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Regular readers will be aware that 2018 should be a significant year for public transport in London, with the completion of the Thameslink programme and the opening of the core section of Crossrail from Paddington to Abbey Wood. It is also easy to forget the Victoria Station Upgrade, which is also due to be completed in 2018.  So an obvious question is “is there anything else big in the pipeline?” 

Given that plans for Crossrail II are still undecided, the only big project with any indication of definitely going ahead is the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade.  This may not sound that big a deal, and new railway lines generate far more excitement but it, is important not to underestimate the significance of the Bank Upgrade Project.

Bank entrance at the heart of the city

One of the many entrances to Bank station. Actually, if you look very carefully you can see a second unmarked arched entrance in the background.

A Station Capacity Upgrade – a rare beast

A major station upgrade that doesn’t involve a new line serving it or a major enhancement to an existing line is a rare event.  Victoria is a rare exception, and anyone who doubts the size of this only has to walk around the station to see the significant construction work taking place over a wide area to appreciate the project’s size.  King’s Cross Underground upgrade may not have involved a new Underground line, but it was considered vital to support the new international terminal at St Pancras next door.  London Underground will tell you that the expansion of Tottenham Court Road (TCR) is really two separate schemes next to each other – Crossrail and an Underground upgrade – but that is not how it is presented to the public.  Indeed to find a truly comparable scheme to Bank one probably has to go back to the 1920’s and the reconstruction of Piccadilly Circus station.

Importance of Bank Station

Regardless of the current status of banks and the financial sector in general, it is still true that they are a vital part of our economy.  For them to function properly there must be good public transport in the Square Mile, with gives Bank station a level of importance perhaps greater than one might think.  Yes, Victoria and King’s Cross St Pancras are important too but their importance comes from their status as transport hubs, rather than their locality. Bank is important because the immediate surrounding area is arguably crucial to the wealth of the country.

The Square Mile has major railway termini on its periphery but it relies on people walking, buses, taxis, the DLR and the underground for getting the workers to the heart of the city.  Of these modes of transport arguably the most important for shifting lots of people is the Underground.

Now consider the relatively large area bound by London Wall to the north, the Thames in the south, St Paul’s in the west and Tower Hill in the east. Only four Underground stations lie within this area.  Take into account that three of them – Mansion House, Cannon Street and Monument – are on the same line and quite close to each other. Hopefully this starts to indicate precisely why Bank has become the major Underground station serving the city.

Map showing Bank and surrounding area

The four Underground stations (Cannon Street Underground station is not separately marked). Although there are others just outside the area, for an important part of central London this is surprisingly few.

If further argument were necessary, it is pertinent to point out that Bank and Monument are really just different parts of one station and it is possible to access any platform at Bank from any platform at Monument and vice versa without going up to street level – although the walk at street level is often quicker and is a valid Out of Station Interchange (OSI). Indeed it has been said that the only reason they are advertised as separate stations is so as not to confuse the Fire Brigade.

Customer Usage

Bank’s importance can be looked at another way.  Bank, or more accurately Bank & Monument, is the eighth busiest tube station according to official figures. However that figure is obtained by using data for the entire week.  Bank is relatively lightly used at weekends compared to West End stations and has a very distinctive peak with over 48,000 exiting the station during the morning peak and 42,000 entering during the evening peak.  Assuming that the peaks referred to last three hours that is more than 250 entering or leaving the station each minute. This means that roughly a tube train’s worth of passenger enters or leave the station every 2½ minutes in peak hours.1

However this isn’t the end of the matter.  To support their case for the proposed station upgrade, London Underground claim that Bank station is the system’s fourth busiest interchange station. They quote a figure of 96,000 passengers (entering, exiting or changing lines) in the morning peak period which appears to be based on approximately 8,000 entering, 48,000 exiting and 40,000 changing from one line to another.  It is presumed that these figures include DLR passengers.

If all goes according to plan the Northern line should be resignalled by the end of 2014. Assuming that there are enough available trains then the intention is to run 30 trains per hour down the City branch of the Northern line during peak hours. Optimistically this means a bit of relief and less-crowded journeys.  In recent years, however, many major cities have noticed that schemes intending to provide relief very quickly result in exactly the same level of crowdedness.  In other words, like the motorway building of the sixties, all you do is either provide a journey-opportunity for the existing latent demand (basically people who would have used the service but found it too crowded or physically could not get on the train) or create the desire to make a journey where none existed before (such as someone who didn’t consider applying for jobs in the City because the journey was so horrendous).  This means that by 2020, despite both Crossrail and Thameslink, the problem will probably actually worse than today.

Overcrowding

London Underground have thus been acutely aware of the need to develop a scheme for an increase in capacity for Bank station for some time.  Without it, it is predicted that Bank station would have to be closed at certain times of the day, just as Victoria Underground Station does today.  Unlike Victoria though, closures would be more likely to take place in the evening and it is no surprise that a lot of people are more tolerant of being late for work with a good excuse, than being late getting home.

For employers any delay is going to result in a less content and less productive workforce whether caused directly by a late arrival or indirectly by additional stress or employees being more tired at work due to a longer commute.  One suspects that employers in the square mile are amongst those with the greatest power to lobby and influence others so doing nothing really isn’t an option.

History

It is quite remarkable to think that even in 1900 all the Underground lines that serve the current Bank/Monument station were in place. The south part of the District and Circle lines was completed in 1884, the Waterloo and City line had already reached “City” in 1898 and only two years later there were stations on what are now the Central and Northern lines at Bank.  Even more remarkably, the Northern line platforms replaced an even earlier station at King William Street that was only open for ten years.

Bank and Monument stations effectively became one in 1933 when an escalator link joined the southern end of the Northern line platforms with Monument station, although this was only advertised on a tube map with a small symbol.  Of course, reaching the Central line platforms was perfectly possible by walking the length of the Northern line platforms. No doubt some people did this and this probably initiated the two major problems that London Underground now has namely:

  • There is no really satisfactory route connecting the Central line platforms with the District and Circle line platforms.  It could be argued that this is not necessary as there is no real logical reason to do this – especially as there is an interchange at Liverpool Street. However the Circle line is not the most reliable or frequent of lines so some people prefer a subterranean journey that avoids a change of train – especially when it is raining.
  • Even if all the through pedestrian traffic was eliminated from the Northern line platforms they will regularly become dangerously crowded – if they are not already.

Visitors to Paris who use their metro will be used to entering one station and mysteriously finding themselves at another without having caught a train in the meantime, but for London, at present, the case of Bank and Monument is unique. Of course once Crossrail opens this will no longer be the case.

There have been enhancements since the escalator connection was built.  Some major reconstruction was necessary due to a direct hit by a bomb in 1941. The only major subsequent enhancement, however, has been the arrival of the DLR located below and parallel to the Northern line platforms in 1991.  Like the Northern line this linked up with both Central line at Bank and the District and Circle lines at Monument. To provide a shorter route to the Waterloo & City line an additional passageway was also constructed but the whole scheme really was a case of “tacking on” to what was currently there rather than a holistic approach to the whole station complex.

This was probably due to London Underground being extremely strapped for cash at the time, and putting the burden of these costs onto the DLR as it was would have almost certainly resulted in the cancellation of the DLR extension to Bank itself.

New Walbrook Entrance

There is one enhancement at Bank that we will see before 2018, and and is indeed due for completion around 2015. To be precise December 2015 (“Milestones” set by TfL for major projects always seem to involve a completion milestone in December). This enhancement is a new entrance that will link to the eastern end of the Waterloo & City lines from Walbrook Square as a part of a major property development.  As is not unusual these days, the new underground entrance will be paid for and constructed by the developer and this was a requirement of planning permission being granted. The connection will be via an escalator but it will only be to the Bank end of the Waterloo & City line platform which is not ideal for accessing the rest of the station.

Indeed one suspects that the entrance may only be open during the hours of operation of the Waterloo & City line, which are substantially less than any other line and see no services at all on Sundays.  One also imagines that the new entrance will have disabled access (i.e. a lift) but this will be of limited us as there is no corresponding facility at Waterloo.

Plan showing Walbrook Square

A developer’s map showing the new “Walbrook Square” complete with Underground entrance.

What is particularly remarkable about this scheme is that the new entrance will only be a very short distance from Cannon Street Underground Station. Indeed it might appear slightly surprising it does not connect with the Eastbound platform at Cannon Street. One can only speculate, but is probably a combination of cost and the very unsatisfactory situation of not having a corresponding Westbound platform connection – which really would be truly expensive and not really achieve that much.

Walbrook square being built

This again highlights how close the entrance to Cannon Street Underground Station (just out of sight around the corner) will be from the new entrance to Bank.

On a more trivial detail, it is generally accepted that the closest two station entrances of two different stations on the underground are currently Queensway and Bayswater. The future Walbrook entrance to Bank station may be even closer to the recently relocated entrance to Cannon Street underground station, and so Cannon Street and Bank may well become the two closest station entrances on the underground.

What Happens Next

As can be seen from all the above, the upgrade of Bank is thus highly important. It also needs to be more than just a simple facelift, and more than just the addition of a developer funded entrance. With the context and initial works clear, what form that Upgrade will take is what we will look at next.

1. London Underground quotes a capacity for a Northern line train as 665 passengers

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There are 42 comments on this article
  1. Anonymous says:

    “One also imagines that the new entrance will have disabled access (i.e. a lift) but this will be of limited us as there is no corresponding facility at Waterloo.”

    There’s a ramp down to the W&C platforms at Waterloo, and I think you can get to the surface from there step free via the Jubilee line.

  2. IanVisits says:

    There was also a fairly major upgrade to the Waterloo & City line access tunnels and ticket hall areas 50 years ago.

  3. Max Chilton says:

    TfL want lifts at the new entrance.

  4. Greg Tingey says:

    Upgrade of Bank
    Incluiding a Westward extension of the DLR one hopes?
    The Northern line platforms at B are dangerously crowded – the sooner the proper upgrade takes place, the better.

  5. StephenC says:

    At the first exhibition, this had a quoted opening date of 2021. I pointed out just how crazy this was – 9 or 10 years away, when the station is already unsafe today (not officially unsafe, but its not somewhere I would want to travel through every day). The Bank scheme being proposed is a good one, but it needs to be expedited.

  6. timbeau says:

    Queensway/Bayswater are indeed close, but I think Regents park/Gt Prtland Street are closer, as are the two Edgware Roads. Euston Square/Warren Street is not much more.

    You used to be able to get from the street to the W&C at Waterloo step-free by way of the Eurostar terminal, but I’m not sure that it is possible now that route is out of bounds. From the W&C, I think they were installing a lift but I am not sure it was ever commissioned.

    I’m very surprised they are planning to connect the Walbrook Square entrance to the west (Waterloo) end of the W&C platforms – it will be much closer to the east end (remember that the Travolator carries you a considerable distance along Queen Vic Street) and there looks to be very little room between the platforms at their western end – which are actually nearer to Mansion House – now a connection to the ticket hall there would be useful and go somewhere to improving transport links between Waterloo and the western part of the City (currently limited to sebveral bus routes served by a random selection of stops at Waterloo and all going round the Aldwych rather than the direct route over Blackfriars Bridge. (The quickest route is to walk through to Blackfriars Road and catch a No 100 from outside Southwark station)

  7. timbeau says:

    As I thought – see http://www.planning.cityoflondon.gov.uk:90/WAM/doc/Accompanying%20report-89557.pdf;jsessionid=8AA6B8CB53205D908045A9EC042DD9CF?extension=.pdf&wmTransparency=0&id=89557&wmLocation=0&location=livevolume1&contentType=application%2Fpdf&wmName=&pageCount=23 – page 5 shows the proposed connection from the new entrance is to the existing low level concourse behind the buffer stops – which is surely already congested enough.

  8. Anonymike says:

    “They quote a figure of 96,000 passengers (entering, exiting or changing lines) in the morning peak period which appears to be based on approximately 48,000 entering, 8,000 exiting and 40,000 changing from one line to another. It is presumed that these figures include DLR passengers.”

    That doesn’t quite sound right to me – more people enter Bank than leave in the morning peak?

  9. Anon says:

    Good article but as much as Bank is useful for the city it’s also VERY important for Canary Wharf. Consider the number of people who interchange from the Northern (or any other line) to the DLR. This multiplies when there are problems on the Jubilee. The stair connection from the Northern to the DLR needed to be looked at even if nothing else!

  10. Josh says:

    But that role will diminish significantly when Crossrail arrives as Northern line passengers will instead change onto Crossrail at Moorgate.

  11. mark44 says:

    Has the following ever been considered: incorporating the W&C line into the Central line? The alignment seems to be rreally close and linking Waterloo directly to Liverpool Street and the rest of the Central Line would help reduce the numbers changing at Bank. There would even be the possibility of extending East from Waterloo through Victoria and either back to the Central line or to Paddington.

  12. timbeau says:

    It is indeed really close – too close for a burrowing junction (no room above, and because of the Northern Line and DLR no room below either) so you would either have to have eastbound trains from Waterloo cross westbound trains towards the west end on the flat, or have the eastern terminus of the entral at St Pauls, which is unlikely to be popular.

  13. Snowy says:

    @ Anonymike in the morning peak everyone arrives at the same time, the evening peak is much more spread out so people will leave after the traditional peak 3 hours have occured

  14. swirlythingy says:

    @Snowy: Yes, but I still don’t think six times more people enter Bank than leave it in the morning peak!

  15. Daniel says:

    I think there’s definitely a valid justification in connecting the new westbound entrance of the Waterloo and City to Cannon Street station. I can see two advantages. It will stop people from going through the whole Bank/Monument complex to get to the District/Circle, and therefore increase passenger use at the underused Cannon St, and decrease it at Monument. And probably more importantly, It will help relieve Embankment station of the Waterloo to east District line customers. But, they could always just pretend it’s an interchange, like they do at Bow Road/Bow Church. Since it will be a lot quicker than walking through to Monument anyway.

    If I wanted to spend my hypothetical Banker’s bonus on anything though, I’d lower the Waterloo and City platforms so that you could extend under the Central line to Liverpool Street, parallel to the Central Line, naturally with a nice cross platform interchange there. Then, I’d swing it round to connect with the Northern City line at Old Street. permanently closing this line from Old St to Moorgate, and then continue to Finsbury Park and beyond, creating a lovely Finsberloo line.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Any info on the ‘Angel stlye’ platform reconfiguration ? and how it fits in with all this ?

  17. Greg Tingey says:

    mark44
    We hyave discussed the expansion of the W&C several times here ……
    Unfortunately, because of the positioning of the tunnels, at both ends of the line, expansion isn’t practicable – it would not just “cost too much” – it wouldn’t give a decent return, because of the difficulties.
    Otherwise we’d have had an under-Liverpool Street loop at one end, and an extension to Victoria at the other, long since.
    We are, in fact, stuck with it.
    What does suprise me, however, that the new entrance is separate, and not either joined-up with either Cannon Street or Mansion House Circus/Drastic line station(s)

    Daniel’s proposal takes account of this: note his phrase … ” I’d lower the Waterloo and City platforms so that you could extend under the Central line to Liverpool Street” – though the rest of his idea isn’t so sensible.
    Now-a-days a better idea would be a single-track loop, with an island platform station (to take up irregularities in the service) underneath “Shoreditch High Street”
    The GN&C line is too useful as it is – again VERY expensive, but a southward extension would be a better move for that … [ taking over the Dartford loops (plural) stopping services? Or Hayes & Bromley N? ]

    I assume the “Angel” reconfiguration will go ahead anyway, but 2021 (?) is much too long to wait for this.
    As stated above, the Northen Line platforms are dangerously overcrowded right now.

  18. @IanVisits
    There was also a fairly major upgrade to the Waterloo & City line access tunnels and ticket hall areas 50 years ago.
    Tell me more. Also whilst researching I noted two pedestrian tunnels in red marked parallel to the W&C lines but could not make sense of them.
    http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2010/04/14/subways-and-tunnels-under-the-city-of-london/

    @timbeau
    You are of course correct. Thank you. My information was based on what I understood the Bank Upgrade team were telling me when I questioned them but this was not really their area of expertise being a separate scheme and I may have misunderstood anyway. It all makes a lot more sense. I have updated the article accordingly.

  19. Any info on the ‘Angel stlye’ platform reconfiguration ? and how it fits in with all this ?
    That is Part 2. And basically what the complete article is about. Part 1 is just setting the scene so we have a background to the upgrade and bring us up-to-date to how things will be before the major changes.

  20. S. says:

    The Bank upgrade can hardly be described as forgotten… they’ve been at it for years. It’s a truly horrible place to change trains during the morning peak.

  21. timbeau says:

    Pedantic – that map is fascinating, although I too am mystified by the pedestrian subway running parallel to the W&C pltaforms (and some of the others too). The W&C platforms extend even further west than I thought – they end under Queen Street, only a few steps from the concourse of Mansion House station.

    I wonder……the space between the W&C platforms is probably too narrow for an entrance at the west end, but given that they only ever use one platform at a time at Bank, why not close one of them to give more circulation space and provide the extra width necessary for such an entrance? The DLR manages with a single turnback – albeit beyond the platforms rather than in them.

  22. 1956 says:

    Could a station/connection at Blackfriars be added to the Waterloo and City Line? Or would this be ill advised with no-one able to get on or off due to overcrowded trains?

  23. timbeau says:

    @1956 – that is the usual reason I have heard – the line is overloaded as it is. The extra stop would extend end to end times, reducing overall capacity, and no-one would be able to board at Blackfrairs anyway. The map also shows that the curvature in the area is quite tight (at least as tight as the Central Line at Bank, which would lead to big gaps between train and platform.

  24. Anonymous says:

    @pedantic and timbeau: I think that the red lines parallel to the Waterloo and City are probably the Queen Victoria Street pipe subway, shown in red on page 9 of this pdf:

    http://www.londonheatmap.org.uk/Content/uploaded/documents/CoL%20DEPS%20Baseline%20Review%20website.pdf

    and which was built in 1870 according to this book:

    http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/nelson-peter-lewis/the-planning-of-the-modern-city-a-review-of-the-principles-governing-city-plann-hci/page-20-the-planning-of-the-modern-city-a-review-of-the-principles-governing-city-plann-hci.shtml

    These pipe subways were added to roads built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to provide a single tunnel for utilities, meaning it wouldn’t be necessary to dig up the road to repair them in future.

    The first link also has an interesting map of tunnels in the city on page 13: note the tunnel referred to on page 11 as “a stretch of disused LU tunnels near Temple Gardens running north from the embankment along Temple Avenue.” Does anyone know what the origin of these tunnels is?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Aldwych branch , Piccadilly line ?

  26. m_jrt says:

    W&C extension is one of my pet projects :)

    I think that post-Crossrail (and probably post-Bakerloo extension) there might be something in extending the Central Line to Liverpool St by taking over the Central Line, with the Central Line burrowing down west of Bank, then a new route heading East, perhaps down to Lewisham, or Poplar. All a bit fleet Line-ey. It would straighten out the horribly curved platforms at Bank if nothing else.

    At the southern end, connecting the W&C to the vacated-by-the-Bakerloo-since-its-extension London Road depot solves the problem of losing access to the current depot and gives room to store the 8 car trains that could now operate over it. Continuing south hit Vauxhall, Nine Elms, Battersea Park, Battersea High Street, then Clapham Junction. Thence probably on to Wandsworth et al.

  27. timbeau says:

    Can’t be the Aldwych branch, as the article is about tunnels in the City of London, and the Aldwych branch is entirely within Westminster.

    Temple Avenue runs along the east side of the Inner Temple Gardens, about 500m west of Temple and Aldwych stations which are close to the western edge of the Middle Temple.

    Crious that they are not shown on the map in the pdf: are they more recent?,

  28. Long Branch Mike says:

    @m_jrt

    Given all the problems with extending the W&C noted on this website & forum, and many others, why not just build the Fleet Line as designed through the City? There are still buildings with provision for Fleet Line tunnels (noted elsewhere on this site), though of course a detailed survey would be required to verify if any new construction since the 70s now impinges on the originally planned route. In any case, the Fleet would be cheaper, easier, faster, & less disruptive than extending the W&C.

  29. mr_jrt says:

    @LBM

    I dunno…There’s no capacity on the Jubilee Line now to split the service at Green Park, so you’d have to come up with a new route west of there for a new Fleet line.

    The Central Line on the other hand, is at the right place already, and hooking up the W&C at Bank would be very, very easy – they’re essentially at the same level so it’d just be knocking through the wall and modifying the platforms (*cough* and then threading the Central Line’s new platforms through ;)). I do however fundamentally disagree with the axiom that the W&C is too hard to extend. The Waterloo end is easy to resolve, even if only for 8 cars and access to London Road, and the Bank end is very hard for my preferred option to Moorgate, but is dramatically easier to take over the Central Line, and it would create a new axis: GEML Liverpool StSWML Waterloo, which is currently a poor journey. The Central Line’s existing passengers from the GEML will soon have Crossrail and an interchange at Stratford, so no big loss there either.

  30. Ian Sergeant says:

    @mr_jrt

    I can see your point regarding the Central Line,, but I see Bank’s biggest challenge as being the fact that too many people change there. While the Underground is built on the principle that people can move between trains at interchange stations because services are frequent, there is a natural resistance from people having to change when they have a seat.

    So if you look (for example) at Hangar Lane to Liverpool Street, while it might be logical to change at TCR to Crossrail, a lot of people would stay seated until Bank and change there (assuming that I have understood you correctly that the eastbound terminus of the Central Line would be at Bank). I think we need to be looking at solutions where more people travel through Bank rather than change there.

    One of the mooted DLR extensions should help. A question for everyone though: is the route north through Moorgate still as challenging if we were to accept a W&C station at Mansion House and none at Bank? I realise that the line at Moorgate would have to be lowered underneath Crossrail, but is there no route north without unacceptable risk to listed buildings?

  31. mr_jrt says:

    @Ian Sergeant
    I’m not suggesting it terminate at Bank, no. I’m proposing the Central Line dives a little deeper just west of Bank and passes through down towards Fenchurch Street, thence onwards to points unknown. No terminating in zone 1, for there lies madness :).

  32. timbeau says:

    Actually quite a lot deeper at Bank, as both the Northern Line and DLR are underneath. Although Crossrail might take some Central line traffic for Liverpool Street, it won’t do much for people travelling from Holborn, Chancery Lane, St Pauls to Liverpool Street, nor for people travelling to beyond Stratford.

    If the W&C platforms at Bank were to be made redundant by Chelney or some other project, there might be scope for diverting the Central, using the W&C tunnels. This would allow the platforms at Bank to be straighter – and it can then run under Queen Vic Street, Cannon Street and Ludgate Hill, with an interchange station at City Thameslink replacing the existing St Pauls station, before rejoining the existing route somewhere before Chancery Lane.

  33. Kit Green says:

    timbeau 05:47PM,

    What you suggest will never happen. Just imagine several years of closures and general disruption.

    The only way forward is new build followed by possible closures of the old infrastructure.

  34. JamesC says:

    There is one fundamental problem with the re-designs of the platform alignments at bank et al. Whilst drawing it all out on paper/ in your mind is one thing, paying for it another (both of which can be overcome in one way or another). The real problem with lowering the W&C platforms, or ‘knocking through into the central line, or ‘straightening out the bank platforms’ is that you clearly can’t do this sort of work during weekend closures. It would require the sort of closure last seen on the ELL when that was made part of the LO. Whilst this was inconvenient to say the least for those of us who lived on it, it was not the end of the world, as the northern line and DLR were two stops away on the jubilee line to get across the river.

    However shutting down the central line for 3-4 years to basically rebore all the tunnels in a different alignment is just not practical, and would generate so much resentment against anybody that did it, it would put the protests against the ORN, or even dare i say it the construction of the westway and the Ringway1 into a perspective, and would be political suicide.

    One may argue that once cross rail is open then the central section of the central line could be closed for a prolonged period to facilitate this, however this would obviously put this project well out of the current time frame.

    The other option to consider with joining the W&C to the central line is that the central line east of Bank is already running at capacity in regards to peak time train numbers, and westwards the trains are already full, so adding more trains to the east-of-Bank is not an option, nor is diverting some of the trains onto the W&C.

    The old plan from the 1930′ to hook it up to the Northern City Line/Great Northern Electrics tunnels to Finsbury Park still to me seems like the best option, however again this would as is well understood require basically the entire line to be re-bored out for the following reasons

    1) To make the tunnels deep enough at the bank end to make them pass under the central/northern/DLR lines (this would obviously require reinforcement of the tunnel ceilings to take the weight of these lines over the top of them, and lead to them being closed for a good few months whilst this work is carried out

    2) The northern city line tunnels are bored out to a diameter of 16feet, whilst the W&C is much narrower (at 12 feet). So you would either have to run central/W&C style trains along the Northern city lines to Finsbury park (and hence reduce its capacity, and give a lot more people neck ache every time they use it), or re-bore all the way down to waterloo

    Costings for doing this work have always estimated that just putting in a new set of tunnels from scratch is easier that redoing the W&C. However these cheaper options usually end up with the platforms 1/2 mile away from the rest of the station to avoid subsidence on other lines above/below e.g. Waterloo and London Bridge Jubilee line platforms, which could have been made much closer to their respective stations if they had been made deeper and closer to the other tracks, again this would have meant closing the other lines for ages and ages.

    One final point – I know this sort of work has been carried out in the past without major disruption, however 100 years ago, it was reasonable to run trains through a building site, or for a ‘few’ people to die whilst constructing this sort of think, however modern standards don’t allow this sort of thing anymore…..

  35. MiaM says:

    How big/small is the difference in capacity (per metre perhaps?) between tube and NR size trains?

    Is it neccesary to have the the mezzanine / ticket hall at Bank at the exact location it’s at now? If it could be removed the W&C could perhaps be extended easier.

    If there is enough capacity on some of the slow lines at Liverpool Street and Waterloo (or perhaps the Victoria trains at Clapham Junction – the W&C could have an underground station at Waterloo (perhaps different from the current one) and then surface somewhere at Clapham Junction and take over some of the slow services.

  36. mr_jrt says:

    @JamesC
    Thanks for actually making a reasoned argument rather than dismissing it out of hand. Thank you.

    Addressing your primary points, I think the Central Line closure would not be as severe as you think. Building a new eastern route could be done with everything operating as it currently does until the final connection. The only point where you have to close the Central Line (Or at least, St. Pauls to Liverpool St. section) is when you alter the section between St Pauls and Bank.

    As for the other option, I also don’t see using tube trains for the length of the line as a loss of capacity on the GN&C section. It currently runs with at most 6 car NR trains, and 8-car tube trains would be a noticeable improvement on that. The height is also a misnomer – the class 313s are shorter than NR stock due to the tunnels, so the difference would be less pronounced that you might think.

  37. Anonymous says:

    The W&C is fine as it is – being a point-to-point relief line to take the stress from the other lines at the peaks. Trying to re-use any part of it for a cross-town line would cost as much as cutting new tunnels where you REALLY need them to be. Best to start afresh, with a clean slate, if you want a modern new line connecting Southern and the City.

  38. mr_jrt says:

    @Anon
    I disagree that it would cost as much – given that you would have to do more work for a 100% new build it would be nigh-on impossible for less work to cost as much. Not to say you couldn’t make a good argument for a better route, but only having to rebuild the two stations saves the cost of tunnelling the central section of tunnel if nothing else. The tunnels might well be the cheaper parts of an underground line – but they’re not free.

  39. Chris M says:

    @mr_jrt

    If you want 8-car trains on the W&C, and if you want it to provide 8-car trains on the GN&C then you have to extend the stations at both Bank and Waterloo to approximately double their current length. Unlike the DLR platform extensions, the situation on under the ground means that you need to rebuild both from scratch. This wil involve boring new tunnels and reboring parts of the current ones. Station tunnels obviously would need extending and fitting out. Al this costs lots of money. Now add in the costs incurred by closing the line while you do all this work – direct and indirect.

    When you arrive at the grand total you find that it is not that much less the cost of building an entirely new line, and when you compare the benefit/cost ratios the latter wins by a significant margin as for approxmately the same money you have a new line that meets the actual demand with larger trains and the existing line as well.

    Put even more simply, for about the same money you can have either:
    (a) One line; or
    (b) Two lines.

  40. Taz says:

    Forty years back it was decided that there was no space for another east-west route through Bank, and the Fleet Line was routed under the District Line through the square mile. The Bank of England has extensive basements that once stored the nation’s gold it is said. It was a wonder that the DLR managed to squeeze in, but on a north-south alignment.

  41. Taz says:

    The Fleet Line was to have a double-ended station here linking with both Cannon Street and Monument, and from there to the Northern Line.

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