Transport news, like London buses, often seems to come in clumps. With the various recent announcements it would thus be easy to miss that TfL have published their draft Business Plan for the next decade. Due to the amount of information the Plan contains, several LR authors found themselves casting their eyes upon it, and thus we have decided to combine our efforts below.

Setting the Scene

Pedantic of Purley: Before we look at the details it probably makes sense to highlight the expected economic situation and the level of demand for the period covered by this plan. There may be a recession on, but in London the plan is to cater for growth. Indeed the Plan itself states that:

Over the next 20 years the city’s population is expected to increase by almost one million people and employment by more than 600,000 jobs.

What the Plan doesn’t state though is that current projections suggest that virtually all these jobs are expected to materialise in central London or Docklands. In other words, the jobs will be created where currently the most jobs are at present. This is a well-known phenomenon, known by economists as agglomeration theory, and if this hypothesis is correct then almost all this increased demand will have to be met by public transport. Essentially we can expect a significant further demand on public transport that will be disproportionately more than any population rise in London (itself expected to be significant).

Walthamstow Writer: It is also worth noting that funding for the contents of this plan is only in place to the end of the 2014/5 financial year, so a number of commitments are at this stage unfunded. The Plan is thus an opening gambit for discussions with Government about the next funding settlement.

John Bull: Those looking for promises of future large-scale infrastructure work will certainly be disappointed. The “quick fixes” and Olympic schemes of recent years are nearing completion and the big long term projects – Crossrail, Thameslink Phase II and the big station upgrades – will not begin to yield benefits until 2018 at the earliest. That doesn’t mean London is likely to be completely starved of investment, but a critical feature of the Business Plan is that it is generally only funded schemes – or those that realistically might get funded somehow (such as Tramlink’s Crystal Palace extension) – that are worth mentioning. So, as Walthamstow suggests, this is as much a starting point – the “known knowns” from TfL’s perspective as anything else. That makes it a good guide for the next five years, but less indicative of activity beyond that date. It’s a plan, not a manifesto.

PoP: Indeed. One should not expect anything exciting to come out of a business plan. Unfortunately in today’s modern media world the publication is not complete without the complimentary upbeat press-release trumpeting the benefits of the plan. This has inevitably led to a criticism from opposition parties that the business plan contains nothing new. Well of course that is true, but is not the point. What the Plan does is confirm which parts of the Plan have funding and give a timescale for specific projects. It must also be borne in mind that any project not funded by TfL is unlikely to get much of a mention – hence why the Croxley Rail Link is not referred to at all within the text.

On the Underground

WW: The Plan includes the continuation of current committed LU line upgrades, covering the Northern and Sub-Surface lines. There is no funding committed to delivery of Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Central / W&C upgrades (“Deep Tube”) although planning work continues. Despite predictable headlines the “driverless trains” phrase is not actually included in the document.

PoP: This is perhaps one of the first times we see an admission that Deep Tube is not going to produce any benefits before 2020 in print. Indeed the telling statement included is that:

TfL is developing a programme for the next generation of line upgrades, which will focus on the Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City lines. On these lines steady performance is enabled through rigorous maintenance, but the lines rely on out-dated infrastructure.

So Deep Tube isn’t dead, it just has a more realistic timetable.

JB: Interesting to see confirmation that Deep Tube now fully embraces the Waterloo & City line and the Central line. The latter may seem surprising, but the motors on the 1992 stock (which is common to both lines) have always been problematic. So an early retirement for this stock would not be unexpected. What it does mean though is that Deep Tube will have to abandon the concept of a single train length that fits all lines.

WW: There is also mention of the Northern Line Upgrade 2 (NLU2) which would see service separation, enhanced frequencies and additional rolling stock being ordered. If NLU2 progresses then the Plan also states that further trains would also be ordered at the same time for the Jubilee Line to add capacity by increasing service frequency. There are no details as to how many extra trains might be purchased though.

PoP: A practical consideration for this further upgrade is that the train service cannot realistically be increased before Bank station upgrade is finished (due in 2021) as one would not want to introduce a more frequent service and then shortly afterwards deal with issue of a temporary severance lasting a period of weeks.

With regards to the additional trains, it is interesting to speculate here as to whether these will be the same new generation trains as proposed for Deep Tube. If so, that could mean that all the deep level tube lines except the Victoria line would be partially or totally served by the same generation of rolling stock by the early 2020s.

JB: Worth noting that the Northern line Battersea extension’s planned completion date of 2020 would nicely fit in with any additional rolling stock orders. The Business Plan does mention the extension, but only briefly, which is understandable not only because it will still (allegedly) be developer-funded, but also because the Plan predates (just) the Chancellor’s statement which guaranteed to underwrite loans for it.

PoP: A final point on the Underground before moving on – the Plan does not mention Camden Town, so it is probably safe to presume that there is no short term prospect of this tube station being rebuilt. It follows from that that a complete segregation of the Northern line, a very long-term aspiration, is actually decades away.

On the Overground

WW: Overground trains are to be lengthened on all lines, but there is no statement as to how long a longer train will be. We do know from other sources that the Class 378 EMUs will be extended to 5 cars. There is no word on electrification of the Gospel Oak – Barking line (GOBLIN).

JB: Capacity enhancement on the Overground is going to be a huge headache for TfL to plan in the coming months, largely thanks to both those points. It’s worthy of a post in itself, but the “short version” is that without knowing the future of the GOBLIN, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for TfL to plan capacity enhancement across both that line and the Overground itself. Adding a third car to the 172s would seem like a no-brainer, but Bombardier all but indicated they didn’t want the work earlier this year by pricing it high, forcing TfL to start the process of tendering for new diesel rolling stock.

Electrification of the line, whilst it would bring its own cascade problems, would thus potentially make things easier by opening up the option of running 378s – in some configuration – on the line. There is some suggestion from sources that TfL were hoping for a GOBLIN mention in the Chancellor’s statement, but that was not the case meaning an electrification decision now almost certainly depends on the freight pot to be allocated in January.

This all leaves TfL in a bit of a sticky position, capacity planning-wise. Do you plan for an all-electric fleet across all Overground lines, and adjust your units, orders, and upgrade milestones accordingly? Or do you commit to a diesel fleet on the GOBLIN, thus fixing that as the future there for the foreseeable future? I doubt it’ll be a stress-free Christmas for whoever has been given the Capacity Upgrade Project Porfolio within Rail for London.

WW: There is one short term positive – a service improvement of an extra two trains per hour is proposed for the East London Line. Presumably to Crystal Palace as per earlier TfL aspirations.The Plan also includes target dates of 2015 for the ELL and GOBLIN improvements, and 2016 for the NLL, WLL and Euston – Watford line.

DLR/Light Rail

WW: DLR’s Stratford – Bow Church section is to be fully double tracked by 2019. Worth noting that some of this work is already under way because of Crossrail works to move Pudding Mill Station, however the section closest to Bow Church will be an interesting challenge.

PoP: What is perhaps most surprising is that we are told that “The route between Stratford and Canary Wharf, in particular, has seen very rapid growth” and that train kilometres will go up from 5.7 million in 2012/2013 to 6.4 million in 2013/2014. Given that no rolling stock is being ordered it is hard to see how this would be achieved other than by running shorter trains more often.

JB: It would appear, from the paucity of DLR coverage, that the near continual expansion of the DLR has come to an end. With perhaps the Dagenham Dock extension (dependent on Thames Gateway regeneration) excepted, it is becoming less likely that suitable routes will be found above ground. With the demand for public transport only rising, it will become more likely that any below ground infrastructure will justify use as a tube or Crossrail-style line going forward.

WW: Moving away from the DLR, Tramlink is to get 4 extra trams and more track doubling on the Wimbledon line including works at Wimbledon Station. This capacity enhancement project is shown with an April 2015 completion date.

There are no firm commitments to extensions to Tramlink other than referring to ongoing “stakeholder consultation” and trying to identify funding. One wonders if this refers to contributions being sought from local councils given there is precedent for this on several recent TfL projects.

PoP: The four extra trams are, I suspect, the Stadler trams that TfL currently have an option on.

On the Buses

WW: The Plan commits to having 1600 hybrid buses in service by 2016. This is the grand total for such vehicles and includes the recent order for 600 New Bus for London vehicles. It therefore suggests that about a further 600 buses will be ordered via the route contracting process. These buses will be largely concentrated on Central area routes so as to assist in reducing harmful emissions.

PoP: The report acknowledges that:

London’s buses are the most used public transport mode and are responsible for around a fifth of all daily journeys in the Capital.

What is surprising then is that the report makes it clear that mileage will hardly increase at all and indeed passenger numbers are expected to remain virtually constant. Most of the focus is on those hybrid buses. Indeed arguably the entire emphasis seems to be on producing cleaner less-polluting buses on the basis that reducing emissions, rather than expanded services.

WW: Indeed. There is no increase in total bus kilometres to be operated other than 300K from the current financial year to next year (2013/14) then the projection is flat. This is despite a projected 24 million extra journeys in 2014/15. This lack of expansion or network development stands out especially when LU, DLR, Overground and Trams all see kilometrage increases each year.

Beyond the buses themselves, several TfL bus stations are to be upgraded by 2015. Part of the upgrade scope will be to improve environmental performance and reduce power use. Edgware, Harrow and West Croydon are three of the stations listed. 95% of bus stops are also to be fully accessible by 2016.

On the Roads

WW: Substantially more money is to be spent on roads to deal with decaying bridges and viaducts, removal of, or improvement to, some major gyratory schemes and more Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) technology at traffic lights. There will also be more “Countdown” indicators at pedestrian crossings to show how many seconds remain for pedestrians to cross the road. The Roads Task Force will help define the detail of road investment proposals. These promises are in line with the Mayoral manifesto to invest in roads.

PoP: One must never forget that publications such as the TfL Business Plan come under the remit of the Mayor. As such there will inevitably be a political element to the presentation. It is important to separate this presentation from the facts themselves. The political factor present is that the current Mayor gets his majority through votes in the outer suburbs where any “bash the motorist” proposal does not go down well. Although he may be at pains not to bash the motorist, Boris must be aware that there is very little that he can sensibly do in terms of providing more roads etc.

The result of all this is that a lot of money will be spent on “roads” but necessarily on much that will benefit the private motorist. The mayoral spin seems to have worked though as the BBC reports plans to double spending on London roads.

Given that the BBC recently reported on a surprise tentative belief that demand for car use is peaking or has peaked, a focus on “road” spending is an interesting stance to take. This phenomenon has been noted in many European cities as well as the USA but no serious research has been done to discover the precise reasons for this. This is not believed to be primarily due to fuel prices as it is thought that this would simply reduce the number of miles a particular individual travelled by car in a year. What has been observed is a more fundamental shift where city dwellers under 25 simply don’t bother to learn to drive. Another reason given is the very high cost of insurance for younger drivers which is probably a major factor in the UK.

JB: One of the more interesting points that surfaced during BBC coverage of “the decline of the car”, to my mind, was the tentative suggestion that we are actually turning a corner where public transport is becoming good enough and the desire to own a car being less aspirational than a generation ago. It’s certainly an interesting idea.

There was further speculation that technology and the ability to use our time more productively on public transport than behind the wheel may play a part. If so then factors like providing reliable, accurate real-time travel information for the journey and Wi-Fi and phone coverage are becoming an important factor when deciding what mode of transport to use.

WW: In line with that, it is worth noting here then that the Plan indicates that a new TfL website will be launched in 2013. It will give easier access to TfL services and will work more effectively on phones and portable computing devices. There will be upgraded online facilities for Oyster card holders including dealing with incomplete journeys “automatically”. TfL will move to an “account basis” for users of TfL services with the website having the ability to retain your travel and service preferences all together.

Contactless Fares

WW: Contactless bank card acceptance on buses will launch this year – expect an announcement imminently. It will be extended to LU, DLR, Tramlink, Overground and National Rail in late 2013. The Oyster card will be retained for season ticket holders and those who do have a contactless debit or credit card. ITSO card acceptance on the TfL network will launch formally in late 2013. There is no mention at this stage of the South East Flexible Ticketing Project and how this affects TfL.

JB: Presumably “this year” means we’ll see limited trials on limited bus routes. Nonetheless, it’s a big step forward for a project that’s not gone as smoothly as TfL hoped. The confirmation of ITSO acceptance is interesting, and presumably means that we’re now finally heading towards one standard, in the London area at least.

On Cycling

WW: A Cycling Vision will be published shortly by the Mayor. Plans so far include junction improvements, extension of Cycle Hire scheme to inner SW London, completion of all cycle superhighways. There is also mention of the proposed Central London cycle route to link the superhighways and possibly safer, segregated routes. There is no obvious commitment to the “Go Dutch” principles of full segregation. 80,000 extra cycle parking spaces by 2016 are promised at stations and interchanges.

On Fares

WW: Fares will rise by RPI+1% until 2015. The percentage rise beyond this date is undefined presumably because there is no funding settlement and there is the general election in 2015. The Plan states clearly that the Mayor is responsible for determining the level of fares increases.

Final Thoughts

WW: Much remains to be decided and there is a clear dependency on the outcome of the next funding settlement with Government for major expenditure beyond 2015. The timing of certain deliverables suggests that there is a clearer intent to have specific items identified with the current Mayor’s term of office than before. The longer term future of London’s transport system is less clear as there is no defined programme of major improvements to the Underground, Buses, DLR or Tramlink. The Overground is being dealt with to avoid a situation of a successful service becoming tainted by ever increasing overcrowding. Development beyond 2016 hinges on the Government’s decision about devolution of rail franchising powers.

JB: Many will be disappointed by what they would see as a lack of “progress” in the next few years. It really does have to be remembered though that investment in transport projects in London in the previous decade has been absolutely exceptional. Against the background of the unfavourable current economic climate, the Business Plan could at least be seen as pushing forward in some way, rather than stagnating. That said, held up against the projected passenger projection figures elsewhere – especially on rail – it’s a less positive document.

PoP: The Plan does seem to anticipate a remarkable lack of growth. Indeed it is curious that it reports large growth in recent years, yet in most cases expects this to almost plateau in the forthcoming few years. The worry is that other indicators suggest that this will indeed not be the case. It is probably the case that overall the disruption that Thameslink reconstruction will cause at London Bridge over the next few years will exceed all the gains made by TfL put together. Judging by this report we might have a slightly cleaner city in the next five years, but we have to look to Crossrail and Thameslink completion in 2018 before we see any large improvements to transport in London.

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There are 164 comments on this article
  1. Greg Tingey says:

    SO, if the 1992 tube-stock motors are duff, why not go for the cheaper option of, erm, just replacing the motors?
    Or is that too simple, or is the potential cost so large that one might as well go for new stock?
    I find the latter unlikely, really, given the amount of other electronics inside a modern train.
    So ALL overground trains are to be lengthened, but no mention of GOBLIN electrification – I believe this is called “Squaring the Circle”, & is well-known to be impossible. Oops.
    As you mention the “Freight-money-pot” I suppose we can hope, but my opinion is that DafT are going to do their usual, & screw us around on this one, just because they can …
    At least until 2015, from your numbers. Complicated.
    Except that its’ present terminus @ Bank is a crowding disaster, not so much on the trains (though it is bad) as in the sub-surface station itself. &, Bank-rebuilding (2017+?) or not, this problem will have to be addressed.
    No specific mention of the “Borismaster” & its various problems, or is that outside the direct remit of this report?
    No mention of altering the crossing-timings @ lights, so that if the pedestrian button is not pushed, the pedestrian phase is simply then omitted, thus speeding up traffic, without inconveniencing pedestrians?
    If not, why not?
    “…a new TfL website will be launched in 2013” … ARRRGGGH! I suspect this could be a very bad idea, but then, I’m extremely cynical about such things.
    Contactless fares.
    & what about those of us who do have a debit/credit card, but won’t want to , erm. “touch” this scheme with someone else’s? The possibility of it sucking all your money up is just too great to risk, & far too likely in my opinion.
    “Development beyond 2016 hinges on the Government’s decision about devolution of rail franchising powers.”
    Well, you can push that back another year or two, at the very least. This is one that guvmint & DafT will screw up, unless DafT, in its’ present form, is demolished completely.

    One possibly irrelevant thought.
    Will whover is mayor in the next cycle actually make any difference?
    If so, then perhaps Mr WOlmar might be interestin. If not, then not.
    But that is politics, isn’t it?

  2. Long Branch Mike says:

    I do like the colour coding of the commentators:

    Pedantic of Purley: Piccadilly
    John Bull: Central
    Walthamstow Writer: District

    and the conversational format’s quite good too.

  3. John says:

    Re: Contactless fares on buses
    I noticed this page on the tfl website at the weekend – I don’t know how long it’s been there, but it’s fairly vague, stating “Later this month, you will be able to pay for your bus travel using contactless credit, debit or charge cards, as well as cash and Oyster cards. “

  4. Anonymous says:

    Contactless technology sounds like a good idea for the buses… How long until we can get this in the black cabs? 🙂

  5. Rational Plan says:

    About the only positive thing you can say about the PPP mess is that it guaranteed TFL a steady source of income that did sea saw with government whim.

    Well the PPP is dead and TFL will do well to hold onto the existing annual subsidy. Which only leaves it with smaller scale projects and infrastructure renewal.

    Who knows what 2015 will bring and which political party.

    London is a contested city for the main parties and the centre of government and the State (for labour) and where all the money is made (tories) so the both have in interest in good rail transport in the capital. With only the real difference being, maybe, Labour preferring investment in inner London such as the tube and buses and the Tories liking crossrails and out commuter services.

    Certainly at the last mayoral election Ken favoured raiding the reserves and the capital budget to cut fares. But Boris has been happy to maintain free travel and looks to extend it, I think I even read that the Tories were looking at providing free bus travel to the Unemployed (to find jobs) so it’s hard to tell sometimes.

    What it might boil down to is that people in rest of the country feeling that London is getting too much money. It might look bad to start anything too large after Crossrail and Thameslink open in 2018.

    Thats why I feel HS2 is probably guaranteed now, ‘it’s a national project that just happens to start in London’.

    Future project may rely on more tax raising powers in the city to build more transport, but that’s a poisoned chalice for anyone to grasp. A job tax may work in Paris but might not go down so well in London. Especially if local taxes ended up replacing the central government funding source.

    Focusing back on the short term Osbourne loves to flourish an infrastructure project during a budget speach (Croxley? East West Rail? National Electrification?), So I feel Crystal Palace will be such a bauble. It’s strange that Goblin is not the same but it seems that once DAFT is against something they will move heaven and earth to prevent it. Witness the years of anti electrification rubbish they used to get ministers to say in the House.

    The problem is that some projects lend themselves more this approach than others. So schemes that draw new lines on maps look great for politicians. It might help if TFL drew up projects that could be built and funded in stages. Maybe the Bakerloo line could be built a couple of stations at a time. I feel Tramlink could be in for major expansion as it can be done in small £200 to £400 million lumps, the same goes for the Overground but maybe to the west side of London.

    The problem that TFL has is that to build in London requires big tunnels and very expensive stations so there are few easy digestible lumps in the Centre of London. Imagine what you could build in Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham for £15 billion compared to crossrail 2. You could build 30 to 50 light rail lines for that in 10 or 15 cities for that.

    On a gamble I will say that the Piccadilly Bakerloo and Central upgrades go ahead (see these super new trains could go driverless in the future), But any major project after that will appear on a case by case basis fought for through political campaigns within Westminster and amongst the media.

  6. Alan Griffiths says:

    Page 5 of the Commissioner’s report tot the TfL board on 12/12/2012: “Dialogue continued with Network Rail and DfT on Gospel Oak to Barking electrification to reduce the cost of the scheme to an affordable level so that it can be delivered in Control Period 5 (2014 to 2019).”

  7. Whiff says:

    Those numbers at the start of the article are very scary. If nothing is done at a national level to reduce the growth of London or at a regional level to spread the concentration of jobs in the core of London then it rather feels like anything that TFL or other transport planners do is akin to re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

    [And I too like the conversational style – I like to imagine our esteemed writers sat in a pub somewhere sipping real ale and putting the world to rights though I imagine this being 2012 the conversation was just as likely to take place via Skype and webcam.]

  8. Taz says:

    The draft Plan mentions the “eventual development” of a new train that will be common to all deep level lines, shown as 2020-2030s in the delivery schedule. So the Central Line’s 1992 stock may disappear after forty years. PPP was drawn up on the basis of a thirty-year rolling programme, so this is hardly early retirement! Funding exists for a prototype train by December 2015, but maybe this will have a long test-bed life before production starts.

  9. John Bull says:

    And I too like the conversational style – I like to imagine our esteemed writers sat in a pub somewhere sipping real ale and putting the world to rights

    To be fair that’s a pretty accurate description of our “editorial meetings.” I think last time Lemmo and I went out drinking we “fixed” franchising.

    Only took about five pints of Ghost Ship.

  10. Kit Green says:

    Whiff “Those numbers at the start of the article are very scary.

    I think I may be the first to comment on the controlling influence on job locations and numbers of a policy that intentionally limits investment in extra capacity. If jobs should be spread not only more thinly across Greater London but across the whole nation we should be discussing very different investment proposals.

    When do we reach the same issue with rail as we seem to accept with motorways (as in the common sense that we do not build motorways ad infinitum as they will just always be full).

  11. stimarco says:

    The bus issue is a symptom of capacity saturation: nobody’s building more roads in central London, so there’s nowhere for any new buses to go. All we can do is replace them over time with better models, but no matter what they’re powered by, you can’t make the buses take up less space on the roads, so there’s an inherent limit to how many of them you can put on London’s roads.

    As the jobs growth and increased pressure on public transport in London is apparently going to be in that core, that means non-segregated buses will become a decreasing proportion of the city’s public transport solution. We either need to find a way to segregate these from other traffic (very difficult), or build new, segregated alternatives.

    Note that the above also applies to trams, which require even more space and are even less flexible in mixed traffic situations. Cross River Transit is a dead duck as long as traditional light rail solutions are the only options being touted. The only viable solution for central London is a segregated system, and that means no mixing with other traffic. As we can’t move the cars and vans out of the way without digging new tunnels, we need to think three-dimensionally and shift the public transport system up, above the existing roads. And that means some form of overhead guideway system.

    The alternative is for the core to be expanded further (hence my preference for relocating Heathrow Airport: the land freed up by that would provide a regeneration area easily on a par with Docklands to the east. Throw in the proposals for the OOC area and we’re talking about a major shift in London’s perceived centre.)

    Or we need to seriously consider relocating some of London’s jobs outside the city. The obvious candidate for that is to relocate the politicians. Politicians don’t need to be in London any longer: we have fast trains and the internet right now. In fact, it might even be better for the long-term health of the nation if the UK’s capital city were Birmingham instead: it’s more central and better connected to the rest of the country. HS2 makes this much more viable too. The likes of Frankfurt, Munich, Lyon, Basel, Sydney, Milan and New York haven’t exactly suffered from not being their respective nations’ capital cities. Hell, it might even stop the endless tinkering and micromanagement in London’s own transport infrastructure and politics!

  12. Boomtown Llama says:

    Does anyone know if there are recorded issues of interference between contactless cards and Oyster? I’ve found that since getting a contactless, my Oyster fails to be read about 50% of the time. Interference, or just an old Oyster that needs replacing?

    How will the system deal with conflicts e.g. if someone has a contactless card AND an Oyster travelcard in their wallet?

    @Greg re central line 1992 stock – general rule of thumb for refurb vs. replace is that if the stock was decent to start off with, then it’s worth refurbing. If it’s unreliable to begin with, it’s difficult to iron out all the faults in a refurb without creating more. As I understand it, the central line trains’ problems go beyond just motors.

  13. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Boomtown Llama,

    It does not quite answer your question but if you click on the link provided by John this strongly indicates that there might be an issue now and states definitively that there will be an issue in future since the reader cannot know which type of payment you wish to use.

  14. John Bull says:

    @Boomtoom Llama,

    Yes. There’s a conflict. I actually know this from first hand experimentation:

    1) Closed Oyster card holder containing Oystercard: WORKS
    2) Closed Oyster card holder containing old HSBC card (without contactless) and Oystercard: WORKS
    3) Closed Oyster card holder containing new HSBC card (with contactless) and Oystercard: FAILS
    4) Open Oyster card holder containing new HSBC card (with contactless) and Oystercard: WORKS

    Soon as I work out where on the HSBC card i need to burn a hole to stop the contactless working, I’ll add a 5) to that and I’ll bet good money the answer will be WORKS again on a closed card holder test.

  15. Greg Tingey says:

    John Bull
    Have you told TfL/LUL?
    And have they taken any notice?
    & … I wonder, would either of these interect with a London over-60’s travelcard, which is also magnetic-read, “touch” operation?

  16. Lemmo says:

    Those numbers at the start of the article are very scary. If nothing is done at a national level to reduce the growth of London or at a regional level to spread the concentration of jobs in the core of London then it rather feels like anything that TFL or other transport planners do is akin to re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

    I agree Whiff, which is why GLA/TfL need to be more proactive in deciding what the future of London should look like, then creating the land-use, economic development and transport policies that will support this.

    As Pedantic mentions, these policies could use the agglomeration effect to advantage: to encourage growth just outside the city core, particularly where rail routes already exist.

    As stimarco also points out, the core needs to be expanded.

  17. Anonymous says:

    To add the alternate thread on Oyster cards……..

    I keep my English National Concessionary Bus Pass (an ITSO card) in the same plastic wallet as my Oyster card (I don’t live in London so I don’t have a Freedom Pass). At least 3 years ago, I noticed that I was having problems at Oyster readers when using the wallet closed. With the help of a member of LUL staff at Woodside Park Underground, we established that the Bus Pass was causing some form of interference with the Oyster reader. Ever since then, I open the wallet when touching in and out on Oyster and have had no problems since. (I haven’t tried a closed wallet on the local buses!)

  18. Anonymous says:


    Tbf, the core has been – and continues to be – expanded. White City down to Hammersmith is a pretty major employment zone with some big companies; the underused (over recent history) southern portion of central London, from Waterloo to London Bridge, is starting to intensify, ditto around Old Street. There is expansion NE around King’s Cross and SW from Vauxhall. I suspect expansion East will gather pace towards the end of this decade, whilst throw in Euston once the station begins redevelopment. On top of this is obviously spillover in CW and, though not a single cluster, the Western corridor, or ‘wedge’. Stratford could easily be another centre for overspill and let’s not forget OOC.

    Expanding much beyond the above is going to be difficult because you start hitting densely populated residential zones. The exception is out East due to amount of urban ‘wasteland’ still around. The greatest potential for expansion still remains the likes of Whitechapel, and the East End and into Stratford and the IoD with the Royal Docks and nearby absorbing lots of housing.

  19. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – as JB has said I believe there are other issues with the Central Line stock hence recent work to deal with corrosion, car ends and windows. They will probably be at the end of the “Deep Tube” replacement programme meaning a decent lifespan despite their problems. I cannot see stakeholders accepting the Central Line being prioritised ahead of either the Piccadilly or Bakerloo lines where other assets also need concurrent replacement. The Central Line is not as exposed to asset degradation for its power and signalling as the Picc and Bakerloo are.

    @ Stimarco – the bus issue is interesting. Mr Hendy and Chris Garnett (ex GNER, but TfL Board member now) appeared in front of the GLA Transport Committee last week. They were strongly challenged about the “do nothing” approach on bus service expansion. The response came back that as the network is essentially revenue expenditure (via contract payments) that there was no appetite from govt or other stakeholders to see revenue expenditure go up. While TfL seem to be able to win support for “infrastructure investment” (this month’s top buzz words) they can’t for other sorts of spending. Peter Hendy said they knew that they had problems on parts of the network but they had to manage within existing resources by cutting services in one place to free resource elsewhere. Increased fares and tougher contract targets and lower contract prices have helped bring down subsidy from £600m to £400m but I doubt there is much to be done on contract prices without driving some operators out of the game. Bus fares will clearly keep going up and up.

    Personally I don’t really buy the TfL stance – it is clear that there is no political push for better buses other than the NB4L so that’s all TfL will do. Not every bus route is overloaded but many are. Sunday loadings are out of kilter to the capacity offered as a result of increased shopping and leisure activity on Sundays. TfL need to seriously rethink service levels on that day. Health service and education facilities are subject to significant change and public transport has to deal with that change. The Mayor and TfL have publicly committed to support those changes by adapting services but there is seemingly no money to do so. Peter Hendy was ambushed, by a London MP, on weekend politics TV on precisely this issue. I am afraid I do not share your view about shoving transport capacity up in the air. If we can’t build a tram across Waterloo Bridge we certainly aren’t going to get a monorail or similar.

    On the smartcard “conflict” issue I believe the technology will employ an “anti collision” protocol when more than one card is detected within range of the reader target. PoP has pointed to the recent TfL page about Contactless Payment which states that no cards will be read when a reader detects a conflict. Passengers will have to choose which card to pay with. You can perhaps see why TfL are doing buses first because at least the driver can assist. Imagine the issues at station gatelines in the peak? TfL will have a big education exercise to conduct as we head towards December 2013 when rail modes will be added to the scheme as will capping. I believe bus card acceptance is targeted for launch on 13 December 2012 – this was pretty much confirmed by Mr Hendy.

    @ JB – on the subject of Overground capacity expansion Mr Hendy confirmed to the GLA TC that GOBLIN EMUs would be 3 cars rather than 4. He said they would be new if the go ahead was given. He also said TfL and Network Rail still disagreed about the cost of stringing of the wires (plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose) but were working to refine the numbers. He said he was hopeful because the DfT had been asking a range of questions about the scheme suggesting some pressure was coming from somewhere. He got me and the TC overly hopeful by strongly hinting the Chancellor would say “yes” to electrification during the Autumn Statement. Unfortunately he said nothing.

    In my wild musings I wonder if TfL would take a different tack if GOBLIN electrification was approved. They could order a small batch of new 5 car EMUs to expand ELL capacity (the extra 2 tph) and then possibly “cannibalise” 8 existing 378s by removing 1 carriage to create some 3 car EMUS for the GOBLIN and then using the released carriages to lengthen other 378s. This might be a way to keep costs down. A batch of extra carriages would be ordered to bolster the remaining 378s to 5 cars. The small intitial batch of 5 car trains would create a float for the conversion work. All speculation on my part though and I agree TfL have a challenge on their hands with a somewhat unclear environment to work within.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous @1903

    My Mother-in-Law was having issues with her Oyster last weekend (the wrong one as well – she forgot the one with her SC Railcard loaded). When she opened the wallet it worked fine. Funnily enough there was her Concessionary Bus Pass, which was interfering. It will always happen – you can’t put 2 rfid chips together and expect a reader to pick them up as it will be confused which one it’s supposed to be looking at.

  21. I think WW hit the nail on the head with his comment about buses though it applies more generally.

    The government believes that you cannot waste money in a recession on your daily outgoings. The only additional spending that can be justified, in their opinion, is capital investment because that will get the economy going and put it on a more sound footing. That is why they like the extension to Battersea which they believe will lead to the area being redeveloped. I can’t see them being so keen on Tramlink to Crystal Palace because it is difficult to see how it would spur on private investment. If someone could show that it would get a significant number of unemployed people in private sector employment then their attitude would change. Crossrail’s case probably actually improved because of the recession. It was a wise move for the supporters to of that project to emphasise that it would ultimately lead to a revenue increase to the government which would be way above the cost of the project.

    One of the reasons transport is doing so well (compared to other departments) in a recession is that TfL and the much-maligned DfT are able to provide figures to the treasury to show that in the long term many transport schemes are a sound investment. Unfortunately it is difficult to show increased subsidy to buses leads to a general economic benefit. One can argue that it is wrong that only things that can be measured attract investment but that is the way the world tends to be a the moment.

  22. John Bull says:

    @WW – Yes, I got the distinct impression in conversation with Howard Smith a few weeks back that he too was expecting something in the Autumn statement. He didn’t actually say it, but his approach and tone was very similar to Hendy’s at the TC. As a side note, he also confirmed we were right on the money when we suggested back in May that Network Rail had priced GOBLIN electrification at £90-100m.

    I wonder whether TfL (and perhaps the DfT) had been led to believe that something would indeed be revealed. In poker terms, both Smith and Hendy have always struck me as the kind of people who would only bluff on a potential flush or a straight, never a high pair.

    In terms of your wild musings, I actually have a feeling that they may not be as wild as you think. TfL (or rather RfL) have already got to do some creative thinking with regards to capacity upgrades on the Overground. Expanding the maintenance shed at New Cross for the 378s so it’s large enough to take five cars, and getting the sidings sorted, is going to require some brain cells because there’s very little room to manoeuvre there (I remember us making this point when it opened).

    They also don’t currently have the fleet capacity to lose the 378s back to Derby for upgrades – with the expanded services they’re now running they can’t have more than what? Two or three units over at any time? That means the extra cars will likely have to be built, shipped down and installed at New Cross anyway (should make for some interestingly configured formations down from Derby!).

    So if you’re going to have to play “shuffle and slice” with your rolling stock anyway, then hell – why not push the boat out and really push the boundaries of creativity? Particularly if you’re feeling confident in your management, your staff and your overall ability (and record) for delivery – and lets face it, confidence must be running high within RfL at the moment (for very good reason). I’m not saying RfL are in the mood to take risks, just that they’re probably more willing then most to take on a challenge.

    That’s why I wonder whether they’re frustrated/annoyed at the lack of electrification. They’ve got high expectations and standards at the moment, and a confidence in their ability to deliver. Thus still having one small part of their shiny orange network running on smelly diesel in 2015 is going to feel like a failure, even though it probably isn’t.

  23. Lemmo says:

    @ Anonymous 8:36pm

    Tbf, the core has been – and continues to be – expanded…

    I agree, and it’s exciting to see how these new zones will evolve and become economic engine-houses in their own right. My point is that this needs to become a central tenet in GLA policy as a way to avoid over-concentrating the core to the point it becomes unworkable. And it needs to be part of rail policy, but the HLOS shows that it isn’t.

    London needs to create a rail strategy of its own, with the policy settings and metrics to boost rail provision to these areas outside the core, rather than this backward-looking focus on the termini.

  24. Greg Tingey says:

    Oyster + Other passes
    I keep my over-60-inside-London “pass” in a wallet in my top pocket, & my Oyster (which gets used VERY rerely, now) in the back of my diary, which lives in a jacket-pocket, so no probs … however, if the dreaded suck-up-all-your-money “contactless” cards come in, I’ll have to find a third place to keep that?
    Errr ….

    Anon @ 20.36
    “Expansion – you mention the area round Old Street … I wonder, how long to “City Road” re-opening, or York Road, for that matter?

    Thanks, I wasn’t aware of the other problems on such new stock, with corrosion – I presume some “design” idiot forgot about bimetallism?
    Bus loadings…. so we need more efficient (=less expensive) buses & bigger buses (sometimes) on existing roads? Not an easy one to solve, is it? Let’s face it, the NB4L is going to go OMO fairly quickly, outside the central core, because of operating (=crew) costs. See also Pedantic’s comments – I wonder, do new, hybrid, more fuel-efficient buses count as better captial investment in infrasructure? But not the NB4L, apparently, as I understand its’ fuel-figures are NOT good (?)
    GOBLIN … looks like constant nagging is slowly having an effect. I suspect NR are willing, especially as they absorb the lessons from Paisley Canal, but finding the “right” pot to draw the money from is going to be fun, & overcoming the inevitable attempt that DafT will make to stifle the whole thing, just because they feel they can.
    I also suspect that the nanosecond GOBLIN is electrified, the problem of where to go west of GO (& new platform(s) there) will pop up. Let’s face it, that will have to be solved, since having the present shuttle, once the knitting is up will make no sense whatsoever.
    Also, re JB … it isn’t just that the GOBLIN is a “smelly diesel” it is the overcrowding, esp in the AM peak. It is truly scary, as I’ve noted before, & I know that Loo-Roll have the numbers, because (my part-time-employers) have given them said numbers. A very useful weapon to beat the Treasury & DafT over the head with.

    Agree. Time for a revival of the 1946-8 proposal for a Marylebone – New Cross Tunnel?
    Particularly if someone revises HS2 so that it closely parallels the GW/GC then GC routes as far as Rugby, thus cutting construction & amelioration costs?

    Which reminds me: Euston Rebuilding.
    The current proposal is potty.
    What should be done is to double-deck the existing station, preferably with the existing tracks going on top, & the HS2 tracks going in underneath, to existing platforms.
    This could be donein stages, particularly, as you could build almost all of the top structure, without disturbing existing works, until you needed connections at the sides, a short way up Camden bank.
    Besides, that would mean the “Bree Loise” wouldn’t be knocked down!

  25. John Bull says:

    Yes, sorry, I was being slightly facetious with the “smelly diesel” comment. It’s not just the method of power but, like you say, the whole experience that I think they’ll feel will sit badly in comparison to the rest of the Overground network by then (if not already).

  26. Gruff says:

    My NatWest contactless debit card has been interfering with my Oyster, resulting in some experimenting. I’ve found that if I place a thin piece of cardboard wrapped in several layers of baking foil in my wallet and ensure that the Oyster is on the opposite side to the NatWest card, then I can touch in and out without problems. My wallet is slightly thicker as a result, but it avoids the inconvenience and slowness of having to extract the card each time I use it.

  27. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – Mr Hendy confirmed to the LA TC that the NB4L expenditure is not capital but revenue expenditure. The cost of new buses is covered by lease payments within the contract fees that TfL pays the bus operators. TfL is pushing the expansion of hybrid vehicles on central area routes because of air pollution concerns. This is why the 29 and 73 are getting brand new Volvo hybrids despite having received new diesel vehicles within the last year or so when converted from articulated bus operation. The newish buses are being cascaded to North London suburban routes as contracts are renewed. I expect more routes will have the same treatment as the NB4Ls and other hybrids arrive. TfL and the operators do not seem to have found a successful hybrid single deck bus for London use though – many types do not run consistently and others have been withdrawn from service.

    The simplest way to improve efficiency is to convert single deck routes to double deck where there are no physical constraints on a route. TfL seem to take a long while to do this but have done a few routes in recent months. Much more can be done as lots of double deckers are surplus and more will become so. It is a tougher issue when it comes to routes that simply need more buses – that is where the extra cost comes in. The same applies for brand new routes but the era from 2002-2006 shows that such services typically do very well – these days it’s hard to have an unsuccessful bus route in London. This links back to the plateauing / fall in car use and ownership.

    @ PoP – Tramlink extensions might not create Battersea style redevelopment and jobs but it will create jobs and improve orbital connectivity thus improving access to employment. The bigger issue for the Mayor is political. Grand statements have been made about helping and regenerating Croydon and outer London. Much of the local press and blogosphere coverage is portraying the lack of a go ahead for the Crystal Palace extension as betrayal which is damaging for the Mayor. There was also negative rumbling from Tory Assembly members about the absence of the extension in the draft Business Plan. I wonder if the Mayor will be forced to “do something” within the next year in order to deal with the bad press? The other factor I can see is whether Westfield might come to the rescue in the form of S106 monies if they decide to proceed with their proposed development in central Croydon. They know that good public transport delivers lots of people to their other centres. Extending the reach of Tramlink will help improve the catchment area for their development.

  28. DeepThought says:

    @JohnBull wanting to burn a hole in his HSBC Card – Probably anywhere roughly 2mm in from the edge, as that’s where the copper wires for the antenna should be. If they break the chip can’t talk to the outside world. I’ve had old Oyster cards stop working because they cracked at the edges and broke the wires.

    You can see the design of the antenna particularly well if you happen to have a passport issued within the last 5/6 years as they have RFID tags in them as well. Flip to the page at the back with your picture on, and look at the reverse. You’ll see the RFID chip surrounded by a rectangular loop of copper wires, which just so happens to be exactly credit card sized. One suspect that these things are standard sizes and the passport office wanted to save money.

  29. timbeau says:


    “Or we need to seriously consider relocating some of London’s jobs outside the city. The obvious candidate for that is to relocate the politicians. Politicians don’t need to be in London any longer: we have fast trains and the internet right now. In fact, it might even be better for the long-term health of the nation if the UK’s capital city were Birmingham instead: it’s more central and better connected to the rest of the country”

    Why Birmingham? – It’s still not very central to the UK and has its own traffic problems. Put it somewhere which needs the jobs: East Lancashire for example.

    If we really were to get a proper devolution process, the Englsih parliament could stay in Westminster and the UK one can be there.

    Of course, with current thinking – Scotland wants independance from England but might have to re-apply to stay in the EU, whilst many English want out of the EU – so let’s have England leave the UK. A United Kingdom of Scotland, Wales and NI? Why not?

  30. Rational Plan says:

    The idea that you can make companies relocate out of London is foolish. It was tried before and all we ended up with is a poorer London. Companies have every incentive to move out of London, due to higher wages and high rates and rental costs. The private sector only remains because of those agglomeration benefits such as a deep labour pool and a big client base,

    It’s government that has little incentive to move due to national wage bargaining. It wages that make up the majority of the cost of government services not building rents. If there was local wage setting in the public sector then a lot more government jobs would shift to the regions.


    I though the NB4L was actually supposed to be one of the most efficient hybrids? Certainly compared to other models out there.
    Also I would not surprised if in the future we see two door single operator versions for inner suburbs.

    @Walthamstow Writer

    Yes, the Mayor seemed to promise more for the Suburbs and the Long term transport strategy does suggest a lot of tram extensions for the suburbs.

    I feel that these additional funds will pop up at various budgets.

    Also in theory increased transport should lead to more jobs for Croydon, yet Croydon has had the Tramlink for over a decade during a property boom and it all it has got to show for it is employers fleeing the town. I sometimes think a proper Development corporation needs to take over Croydon as no one else seems to get anything done.

  31. JamesC says:

    As I understood it the issue with the central line motors is intact quite a difficult one to solve, mainly due to the very low ride hight of the trains above the track, which basically means the motors are slung much lower down than the other deep level trains making replacement very difficult – this design was part of the reason why the motor caused so much of a problem and derailed the train at Chancery Lane.

    As for the goblin, the issue basically is that the cost involved is just too big for any political gain it may bring….. The simple and cheaper answer would be to use a third rail system. Although the southern/ell systems are now banned on new open air systems, I guess it could somehow be termed an extension to the ell system, and added on somehow. I don’t think there are any level crossing issues in the way, just bureaucratic rules that were designed to prevent people getting g electrocuted wandered onto the tracks, but don’t allow for situations like this where it is all semi enclosed track anyway. – this would obviously not work for freight trains mind you.

    The ultimate answer would be to build a dlr style system alongside/ ontop of the original tracks…. and extend it somewhere that needs it (for eample spur off to Stratford and join the dlr there) – just a thought 🙂

  32. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Rational Plan,
    I think without Tramlink unemployment would have been worse still. Tramlink makes jobs accessible in the Valley Park retail area which prior to Tramlink was difficult to get to without a car.

    It is true that employers have left the town. The principal one that had by far the greatest impact was Nestlé. They moved to a office park near Gatwick Airport. Given the international nature of the company the move almost certainly had a lot of benefits for them and nothing that Croydon could have done would have made a difference.

    The trouble with retail expansion is that doesn’t necessarily create jobs even though that is how it is reported on the news. It could just move them elsewhere. Tesco closed their New Addington branch shortly after Tramlink opened and the traders at Addiscombe who looked forward to the tram to give the place a sense of identity found that it meant that some of their former customers just nipped on a tram and shopped in Croydon instead. Whilst s106 may help I just don’t think the chancellor would invest money in order for consumers to buy more retail goods that to a greater extent are imported anyway. The exception would be if the shops attracted foreign tourists but I can’t see that happening in Croydon somehow.

  33. @Whiff and Lemmo,

    If you thought the numbers at the start of the article were scary then look at TfL’s latest piece of propaganda.

    London’s population is expected to reach nine million by 2018, according to latest Office for National Statistics figures.

  34. Anonymous says:


    “As for the goblin, the issue basically is that the cost involved is just too big for any political gain it may bring….. The simple and cheaper answer would be to use a third rail system.”

    And ready available trains on the door step??


  35. HowardGWR says:

    I missed any reference to the feasibility work of Andrew Adonis on north south cross rail links. If there was indeed no reference, does this speak of strategic thinking, or is TfL (and Mayor) trying to pretend it does not exist ?

  36. Malcolm says:

    Third rail on goblin? Yes, it might sneak past the rules. But saving rail workers’s lives has value over and beyond rules. And anyway, what twisted version of accounting could make it cheaper? What could possibly be the sense in perpetuating diesel freight, while meanwhile down in Basingstoke a start will shortly be made in ripping out some of these snow-susceptible relics of the 1920s.

  37. timbeau says:

    Basingstoke to Southampton was electrified in 1967, not the 1920s

    Why could freight trains not use a 3rd- rail electrified Goblin? There are plenty of Class 92s looking for work.

  38. Mwmbwls says:

    Although we, or may be it is just me, obsess about the GOBLIN, I think at the end of the day that freight requirements will be the catalyst for change. The Chancellors announcement of M25 junction improvements to cope with increased traffic from the Thames Gateway is at best a sticking plaster. The last thing the M25 needs is a greater number of intrinsically slow moving vehicles ( HGVs) mixing with faster cars – it is the concertina effect that results from the interaction of vehicles of differing speeds that triggers congestion and in some cases accidents on the motorways. If as result shippers find it better to forward freight by rail then that means travelling either via the NLL – part of the increasingly popular Overground network whose basic technology once expanded to five cars cannot be expanded again. Once five car loading capacity is reached the only solution is to run more trains. This will in the long term push trains on to the GOBLIN.
    The length and weight of these trains will rapidly search out weaknesses in the infrastructure. We have already seen the need to virtually re-engineeer the Settle and Carlisle route, a route designed and maintained for relatively light trains together with extensive resignalling to cope with the long and heavy MGR trains from Ayrshire to the Yorkshire Power Stations and the cross border freight diverted away from Shap. This crunch point will all happen during the next ten years – the DfT and the Treasury cab duck and dive but time and weight will catch them out. Fixing the GOBLIN whilst it cheap and relatively simple is common sense. One can quite see why Greg’s Ross Pops go off from time to time.

  39. Lemmo says:

    I remember from my research on the freight articles that a route really needs to be electrified from end-to-end. If there are sections still not electrified then rail managers will stick with diesel. Third rail on Goblin will not help freight, but it might be viable for passenger if there was a stock cascade expected from other lines.

  40. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – I meant to mention earlier that the NB4L is the most fuel efficient bus in the TfL fleet. It has been stated several times that its mpg figures are several times better than a conventional diesel and several percentage points better than the Volvo and Alexander Dennis hybrid vehicles. LA members have recently become agitated about certain aspects of the emission performance of the NB4L after a presentation by TfL. When questioned again Mr Hendy said that the presentation had used initial test results and later test results had confirmed the NB4L was the best performer on all emissions measures. I’d have been surprised if TfL had allowed “their” bus to end up with environmental performance worse than other vehicles.

    On the GOBLIN issue I don’t see third rail as being a viable solution as it would be island of third rail operation when connecting lines are wired. While there might be class 92s lying around it surely (?) makes more sense to use a power supply that is used on the main arteries north from London and will, in time, be on the GWML and MML. And don’t worry Mwmblws you are not alone in your obsession. There is a clear group of people – with differing priorities – who want to see the line electrified.

  41. Malcolm says:

    “… that its mpg figures are several times better than a conventional diesel”

    Shome mishtake, surely? Several is usually at least 3, and it would be hard to find a diesel engine, even from the 1930s, which could use 3 times as much fuel as a NB4L.

    On second thoughts, the above argument uses the fallacious “argument from personal incredulity”. So I’ll rephrase it. Who exactly has stated this several times, and might they possibly be mistaken, exaggerating or misuderstood?

  42. Rational Plan says:

    @Pedantic,I read it was more to do with the lack of new office buildings available in Croydon. The council has spent the best part of a decade fighting the landowner next to the station because it wants an arena on site while they just wantto build offices.

  43. Pedantic of Purley says:

    That is true but there are existing offices – most notably the one Nestlé was in. Of course people want nice new ones which isn’t entirely irrational as a lot of the older ones are not well suited to the masses of cabling needed in a modern office environment.

  44. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Malcolm – OK possibly sloppy wording on my part. TfL and the Mayor have given headline figures & statements (during Mayor’s Question Times) about the NB4L being fuel efficient and being better than other vehicles. There was a TfL presentation by Mike Weston earlier this year which included comparative data but also erroneous emission infos – it appears to have been pulled by TfL as Google is not turning it up. Other Google searches bring up numbers of 8.6mpg and 11.6mpg for the NB4L although the Mayor recently declined to give the most recent info until tests are complete.

    Digging around elsewhere has turned up the Mike Weston May 2012 presentation. The mpg numbers, based on Millbrook testing, are shown as follows

    NB4L – 11.6
    Volvo B5 hybrid – 8
    AD Enviro 400 hybrid – 8.7
    Wright hybrid Mk2 – 10.2

    Volvo B9 diesel – 4.5
    Scania Euro 4 diesel – 4.8
    AD Enviro 400 diesel – 5.9
    Wright DL2 diesel – 6

    I think it is probably safe to say that 11.6 compared to 4.5 is not quite 3 times better but is better than 2.

    Recent Mayoral questions and answers have covered emissions –

    I hope that fills in the gaps.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Westfield won’t get to build in Croydon – their competitor controls a third of the lease already and a partner controls another third. Meanwhile it’s just like the arena all over again – only this time there is a massive Allders size hole in the town centre, nobody is interested in it (John Lewis would be my choice) because they don’t know who will redevelop. As for the tram, the damage won’t be done to Boris – it will be the Conservative councillors in 2014 and the Croydon Central MP in 2015.

  46. Taz says:

    I don’t think the Plan means that new trains will be built for the Jubilee Line. It states that the Northern Line will need more trains for the Battersea extension and another line upgrade, and the opportunity will be taken to obtain additional trains for the Jubilee Line. It is unlikely that the new standard tube train will fit the spacing of the platform edge doors. What would make sense is to get a few more new trains to replace some of the existing Northern Line trains which have identical body shells to the Jubilee Line trains and could transfer over. They are not electrically compatible but would couple in emergency, and will have the same signalling system. At only 6-cars, they would need a special trailer added as was done with the Jubilee Line trains. This could be obtained by withdrawing five Northern Line trains to make four Jubilee Line trains, equipment from the fifth train being stripped to provide four special trailers and two spare end cars.

  47. Metrication says:

    I’m surprised to read about businesses leaving Croydon, as companies based in neighbouring Sutton have been evacuating there in droves. The usual excuse cited is the chronically bad transport options here (courtesy of FCC), compared to Croydon’s Tramlink, Overground, Thameslink and Gatwick Express. There is something like £140 million of redevelopment en route to Sutton, but all of the developer’s plans have been made on the basis of Tramlink coming here, with one even making provisions for a stop outside of their site if I recall correctly. Looking at the draft plan I think they’ll be very disappointed.

  48. The other Paul says:

    Some strategies and projects that could be considered to encourage/aid development outside the core –

    – Stockley Park Crossrail station; between Hayes and West Drayton, plenty of space for it. Would require pedestrian access across the canal.

    – White City interchange. Divert LO north of Shepherds Bush across industrial area to allow platforms adjacent to Central line and interchange also with H&C. Plenty of development opportunities North of Westfield.

    – The Park Royal industrial area has to be a major development opportunity following HS2 at adjacent OOC. How could additional transport be provided to link it to HS2 and elsewhere? Could it involve better use of the Greenford branch? Dudding Hill? The Piccadilly line North of Ealing?

    – Rather than the crappy single bore HS1 link from OOC to Primrose Hill, make it a full twin bore additional high speed line from OOC to Stratford with no intermediate stations. Run Kent services to OOC and beyond on the old WCML. East to west London in 15 minutes, OOC and Stratford become major interchanges, releasing capacity at KXSP, Euston, on the tube and Crossrail. OK, so this is a big money option, but relative to the rest of the HS2 package?

    – Staples Corner/Brent Cross – major development going on here with a new station on the Thameslink line. But what of more local, lateral links? The concrete jungle of motorways and major roads in the area is a pedestrian/cyclist nightmare, and awkward for buses too. Dudding Hill could again play a part, but some sort of rail link to Brent Cross shopping centre and the Northern line would seem to have high benefit.

    – W of Kentish Town – possible development area here. Opportunity to move KT Thameslink to the West of of Kentish Town Road and provide longer platforms. Additional LO station between Kentish Town West and Gospel Oak could be close enough for interchange at the west end of moved station.

    – Old Kent road area, multiple development opportunities all the way down. Surely an obvious core extension waiting here. All in need of transport though – Surrey Canal Road could help but this is possible Bakerloo extension territory.

    – Nine Elms/Battersea – Well I guess this one at least is covered, though the connection to CLJ might seem to be in order to handle commuters heading into Battersea.

    – Tottenham Hale-Brimsdown corridor – maybe TFL have this one covered too with the suggested LO service

    – Thames Gateway developments – these will surely pick up again, aside from the shelved DLR extension, a GOBLIN extension to Dagenham Dock, then under the river to Thamesmead?

  49. Greg Tingey says:

    WW @ 10.32
    Problems with single-deck hybrids? Odd. A big hybrid (NB4L, Volvo etc) can be made to work & so can something as small as a car (Prius) but not in between? I suspect the bus manufacturers are not trying.
    I wonder what do you do about “Mini” bus routes, that go through narrow back-streets (my local classic example is the W12 ) which cannot be extended or made double-deck.

    Rational Plan
    NB4L is the subject of a hate-campaign by “Boriswatch” (google for them), who are making interesting claims – I make no vouch for their accuracy.
    [ See these links: ]

    James C @ 13.56
    Which brings up the problem of a “common” design for all the deep-level tubes again, doesn’t it? The requirements of each line are subtly different, & require stock alterations, or may do, at least. Certainly this has been so in the past.
    Stop talking cods about 3rd rail, PLEASE?
    [ I note that everyone else has noted this escape from clear thinking, too! But see below. ]
    Look the GOBLIN has 25kV at each end & in the middle, & you are suggesting introducing 3rd rail where it has never been before & with no continuity with other systems?
    No, the cost CAN be brought down (e.g. Paisley Canal) & the costs can be shared between freight & passenger. It’s getting to that political compromise that is going to be difficult.
    As for a “DLR” type system, really, one is not supposed to be personally abusive here, but erm… WHERE IS THE FREIGHT GOING TO GO IF YOU DO THAT?
    I think you now score -150% for engineering knowledge.
    Anon @ 14.43 – & you too!
    [ Actually, 3rd-rail is a relic of 1914-16 isn’t it? Whereas AC overhead is a relic of the 1900’s! ]
    Mwmbwls: – actually, Ramsbottoms, gently simmering all the time!
    Lemmo: yes, that would be almost as intelligent, wouldn’t it – thank you for making the point – an odd-man-out, detached 3rd rail electrified passenger bit, with the freights still diesel-hauled … err ….

    Pedantic @ 14.35
    We know the population figures are wrong! (People don’t fill in census forms)
    I suspect there are more than 12 million inside the M25 already ….

  50. Anonymous says:

    Mayoral aspirations for greater control/influence over rail services are facing push back in Kent

  51. Littlejohn says:

    @WW 10:32AM, 12th December 2012. The claim that the NB4L expenditure is not capital but revenue expenditure looks like either creative accounting or semantics. Unlike every other bus in London, the NB4L is not owned/leased by the operator but is owned by TfL. This must surely mean that the vehicles are on TFL’s Asset Register and the fact that they are then leased/hired to the route operator does not alter this. The reason TfL has to buy them is that operators won’t, as they cannot be cascaded out of London. This in itself opens up some intriguing scenarios. It seems that TfL will be obliged to keep the vehicles operating for their full life (easily 15 – 18 years; my own preserved coach is now approaching 54 years) when other buses are being rolled-over every 5 or 6 years. What I wonder will happen if contractors decide they don’t want to bid for contracts that require them to use vehicles that are outdated, where maintenance and spares are likely to be more expensive due to the limited production run and are so much more expensive to operate, due to their excessive weight, duplicated crew costs and poor passenger capacity? Will we see TfL operating on its own account? This would not be new, but in the past this has been when an operator has suddenly ceased trading, not when TfL has been stuck with a bus no-one else wants to use.

    So far as single deck hybrids go, there is no reason at all why single deck equivalents of the E40H or B5LH should not work perfectly well, as they do elsewhere in the country, although the fuel savings seem to be less so there is less financial gain to offset the additional cost. The problem lies with the power systems that have been tried in London, such as gas (hydrogen) power. Single deckers are used for these sorts of trials because they are lighter and because there is room on the roof for the gas tanks and all the other gubbins. They are also cheaper, preferable if the experiment doesn’t work.

    I wrote the above yesterday afternoon but TalkTalk crashed so I couldn’t submit it. Picking up on later posts, I really don’t see how NB4L, with a heavier body, can outperform a B5L with the same mechanicals. I suspect the answer lies in ‘Millbrook testing’ compared to actual on-the-road figures. It’s a bit like car manufacturers quoting mpg figures that we know we will never achieve in actual everyday use.

  52. timbeau says:

    wasn’t a similar system of leasing tried when TfL insisted on Routemasters on certain routes? Presumably operators could be found in a decade or so who will be prepared to operate 12 year old Borismasters if the price is right – but it might be quite a high price.

  53. timbeau says:

    On the mayoral aspirations for Sevenoaks and Dratford:

    It would seem the concerns of the good people of those towns are not entirely unfounded, as the recent prioritisation of frequency at Pinner over journey time from Chesham and Amersham demonstrates. However, my iunderstanding is that the proposal only affects inner suburban services, some of which happen to stray one or two stops over the border (in the case of Sevenoaks, it is only the services via Bat & Ball that are affected). Both stations have fast services to London which would not be affected, and I would imagine that the stations themselves would stay in the hands of SET.

    The denizens of the Cobham line in Surrey may have greater concerns – I can see that if that line goes over to mayoral control, it might be seen as a useful way of increasing capacity at local stations inbound from Surbiton, particularly Berrylands which only sees 2tph

  54. DeepThought says:

    @The other Paul, Re: Kentish Town

    The idea of moving the Thameslink Station West of the road junction and building larger platforms has been brought up here a couple of times before, but there is the issue of interchange with the Northern Line. It can be a pretty busy interchange in the morning peak, and I would expect it to only get busier as and when the Northern Line and Thameslink upgrades complete.

    The idea might be saved by the fact that the current elevator shafts are joined to the Southern end of the underground platforms – hence I suspect the underground platforms actually extend a fair bit Northwards along the Kentish Town Road. If this is the case then sinking a couple of new elevator shafts from any new station to still provide convenient interchange should be feasible.

  55. timbeau says:

    3rd rail goes back further than 1914 – the CSLR had it in 1890, the Liverpool Overhead in 1893, and the North Eastern Raiway in Tyneside in 1904!

    AC, at least in the UK, was first seen in 1908 on the Lancaster-Morecambe line, and on the SLL the following year. 3-phase ac was slightly earlier, used in Switzerland in 1899

  56. mr_jrt says:

    …or, worse case scenario, a covered walkway under the bridge to the new platforms. Probably a bit longer distance-wise, but should be very, very cheap.

  57. Sugabed says:

    They could start by putting a roof on the existing footbridge that is there now.
    The word “Bleak” hardly does it justice….

  58. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Littlejohn. I was merely repeating what Mr Hendy had said. I don’t have any reason to disagree with your comments about the financial treatment, the reluctance of operators to buy the NB4L or the likely in service life. Clearly TfL have had to “adjust” their usual stance about vehicles in order to meet the Mayor’s manifesto commitment. There are some parts of the picture, like maintenance arrangements and the cost thereof, which are not yet clear.

    I don’t believe we will see TfL operating buses directly. Firstly Boris demanded that East Thames Buses, that held the operating licence for TfL, was sold off. I do not know if TfL still retain an operator’s licence but if they have relinquished it then they face the cost of re-establishing an operating unit with competent staff that would be contrary to Mayoral policy. This then becomes political and I cannot see TfL acting independently in a way which could become politically damaging. The Mayor would have to sign off such a policy change. Even if the operators are reluctant about the NB4L I expect all the companies that run in Zone 1 will end up running them. Any “concerns” will be reflected in tender prices and if the concerns are universal expect tender prices to rise. There are strong suggestions that the extent of crew operation will be very limited in order to contain costs. I don’t expect NB4Ls to stray into outer London either as their environmental credentials would be (relatively) wasted compared to running in Z1.

    I agree that prima facie single deck hybrids should function OK. However the reliability of the Wright Electrocities has been patchy and Abellio’s examples are now out of service. The Optare Tempos with Metroline and Stagecoach are a bit temperamental and there are only five Enviro 200 hybrids in service despite huge numbers of Enviro 200s running in London. The apparent lack of interest is probably due to air concerns being limited to Zone 1 and the relative lack of single deck routes in that area.

    @ Greg – there are alternative fuel, hybrid and all electric (EV) versions of two Optare single deck buses – the Versa and the Solo. The W12 route uses narrow bodied Solos and could, if warranted, by converted to hybrid or EV versions. First Manchester operate some strange short length Versa hybrids on the free Centrelink routes in Central Manchester and on a Stockport route. Stagecoach have inherited some big yellow Versa hybrid school buses in the Wigan area. London General ran a Versa Hybrid on the 360 for a fair while but it seems to have disappeared.

    I am well aware of the NB4L “campaign” in another place. The vehicle capacity issue is the most important but TfL have said Wrights are going to achieve a capacity of 87 by placing the NB4L on a “diet”. We shall see in a few months if they have succeeded.

  59. Greg Tingey says:

    I was thinking of electric “Main-line” systems in London, esp the two electrifications put in by the LBSC & LSW, respectively.

    Is the reason TfL don’t operate buses purely political shite, then?
    I mean, in the bad/good old days, the buses in London were owned & operated by LPTB/LT, were they not? Right up until recent times. I suspect the madwoman from Grantham may have had something to do with this….

    the “boriswatch” mob seem to be acolytes of Ken, so that anything Boris does is anaethema, even if it’s a good idea …

  60. JamesC says:

    I always like to stir things up a bit on here 🙂

    My suggestion for a dlr style system. (If you actually read my comments in full) was to run a separate track (would probably only need one with doubled platforms) at a raised level above the existing tracks (as its light rail the infrastructure costs are much lower).

    This is clearly never going to happen but it is an outside the box idea…

  61. Littlejohn says:

    @Walthamstow Writer 05:23PM, 13th December 2012

    You are probably right that the paucity of single deck routes in Zone 1 has inhibited hybrid single deck introduction in London. I still believe however that the relative lack of success of single deck alternative technology vehicles has been because they are a more attractive subject for experimentation. Having said that, the new Enviro350Hs running in Aberdeen and Perth seem to be performing well and new Volvo 7900Hs will soon be delivered to First in Slough and Essex. As an aside, I read today that there are currently 319 hybrids in service in London with delivery of another 163 starting soon.

  62. stimarco says:

    @Timbeau: “Why Birmingham?”

    1. Revenge.

    2. It’s accessible from all three (proposed) arms of the HS2 route. As the UK’s HSR network expands – assuming HS2 actually gets built before the heat-death of the universe – Birmingham will likely become the nexus of that particular chunk of infrastructure. While not precisely ‘central’ to the UK, it’s a damned sight more so than London, and Manchester already has the BBC to play with now. That can become the UK’s Hollywood while Birmingham becomes the Washington D.C.

    The GLA already has its own building, so I doubt they’ll want to move into the Houses of Parliament given the latter’s ageing infrastructure. Better to open that up to the tourists.

    @JamesC: “Build a DLR line above the GOBLIN!”

    The DLR is no more a light railway today than the Brighton Main Line. It used to be one, but that was a long, long time ago. Its infrastructure has seen endless upgrades and strengthening. Its original rolling stock now serves tram stops in Germany. Today, the DLR has similar passenger-carrying capacity to the SSL lines and its trains are now longer (and more capacious) than some of those running out of London Bridge.

    That it is still known as the “Docklands Light Railway” is a triumph of marketing over truth.

  63. HowardGWR says:

    @timbeau 2134

    The mistake is to conflate the notion of a capital city based on commerce (e.g.Amsterdam) with a political seat (e.g. Den Haag – alright The Hague).

    Birmingham and Stoke are relict industrial areas trying to discover a new role. So any such area would benefit from the effete ‘live in a world of their own’ types such as are found in Westminster. The advantage of hosting this circus is they have money to spend (no chance of that spend disappearing either).

    I , having lived once nearby), really have to stretch my imagination to picture Hanley bursting with posh cultural attractions, but if the BBC can do the business in Salford, then so can it be done in Stoke.

  64. Anon 14.43 says:

    @James C

    Not going to happen? Damn I’m going to have to put the D stock back in the box and send it to Harrogate! We could resettle timbeau’s “effete ‘live in a world of their own’ types” up there at the same time, not only would it make a lovely capital but we could save all those travel expenses come conference season.

  65. Mwmbwls says:

    Further to my chum WW’s point @05.23 on the 13th December – an example of the Manchester Optare hybrid

  66. P Dan Tick says:

    Boredom moment coming:

    @HowardGWR. You chose the wrong example. Amsterdam is the capital (Hoofdstat) of the Netherlands. Den Haag is the ‘seat of government’ (Zetel der regering).

    Very picky those Netherlanders!

  67. P Dan Tick says:

    @HowardGWR. Forgive me, you chose the Correct example.

  68. Fandroid says:

    @stimarco. I think you are wrong in saying that the DLR is no longer a light railway. Granted it has been upgraded, but it still has lighter infrastructure than a heavy rail line and it retains its ability to cope with sharper curves and steeper gradients than any heavy rail equivalent.

    The fact that shorter trains run out of London Bridge is just an indication of under-use of heavy rail capacity, and doesn’t indicate that a redefinition of DLR is needed. It’s a bit like saying the London Underground is wrongly named because its trains partly run on the surface and that London Overground is a wrong title because its trains partly run through tunnels.

  69. Guano says:

    Tramlink extension was just a bit of pre-election froth from Boris.

  70. Guano says:

    A great deal is still unclear about the NB4L: the cost, weight, capacity and mpg. Yet 600 have been ordered and they are the sum total of current bus strategy.

  71. Quinlet says:

    TfL told London Councils yesterday that the business plan did include provision for electrifying GOBLIN but the debate was now about whether this service would be extended to Barking Riverside and what would presumably be a bit of newly construced line. This would support new housing development in that area.

  72. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Quinlet – very interesting statement. Can I just clarify something – you wrote “did include funding” which suggests funding was there but is no longer there. I am being too “precise” and is it the case that funding is still in the Plan but it is what it is going to spent on (extension or not on top of electrification) that is the point being debated? While it is encouraging to see something positive it is not a little irritating that there are such conflicting messages and a lack of candid disclosure about the intent of TfL / Mayor’s plans. An extension to Barking Riverside is another thing altogether and it seems odd that this has only emerged now but is not clear in the draft Business Plan nor mentioned in previous rail related plans.

  73. Mwmbwls says:

    Quinlet – Fascinating. Could you be knd enough to share your source?
    Did this news about the GOBLIN emerge as one of the missing items on this agenda?

  74. Quinlet says:

    @Walthamstow Writer
    Not a great deal I can add. In the context of a public discussion on the TfL Business Plan, TfL was asked the direct question, did the plan include electrification of GOBLIN, to which the answer was ‘yes’. I certainly don’t think it was a clever answer implying that funding was there at one time but is not any more. Walthamstow Writer is too subtle by half!

    The caveat that the discussion was nowabout whether the service would end at Barking or be extended to Baring Riverside certainly seems to be a possble extension on top of electrification, rather than as an alternative.

    Yes. The agenda included an additional item 13 covering the TfL Business Plan, Accessibility Plan and Mayor’s Roads Task Force for which TfL provided no papers but did provide presentations.

  75. stimarco says:

    @Fandroid: My point is that, compared to the original DLR infrastructure, what we see there today is directly comparable to a number of ordinary metro systems around the world. (Some industry types even prefer the term “light metro” for the DLR and its relatives.)

    There was, for many years, a legal definition of “Light Railway” in the UK, which limited trains to 25 mph. and was mainly intended for building cheap branch lines in rural areas. Under that definition, the DLR is very much mis-named. Although the Light Railways Act was no longer active when the DLR was opened, the accepted term is “Light Rail” now; “Light Railway” is to ambiguous to be of any use as a definition of anything.

    The DLR used to use standard trams on light rail infrastructure, but there’s precious little of that original infrastructure left except for a few remaining tight corners and the frequent stops. Even Delta Junction has been substantially rebuilt not once, but twice now, the latest rebuild resulting in the closure of one platform at West India Quay to make room for a new dive-under.

    Only the sections running over bits of disused railway, like the London & Blackwall viaduct through Limehouse, have remained pretty much intact, and that’s only because they’re built on structures originally designed to take much heavier trains.

    I remember going on one of the first trains as a kid. The train was just one paired unit in length and had bus-style folding doors. I then lived in Lewisham while the original branch was built and didn’t move away until after the 3-car extension works were completed. I used it frequently. It went from being a political exercise in corner-cutting and false economy to a full-fledged metro line that rivals the two I now use here in Rome in both frequency and capacity.

    The DLR is, in effect, an entirely new metro network built under the political radar in the very heart of London. It might even be the future of metro construction in many cities that have been bogged down in the kind of political quagmire that Greater London has suffered from for decades: build something short and cheap, then spend the next 20 years or so upgrading it and extending it until it’s actually fit for purpose. The London Overground network is arguably being built along such philosophical lines: build something first – anything at all! – with the intention of adding upgrades as desired later on.

  76. Ian Sergeant says:

    This news about Barking Riverside is interesting. I would imagine that reinstating part of the DLR Dagenham Dock extension plan increases the BCR of the GOBLIN electrification project, thus making it more likely to happen. The one word of caution I would offer is to ensure that this is a two-phase project, with electrification of the line coming first, and extension later…

  77. C says:

    That pretty much kills off DLR to Dagenham then. Both won’t be going there and they’ve obviously decided GOBLIN would be best.

    Barking Riverside needs a connection to Barking itself above all. From there onwards to the City. Saves the Jubilee being overloaded I guess.

    Beyond there I don’t think GOBLIN would be that useful for them!

  78. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ C – I agree that if a GOBLIN extension was to proceed that the prospects for a DLR extension are very poor or non existent. I am not sure that the “not useful” comment is quite right – GOBLIN trains load well in the off peak at Barking. I have not witnessed the peak at BKG but I am sure I have read that trains leave full and it just becomes an ever increasing battle to squeeze on at later stops.

    If the extension does happen I think it is a bit of a “game changer” in terms of what capacity has to be offered. 3 car EMUs running every 15 minutes are not going to cope with loadings off a developed Riverside site. I’d expect 3 car EMUs to be full from Barking without an extension because pent up demand will simply eat up the “spare” capacity offered by new trains. Such is the nature of things. The extra capacity offered by the 7th car on the Jubilee Line was eaten up within 3 months or so although I recognise it is a much smaller percentage uplift than extending from 2 to 3 cars.

  79. Taz says:

    A standard tube train is not a new idea. The build from 1922-1934 worked on the N B P & C tube lines, all lines at the time. The 1938/49 and the aluminium version 1959/62 worked on those lines also. The 1967/72 were used on the V, N, B, J. It was only with the 1973 that we started to see one stock for one line. A standard train brings cost savings in design, construction, training and maintenance. The new standard S stock for the SSL lines shows variations in train length and seating layouts can be achieved without sacrificing these savings.

  80. Greg Tingey says:

    I’ve told this forum before …
    The GOBLIN trains in the AM peak leave Barking at approx 110% loading – the maximum I have seen is 300% loading – that’s right, 180 people in a 60-seat coach, between Walthamstow Midland & Blackhorse Rd.
    The reverse, PM Eastbound peak isn’t quite so bad (!)
    Therefore, you really, really need to revise your figures. Quite frankly, if they are going to BarkRiver, they are going to need 4-car sets – cascaded 315’s as a stop-gap???

  81. timbeau says:

    1938 stock also worked on the Metropolitan Line, both on the ELL and, I seem to recall reading, briefly on the Stanmore branch before it was transferred to the Bakerloo.

    The O/P/Q/R family worked all the SSL lines except on the Met main beyond Harrow on the Hill, and the South Acton branch. I think O stock was the most widely travelled of them, as it started out on the Met.

  82. Taz says:

    The draft business plan last page shows the rail network in 2020. The central area becomes very cramped and confusing, especially with double-ended Crossrail stations and step-free access variations between lines at the same station. The Crossrail stations are shown in the GLC area only, but all ‘tube’ stations are shown. The Crossrail line jumps all over the place! I note that Croxley is in the wrong position, on the new line rather than the current line. I hope there is a redesigned diagram before the 2018 Crossrail opening.

  83. Long Branch Mike says:


    Shame they haven’t put Thameslink on the 2020 Tube Network map.

  84. Snowy says:

    The Croxley route is also supposed to open 2015/16 so surely it should have appeared on the 2016 map as well as the 2020 version? I guess as Thameslink as a Network Rail lead project rather than TFL lead thats the reason its not on the map.

  85. timbeau says:

    @Long Branch Mike

    I agree, but hardly unexpected – after all, it was removed from the Tube map some years ago, along with the Northern City line. No doubt if the NLL had remained in the tender care of Silverlink that woukld no longer be shown either.

    The map, like most TOCs’ maps, is there to show the extent of the empire, not as a guide to users.

  86. Littlejohn says:

    Since TfL/LUL designs and prints the maps and gives them away free, why should it be expected to publicise cometitors’ services? Tesco doesn’t advertise Sainsbury products just to give the public a better idea of what is available.

  87. Whiff says:

    Taz – thanks for the heads-up on the interesting maps at the back of the business plan. The maps are clearly titled as showing only the TFL rail network so it makes sense that these maps don’t show Thameslink and this is after all their business plan. Two other things I noticed are that Surrey Canal Road does not appear and that the 2 new Underground extensions are both described as being dependent on third party funding.

    Littlejohn – if TFL want to pretend they are a private profit-making company and not the provider of a public service then that is fine but if that’s the case then it is about time the politicians stepped in and provided a map that does give the public a better idea of what is available

  88. Fandroid says:

    Littlejohn – TfL can see their role as stuffing as many people as possible onto their trains, in competition with other rail services, or they can see themselves as an integral part of working for Londoners and ensuring that they get around as efficiently as possible. The fallacy with the first attitude is that it’s self-defeating. Over and over again it’s been demonstrated that the more linked-up all transport modes are, then the more people will use all of them. However, there is an issue of map congestion, and it’s easy to make them bewilderingly complex. The London Rail and Tube Services map is one example. the whole London bus map is another.

  89. Taz says:

    @ timbeau 09:48PM, 15th December 2012: It was the pre-1938 standard tube stock that worked the Met. shuttles from Wembley Park to Stanmore before the Bakerloo reached there in November 1939. They also worked the District Line shuttles from South Acton to Hounslow and South Harrow before the Piccadilly was extended west of Hammersmith in 1932/33. So that tube stock worked on all LU lines of the time. The O/P stock worked to all Met destinations from time to time, although intended to remain no further north than the Uxbridge branch.

  90. Greg Tingey says:

    There are still many tourists & visitors to London who don’t realise that their Oyster cards will work ANYWHERE after 09.30hrs ….
    Taking ridiculous roundabout journeys using the “Tube” only, because they either don’t realsie that the other lines even exist, or that they can, yuou know, USE them….
    Thank you TfL!
    And the TOC’s!

  91. Littlejohn says:

    Frandroid and Taz,

    It is of course quite true that the more linked-up all transport modes are, then the more people will use all of them. This is not really what we are discussing though. It is very likely, if not certain, that people planning journeys using the tube map have already made a decision to travel and already know where they are starting from and where they want to finish. What they are doing is choosing their route. Yes, TfL is a provider of a public service but that provision is publicly funded. Why should London’s Council Tax payers be happy with TfL promoting the services of a large plc, at a cost to themselves? There is also the question of who would benefit most from the inclusion of other lines on the tube map. Arguably, it is visitors to London who don’t pay to subsidise the system (although this opens up a whole new economic argument).

  92. Fandroid says:

    Londoners (and the rest of us) are paying for the non-TfL trains too. It’s just a nicety of budget allocations as to what chunk of money goes where. However, more users overall means more winners overall too (tax-wise). That said, it’s still in London’s interest to get the maximum out of all of the local services. Oyster on all NR services has already proved the network benefit of that. Better overall info would just be another (relatively) inexpensive step.

  93. Philip Wylie says:

    Two points:

    Central Line stock:
    Would agree that compete replacement somewhat unnecessary – just motors and internal refurb. These are good trains, but lack the internal brightness of recent stock e.g. Jubilee/Northern.

    Croydon Tramlink:
    Good to hear about extra trams, but all the effort in re-doubling sections between W Croydon and Wimbledon, although increasing service reliability is slightly lost by the level crossing near Merton Park Tramlink stop on Kingston Road. Have been told that it’s the greatest constraint on frequency. Some peak services to Wimbledon from/to Beckenham Junction would be a help (a completely selfish point of view – FirstGroup said there was little demand. Is this true?).

  94. timbeau says:

    Much as I would prefer tourists’ money to go towards funding municipally-owned Transport for London rather than lining the pockets of Brian Souter and the like, letting those tourists take long and circuitous routes to get there increases the crowding on the routes they use, and may actually deter some of them from visiting the venue in question at all. How many football tennis or rugby fans from out of town realise that the principal stadia for those sports can be reached in a few stops from a central London terminus, and take crowded Tube trains instead?

    SWT don’t help themselves though – very few visitors to Hampton Court realise that the quickest way there is to take a fast train to Surbiton, which will almost always overtake the slow HC train they have just missed. And I recall once seeing a LT Tourist Information Centre official at Victoria telling a tourist the way to Hampton Court was to get the Tube to Richmond and then the 267 bus

    I recall that some years ago neither Network South East nor London Transport (as they then were) were keen to promote, let alone improve, the “Kenny Belle” as there was no money in it – both organisations made more money from letting people travel via Victoria. Only when relief of overcrowding at Victoria became a priority did anything change.

  95. Steven Taylor says:


    On a similar note to your post about dissemination of information. I was somewhat shocked and amazed to see the map entitled

  96. Pedantic of Purley says:

    increasing service reliability is slightly lost by the level crossing near Merton Park Tramlink stop on Kingston Road. Have been told that it’s the greatest constraint on frequency.

    Service reliability will not be lost because trams have priority which is the case at virtually all junctions on Tramlink including this one.

    As to this level crossing being a constraint on frequency, yes and no. It doesn’t constrain the trams but it might make the already significant traffic delays on the A238 Kingston Bypass unacceptable. Bear in mind though that with more trams there is the increasing chance that trams in both directions take advantage of a single phase of the lights so a 50% increase in trams does not necessarily mean a 50% increase in junction occupation.

    At the end of the day it is TfL’s call. They are responsible for both the red route and Tramlink. In the days before TfL took over red routes Merton Council were adamant that an increase in tram frequency about 8tph would not be acceptable to them (not quite sure what they could have done about it).

    I am sure if this became critical there would be ways around this. For example, with a suitable timetable you could give priority to trams from Wimbledon and make trams to Wimbledon wait if a tram was due in the other direction in the next couple of minutes to ensure that they use the same crossing phase. With two platforms at Wimbledon you could ensure a slack enough turnaround time so that the two minutes could easily be recovered if necessary and would not affect the next journey.

  97. Mikey C says:

    Yes, TfL want to show their services, and yes if the ‘tube map’ was completely replaced by the London Connections map, it would maybe be too much information, but surely TfL aren’t a commercial organisation competing against National Rail.

    An overground train to West Croydon or Watford Junction is operated by a private company, on behalf of London Overground/TfL. A train to Hayes or Chingford is also operated by a private company, on behalf of National Rail/SRA/ the DfT or whoever it is these days. Including nondescript routes like the DC line to Watford J, but not central London lines like the Thameslink core, Northern City, London Bridge to CX makes the tube map rather misleading, and rather bloated.

  98. Taz says:

    I only observed that the business plan map for 2020 trimmed Crossrail at the GLC border, whilst tube lines are shown in full as per tradition. Crossrail will be run by TfL in the same way as Overground. If Watford Junction is shown, then Shenfield should logically be shown also. Maidenhead seems a long way from London, so how far should be shown on the tube map? I can see some stations being listed at the left of the line rather than being shown conventionally. After all, the original Beck map ended at Mile End, with a list of District Line stations to Upminster and Southend!

  99. Taz says:

    The Central Line is not going to see new trains in a long time. The current 20 year old trains can soldier on. When Metronet collapsed, LU put the Central with the Bakerloo replacement project to get an economic order size to justify developing a new train design. With Tube Lines being absorbed into TfL, the Piccadilly renewal also joined the project. It has been decided that the Central need not be part of the first order for the line upgrades. The Central Line is big enough to become the second order for the new standard train, with deliveries into the 2030s, i.e. 40 year life for the current trains. Electronically controlled trains cannot expect the same life as the 50 years of the Met A stock..

  100. timbeau says:

    Maidenhead is 17km from the last station in the GLA area – so is Chesham

  101. The other Paul says:

    I don’t think the prospective 2020 map is intended as any kind of specific political/commercial/artistic statement on what lines should and shouldn’t be included on what maps. It’s just an indication of what the business plan it’s attached to will hopefully deliver. And as it is a business plan, rather than an aspirational document, it will seek not to over-promise by including schemes (like SCR or other LO enhancements) that are completely unfunded, nor will it seek to include Thameslink which is not a TfL project and therefore not in the TfL business plan!

    I imagine the artist was just told not to bother spending the time adding the full Crossrail route. Equally the Croxley link has been drawn on crudely in a way that wrongly suggests Croxley station will move. This is only a business plan.

  102. Greg Tingey says:

    Fandroid @ 11.42
    “Better overall info would just be another (relatively) inexpensive step.”
    Actually it would be a FREE step, wouldn’t it – it is the same printers’ or e-mail bill, just that it would include the “other” items.

    Steven Taylor @ 13.58
    ” I was somewhat shocked and amazed to see the map entitled ….”
    Well, what? DO TELL!

    Taz @ 22.12
    “Electronically controlled trains cannot expect the same life as the 50 years of the Met A stock..”
    Excuse me whilst I have several fits of hysterical falling-around! But modern electronics is so much BETTER!
    Which is why my car is the last model of that particular type with no electronics, so I can do 95% of my own maintenance.

    Timbeau @ 22.33
    Bring back the LPTB area? Look at how far out “London Country” used to go – or red buses for that matter.
    This artificial chopping-off at the line on the ground is a really bad idea.
    Unfortunately it requires, you know, co-operation between the GLA/TfL & the County authorities.

    The other Paul @ 23.34
    “This is only a business plan” So realities, especially physical ones on the ground, don’t matter, then?
    I realise that’s not what you meant, but ……

  103. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Electronically controlled trains cannot expect the same life as the 50 years of the Met A stock.

    An interesting assertion. I suspect there may be some truth in it but surely the issue is quite complex.

    As consumers, we do not expect electronic gadgets to have a long lifespan. With such things as mobile phones at the cutting edge of technology where the electronics basically defines the gadget this is undoubtedly true.

    If you take a washing machine for example the situation is a bit different. A washing machine is probably a surprisingly good domestic item to compare to a tube train as it is basically a motor controlled by electronics. Advances in manufacturing quality and technology (no more split commutators) mean that the motor is much more reliable. The electronics are also reliable and can be replaced if necessary. Nowadays, you would expect a washing machine to last at least ten years and this is reflected in the manufacturer’s guarantee which often covers parts for five years. There is also probably not a lot you can do to design-wise to advance the development of washing machines. Eventually it will be chucked out because the cost of calling out an engineer is disproportionate to the cost of a new machine or the manufacture no longer supplies the spares.

    In a commercial environment things are updated all the time. A tube train will have thousands of modifications in its lifetime. To take an example, the Victoria line 1967 stock trains had at least two complete replacements of the equipment using different technology to stop the train accurately at the platform. The trains stopped more accurately on their last day in service than in their early years. A trivial example is the replacements of the stop lights with LEDs on Jubilee line trains. Most modifications would not be visible to the public. If the body is in good condition it is more a question of at what point it becomes uneconomic to to keep a train in service. World War II planes that still fly show us that it is perfectly possible to keep things in service if you want to. If you want a new cab you strip down and build a new cab. If you want to remove it completely then that can also be done but would probably be quite expensive to do.

    This is an important issue because two relevant questions are:

    i) Is it practical or economic to keep the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines stock in service until a new “deep tube” can be properly developed? If so does LU need to plan for a major refurbishment which could include update/replacement of the electronics?

    ii) How long would a modern future (i.e. deep tube) train last ? I would suggest that based on recent history 50 years would not be at all unreasonable provided the electronics design was sufficiently modular so that units could be replaced as needed. That is why it is so important to get the deep tube concept right and not to rush or fudge it.

  104. Michael Jennings. says:

    Greg Tingey: This isn’t just a London problem. I was once travelling around Paris with a Norwegian who had been to Paris a number of times before, but he was astonished when I guided him down some stairs and onto an RER train to get from one end of Paris to another. In that case the RER is shown on Metro maps, and Metro tickets are valid (in Paris proper, anyway), but it is still very hard to get people from out of town to use it.

    Once Crossrail and Thameslink 2000 are complete, I think the Tube Map should show both of them, at least the sections inside Zones 1 to 6., probably with arrows pointing “To Bedford”, “To Cambridge”, “To Brighton” etc at the top and bottom of the map. Leaving most of the mainline services south of the River off is probably for the best, as putting them on just leads to an overly complex map, but any services that provides a viable route through central London should be on the map.

    As to earlier discussions about the “Core” of London, I will be interested to see what the combination of Crossrail and Thameslink does to Farringdon. Suddenly you have mainline trains from north, south, east and west all stopping in one place. I would expect highrise and high density offices to appear there in a big way if planning laws were to allow it. London at present has two cores in the City and West End with a less well defined area in between, but this will likely lead to massive growth in between.

  105. Steven Taylor says:

    Re my incomplete post…
    Apropos all the posts about on train announcements and what appears on thetube map etc.
    I use the London Rail &Tube map a lot (the old London Connections map), which appears in poster form on many stations.

    The actual pocket map is available like the tube map but it appears to be a closely guarded secret. If you ask for a copy, they are often not available.

    Whenever they are displayed, the maps vanish very quickly- so there is obviously a big demand.
    I was wondering why they are not more freely available. OK – they probably cost more than a tube map, but they are so useful.

  106. peezedtee says:

    @Michael Jennings “Leaving most of the mainline services south of the River off is probably for the best,”

    Still nothing is being done for provincial or foreign visitors on their way to Greenwich (to take just one place of notable tourist resort) who are in the vicinity of London Bridge when they set off. If not aware of the London Rail & Tube Map, they look at the Tube map and think they have to get the Jubilee to Canning Town and then the DLR. There is nothing to tell them there is a frequent train service from right where they are which takes just 7 minutes. I cannot think of another city in Europe where this ridiculous situation persists.

  107. peezedtee says:

    Sorry I of course meant change at Canary Wharf, not Canning Town.

  108. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Steven Taylor

    Thanks for clarifying the availability of the very useful London Rail &Tube map (the old London Connections map). There’s also a visitor’s guide booklet available, for which I’ve forgotten the title, but it includes Tube & suburban rail lines & stations for London.
    This booklet also has a map of popular bus routes in Central London, Oyster instruxions etc.

    As a frequent visitor to London I find this map the most useful, because it’s not too big, but it too is hard to find and alot of station staff don’t know what I’m talking about.

  109. Malcolm says:

    @Michael Jennings “Leaving most of the mainline services south of the River off is probably for the best, as putting them on just leads to an overly complex map”.

    In addition to @peezedtee’s comment, I suspect that the reason many people (not necessarily you, Michael) contemplate leaving these off is because, let’s face it, south of the river “there be dragons”. Or at least sarflondoners, which are almost as dangerous. If the network is complex, and yes it is rather, then isn’t it better to put in on the maps, to help people to deal with its complexity?

  110. timbeau says:

    Suggested NR lines that should be on the tube map (chosen as they are useful “short cuts” that are more direct than the tube/DLR/Overground route, and reasonably frequent (in general at least 4tph).

    C2C to Upminster (essentially the express service for the District)
    Anglia to Romford and the Upminster shuttle, to Chingford, Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters
    GN Moorgate to Finsbury Park
    Thameslink Peckham Rye/London Bridge to West Hampstead
    Chiltern to West Ruislip
    Heathrow Connect and the Greenford branch
    SWT to Richmond/Wimbledon
    Central: Vic – Balham – CP – London Bridge/West Croydon
    SE CX/Cst to Woolwich (both routes)

    these could be shown in some clear but less obtrusive way – for example a thinner line than the TfL services, or in white as, at various times, the W&C, NLL, Northern City, and Thameslink have been.

  111. Anonymous says:

    @PoP My last two washing machines lasted 2 years until the motor bearings went. I now have a very expensive one with a 5 year guarantee – it has gone mouldy! However, I hope it does last 10 years as I can’t be doing with shelling out again and I’m sure that’s how LU feel too.

    @Malcolm Absolutely – not really much point in a map if it isn’t complex – look at the Midland Metro.

  112. Anonymous says:


    GN to Ally Pally
    Southern Harrow to Balham

  113. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Ah yes Anonymous. You obviously originally went for the cheap model with rubbish motor. The 1992 stock model. You then got wise and decided to go for the version with the long-life guarantee even though it initially cost more because you took into account whole-life costs. But then you made the mistake of not having an examination every 48-hours and so it is hardly a surprise it went mouldy. OK, by now my washing machine analogy may have fallen down a bit.

    Perhaps we ought to change the analogy to a hotel chain with lots of washing machines. These are normally reliable heavy duty machines, not domestic ones, and are regularly serviced by the hotel service engineers so don’t go mouldy. The hotel chain has a good relationship with the manufacturer who occasionally recommends an upgrade to install more modern parts to improve reliability.

    They get around to replacing two thirds of the machines with some new ones that they had thoroughly researched to replace their existing 1972 and 1973 models. This new model is the DT model. They then decide that if their new DT model proves reliable they can’t face doing all that research again so when it comes to replace the 1992 model that has given so many problems they opt for the DT model again. Despite the 1992 model being unreliable they didn’t replace it straightaway because, as you found, you can’t be doing with shelling out again and in their case the finance department had a fit when it saw how many new washing machines it was expected to pay for in a short period of time. So they waited to see how they got on with the DT model before making a final decision.

  114. Malcolm says:

    I am ever so slightly completely bewildered. I think that Pedantic has gone for the analogy machine with the rubbish motors, Either that or my analogy decoder has not been inspected in the last 48 minutes and has gone a bit mouldy.

  115. Long Branch Mike says:


    Do your NR suggestions to the tube map generally have spare capacity, especially at peak times? If so, they would take much ridership off the tube system, & expedite their own travel.

    TfL’s well branded Tube Map is almost too successful – users rely on it religiously, without realizing that better options may be available.

    Perhaps what’s needed is a London Connections-like map, with London suburban services listed as frequent, metro-like frequencies as the white double line, and less frequent routes as a single line.

  116. timbeau says:

    Anon 10:36

    why Ally Pally? there is no tube service there – if you’re going to show vaugely pararllel services you would have to show the GN all the way to New Barnet.

    I didn’t add some services, e.g. KX to Finsbury Park, Victoria to Brixton, where the tube is actually the better option for the point to point journey. Not sure about Marylebone to Harrow etc

    Harrow to Balham – marginal because anyone at Harrow or Balham would see the most direct route to be via Willesden and Clapham Junctions anyway, so would discover the direct trains serendipitously if they were to turn up at either end. Also, the service is not very frequent. “NR” links from Wembley Central to Shepherds Bush and joining the WLL to the Victoria-Balham line might be useful additions. I also didn’t include most fast services running between the same points as the tube/LO and using the same stations, for example Euston – Watford, for the same reason that fats services are not shown separately oin the Met.

    Some of these alternative services are indeed crowded in the peaks, as are the tube lines that they would otherwise use. But having someone travel Victoria – Clapham Junction via West Brompton or Whitechapel, as the Tube map would seem to suggest, is not helpful to anyone.

  117. Arkady says:

    As someone who regularly uses Ally Pally, Hornsey and Harringay stations, and given they are on the run to Finsbury Park and Moorgate and are very regular, I tend to agree they should be included. After AP the trains divide and the service level drops, so a ‘V’ could be shown indicating the Welwyn & Hertford destinations.

  118. Arkady says:

    Of course, once Hertford Loop segregation and Thameslink are completed, service levels to KX and Moorgate will definitely justify inclusion of the ECML route. It does take a few minutes longer to get to KX via train rather than tube, but once you incorporate the ridiculously stressfully change down two flights of narrow stairs you may as well stay on the train. Factor in how much the Victoria Line is overloaded and this becomes even more true.

  119. Timmy! says:

    Writing this as someone who lives in the beautiful part of London south of the river, I’m unsure about including all these lines unless they’re a metro-style service that starts and ends within the TfL zonal areas. Tube lines meet this requirement, as does the DLR and (most of) the Overground routes. Tramlink isn’t on there either but could ‘tidy’ up the southern part of the map.

    I also think the timings and service levels are an issue, as Arkady suggests @ 11:35AM, 19th December 2012, that including further rail lines is unhelpful. Some trains from Charing Cross don’t stop at London Bridge and so on… It is primarily a Tube Map.

    There are many of Apps and websites that do provide this service (as well Oyster PAYG usage). These are probably just as helpful to regular users and tourists. They are not complicated to use and let’s remember that this site is designed to support smart phones etc. and we’re all commenting on it! Technology is probably the answer here*.

    (* the TfL mobile site providing up to date bus times is very good for casual bus user.)

  120. Some trains from Charing Cross don’t stop at London Bridge

    Surely not? What services would they be?

    I will concede some trains to Charing Cross don’t stop at London Bridge.

  121. Philip Wylie says:

    Correct. In the evening peak around 18.00, for example, a fast Folkestone and fast Hastings depart within 3 minutes of each other and both don’t call at London Bridge.

  122. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I stand corrected. 17:59 to Hastings and 18.03 to Folkestone. I have never been aware of that yet I am often on platform six in the early evening waiting for a train to Charing Cross.

    I am curious to know why this is. Is it just to stop passengers just getting the first train to London Bridge from preventing long distance passengers catching their train ? Or is there a timetabling issue? Or are the trains just full on departing from Waterloo East anyway so a further stop is pointless?

    I had believed that the only reason for down trains not stopping at London Bridge was because the platforms could not accommodate 12-car trains but once they were rebuilt in the 1990’s this was no longer an issue and all trains stopped there.

  123. Anonymous says:

    A few years ago(5?) I once caught a train from charing cross to London Bridge on a Saturday afternoon only for it to sale through and not stop until Tonbridge, that was an expensive and time consuming mistake I can tell you…

  124. Ian Sergeant says:


    It does take a few minutes longer to get to KX via train rather than tube

    But it is quicker by train to Old Street and Moorgate for people walking and living equidistant from Northern Line and Welwyn Garden City Line – provided you time the walk to match a train arriving.

  125. Fandroid says:

    With the London Bridge rebuilding there will be a very long period when no Charing X trains stop there.

  126. timbeau says:

    If you try to show all services, you end up with the London Connections map.

    My choice of what to include was to show NR links between tube/LO/DLR stations, for example Charing Cross to Wioolwich Arsenal. As no GN station beyond Finsbury Park is also served by a TfL service I didn’t include them. For the same reason I didn’t include SWT’s Hounslow Loop, or GE lines beyond Tottenham Hale/ Seven Sisters.

    The quickest way from further up the GN line to KX is undoubtedly to stay on FCC, or change at Finsbury park if you’re on a Moorgate train. But for a journey from any Tube station to Finsbury Park, or vice versa, changing to/from FCC at Kings Cross is unlikely to be the best move.

    Yes, some trains omit stations – so they do on the Metropolitan Line, but that detail is not shown on nthe Tube map either.

  127. Arkady says:

    @Ian Sergeant – definitely. If there are people making that mistake then they have my pity, though you can bet that there are a lot of them.

    @Timbeau – I can see what you’re trying to do. It would be interesting to see such a map. Ultimately, though, I think that Crossrail and Thameslink should be shown, Great Northern routes included. They have the virtue of relative simplicity, and will function similarly to the other lines shown.

  128. Long Branch Mike says:

    The urban planning blog has an excellent discussion on why frequent service routes should be made very clear to passengers, as well as the criteria for rapid frequency standards.

    This would avoid showing all services on the Tube Map.

  129. 1956 says:

    Perhaps a short message could be put on future tube maps “As well as the tube, there is an extensive train network serving London – refer to London Connections Map” .

  130. Taz says:

    If the new deep tube train is so good, why wait until early 2030s to replace only a third of the LU fleet? Delivery of a train a week could replace all current trains in around ten years. The new train promises energy savings of a third, which would be a large sum of money over the network. And all that energy will not be warming up the tunnels year by year, needing to be ventilated out. There is also the promise of air-con for passengers. They will offer higher capacity, being longer with open car ends, wider floors and more headroom to pack them in. Not to speak of possible driverless operation, giving further operating savings and higher service levels.

    This is a step-change technology, such as the end of steam, or the arrival of air-worked doors, which led to the early demise of old ways of working. So called sunk costs, past investment, should not hold back future standards. The District Line D stock is not being retained although only 30 years old. The Jubilee Line 1983 tube stock lasted less than 15 years. By the time the energy-guzzling Vic Line and SSL trains of the PPP era could be replaced they would already be 15-20 years old. The new trains should be popular with passengers and therefore with politicians. Once a demonstration line has proved it’s possible, shouldn’t LU go all-out to convert their whole system? Such upgrades offer greater returns than the construction of new lines.

  131. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I see there are tweets (from Transport Briefing) circulating on 21/12 that TfL have offered £25m towards the £90m cost of electrifying the GOBLIN. Interesting move after the sudden discovery of “spare money” for some tube accessibility projects on 20/12. Even more interesting is the apparent desire to make this offer public – perhaps trying to apply pressure to open up other potential sources of funding?

  132. Long Branch Mike says:

    @ Taz

    Its ₤₤₤

  133. C says:

    GOBLIN is definitely happening. It’s a blink-off at the moment but it’ll happen asap.

    I just wonder about the upgrades to platform lengths, Gospel Oak arrangements and of course stock – if it stops running as a shuttle.

    I could see 4 car 378s interworking with the DC lines, and a smaller subfleet of 5 car units doing WLL/NLL mainly. These could work DC too, but not GOBLIN…

  134. Greg Tingey says:

    Believe it when I see work starting …
    Given that we were going to get easy access to Walthamstow Midland by: ….
    when the site of the power station was sold (15+ years ago…) (:O(>
    …. by last April
    …. by last November
    … next April

    There may be something happening at the bottom of the car park – it was hard to see on Wednesday evening, errr ….

  135. Walthamstow Writer says:

    The debate about rail / tube maps has been interesting. I’ve recently been delving around the RATP website quite a lot and Paris does not appear to have a pdf type map which shows the Metro, RER and suburban rail network in one place. The Metro map, not yet fully up to date after the flurry of tram and metro openings, shows the core RER elements, the Metro and parts of the tram routes touching the Metro network. A separate map shows the Transilien (SNCF suburban) network and the RER but no trams – even where they link bits of the rail network like the T4 line. The nearest they come to an all inclusive map is their interactive map which also shows some of the bus rapid transit lines and is even up to date for forthcoming line openings next year.

    It takes RATP about 12 maps to show their bus network across Paris and into the surrounding districts. These maps are good quality but very hard to find in Paris and London manages with 5 despite running far more routes. However even in Paris you get gaps because they show only RATP services and not those run by other operators under contract to the “councils” in those outer areas. I find this is a bit of a surprise but it goes to show that even the French can not get things “right” in terms of how they separate things out across publications.

    I’m not sure you will ever get things “right” enough to satisfy the diverse LR audience. Our rail network is complicated and dense as is the tube. I do believe Crossrail and Thameslink will feature on the 2019 Tube Map but not showing the full extent of those new lines. We do face something less of a struggle though when compared to Tokyo and the wider region which is mind boggling in its complexity. Someone has undertaken the mind blowing task of showing Tokyo’s system in a “London style” fomat and very good it is too – shame you can’t get a paper version anywhere in Tokyo itself.

  136. timbeau says:

    In Paris the Metro does not extend very far beyond the ancient boundaries, and the RER is the only part of the suburban SNCF network which provides any links that in any way relieve the Metro. And I can also recall, on my first transit of Paris, steering someone who had done so many times before away from the Metro she had used many times before (and got lost on almost as many times) and onto the RER.

    In German cities with both U-bahn and S-bahn, thet appear on the same map.

    So far London’s equivalent of the RER/S-bahn consists of one line – Thameslink – and that doesn’t appear on the map! (One might make a case for the Northern City as RER, but that isn’t on either)

  137. HowardGWR says:

    May an out of towner comment on maps? I can see for LR types (of whom I count myself one now, no, perhaps a guest) who are obsessed with maps (the site name says it all) a geographical map is better than the diagrammatic one. Surely, however, for residents and visitors alike, a Transport Direct (TD) facility is what is most useful when planning a trip in the area? This facility can be a person (perhaps one using a TD connected terminal at stations. The ability to print a simple itinerary at stations for pax would be most useful and could prevent them getting lost?

  138. peezedtee says:

    Yes but look. When tourists from the provinces or abroad are around and about in London they generally have a copy of the Tube Map with them, and they look at it constantly as they go along, to see where they are going. One sees this all the time. In many cases, such as the Greenwich case I mentioned earlier, and the absence from the map of the central Thameslink core that I mentioned earlier still, this can be completely misleading. What we need is a small pocket map that includes tube plus rail for the central area plus notable tourist destinations. This would be much more compact and portable than the “London’s Rail and Tube Services” map (formerly London Connections) and, most importantly, it would be the main map that is distributed at stations. Several readers on here have pointed to the difficulty of getting hold of the London’s Rail and Tube Services in practice. A cut-down version of it, and not the now highly misleading Tube Map (which should no longer exist), ought to be what is freely given out at all stations.

    And even for non-tourists there is a lot more educational work to be done. I have mentioned before people I keep meeting in Elephant who have no idea that the trains that they may or may not notice going over the viaduct will take them 6 times an hour to City Thameslink and Farringdon much quicker than the Tube, a fact entirely absent from the Tube Map which is all they are familiar with. In fact they don’t know that City Thameslink station even exists, yet it is ideal for the western end of The City and for Fleet Street and its environs.

    The thing is that the ordinary passenger does not care who operates the trains. In Paris the map does not bother to make a distinction between the RER services operated by RATP and those operated by SNCF Ile de France. The are all on the metro map. The Berlin system and its pocket map is likewise completely integrated as between U Bahn and S Bahn. I find it quite extraordinary that in London we still, in 2012, almost 2013, have not properly got to grips with this issue from the perspective of the travelling public.

  139. timbeau says:

    The Transport Direct facility is fine if you are planning ahead, but what if you are part way through your journey and have to extemporise – say you’re at London Bridge going to Kings Cross and the Northern Line falls over – according to the Tube map you would have to go via Green Park or via Canada Water and Whitechapel, when Thameslink would do the job much better

  140. Greg Tingey says:

    C & others, including myself …
    Do we have any more definite & recent information re GOBLIN electrification: Yes / No / Maybe?

  141. HowardGWR says:

    @Tim 11 13pm
    But surely TD will send you always by the next quickest option? It might have sent you via TL anyway. TD is not interested in price or identity of method, simply journey time (unless one inserts own criteria to the calculation, like via Green Park in your example). Could our stranger passenger not use a TD terminal on the platform (or concourse, etc) to find a new option or just use his phone or tablet?

    In fact mostly there will not be many breakdowns and visitors will plan their journeys in the days before. If I have an appointment in some unfamiliar location in the GLA, I would use TD to see what’s available, especially if I lived about 40 miles from London. It could be that one could gain by changing at Clapham Jcn, for instance, instead of going through to the terminus. In fact I thought that was what Clapham Junction was for, likewise Ealing Broadway and Finsbury Park and Watford Jcn (and so on).

    Regarding maps, would not GE be better, with a kml file of lines and stations that I picked up from the net? One gets to see readily that way whether one will spend longer going up and down escalators than walking a bit further from a slightly further away station. TD is not that sophisticated yet (is it?).

  142. Malcolm says:


    Translation for TD and GE please (assuming they are not Leyland T-type and Great Eastern…). (And while we are at it, where does Traveline fit into the picture, if at all?)

  143. Fandroid says:

    Complex big city systems such as Berlin’s have much the same trouble as London, in that separate systems are shown on separate maps. Berlin’s U-Bahn could be roughly equated with the deep tube lines and the S-Bahn with the sub-surface lines (District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City) plus the Overground. They do have a unified rail map in Berlin, but the tram system (Germany’s biggest) is generally not shown and bus maps are very difficult to find. There are maps showing the main bus routes (prefixed M) and tram routes combined. However, what Berlin does have is a brilliant scrollable and zoomable online map which shows full street detail and indicates all public transport lines by means of coloured lines on the street map and also clearly names all bus, tram, U-bahn and S-Bahn stops. Each system (U-Bahn, tram, bus etc) is given a different colour and all lines/routes numbered (of course!).

    The combined U-Bahn and S-Bahn map does include other local rail services (with route numbers eg RB25, RB36 )

  144. Anonymous says:

    I assume TD is transport Direct and GE (after abit of thought) Google Earth?

  145. HowardGWr says:

    How about SV then? Yes, BTW (by the way) you are right Anon. I believe these acronyms were introduced IIRC earlier in the thread. Interesting. I wonder if Londoners ever access TD? I suppose one just turns up at a bus stop or tube station and gets on a vehicle hoping it goes somewhere ‘on the way’ and transferring when was has looked at the map on the side of the compartment and taken in the possibilities offered?

    Seriously, we rurals, who are adventurous enough to try PT (that’s public transport) have discovered, through TD, all sorts of interesting possibilities of travel. Is Transport Direct (TD) an unknown facility there? Does it work in such a congested area with such a luxurious provision of options?

  146. HowardGWR says:

    I forgot to answer about Traveline. As far as I can see it uses the same or similar software – except –

    I tried it out on our village. We have one bus per week (yes, that’s one bus per week) to the market town 8 miles away. We can walk 2 kms up a hill at 30 degrees gradient to get to the main road (bus every hour but not late evening). However, I noted that Traveline, unless I said I wanted to travel on a Wednesday (market day) told me there were no services at all! Well, if you are elderly or handicapped, or both, I suppose that’s effectively true.

    I mention this to see if it establishes a context I observe here whereby some colleagues will moan about stations at 200 meters from one another being unacceptably inconvenient as an interchange!

    It’s a different universe on LR! Best wishes for 2013 and I hope you don’t mind me dropping in.

  147. Whiff says:

    HowardGWR asks for an out-of-towner’s comments on the issue of maps. Based on my very brief trip this week I would say that it doesn’t matter what map you have if they are out of date; the London Connections map displayed on Gatwick Express doesn’t even show the northern half of the East London Line extension let alone the recently opened section.
    Also from my experience I would say that given the complexities of both service patterns and interchange stations the most helpful thing is to have a real, live person to ask for advice.

  148. MWSJohn says:

    The whole concept of a “service” is different once one leaves the TfL area. I used to live in Blackheath in the early ’70s and night buses were a useful thing for a student but rather infrequent and coverage was not great but distances were such that a walk at 2 in the morning was not something impossible to entertain and could clear the head! In my semi-rural area in the south-west Midlands services are better now than they have been for while, but the concept of a “night bus” is wholly alien…taxis do the ferrying for those needing transport and who have been drinking, even mildly. The car is essential and a driving ban could mean loss of job. But some people just do not think the way I reckon most readers of this website do. Use of maps effectively takes spatial skills some never develop the confidence to use (or even think they have). (I do not wish to set any hares running but there are those who read Ordnance Survey maps upside down if driving south). No map can convey as much detail as some want or think they need. The essence is clarity, surely, of what is there and the inclusion of info in diagrammatic form on the tube map was so revolutionary as it assumed some prior knowledge of the geographically accurate relationship.
    Less is more. No map can assist everyone, nor can any digitally-based system, but as Whiff says, accuracy of what is there is paramount.
    PS. Do we really need to know how long until the next bus on a route when they run every ten minutes? Is it going to make us use another route if there is a 15 minute wait due to some delay? Have we so little patience now that we rush around trying to shave three minutes off a 30 minutes journey? I imagine so!

  149. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @MWSJohn – I understand your comment about whether we need to shave minutes off a journey but sometimes people do need that info and associated reassurance if they’re on a tight deadline or dashing to catch a train / plane. Not every bus route in London runs every few minutes and routes run late or get delayed. Having the info at your finger tips is a genuine help in getting around quickly and efficiently. Being able to see when buses on connecting routes will arrive is also very helpful too. Millions of searches since Countdown launched shows that people do find the facility very useful.

  150. timbeau says:


    “Do we really need to know how long until the next bus on a route when they run every ten minutes?”

    The timetable may say every ten minutes, but the reality can be very different. But what I find really obtuse about TfL’s rollout programme for Countdown is that they have gone for the busiest services, where the greatest need is on the sparsest ones – if there are only two buses an hour, you really do need to know whether the next one is in one minute or twenty nine.

  151. Fandroid says:


    Hare running. some of us spatially aware people, when navigating for a driver, (Satnav hasn’t got here yet!) hold our OS maps upside down when travelling south. It stops the brain having to do a right/left translation every time a turn is needed. Mind you, it does help to be able to read upside down too!

    When receiving complex directions from a human, I find it very reassuring to have the route pointed out on a map at the same time. Trying to keep complicated instructions in the head unaided is a sure way to guarantee getting lost.

  152. stimarco says:

    Static spatial maps are great for planning a route, but I find them less useful once you’re on your way.

    I’ve driven from London to Rome without referring to a map even once. Instead, I memorised a list of ‘landmark’ names along the route my dad routinely took (both of us hate flying). Assuming Calais as your starting point (I lived in south-east London most of my life, so getting that far didn’t require a map at all):

    Basle / Basel
    Luzern / Lucerne
    St. Gotthard Tunnel
    Lugano (not strictly necessary as Milan is signposted pretty much from the St. Gotthard tunnel exit.)
    Bologna (the A1 between Milano and here is incredibly dull: it’s 200+ km. of dead-straight road across a flat plain.)
    Firenze (“Florence”)

    Whenever I started seeing the next name on my list, I start following road signs for that instead.

    This is still a “map” in a strictly mathematical sense, but it’s one that doesn’t rely on spatial skills to interpret. I mention it to show that maps don’t have to be spatial, or even graphical.

    TfL need to stop trying to cram their entire empire onto massive, complicated Beck-style graphical maps. What they should do instead is create the world’s first “Transit Positioning Service” (or “TPS”) that interfaces with mobile devices to provide GPS-style information about where the user is now, and how to get to their destination.

    TfL also need to start investing in large, touch-screen, interactive maps at major and, eventually, minor stations across their network.

    We used to have automated “destination finder” systems at major stations before, though these were clunky beasts that were tricky to use, but technology has moved on hugely since then.

  153. mdb says:

    @stimarco, Do you have any links to info on these old automated destination finder systems? I’ve been struggling to find any info through my searches

  154. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ mdb – after raking through loads of pages on the LT Museum photo archive I found this.

    This is broadly how I remember them but I think there were newer versions but I couldn’t find a photo.

  155. timbeau says:

    I remember those from the mid-70s, but that one looks much older – visible in the near corner is the District Line to both Hounslow and South Acton, and no sign of the Victoria Line. Difficult to tell at that resolution, but the diagram appears to show the Northern Heights extensions to the Northern Line too – there’s future-proofing!

    Of course the route suggestions ignored the possibilities of British Rail, so for example the one at Victoria would suggest a circuitous route to Balham despite the presence of a frequent direct service by Southern Electric. Similarly, the best route to New Cross was, and is, most definitely not via Whitechapel!

  156. The other Paul says:

    I was impressed in Germany to use a ticket machine that not only issued me a ticket but told me when the next train was, what platform it left from, and where I would need to change to reach my destination. Such obviously joined-up technology is completely unheard of in Britain.

  157. stimarco says:

    @mdb & timbeau: I remember seeing one installed in the Victoria Underground station ticket office. This would have been late ’70s — possibly early ’80s, but my memory’s not very good at dates (or, indeed, anything involving numbers).

    There’s a photo of a slightly later model here (at Oxford Circus). However, I don’t remember the big map display; the one I remember looked closer to this example at Heathrow Central station.

    LT appear to have tried a few different models for a while, but I suspect the state of the art in computing at the time was a major obstacle. Today, it’d be very easy to build something that would literally look like a map on a wall from a distance, without the terrifying array of buttons.

  158. stimarco says:

    Damn, looks like I messed up the tags. Where’s an Edit button when you need one?
    [Ans: hidden in the administrators’ menu. Hopefully now fixed. PoP]

  159. timbeau says:

    I doubt there was much computing power involved – I would guess each destination switch was connected to the appropriate lights on the display.

    In Italy (Naples) the ticket machines tell you which ticket to buy for the next train due – and will warn you if the train is due out very shortly, so you risk missing it. However, it’s not clever enough to cope with late running – they don’t tell you about trains which should have already left but are actually not expected for another twenty minutes

  160. stimarco says:


    “I doubt there was much computing power involved – I would guess each destination switch was connected to the appropriate lights on the display.”

    That’s not how I remember the machines operating – at least, not the one of the “Heathrow Central” type I linked to. You’d see a guide to how to get to your destination.

    I assumed there was some basic programming involved. The machine I remember clearly had no idea about timetables, but it could tell you to change lines to get to your ultimate destination. What I can’t remember is whether the starting point was hardwired to “Victoria” (or wherever the machine happened to be). If it was, that would certainly simplify the calculations.

    Computer technology was pretty basic in 1970, but by the end of that decade, we had proper microprocessors and enough technology that such machines wouldn’t have been particularly hard to make. Remember, this was the era of the Apple II and Commodore PET, both of which appeared in the late ’70s, not the ’80s! Even the Victoria Line’s ATO system used early computer technologies. (It’s near the end of the video, when they’re talking about signalling. All four videos are well worth watching though – especially if you’re not aware of exactly what is involved in building a new Tube line.)

  161. mdb says:

    Many thanks for all the replies. I enjoy old tech and the machines look quite impressive.

  162. Arkady says:

    Has anyone noticed this document? If I understand correctly it lists a number of projects that have just been finalised and funded, including the long-awaited western ticket hall and step-free access at Finsbury Park:

  163. RayL says:

    Regarding plans for Tramlink, construction work has started just north of Norwood Junction adjacent to the curve that takes Southern trains from Norwood Junction round to Crystal Palace (on a map it is the railway land behind Warminster Road – you will see a small access road which is being used to bring in the machinery). Girders are being put in place with (it seems) the aim of building out the banking wide enough for a track parallel with the existing curve. Land is available for an additional track all the way to the bridge at Anerley Hill.

    Could this be preliminary work for a Crystal Palace extension?

    Ray L

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