As several spotters have helpfully pointed out, this week saw a rather interesting article appear in Rail Engineer on the topic of Rail Electrification.

The article provides thorough coverage of the discussion of electrification at their recent conference, and is thus well worth a read in itself. Of particular interest to those in London, however, will be the coverage of comments from Nick Elliott, Southern regional director at Network Rail, who in a roundabout way appeared to confirm that GOBLIN electrification will indeed take place in CP5 (bolding ours):

Currently, Network Rail is working on the North West Electrification programme as well as Maidenhead to Cardiff on the Great Western. In 2013 the Welsh valley lines, the Midland Main Line, and Basingstoke to Reading will be added and the DC to AC conversion between Poole and Basingstoke will take place.

However, by the time CP5 starts in April 2014, the work load becomes even greater as TransPennine Electrification will commence, the Cardiff to Swansea element of the Great Western main Line comes into effect and the Oxford to Coventry/Nuneaton and the Gospel Oak to Barking work starts. By this time there will be 11 major electrification projects running at the same time.

The article continues:

In Nick’s own Southern region, he will be responsible for installing new switchgear, rectifiers and transformers as part of the Southern power supply – a project worth £450 million. The 1950’s OLE will be replaced by modern, tensioned electrified lines in the Great Eastern area (£100 million), the Gospel Oak to Barking freight link will be electrified (£50 million), the current DC system to 25kV overhead Line between Basingstoke, Southampton and Poole (£150 million) and there will be an upgrade to some systems as part of a national SCADA programme (£80 million).

The price tag is interesting – £50m – representing approximately half of the £90m figure it was believed that Network Rail quoted for the work earlier this year. Whether this is due to rescoping is difficult to say. If the article is correct though then the important thing is that GOBLIN electrification is at least now likely to take place. Given that Elliot’s comments talk of GOBLIN electrification as a freight upgrade, it seems likely that the money is coming from the budget for Strategic Freight works that we suggested might prove a possible source of funding in the previous article.

Elsewhere on the Overground, sources suggest that the plan to increase ELL and NLL 378s to 5-car units is now underway. Details so far are scarce, although this month’s Project Monitoring – Project Approvals document from TfL suggests an upper budget limit for the project of £250m. That’s unlikely to represent solely the cost of additional carriages, but also to include whatever signals and station work are required to support the scheme as well.

In terms of timescales, sources suggest that the current plan will see the ELL receive 5-car trains first, probably some time in the second quarter of 2014. Longer trains on the NLL would follow in 2015.

Readers with long memories (and those familiar with New Cross Depot) will remember that the current depot at New Cross and Silwood Sidings are not currently designed to take 5-car units. If the above timescales are to be met, and it is indeed South London rather than the likes of Willesden that will receive an upgrade, then the process of attaining planning permission from Lewisham would likely need to begin shortly. Again, it seems likely that the cost of improving facilities, wherever that will ultimately take place, has been factored into the £250m cost.

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There are 164 comments on this article
  1. Josh says:

    But after all that, then what?

  2. C says:

    Good news. Assuming NLL includes WLL too?

    Wouldn’t it create problems with diagramming in terms of not having 5 car trains on the DC route? Or could they be reliably ring-fenced as a 4 car fleet?

    I wonder what they’ll do with the Goblin in terms of passenger services. Aren’t new 172s on the way?

    Next I would expect an electric plan for Goblin. Clapham to Barking 4tph seems obvious. The problem would be Gospel Oak:
    1) pay for a fourth platform and footbridge
    2) Make it eastbound only
    3) Remove it from the Goblin route, with Hampstead Heath as the official interchange/split

    Another thing is considering if the 4tph to New Cross could be doing more. Either extension somewhere, or reallocation and closure.

  3. C says:

    Gospel Oak – I meant westbound only for my option 2).

  4. John Bull says:

    NLL does include WLL to my knowledge.

    No new 172s for the Gob unfortunately I suspect, as Bombardier seem to have effectively disowned them (hence why TfL were trying to source new DMUs). Boriswatch made an interesting suggestion on Twitter though, that maybe this means we’ll see a reworking (or potentially additions) to the 378 fleet to then cover the Goblin.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see people have picked up on the posts I’ve stuck in one or two places on line!

    I think we need a small bit of realism which is that we have to battle our way through the remainder of the 2013 Periodic Review process which lasts for another 15-18 months with Network Rail and ORR having lots of milestones to meet and possible battles along the way. The NR website sets out the broad timeline as well as recent documents on various aspects of ORR’s proposals for Control Period 5. Until GOBLIN electrification ends up in the CP5 list of required deliverables it isn’t going to happen no matter what encouraging words are said in conferences. The same will apply in respect of any 5 car works for the electrified lines. The other aspect I find surprising is the £50m price tag given the lengthy and detailed debate on required scope held on this blog a few months back. It’ll be great if it is now down to only £50m but I am a tad sceptical given no progress on the NR GRIP process.

    While it is nice that NR feel able to share remarks about GOBLIN electrification in an industry forum I fear it is all a bit premature. There is no sense that the politicians have caught up with this situation nor that there is (visible) co-ordination with TfL over rolling stock issues. We also need to bear in mind how anti Boris sentiment might play with the department who may object to Network Rail making a pre-emptive grab of freight funding for a scheme the DfT believes is entirely for TfL to fund (under the devolution regime the govt is implementing). There is a Mayor’s question next week on electrification and it will be interesting to see what the official reply is.

    I suspect that there will be several draw downs on the indicative £250m budget that is highlighted in the TfL forward approvals list. This will reflect the various stages of feasibility and design work that will be required to take forward both later physical and procurement activity. I want to see what the scope is when we get closer to a paper going to a planned approval meeting. For those already designing extra platforms at Gospel Oak we need to go back to what TfL put forward as its preferences for the Industry Plan. This kept 4 car 378s on the Watford DC and only enhanced the ELL, WLL and NLL fleets. It is too early to know quite how well loaded the new SLL service will be. Given it until Feb 2013! There was also no plan to extend GOBLIN services west of Gospel Oak or east of Barking despite people wanting this. Please note I really want the GOBLIN to be electrified but I am now wary of false optimism in this interminable saga. I want the politicians to start saying firm and positive things rather than regional directors of Network Rail.

  6. swirlythingy says:

    @JB: Could you clarify what you mean when you say “Bombardier seem to have effectively disowned them”?

    Off-topic, but related, whatever happened to those new 377s Southern announced its intention of ordering at a politically expedient moment?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Southerns trains are due in production in the latter half of 2012 according to the news story here:

  8. mr_jrt says:


    “Another thing is considering if the 4tph to New Cross could be doing more. Either extension somewhere, or reallocation and closure.”

    The problem with any extension is Lewisham. How about altering the link to instead connect the New Cross branch to the line to Deptford, thence onwards to Greenwich and perhaps Abbey Wood, with Crossrail providing service to Dartford beyond there.

  9. Belsize Parker says:

    There’s no mention of wiring up the Acton Wells connections in the article. Let’s hope the (apparently ground-breaking) reference to the GOBLIN wasn’t a case of mixing up two relatively obscure freight links in North London…

    A propos of the great Gospel Oak eastbound GOBLIN platform conundrum, I favour through running to (say) CJ and redesignating Hampstead Heath as the official interchange. Of course if they stick to GO-only (electric) shuttles, the issue doesn’t arise, but it feels distinctly sub-optimal to me.

  10. Greg Tingey says:

    The Gospel Oak stop must be kept.

    The clue is to be found in th title: “Southampton Arms” !!

  11. John Bull says:

    @JB: Could you clarify what you mean when you say “Bombardier seem to have effectively disowned them”?

    Mainly that, from what sources tell me, when TfL asked Bombardier what it would cost to lengthen the 172s, they were quoted a price that made it very clear Bombardier had no desire to do the work.

    That’s why they’ve been shopping round for new DMUs.

  12. Paul says:

    ‘Acton to Willesden’ electrification as an extension of the GW project was already announced by DfT in the HLOS for CP5. It’s absence from the article probably isn’t at all significant.

  13. Flippy says:

    And on the TfL Consultation website…..

    “Silwood Triangle Train Sidings
    Consultation on plans for TfL site at Silwood
    In line with the Mayor’s 2012 manifesto, London Overground trains will increase from four to five carriages by December 2014. To support these new, longer trains, we are proposing to build train sidings in Silwood Triangle.

    London Overground has become one of the UK’s most reliable rail services. As passenger numbers continue to rise, the service is approaching capacity. Demand on London Overground has grown by 110% in the last 4 years, 180% when the new East London Line is included. Capacity was doubled in 2010 to 2011 but trains are as full now as they were before. Further demand growth of 34% is forecast by 2020. To ensure London Overground continues to provide a high level of service as demand grows, Transport for London (TfL) is looking at ways to increase capacity. This continues our current investment programme, which will see the new connection from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction open in December 2012.



  14. The other Paul says:

    Given that the Gospel Oak junction would likely remain flat anyway, would a “Cambridge solution” be feasible to provide through services in both directions? The Eastbound at the West end and the Westbound at the East end, a crossover in the middle and a third bidirectional line retained to the North for freight traffic.

    The number of conflicting movements with the NLL across the junction would I think be the same; the westbound GOB would just instead cross the Eastbound NLL to the West of where the Eastbound NLL branches to the Eastbound GOB, rather than the other way around.

    Of course there are also the conflicting movements around the platform crossover itself; but those would seem fairly easy to manage around the timetabled stops of the trains at the platform.

  15. Greg Tingey says:

    I realise that “just getting GOBLIN eelectrified” is the short-term objective, but ….
    Once it IS electrified, then I can’t see the passenger service remaining a shuttle for long.
    The obvious & easy extension is down twards Grays & Tilbury.
    The Western extension(s) less so, if only because of pathing considerations.
    I would regard through to Willesden Jn LL as the easy thing to do ( ? )

  16. Fandroid says:

    It’s outside London, but note that dc/ac conversion seems to extend to Poole.

    I don’t know the Regional Director’s background, but Anonymous is right about politics. I know my fellow engineers can get quite excited about future projects while completely ignoring the reality in the form of the politics (despite previous experience – what a load of nice optimists we are!)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Poole makes more sense as it allows Poole to Manchester trains to be electric throughout. Southampton to Newcastle would have an annoying gap between Birmingham and Derby and Sheffield and Doncaster as Diesel.

  18. timbeau says:

    Unless the 45 year old third dc equipment between Basingstoke and Poole (not to mention the 25 year old equipment from there to Weymouth which would become a little dc exclave if this projject were to go ahead) , is completely life-expired and is due for wholsale replacement, I would have thought that adding 25kV OHLE to the existing dc system would be the cheaper and more versatile option than ripping one out. Presumably there will in any case be a transitional period when both systems are present, so the two have to be compatible.

  19. Chris says:

    The high price quoted by Bombardier is probably a combination of the small production run *and* considerable design work – apparently the 172 design is no longer suitable due to changes in crash and engine regulations since the last order.

  20. Fandroid says:

    For Basingstoke-Poole, there would have to be a serious fitting out of Class 444s & 450s with pantographs and transformers to make any use of the AC at all. I don’t see the freight operators suddenly investing in loads of new electric locos just yet. I assume the dates that Nick Elliot quotes are for planning and design starts.

    Interestingly, there is some vigorous utility laying work going on beside the Basingstoke-Reading line. I did hear in the general guff that accompanied the ‘Electric Spine’ announcement that Bramley was seen as the main feeder for the GWML electrification. If it’s the same Bramley, that makes some sense as there is a massive National Grid switching station there. Perhaps that drove the NR wonks to decide on electrifying the Basingstoke-Reading line, as it had not been mentioned in previous announcements about the GWML. I’m adding guesses to guesses here, as that utility work could be anything but a power cable!

    By the way, Reading station rebuild is coming on in leaps and bounds. It’s passed out of that classic construction phase of looking like a complete shambles, and is rapidly looking like a station again. For nostalgia buffs, one odd result of the new station arrangement is that it looks as if the old Reading South and Reading General split will be resurrected with two ticket offices, one mostly serving Waterloo line traffic, the other mostly serving GWML traffic.

    At Gospel Oak, could they put an island platform in on the line of the current westbound through track, and extend the existing platform track westwards to join the westbound route just before the junction? It probably all depends on where else they could turn trains round, as currently GO is the only place where reversing trains can stand out of the way of through traffic.

  21. Belsize Parker says:

    @ Greg… Can’t fault the Southampton Arms, but in that case you should be lobbying for the reopening of Highgate Road station!

    @ Fandroid…The island platform idea is worth exploring. Risking the wrath of the Heath & Hampstead Society by building the putative eastbound GOBLIN platform out over the sacred space of the Heath is not something even Boris would attempt. Putting it on ‘stilts’ would add enormously to the cost as well. Plus the island platform has the almost inevitable effect of forcing electric GOBLIN trains out on to the ‘main line’, with all the intriguing possibilities (CJ, Willesden LL and beyond, Ealing Broadway LUL platforms?) that this raises.

  22. Slugabed says:

    Re Gospel Oak,I think there would be room to put an Eastbound Goblin platform in,without violating the existing property boundary,and prefabricated concrete sections supported on pilings into the embankment shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive,if the will is there.What will cost is providing access (including a lift) to the new platform,and I’m not sure whether there is space beyond the bridge over Gordon House Rd/Mansfield Rd to house the lift tower and landing….
    I have had a thought on the Westbound platform,though.Might it be advantageous to connect the West end of the terminating track back to the Westbound through track before the junction with the NLL and its attendant signal,thus creating a “passenger loop” enabling both terminating and through Goblin trains to sit,without blocking the path of through freight….?

  23. Jeremy says:

    Belsize Parker: Having just moved from Ealing to Crouch End, I’d very much enjoy the GOBLIN being extended through to Ealing Broadway for those occasional trips back. The Willesden Jn – Ealing link I believe would be well used. Possibly too well.

    However, the track layout at Ealing Broadway would be a right pain in the behind – access to the two heavily-used Central line platforms cutting off potential access to the three more lightly-used District Line ones from the NR side of things.

  24. mr_jrt says:

    Gospel Oak could probably get it’s platforms within the boundaries by altering the road bridge over Gordon House Road, either with an actual full rebuild or by just widening it with an additional deck adjacent to the south of the current one, enabling the westbound line to approach at a straighter or more southerly alignment, and then replacing the eastbound track with a new platform. Depending on how wide you make those bridge alterations, you could probably still also manage a single loop line for recessing freight.

  25. Belsize Parker says:

    @ Jeremy: I am sure you’re right about the approach to Ealing Broadway, especially given the increased frequency of Crossrail trains over the section west of Acton Wells junction. The ideal solution would be some sort of dive-under(s) allowing Overground services from Willesden Junction to access the District Line platforms without fouling either the Central Line or the Crossrail/GWML ‘through’ services (given that six-tracking under the station raft appears to be a non-starter). Doubtless TfL and NR will decide that it is far simpler not to bother with Ealing Broadway (and access from the NLL to Heathrow via Crossrail) at all than create a decent, interconnected cross-London Overground system.

    In similar vein, would it be asking too much to re-propose the creation of an interchange between an electrified, joined-up GOBLIN and the Northern Line at Tufnell Park? In my experience, the heaviest traffic flows on the orbital lines are to and from interchanges with ‘radials’, as at Highbury and West Hampstead. A revamped, higher-frequency GOBLIN will create excessive demand on these existing nodes, unless something is done to ease the pressure. If we’re still in shoe-string mode, a simple two-platform ‘halt’ at the west end of Station Road (!) and a ‘signposted’ 200-metre OSI to the Tube would surely be better than nothing. It would hardly be further than the currently ‘signposted’ Tube and (soon-to-be) Overground interchange at Clapham High Street.

  26. timbeau says:


    there might be a solution to that by slewing the Central Line over to use one of the District’s platforms, freeing up a Central Line platform for the Overground. To avoid conflicts with the GWML down relief, one or maybe two separate tracks from Acton to Ealing would probably be necessary – there appears to be room for this on the existing trackbed, unobstructedunless the recently-completed new bridge carrying the North Circular Road over the Central and GWML has plonked a pier down in between them.

  27. Anonymous says:

    A question at a slight tangent. With all the talk of electrification and the Acton Wells line being part of the GW scheme does anyone know if the Dudden Hill Line will be wired given it links MML to NLL / GWML? If the aim is to bolster electric hauled freight it might be a sensible move to string up the wires on this link. And I know we’ve done the “passenger trains on the DH line” thing before but a wired link could, with some imagination, provide additional orbital services. If the Brent Cross redevelopment does go ahead then some clever intervention could provide turn back facilities for a service over the DH line at Brent Cross / Cricklewood. A rail service would also take pressure off roads that will be even more overstretched. Ealing Broadway to Brent Cross or Richmond to Brent Cross – I can dream I suppose!

  28. Glen K says:

    On an overground related note (and forgive me if this has been covered before) – does anybody know why the Stratford to Clapham Junction train is always getting into Shepherd’s Bush/Kensington O/ Clapham 5-10 min late (in the morning at least…)?

  29. Chris says:

    I’d be surprised if there was a case for wiring the Dudding Hill line, i imagine the majority of electric hauled freight will avoid London altogether and use East-West Rail.


  30. David S says:

    One of the questions in relation to the cost and the benefits of electrification of the GOBLIN line is of course how much of a benefit could be squeezed out of the line if all the upgrades took place . So, if electrification and longer trains with a more frequent service was all to happen , I am wondering how much passenger increase could be generated? Could it really be a signficant section of the LO or is it likely still to remain a bit of a disjointed part of the London rail network.

  31. Long Branch Mike says:

    There are not many good interchanges between the GOBLIN & the radial tube lines, which is really limiting GOBLIN’s effectiveness. All Out of Station Interchanges should be indicated on the Tube Map for all Overground lines for more use of the latter.

  32. Greg Tingey says:

    Two points
    David S
    The GOBLIN is seriously (to the point of danger, amost) overcrowded now in the peak, especially Westbound AM – I mean 167 people ina 64 seat coach!
    Even with 4-car tains running every 15 minutes, do you really want even more piling on?
    Mind you, I’m assuming a service NOT restricted to the present artificial termini.

    It was originally Dudden Hill (see “Cobb”) & the local area is called Dudden …
    another railway mis-naming, rather like Eaglescliffe/Egglescliffe.

    Never mind links with the “tubes” what about GOBLIN links with the “main” lines?
    GER – none at all (Woodgrange Park / Manor Park – forget it)
    Ex-GER @ Leytonstone ??
    Walthamstow – this saga is still being dragged out & no sign of any work being underway yesterday.
    Tottenham Hale / South NO – but S Tott / 7 Sisters is suprisingly close IF you know how to do it – but, given the very busy road crossings, probably no easier or quicker than the Walthamstow non-interchange @ present.
    GNR @ Haringay/Harringay GL – quite a long trot
    And, connection with one of the T&HJtRlys owning companies, the Midland – non-existent now.

    Of course, the absence of a Piccadilly line station between Manor House & Turnpike Lane is a real anomaly, anyway.

  33. Anonymous says:

    @ David S – The GOBLIN is busy and has had growing patronage for years and years. I have not experienced the worst of the rush hour crush but it does get stupidly overloaded. On Saturday morning there were 40 people waiting for a w/b train at Blackhorse Rd but that might have been exaggerated by the Vic Line closure. Even on Saturday evening the train was full and standing after Upper Holloway heading to Barking. People have to shove themselves in at Blackhorse Rd in the PM peak in order to get on the train. I am sure that if trains were extended to 4 cars that they would soon fill up as the other Overground lines have. The current set up is not sustainable and TfL’s forecasts show chronic peak overcrowding levels which makes you wonder how they’d describe today’s peak crowding?!

    I note the comments about lack of connections to other lines which is true but nonetheless a number of the connections are not too bad and relatively easy to walk. I would like to see a couple of extra stations added to the line although you’d need electric traction to give improved acceleration and braking performance so as to minimise the impact on journey times from extra stops. I am not sure it is a “disjointed” line given it links directly to 3 tube lines and to the main Overground link. Many other lines are a short stroll away. If it was completely unconnected to any line then I might well agree with the “disjointed” term. The line is popular because it is pretty quick and it *does* link to other services.

  34. Glenn Wallis, Assistant Secretary, BGOLUG says:

    BGOLUG is aware of the Rail Engineer article and is continuing to seek some confirmation/clarification from Network Rail. So far all we have been told initially is: “The High Level Output Specification published by Government in July 2012 did not include electrification of the Gospel Oak-Barking Line. In view of that, Network Rail cannot confirm that this scheme will be taken forward during the next Control Period.”

    I think reopening Junction Road station as Tufnell Park has been a BGOLUG aspiration for longer than the Walthamstow stations pedestrian link.

    Combining Seven Sisters and South Tottenham stations was proposed just after WWII but nothing came of it.

    The latest projection for the Walthamstow Central – Walthamstow Queen’s Road stations pedestrian link is now next May, about a year late, thanks to delays in Network Rail approvals and on the redevelopment of Walthamstow Central car park site.

    New stations have also been mooted at Leyton Bakers Arms and Leytonstone Cann Hall Road.

  35. mdb says:

    If it does fall to TFL having to pay for the electrification, could they not recoup some of the money from the track access charges to the freight operators through Network Rail or would that be too complex to arrange?

  36. Anonymous says:

    @ GW – I am not surprised that Network Rail is non committal. The response you quote is exactly what I would expect from them at this stage in the CP5 process. Bakers Arms and Junction Rd are certainly the two candidates I had in mind.

    @ mdb – I am happy to be corrected but the problem is that there is no direct contractual relationship between TfL and the freight companies in respect of access charges. I doubt there is even a contractual relationship between TfL and Network Rail in respect of the GOBLIN. Track access charges would be paid by LOROL (TfL’s contractor) to Network Rail who are the infrastructure operator and owner. The only case where there might have been a precedent is the major work to upgrade the Overground network where I believe most of the funding for the enhancement work came from TfL with some from the ODA. The issue of how money moved and how the improvements to the NR asset base were remunerated (or not) via access charges must have been addressed. I haven’t seen anything that explains how the Government’s devolution proposals work in the context of railway finances and regulation.

  37. ngh says:

    Presumably as the possibility of Goblin electrification was originally proposed and detailed discussions between parties were occurring outside the normal CP planning process (as funding coming from some non DfT sources) presumably it got left out of the other CP5 discussions as work could have started in CP4? I can’t see any other way it could suddenly come back from the dead so quickly.

    I get the feeling that TfL still don’t get the hints that they are being invited to cough up for a reasonable bit of it yet.

    If electrification is freight only, SDO will definitely be needed making loading and unloading interesting at some stations at busy times. Is this an indirect message to TfL to pay for the platform extensions soon as well?

  38. Belsize Parker says:

    @ngh You’ve hit the nail on the head. The suspiciously low price-tag (£50 million rather than £90 million) points to a ‘freight only’ electrification, without 4-car (5-?) platform extensions or new electric rolling-stock (and certainly without resolution of the Gospel Oak conundrum or reopening of much-needed stations). Just imagine BGOLUG’s frustration if they’re still riding in packed two-car diesel shuttles under the barely used wires come 2016! No wonder everybody concerned is being so tight-lipped and unwilling to confirm anything: a minimalist scheme will actually produce less goodwill than doing nothing at all (which means that either nothing will happen or Boris will have to stump up). Will be interesting to see how it pans out.

  39. Anonymous says:

    From “DB Schenker to serve London Gateway”: Modern Railways August 2012 ; p20

    “DBS is pressing for electrification of the Tottenham & Hampstead route to Gospel Oak as a gradient on that line precludes operation of long trains with diesel locomotives.”

  40. citybus says:

    In an ideal world they would build a freight line that bypasses London altogether, thus allowing the GOBLIN to have a proper turn up & go frequency. I think if that ever happens they should consider scratching Gospel Oak as a terminus and instead have it go to Kings Cross or St Pancras instead, maybe continuing through these stations to other parts of town. Am I misguided for thinking this?

  41. Anonymous says:

    @ Ngh @ belsizeparker – The alleged estimate of £50m is almost certainly just for NR works. NR would not be quoting for rolling stock costs as they don’t run them nor are responsible for the level of service frequency specified for the GOBLIN. The bit I am a bit suspicious about is whether more detailed scoping and costing work has happened. The GRIP process of refining requirements, scope, metholodogy and cost was / is (?) stalled over arguments as to who pays for the next stage of the process. This is back to the age old game of “payment ping pong” where the words “TfL”, “Network Rail”, “DfT”, “Freight Companies” all get bandied back and forth with no one taking the lead. Does anyone know if that process has been “unstuck”?

    I would be very surprised if Network Rail were scoping a freight only scheme – to me it feels counter intuitive given there is a huge amount of stakeholder pressure for electrified passenger services and the need for such is clearly set out in industry documents which are used in the 2013 Periodic Review process.

  42. Long Branch Mike says:


    I agree, there is the exciting possibility of extending the GOBLIN to the HS1 and/or HS2 termini at St Pancras & Euston respectively, as well as to continue further south into central London, once the GOBLIN frequency issue is resolved and GOBLIN platforms lengthened. It could connect with a Euston-Holborn-Waterloo axis that has been pondered.

    There’s an obvious need for more north-south capacity, given the overcrowding & capacity limitations on the Northern Line’s both branches.

  43. Malcolm says:

    The idea of extending Goblin to central London strikes me as slightly bonkers. The line already suffers from being neither radial nor orbital, sort of in-between, and connecting places that are not particularly keen on being connected. Space in central London terminals is a scarce resource, and it must be used carefully.

  44. mr_jrt says:


    I agree wholeheartedly.

    What I would like to see are Richmond-Barking and Clapham-Stratford orbital services at high frequencies. The bottleneck will be between Willesden Junction and Gospel Oak…but I think something along the lines of 6tph on either branch (resulting in 12tph between WJ and GO) should be quite doable, and given 5 car units, should offer plenty of capacity.

    Coupled with an ELL extension from H&I to WJ via Primrose Hill, that should sort things out for quite some time.

  45. Chris says:

    Is it possible that NR are funding the electrification, perhaps Paisley Canal style with short neutral sections under tight bridges, and letting TfL fund, partially or wholly, the improvements needed for passenger services.


  46. Nathanael says:

    I’m going to guess that the “electrification train” is likely what’s bringing costs down. Apparently having an automated system planting poles and stringing wire is a massive savings. (Even though it can’t handle low overgrade bridges and so those areas still have to be done by hand.)

    Now that it’s confirmed that Network Rail will be buying/making one for the Great Western electrification, they are presumably going to use it for *all* electrification projects.

  47. Nathanael says:

    “Unless the 45 year old third dc equipment between Basingstoke and Poole (not to mention the 25 year old equipment from there to Weymouth which would become a little dc exclave if this projject were to go ahead) , is completely life-expired and is due for wholsale replacement,”

    By the time the 45-year-old third-rail equipment is actually replaced I’m pretty sure it will be completely life expired. 50 years is a typical lifespan for that sort of stuff.

  48. Greg Tingey says:

    If, as you claim, GOBLIN is: “neither radial nor orbital”
    Then why does it cross EIGHT main & tube radial lines?
    AND ” …. and connecting places that are not particularly keen on being connected. ”
    Then, why is it so crowded & overloaded?

    Please try harder to engage with reality?

  49. answer=42 says:


    Malcolm is right.

    GOBLIN intersects with the ex-NLL at Gospel Oak, right? NLL is indeed (part of) a (soon to be) orbital line. GOBLIN does not follow the same path as NLL/ELL/SLL. Therefore the two lines cannot be the same orbit (although GOBLIN could still be an elliptical orbit).

    The real crunch is if you extended GOBLIN along the same path indefinitely (as some posters seem to suggest). Would the Gospel Oak end eventually meet up with the Barking end? If not, GOBLIN cannot be an orbital, no matter how eccentric.

    I suggest that, at some point, the infinite extention from Gospel Oak would eventually pass through Central London, having done a few loops previously. This would make the GOBLIN neither a radial nor an orbital but a SPIRAL line.

    Remember, you read it first here.


  50. Anonymous says:

    Surely in terms of rail service we have two types of service? Those which start in / end at / cross the central area are radial lines. Services which do not do that, regardless of whether they make a “circle”, are orbital. Therefore all tube lines and all NR services which reach a London Terminal are radial. London Overground services are orbital with the exception of the Euston – Watford route. DLR is a mix with all lines being radial except the Stratford International route which cannot serve Central London.

    As Greg says the fact the GOBLIN is full to bursting point shows it serves a useful purpose regardless of what terminology people want to stick on it. While people might aspire to very high frequency services there seems to be some collective amnesia occurring with regard to historic rights to freight paths. I know work is happening to try to move freight out of the London orbital routes but it will be a long while before the FOCs relinquish their rights to paths and therefore Network Rail will be required to preserve paths thus limiting the potential for expanded passenger services. If you were DB Schenker or Freightliner would you give up long standing rights to paths? Nope – too valuable.

  51. Rich says:

    @ mr_jrt What I would like to see are Richmond-Barking and Clapham-Stratford orbital services at high frequencies.

    I admit to being horribly biased here and maybe not thinking strategically, but I wouldn’t be happy losing my Richmond (well, actually Gunnersbury, but same difference) to H&I/Dalston/Stratford direct services, and being forced to change at one of the miserable, dark, cramped and mostly uncovered stations in the WJ-GO section!

    In such an instance, I would be much keener on an opposite Richmond-Stratford and Clapham J-Barking service (Partly also on the logic that i guess Clapham J passengers would probably go via SLL and change if they are going to Stratford or could through to H&I that way)

  52. mr_jrt says:


    Naturally, those were merely indicative options. given the two track section, a 3tph matrix of:

    …covers all the bases. The patterns I suggested were just a nice logical pattern to help both passengers and TfL’s the mappers.

    There would be an excellent case for upgrading WIJ to restore the 3rd high-level platform and provide a better roof if it were to become a more heavily-used interchange, and perhaps the same could be said of GPO as well…

    With reference to the freight paths, at 6tph this should leave plenty of paths on the NLL to Camden Road, and the conflicting movement to run via Primrose Hill shouldn’t be too problematic. There’s room for a couple of freight loops between the NLL and WCML, and probably a spot or two on the NLL where the line could have a 5th or 6th track added to provide others.

  53. timbeau says:

    Answer = 42

    “GOBLIN intersects with the ex-NLL at Gospel Oak, right? NLL is indeed (part of) a (soon to be) orbital line. GOBLIN does not follow the same path as NLL/ELL/SLL. Therefore the two lines cannot be the same orbit (although GOBLIN could still be an elliptical orbit).”

    But by the same argument Willesden to Richmond isn’t an orbital, and nor is Dalston to Stratford,

    “if you extended GOBLIN along the same path indefinitely (as some posters seem to suggest). Would the Gospel Oak end eventually meet up with the Barking end?”

    You’d go a long way beyond Clapham Junction (or Richmond) before you reached Stratford!

    The Circle Line meets the definition of a radial in that it starts in Zone 1 and goes outside. and as Shoreditch High Street is in Zone 1, so does the east London section of the Overground’s “orbital” route.

  54. Anonymous says:

    If memory serves wasn’t Stratford-CJ and Barking-Richmond the original proposal put forward prior to Overground development (together with Stratford-Queens Park and Bakerloo to Watford)?

    As for Goblin Line being radial/orbital, surely this is tangential!

  55. Malcolm says:

    This orbital/radial business is getting a bit silly. Sorry I mentioned it. They’re not very clear-cut categories, but most people generally know one when they see one. I was only trying to indicate one possible reason why perhaps the Goblin line is a bit left-out when it comes to handing out the party bags. I quite accept that it is crowded at times, and of course something should be done about that if possible. Where it should come in the pecking order for improvements is anyone’s guess. Or rather, it should be put in an appropriate place in the pecking order by someone in posession of all the relevant information. (Which category includes me out).

  56. Evergreenlondon says:

    Where was the 3rd high level platform at Willesden Junction?

  57. Chris says:

    This fantastic image on Flickr should give you a clue – its looking south.

  58. mr_jrt says:

    Indeed, there used to be two lines running through the station on the eastern side, and a platform was built to serve this (known as “The Earls Court Bay”, apparently, as this was the WLL platform, the main NLL route of course being to Richmond). The only traces of it nowadays are probably the change in the brickwork on the abutments over the new lines and on the far side over the WCML.

  59. mr_jrt says:

    …the 1936 map of Willesden Junction on is quite helpful here.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Not sure I’m happy with the Circle Line being referenced as a radial or orbital – it is a spiral. It really should be called the spiral line…..

  61. answer=42 says:

    I’m not sure I agree with you about the spiral nature of the so-called ‘Circle’ Line. A train coming from the Hammersmith end is captured into a stable orbit, one admittedly elliptical or even ovoid. One coming from the Edgware Road end, presumably an S7, must accelerate sufficiently to escape orbit.

    “The Circle Line meets the definition of a radial in that it starts in Zone 1 and goes outside. and as Shoreditch High Street is in Zone 1, so does the east London section of the Overground’s “orbital” route.”
    ‘fraid not. Just because a trajectory passes through a given circle does not make it radial. Think of a comet’s eccentric orbit. As said above, the Circle’s orbit is ovoid, or egg-shaped. The ‘neo-Outer Circle’ is elliptical and, as Olympia is further from the centre than Shoreditch HS, eccentric. Enough about eggs.

  62. anonnymouse says:

    @ citybus

    Not exactly misguided in thinking of diverting GOBLIN trains away from Gospel Oak to a different terminus. Indeed, trains did at one time go via Kentish Town as pointed out on another thread.
    With the pending joining-up of the Great Northern route to form an expanded Thameslink franchise, however, I’m afraid through-running of ex-GOBLIN trains through the St Pancras low-level platforms and through the Thameslink ‘core’ will not be possible once the 24tph service gets underway in 2016 (?).
    Diverting into King’s Cross would be feasible, though, as First Capital Connect services that currently terminate at King’s Cross will no longer go there, utilising instead the tunnel that was constructed to link the GN route to the current Thameslink route. So plenty of paths would exist into King’s Cross. New infrastructure would be needed, though, and trains would also conflict with those on the NLL Overground, so I think it’s unlikely to happen. Even if it were to happen, passengers in the KX area wanting stations beyond Blackhorse Road would still find it quicker to take the Victoria Line (with 4 intermediate stops) and change there, rather than a slow circuituous service that calls at 6 intermediate stops !

  63. Slugabed says:

    Talking of Orbitals,Circles and Willesden Junction,it occurred to me while reading mr_jrt’s post that there would be scope for an Overground “Middle Circle” service.This could perhaps run from Willesden Jct via Olympia and Earl’s Court to the bays at High Street Ken.
    This would provide some connectivity,as well as resolving the District Line’s indecision about serving Olympia when there isn’t an event on.
    There’s probably a technical reason why this is not simple,but third rail trains (Overground ones,even) run on 4-rail track on the Wimbledon and Richmond branches….

  64. timbeau says:

    Slugabed – nothing new under the sun –

    until 1940 there was just such a service: an LMS-operated Willesden – Earls Court shuttle. This was the rump of the Victorian “Outer Circle” service from Broad Street to Mansion House* operated by the North London Railway. There was also:

    – a Middle Circle: Mansion House – Olympia – Latimer Road – Moorgate (using a spur between the WLL and H&C now obliterated by the Westway)

    – Outer Circle : Mansion House – Olympia – Willesden – West Hampstead – Broad Street
    a Super Outer Circle: Mansion House – Turnham Green – (another long-gone spur) – South Acton – Dudding Hill – Cricklewood – St Pancras.

    Most of these succumbed to competition from the more direct deep-level tubes in the Edwardian era and, particularly on the Mansion House – Earls Court and Moorgate – Baker Street sections, an increase in longer-distance traffic to Hounslow, Rickmansworth, etc which squeezed out these low-patronage services.

    *originally to Victoria (“the Brighton Line”) via Battersea, before the connection between Earls Court and at Olympia was built

  65. Marc M says:

    On a Overground related note I recently came across a report commissioned by the chingford line user group which sets out independent analysis of the future options for the lea valley lines and the current services departing from the Stratford platforms right next to the overground. As noted in your previous article TFL have aspirations of operating a metro (overground??) service as far as brimsdown on this line

    There is some useful evidence of the rising demand on this current 2tph service on this line, they report that the business case for reopening of lea bridge station is nearing completion in time to access the s106 westfield money to get the station built and they also are reporting important stakeholder views on possible three tracking of sections of the WAML to facilitate a reliable and intensive service

    On the hall farm curve, linking the lea valley with walthamstow and chingford they conclude that the higher priority is the lea valley services and dont recommend unless loadings on the line force an intervention. They do think a quick win will be the (re)building of the hackney interchange linking downs and central stations to give chingford passengers an ability to access stratford that way.

    the report was published in June 2012 but have seen little discussion of it so thought id share

  66. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Marc M

    The Lea March report is interesting, albeit not that clear. The maps have many many coloured lines with no explanation or legend, so it’s difficult to follow.

  67. Alan Griffiths says:

    Anonymous09:22AM, 18th October 2012

    ” DLR is a mix with all lines being radial except the Stratford International route which cannot serve Central London. ”

    Except for a mate of mine’s daily work journey which involves changing at Stratford International in order to travel from Woolcwich Arsenal to St . Pancras and back!

  68. Anonymous says:

    All these suggestions are fascinating. Sadly, unless something (and I can’t think of anything of the top of my head) is done to stop the ridiculous exponential growth in the London population, no amount of longer/more frequent trains, wider roads, clowns’ bicycles or other transport schemes will ever manage to prop it up. Let’s not delude ourselves, our capital is choking to death on the very overcrowding it encouraged. Never thought I’d say it but I’m glad to be well out of it.

  69. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Anonymous 07.20PM

    Even the Soviets couldn’t control the massive population growth of Moscow in their 70ish years of power. The alternatives – more cross London rail lines for maximum efficiency, more optimization of existing infrastructure, and more auto restrictions ie Congestion Zone Charge areas for less congested bus travel.

  70. Alex F. says:

    Do you think TfL will act smart and enlarge platforms and depot for at least 6 car trains? Otherwise they will have to do the same thing every 3-4 years…

  71. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous 07.20PM

    In theory HS2.

  72. timbeau says:

    “daily work journey which involves changing at Stratford International in order to travel from Woolcwich Arsenal to St . Pancras and back”

    Is that really quicker than going via London Bridge? “Journey Planner” actually suggests the quickest way of all is by DLR and Northern, changing at Bank

  73. Anonymous says:

    Simple ways to expand the LOROL network

    – of 4 trains per hour to Stratford, extent two to Tottenham Hale and two to Chingford

    – Of 4 trains per hour to New Cross, extend two to Blackheath and two to Bromley North – to Blackheath via Lewisham, to Bromley North avoiding Lewisham

    And a big missed opportunity?

    Why no interchange with the Central Line at Shoreditch High Street? Would really link up many different parts of London to ELL

    And why not extend the Barking to Gosepl Oak service to Ealing Broadway via Willesden Junction?

  74. Gordon says:

    GOBLIN to Kings Cross – @ anonnymouse. Point taken about connections east of Blackhorse Road (sorry Greg); further west one would use Harringay for KX/Moorgate – and South Tottenham to Seven Sisters is so close that TfL have it as an Oyster Out of Station Interchange I think.

    The local terrain makes it difficult too: the GOBLIN rises at 1 in 100 westward, and the distance from Harringay Green Lanes to the bridge under the ECML is 0.5 km. That makes the required gradient to a junction with the ECML about 1 in 50, not good for freight. Several dozen houses (tho’ not mine!) would be casualties,a slice of Finsbury Park might be taken and a B-road would need to be severed – we don’t do new level crossings, do we? So no, it’s not a runner in almost any circumstance.

  75. mr_jrt says:


    Those aren’t simple ways of expanding the network at all…you seem to have completely neglected the problem that is Lewisham and its sea of flat junctions. Not to mention that the line between New Cross and Lewisham is essentially full.

    …hence my suggestion of using the line via Deptford – you would still have an interchange with the DLR at Greenwich.

    The Chingford/Tottenham Hale notions are sound though, though when the add more tracks to Broxbourne the local service will have to come from somewhere. The 6tph I mooted earlier would enable 3tph to both, and if it could be managed, 8tph to each primary branch (making 16tph between WIJ and GPO) would enable the holy grail of 4tph to each minor branch.

    …and the lack of an interchange station at Shoreditch High Street has been done to death. The Central is too full to be able to handle it right now. There’s no point slowing down the service for everyone east of Liverpool Street if no-one’s going to be able to get on the trains anyway! I’m sure in time it will be revisited once Crossrail has been running for a few years.

  76. Mark Townend says:

    @Marc M

    The Lea Valley report reiterates the impossibility of trying to use one pair of tracks for a turn up and go all stations service as well as limited stop trains from further afield, and accepts that a 4TPH equal interval stopping service will require additional infrastructure. I think the most useful option would be to extend the DLR from Stratford International through to Brimsdown (or even further), allowing intermediate main line platforms at Northumberland Park, Angel Road and Ponders End to close hence increasing capacity for longer distance trains. The steeper climbing abilities of Light Rail could allow a fairly short rail fly-over or fly-under across the road at Northumberland Park, whilst the removal of heavy rail calls there could reduce barrier down time at the remaining crossing. A road flyover at Brimsdown might be feasible, as only a small number commercial warehouse type buildings would be affected by a route south of the station.

  77. Ratty says:

    On the subject of longer trains, I noticed today they are extending the platform at Gipsy Hill on the Crystal Palace to Victoria line. Is this a one off, or the start of taking that line to 10 car? I seem to remember that being recommended in the RUS.

  78. Paul says:

    As far as I can work out Gypsy Hill is just one of many routes/stations in the SN metro area currently being extended to 10 car. Similar projects are underway in all three south London franchise areas, it is all part of the CP4 funded works, due for completion by spring 2014 or earlier.

  79. The other Paul says:

    Back to Gospel Oak.

    As many have pointed out, the big expense of the e/b platform would not be the platform itself, but providing access to it.

    That’s why I suggested the Cambridge Solution, which no-one has commented on.

    To summarise –
    – Lengthen the platform
    – Add a Cambridge crossover in the middle
    – Bi-directional freight line to the north
    – Junction with NLL can be laid out so that there are no additional conflicting movements with the NLL (versus there being a normal e/b platform).
    – Crossover conflicts managed around timetabled stops
    – No need for new lift/subway/bridge or anything. Not even a new platform 🙂

    Untidy possibly, but cheap n easy. It’d at least get it up and running.

  80. The other Paul says:

    I’d also say that the “big money” option at Gospel Oak, rather than going on expensive access to a new platform, should be to divert the westbound GOB to create a grade separated junction such that the westbound GOB ends up sharing the platform with the westbound NLL, with the Eastbound GOB using the current GOB platform.

    With the elevated nature of both railways and the industrial use of the land between them, this isn’t as onerous as it might sound. East of the station, a section of the e/b NLL would have to be moved onto a new viaduct to the North of the current one, perhaps raising it slightly. The w/b GOB would leave its current path at the sharp curve, with an initially gentler curve, and incline down to loop below the new viaduct before rising up to join the w/b NLL.

    Observe from the air:

    Thus we get a fully grade separated junction with no need for a new platform or access to it, plus as a bonus w/bound passengers only have one platform to wait on.

  81. Alan Griffiths says:

    timbeau09:35PM, 19th October 2012

    “Is that really quicker than going via London Bridge? “Journey Planner” actually suggests the quickest way of all is by DLR and Northern, changing at Bank”

    My mate thinks so and he also finds it less hectic and crowded. Never needed to try it myself.

  82. Fandroid says:

    It looks very tight for a grade-separated junction at Gospel Oak. The e/b NLL would have to start rising from the eastern end of the e/b platform and the w/b GOBLIN would have to swing to the left before the rightward curve needed to squeeze under the new viaduct. It must be simpler just to make the GOBLIN platform a through w/b one, and move the existing e/b GOBLIN line over to make room for a new platform. A bridge with steps would then connect with the rest of the station and wheelchair access be provided by a new entrance on the north side. Slightly cheaper than shifting viaducts around!

  83. Ian Sergeant says:

    There are a number of requirements here, with different benefit to cost ratios (BCRs) and, more than likely, different people paying the bill if they are funded:

    1) Electrification to support freight (likely to be funded by NR);
    2) Longer passenger trains/electric trains (TfL. I would assume that these would happen together at some point if we heard officially that 1) were funded);
    3) Infrastructure changes to support extension of passenger services beyond Gospel Oak (TfL);
    4) Improved interchanges with radial routes (e.g. new station at intersection with Piccadilly) (TfL).

    It is correct to analyse these as separate requirements as they will clearly have different BCRs. Personally, I will be delighted if we see commitment to 1) and 2) in CP5.

  84. The other Paul says:


    Are you really going to have a subway connecting the entrance to the current platforms and then a footbridge connecting to the new one? Even ignoring the fact that would make a terrible mess of a station I reckon the local opposition would kill any footbridge dead. No-one wants their view of the heath marred by what would be a huge footbridge on an already elevated railway.

    A new entrance on the North side? In addition to the existing one? Can’t see that flying either; TfL will want a single entrance and gateline for revenue protection. Plus it’d have to be on Heath land which will likely generate even more opposition.

    No, the only feasible plan for an extra platform – whether island or North side – will involve ripping up the railway to extend the subway underneath. A hugely costly and disruptive undertaking. If you’re going to spend that sort of money you may as well go for the tight but feasible grade separation – much greater benefit and lower cost of ownership.

  85. Whiff says:

    @anonymous – 7:20 19th October

    Slowing down the growth of London will only happen when national government finds a way to reduce the reliance of the rest of the country on the south-east and it’s financial services sector which is rather beyond the scope of this blog. There are other things, though, that can be done to reduce congestion in London, particularly in the centre, though again transport only plays a tangential role in most of these. Firstly people could work from home more and thus reduce the number of people commuting. Secondly more people could work outside the centre of London which London Overground is helping to encourage. Thirdly something could be done to try and reduce the ridiculous distance that many people commute to work. (Not sure this could be done apart from building houses nearer to the main working centres but Dagenham Dock is the only potential example I can think of.)

    Unfortunately @other anonymous – 9:13 HS2 is just another radial line bringing people into the centre of London so in the long-term is unlikely to do anything to reduce congestion. In fact the probable result will be to make it possible for people to commute from Birmingham to London.

    And yes the discussion about radial versus orbital lines did become rather silly but one important point was missed. Surely a radial line is one that terminates in the middle. Therefore if it’s useful to categorise lines then a different word is needed to describe the lines that go through the centre and come out the other side.

    And as for Shoreditch High Street – the reasons for the lack of interchange are well-known but I’ve never read whether any ‘future-proofing’ was done or would any new platforms on the Central Line have to be built from scratch.

  86. mr_jrt says:


    There’s not a lot that could be done at SHS without disrupting the Central line, so short of planning for where a escalator down to a tube ticket hall would go (and building the station’s foundations so as not to cause problems!), there’s little that could be done in advance I suspect.

  87. Quinlet says:

    While the enthusiasm for building on an electrified GOBLIN is fascinating, there is a further piece of evidence which strengthens the sceptics’ argumnt that perhaps not all has yet been decided. Elsewhere in the Rail Engineer article it mentions a 2016 start for electrification of the ‘Hope Valley line from Sheffield to Mansfield'(sic). The Hope Vally line, of course, does not go anywhere near Mansfield, which lie south east of Sheffield. Instead it runs west to Manchester. It would be a sensible candidate for electrification but certainly isn’t on the books yet. Nor, of course, is there any suggestion of an electrifid link between Sheffield and Mansfield.

    If the article can be that far out in this case, how reliable is it elsewhere?

  88. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian S. & others.
    No-one seems to speculate on extending GOBLIN Eastwards if/when electrified, which really suprises me, especially given the interchanging done at Barking.
    Quite a lot of people come up the ramp at the “town” end of the station, and given the relatively infrequent Tilbury – Barking service, starting GOBLIN’s from Grays (or somewhere, would make sense.
    If you want a Sheffiled-Manchester electrified line, then re-open one of the most stupid and ridiculous closures ever …
    The Woodhead route.

    As for GO …
    IF you are going to run past there, with extended services, then the obvious answer is a new island platform, reducing back to 2 tracks, with a acissors x-over @ the East end, & reversible working between HH & Jn Rd Jn …..
    Access by foot bridge OR tunnel.

  89. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Wiff “then a different word is needed to describe the lines that go through the centre and come out the other side.”

    => “transverse
    1. crossing from side to side; athwart; crossways”

    In my opinion, all lines into central London should be transverse through the core for maximum efficiency, eliminating terminal turn around movements.

  90. Whiff says:

    Thanks Long Branch Mike – and as an aside what a fantastic and underused word ‘athwart’ is.

  91. mr_jrt says:


    Good point re: Grays.

    I’ve had a number of ideas about that neck of the woods over the years, mainly focussed on the District Line. Extending LO from Barking however gives quite a good (and more practical!) alternative. Trying to solve exactly the infrequent service you mentioned, I proposed a major scheme extending the District from Tower Hill by converting (and building alongside etc.) the DLR’s East-West axis to SSL standard, enabling the District to run from Tower Hill to Grays via Poplar, Excel, and Dagenham Dock (with the Met taking up the slack on the line to Upminster.) Hopelessly infeasible, but would be very worthwhile if it could be managed as it would remove the conflicts at Aldgate East’s junctions.


    LO from Barking also then solves the problem of the Romford-Upminster-Grays lines, in that they are good candidates for LO, but without a LO service connecting to them, then it’s pretty much a non-starter. Build a diveunder at Upminster and you have a nice little outer London orbital line in a similar vein to Rickmansworth-Watford, Watford-St Albans, etc.

    Only downside is that it leaves the outer services beyond Grays with nowhere to go (assumming an increased service frequency) unless you extended one of the LO services to Pitsea or four-track the line via Dagenham towards London.

  92. peezedtee says:

    Older readers may fondly recall that “athwart” was (along with “squadron service”) one of the favourite expressions of the veteran railway writer, the late Cecil J. Allen, usages which were inherited by his sadly now also late son, G. Freeman Allen, founding editor of Modern Railways.

  93. Anonymous says:

    The latest from the Mayor on electrification is contained in a recent Mayor’s answer to the following question from Jenny Jones.


    What are you doing to ensure electrification of the remaining diesel services on TfL’s Overground Network and what are you doing more widely to ensure there are clear plans to electrify all remaining Network Rail lines in London?


    As explained in my response to MQ2554/2012, I wrote to the former Secretary of State in August to again seek a way forward on electrification of the Gospel Oak – Barking Line. In her response, she committed her officials to support work with TfL, Network Rail, train operators and other industry parties to see if a viable way can be found to bridge the funding gap. These discussions are under way.
    The other significant train services in London still using diesel traction are longer distance services on the Midland Main Line (MML), Great Western Main Line (GWML) and Chiltern line. The Government has committed to electrifying both the MML and GWML over the next few years.
    My Transport Strategy supports the electrification of all rail services in London. Nonetheless, electrification of the Chiltern line and other sections of route distant from London (which would allow electric long distance services such as Exeter – Waterloo and Aberdeen / Inverness – King’s Cross) will inevitably be a lower priority for the Government because of the high costs involved, and limited benefits.


    @ Greg – having looked at Google satellite view I agree that an island platform for the GOBLIN at Gospel Oak and your suggested reversible signalling is probably the solution if people wanted services extended westwards. As for east beyond Barking I wonder whether it would simply exacerbate the overcrowding? It would also muck up the C2C franchise as you’d have another operator with impacts on the timetable and also revenue. Grays is also outside Greater London so TfL don’t really have a remit there. I can well imagine how DfT would view any “power grab” for an Overground service to Grays.

  94. Greg Tingey says:

    Doesn’t have to be ONLY OvergrounD services to Grays/Tilbury does it, now?
    Think New Cross – West Croydon services, f’rinstance…..
    I was suggesting these in addition to the existing Tilbury Loop trains.

  95. mr_jrt says:


    …Watford Junction is beyond the zones in the same situation as Grays…and is served by LO, so there is precedent on this issue, and whilst it may be “beyond London”, the dominant flows will be to London, so a case for jurisdiction shouldn’t be too hard to make.

  96. Anonymous says:

    @ Greg – It doesn’t have to be one operator but if you were the DfT wanted to maximise the return from franchise reletting you would not want TfL coming along proposing to grab bits of revenue and charging lower fares. I know that sounds dreadfully cynical but that is the sort of logic that sits behind concepts like the old “moderation of competition” concept on the WCML. Part of that was to protect revenue to earn a return on the WCML upgrade but you can see the thinking.

    @ Mr_Jrt – fair comment. However I would say that Watford Junction is a very long standing historical service and therefore it would have been very perverse to chop the service at the Greater London boundary. London Midland still set the fares to Watford Junction and that has caused some issues in the past. I remain doubtful as to whether DfT and Treasury will really allow a move away from franchises to concessions or even allow the Mayor / TfL to expand their empire beyond what is envisaged with Crossrail. It’s all a bit sad but politicians seem able to argue about anything.

  97. Greg Tingey says:

    I hate what you are saying, but am horribly afraid you are correct…
    However, the recent showing up in public of DafT as being completely, utterly, grossly incompetent may change things.
    I know people like messrs Ford & Wolmar have been banging on about this for years now, but there is a real chance that something constructive will happen, with a shift towards the “concessions” model that has worked so well.
    The open spite against TfL by DafT also needs addressing, as does the “mod of comp” trash you mentioned earlier … which killed-oof the Marylebone-Shrewsbury service, by forbidding stops short of Wolverhampton (quite insane – or did money change hands?)

  98. Anonymous says:

    @ Greg – moderation of competition has now gone and does not feature for the WCML refranchising. I think we have to be careful about completely trashing the DfT. Yes things have gone wrong and will continue to do so – like any government department or business mistakes are made. The WCML debacle is serious but it simply reflects what happens when inexperienced politicians come barging in and demand wholesale cuts and do not understand the “value” of what is being lost. I have seen it endless times within LU after reorganisations allow decades of experience to walk out the door without proper handover provisions. The problem for the DfT and the Govt is that they have invited a “feeding frenzy” of vested interests by declaring the overall system to be “broken” even though the Coalition claimed they had “fixed” the old “failed” system used by Labour. The real issue is that it will take a long while to fix the “system” which is what people are now calling for. Fixing the “process” (i.e. being able to work a computer model, issue coherent advice and order an audit) is far simpler and will undoubtedly be what happens because the government is out of options on several franchises in the context of EU procurement law. The penalties for ignoring that are potentially horrific so government has to get the process restarted on GCW, C2C and Thameslink pretty quickly.

    I suspect the “hatred” of TfL is a mixture of not liking the fact that Overground investment and operation is generally acknowledged to be a success plus concern about overweening political control by the Mayor (regardless of party). The latter just boils down to pure old politics and that’s not going away any time soon – unfortunately.

  99. James Hardy says:

    I think there is a good case for Grays. If we accept a case that longer electrified trains should not terminate at Barking, then extension to serve Dagenham Docks and Rainham is logical as they are within Greater London, are supposed to be having development happening (Barking Reach etc) and currently have only a 2tph service. The only station with current turnback facilities at or after Rainham, is two stops on at Grays, which is also the junction of the Ockendon branch so gives some interchange opportunities. It is already served by Oyster and is only 4 miles outside the Boundary of Greater London, closer than a number of the stations on the underground network.

  100. jp says:

    if extending the Goblin westward could Acton Town or Kew Bridge also be options. Obviously a small amount of infrastructure would have to be built. Electrification from south acton, and new platforms built and for Acton Town a small curve built between the kew bridge line and the sidings down from Acton Town. But it would have the advantage of not having to cart around and maintain dc equipment. Kew bridge would provide little additional connectivity but might be easier to terminate at than south acton. Acton Town would provide overground connectivity to the western end of the Piccadilly.

  101. Steven Taylor says:

    I read that £54 million is still available to put 4 tracks back all the way to Camden Road station and to build a turn-back as well – the original intention. Article stated this would be done after Olympics. Does anyone have any accurate news on this? It all seems silent.

  102. Long Branch Mike says:

    @ Steven Taylor

    Do you recall where you read this article?

  103. Mwmbwls says:


    I am intrigued by the suggestion of rebuilding the South Acton to Acton Town connection. Is the alignment still available over Bollo Lane and is a further flat junction at/near South Acton Junction feasible?

    http:[email protected]/4426442739/in/photostream/

    http:[email protected]/4427205850/sizes/z/

    http:[email protected]/3996958011/

    http:[email protected]/6822576713/

  104. Greg Tingey says:

    There is no trace whatsoever, now of the Acton shuttle layout.
    It has been comprehensively built over

  105. Anonymous says:

    There are no platforms on the Kew Bridge curve either.

  106. Stationless says:

    @ Anonymous 12:27

    I haven’t been past Kew Bridge station for years but I remember platforms still being in place and from this Google Earth shot, it looks like at least 1 platform is still in existant.,-0.28616&spn=0.000852,0.002621&sll=51.502936,-0.264997&sspn=0.001204,0.002621&t=h&hnear=Kew+Bridge&z=19

    One idea I had based on this connection is to re-open the old Brentford Docks branch as for as the end of the existing viaduct at London Road / High Street.,-0.314816&spn=0.003407,0.010482&sll=51.489793,-0.28616&sspn=0.000852,0.002621&t=h&hnear=Brentford,+Greater+London,+United+Kingdom&z=17

    With all the redevelopment around that area in recent years, I would expect plenty of commuter traffic (in both directions), t would give LO their own dedicated terminus to run as they see fit and whilst it wouldn’t have the connections of Hounslow, it wouldn’t increase traffic there either.

  107. Rational Plan says:

    I read in Modern Rail that the reason Goblin upgrade was not included was due to the £100 million plus quote provided by the gold plated construction of Network Rail. So DFT has now persued the trial of third rail conversion to overhead to also see what savings can be made in operating costs.

    It seems that a simpler electrification scheme is being looked at to bring the cost down.

  108. Anonymous says:

    I don’t see how London Overground trains terminating at Kew Bridge would be able to access the westbound Hounslow loop to reach the Brentford Dock branch. Also the curve from the Hounslow loop line to a station on London Road would cut through the centre of the Commerce Road development site making it much hard to redevelop.

    Brentford would be better served by a Crossrail route leaving the main line at Old Oak then running via Acton Central and the western curve at Kew Bridge as was proposed by Hounslow Council.

  109. Whiff says:

    Yes, the route of the old Acton Shuttle has been comprehensively built over but @jp’s original idea was to build a link from the Acton Town sidings; I don’t know the area that well but a look at the ever-wonderful Google Earth suggests that this might be possible though some of the London Transport Sport Ground might have to be lost.

    Tantalisingly Google Earth also suggests that where the Underground crosses over the Kew Bridge line there is a car park and what looks like a small patch of wasteland so that at some point in the future a station could conceivably be built here; frustratingly there doesn’t appear to be the same natural space a few yards further south where the Underground crosses the North London Line.

  110. Steven Taylor says:

    Long Branch Mike…

    My memory was triggered by reading London Overground Ian Allen book. I seem to remember that the money was `ring-fenced` but there has been a spending review since, so i was just wondering if this is in the pipe. Sorry I cannot be more specific. (The lack of `noise` around the extension of quadruple track back to Camden Road may mean the funds are no longer available. There is nothing on TFL web site)

  111. Steven Taylor says:

    Re the old Kew Bridge station platforms.which used to be electrified and used to be a termination point for North London Trains until the Second World War. I have a recent Studio 225 video, and there is only one Platform left, this being the one for trains to South Acton.

  112. Anonymous says:

    @ Rational Plan – the high price tag for GOBLIN electrification was explained in a previous chain of discussion under a previous LR article. This cited the long length of viaducts and shorter working times due to the line being close to so many residential areas. Similar comments are in the short article in Modern Railways. I am not entirely sure what NR can do to reduce the costs given it seems it is the actual construction task which is problematic. I think we need to be careful about “cheap” electrification schemes – that’s what the East Coast line got and look how often the wires come down when there is a breath of wind. Plenty of scope for the wind to blow down any “cheapo” GOBLIN wiring!

    @ S Taylor – there is this short press release on the TfL site referring to the £54m Camden Rd scheme.

    I believe the scheme has been abandoned because TfL can run 8 tph in the peaks without it plus the proposals for a turnback at Camden Rd to support a peak shuttle service have been scrapped. In short the scheme isn’t needed and I also suspect the Coalition Govt wiped it from the slate as part of reviewing DfT budgets as was suggested above. When announced I was excited about it but looking back it feels like a somewhat cynical attempt to show the Labour Govt was “doing something” about investing in rail.

  113. Steve Taylor says:

    Thanks Anonymous…

    I am sure your summation is correct… The turn-back at Camden Road is not needed. Especially as patronage has dramatically increased all along the line.

  114. 1956 says:

    Would re-instating 4 tracks / platforms at Camden Road help create more capacity to extend East London Line from Highbury to Queens Park (or Willesden Junction), without restricting paths on the North London?

  115. Steven Taylor says:

    You would get more capacity if this was done, although under the published proposal, one line would be a terminating line for Stratford trains, and there would only be 2 tracks immediately west of the station, before the lines to Primrose Hill and Gospel Oak split.

    It should be noted that Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station only has an Island Platform, and also the line West of Highbury and Islington is basically 2 track for London Overground with 2 loops for freight trains to be held if need be. Obviously this could all be altered, but it would cost more money.

    I would have felt that if the link between Camden Road and Primrose Hill was reinstated for passengers, this would be via the AC North London Line trains and not the DC East London line. It seems more logical to me as a Stratford – Willesden Junction service is more direct – West East, than extending the east London line.

    I have a gut feeling this will be done ultimately, but probably it is more important to fund new Bakerloo / Piccadilly rolling stock before this is a runner.

  116. mr_jrt says:

    @Steven Taylor

    To me, it seems more far more logical to link the DC New Lines and the DC ELL than to have the AC NLL terminate at Queens Park. with the poor arrangements that would be the only possible options there (i.e. outer terminal platforms)….as it would have to be DC west of there for the Bakerloo unless it was curtailed to Queens Park as it would lose access to Stonebridge Park.

  117. Long Branch Mike says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but does the DC in DC New Lines & AC in the AC North London Line mean direct and alternating current respectively? As well as the Watford DC line.

  118. Slugabed says:

    Long Branch Mike
    Exactly right.DC supplied (in this instance) via a 3rd rail,AC by overhead wire.
    And the DC New Lines and the Watford DC line are different names for the same thing.

  119. Steven Taylor says:

    @Mr Irt

    I have probably not explained my thoughts properly , unless your comment was a general one.

    I have often used Queens Park station, and I don`t think it makes sense to terminate trains there. I know there was a proposal a few years back to cease running London Overground trains into Euston, but to divert to Camden Road via Primrose Hill. Also, from memory, to extend Bakerloo trains back to Watford Junction, etc. Lots of existing users of the service wanted to go to Euston!

    There are so many permutations / combinations of destinations, it is difficult to know where to start. I would have felt it makes sense to leave Euston – Watford Junction Overground as it is currently. Euston is a popular destination, and also the trains are much larger. Why run small tube trains down a fairly long line when you can send `main line`loading gauge stock. Also, the 378`s have Air Con. – it would be very difficult to put that on a tube train.

    I think that LOROL would not want to extend the ELL westwards from Highbury, because of the extra stations, length of end-to-end timings, propensity to delays.

    I guess LOROL would have to pay for a survey to attempt to find out how much patronage an extra service via Camden Road – South Hampstead would attract.

    From a financial prospective, it would appear that LOROL main cost will be new trains for GOBLIN, and lengthening some 378`s to 5 cars plus station platform works.

    And dare I mention – funding a new `high-level`station at Brixton for the ELL Clapham Junction extension.

  120. mr_jrt says:

    @Steven Taylor

    The problems with Queens Park are that a) it’s not Willesden Junction, and b) the line would be shared to Willesden Junction, creating a bottleneck, even if one service was to terminate there.

    The ideal situation for me would be to extend the Bakerloo’s tubes to either Willesden Junction or OOC (with a new depot on the Willesden railway lands to replace Stonebridge Park), and leave the surface route to London Overground.

    That said, I don’t think LO to Euston is worthwhile. Outside of disruptions, an interchange with the slow lines at Willesden Junction would cover most usage, and an interchange at Primrose Hill/Chalk Farm to the Northern Line would maintain a link to Euston, without having to either split the service nor consume valuable terminal capacity.

    Watford Junction to the ELL would be reasonably long, but nothing compared to lines like the Jubilee. Service patterns like Watford-New Cross, Harrow & Wealdstone-Crystal Palace and Willesden Junction-West Croydon Spring to mind.

    …but yes on Brixton platforms….and dare I say Loughborough Junction too.

  121. Steven Taylor says:

    @mr irt

    You raised a good point I overlooked, namely line capacity around Queens Park – Willesden Junction.

    To my mind, I think there is justification to reinstate a service through Primrose Hill, re-opening the station which is not too far from Chalk Farm Northern Line. LOROL seems very quiet around the possibility of new stations where interchange possibilities exist. Junction Road Station reinstatement on GOBLIN springs to mind. Not too far to the tube station. Whilst ideally an interchange I guess should be only a couple of minutes walk, most people – I am 60 – would entertain a 5 minute walk surely – such as Clapham North to Clapham High Street for interchange providing there is a good train service.

    Perhaps the experience with the delayed Surrey Canal Road station – which now looks like it will be built with developer assistance – makes LOROL reticent to make additional proposals for new stations. I am not aware of any LOROL funded surveys regarding new stations. Perhaps they feel the trains are too crowded already.

  122. Anonymous says:

    @ S Taylor / Mr JRT – the problem with the DC lines is signalling capacity. When the signalling was last done BR took capacity out as there was no sense then that patronage would grow. How times change. AIUI there are limits as to max tph and that is what is currently operated. No more trains can be squeezed through – and certainly not the TfL minimum standard of 4 tph. Resignalling of the DC lines will be inextricably linked with the Bakerloo upgrade but that’s a separate subject.

    I don’t see the ELL running through on to the NLL. The connection at Highbury remains uncommissioned I believe. There are already enough risks about knock on delays without adding more. Let’s see how well the ELL copes with 16 tph come December plus squeezing itself round the SLL.

    I agree extra stations and platforms would be desirable but Brixton has been researched and discounted due to the massive cost. New stations and platforms will not come cheap as they will need to be accessible and if adding to an existing location you are then most likely lumbered with making the rest of the station accessible too. Capacity is the next problem – every time you stop a train it reduces line capacity. Extra passengers risk overloading trains which are already busy. You therefore risk having to make signalling changes to preserve capacity while allowing for extra stops. We must not forget the freight issue on much of the Overground network. If you add too many stops your round trip time increases which might mean more trains for the same service level. I’m not trying to be melodramatic but it only takes some apparently small requirements to cause a step change in costs no matter how desirable the extra facilities may well be.

  123. Steven Taylor says:


    You are correct about the connection at Highbury from the ELL to NLL. It is only available to engineering trains under possession rules.

    You comments about new stations makes sense to me – there are always consequences for new stations not always immediately obvious to a laymen.

    Notwithstanding, I have a feeling that if the high-level Brixton station would cost `only` £10 million, it would probably be a runner. However, the viaduct is high, on a curve, a gradient etc. I think it has been costed at £80 million, and derogation would be required becuase of the curve etc.

    It is a shame as Brixton would surely generate so much traffic. But the know-on would be 5 to 6 coach trains, platform extensions, delay to all the freight that traverses the atlantic line, and most importantly, there is not a treasure chest at TFL for the station.

  124. Anon’s “Capacity is the next problem – every time you stop a train it reduces line capacity.” is a bit simplistic. It depends on how the stations are spaced out and how much demand there is at each station. The optimal capacity would be achieved if all stations were equally busy and the running time between stations the same. Adding a new station to the middle of a stretch that is more than twice as long (strictly speaking more than twice the running time) as the shortest stretch is unlikely to have much of an impact, if any.

    To give a practical example, it is unlikely that a hypothetic re-opening of Willesden Green on the Metropolitan would reduce capacity although it would increase journey time and probably require an additional train to maintain existing capacity at already existing stations. Contrast that with the closure during peak hours of the former closely-situated adjoining stations stations at St John’s Wood, Swiss Cottage and Marlborough Road on the Metropolitan line which would have had a considerable adverse impact, capacity-wise, on the rest of the service.

    Also contrast that with the perfect scenario of equidistant stations. The Glasgow Underground (the Clockwork Orange) was built with all the stations the same distance apart as it was originally planned to use cable traction. Take a station out and you won’t increase capacity but put one in and you will most certainly reduce it.

    In an extreme situation where one station has much greater demand (and therefore longer boarding time) than the second busiest there could be a situation whereby building an additional station nearby reduces the critical boarding time and actually increases capacity. A classic situation where this scenario exists in a negative way is Victoria northbound on the Victoria line which extends headways and hence restricts capacity of the whole line. A situation where the reverse may be true is Southwark on the Jubilee line which abstracts traffic from Waterloo East and therefore potentially reduces dwell time at Waterloo and so it might be the case that Southwark station actually increases capacity of the Jubilee line.

    One also has to bear in mind that existence of stations contribute positively to capacity of a line by providing demand. Otherwise you could simply increase capacity by removing all the stations!

  125. Steven Taylor says:


    Apropos line capacity – I would assume it is a reasonable assumption that the excellent acceleration of the Class 378`s, with every coach having a motor – would assist in improving line capacity.

    On a general point, although if more stations are opened journey times are increased, if this generates a substantial increase in passengers, it would assist in getting future funding for improvments, as the line is so successful.

    The virtually 2 miles from Denmark Hill to Clapham High street is a long way between sations in inner London, and a lot of people currently travel between Brixton, Clapham High Street ( Clapham Common) and Clapham Junction. I live overlooking Clapham Junction station, and the buses betwen these points are always overcrowded.

  126. Anonymous says:

    @ PoP – While I was not explicit my comments were made in the context of the Overground network. I understand the points you make but much of the Overground is stop start running with low acceleration and gentle running times. Despite resignalling we are told the GOBLIN signalling can’t take many more trains. The NLL possibly has scope for more but then there is all the freight that has to be squashed between passenger trains. The SLL is riddled with flat junctions and putting in stations at places like Brixton would almost certainly mean extended dwell times because of the probable huge demand. There is then freight and fast trains to be accommodated too. If we apparently cannot or will not pause a few peak hour trains at places like Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye to maintain a service to Victoria post 9/12/12 then how can we add stations and have trains stop at them without there being a capacity consequence.

  127. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Fair point. It is just that the phrase leapt out at me. Sometimes we have have something we want to write and have to wait for a suitable opportunity and I thought the opportunity was then. In the context of the lines you are referring to I agree that in almost all situations extra stations would not be helpful overall.

  128. Malcolm says:

    I’m sure you’re right about line capacity being sometimes altered or unaltered in an unexpected way by adding or removing a station. I’m not quite so convinced, though, that the unexpectedness is all attributable to whether or not the new station has a similar spacing to others. For instance, closing one of Holloway/Caledonian road would probably make no capacity difference to the Picc, because Cov Gdn – Leicester Square would still be clogging up the flow.

    There is also the issue of how you measure capacity. Trains per hour past a given point is the obvious measure. But in terms of passenger-kilometres per hour, you make an improvement (not visible in the trains per hour figure) every time you close a little-used station. I think. (Goodge Street springs to mind).

  129. Glenn Wallis, Assistant Secretary, Barking - Gospel Oak Line User Group says:

    The latest BGOLUG eBulletin has just been posted on the ‘News’ page of our website and reports on the reality behind “The Rail Engineer” article.

    The price disparity is noticable between Network Rail (£50m) and DfT (£90m). Now that at long last DafT is coming under some scrutiny it is worth noting that it always seems to do “back of a fag packet” calculations that defy logic. The Mayor was suddenly offered £25m (“and not a penny more”) towards Barking – Gospel Oak electrification in 2009. When he suggested that TfL and DafT split the cost of a GRIP 3 study (£200k each) to nail down the price of electrification once and for all, he was told “No, £25m, take it or leave it”! The department withdrew the £25m offer at the end of 2010.

    When the cost of the North London Line Route Improvement Project was going over budget, TfL saved £40m by not refurbishing the bridges at the east end of Camden Road station and retaining two running lines through the station. The department then produced £54m for “Improvements for rail freight” at Camden Road to do the bridge work and relay tracks through the ‘No. 1 Lines’ platforms at Camden Road. This cash is supposed to be spent by 2014 but as has already been commented upon, all has gone very quiet on this subject.
    Now we hear claims that at a meeting at DafT, First Group was told that £15m would be knocked off the Subordinated Loan Facility it was required to arrange as guarantee against defaulting on its Inter City West Coast franchise.

    Regarding Gospel Oak, I am sure there is no room for a “Cambridge solution” to be applied to either the existing bay platform or one built out to the up T&H line. The problem with an island platform (the “latest Cambridge solution”) would be the disruption while building it. I cannot see the funds ever being found to divert the up T&H line to a junction with the NLL east of the station. As far as I am aware the scheme TfL dropped due to lack of funds was the 4 platform station option, which is the best solution, given the constraints of the site. The station subway would have to be driven under the T&H lines to reach the new down platform No. 4. The only other two options are leaving the bay platform for terminating trains with all services further west having to pass the station, or having one bi-directional platform on the site of the bay road which would also allow a terminating facility to be retained.

    As far as service extensions are concerned, I was always intrigued by the fact that the destination blinds in the Silverlink Class 150 Sprinters had, in addition to the usual North London/West London Line destinations, Finsbury Park and Ealing Broadway printed on them! My personal choice is to stick with the London Rail Study recommendations and extend to Clapham Junction. I suppose the service could be split between Clapham Junction and Richmond. before a regular passenger service to Ealing Broadway could be operated, something would have to done about the empty stone trains that regularly block the Poplar Lines from Acton Wells while awaiting access to Acton Yard.

    I know from my BR days that after the T&H line, the management had the least interest in the Tilbury Loop. This only changed after Lakeside Shopping Centre opened and through trains between Fenchurch Street and Southend started running over the Ockendon Branch. Then it was Dagenham Dock, Rainham and Purfleet that were the poor relations. It was my worry that the single line to Barking platform No. 1 might not support a 15-minute frequency that my thoughts first turned to extending at least some services to Grays. As it turned out, Barking No. 1 can, just, cope with a 15-minute frequency service. But should the frequency ever need to go up to 10 minutes, then using platforms 7 and 8 and extending at least some services to Grays might look attractive. I might be wrong, but personally, I do not think that current or future managements of “Essex Thameside” would shed many tears if the Barking – Grays service was transferred to TfL.

  130. Greg Tingey says:

    Loughboro’ Jn … have you seen the curvature on the N – E curve? Somehow I don’t think that is going to work, with modern longer-bodied stock & the overhang/gaps at the door board/alight points

    Line capacity
    Look at the service intensity Machester London Road (Piccadilly) – Deansgate, or Dlaston Jn – Surrey quays.
    Provided all trains have the same stopping patern on such a stretch, there is NOT a problem.
    See also Pedantic’s remaks.
    As anon says, this can be cured when the Lake-of-poo re-stocking is done, as a simultaneous project.
    Anon … GOBLIN “can’t take many more trains” because it is diesel hauled for freights, which can’t accellerate/get up the grades AND, most importantly the ghastly 20mph PSR @ the crossing of the real, actual river Lea (not the canal) As for “putting in a station (@ Brixton) is, excuse me, REPLACING a pre-existing station, so you are talking codswallop. The problem there is percieved or actual costs.

    GOBLIN @ GO um, errr.
    It makes no sense at all, that the service, when electriified should stop dead @ GO.
    So, some practical solution has to be found for thorough running, with a stop still @ GO.
    From personal observation, about 1/3rd of the Westbound terminators’ passengers exit @ GO, & don’t transfer to NLL trains, which means [ entirely apart from my desire to go to “The Southampton Arms” ] that retaining GO as a station on the T&HJR extension is a good idea.

  131. Fandroid says:

    I’m sure Greg has just written a useful contribution, but can anyone offer a translation please?

  132. THC says:

    @Greg – I sense that mr_jrt was referring, in one of his occasional (but very welcome) non-pie-in-sky points, to E-W platforms for LO at Loughborough Junction. Point entirely noted about the N-E curvature at the same site; in any case, the proximity of Denmark Hill makes the provision of TL platforms here less of an issue.

    @Fandroid – thanks for my first laugh of the day! I’ve just about figured the rest but am still struggling with “Lake-of-poo” – can anyone help?


  133. Anonymous says:

    @ Greg – can you please remember to take a long deep breath before you post? We are all entitled to our views but you don’t “win friends and influence people” by using terms like rubbish and codswallop.

    @ G Wallis – I am intrigued that you believe the subway at Gospel Oak would require extension if the GOBLIN platforms were realigned / added to. While not very convenient surely all you’d need is one of Network Rail’s modular footbridges to get over to the new platform(s)? The bridges typically include lifts and the remainder of the station is now accessible. I suspect the locals might moan about “visual intrusion” from a bridge but the station is so high up there are not that many people who could complain about being overlooked. I completely take your point that an island platform would cause considerable disruption but with an additional crossover east of GO it might be possible to use the eastbound freight line reversibly allowing the westbound through track to be removed to allow construction of the island while the GOBLIN still used the bay. Still I suspect you are right that there is no money for any such scheme.

    Perhaps someone needs to remind the DfT about the £54m and say “can we use this money to electrify the GOBLIN as this will improve freight haulage through London?” TfL would have to fund the passenger element of the work but it might be worth a try (although I suspect the money has actually gone but I can dream can’t I?).

  134. Glenn Wallis, Assistant Secretary, Barking - Gospel Oak Line User Group says:

    Greg – You’re quite right, I forgot about the “Southampton Arms”! Highgate Road High Level MUST be reinstated before the Gospel Oak stop is withdrawn for T&H trains!

    When Railtrack East Anglia Zone Director in 1996/7, Michael Holden (now running East Coast), told a BGOLUG meeting that the 20mph slacks at Harringay and Lea Valley would be dealt with. Network Rail eventually inceased the 20mph between St. Annes Road and Harringay Park Junction to 30mph, but the 20mph over the two Lea Bridges and viaduct remains. I was told that BR raised the limit to 30mph around 1986-87 but “The Great Stanlow Disaster of ’88” soon had the 20mph limit reinstated! A special, loaded Stanlow – Shell Haven oil train composed of 100 ton bogie tanks spectacularly derailed on the viaduct in the early hours, bogies and tanks flying in all directions and threatening to pollute the Thames Water reservoirs. No one knew what had happened for several hours because as the line was then signalled by Absolute Block, with Leytonstone switched out, the block section was South Tottenham – Woodgrange Park and of course there were no track circuits!

    Anonymous – A footbridge between 3 & 4 at GO makes for a very tortuous journey for pasengers to reach platform 4. I think that the cost of a subway, and the saving of a lift, possibly two lifts if the exit from the subway is ramped, would not be much more than a footbridge and two lifts.

    The NLL resignalling put an extra signal in on the down at Highgate Road and the 2009 Upper Holloway East – Wanstead Park West resignalling – 3-aspect throughout, controlled from South Tottenham – put in a lot of extra capacity which is nowhere near being used up yet, although inevitably it was done as cheap as possible, so there are several overlong signal sections which, if sorted out would put in a bit more capacity.

  135. Anonymous says:


    I suspect Greg’s “Lake-of-poo” is word play on “bakerloo”

  136. THC says:

    @Anon, 1.11pm

    Thanks very much, I suspect you’re right. I think a “Greg glossary” would be an invaluable guide for the rest of us in deciphering some of his more abstract musings. Mr. Tingey, what are the chances? 😉


  137. Fandroid says:


    Goodge Street might be little but it’s not little used. Compared with the big interchange stations on either side it might seem relaxed, but it serves its locality and certainly has a lot of passengers in the peak.

  138. Greg Tingey says:

    I am struggling to find appropriate alternate names for all the tube lines.
    Lake of poo, is of course, bakerloo
    circus should need no translation
    nor drastic ….
    pick-a-dildo (given that it goes through soho!)
    jubbly (as in loverly) should also be obvious
    Mudroplottian, given that it ventures out into the fields beyond metroland ….

    Everyone is welcome to join in, just to enliven the show!

    There is an old tradition of this sort of thing in London ( & Berlin & Paris, for that matter) of alternate names .. like the “gherkin” ( & other ruder titles) or the “big red afterbirth” for the Orbit, or DG’s magnificent “arabfly dangleway” …..

  139. Littlejohn says:

    @Malcolm 08:14PM, 2nd November 2012. ‘In terms of passenger-kilometres per hour, you make an improvement every time you close a little-used station’. I’m not sure that this is necessarily so. Does it not depend on how many passengers use the station you are closing and how many of these migrate to other forms of transport rather than walk to the next nearest station (as well as the overall line capacity)? If you lose too many passengers and cannot speed up the service enough you might end up reducing the number of passenger-kilometres per hour.

  140. Long Branch Mike says:

    The Northern’s been called the Misery Line.

    The Waterloo & City’s obviously the Drain.

    The District as the Misfit?

    The Hammersmith & City can be the HamCity or HammerCity.

  141. Long Branch Mike says:

    The North London Line (LO) as the NoLL, or NoLLO?
    The East London Line (LO) as the EoLL, as in ‘Eole’, etc

  142. Timbeau says:

    In my household a certain line is variously known as the Disgraced, the Distract or, when it fails to turn up, the Discreet Line.

  143. Malcolm says:

    @Littlejohn – you’re right of course, but I was being excessively cryptic. What I meant by a “little-used station” was “a station which is so little used that the complete loss of some or all of its passengers is definitely less than the px-km/hr gained by not stopping all the rest”. So it’s really little-used in comparison to the number of pax passing through it and delayed by the stop. Even Blake Hall might not have met this test, because there were so few pax going to Ongar anyway.

    As for whether Goodge Street is really that little-used, I’m not very sure. But it certainly /seemed/ that way, when I was a regular user of the Northern. But as a non-Goodge user, I may have been biased.

  144. Anonymous says:

    @ Malcolm – the 2010 annual two way passenger totals for Goodge St is just over 9m people. There are plenty of other places that are less busy including a number of stations in Zone 1.

  145. Whiff says:

    Could someone help by explaining what the Cambridge solution is? (and apologies if it’s something obvious and well-known!

  146. Steven Taylor says:

    If my memory serves me correctly, it is named after the original layout at Cambridge.

    Basically, one long platform with a cross over half way down, so the 1 long platform suffices for both up and down trains.

    Used to be the layout for Reading, and still the layout for Limerick Junction station.

  147. mr_jrt says:


    Cambridge was originally built with a single long platform (probably due to there being nothing on the other side of the station other than sidings and fields), thus the two main platforms are just different sections of the long single one (2nd longest in the country I believe) with a crossover in the centre to a through line.

    Later the LNWR built a station to the south and the Midland one to the north, providing the two sets of bays, but aside from a brief existence and a recent revival Cambridge never had a platform on the other line.

    Wikipedia can fill in the gaps in that. 🙂

  148. mr_jrt says:


    I think I’ll take that as a compliment…I think.

    The main reason I suggest that E-W platforms (as horrifically expensive as they would be) would be useful at Loughborough Junction is primarily for LO Thameslink interchange, secondly whilst Denmark Hill is vaguely nearby…it would be a somewhat tenuous 20 minutes OSI…, and thirdly as I’m firmly of the opinion that the CX branch of the Northern Line should be projected this way en-route to Hayes rather than towards Battersea, and in that context the interchange becomes more important.

  149. timbeau says:

    Gloucester has a similar layout to Cambridge, and indeed the platform there is longer than Cambridge’s, able to accept two IC125s. Neither is as long as that at Colchester.

    Thdere are several other stations with crossovers part way along the platform allowing trains to pass each other – platform 3 at Doncaster for example, and several at Leeds. The old layout at Victoria (“the Brighton Line”) also had mid platform crossovers.

  150. THC says:


    You should, you have a fine mind. My only gripe with your plethora of proposals for schemes (and you are prolific, there’s no doubt) is that they generally ignore the reality of finance and politics. Maybe that’s the point? Anyway, keep on doing what you do – somebody needs to provide the inspiration for those in a position to make things happen.


  151. Fandroid says:


    Does Birmingham New Street have mid-platform crossovers? They certainly make big use of the A & B sections of the platforms there, with two services often parked on the same number platform.

  152. Anonymous says:

    Don’t think BHM does. The A and B end are used for terminators or to bring a second in behind. I remember once in the eighties on a Sunday leaving for Worcester the correct way, only to run back through New Street in the opposite direction to go round through Aston to Soho. If there were mid platform crossovers that wouldn’t have been necessary.

  153. Whiff says:

    Thanks for the descriptions of Cambridge and other similar platforms layout.

    As @Anonymous says I don’t think Birmingham New Street has crossovers; I can’t be categorical but I don’t remember ever seeing trains crossing over in the 5 years I lived in Birmingham and regularly used New Street around the turn of the Century.

  154. answer=42 says:

    The reason for the original one-platform layout at Cambridge was that the University authorities refused permission for a railway station unless:
    i) It was a long way from the city
    ii) It only had one platform
    reason being that ready transport might entice elements of the all-male student body to explore the fleshpots of London.

  155. Greg Tingey says:

    You mean as long as Colchester USED to be …
    They put a “step into it, & made it 2 platforms, Clapm Jn style, some years back …

    The really long one was 3 in Exchange/11 in Victoria (in Manchester) which was actually the same platform ….

    And, of course, Limerick Jn had a GAP in the middle & originally, the 2 main roads were both dead-end bays facing the “wrong” way … only in Ireland!

  156. Mark Townend says:

    @Greg Tingey –
    Colchester, unlike the recent Clapham Junction stepped arrangement, has a crossover just before the ‘bay’ buffer-stop, allowing a train to pass through alongside both platforms. Functionally this makes it little different from a long platform with intermediate crossovers, as at Cambridge (with a scissor), Gloucester and the former arrangements at Manchester Exch/Vic which (I assume) had some additional turnouts as well. In these long platforms it is unusual to stop a train alongside the face over the intermediate crossover, and the only benefit a crossover and buffer-stop spur gives is to allow a train to enter the ‘bay’ (with the points set towards the buffers), whilst a simultaneous arrival or departure takes place in the other part of the long platform.

  157. THC says:

    Greg, “only in Ireland”? Have a word with yourself. I’m glad that such pejorative nonsense seems to be dying out with the older generation. Suffice it to say that Limerick Junction was built by the GS&WR under British rule. See, we can all take pops at each other to no good end. Stick to transport; leave the humour to the comedians.


  158. timbeau says:

    Curious station layouts are not peculiar to Ireland – until 1970 there was no through eastbound platform at Dorchester South, trains having to reverse into the platform instead

  159. Steven Taylor says:


    Thanks for reminding me of Dorchester South!!
    How did that layout survived for so long – just incredible.
    I cannot imagine what the current `Health & Safety` guys would make of reversing a loaded train into the old `terminus platform`.

  160. timbeau says:

    For many years Penistone-Sheffield services reveresed at Nunnery into Sheffield Midland, having passed through the (closed) Sheffield Victoria. And a few Nottingham-Lincoln services reverse into Newark Northgate.

  161. Whiff says:

    If we’re discussing curious staion layouts then Combe Junction on the Liskeard-Looe line surely takes some beating.

  162. Anonymous says:

    Re: silwood sidings
    the planning permission has been granted by lewisham council for TFL to build the 10 road sidings to house
    thirteen 5 car 378s for the East london line.

  163. Anonymous says:

    “The price tag is interesting – £50m – representing approximately half of the £90m figure it was believed that Network Rail quoted for the work earlier this year. Whether this is due to rescoping is difficult to say. ”

    It’s probably due to reassessment of costs with the “electrification train”. On the Great Western Mainline, the plan for automated planting of poles, automated attachment of crossbars, automated pulling of wire cut the projected costs in half. If the “electrification train” works, we’re going to see a whole lot of electrification, basically as fast as the “electrification train” can go.

    Obviously substations still have to be built and connected one at a time, and in particular locations the track may have to be realigned or bridges raised or tunnels undercut, and electrified junctions will require special work. But on straight track with clearance, the “electrification train” makes the problem of electrification much, much simpler.

  164. Anon5 says:

    BBC London Tom Edwards has tweeted this lunchtime that he understands the GOBLIN will be electrified and TfL will take over the West Anglia routes from Liverpool Street to Cambridge via Stansted.

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