In part 1 of this article we looked at the need to upgrade Bank station to provide sufficient capacity for the number of people using it. We now look at the proposals put forward to achieve this.

TfL Map of new Tunnel

Map showing route of proposed new tunnel and the original proposed new ticket hall.

In November 2011, London Underground published their plans for the upgrade of Bank station and had the usual public consultation with an exhibition of the proposals. These did not produce any great surprises as the gist of the scheme was well known. Since then there has been a more interesting second consultation. Instead of basically asking people if they think the scheme is a good idea and giving people to comment on the fine detail, which was the case in the first consultation, three options are proposed. Of these three options two are presented in an equally positive light.

The Originally Proposed Scheme

The original scheme did not have a number of options. The idea was to acquire a property on King William Street and demolish it to provide a worksite for the deep level works and, when the job was complete, create two new entrances on King William Street itself.

Before we look at what this entails it is important to point out that an unusual, but not unique, feature at Bank is that the Northern line platforms are the “wrong way round”. At Bank they are roughly in a north-south alignment. This is means that the southbound platform is actually located west of the northbound platform which needs to be borne in mind when following details of the proposal.

Below ground the schemes are more or less identical and the proposals haven’t changed.

The critical features of the scheme are:

1) A new large wide concourse leading from the “Bank” end to the “Monument” end parallel to and between the Northern line platforms that can accommodate interchanging passengers.

Bank 3D model showing extent of new works. The parts in purple are the proposed new works. As can be seen they are quite substantial.

2) Diversion of the southbound Northern line for approximately 700m including a new six metre wide southbound platform that is both accessible by dedicated passageways from both ends and from the new wide concourse.

Artists impression of new southbound platform. This would be designed to the current standard for undergound platforms.The lack of Platform Edge Doors would appear to be a surprising omission.

3) Converting the existing southbound Northern line platform tunnel into an extension of the northbound platform and provide more and wider access points between the two tunnels to create the impression of one very wide northbound platform with regularly spaced pillars.

The upgraded northbound platform with a large circulating are where the southbound platform is currently. Because of the need to maintain the existing supports between the two current platform tunnels this is going to have strange feel as it will be unlike any other platform on the Underground.

4) Conversion of the now-defunct southbound running tunnel north of the old southbound platform into a passageway for direct access from the “Bank” end to the newly widened northbound platform.

The Original Worksite Proposal – Acquire 10 King William Street

To carry out the work it was going to be necessary to compulsorily purchase a suitable site and the office block at 10 King William street was proposed. From here an access shaft would be dug. This would not be infilled at the end but the site would be used to create a new station entrance and the access shaft used as a shaft for lifts. Escalators were quickly ruled out because the site is so restricted and there was no really viable route for an escalator shaft. Note that, despite the way the scheme was presented to the public, the new entrance was almost incidental and more a case of taking advantage of an opportunity rather than being a fundamental part of the scheme.

The building on the proposed worksite. One cannot imagine anyone will mourn its passing from an architectural standpoint. Note the narrow road and and narrow pavement. This is not ideal as a combined entrance and exit to a major construction site.

The Revised Proposals

In a rare moment of enlightenment, which is about as far away from the concept of PPP as you could imagine, London Underground then showed the plans to four leading construction groups to review the project’s design and construction methods and provide feedback. The idea is that one of the group will be selected to build the project but if any of the other construction groups contribute to the scheme by innovative suggestions then they will be suitably financially rewarded. You can see straightaway that such an approach is almost impossible to formalise in a contract and basically must rely on a level of trust and co-operation – the antithesis of PPP.

The main feedback from the construction firms was that the proposed working site was really constricted and this was going to cause not only construction problems but also Health and Safety issues. Indeed one could compare the size of the originally proposed site with that LU station enhancement site at Tottenham Court Road (the one by Centrepoint). The latter looks enormous, but is actually a really cramped site to work in. Use of space there has had to be carefully planned and allocated to avoid contractors getting in each others way. Furthermore, the originally-proposed worksite for the Bank Station Capacity Upgrade would have only had access from King William Street in the heart of the city. King William Street is not that wide for traffic and the pavements are also quite narrow. Any experienced major site manager or military planner will tell you that you really do not want the entrance and exit co-located and ideally the access and egress should be in from and out to different roads.

Fortunately the buildings surrounding 10 King William Street are, by City standards, neither particularly attractive, substantial or of major historical interest. The logical approach was thus to plan on making the working site bigger and encompass the entire block. Once that was done better opportunities became apparent for the customer entrance. For one thing an entrance on Cannon Street itself could now be provided. This would only be a short walk from the eponymous station and provide a new interchange opportunity.

It would seem that an almost inevitable consequence of this will be that a new secondary entrance and exit to serve the eastern end of the platforms at Cannon Street Underground station and located on the north side of Cannon Street will be suggested. One suspects that the stock LUL answer to this will be that the scheme justifies itself without such an entrance, and such an facility could still be provided in future if a valid case could be made for it.

Revised property acquisitions proposals in order to achieve a bigger worksite. An important objective is to have vehicle access to/from Cannon Street.

The revised plans open to consultation

The plans for an extended work area led to three proposals. They are as follows:

Option 1. Two Entrances on King William Street

This was the original scheme. It is unlikely to be the preferred option as it does not offer an entrance on Cannon Street.

Option 2. An entrance on King William Street and one on Cannon Street. Four Highspeed lifts would be installed

This may be the preferred choice if a lift-only solution is favoured.

Option 3. An entrance on King William Street and one on Cannon Street. Escalators would be installed

This would probably be the preferred choice if it is possible to build the escalator shaft.

In normal circumstances option 3 would probably be the favoured solution but installation of the escalator shaft would be technically challenging. Obviously there would still be limited capacity lifts for disabled access. However the escalators would be quite long due to the depth below ground of the Northern line at this point. After appreciating the disadvantages of very long escalators at Angel and Westminster (Jubilee line) there is a bit of a rethink concerning whether escalators should really always be the preferred solution just because their installation is possible, or whether there is a case for modern lifts in certain situations where both options are available.

Abchurch Lane

Not directly railway related, but another potential benefit of options 2 and 3, is that it would make the idea of pedestrianising Abchurch Lane more attractive and this is in fact part of the proposal. Potentially this narrow street could also be made wider, although it is not clear if this is one of the intentions. As well as providing a more pleasant ambience at the station entrance and removing a junction right outside it, it may also help provide a more pedestrian-friendly route from Cannon Street station to the heart of the City. A further benefit could be the opening up of the delightful but rather gloomy square that is Abchurch Yard set in front of the church of St. Mary Abchurch.

Abchurch Lane today. Surely a new Underground station entrance and a wider pedestrianised Abchurch Lane would be better than this?

Further Consultation

It is these new options which has lead to a second round of consultation. The closing date is July 2013. As a lot still has to be decided and work is not due to start before 2016 it seems likely that there will be a further round of consultation once more specific and detailed plans emerge.

A Bizarre Situation

This map (copyright TfL) shows the nine existing entrances to Bank station and the entrances to Mansion House, Cannon Street and Monument station. In future there will also be an entrance to Bank station in Walbrook Square, just south of the church in Walbrook, and maybe three more along the length of Abchurch Lane.

If Bank Station did have an entrance adjoining Abchurch lane on Cannon Street itself a curious set of choices would be present if one were to walk along Cannon Street. Near the western end would be Mansion House (District and Circle lines). Next, about 200m to the east in Walbrook Square, within sight of Cannon Street, would be Bank (Waterloo & City line entrance). There would then be Cannon Street Underground station itself (District and Circle lines). Around 100m further to the east of the mainline station would be Bank (Abchurch Lane entrance), particularly convenient for Northern line and probably the DLR. This entrance to Bank would probably be about the same distance from Cannon Street station as Walbrook Square. Finally at the eastern extremity, where Cannon Street meets King William Street, is Monument which is around 100m to the east of Abchurch Lane. That amounts to five distinct Underground station entrances of which three belong to one station (Bank & Monument) and between Walbrook Square (Bank & Monument) and Abchurch Lane (also Bank & Monument we have Cannon Street (District & Circle).

Construction and Disruption Issues.

The plans look wonderful but there is the classic problem of implementing them. The problem is quite simple. You cannot divert the Northern line southbound (remember the individual tunnels are “the wrong way round”) until the replacement platform is brought into service. Once that is done then you can divert the tunnel so that the trains can use the new platform. Unfortunately the most suitable place to rejoin the running tunnel at the north end of the station is close to where the running tunnels “roll over” each other.

Some readers may recall that, during the construction of the Victoria line, the Piccadilly line was famously diverted to a new platform at Finsbury Park and the line was closed for only half a day on a Sunday to achieve this using a “step-plate” junction. This is simply not going to happen in the case of Bank and both running tunnels will need to be closed to build the new junction. It is not yet known how long such a closure would last although weeks rather than months are being talked about.

A further unknown is that it may be possible to only close the northbound tunnel for a short period whilst critical work is done in the vicinity of it and then open it prior to completion of the southbound tunnel. This would of course only provide a very limited service as the trains could only return via the Charing Cross branch. At present it appears likely that for a limited time there would be through running southbound but no ability to stop at Bank station.

It is also not known what replacement services would be available. The necessary crossovers exist to enable a limited service to be run to Moorgate from Camden Town but south of Bank there is no opportunity to reverse trains north of Kennington. Whether or not two trains could provide a limited shuttle service by running two trains independently on both running lines between Kennington and London Bridge remains to be seen.

The plans then call for the (what will be) former running tunnel north of the (what will be) former southbound platform to be converted to a pedestrian subway. But now the problem is getting men and materials through the newly built areas of the station as well as having a work site Underground. So it remains to be seen if there will be a period when the southbound trains do not stop at Bank whilst reconstruction work is completed. Finally, with all subsurface work completed, the surface worksite can be turned into a new entrance.

Alternative Routes during closure

During closure people are inevitably going to have to walk for some of their journey. This, and the revised arrangements at surrounding stations, is going to have to be well planned.

Moorgate station (the next station north from Bank) is a manageable walk from Bank for most people. To reduce station congestion in the morning there would be the option of making the Northern line exit only at Moorgate.

On the south side the issue is more problematic. London Bridge (the bridge itself) is already very crowded with pedestrians at peak times and people are going to have to cross the river somehow. It may be possible, if needed, to shut a lane of traffic on the bridge so that there is more space for pedestrians. No doubt during this period there would be direct Northern line trains between Morden and Camden Town and a 30 train per hour service would be run, at least in peak hours, on the Charing Cross branch. However the difficulty remains that people who live south of the river on the Northern line will want to go to the City. Given the lack of spare capacity now, let alone in a few years time, it is difficult to see what alternative routes could be provided.

It must be emphasised at this point that nothing is finalised concerning how much closure is involved or indeed if it is definitely necessary. It could well be that one of the potential contractors come up with an engineering solution to reduce the severity of the closures and there maybe some options that London Underground could come up with that would substantially mitigate against any such closures that there may be.

Issues not addresssed

No doubt the station upgrade is a necessary and a good thing. However it is not a complete solution to all the problems at Bank and one needs to be aware of issues not addressed. It does nothing to deal with the number of passengers using the Central line platforms nor the extreme curvature – probably the worst at any Underground platform – and hence the enormous gap between the platform and the train there. The is no element of the plan that involves extracting any excess heat from the station and whilst the new entrance will be accessible to those with limited mobility, the plan does nothing for those entrances that are not.

The city is well used to massive building work being undertaken but this will probably be the most disruptive to the average city worker since London Bridge (the bridge itself) was rebuilt. Even those not directly affect will experience the knock-on effects as others have to replan their trip to work.

The gain will be great, but if not carefully managed, it will be very painful indeed.

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There are 166 comments on this article
  1. Anon says:

    A good article, but some bits of the chronology seem slightly confused.

    With regards to the upgraded platform area which will ‘have a strange feel and be unlike any on the underground’ it is worth pointing out that what is proposed for this section is almost a repeat of what occured at London Bridge on the Northern Line during the JLE. Indeed if you want to imagine what that section will look like a visit to London Bridge will be your best bet (albeit without the additional concourse that is proposed at Bank).

    To explain the difficulties of the Northern Line tunnels in this area. They had to remain entirely beneath roads during the original construction (in the late 1890’s in this area) and as you can imagine at narrow points in the road this presented problems.

    There are some other benefits of this scheme not listed above, not least improved links to the DLR!

  2. Pedantic of Purley says:

    No. This will not be similar to London Bridge (Northern line) at all. At London Bridge the former southbound (?) running line became the concourse area and a new “conventional” southbound (?) platform was built. The result is that London Bridge (Northern line) platforms are very conventional. There is a circulating concourse in between them which is of course located in the former platform tunnel. A circulating concourse is nothing unusual.

    Bank is very different. The will be a massive entirely new circulating area which will need to be tunnelled. There will also be a new southbound platform tunnelled out where there was nothing before. In the case of Bank the former southbound platform tunnel will have the feel of being part of the northbound platform as described. The northbound platform will be quite unlike any other platform on the the underground and nothing like anything found at London Bridge.

  3. timbeau says:

    The reason for the wrong way running at Bank goes right back to the origins of the CSLR (which of course did not include the present Bank station) Explained in greater detail here, but briefly, Greathead started building the line with the most difficult bit – the running tunnels under the Thames. The more difficult tunnel would be the one closer to the bridge – the eastern one, so he did that one first. Because of the narrow width of Swan Lane immediately to the north of the river, the tunnels under the Thames could not be at the same level, so again the one he built first would be at the shallower depth (more difficult because closer to the river bed). By following this approach any problems with seepage or damage to the bridge would be identified early on. The result was that the western tunnel was the lower one. This mattered little when cable traction was proposed, but when it was decided to adopt electric traction, it was necessary to give the underpowered locomotives every chance to manage the gradient into the terminus. Thus the northbound tunnel had to be the upper (eastern) one, with the shallower gradient. Hence the wrong way running. A rollover was put in south of Borough to put the trains the right way round further south.

    When the line was extended the wrong way running north of Borough remained – the first place the wayleaves were wide enough to roll back was north of Moorgate

    By the way, to out pedant “pedantic” , I think you mean “antithesis”, not “antipathy”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    ‘…the antipathy of PPP.’ Freudian slip?

  5. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I am not sure how it is a Freudian slip but it is certainly an error. Sometimes I think my hands type a different word to the one that my brain is thinking of. Thanks to both of you for pointing it out.

  6. timbeau says:

    As I understand it the arrangment will be similar to those at Euston and Angel. At both places there was an island platform (like the arrangements still in place at the Clapham stations) and one track was filled in to make a wider single sided platform. The difference at Bank is that there are, and will remain, supporting columns in the middle of the platform.

  7. Pedantic of Purley says:

    The arrangement may be superficially similar to Euston or Angel but it will feel quite different. At Euston and Angel, as you said, there was an island platform, and one track was filled in to make a what appeared by the standards of the day to be a very wide platform. If you go to Euston or more particularly Angel everything looks normal except for the fact that the platform is wider than usual.

    At Bank northbound it will feel quite different. Waiting close to the platform edge it will all feel the same as before. But stand back a few metres (assuming you don’t bump into a supporting wall) and you are in a circulating area intended solely for the northbound platform and so won’t have the hustle and bustle of the circulating area between the platforms as at London Bridge for example. It won’t feel at all like Angel or Euston because it will be two distinct tunnels and, as you say, it will have supporting columns, or walls, in the middle of the platform.

  8. Disappointed Kitten says:

    Creating a new Northern line tunnel is a pretty good idea. I always thought they should do something like this at Victoria on the Victoria line

  9. Pedantic of Purley says:

    As part of the Victoria Station Upgrade they looked at the possibility of having two northbound platforms as this is a critical factor in restricting the entire line’s capacity. It was all in the documentation for the “statement of case”. Presumably both the current platforms would be northbound and there would be a new southbound one. The conclusion they came to was it was just not doable as the curves would be too tight.

    As the Victoria Station Upgrade will provide access from the street at both ends it is difficult to see what the benefit is of doing something like this, as opposed to what they are actually doing.

  10. stimarco says:

    It seems to me that it might be feasible to keep the Northern Line closures to a minimum by prioritising the new entrances and connecting tunnels rather than the diversion.

    The key problem is the widening the northbound platform over the southbound track. The most obvious approach is, as discussed in the article, to build the new southbound tunnel and platform first, then close the existing platform for infilling and connecting the new build with the now-widened northbound platform.


    Most passengers on the Northern Line aren’t going to be that bothered about being able to cross from the Northbound to the Southbound platforms of the same line. They’ll usually want to access, say, the Central, DLR, or W&C. (Or, even more likely, just get the hell out.)

    I’d do it the other way around…

    (Note: this assumes Option 3, which has both escalators *and* lifts. You’ll need one of the two shafts for works access.)

    1. Set up the King William Street site.
    2. Dig down and build the new southbound tunnel and platform.
    3. Connect new running tunnel to old southbound tunnel at each end over a weekend possession.
    4. Use new southbound running tunnel to take away debris and bring in supplies.

    This releases capacity at the King William Street site to allow work to commence on the new entrance. It also greatly reduces the need to run HGVs through the City’s streets.

    5. Build the new main concourse and as many of the connecting corridors, etc. as possible.
    6. Open the new King William Street entrance, including the lifts.
    7. Divert the southbound services through the new platform.

    At this point, the new southbound platform will have no *direct* access to the Monument SSL platforms as this requires infilling the old southbound platform, but it *will* have access to it via the northbound platform at the northern end if needed. It will also have the connection with the Central, W&C and DLR. Hence Step 6, above: this offers access to the new Southbound platform from Cannon Street’s SSL station to relieve the pressure at the northern end of the new platform and remove the need for passengers to walk down the current northbound platform to get to Monument.

    8. Infill the old southbound platform in phases, starting from the southern end, and opening it to the public as you go. Again, you can shunt trains into the remaining track to remove spoil and bring in materials, until the final phase when you could use the new lifts during the night instead.
    9. Lift remaining unneeded track. Remove point work at junctions with new tunnel. Finish painting, apply tiles, affix signs and wheel in some politicians and other worthies for the official opening.

    Serves over 43 million.

    If Option 3 is chosen, the new entrance could be partially opened in Step 6—escalators only—while the lift shaft is used for works access, speeding up the work further.

    Not easy, granted, but certainly doable.

  11. stimarco says:

    (What is it with all these ‘comment’ systems and their lack of editing features? It’s 2012, for crying out loud; how hard can it be?)

    Correction: I edited my list of steps to fit Options 1 and 2, so Option 3 is *not* necessary.

  12. John Bull says:

    (What is it with all these ‘comment’ systems and their lack of editing features? It’s 2012, for crying out loud; how hard can it be?)

    Sticking my “Web Guy” hat on, harder than you think – mainly because of the sheer amount of locking down of things like HTML functionality you have to do to:

    • Prevent malicious coding injection attacks
    • Prevent people posting HTML (mainly unwittingly) that breaks the site layout or styles

    With regards to editing, you then also have to knock together a system that not only enables the original user to edit, but also enforces a timelimit on that. Else there are social effects – e.g during big debates, you risk people editing their comments to change meaning etc.

    Short answer: I could make the comment system more advanced. I’d rather spend my spare time writing about trains though!

  13. John Bull says:

    And as if to prove my point – even I managed to break the site styles with my list there!

  14. Anon says:

    I don’t know why I struck such a nerve by suggesting the Northbound Platform tunnel will be like the one at London Bridge. I did mention that at London Bridge there was not the additional concourse you will get at Bank (between the existing platform tunnels and the new platform).

    I hate to disagree but this area WILL be very much like the one at London Bridge (ignoring the additional concourse tunnel and new platform for a second). If you look at the Northern Line platforms at Bank you will see that the openings between them are VERY small, it is not that noticeable at the moment as there is not much reason to move between them. It is actually very difficult and time consuming to make these bigger as they perform an important structural role in the platform structure. If you go to London Bridge (where the Southbound platform tunnel became a concourse) you will notice the same very small openings between the ‘concourse’ and the Northbound platform. It is unfortunately these small openings, and the difficulty of enlarging them, which will result in the disused platform tunnel acting like a concourse rather than feeling like a much larger Northbound platform as you describe. I appreciate that is not the impression given by the artistic impression above but, it is likely to be like this in practice.

    On the new (much larger) adjacent concourse tunnel; I remember seeing or hearing somewhere that you won’t actually be able to walk down the full length of it as it will be partitioned across the middle. Given this, and the directness of the route, I think you will see the disused Southbound being used very much as a concourse.

    The Lift or Escalator question is quite interesting though, how do you easily and quantifiably justify one over the other?

    I think trying to do anything to the Central Line platforms is a problem too far, as discussed in the other thread I think it will just have to be something people live with.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Would it be possible to introduce cookies that remembered which was the last comment you had read, and could take you to the first unread one, please?

    Or even just adding a number next to each comment, to allow manually finding the first unread one a little easier?

  16. Stewart says:

    Anonymous: if you just keep the tab open and refresh it should jump down to the same place afterwards (or a least it does in Firefox).

  17. Patrickov says:

    I hardly find the lacking of edge doors any surprising.

    While there was an example of having only one station on a line with edge doors (in this case, KCR East Rail of Hong Kong), the parts were shared with another line / system.

    Considering the Northern Line’s measurements might not be too compatible with the Jubilee, and also with possible rolling stock compatibility issue, the idea might not be as convincing as it sounds.

    Meanwhile, for the “bizarre situation”… well, I always think that both Mansion house and Monument should be closed (Mansion House is understandable as it was the good ol’ terminus, but why would MDR decide to build Monument if there was going to be a station at Cannon Street anyways? In any ways, having three stations to call when traversing one street is a complete waste of pounds and holding up trains for no particular good reason), and if possible, extend Blackfriars and Tower Hill stations to accommodate the loss, and the new entrance at Bank should be subsurface-linking up Cannon Street. This should improve journey times of Circle and District lines.

  18. Patrickov says:

    Forgive me for being rash in the last paragraph (I am a person from far away land without ever setting foot in the UK proper physically), but those three stations always made me wonder when I played around with my BVE Trainsim Circle Line route.

  19. Greg Tingey says:

    What they really should do, and almost cetainly won’t, as hinted at originally, is provide internal connections between Bank-&-Monument / Cannon St / Mansion House stations when the new entrances are built.
    OSA’s are going to be interesting!
    I would always go for escalators, i.e. option3 – you can walk up a siezed escalator much more easily than an emergency spiral staircase, for a start!
    Do we really have to wait another 8-10 years for this, though?
    Bank is dangerously overcrowded right now, and X-rail won’t allievate the problem until 2018 (?)

    Regarding comments – you can always open a word-processor window, type into that, then dump the whole thing into the comments-box when ready, can’t you?
    NOT rocket science.

    Would it actually be cheaper to buld a completely new N-line station underneath the present one?
    Problem with that, as already hinted at is the actual depth – a long way down.
    It would, very largely, get rid of the “transition” difficulties, though.
    P.S. – why no step-plate jn this time, btw?

  20. Chris M says:

    @Stewart and Anon

    Even better would be an option to subscribe to comments by email so you know when new comments have been posted and don’t have to keep tabs open indefinitely.

  21. Pedantic of Purley says:

    why no step-plate jn this time, btw?

    Sorry. I wasn’t very clear. I didn’t mean to imply that there would not be a step-plate junction. The point I was trying to make was that it was not going to be commissioned during a Saturday night/Sunday morning closure as was done on the Piccadilly line at Finsbury Park.

    The way it was explained to me was that the most suitable place to put the northern junction would be where the tunnels “roll over”. Unfortunately this means that it is not practical to build the thing in engineering hours and switch over during a weekend because of the risk of causing the other tunnel (the northbound one) to shift position. As the fairly recent incident at Charing Cross on the Bakerloo line has shown even the slightest positional shift of a tunnel ring is likely to damage a train or worse.

    Having said that, the project team emphasise that they still have an open mind and if one of the construction groups applying for the contract comes up with a better, workable means of doing the job then they will go for it. So if someone can come up with a means of safely constructing a step-plate junction in engineering hours then that is what will probably happen.

    As far as I am aware there are no such difficulties with the southern junction but obviously the work on both of them must be synchronised so that they are completed at the same time.

    I also asked if they had considered using the opportunity to correct the “wrong line running”. This would obviously mean work “undoing” the rollover between Elephant & Castle and Borough stations instead of putting in a step-plate junction south of Bank. I was told that they had no plans to do so but a lot of people had asked that question. I suspect “lot” in the context of a public consultation does not necessarily imply double figures.

  22. Twopenny Tube says:

    Adam Adamant was a TV series way back, starring Gerald Harper. Didn’t one of the episodes revolve around the disappearance of some passengers, or maybe even a complete train, in the vicinity of Bank? As part of a fiendish plot to burrow into the vaults of the Bank of England, the crooks kidnapped the passengers to be their labourers. If the Bank of England vaults really exist (and it is difficult to know what to believe about banks these days) would these, and those of other financial institutions in the neighbourhood, have a bearing on what can and can’t be done in and around the tube stations in the City?

  23. Karl says:

    This map is a good one to view in connection with Bank station discussions@-

  24. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how much of the congestion at Bank/Monument is the result of pretending that it is one station when it is not. Certainly not all of it but probably some of it. It has been suggested that the walking routes within the complex are worse than exiting at street level and walking to the other station entrance. Interchanging from the District to the W&C certainly feels like longer walk than it should be. It sure as hell isn’t a straight line. These proposals can only make these bad routes less congested but not make then any more direct or sane. I guess that in an ideal world we would not be starting with this mess of too many stations that refuse to link up nicely but that is what we have and there is very limited scope to fix it.

    Maybe it is time to end the fiction that the complex is a single station. Adding the third entrance suggests branding it as three stations with three named entrances from north to south:

    “Bank”: Central and Waterloo & City
    “King William Street”, “Monument and Bank” or maybe “Bankument”: Northern and DLR (the new entrance)
    “Monument”: District and Circle

    The three would still be shown as linked on the map but the separate branding would let people know that they were not quite the same thing. People at street level would be encouraged to enter in the most appropriate entrance and people making interchanges that are easier at street level would be encouraged to do that.

  25. James says:

    Thanks to Karl for that diagram of Bank. One thing I noticed is that the DLR run-off tunnel seems to point towards the Broadgate / Hoxton area: is that right? That’s the pretty much the last direction I would have expected.

  26. StephenC says:

    I favour option 3 because it has escalators, and they are a known quantity in terms of shifting people. I struggle to see how 4 lifts, even “express” ones could cope – here is why:

    Borough station today has two lifts and one staircase. In rush hour it only stays open because about 1/3 of the people walk up the stairs. If everyone waited for the lifts, the underground station would rapidly fill up and be unsafe. Since Bank is way busier than Borough, I struggle to see 4 lifts being enough.

    BTW, this is also why I struggle to see the Northern Battersea extension working well. It sends many more people onto the Northern line network, which is going to overload Borough station. And also overload Bank completely unless the Bank upgrade happens before the Battersea one.

  27. jackson says:

    For even better view of the current Bank layout, check out this well-done interactive 3D model: (he has done other stations as well)

  28. Anonymous says:

    Not really the same though is it @StephenC, to compare a single-entrance station with the biggest complex on the network, which will have 3 other major entry points as well as this one – all with escalators.

    Personally I think lifts suit this location – the position directly above the platforms will mean a faster journey, especially at their depth where 3 escalator flights would probably be necessary. Plus it’s likely to be more cost effective, and with four large lifts, even one out of service won’t be the end of the world.

  29. Taz says:

    Service disruption during construction raises some interesting questions. How will this fit with the Battersea branch construction 2016 – 2020 which involves two step-plate junctions in the Kennington loop? How long will they take? With Charing Cross the nearest reversing point, Waterloo would be unserved for that time. Remember that the Heathrow 5 extension closed the Heathrow 4 loop for 20 months.

  30. Taz says:

    Platform edge doors assume a standard train on the line, but in 2020 the Battersea branch will require additional trains which will be of the new EVO build, with the current fleet eventually also replaced. Northern Line Upgrade 2 will also require more of these trains to increase frequencies on all branches, so a mixed fleet is likely for some years.

  31. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 01.18
    Lifts are (almost) always slower than escalators, because of the waiting time,
    See also my commnt on when they sieze or fail – you can walk up a stopped escalator much more easily than a spiral stircase.
    Oh, yes: “biggest complex on the network” – really?
    * cough* King’s Cross St Pancras *cough*

  32. Anonymous says:

    Nice article, but im not sure about how long escalators are a disadvantage, especially when compared to lifts.

  33. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Taz, don’t forget that you don’t need the Kennington loop to be operational for trains to terminate at Kennington.
    There is also the siding. However terminating at the siding will lead to conflicting movements with the Morden via Bank service.

    At Kennington there will almost certainly be no problem with building the two step-plate junctions necessary in engineering hours. As a bonus it might be possible to operate at least a degraded service at weekends without using the Kennington loop. As ATO will have been introduced by then I suspect that the crossing movement necessary could be made whilst trains to or from Morden are in the platform without delaying the Bank branch service – at least at weekends.

  34. ASLEF shrugged says:

    Taz – you certainly couldn’t run driverless Evos on the Northern without installing the required control/signalling system.

    The introduction of EVOs and ATC on the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Central and W&C Lines will keep Seimens (or whoever) more than busy into the mid 2020s so if the Battersea extension is completed by 2020 the service will have to be made up from the existing stock which obviously will mean a reduction in service to other destinations.

  35. timbeau says:


    I agree, the street layout doesn’t seem to match the tunnels – for example the W&C is shown running under Walbrook instead of Queen Vic Street.

    Indeed, Cornhill / Threadneedle Street are shown as almost parallel to Gracechurch Street and perpendicular to Poultry/QVS, when in fact the converse is the case.

    I don’t seem to be able to open the other map

  36. David S says:

    Maybe Monument should just be re-named Bank and Cannon Street could be linked up together as the new Liverpool Street Crossrail station will be. With all these projects, the things that get forgotten was what Frank Pick tried to do, which was keep people moving and flowing and keep things simple!

  37. UPPER EDMONTON Park Road says:

    How to provide a service from the City to South London whilst the building work is going on? If only there was another set of tunnels running from Borough to a station in King William St! (not that I expect that to happen). Replacement buses I expect, which should be fun.

  38. stimarco says:

    @John Bull:

    “Sticking my “Web Guy” hat on, harder than you think…”

    I’ve built a number of websites myself—I’ve been programming computers since 1981; websites are a walk in the park compared to some of the projects I’ve worked on—so I’m well acquainted with how it’s done: you pick a ready-made CMS off the shelf, install it, harden it, apply a suitable graphical template and you’re done. I’ve done this multiple times using WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. None of them was particularly difficult to install if you’re familiar with FTP and basic UNIX commands.

    Almost every CMS solution supports comments with built-in editing support, either out of the box, or through (usually free) plugins and extensions.

    Hence my question: why isn’t such basic comment functionally available on this site when it’s so easy to do?

    I do hope you’re not reinventing the wheel.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Re closure comments above. If the city branch is closed for bank reconstruction then cx services will all go to morden for the duration giving an excellent opportunity to install Battersea step plates. Also Alstom managed to build new trains for the Jubilee upgrade, as the Northern ones are similar they should be able to do the same for that.

  40. John Bull says:

    Hence my question: why isn’t such basic comment functionally available on this site when it’s so easy to do?

    Well as with railway projects – and indeed I’m sure as with non-web programming as well – there’s always a difference between something being easy to do, and being easy to do well.

    Web is my day job, and just as you’ve run non-web projects that make LR look like a walk in the park, rest assured I run web ones that do so too.

    A lot of thought and experience goes into the web side of LR. We use an enormous amount of bandwidth, for example (which makes sense when you think about how many images we run) but one of the reasons that LR isn’t plastered with ads, paypal buttons or donation drives to pay for all that bandwidth is because we’re very smart in how we manage files – thanks to a combination of plugins and some custom coding we’re able to run a proper CDN which keeps costs incredibly low, without making it too hard to add images to posts.

    Similarly, you’ll notice that despite the fact that we have open commenting the actual instances of spam and trolling that make it onto the site are far lower here than for other sites with equivalent traffic levels and/or Google ranking. That’s not because spam and trolling doesn’t happen, it’s because a lot of thought – and again, a combination of both available plugins and some custom code and algorythms – has gone into intercepting those comments and preventing them going live, whilst also trying to keep the number of genuine comments falsely flagged to an absolute minimum.

    So when it comes to comments and editing, there are the reasons I mentioned above, and lots more as well. If I’d encountered an off-the-shelf comment plugin that wasn’t bloated and could be integrated or adapted with mininum effort, then it’d be running. I’ve yet to find one that meets that criteria though, or at least one where, on consideration, the amount of effort required to install and manage it doesn’t make it more trouble than its worth. I’ve not stopped looking, it’s just that I haven’t found one yet.

    Similarly, I may implement a simple WYSIWYG js plugin myself at some point, but right now I’m not TinyMCE’s biggest fan and there are few decent alternatives (although I do have my eye on a potential candidate at the moment).

    Ultimately, as I suggested in my “short answer” above, nothing happens in isolation. I’d rather spend time writing LR than coding or – importantly – managing it, and so when I am doing the later (i.e. have my LR web hat on) it’s always about prioritising the things that have the maximum impact on keeping LR fast, free and a pleasant place to be. Right now, adding WYSIWYG or after-post editing on comments is in the “low impact & large effort” quadrant of my planner. It won’t always be there, of that I have no doubt. At the moment though I’d rather put the coding time I do have for LR towards sourcing and customising some decent Javascript for doing in-post time lines, and further tweaking the spam code to deal with the sudden rush of Olympic spam we’ve been getting for the last few weeks.

    So I suppose to answer your original query (and to massively stretch the metaphor) – don’t worry, I’m smart and experienced enough at this not to reinvent any wheels. I just tend to avoid putting wheels on things unless I know they’re a good fit.

    More than happy to talk web shop with you on email, if you’re interested or want more info. I should probably stop here though as no doubt I’m boring everyone else!

  41. Interesting point about extra stock for proposed Battersea extension. I admit the issue had not occurred to me. Anonymous points out that matching new trains can be done. However the 1995 stock, or is it 1996 ? (I neither know nor care) will be around 25 years old and tube stock tends to get replaced after about 40 years though this has been extended a bit with recent stock. Would it be worth ordering a small quantity of additional stock at premium prices that would see a service life of about fifteen years just for the Battersea extension ?

    ASLEF shrugged is basically correct. Some decisions are going to be have to be made to reduce the service slightly to get the extra trains. It would not take much and would depend on what portion of trains continued from Kennington to Battersea. I doubt that there would be a need for every train to terminate at Battersea in the first few years of operation. Maybe terminating each alternative Edgware train at Colindale in the peak hours would be feasible and enough to do it. Another possibility is that somehow you push up the availability of stock but this is generally not easy to do as the stock gets older. A possible saving grace is that enough stock was purchased for a resignalled Northern line that hasn’t yet happened so the existing stock is more plentiful and less knackered than one would expect. There may be further options to nibble away at future stock requirements including raising some speed limits after ATO and reducing turnaround times. If desperate one could procure non-standard second-hand stock for the Mill Hill East shuttle to release another train although one either has to retrofit ATO to old stock or somehow else deal with the problem of getting it to a depot.

    @stimarco. Let me assure you that the site is customised and in some quite subtle ways to get around certain problems we have. A boilerplate solution would not be sufficient. As John Bull pointed out the issue of editing comments is not primarily a technical issue. Many sites do not permit editing for the same reasons that we don’t – even though it would technically not be too difficult . I do have some sympathy in that it is indeed frustrating – or in my case was frustrating until I found that I did actually have the necessary rights to do modifications. Even though I do have the ability to edit comments I think it is a case of “with power comes responsibility”. JB can have a quick word with me if he feels that I am abusing that and put me back on the straight and narrow. With a website open to all-comers and especially one that permits anonymous comments some restrictions do have to be made.

    (comment edited to add …) I wrote this before seeing JB’s more detailed reply.

  42. Re closure comments above. If the city branch is closed for bank reconstruction then cx services will all go to morden for the duration giving an excellent opportunity to install Battersea step plates

    Neat idea if the timing was right.

  43. Taz says:

    Ideas for extra trains to Battersea are interesting. Perhaps an enhanced Charing Cross service would allow only alternate trains to the new extension, with the loop for others. But the RMT leaked document says EVO for the whole line at the top of page five. See:

  44. I think page seven (document page 7 not Adobe page 7) gives more detail. I think it is saying that if the Battersea extension goes ahead then the case for implementing EVO will be made at an earlier date than if not. That is not the same as saying EVO on day one of the extension opening. That could be for all sorts of reasons including the need for EVO only when it is necessary to run a full service to Battersea when demand was sufficient to require it which in turn could be because of the need for more stock and the reluctance to spend more money augmenting the existing stock.

  45. anon says:

    I think I remember seeing that the current case for the battersea extension requires the procurement of more 95/96 stock (I can’t remember which either).

    With regards to EVO trains, as ASLEF shrugged mentions, these are unlikely to be rolled out on the Northern or Jubilee line anytime soon due to the relatively new stock and the new signalling. You don’t really get to enjoy the benefit at the bottome of the ‘bath curve’ if you keep changing things.

    Platform Edge Doors should be possible at Bank, given that the signalling and trains will essentially be identical to those used on the JLE; I suspect it will come down to programme and construction benefit. Essentially, can you build a smaller tunnel if you have PED, but do you need a longer closure to do so? That is ignoring the fact that they might be the only PED on the line!

  46. timbeau says:

    The number of trains on the Northern lines is very close to the total number on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo taken together. If 1995 stock would fit on both lines, (and I’m not sure about the Bakerloo, as 1972 stock cars are about six feet shorter than 1973 or 1995 stock), it could be transferred to those lines and the Northern could have new a uniform fleet as big as necessary to accomodate the extension.

    Alternatively, if the line is to be split (Barnet-Morden and Edgware- Battersea) there is no reason why both halves need to have the same stock: 1995 on Picc and Batterware, new stock on Bakerloo and Barden.

  47. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Well, I thought one of the ideas behind EVO was to standardise the stock over many lines. LU cannot dare make the stock shorter just to fit on the Bakerloo line so if there is an issue with train length on that line it needs to be sorted out anyway.

  48. Littlejohn says:

    @Pedantic of Purely 10:30AM, 9th August 2012

    Would it be so very difficult to build the cars of the EVO stock in different lengths? They do it with aeroplanes all the time (eg Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321). Even if they have to shift some of the equipment around it must surely be cheaper than reprofiling the whole of the Bakerloo.

  49. Philip B says:

    I detect in some of the comments above that the importance olf Monument Station as an entry point toi the network is underestimated. While not being anywhere near knowledgeable enough to comment on the engineering plans and traffic flow plans so knowledgably discussed, I hope I can add my obervations as a daily rush hour commuter through Monument Station to the forum.
    It is suggested either explicitly or implicitly in some of the comments that Monument Station could be closed due to its proximity to Cannon St. This may be true but if you were to stand at the junction of Gracehurch St, EastCheap, Cannon St and King William St, you may be surprised at the number of people who enter Monument station after having walked northbound across London Bridge or who exit Monumnet Station to walk southbound over the bridge. If this station were no longer there and by extension the entrances to the Underground netwrk north of the Thames, then there would be a signicant number of extra passengers who would need to walk further through already crowded and often narrow streets and across several already pedestrian unfriendly junctions to reach the nearest station. I would contend that this would seriously overload an already congested area.
    Therefore, irrespective of all the new entrances and improved passenger flows that this very necessary scheme brings, you cannot close Monument stration and restrict access for thousands of pedestrians in this area to the underground.

  50. timbeau says:

    Do you know how many of those people enetering/exiting Monument station are using the District Line? I doubt many are using the Northern Line, as they would use London Bridge station instead, and surely people arriving at London Bridge Main Line wanting the District would use Cannon Street or (CX if they are heading west). I would guess a significant numer are using the DLR, or simply crossing the road. What would happen if you stopped trains calling at Monument, but kept the entrance open for access to the Northern/DLR.

    Mansion House has no interchange, but would be difficult to close because it is such a long way from there to Blackfriars. An entrance at the west end of the station , nearer the Millennium Bridge, might help.

  51. ChrisMitch says:

    Monument is effectively the district line platform for London Bridge mainline. It is part of a major commuter route for those of us in S London – closing Monument would not be a good idea – the system is meant to be designed for the convenience of passengers, not primarily for logical train routing.

    On a separate issue – what is the thing with Platform Edge Doors? Is the massive expense of installing and synchronising them really worth it? What is the cost-benefit reasoning? Surely not that many people fall onto the track…

  52. MiaM says:

    Why is the “Station entrance area” to the west side and not in the middle of the block/building in the southern part of option 3?

    If it were in the middle it would open up for shops, cafés e.t.c. indoors, thus probably improving the financial part of this scheme.

    As there isn’t any indoor walking route propsed Bank – Cannon Street, atleast they should install weather shielding roof over the walking route between the entrances (including across the road)…

    Re platform doors: It’s possible to construct platform doors that work with different door arrangements. In fact there are only some special cases of different door arrangement that dont work that well with platform doors (and in that case the whole platform edge could be part of sliding doors, so it would work anyway, just not as nice as how platform doors usually look/work).

    Also, if Northern Line would get two different types of trains and a smaller amount of trains wouldn’t work with platform doors at Bank, those trains could be sent to Charing Cross and on all doors have signs saying “this train don’t stop at Bank” if the train by some resaon be sent through the city route. If the train gets sent that way it’s probably a diversion anyway, so people haven’t planned on exiting specifically at Bank in that case.

  53. Anonymous says:

    The reasoning behind the Platform Edge Doors on the Jubilee line extension was that they made the stations cheaper to build because you did not need to worry so much about air flows in the platform tunnels: without PEDs, you need to provide large ventilation ducts so that the piston effect of the trains passing through the tunnels doesn’t create drafts at platform level so strong they risk knocking people off the platform. With the PEDs this is not a problem. This explains why the Jubilee line extension only has doors on the underground stations. Stopping people falling onto the track is a secondary benefit but not the main reason for using them.

  54. Rogmi says:

    Is it just me, or does anybody else have a problem with that link?
    I just get the page of text and a description of how to view the station plans, but no plans or links to them.

  55. John Bull says:

    What browser/browser version are you using? You’ll need one that pretty up to date.

  56. smorris says:

    timbeau: “Do you know how many of those people enetering/exiting Monument station are using the District Line?”

    I can’t give you numbers, but I can tell you – from seeing them go past every day – that there is a significant flow of people who enter Monument through the District line entrance, walk along the westbound platform and head straight down the tunnel to the Northern (and vice versa) – at a rough guess I’d say it seems like about the same number that stop on the District line platform to catch a train.

    This makes perfect sense to me – it probably avoids crossing lots of roads above ground, and also the route to the northern line ticket hall from the northern line gets very congested and sweaty – in the peak I’d guess it’s often quicker and less claustrophobic to exit via Monument if your destination is somewhere between the two.

    I used to be among those who were baffled by why they didn’t just link Bank to Cannon Street and scrap Monument, until I realised just how close the south end of the Northern line platforms is to Monument.

  57. Rogmi says:

    Tecnically the map shows the DLR correctly, but the bend is not part of the running tunnel (as shown correctly on the Carto Metro map). It is the continuation of the running tunnel to a vent / escape shaft in Lothbury St – see Richard’s site:

    Mention has been made of the creation of step-plate junctions during engineering hours. Generally, depending on location and circumstances, there is no reason why the work cannot also be carried out during traffic hours as well, especially the widening of the tunnel above and beside the existing running tunnel. The existing tunnel “pipe” normally remains in situ until quite late in the step-plate construction, when the segments are then removed as required. This was what happened at London Bridge.

    It may be necessary to do some of the excavation under the existing tunnel only during engineering hours, but even that may depend on how much is excavated at a time and how the “pipe” is supported.

  58. timbeau says:

    @ smorris

    That people use the Monument entrance to access the Northern Line doesn’t surprise me – but that they are coming across the bridge to do so would. There are Northern Line stations at both ends of the bridge – so anyone using the Monument entrance to access the Northern Line is coming from close by, and for many of them the new entrance further up Cannon Street would actually be more convenient.

    It was ChrisMitch’s comment that people were using Monument to access the District from London Bridge station which surprised me, given that anyone arriving at London Bridge main line can get to Cannon Street, (or indeed Blackfriars or Charing Cross) by train more quickly and for free. (A “London Terminals” ticekt covers all of those and more)

    If interchange with the Northern / DLR were made available at Cannon Street, what would be the balance of advantage/disadvantage if the Circle and District were then to skip Monument, but leaving the entrance open to maintain local access to the Northern/DLR? Faster District line service, vs a few people in Eastcheap finding the nearest entrance to the District Line is now a bit further away?

  59. Anonymous says:

    Why would you change from a Southern train to a Cannon Street train, by crossing the entire station on the bridge, playing guess the platform for the next train, wait for it for a 3 minute journey across the bridge, then walk down the stairs to the District. It must be as quick if not quicker to walk across London Bridge. Also the cost issue is non existent if you are changing to the District anyway.

  60. ChrisMitch says:

    Re London Bridge-Monument transfer – don’t forget that a lot of trains terminate at London Bridge, as well as others passing through en-route for Charing Cross/Cannon St/Blackfriars. It may well be more pleasant to walk across the bridge rather than cram on to another train onwards to Cannon St.

    But why even suggest closing Monument? Why not close Cannon St district line if Bank/Monument Station is so close-by anyway?

    In my view, shaving a few seconds off district line running times should not be the priority – providing additional passenger capacity should be the priority – and one way of providing extra capacity is to provide many different places for people to join/leave trains – avoiding overcrowding at stations.

  61. Anonymous says:

    timbeau: “It was ChrisMitch’s comment that people were using Monument to access the District from London Bridge station which surprised me, given that anyone arriving at London Bridge main line can get to Cannon Street, (or indeed Blackfriars or Charing Cross) by train more quickly and for free. (A “London Terminals” ticekt covers all of those and more)”

    Are you saying that from personal experience, or just from looking at maps?

    While I have not had to do it as a commuter, as someone who lives on a line that terminates at London Bridge I have waked to Monument and it is simper, quicker, and less hassle than messing about to change trains to go one stop.

  62. Anonymous says:

    As an example if i arrive at 0747 from East Grinstead, the first train to Cannon St is 0752 arriving 0757. It would definitely not take 10 minutes to walk from train to Monument, I have done train to train Liverpool Street to Lbg on foot in 17 minutes.

  63. James says:

    With regards closing one out of Monument, Charing Cross or Mansion House, surely the key operational issue is how the ticket halls, gate lines and connecting passages cope. If closing one station causes people to back-up on to the platform in the morning peak at another, the station closure might make little sense. It could be that you have to spend a lot of money on a major rebuilding to shave 90 seconds from your end-to-end journey times.

    I have also walked from Monument to LB or vice versa on occasion as it seems to take about as long as taking the Northern or NR link but you get a nice view and using one less train in the journey reduces the probability of suffering a delay.

  64. Rogmi says:

    They could always knock through the bulkhead on the south bank of the Thames and convert one of the C&SLRly tunnels to a walkway as far as King William St, then just construct a short new tunnel to join up with the DLT walkways under Monument 🙂 It probably wouldm’t be any longer than the walkway between La Chapelle Metro station and the Gare du Nord Metro.

    The Châtelet – Châtelet–Les Halles – Les Halles Metro / RER complex is a good example of a walkabout between two Metro stations – soon to be seen here with the Crossrail at Liverpool St / Moorgate connection.

    I walked a few times along the passageways from Opera Metro on ligne 8 to St Lazare Metro on ligne 12 passing through Auber RER and probaly through Haussmann – Saint-Lazare RER on the way.
    I looked up Auber on Wiki to refresh my memory, and apparently Opéra, Havre-Caumartin, Auber , Haussmann – Saint-Lazare and St Lazare stations are all joined together by passageways. The travelator section was particularly impressive for size. I timed the walk once between Opéra and St Lazare and I think it was about 15 minutes. However it was still quicker than messing about changing trains.

  65. Anonymous says:

    @Greg Tingey
    >>>>>>”Lifts are (almost) always slower than escalators, because of the waiting time,”
    Tell you what Greg, you ride to Notting Hill Gate, I’ll ride to Holland Park, and we’ll see who can get to an appropriate mid-point faster 🙂 The depth at NHG is significant, as it is at Bank. 3 flights of escalators is a slow crawl. Modern lifts can be fast. You wouldn’t expect to climb a skyscraper using just escalators would you?

    See also my comment on all the other entrances/escalators at bank.

    >>>>>Oh, yes: “biggest complex on the network” – really?
    >>>>>>* cough* King’s Cross St Pancras *cough*
    Maybe, depends how you judge it. KXSP has three entry points (including the part time one on Pentonville Road) but only two sets of escalators to the deep level. Bank/monument will have four entry points, all with access to deep level. At least three will have escalators. Regardless, Bank is one of the biggest complexes on the network so the point still stands.

  66. Taz says:

    Similar congestion relief schemes are under consideration for Old Street & Moorgate, under the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (2010). Moorgate would risk loosing the crossover, as happened at London Bridge.

  67. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 01.44
    READ what I wrote – “including waiting time”.
    IF there is a lift there, doors open as you arrive, yes, it’s going to be faster. And the rest of the time, when you have to wait for one? WHilst the escalator is always there, always running.
    Plus crowding in-&-out of lifts – dwell times are significant.
    Covent Gdn has four lifts in constant use, and you almost always have to wait.

    Oh that reminds me – closing stations.
    Let’s close Covent Garden, and let Holborn & Leicester Sq take the load, shall we?
    The idiots who propose these things have only too clearly NOT looked at the actual passenger flows, even on paper, never mind in the flesh.
    PLEASE try to keep a sense of reality here?

    Taz Moorgate will need it, with the increased X-rail traffic!

  68. Rogmi says:

    Losing the crossover at Moorgate would be a big mistake. That would effectively mean no City line service at all in the event of a problem on the line. (I’m not counting Euston as a reversing point because that has no effect on City services). A long delay anyway on the City side, such as a messy one-under or severe signal / track problem would mean nothing running on the City branch between Euston and Kennington until the problem was sorted out.

    The more crossovers the better. Although each crossover costs X to maintain, when each delay is costed at hundreds or thousands of pounds or more (on paper), the use of a crossover would soon pay for itself. The loss of London Bridge crossover has certainly been missed on various occasions, especially when there have been problems at Kennington.

    At the time of its removal, my understanding was that the crossover could have been kept, but built further south, possibly even north of Elephant & Castle. Whist the crossover may have been further away from its original site and no longer any use for NB passengers going to London Bridge, it would still be of use for S-N reversing during Kennington disruptions. The main constraints were the different track levels in the Borough area and the C&SLRly tunnels. However, although more costly than a flat crossover, there were ways that a south / north connection could still be built and would have come under the Jubilee upgrade budget. For some reason the Northern line decided that they didn’t want it because it hadn’t been used a lot in the past. A decision that was regretted later.

  69. Greg Tingey says:

    Removing x-overs. as was done during Victoria-E. Croydon resignalling was a really big mistake – taking out the Selhurst “emergency spur” towards W Croydon was an even bigger one.
    Contrast with the Wanglia lines, where the x-overs @ Hackney Downs are still there, & VERY useful, sometimes.

  70. Anon says:

    Greg, on the lifts v escalators argument; lets look at the departures level at Heathrow T5 from the Piccadilly line platform. You can take either a lift or (at least) 3 levels of escalators. The lifts win every time, even including waiting for a lift to arrive. Even if you have no bags and are prepared to walk up the escalator the lift is still faster (even of you have to wait for the second lift if the first is too busy).
    I agree this is an anecdote from one station, but you need to look at each case on its merits and can’t simply discount that lifts at Bank may be faster, even including waiting and dwell times.

    On the platform edge doors issue, I believe that another benefit not mentioned above is that you can get away with smaller platforms, as people can stand safely closer to the edge. Therefore you can build smaller tunnels, with all the benefits that brings.

  71. Greg Tingey says:

    Thats Theifrow, not a normal UndergrounD station!
    And the peak flows just won’t be as big as in a Central London station.
    Mind you, I avoid the place, and only go there if I have to – ghastly dump … the joys of ai travel, the paranoid and stupid so-called “security” guards, shudder.
    ( I’ve only ever flown from Stansted, & that’s quite bad enough, thank you. )
    Again, try Covent Garden or Hampsted Heath, where there cannot be escalators, or Borough, and look at the speed of exit. And the queuing, and the dwell times.
    Also escaltors, as said, can still be used, even if stationary.
    Lifts can’t.
    Certainly, given a choice I will always take a moving staircase….

  72. Rogmi says:

    @John Bull
    re problems
    I’m using IE8

  73. anon says:

    I picked Heathrow as opposed to Hampstead or Covent Garden for a reason. You cannot compare a station where lifts were originally installed 100 years ago and where revenue protection originally involved ensuring people had tickets when they got to the lifts with modern station with lifts.
    In many ways, Heathrow T5 Station is a lot closer to what you will see in a brand new underground station than Covent Garden. Suffice to say, if the designers at Bank were proposing to merely repeat the existing (and still open) Northern Line ticket hall entrance at Bank (opened in 1900) they wouldn’t get very far.
    In terms of capacity and layout you are likely to see something far closer to what is at Heathrow T5 IF the lift option is used.
    You do raise another point though and that is numbers, specifically peak flow. Are enough people likely to use this route to justify escalators? Four large lifts may be more than enough!

  74. Kit Green says:

    If edge doors are justified on new build platforms as a means to cut costs by having narrower platforms, we must surely be building for current load expectations and not looking at growth.

    Or to look at it the other way, if sufficient allowance is made for future growth then the edge doors are not needed yet.

  75. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    Ever seen Victoria Station’s escalators during the peaks? There are only so many people you can get onto an escalator per minute, so they’re just as prone to long waiting times as lifts are. The only difference is that lifts move people in batches rather than a continuous (albeit slower) flow. Escalators are not a Panacea. They have their cons as well as their pros.

    If you need to increase train frequencies, one of the most expensive obstacles to overcome is the need to increase the ability for stations along the line to cope. Adding a new bank of escalators is massively expensive. Lifts are generally much cheaper to install and they’re also a lot more reliable: all the important machinery is either at the top or bottom of the shaft, rather than spread along the entire length of the system, for example. There are also far fewer moving parts in a lift, and computer controls mean they can be more easily synchronised with trains.

    Modern lifts offer vast improvements over older ones. Among those advances are the double-decker lift, which would allow a lift to be emptied on one level while the other half is being loaded at the same time; this greatly reduces the dwell time at each stop.

    TfL could also consider multi-car elevator systems. These are effectively vertical railways: you build what is essentially a loop line, with cars travelling up one shaft and down the other. At each end, they move across to the other shaft for the return trip.

    And, no I’m not just making this up:

    That video shows a prototype system in action. Clearly the technology is there and this could well be the best solution for upgrading many of the older Tube stations that still rely on lifts. (Someone needs to be the first to adopt such a technology. Why not London’s Underground network?)

    The capacity offered by such systems—two pairs of such shafts could easily replace ten traditional lift shafts—and their compact size would make them ideal replacements. It could even reduce the costs of some station upgrades by eliminating the need for expensive new escalator shafts and Angel-style station entrance re-sitings.

  76. Slugabed says:

    Nothing new under the sun:
    There was one of these at the “Fletcher Building” of Leicester Poly during my brief sojourn there in the mid-80s.
    Defying dire warnings of the consequences,students used to go “over the top” for a dare.No-one died,as far as I heard,but it was de-commissioned due to health and safety concerns relating to boardiing and alighting a moving vehicle.
    It seems students are less able to assess movement and risk than when I were a lad,or is it that the occasional large-bone fracture was seen as a price worth paying for shifting people up a few floors faster than the stairs….?
    Apparently it cannot be removed as it has been listeed for its rarity and engineering interest….

  77. Greg Tingey says:

    Yup, someone has re-invented the Paternoster – and yes, I’ve been right round it … great fun! (If you are fit, healthy & YOUNG)
    As for Victoria, they just need MORE esaclators – I know, since Walthamsto C is my nearest station, and I do use Vic sometimes – not as often as I used to, though.
    How on emanages with a Paernoster-type system with wheelchairs, etc, I don’t know – probably as well/badly as the dreade Arabfly Dangleway, aforementioned.

  78. Anonymous says:

    Hold up! I also remember the paternosters (at Northwick Park Hospital) and having watched the Hitachi video seem to have picked up on the point missed by the two previous commentators i.e. that this is not a continuous motion system requiring vaulting skills to join or leave the “pods”.

  79. Fandroid says:

    Heathrow has another lifts vs escalators choice, between T1 and Heathrow Express. BAA actually hide the escalators and point everyone towards the lifts. However, those have indicator lights that are so dim that if you are in Arrivals and want to go down, you stand a very high risk of going up to Departures first. The mad hassle with folk with vast bags is equally annoying. The escalators there take out about half of the long walk through the tunnel towards the platforms, so are really the best bet if you have no large bags.

    Totally irrelevant to the debate about Bank, but I thought I’d just mention it !

    I suspect that stimarco is right and that a modern high-speed lift installation is worlds apart from those we know and love on the Northern Line. Goodge Street and Belsize Park are the ones I know best. Cramped waiting areas, annoying doors, but still pretty good at shifting a lot of people quickly.

  80. Alex says:

    In 2001-2002, I regularly used the paternoster in the University of Vienna’s New Institute Building, typically to get to the canteen on the top floor (it had a roof terrace, a schnitzel for 50 schillings, and Zipfer beer on tap). It ran a little faster than the wiki suggests and the noises were really impressive.

  81. Nick44 says:

    Thanks for this very interesting post. I note King William St is mentioned. Any chance of re-using the old CS&LR tunnels for this?
    be Gentle, newbie, but I do love this site.

  82. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Funnily enough I thought someone would ask that or something similar and I am surprised that no-one has until now. In anticipation I put the following question in an email to the project team:

    I wonder if you could tell me if you have to take into account the original City and South London Railway station at King William St and the running tunnels into it when considering the design of the new southbound tunnel.

    The reply was:

    Using the redundant City and South London tunnels is being considered in the current design review. There are a number of technical problems with using these tunnels, due to their current condition and size, but they are being examined as an option.

    which, as is often the case, isn’t quite a reply to the question I actually asked – but it is a reply to the question that you posed!

  83. Stu says:

    I would think size would prevent the old C&SLR tunnels to KWS from being used to relieve Bank. When they extended the line further south, the new tunnels were slightly wider than they had to retrospectively widen around London Bridge, which of course they avoided needing to do on the old stub. Not sure how stable the old tunnels are, and there will be no station at the end following at least one rebuild over the old station

  84. timbeau says:

    Enlarging a tunnel is not as straightforward as boring a new one – the TBMs would have a job chewing through the cast iron or reinforced concrete of the old linings

  85. DW down under says:

    timbeau @
    11:20PM, 4th January 2013

    There is no reason why the tunnel enlargement tecniques used for the Central Line enlargement and elsewhere when turnouts, branch tunnels or widened stations are being built. These do not use a TBM, but rather are built using mining techniques. The work progresses under suitable levels of air pressure 1 ring at a time. For as short a run as Bank – LB, this surely would be more cost effective.

    Reference again to Follenfant’s book

    Of course, if you meant to add a smiley 🙂 and forgot, all is understood!

    DW down under

  86. Ian J says:

    @DW: I think the “suitable levels of air pressure” would be much more difficult these days – as I understand it, because of the better modern understanding of the dangers of caisson disease, the amount of time you can have workers in a compressed air environment is much less than it used to be. I recall at a presentation on the rebuild of King’s Cross underground station the project team explained that this was why there was a lot of use of cut-and-cover techniques on that project: you could only get something like an hour’s work done per overnight possession under compressed air conditions underground.

  87. DW down under says:

    Ian J @
    06:20AM, 6th March 2013

    Noted issues about working under compressed air pressure. As the Northern line project will likely only intercept saturated ground conditions around the Thames (please someone chime in with details), and that it’s an enlargement task – we have several key differences:

    1) The exposed work surface is generally a few lining segments, certainly not an open mining face.
    2) The pressure in use is likely to be slightly positive (maybe 1 lb/sq in above air pressure), but able to ramp up quickly in case of problems. So appropriate depressurisation facilities and the capability of rotating workers at the workface would be required.
    3) The normal procedure is to grout the area thoroughly beforehand from outside the tunnel (ie a barge with a drilling rig and grout pump). When the first segment is removed, the first task AIUI is to inject grout into the surrounding ground.
    4) the slightly positive pressure would be part of dust removal for the first stage: removing existing concrete track base to expose the segments.

    These techniques are still required to deal with ground movements affecting tube tunnels, so the skills will be on hand. When you are looking at rebuilding a station, concourse, escalators adding lifts etc, if possible, it makes sense to use cut-and-cover.


    DW down under

  88. Fandroid says:

    The contract having been let for the Bank rebuild, the details of Dragados’ designs have become available. Those of you with access to NCE can read about them there. There is probably steam currently pouring out of LR towers as the team prepares the unique LR view of the work. With that in mind, I won’t say any more except that Option 3 seems to have been taken on board and there will be an entrance on Cannon Street.

  89. Anonymous says:

    Article on bank in this months Modern Railways

  90. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Yep, just spotted that myself. I will try and make sure one of us go to the exhibition and see if there is enough to report to justify an article. Press release here.

  91. Stuart says:

    Revised plans now up in consultation. New Bank station entrance now to be on Cannon Street, new low level moving pavement tunnel linking through to Central line, and works site in Arthur Street (near London Bridge and old Northern line tunnel) to remove site waste. Plans look good to me !

  92. Ian J says:

    @Stuart – Thanks, without wanting to anticipate a future article, it looks like the plan is now to sink a shaft down to the old C&SLR King William Street station, and use that as a base from which to excavate the new Northern Line tunnel. Clever way of using existing unused undergound space.

  93. timbeau says:

    Went along to St Mary Abchurch today – and got a free organ recital into the bargain. The information didn’t add a huge amlount to what I knew already, bjut the 3D models were very helpful in putting everthing into context.

    Surprisingly, much of the publicity omits any mention of the new Walbrook entrance, which will be open before any digging is projected to start on this, quite separate, project. It does indeed seem that the two projects have been deliberately ignoring each other – despite the proximity of the two new entrances on Cannon Street to each other (and indeed the existing entrance to Monument) any connection between them underground will be labyrinthine in the extreme – from the Walbrook entrance to the Northern Line or District Line involves a detour via the Waterloo & City platforms, whilst from the Abchurch entrance to the W&C or District similarly involves a trek via the Northern Line platforms. This is compunded by the fact that the neaest entrance to Cannon Street NR station will be the Walbrook one, which is only the best entrance to use if you want to go to Waterloo – surely the one of the least likely destinations anyone ariving at cannon Street is likely to want.

    Very clear signage will be needed to make it clear which entrance to use.

    I did find the answer to one questoin though – the Northern Line City branch would have to be closed for 17 weeks in the summer of 2020 to tie in the new track

  94. Greg Tingey says:

    So, they have lost the technology to do step-plate junctions have they?
    If so, that’s pathetic.

  95. timbeau says:

    It looks like a step plate junction – but I don’t think any recent ones (London Bridge, Angel), managed to be built round a live line in the way they did it at Finsbury Park. Whether that’s modern Elfin Safety, different construction techniques on the Picc’s original tunnel linings, different ground conditions, lack of space to access around the old tunnels, or something special about the way the CSLR tunnels were expanded in the 1920s, but the “quick switch” at Finsbury Park seems to have been a one-off.

    How long was the Northern closed for the London Bridge and Angel projects? Or, on the Jubilee, for the junctions inserted at Baker Street and Green Park?

  96. Stuart says:

    @timbeau “It looks like a step plate junction – but I don’t think any recent ones (London Bridge, Angel), managed to be built round a live line in the way they did it at Finsbury Park”

    Did they not also do this with the Bakerloo at Oxford Circus when they were building the Vic and needed to reconfigure the tunnels for cross-platform interchange ?

  97. Ian J says:

    I don’t think the closure can be purely about connecting to the new track, as that wouldn’t explain why the line needs to be closed northbound as well as southbound.

    The London Bridge closure was only in one direction but lasted three and a bit months according to

    No closure of the whole line is noted for the Angel works.

    @stuart: depends what you mean by recent – the Victoria Line was being built 50 years ago (so only a bit less than half as old as the Bakerloo itself).

  98. Pedantic of Purley says:


    The information didn’t add a huge amount to what I knew already

    I can’t believe that unless you didn’t engage with the staff there who were quite senior, extremely helpful and knowledgeable and only too pleased to explain all the details including the substantial changes made since the last consultation. I there for just over an hour and learnt an incredible amount including why in this particular case it would not be possible to build a step-plate junction (and if Greg were there and looked at the physical 3D model on display it should be fairly obvious – and if not he could always ask).

    For an informative consultation I think this has been the best I have ever been to (the second best was their previous consultation) and is a complete contrast the very poor efforts that have been made at London Bridge station by Network Rail in the past.

  99. timbeau says:


    I didn’t have as much time as you, and yes, the staff clearly knew their stuff. (And during the organ recital talking was discouraged, and there were a lot of people champing at the bit afterwards)

    I must admit I didn’t appreciate that the junctions were not step-plates (what are they then?)
    so didn’t ask the question as to why they are not.
    How did the one-way closure at London Bridge work? Were they running twice as many trains over the CX branch in one direction as in the other?

    I might go back later this week and ask more searching questions

  100. Greg Tingey says:

    I presume, then, that there are other obstructions, or voids, underground, in places that would be needed of access, if a step-plates were to be used?
    Though it not apparent from the picture you show of the 3-d model ….
    Can you explain, or point to a diagram, if possible?

  101. @Greg

    At the critical location you have one Northern Line tunnel on top of another in very close proximity. You also have the DLR tunnel immediately below the tunnel you need to divert at the same location. None of the four firms that bid for the work were prepared to do it despite the fact that if they could provably show it was possible it would be a very significant factor in winning the contract. The risk of unsettling one of the other tunnels and the consequences of that were far too great.

    Too often loads of people hark back to the year 19xx and quote an example to show it was possible then to do something that can’t be done today. But usually some critical factor is different. In reality it is much more the other way around and a lot more is possible than could be done only a few years ago. A very large deep level tunnel junction like Stepney Green constructed in the way it was in the geology found in East London would probably not have been possible even five years ago.

  102. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, I realised from your earlier post that something was preventing a re-run, just that I did not have the information as to what that was! People forget that the Northern line is standard left-hand running @ Moorgate, reversed @ Bank & London Bridge, staggered @ Borough & normal again thereafter as one heads sarf …..
    An alternative might be to move the new junction to a slightly different location, but then one presumably would have insuperable access problems to the putative site?

  103. ngh says:

    Re Greg Tingey 07:14, 10 October 2013

    useful info & drawings here:

    PoP is alluding to the problem of join the new southbound tunnel to the old one north of Bank.
    [northbound Northern Line tunnel above and DLR over run tunnel below]

    Moving the new tunnel slightly further to the west from the previous plans has made it easier to do both the joins as Northern join is now further North (under Lothbury) and the Southern further south (under lower Thames Street)

  104. StephenC says:

    When I attended, the engineer indicated that a key reason for the lengthy junction works was an unwillingness to risk any settlement due to the value of the buildings above. I suspect therefore that it could be done, but it is the risk of a ridiculously large settlement claim that tips the balance to being more cautious. I ventured that if this site was in East London the engineering choice might be different without getting a firm response – read into that what you will.

    My main concern with the plan was that there is only a cross-passage at the bottom of the new entrance escalators, and that passage looked too narrow. This would matter given that there are a lot of twists and turns to reach the DLR or Central, each of which will slow pedestrians down. Otherwise, looks pretty good.

  105. Greg Tingey says:

    Those diagrams are most useful.
    However, it shows, very interrstingly, that there appears to be no obstacle to extending the DLR in a NW direction past Bank, doesn’t it, since the tunnels avoid the actual Bank basement/cellars.
    Crayon time, anyone?

  106. ngh says:

    Re Greg Tingey 11:44, 10 October 2013
    Unfortunately not that simple as there is a single shared overrun tunnel for the DLR so there would need to be another tunnel dug (to the west near the new Northern Line tunnel?)

  107. timbeau says:

    “I must admit I didn’t appreciate that the junctions were not step-plates (what are they then?)”
    I went back today – what they will do is “plug and drill” – fill the old tunnel with concrete and drill through it in the new alignment. And they won’t keep the northbound open whilst this is going on – they will use the time to open out the connections to the new concourse (including filling in the trackbed of the old southbound tunnel of course)

  108. Greg Tingey says:

    I can see that quite clearly, thank you!
    So what?
    So you dig a parallel tunnel & then continue vaguely N & W … to where?
    Like I said – crayon time …

    Where will the two halves of the “bank” route of the Northern terminate during the closure, then?
    I don’t suppose they will close all the way from Camden Town to Kennington …
    My (old) edition of Quail suggests that s limited service could certainly be run as far as Moorgate, from the North. Looks like Kennington – LB is out of luck, though.
    They are going to need LOTS of buses!

  109. timbeau says:

    I doubt if buses will provide the main replacements between Kennington and Moorgate. There are several routes serving that axis already,

    As for rail routes, only Borough has no alternative rail access. Elephant/London Bridge to Moorgate will be possible using Thameslink and Crossrail (both scheduled for completion by then). Running the Drain at peak frequencies all day should be possible for the duration. And it will be summer, so some people will not mind walking to another station for the duration.

  110. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I popped into the exhibition yesterday and found the cut away model very helpful in understanding what was proposed. Talking to a former colleague I was told that the approach taken for this scheme has been very different to what has been used before. I understand there is strong support for the scheme because all the big businesses know what an absolute nightmare Bank station is for commuters. They just want it built. Of course there is a long way to go and people need to put their crayons away because you can’t faff around and tinker with a scheme where the contractor has done the design work and therefore set the parameters for the TWA process. It has also set the parameters for whatever undertakings LU may need to give to land / property owners in the area and they can all afford very, very expensive and therefore good lawyers to protect what they own. This scheme is also to expand Bank’s capacity not to extend the DLR to some yet to be defined destination. Hopefully the more proactive, up front engagement process will avoid a load of challenges and bargaining over protection / settlement undertakings during the TWA process.

  111. Anonymous says:

    I suspect that, even if practical, any central expansion of the DLR would be a drop in the bucket due to its (at least currently) far lower capacity and frequency compared to any of the tube lines.

  112. ngh says:

    Re Anonymous
    20:58, 11 October 2013

    I suspect that, even if practical, any central expansion of the DLR would be a drop in the bucket due to its (at least currently) far lower capacity and frequency compared to any of the tube lines.

    Exactly – I can’t see any major tube or DLR extensions inside Zone 2 as the capacity enhancements are just don’t make the numbers work. Crossrail 2,3,4 etc. because of the massive capacity of the 10+car main line size trains.

    At £625m it is more expensive than extending Crossrail 1 from Abbeywood to Gravesend etc…

  113. Greg Tingey says:

    The present buses are pretty fully loaded – so they are going to need LOTS MORE …..

  114. timbeau says:

    augmenting the existing bus services, to be sure – but no special rail replacement services should be needed.

    “I don’t suppose they will close all the way from Camden Town to Kennington …
    My (old) edition of Quail suggests that s limited service could certainly be run as far as Moorgate, from the North. ”
    The person I spoke to said that the turnback facilities at Moorgate are limited, and so any service that might be run would be sparse and likely to lead to huge overcrowding. sound a bit defeatist to me, but that seems to be the official line – everything will go via CX

  115. Ian Sergeant says:


    everything will go via CX

    That statement by itself is pretty scary, as there obviously isn’t room for both of the northern branches to go via CX. The alternatives are half a service (possibly a little more), or one of the branches terminating somewhere. Is Camden Town a possibility for reversing? If not, we are going to see a lot of people finding alternative routes to work for four months, and/or having very packed Northern line trains.

  116. timbeau says:

    @Ian S
    ” there obviously isn’t room for both of the northern branches to go via CX. The alternatives are half a service ”
    What did they do when Angel, London Bridge and TCR were closed for modernisation?
    The busiest hour on each of the northern branches is currently 21 trains. With the super-duper autosignalling up and running by then, and essentially plain track from Camden Town to Morden (and the possibility of reversing at Tooting and Kennington if Morden cant cope), what’s the maximum the CX branch could cope with? Probably closer to 42 than 21.

  117. Andrew says:

    When London Bridge was closed there were twice as many buses as usual on the 133 north of Oval, nothing on the 214 as trains were running north of Moorgate. Trains went through Tottenham Court Road non-stop.

  118. Ian Sergeant says:


    Indeed, but by the time this upgrade comes along the Bank branch could be running at 33tph – more likely 30tph. I can’t find any intention to run above 33tph. It might be worth asking the people at the exhibition what ‘everything via Charing Cross’ means to service patterns north of Camden Town.

  119. Taz says:

    @ Ian Sergeant 13:36, 13 October 2013
    Northern Upgrade 2 probably needs to await Bank and Camden Town rebuilds to cope with the crowds. Moving from current 20tph to planned 30+tph, ie. plus 10tph on each branch is equivalent of another Northern Line branch through the central area! But where are all the extra trains to be stabled? When Jeff Ellis, then Line Manager, talked to the LURS five years back he saw no problem except for another maintenance facility. But that was going from 24tph upgrade to 28tph upgrade 2. With talk of 33tph there will need to be more than twice as many extra trains.

  120. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Although I saw the planned closure on the project programme at the exhibition I did not think it was sensible to ask how it would be managed. We are more than half a decade away from when it will occur and I expect a great many things will change including LU’s approach to managing planned closures! The way in which closures are covered (or not in some cases) has changed considerably in recent years and I’d expect to see further changes – particularly to save money. Demand management is likely to be the preference given its success during the Olympics and its anticipated use during the upcoming London Bridge rebuilding. As others have said the completion of Thameslink and Crossrail are likely to be game changers in terms of shifting demand *and* offering extra options in the network to get people into or across the City area. Other things like all day, every day Northern City line services will also play a part in offering people in north London extra travel options.

  121. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Walthamstow Writer

    Although I saw the planned closure on the project programme at the exhibition I did not think it was sensible to ask how it would be managed. We are more than half a decade away from when it will occur and I expect a great many things will change including LU’s approach to managing planned closures!

    That is true but the planned Transport and Works Act submission is around 9 months away and as part of that submission they will have to show that this has been investigated and they will have to declare their current intentions – which as you say may well change.

    (At this point Graham Feakins may wish to skip the next paragraph in order to keep his blood pressure reasonably low).
    I was told that masses of computer simulations have been made. One problem with them is that they take the best part of 24 hours to run so one error means a wasted day. All this is correlated with other known information such as origin and destination surveys and ticket information to make sure that the results are at least plausible.

  122. ngh says:

    Re Pedantic of Purley 15:14, 14 October 2013

    I was told that masses of computer simulations have been made. One problem with them is that they take the best part of 24 hours to run so one error means a wasted day.

    Probably even worse than that unfortunately as you would have prepared the next simulation and have started running immediately before analysing the previous one where both could share the same mistake(s) so it is frequently more than 1 day wasted especially if running a batch over the weekend is involved…

  123. stimarco says:


    Good god, what the hell are those simulations running on? A Sinclair ZX81?

  124. Ian Sergeant says:

    Clearly the program is on ticker tape, written in Algol and executed on a Honeywell 200!

  125. ngh says:

    Re Stimarco 16:08, 14 October 2013

    Not sure in this case (but having done plenty of non-transport based modelling) but it is relatively easy to create a model in any of specialist proprietary software, excel or C that will take circa 24hrs to execute on the latest workstation.
    Proprietary modelling software can often cost several tens of thousand per licence, which can be per machine or even per processor!

    I would suspect a giant monte-carlo model as they would also have to model peoples’ journeys who were affected refuges from the northern line and then change their journeys too (and then how their new routes then effect others…) . With no real data from completed Thameslink or Crossrail leading to plenty of additional modelling work too. Each run of the model would test slightly different set of assumptions.

  126. Ian J says:

    @timbeau: “The person I spoke to said that the turnback facilities at Moorgate are limited, and so any service that might be run would be sparse and likely to lead to huge overcrowding”
    As you say this sounds a bit defeatist given that a service to Moorgate was run during the 1990s London Bridge closure.

  127. Taz says:

    With the new signalling commissioned by then, it should be easier to replace the double crossover at Moorgate within the project budget, and double reversing capacity there.

  128. MikeP says:

    Re: modelling and errors (somewhat OT). One of my abiding memories of my time at the HENP group at Imperial College was one of the physicists picking up his output (an entire box of line printer paper) from the overnight Monte Carlo he’d run on the DEC10. He glanced at the first page, and threw the whole lot away…..

    It wouldn’t have been so bad, but that chain printer needed huge amounts of TLC. Then again, the money from the paper recycling contributed to the Christmas do.

  129. Walthamstow Writer says:

    For those suggesting a service to Moorgate you may need to consider whether access for works trains is required at times other than engineering hours. You also need to consider whether the break out works will create dust and dirt that would be unacceptable for passenger exposure – it could easily blow down the tunnels to Moorgate. I imagine the internal corridors within Bank station will be sealed off to try to contain the dust while other lines keep running. I do wonder if the DLR will have to be suspended and I assume the Bank / Monument link will also close during the works as it requires access via the Northern Line platforms. Finally the traction current arrangements may be less than ideal meaning it may not be practical to isolate Bank and keep power on at Moorgate. We are talking about needing to open out the new tunnel junction, join tracks, remove the old southbound tracks and power infrastructure and then infill the former southbound platform and get it into some sort of acceptable state for passenger use. All the new station assets will also have to integrated into the rest of the Bank / Monument complex and staff trained on the new system. I imagine some sort of fire brigade approval will also be needed given the size of the station complex will be considerably enlarged thus altering evacuation routes / plans. To do all that in 4 months is quite a task IMO.

  130. Graham H says:

    @ngh and others – it is, alas. true that the software to simulate train operation, for example, takes up a lot of time to run. When we were simulating Southern using Railsys – the then industry standard – we used to let it run overnight and then spend the next day analysing the output. Although Railsys has been superseded by NR’s Total Route Planning software, the actual programming is not so different and still takes forever to run. Most transport demand modelling (as opposed to operational modelling) tends to use gravity – trip models, rather than monte carlo techniques. Neither is really very satisfactory but the modelling fraternity’s trade guild doesn’t like it when you criticise them.

    [Note – when the next world war breaks out, the Albanian cavalry will conquer all, while the US and Chinese software struggles, because of a lack of data, to replicate conditions in the region of Elbursan…]

  131. Ian J says:

    @WW: “You also need to consider whether the break out works will create dust and dirt that would be unacceptable for passenger exposure – it could easily blow down the tunnels to Moorgate. I imagine the internal corridors within Bank station will be sealed off to try to contain the dust”

    So why would it be possible to seal off tunnels within Bank station but impossible to seal off the running tunnel towards Moorgate (which is a long way away)? Interestingly, when emergency asbestos removal works were carried out in the Southbound tunnel at Bull and Bush in 1978, single line running was used to keep a limited service going, which seems like a level of initiative no longer possible.

  132. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ian J – I was merely speculating as to the activities that will be undertaken at that point in the project programme. I assume the tunnels will not be sealed off to allow movement of engineering trains to bring in items and take redundant stuff out. I would be surprised if, at that late stage in the project, the main access work shaft was still in full use. I would expect that it would be being fitted out for (based on the cut away model) ventilation purposes. I know everyone just assumes things can be switched over in a flash but that is rarely the case – technology might have advanced but it also adds complexity to tasks like fitting out, system integration and testing / commissioning. With ATO in operation on the Northern Line the system will need to be updated to reflect the different alignment, distance, speed profile and stopping point. That will need to be tested with real trains before passengers can use it. Anyway I don’t know for certain so I will stop speculating as I’m only going to antagonise certain readers.

  133. Stuart says:

    It is a shame that, with the City branch closed for a while, they can’t programme some key works at Camden Town in the same period that could go towards alleviating that bottleneck

  134. James says:

    The one question that is on my mind, is in respect to having a rail connection to the Waterloo – City line.

    At the moment, trains are confined to that line, with the only access being via a complicated lift which costs a lot of money to take out or put in a new train set.

    Will there be, even a single track built that will provide that rail link at Bank?

    Be great to have that in place before the new replacement stock come into service.

  135. Graham Feakins says:

    @James – Bearing in mind that the stock only requires to lifted out and lowered once every generation, I doubt whether the expense is much more than, say, lifting coaches off the railway and loading them onto lorries to transport them to and from e.g. Wolverton and getting them back again. SWT’s Class 456 stock is experiencing just that at the moment during refurbishment. Just why the stock cannot be transferred between home depot and e.g. Wolverton by rail bemuses many, of course, or at least those who won’t be persuaded by excuses of cost and clearances and so on.

    Remember that the previous generation of Waterloo & City stock was lifted by the then existing hydraulic lift but not only that but they were driven under their own power on the third rail as far as Lancing on the South Coast for heavy overhaul.

  136. Fandroid says:

    @James. You have fallen into ‘why can’t they just….’ trap. The tunnelling alone for the connection you mention would cost £millions. As Graham Feakins has pointed out, the inconvenience of the current W&C set-up is tiny. There might be some benefits of scale if the W&C stock could have its routine maintenance done in a bigger depot, but if the management and staff of the Waterloo depot were combined organisationally with another, then there aren’t many savings left to provide justification for a large investment. The issue of hauling rail vehicles around on roads demonstrates that at least someone is looking at the marginal costs of yet another freight train moving over the system. Paths are becoming rarer, so it’s right that they are not gobbled up because it looks convenient.

  137. Greg Tingey says:

    It isn’t (usually) persuaded by excuses of cost and clearances actually, though, is it?
    IIRC it’s one of the loonier results of privatisation, that is still with us, that the track access charge for such a simple stock-move is so high, that it’s cheaper to put individual coaches on lorries & have said vehicles bumble up the m-way, than just couple it/them to a loco & trundle them away.
    I’m assuming standard clearances for stock & loading-gauges, of course, but this was always the case.
    [ refer to the 1925 excahnge & the fact that the LNE & GW locos could not use LMS lines, because of tight clearances.
    Kings Cross shed to Old Oak, via, Retford, Sheffield, Banbury … & vice versa. ]

    I’m not sure I believe that one.
    Please remember that the Road Lobby frequently trumpet this one at every single opportunity they get, as to how hopelessly inefficient the railways are ……
    And, of course, there are large slices of the “day”, when there are not commuter trains using up every available slot, are there not?

  138. timbeau says:

    There are many reasons rail vehicles are conveyed by road

    1. the fault to be rectified involves the running gear or couplings, so it cannot run on its own wheels
    2. unable, due to lack of compatible electrification system, to travel under its own power, and braking system incompatible with haulage “dead in train”
    3. incompatible couplings, and lack of a suitable barrier vehicle
    4. out of gauge, for example because major components are missing causing it to ride high or lopsided on its suspension, or because of collision damage
    5. speed limited, making paths difficult to find.
    If a physical connection were to be made to the Drain, the easiest way would be to extend the Aldwych branch to terminate in what is now the departure platform at Waterloo, with the Drain reversing in the current arrivals platform – something I used to fondly dream of whilst waiting in the rain in the pre-bendybus era in the massive queue for the 501 bus that used to build up – often stretching right back onto the concourse.
    (Note to the scissors wielders – no extension to the Drain itself is proposed herein)

  139. timbeau says:

    It’s not as simple as a privatisation issue: the new S stock is being delivered (and returned for modification/rectification as required) by rail. And back in pre-privatisation days rolling stock was already being conveyed by road when appropriate, for the reasons I’ve explained in the previous post.

  140. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes well, the “incompatible couplings” reason is another post-privatisation [More polite word used. LBM] artefact isn’t it?

  141. timbeau says:

    Not at all – auto couplers have been used on electric units for a many years, with buck eyes and screw couplings on other types. Hence the need for “barrier” vehicles – redundant coaches or wagons with different couplers at each end to allow a unit to be towed. (That’s the tank wagons you will see in the S-stock delivery trains)
    I recall seeing a PEP unit being towed – as their Scherfenberg couplers were incompatible with anything else it had to be turned “inside out” (cabs together) so a barrier vehicle could be coupled to one of the inner cars.

  142. Greg Tingey says:

    You are missing the point.
    There used to be one sort of auto-coupler, now there are three? four, five? all incompatible with each other, never mind “conventional” buck-eyes as used on loco-hauled coaching stock.
    There was a standard & privatisation just threw the whole thing away.

  143. @Greg,

    Presumably you don’t want to go back the days of the buck-eye coupler?

    Standardisation is a very double-edged sword. It discourages innovation and improvement. It also is a one-size-fits-all approach. What you want for coupling and uncoupling that happens many times a day with critical time constraints may be different (and much more expensive) than that required for occasional reformation of stock.

    Lets knock privatisation when relevant and appropriate but don’t just develop a hatred for it and blame it on anything you can find without being objective about it.

  144. timbeau says:

    But an autocoupler, however standardised, is no use if you need the unit to be hauled dead by a locomotive, either because it is not in working order or because it is being taken somewhere “off the juice” (e.g a dc unit being overhauled at Wolverton) .

    Given the choice between taking the train by road or building a special adaptor (“barrier”) vehicle, which must also provide all the braking power as the unit’s will have to be disabled if it has no power the former will sometimes be the simpler choice.
    Barrier vehicles are an operational nuisance, as they can’t be coupled to anything else – that’s why they usually operate in pairs with, or without, a unit in between)

  145. Greg Tingey says:

    But it works for the LU unit deliveries – & those going for scrapping, doesn’t it?

  146. @Greg,

    No it doesn’t. A stock and C stock were scrapped using road facility transfer at Northwood. I expect D stock will go the same way.

    Of course the economics are a bit different for Underground trains as the carriages tend to be shorter so putting it onto a lorry means that the load is not that exceptional – out of gauge maybe but not excessively long.

    The issue of road delivery of carriages pales into insignificance compared to road delivery of new railway bogies and new axles which is a far more frequent occurrence.

  147. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    Several individuals have other plans for the majority of the D Stock:

  148. timbeau says:

    For the LU unit deliveries (the S stock at least) the volume of traffic was enough to justify building a pair of barrier wagons. How was the 2009 stock delivered?

  149. @ngh,

    OK, I should have added “when removed from the network” instead of implying they would be scrapped too.

  150. timbeau says:

    NR units also travel by rail, in this case to/from the Old Dalby test track, which is electrified, but is not connected to the rest of the electrified network.

  151. Greg Tingey says:

    road delivery of new railway bogies and new axles which is a far more frequent occurrence.
    That is utterly, totally bonkers – what warped version of “economics” dictated that?

    The vivarail D-stock ( oops, “D-train” ) project is the subject of an article in December’s “Modern Railways” by uncle Roger …. HERE

  152. @Greg,

    That [road delivery of new railway bogies and new axles] is utterly, totally bonkers

    But is it? I suspect these things are often needed urgently. The other end may not be rail connected. I could understand it if a fleet of lorries was involved but is usually just one and the railways got out of wagonload traffic years ago.

  153. Malcolm says:

    @WW Yes, I think I read somewhere (on LR?) that the Vic line stock could not be delivered by rail because it did not fit on the Pic line, and the Vic line is connected to nothing else. It seems there is no connection with the NR lines at Highbury & Islington, no rail connection at the depot, and they didn’t build the intended line to Walthamstow Wood Street. I’ll put those crayons away now.

  154. Malcolm says:

    I agree with PoP. If the railway cannot economically sell wagonload freight to outsiders, why should it be able to sell it to itself?

  155. Greg Tingey says:

    “Economically” according to whose artificial rules?
    Is the response to that.
    Sorry, but I contend that the “market” has been rigged against rail, for many years now, as well as the lag of admittedly out-of-date & inefficient practices that got the railways into that mess in the first place.
    Given the load-carrying capacity of a train compared to even a fleet of lorries, something has gorn worng, somewhere

    Instead of the MPV-train idea of a few years back, how about a new version of “wagonload”, given that standard containers are easy to load & unload…..
    Railway carries containers between specific terminals (already existing, or easy to set up. ) standard charges for each container size x distance travelled (or specific routing charges) – whatever’s simpler.
    There is your modern “wagonload” concept, without the hassle of marshalling or shunting.
    Like “Red Star Parcels” the fragmentation of the system has gone too far & killed a useful service.

    These days, of course, there is also the green agenda, concerning fossil-fuel use & efficiency & emissions of multiple road vs rail transport. But that’s another argument.

  156. Anomnibus says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    The railways already do that, and with actual containers. Railways work best when shifting lots of something over fairly long distances. (Hence the merry-go-round coal trains, for example.) They’re not so good at moving small amounts of something over fairly short distances. Which is why so few urban metros make a profit: too much stopping and starting, and over too short a distance.

    (This is why HM Treasury hates spending money on infrastructure. Accountants aren’t idiots: They’re well aware that infrastructure usually has beneficial effects on local and general economies, but they’re stuck with the rules laid down by their political masters and an obligation to balance the nation’s books on an annual basis. That means such projects will always be a cost centre, not a profit centre.)

    Today’s businesses rely heavily on “just-in-time” deliveries, instead of keeping huge stockpiles sitting around wasting money in warehouses. This is how those city-centre sandwich shops, bars, Tesco Metros and M&S Food shops make a profit. The last thing you want to do with that very, very expensive city-centre space is waste any of it on mere storage, so they’re deliberately designed to require as little storage as possible. HGVs and Ford Transits are perfect for this, but rail simply cannot meet that need. It’s a bulk goods transport technology, and we’re not talking about bulk goods here.

    You can fit the axles for an entire train onto the back of a single HGV. Nobody’s going to pay to have a locomotive haul a single wagonload of axles behind it to a maintenance depot halfway across the country.

    This isn’t an “either / or” scenario. Both roads and railways have their parts to play in this puzzle. Stop thinking of this as a war. It isn’t.

  157. Anomnibus says:

    On Logistics.

    It’s worth noting that even Eddie Stobart, possibly the best known of the UK’s major logistics companies, also uses rail freight for ‘trunk’ routes, as does Norbert Dentressangle. Companies like these, as well as the likes of DHL and TNT, use the best tool for the job, be it road, air, rail or sea.

    When people talk about reviving the old-fashioned High Street shopping experience, they also need to consider how those many small shops are going to be supplied. They need to consider issues like home delivery and similar modern conveniences that can help High Street shops compete with their larger, out-of-town counterparts. They need to consider that people need to be able to get to those shops: Parking is usually very constrained in these areas and often charged at a premium. That means more public transport—buses, trams, whatever. All of which will need to share the same road space.

    For a website / blog site that has chosen to name itself “London Reconnections”, there’s a marked bias in favour of rail transit. This isn’t surprising: railways seem to have far more fans than buses or Transit vans, but I’m not sure this is healthy in discussions about improving London’s transport infrastructure as a whole. It often feels like a rail advocacy site.

    It’d be very interesting (to me, at least) to see discussions of combined infrastructure projects that address multiple problems across more than one mode of transport at the same time.

    For example: why not combine the Cross River Tram project with a “London Regeneration Corridor” project that also sees roads widened and tired town centres with tired, cut-rate, 1970s and ’80s shopping centres redeveloped? Now you can dangle some shiny new carrots in front of businesses in the form of greatly improved premises, not just accessibility. Wider roads—which, yes, will mean sacrificing some old buildings and parades of shops—would do wonders for the Camberwell-Peckham-New Cross Gate axis, for example. And it’s not as if we haven’t done it before: much of the Old Kent Road looks nothing like it did even 50 years ago.

  158. Kit Green says:

    Anomnibus:home delivery and similar modern conveniences

    I am not that old but can remember that when I was a child most of the local shops (in a North London suburb) would deliver. Butcher, grocer, greencrocer etc.

    Deliveries were very green as they were often by bicycle, except the grocer where a van was needed.

    It was considered to be a great progress when supermarkets grew larger than the old style Sainsburys, Cullens and Express Dairy shops and deliveries were no longer possible.

    So nothing modern about home deliveries except for the logistics chain involved.

    What comes around etc………

  159. @Anomnibus

    “Wider roads—which, yes, will mean sacrificing some old buildings and parades of shops—would do wonders for the Camberwell-Peckham-New Cross Gate axis, for example. And it’s not as if we haven’t done it before: much of the Old Kent Road looks nothing like it did even 50 years ago.”

    Large scale road widening and shop demolition, though it was done in the motoring fad 60s and 70s, is not very likely at all to occur nowadays, given the commercial, residential and traffic disruption it would cause.

    Whilst I agree with regenerating or replacing tired 70s and 80s shopping centres, let’s be realistic Anomnibus – property demolition along roads is the last resort and very unlikely to occur on any large scale, especially High Streets.

  160. Greg Tingey says:

    Instead, what’s happening is that side-street mini “shopping centres are reviving (There’s one very close to me) & most locals are getting there on foot, by bicycle or hopper-bus.

    [Oh my, comments lacking in optimism and Holiday cheer have been snipped… LBM]

  161. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anomnibus – the problem with your regeneration idea is that word now means only one thing in London – vastly expensive housing for non resident millionnaires. Why should existing businesses and residents be bulldozed out of their shops and homes? It’s never going to wash with local people or most politicians. I think the development policies we’ve seen in recent years are now broadly discredited in London because housing is in crisis and people are simply resentful of high rents and stratospheric house prices. Transport should be an enabler to measured and affordable development in an area. The best schemes are ones which are “in scale” with their surroundings – lots of evidence of light rail helping to bring back “dud” neighbourhoods in the US and elsewhere. The last thing London needs is demolition to create road space which will be filled up with cars.

  162. Anonymous says:


    I agree with the overall thrust of your comment.

    However, I say that what holds London’s housing back is the amount of ‘groundscrapers’ in zones 3 and 4. There could be much more efficient use of land with blocks of 4-7 floors to enable rational use of land. Barking and Lea Valley are particularly suitable north of the Thames.

  163. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous has hit the nail on the head about density of new housing. 4-7 floors, like those old red-brick mansion blocks would be ideal for London, rather than those scattered tower blocks with acres of nothing between. Ground floor shops along main thoroughfares, as of old. Some nice squares too, traffic free. That Olympic estate isn’t far off, even though it is surrounded by a deserted wasteland.

  164. Greg Tingey says:

    Both the anons.
    Actually, this was done in Walthamstow (before LBWF was formed) in the Prospect Hill Estate.
    Beautifully-designed council flats/maisonettes, that won numberless awards, in scale etc … As soon a LBWF cam along, the idea was dropped (“first cost too high”) & now they are almost all in private hands.
    5 minutes fro my front door, which is how I know ….

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