfriars providing ample flexibility.

    Note the important aspect, however, that it is notable that the terminating platforms cannot be used from the London Bridge direction and the latest track plans I have seen support this. However, they might have to be used in the peaks to accommodate 8-9 main-line services that will have to be diverted from Cannon Street in the future. It is intended that the connection ‘around the corner’ at Metropolitan Junction from Cannon Street to Blackfriars is to be removed, at present used by those 8-9 peak services running empty to clear (am) and feed (pm) Cannon Street as there is no room to run them through London Bridge. Accordingly, they may have to be diverted via Denmark Hill to/from Kent. Being non-dual-voltage, they won’t be able run through the core and thus will have to terminate at Blackfriars.

  99. Graham Feakins says:

    Just a comment on the idea for trams to Streatham – remember that Croydon-style trams require low platforms for level boarding and therefore could not use the present railway platforms. The Pforzheim/Karlsruhe trams are purpose-built, dual-voltage vehicles (and very fine they are, too, Greg) but it’s not a simple case of running similar on Network Rail. Not impossible, of course.

  100. StephenW says:

    I think there is another alternative service pattern that enables an improved Catford loop service as well as 4 trains to Streatham and beyond. It just requires some infrastructure. Build a grade-separated junction (from both the fast and slow lines) where the Catford loop crosses the Southern route between Brockley and Honor Oak Park and trains to Bromley South and beyond (which could include Tunbridge Wells) could be diverted via London Bridge. Clearly, Denmark Hill, Peckham Rye and Nunhead would not benefit from this, but the existing 2 per hour service could be maintained.

    (A further option would be to add a grade-separated junction at Catford from the loop onto the Hayes line. Hayes services would then operate from either London Bridge, Thameslink or the East London line via New Cross Gate and Crofton Park. The DLR would be extended to Catford, replacing the national rail route and removing several junction conflicts in the Lewisham area.)

  101. ChrisMitch says:

    I don’t think additional grade-separated junctions are really an option at this stage of the thameslink programme.
    The trick will be to please everyone, all the time. This is obviously impossible.

    The consultation seems to have come rather late in the proposals. Blackfriars station has already been rebuilt with a particular service pattern in mind.
    I think the promise to keep Wimbledon through-services will probably be reneged on in a couple of years. The Wimbledon loop trains are limited to 8 carriages, and presumably all trains through the Thameslink core will need to be 12 carriage at peak times.
    So Wimbledon could have through services, but not at peak times.

  102. Greg Tingey says:

    Real dog’s breakfast isn’t it?
    Remember thatT’link re-development was started back about 1990, when railways were still hated.
    The updated programme was still “designed” down to a cost, not up to a specification, & there certainly appears to have been no strategic vision or joined-up thinking at all, anywhere.
    So we have inadequate junctions between Balckfriars & LB, still 2 tracks (1 track?) too few between CX & LB, a bottleneck @ Herne Hill (solveable with a floyover we think), trains all over the place, inadequate either terminating or through (take your pick) @ Blackfriars itself (Should have had 6 platforms) a horrible lost opportunity for a flexible (3-track) layout @ St P T’link.
    The mismatch & obvious gaps Streatham / Wimbledon / S Morden / Sutton, where a complete service change is obviously really needed, but requires an overall vision & money coming form different boxes, so you can forget that ….
    Bodge, bodge, bodge – & every bodge-step still costs money!

    Which reminds me, several posts back, I commented on a short piece from “London Railway Record”, where I could find no attributed source…
    I quote – - BEGIN[
    OVERGROUND IMPROVEMENTS
    The following are the more significant of the works advertised for 2013 (The wording is as given by LOROL):
    Redevelopment of Hackney Wick
    Interchange between Hackney Central & Hackney Downs
    Installation of ramped second entrance at Walthamstow Queens Road
    Platform extensions on West London Line
    Lifts at Brockley & Honor Oak Park ....
    ] END quote

    Anyone else been able to source or attribute these, other than the “LRR” mention?

    Googling for it got me nothing – very peculiar.

  103. Anonymous says:

    I do not see how connecting the Catford line to the News Cross Gate one would help anyone? As far as I am aware the outer slow lines into London Bridge will not have access to the Thameslink ones, at least not other than via flat junctions which would undermine the works going on and reduce capacity. So having to terminate Catford services at London Bridge would offer no more opportunity to increase the frequency than by doing so at Blackfriars, which will be able to terminate 8tph. It could also use up the capacity at London Bridge that was intended to be used to increase loop services, so they would be stuck at 2tph when both lines could see increases.

    Again though, to ChrisMitch, the layout at Blackfriars was not designed with any service in mind, beyond removing the conflict between the terminating platforms and London Bridge through services. The Network Rail proposals in the RUS was in response to the design, not the other way around. And having Catford and Herne Hill trains cross over is something that can be done on the approach to Blackfriars so the design there makes no difference anyway.

    As for the train lengths, the RUS proposals were only for 8-carriage trains on Elephant routes anyway, including the fast services from Kent, as whether they go via Streatham, Kent House, or Catford that is all any of the the stations north of Bromley South or Sutton can accommodate. Even with an extension programme, which NR did not recommend for any of those routes, Elephant will require major layout changes.

  104. Stu says:

    @ Greg Tingey

    “In Germany, around Pforzheim, tram & “heavy” rail use the same tracks & have done for over 10 years, now.
    the ONLY obstacle to this happening here is DafT.”

    Not quite that simple – heavy rail platforms on the Continent are far low than those in the UK – more akin to the height of tram platforms. I guess the real issue is why we didn’t sync with Europe back in the early days of rail. It’s a bit late to do much about that now ….

  105. Anon in NZ says:

    Another factor is that all existing elecric tram-trains use overhead wires – it’s hard to see how low tram platforms would mix with a third rail at roughly the same level.

  106. The other Paul says:

    Re: The underused 4 track via the Elephant

    - New stations at Camberwell and Walworth. Yes they’d be fairly close together but there’s plenty of pent-up demand down the Walworth road for new transport.
    - Capacity issues via Herne Hill, not sure about Peckham, but there must be capacity via Brixton, if nothing else because of the number of services running up to Blackfriars from Denmark Hill
    - May be feasible to crossover west of Brixton and serve Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road.
    - Certainly feasible to route into Clapham Junction and possibly beyond somewhere.
    - Also could head for Battersea Park/Victoria, given that it was feasible to run a certain Bellingham service that way.

    Which just leaves the other end. And let’s get to the nitty gritty here, if we can turn around 32tph in two platforms at Brixton, it’s hard to believe that it’s not possible to stretch to at least 12tph in two platforms at Blackfriars.

  107. Graham Feakins says:

    “The other Paul” neatly reminds me that my 1928 book of “Handling London’s Underground Traffic” explains that not only were there “at least 32 tph” already being turned back on the 2-track layout at the Bakerloo Line Elephant & Castle terminus by 1928 but also no fewer than 40 (forty!) trains per hour were reversed at Morden on the Northern Line and therefore 40 tph ran between Morden and Kennington in each direction!

    It was also a fact that a simple flat junction could cope with 42 tph in each direction, such as at Minories Junction (the junction between District and Circle Lines outside Aldgate) with a theoretical maximum of 44 tph.

    Some may have seen my comment questioning the need for Automatic Train Operation through the Thameslink core simply to cope with 24 tph – and that on what is effectively a comparatively slow UndergrounD route. Even bearing in mind that the Thameslink trains are longer than Underground trains, there seems to be an extraordinary (retrograde) difference between what was achieved in 1928 and what is planned for the future.

    Finally, in case folk think that suburban trains cannot accelerate fast, here is a short clip showing normal practice in Germany:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9ieHkvzUBw

  108. timbeau says:

    Morden has three platforms, I think, and throughput can be expedited if neceesary by using the depot for turnrounds (they are effectively through platforms)

    Here we can see two trains every 3m30s (equivalent to 34 tph) reversing at a simple two platform terminus

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7yjRHSVv_A&feature=player_embedded

  109. stock quotes says:

    there seems to be an extraordinary (retrograde) difference between what was achieved in 1928 and what is planned for the logic in including this construction work in the project if it were not to include an element of taking over some services running via Lewisham.

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