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For a number of years now, we have covered Kensington and Chelsea’s push to have a Crossrail station approved. The campaign arguably began in earnest back in 2008, when the Borough began to work towards the redevelopment of the Kensal Gasworks site. Their proposal argued that the turnback facilities planned for Crossrail just west of Paddington should be turned into a full Kensal Crossrail Station, providing a connection to the line in the area.

From the beginning it was clear that the Borough would find little proactive support within Crossrail itself, or from the scheme’s sponsors. The Council’s own initial feasibility study indicated that the Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR) would likely be weak, Crossrail themselves had larger battles to fight and from the sponsor’s perspective (TfL and the DfT) there was no money to spare anyway. Nonetheless, the Council continued to press their case.

In December 2009, under pressure from Council, the Mayor conceded that he would not object to the station going ahead if Kensington and Chelsea could demonstrate that it would meet the following “tests”:

1) it must not delay the Crossrail construction programme
2) it must not add costs to the Crossrail project
3) it should not degrade the performance of Crossrail or other rail services.

These were always going to be hard criteria to meet, but undeterred in 2010 the Council authorised expenditure of £55,000 on a report into the scheme, in the hope of demonstrating that Crossrail Kensal could indeed meet all three of these criteria. In March 2011 this report was finally published, and we covered it in some detail at the time.

Unfortunately, rather than cementing a case for the station, it confirmed that the BCR for the station was indeed very weak – 1.1, in comparison to the 1.81 ratio of Crossrail itself. Perhaps more fatally, it also highlighted that adding the station to the service pattern would indeed carry a risk of performance degradation.

In an effort to counterbalance the underwhelming nature of the report, the Council finally offered to underwrite the cost of station construction (estimated at about £33m), as removing this from the calculations would improve the BCR. Realistically though, the writing was already almost certainly on the wall – both thanks to the lack of overwhelming evidence to support the scheme in the report, and for a number of other reasons covered in more detail below.

Officially, Crossrail – and more importantly TfL and the DfT as project sponsors – promised to provide a final answer on the station in May of 2011. Yet by the end of May no answer had been forthcoming. Instead, since then, a rather strange period of decision limbo seems to have existed. The Council have continued to vocally argue – both in the council chamber and the press – that the station was still on the cards, whilst in practical (if not official) terms Crossrail, and the plans and works associated with the turnback, have long since proceeded on the basis that it wouldn’t.

Indeed enquiring about Kensal Crossrail had, over the years, become something close to a japanese tea ceremony here at LR Towers.

Every couple of months we would politely ask Crossrail if a decision had officially been made yet. Crossrail, in turn, would politely reply that it was a decision for the project sponsors – TfL and the Dft – not themselves. Said sponsors would then politely indicate that a decision was due imminently, normally in the following month. No decision would appear, and thus the ceremony would begin anew.

All in all it seemed from the outside, perhaps uncharitably, that a decision had long since been made, but that straws had yet to be drawn on who would break the news to Kensington and Chelsea.

Finally, however, it appears that this long saga has come to an end. Last month Sir Merrick Cockell, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council met with Transport Minister Stephen Hammond and with Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP to discuss the station. During the course of the meeting they confirmed that the station had neither the backing of the DfT, nor of the Mayor of London. This was confirmed in an email, sent by Sir Merrick to colleagues and supporters, which is reprinted in full below.

Dear Colleagues,

You have, in the past, been supportive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s plan for a Crossrail station in Kensal. We have been engaged in campaigning for a station for several years, and we remain convinced of the impressive regeneration such a station would aid. I met with the Transport Minister Stephen Hammond MP, along with Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, last week to discuss our proposals.

Unfortunately I have to tell you that at that meeting Stephen indicated our plans did not have the support of either the Department of Transport or the Mayor of London. The reasons for that lack of support remain frustratingly unclear.

On a more positive note, the Minister went on to say that that the Department of Transport would be glad to work with us on “alternatives” that might include some form of Heathrow-style monorail.

Clearly that is an intriguing idea but in the absence of any detail about what precise form the alternative would take, what capacity it would have, and crucially, when it would be built and where it would stop, it is impossible for us to make any sort of judgement about whether such a service would be a genuine alternative to a Crossrail station.

It follows therefore that the fight for our station must go on. I hope that I can count on your continuing support while we give this fight one more round. In particular I would ask that you use all your channels and influence to get our case heard as widely as possible. The economic and regeneration arguments for our station are as you know overwhelming. It there are genuine technical reasons why Londoners have to forgo those benefits, we believe those reasons should be spelt out so they can be scrutinised and solutions found.

If you want to discuss any of this further please do get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell

Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’

A Station Autopsy

So just why did Kensal Crossrail ultimately not come to pass? Sir Merrick claims in his letter that “reasons for that lack of support [from the DfT and Mayor] remain frustratingly unclear.” but in truth, as the background information at the head of this article highlights, the reasons are arguably anything but opaque.

At the time when the station could have been included in the core Crossrail scheme (and most importantly within the original funding package) the BCR for the station just wasn’t strong enough. From the time that 2008 Crossrail Act was passed time was most definitely not on the Borough’s side, and the Mayor’s criteria in 2009 should have highlighted that only a substantial change in the Borough’s approach was likely to result in a positive outcome for the station. It is possible that an early promise of financial backing, at this point, may have considerably aided the Borough’s cause, but by the time the Borough’s own report had been published in March 2011 it was almost certainly too late for even this to sway sponsor backing to their cause.

Not only did their own report fail to make a strong case for the station itself, but by the time it was published the situation on the ground had changed.

As we highlighted at the time, by 2011 Crossrail had passed through, and survived, its own spending review, but in order to do so it had been forced to make savings in a number of areas. One of those areas related to its rolling stock order, with Crossrail forced to reduce its planned number of trains to the absolute minimum number required to meet the train frequencies and reliability to which the scheme had committed. The Council’s own report had highlighted that it would be difficult to include the station into the service pattern without disruption even with the original planned fleet size. With one or more trains now removed from the fleet, this now became effectively impossible.

Moving beyond Crossrail itself, by 2011 it had also become clear, from a wider perspective, that if there were to be a Crossrail station in the Kensal area then the Gasworks site was not the best site for it anyway. With developments proceeding swiftly up the road at Old Oak Common, and plans for HS2 beginning to come more to the fore, it became increasingly clear that a “super-hub” of some kind at Old Oak Common would be a far more beneficial option on a number of levels if money could be found, and this remains the case today.

If there is any surprise at all to be found in this decision, it is thus really only that it took this long to officially come to pass.

Whilst TfL and the DfT should be criticised for failing to make an official decision for this long (having already ensured that the passage of time had effectively scuppered any remaining chance of plans proceeding), Kensington and Chelsea arguably deserve more criticism for not so much missing the writing on the wall as closing their eyes each day as they walked past it. Their reasons for doing so aren’t entirely clear, but the proposal had long formed a point of contention between the incumbent Conservate majority on the Council and the Labour opposition, so it may well be the case that political, rather than practical, points were a key force behind its continued promotion.

As Seen in Heathrow, Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook

So with Kensal Crossrail now finally put to bed it can perhaps be hoped that attention will turn not just to Old Oak Common, but also to other transport improvements that might benefit a Borough that, despite its upmarket public image, actually contains some of London poorest areas.

In that regard, it is heartening to see Sir Merrick’s letter mention that both the DfT and the Mayor may look more positively on future local transport suggestions. There is, however, perhaps an element of warning to be found within there as well. For as Kensal Crossrail showed, it is dangerous to become overly fixated on highly public, and perhaps politically appealing, solutions to transport problems at the cost of more practical schemes.

With that in mind, Sir Merrick’s assertion that:

…the Department of Transport would be glad to work with us on “alternatives” that might include some form of Heathrow-style monorail

Should perhaps be something the Council might want to mull over carefully. For whilst Mr Hammond and Sir Michael may well be monorail fans, it may not quite be the kind of local transport scheme that the wider DfT, or indeed the Mayor, had in mind…

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There are 155 comments on this article
  1. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I think there is another reason why this is dead.

    There is an intruiging comment about Crossrail 1 in an article by Jonathan Roberts published in this month’s (May) Modern Railways.

    Plans for only 10 Crossrail trains per hour (tph) west of Paddington are out-of-date. Crossrail and sponsors are reviewing a timetable with most of the 24tph from the central section heading further westwards. There is potential for a spur via Park Royal City, for trains towards Watford and Tring. This would relieve passengers and train pressures at Euston terminus.

    The article is entitled “High Speed 2 in London: lets get it right” so he might not be talking about 2018-9 but more like 2026. Nevertheless such an idea kills off Kensal Crossrail pretty effectively. Normally I would dismiss such comments as a bit of generally-known speculation but we are talking about a well respected consultant who is almost certainly in the know and has a reputation to maintain as that is the entire basis of him getting any business.

    Partly because of this proposal I am starting to get the impression that Crossrail really will only ever go as far as Maidenhead and will never reach Reading.

  2. Anonymous says:

    With no Crossrail station at Kensal, there is still the possibility of Sir Terry Farrell’s “Jobs Express” [sic] DLR-type system around Old Oak Common.

    See Hammersmith and Fulham’s video:
    http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/News/YouTube_clip_reveals_Park_Royal_City_vision.asp

    His DLR line would go through the Kensal site, and could perhaps even reach Westbourne Grove Underground station, at least with a single track.

    TfL has produced proposals for an extra Overground service from Old Oak Common to Hounslow and Hendon, but there is also a DLR-type proposal of a Brent Cross railway to Ealing Broadway which is similar to Farrell’s.

    A branch of the Bakerloo from Queens Park could also reach Kensal, Old Oak Common, North Acton and Ealing Broadway.

  3. Ian Sergeant says:

    @PoP

    Partly because of this proposal I am starting to get the impression that Crossrail really will only ever go as far as Maidenhead and will never reach Reading.

    I’m not sure how this follows. I know we’ve had similar discussions before, but my reasoning for thinking that Reading will, in time, go ahead is:

    1) It is alleged that more people travel west from Maidenhead than east in the morning peak (not sure where that came from, but I read that somewhere). Surely better to accommodate that traffic on Crossrail than on existing services? It wouldn’t just be for an ever-dwindling number of people the further you go out of town.

    2) What do you do with the existing services ex Reading? Terminate them at Maidenhead? If so, how? Is there enough capacity on the four line section east of Airport Junction to run them into Paddington?

    3) Once Great Western electrification is complete, what is the BCR for the Train Operator in extending to Reading? Large I would thought, as there is a captive market (see point 1) and not a lot of money needing to be spent. Platform lengthening at Twyford I believe? What else?

  4. Anonymous says:

    As part of the Reading station redevelopment provision is being made for a future extension of Crossrail. It is only a matter of time before the Crossrail route is extended from Maidenhead to Reading.

  5. spam says:

    I thought the only reason for not specifying Reading as the original destination was to ensure that the Reading station re-build budget did not get lumped together with the Crossrail budget, and to ensure that problems at Reading did not impact on Crossrail. Since most of the cost of Crossrail is being met by London (government and business), the funders did not want to be responsible for what happens at Reading. The “real” plan has always been to go to Reading, and once Reading rebuild is mostly finished, then the extension will be announced. (Little chance of extending at Abbey Wood though.)

    Of course, this could merely be supposition.

  6. Malcolm says:

    @Ian Sargent

    What do you do with the existing services ex Reading? Terminate them at Maidenhead?

    No, that would be daft. End-on terminating trains with many passengers swapping between them.

    There is enough space on the tracks now between Maidenhead and Royal Oak to carry all the trafffic offered. (I think with some of the trains being pretty short ones, too). That space won’t disappear as a result of crossrail.

    And of course most of the direct Reading – London traffic travels on InterCity trains (you know what I mean) anyway.

  7. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I would really like to believe that you are correct and I am wrong. I don’t disagree with your reasoning.

    One of the arguments for the extending to Reading is to save on the cost of the work of building new sidings at Maidenhead. So how does one explain this?

  8. spam says:

    PoP,

    Planning and this kind of minor preparatory work costs little (currently only digging out a few sidings), especially in the context of the budget for either Reading re-build or Crossrail. And in any case, some sidings somewhere around Maidenhead might anyway be useful. The benefits of not running extra (e.g. non-crossrail) passenger trains down the slow lines of the GWML is going to outweigh the costs of extending Crossrail trains to Reading; and makes the costs currently incurred on preparing to terminate the trains at Maidenhead seem too small to worry about.

  9. Lemmo says:

    Aha! back in the loop after a move overseas that has gone anything but smoothly.

    Timely article, but although this particular scheme associated with the redevelopment around Kensal now has the official thumbs-down, the evolving saga at OOC is requiring a rethink of the proposed Crossrail track layout west of Royal Oak portal. This is likely to need to become a four-track alignment, and this might allow a new intermediate station in the Kensal or Westbourne Park area at which local Crossrail services would stop.

    Crossrail, as defined by the Act, is a fiercely-guarded project and resolutely ring-fenced from any interloper schemes that might impinge upon Crossrail’s delivery on spec, on time and on budget. Kensal station is one of those schemes and, even with a favourable BCR, it would have been fighting an uphill battle.

    But OOC is requiring a significant change to the Crossrail spec, which is raising all sorts of issues. One is that the section from OOC to Royal Oak is where a timetable-driven service on two branches west of OOC transitions into a headway-driven service through the Crossrail core. If 24tph were extended west through OOC then the two-track section from Royal Oak to OOC becomes an operational bottleneck. Quadrupling this section will provide the necessary slack, as well as ease the operation of flat junctions to the depot and elsewhere, and this would also provide the track capacity for a new station.

    All this has to be resolved in order to allow OOC to progress and, at this stage, the schedule is driven largely by the work required for the HS2 legislation. If the project sponsors (TfL and DfT) decide that quadrupling is necessary to deliver Crossrail to OOC, which is one of the Mayor’s requirements for HS2, then passive provision for a new station at Kensal or thereabouts can be built in. So, sorry JB, we may not be hearing the last of this!

    @ PoP, the aim as outlined in the RUS is to push Crossrail to Reading, and also to extend from OOC to the WCML. The most pressing issue in all this is, unexpectedly, where to put the depot. At the moment this is stuck in the middle of the evolving OOC development, which is proving to be a major problem. But if Crossrail extends west then the depot could be moved too. Until someone makes the decision, and works out who pays for it, we are stuck in limbo. Hence Crossrail progresses unchanged.

  10. Mark Townend says:

    Currently most London-bound commuters from Reading board fast non-stop trains to Paddington. It makes sense for the operator to stop these fast trains at Reading because there is also a very healthy commuter and business travel trade between all points west and Reading (due to both the economic strength of the town itself and the myriad connectional opportunities available therefrom across the southeast, including airports). Seats are thus occupied twice in the peak no doubt earning more than non-stop runs to London could alone. Whilst there is a healthy traffic between intermediate Thames Valley towns on the route, such as Maidenhead and Slough to Reading, this can be handled adequately by the existing fleet or its future electric replacement. Extending the specialised 10 car non-toilet all stations Crossrail EMUs beyond Maidenhead will not attract any significant numbers from the overcrowded Inter-Citys, as Reading commuters will continue to prefer saving 20 minutes plus to Paddington, thence changing easily onto the uber-frequent Crossrail for the onward journey through London. There could be price breaks to encourage a demand shift to Crossrail, but the other problem is the new Reading layout is not really set up ideally for terminating significant numbers of trains from London, even with the expanded number of platforms. Crossrails could run through Reading of course reversing in sidings to the west, but this would yet further add to total circuit journey time and increase the fleet size required for possibly no extra tickets sold. With wider electrification now underway, I think there may be a future case for longer distance faster services from Oxford and Newbury through London using higher spec express rolling stock; that would avoid the problem of terminating at Reading. With the urban spec trains being ordered now perhaps even Maidenhead is too far out man!

  11. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Spam

    Again. I would like to believe you. But to cut and paste from “Near You” on the Crossrail site:

    WORK ITEM

    MAIDENHEAD

    Work location:
    Maidenhead Station

    Estimated start date: 29/04/2013
    Estimated end date: 31/12/2017
    Description of work:
    Development of new sidings facilities for the stabling of Crossrail trains.
    Details of work as PDF file:
    Works at Maidenhead Depot, Silco Drive from Monday 29 April

    An end date of 31/12/2017 doesn’t suggest that this is minor preparatory work.

    even Maidenhead is too far out man!

    I think Mark may well be right. Or at least this is the current thinking.

  12. Greg Tingey says:

    Pedantic
    Your point is very telling
    The idiot proposals for turnback near Padders should be dropped, as a waste of money.
    The Sub/inert-urban services Padders – Reading – Newbury/Oxford are WEDGED & in both directions.
    A lot of people commute out from Padders & Ealing in the AM peak to jobs in Slough/Madenhead/Reading ….
    The present trains are boith too small & too infrequent. My observations (spent of course from just one morning standing around on a platform – not) suggest that a doubling of frequency & at least 8-car trains all the time, wopuld soon see them filled up, so that 12′s will soon be needed.

    Ian Sargent
    (1)”More travel West from Maidenhead” – quite possibly – not observed that one – but I do know that lots get off at Reading!

    spam
    AND. let us not forget … CR1 was given the go-ahead IIRC befpre the GWML electrification, so that the knitting would only go to Maidenhead, with smellies powering the trains beyond there.
    Fortunately, more rational counsels have prevailed.

    Mark Townwend
    this can be handled adequately by the existing fleet
    NO
    Read what I wrote above. In the AM peak, both East & West-bound trains from Ealing Broadway are already full-&-standing, to silly numbers!

    Anon
    Perhaps the Maidenhead sidings will be a suitable space for stabling CR1 stock, separate from the other stuff @ Reading.
    Again, the suppressed demand along that route, caused by the present short, usually a max of 5-car ( = 2+3) trains is palpable.
    Incidentally, this argument also applies @ Abbey Wood, miserable dump that it is.
    However, any further Eastward extension cannot “just” be to Dartford, bacause that station will need a total rebuild & the “natural” terminating point along that line is either Gravesend – which is going to be difficult to rebuild, or even Rochester.
    Remember that Rochester is closer to London ($terminus – to – $stations) than Reading!

  13. JA says:

    Thanks for the article.

    I have a couple of related questions which I hope that others could answer….

    1) Could somebody explain who is funding the potential Crossrail station at Old Oak Common?

    This station seems to to now be central to the HS2 scheme and is mentioned very frequently. Perhaps I have missed the official approval but would be interested to know if anyone knew the up to date financial/construction details.

    2) Has there been formal agreement on cost sharing of the fitting out of the Woolwich station Box?

    Surprised that there has not been a formal announcement on this point? Perhaps Barratt are attempting to play a game of chicken in an attempt to avoid extra costs but the lack of a deal seems to point to more intractable problems.

  14. Milton Clevedon says:

    @JA

    (1) OOC costs. Final design and costs not signed off yet, certainly not funding. Stakeholders are expecting HS2 consultation this month. As you say, Crossrail is important to HS2 Ltd so most likely that HS2 Ltd will pay for the Crossrail/GW main works, not sure about extra Crossrail trains. However other elements eg Overground, Crossrail to West Coast, might not be a charge to HS2, though both also relieve HS2 and Euston pressures, so there might be an HS2 contribution if they go ahead… Meanwhile DfT is try to keep a lid on HS2 costs.

    (2) Woolwich Crossrail. Berkeley Homes paid for the box which is completed, not for the fitting out. That’s up to the various transport authorities, and a deal is still awaited – think that was referenced recently in a GLA meeting covered in LR.

  15. Mark Townend says:

    @Greg Tingey, 07:42AM, 4th May 2013

    I accept there is overcrowding on the suburban services, but running Crossrail to Maidenhead WILL provide a significant capacity upgrade over a large proportion of the route and will segregate the Maidenhead stopping passengers from those using the semi fast, limited stop, presumably 8 car electric services between Paddington and Reading. Taking your Ealing Broadway example, I expect anyone going into London from there would choose Crossrail over Paddington hence avoiding a change. I expect semis would continue to call there for LU interchange, so anyone going to Maidenhead would have a choice, but would probably take the first train to arrive as there’s no chance of a later faster train overtaking a slower one en route. For Reading and beyond the choice would clearly be the semi fast. I stand by my original statement that the fleet being ordered is not suitable nor large enough to run to Reading. The limited scope of services at the west end of Crossrail could be seen as a ‘neccessary evil’ to get the line up and running reliably. There’s no established longer distance cross London service to accomodate from day one as with Thameslink, so I understand the desire build it up slowly. When new electric units for GW suburban are ordered finally , thats when Crossrail compatibility might be looked at seriously, even if the fleet might initially run into Paddington terminus alone. So don’t saddle the tunnel project with the responsibility of replacing all the GW suburban stock, and possibly having to operate the semi-fast services out as far as Oxford and Newbury as part of its initial concession.

  16. Ash says:

    “BROCKWAY, OGDENVILLE, AND NORTH HAVERBROOK”

    May I be the first to say, I approve of the Simpsons reference to the Springfield Monorail!

  17. stimarco says:

    I think some readers here are forgetting one of the fundamental problems with getting infrastructure built in the UK: it’s a lot easier to come up with a “core” scheme that can be extended at leisure later (e.g. the DLR) than to convince politicians across a wide swathe of the country to approve of a ‘big bang’ scheme that tries to gold-plate everything from the outset.

    Once CR1′s core tunnel and stations are built, you can chop and change the actual services to your heart’s content. The key is to get that core infrastructure built first. You need to get over the massive political obstacles first. That ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is the hard part! Everything else is just engineering.

    The GWML electrification will also have a big effect on service quality on the existing routes into Paddington: nobody’s building new “Thames Turbos”, so it’s not physically possible to extend those from the current 3/6 car formations. Nor is there much point buying new diesels in the interim: we’re seeing a transitional phase where the mantra is to ‘hold the line’ as much as possible while the work is completed. Once the line is electrified, it probably won’t be long before CR1 ends up being extended out to Reading.

    As for the Gravesend side: as I understand it, that station is already getting a disappointingly cut-price ‘rebuild’ of sorts that will see the passing loops lost in favour of adding a London-facing bay platform on the ‘up’ side of the station.

    When CR1 will actually get to Gravesend is anybody’s guess. There’s the thorny issue of Dartford to consider: the intention is to build a new, dedicated, pair of tracks all the way from Abbey Wood to the latter, including widening of the deep cutting. But that means you have five approach tracks arriving at four platform faces, so it’s likely Dartford will need a major rebuild into a six-platform beast. Beyond Dartford, CR1 stock would switch to 3rd rail collection for the final stretch along the NKR to Gravesend. (I suspect it may prove easier to just re-site Dartford to the west, on the western approaches.)

    Extending to Rochester is unlikely: too many junctions and speed restrictions in the way. Although Reading is closer as the crow flies, it’s also on a 125 mph. railway. The North Kent Railway wasn’t built for speed: trains rarely get above 70 mph. Typical journey times into Charing Cross from Dartford are over an hour. Compare with Oxford, which is 56 min. from Paddington, despite being much further out of London. Extending to Rochester would require a lot more rolling stock to make up for the longer journey times.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Extending to Reading is very simple now, with the Reading station rebuild near complete, and the wires going up. I think the sidings at Maidenhead is a red herring here: just because you extend to Reading, doesn’t mean you have to move the sidings there. A short ECS run Maidenhead to Reading at the start of service doesn’t change the weather in a spectacular fashion. There’d be a few minor infrastrucure works I reckon, and a couple more units of rolling stock needed, but if there’s benefits to be had (which there probably are, both in terms of revenue/passenger benefits, and in terms of performance benefits if it means you can take out some residual Thames Valley Paddington terminators) then it’ll probably go ahead, and may even be within spec by the time of delivery.

    I think we’ll probably then see, shortly after successful opening, the announcement of the ‘Crossrail Extension Project’ or some such, which would involve the Gravesend and OOC/extension to WCML works, probably delivered about the same time (2025/26 to dovetail with HS2?). As mentioned in other comments, the project is tightly managed to ensure they deliver the spec on time and within budget – once that’s been achieved, the obvious benefits of Crossrail spreading its wings will doubtless be reaped.

  19. Anonymous says:

    @stimarco

    I doubt Crossrail stock would go 3rd rail on any extension to Gravesend. They’d replace the 3rd rail with wires (note the replacement of Southampton-Basingstoke in HLOS2012, to be seen as a trial of the potential business case for such works on the former Southern network). I’m pretty sure the Crossrail stock is not specified for dual voltage.

  20. RichardB says:

    I note the apparent offer of a consolation prize to Kensington and Chelsea council of a monorail. Does anyone note that when references to monorails are made in a UK context it is effectively a fantasy. There is no way that monorails would be progressed. I am not disputing the technology and I am aware of numerous examples overseas but monorails in a British context seems to equate with science fiction and therefore are never taken forward. The suggestion that this may happen is absurd as there is no political advantage to promoting monorails not least because the outcry over creating an overhead railway plus the footprints of the station which would require lifts and escalators would make this political poison. There is a reason why all new or relatively new schemes for new lines in London have gone forward- it is because they are below the streets.

    I know new monorails need not look like the Wuppertal Schwebebahn but the visual impact of concrete pylon and overhead track on the street scene would raise a real outcry irrespective of any merits an individual scheme might possess. As such the offer to consider such a proposal is a fig leaf to hide the real decision which is that the borough’ proposal represented an unacceptable complication to the CrossRail scheme as currently defined but the council leader needs to show that something might be in the offing to divert criticism within the council chamber. I cannot think anyone believes this is a genuine proposal.

  21. Max Roberts says:

    All sorts of possibilities for extending Crossrail west and southeast from the current proposed termini, but maybe best to wait until we get data from actual usage on the Shenfield line. Shenfield gets plenty of fast trains into London, killing demand for stoppers not just at Shenfield but also nearby Brentwood (Brentwood to Liverpool Street takes roughly the same time as Epping to Liverpool Street).

    This will be a good test of passenger preference, frequent slow trains that offer many one-seat-ride options, versus less frequent fast trains which require a change of trains to get to anywhere useful. Crossrail will boost demand on the Shenfield line (already the busiest NR London commuter route, but, for example, either Northern Line branch in north London attracts around 50% more daytime station entries). My prediction, is that Crossrail use will disproportionately increase (compared with current stoppers) at stations currently served by, or near to stations served by fast trains (Shenfield, Brentwood, Romford, Ilford) and also that ridership at Maryland will increase considerably.

  22. stimarco says:

    @Anonymous (11:45AM, 4th May 2013):

    The problem with stringing wires up beyond Dartford is the tunnels and some low bridges. As modern EMUs are typically designed for easy addition of 3rd rail collector shoes (the UK isn’t the only country to use 3rd rail electrification), switching mode at Dartford is no big deal. If Thameslink can do it, there’s no reason why Crossrail can’t.

    Any conversion to OHLE of the lines into Kent is likely to begin with the faster routes, such as the Tonbridge and Chatham main lines. The North Kent line is one of the slowest “main lines” in England, so it’s unlikely to be at the top of the list.

  23. stimarco says:

    That episode of “The Simpsons” (which so many people seem to have mistaken as a satire on monorail, rather than on politics and the stupidity of the ‘mob’) has arguably done more harm to the case for monorails than anything else.

    The simple fact remains that a monorail system, done right, is actually a better solution than a traditional tram: you’ll need to string up unsightly wires and support posts for the latter too, so why not just hang the train from above as well and save having to dig up the roads entirely?

    It’s a much more logical solution to the problem of where the hell you squeeze in yet another railway through London’s already crowded subsurface strata.

    What’s more: there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever why a monorail system couldn’t run at-grade in (for example) pedestrianised areas. None. You can literally swap a tram for a monorail, like for like. Except the monorail can ‘fly’ over congested areas in a way trams and other light rail systems cannot.

  24. Milton Clevedon says:

    Good point by Max R – Central Line stations Leyton to Newbury Park inclusive were 38.4m passengers in 2011, GE stations Maryland to Chadwell Heath inclusive were 17.4m in 2011-12, for a suburban section 2 miles longer from Central London and serving a more highly populated catchment. Crude rule of thumb is that tube-type services pull in 2-3 times as many passengers as at nearby National Rail stations (don’t know whether that’s partly to do with ORR numerology), so Greg can get ready to be very busy on his counts! And Padders-West London trains could be ‘rammed’ as well.

  25. Greg Tingey says:

    sitmarco
    I though the Gravesend rebuild was for three through pf’s ???? Taking out one of the through lines?
    Er? Um? Can someone please check?
    CR1 stock would switch to 3rd rail collection for the final stretch along the NKR to Gravesend. I think not … knitting to be strung to wherever termination point is. [ Aee also Anon's comment ]
    The simple fact remains that a monorail system, done right, is actually a better solution than a traditional tram: you’ll need to string up unsightly wires and support posts for the latter too, so why not just hang the train from above as well and save having to dig up the roads entirely?
    POINTS
    Monorails don’t like points & diversions & alternative routes.
    So, no, “traditional” tram is better – if not every time, then at least 95% of the time.

  26. RichardB says:

    @ stimarco
    I cannot agree with your argument that monorails are a rational solution. It presupposes that an elevated railway is a superior good. Arguably the London street scape is not especially rational compared to the grid layout favoured in say American cities which would mean that the pylons and therefore the line would straddle buildings as there are few places where the monorail could follow the centre of the road without imposing speed restrictions because of the curves and junctions with other roads.

    As a transport enthusiast I would probably enjoy travelling on an overhead railway but even I recognise that this will have an adverse impact on the street below. Add in the need for stations with attendant lift shafts and presumably escalators or stairs the effect is remarkably ugly.

    Rational solutions are regularly proposed by planners and are usually justly hated. Some years ago the City of London worried at the impact of Canary Wharf wanted to increase the land available for office accommodation and came up withe concept of decking (i.e. buildings which would utilise the wasted air space above the streets by permitting bones office blocks to straddle the road). London Wall has some examples of this philosophy and it seems even the Corporation of the City of London has realised it is a mistake as the roads became tunnels and the urban environment is degraded. This can have an adverse result in that organisations start to look elsewhere for more attractive settings for their corporate headquarters. This is an example of an entirely rational approach to a perceived building requirement which has adverse consequences.

    People accept buses and if they can get them trams at street level but prefer underground connectivity. The idea that overhead railways in the form of monorails along our major streets would be welcomed is absurd nor is there the political will there to impose such solutions. In the Buchanan report in the sixties he espoused total separation of transport and part of his urban solution was the installation of monorails but that would be accompanied by a tabula rasa of existing buildings and street layouts. The idea never flew because the impact of such rational solutions would have had an adversely irrational impact on the citizens who would have had to endure his proposals.

  27. Anonymous says:

    @Milton Clevedon

    For a while now I’ve believed that the Western section will be a lot busier than forecasts predict. This is first because there will be a huge number of people who switch from the Piccadilly and Central lines to crossrail (not only because crossrail will be faster, but also because it will be more comfortable and in some instances provide an easier trip with no/or fewer changes). Secondly, developers will be itching to get their hands on the disused sites and light-industrial units that flank the GWML and GU canal. Already a developer has pitched plans to house more than a 1,000 people in a site next to Hayes station. Between Hanwell and West Drayton there are plenty of sites that could be converted into residential use.

  28. Fandroid says:

    The extension of Crossrail to Reading would only really make a lot of sense if semi-fasts made the journey time to central London at least equivalent to the present journey using Intercity trains and the Tube. Otherwise, if only Crossrail stoppers extended out that far, there wouldn’t be much advantage, except perhaps to rationalise the services so that they don’t have overlapping Crossrail through trains and Paddington terminators trying to use the same lines. IIRC the RUS thought there might be scope for fast trains from Oxford (with a Reading stop) taking over the role that Intercity trains currently have of providing a fast commute into London. Those Intercity trains are always ‘full & standing’ between Reading and Paddington. They were when I did it fairly regularly in the late 1990s!

    Oxford Crossrail expresses would need new stock capable of 125 mph and handling the signalling in the central tunnels. Until those arrive, I suspect we will have the status quo but with electric stock taking over the existing diesel roles, with a bit of an allowance for the impact of Crossrail in the inner suburbs.

    What we might see in the interim is a stopping pattern for semi-fast terminators so that central London bound travellers can swop to Crossrail at say Ealing Broadway, or wherever the Crossrail semi-fasts stop. That would allow passengers to avoid the fairly long-winded interchange at Paddington.

    Given the perfectly understandable Crossrail team philosophy of avoiding all ‘elective’ variations that will effect completion time and/or cost, the Kensal station never stood a chance.

    The changes that might be bolted on later to accommodate HS2 at Old Oak are a different matter. But that depends on HS2 getting through Parliament.

    When the noble knight of K & C says “Heathrow-Style monorail”, does he mean the pods that link T5 with its business car-park? There is no actual monorail at Heathrow, real, planned or ‘conceptual’.

  29. Milton Clevedon says:

    @Anonymous

    Southall ex-Gas Works is an interesting opportunity for brownfield development.

  30. Roy says:

    I would have that one problem with extending the knitting to Gravesend or beyond as part of a CR extension would be that ORR doesn’t allow OHLE and 3rd-rail together which would mean having to replace SouthEastern’s 46[5|6]s with something dual voltage (obviously 395s are already running that way and 375s are cleared for diversions along that route). Or would the Networkers be life expired by the time that happened?

  31. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    “Monorails don’t like points & diversions & alternative routes.”

    You are mis-informed. That myth may have arisen from observations of the (heritage) Wuppertal Schwebebahn, which has deliberately retained its 1890s structure and features, but nobody builds monorails based on that system. It’s like saying all railways must use steam locomotives because that’s what the Bluebell Railway uses. Both are heritage railways.

    There are a number of monorail urban metro systems in Asia, including this SAFEGE system in Japan designed and built in the 1970s-’80s. (Note the very prominent switch in the foreground of the accompanying photo. Click on the links to the two Japanese lines that use the system and you’ll see why that “they don’t like points” myth doesn’t hold water either).

    Such systems couldn’t possibly work without points, and they need to be damned reliable too. Stop listening to the pro-light rail lobby who have a vested interested in maintaining ignorance over this topic. Monorails are tried and tested. There is nothing risky about the technology at all.

    @RichardB:

    Perhaps you missed my point that there is no reason why a monorail couldn’t run at-grade for part of the route to bring station construction costs down to the same level as a tram stop. This is why I’d go for a suspended monorail design, rather than a straddle-beam one, which would indeed have problems with guideway size and station accessibility. As a suspended monorail also gets free ’tilt’, it can even tackle corners more quickly than any tram or bus, which would have the exact same problem of going round sharp bends. Furthermore, such a system would offer far more routing options and flexibility: a tram can’t just rise up and fly over a supermarket and its car park to reach a residential street, for example. (Well, not as easily. And certainly not without producing a massive visual eyesore.)

    And, of course, I refer the honourable gentleman to the existence of the Wuppertal Schwebebahn, which was built over a winding river and along old town roads. If they could do it in 1890, why can’t London do it with more modern technology?

    You (and others) claim that the pylons would be “ugly”, yet appear to have no trouble accepting trams, with their equally ugly stanchions and knitting. (I’ve used Croydon’s tram network and it can hardly be described as ‘pretty’. They couldn’t have picked uglier stanchion designs if they’d tried.) Why is one acceptable but not the other?

    Are you seriously telling us that this kind of infrastructure is “too ugly” for London?

  32. stimarco says:

    For what it’s worth, I have no beef against light rail, when it makes sense to use it. For example, converting Manchester or Croydon’s tram networks to us monorail technology would make no sense given the extent of the existing network.

    But the West London Tram project was stillborn precisely because of problems with that traditional technology that monorails do not have. You don’t need to dig up entire major roadways to lay tracks: you just need to drill holes for the supports every few hundred yards. Stations can be built by adapting existing buildings too.

    And building a station above ground is still orders of magnitude cheaper than building one below ground. The DLR has umpteen such stations, with lifts and escalators too, and nobody complains about those. So, again: why is it acceptable for the DLR to build them, but nobody else?

  33. JamesBass says:

    I think the difference with DLR is that (apart form the bit near Excel where the road was built at the same time,) when it runs over or under a road, it does so at 90 degrees and not hanging over a long stretch of road. The link you provide to a suspended metro system (maybe a better term to get away from monorail baggage- there are after all 2 running surfaces, not one) looks interesting. The problem is we already have rail with OHLE, rail with 3rd rail, rail with no electrification, tubes with 4th rail and low platforms (deep level), tubes with 4th rail and high platforms (SSLs), trams, DLR, Heathrow pods and cable cars in London. If there is to be any possibility of extending a West London Light Rail network in the long term, surely it needs to be one of the systems we already have?

  34. Anonymous says:

    @Roy,

    No, the intention is to build two new segregated lines. Lots of embankments to widen etc, but it’ll be 12tph, which you would want to have performance pollution affecting from the North Kent lines

  35. DW down under says:

    spam @ 10:05PM, 3rd May 2013: “.. And in any case, some sidings somewhere around Maidenhead might anyway be useful. … ”

    Certainly would, especially in the context of WRAtH and potential routeing scenarios arising therefrom. In the shorter term, I have a sneaking suspicion that ALL Crossrail services from the east will terminate @ Paddo, while OOC and WRAtH are sorted out. That would be to maintain the quarantining of the Crossrail project from any extraneous impact on cost or timetable – and to bed in the eastern routes to a good level of reliability before attempting the west.

    Anonymous @ 11:41AM, 4th May 2013: “Extending to Reading is very simple now, with the Reading station rebuild near complete, and the wires going up. I think the sidings at Maidenhead is a red herring here: just because you extend to Reading, doesn’t mean you have to move the sidings there.” … “I think we’ll probably then see, shortly after successful opening, the announcement of the ‘Crossrail Extension Project’ or some such, which would involve the Gravesend and OOC/extension to WCML works, … ”

    Quite. Only issue is prospective suitability of Crossrail rolling stock (Class 345) to the Reading service. My take is that Crossrail 1 Phase 2 will involve Crossrail local services to Slough via Heathrow; Crossrail local services to Maidenhead direct; “Heathrow Express” services from Reading calling all stations to Maidenhead, Slough (feeding into Crossrail), T5, T123, EB and Paddo. Later perhaps, the HeX service could run from OOC via HS London Central ~ Euston Cross through to Stratford “International.”

  36. Ian J says:

    I assume the Heathrow monorail reference is to some kind of automatic cable-hauled shuttle like the one that links Terminal 5 to its satellite terminals, perhaps connecting the site to Old Oak Common. But maybe there’s a chance for a bit of joined-up blue-sky ducks-in-a-row thinking here. Over in East London there’s a different kind of cable-hauled shuttle that’s in financial strife because no-one uses it. So why not relocate the Emirates Air Line so that it runs from Emirates Kensal Gasworks to Emirates Wormwood Scrubs (for Old Oak Common International)? Problem solved!

    Meanwhile connoisseurs of whacky technology-driven vanity projects masquerading as public transport, and enthusiasts for monorails (or is that the same thing?) had better get to central Sydney quickly before the monorail there closes forever on 30 June. It will be demolished soon thereafter. A light rail system is planned for the city centre.

  37. DW down under says:

    spam@ 10:05PM, 3rd May 2013: “PoP, ….. And in any case, some sidings somewhere around Maidenhead might anyway be useful. ”

    Certainly would be, especially given the WRAtH plans.

  38. DW down under says:

    Lemmo @ 12:23AM, 4th May 2013: “Aha! back in the loop after a move overseas that has gone anything but smoothly.”

    Welcome back to the fray! :) Pray tell: where in the world are you based now?

    “Crossrail, as defined by the Act, is a fiercely-guarded project and resolutely ring-fenced from any interloper schemes that might impinge upon Crossrail’s delivery on spec, on time and on budget.”

    Absolutely, and we all need to keep this clearly in focus as we comment on aspects of the Crossrail project, and opportunities it may/could/will open up.

    “@ PoP, the aim as outlined in the RUS is to push Crossrail to Reading, and also to extend from OOC to the WCML. The most pressing issue in all this is, unexpectedly, where to put the depot… ”

    To accommodate the full multi-line junction and interchange that is rapidly evolving as the OOC objective requires that a great deal of railway infrastructure in the area be re-arranged. Indeed, I wonder if a few graves aren’t also to be on the move to accommodate HS2′s Euston approach?

    As for depot location, well – it could be “wrapped around” the altered alignments in the OOC area (maybe). Are there not suitable locations immediately west of Heathrow, or along the WCML up to Tring/LB/Bletchley? (I’m yet to take the satellite/aerial Bing/Google tour – bandwidth shaped down ’til tomorrow – teenage daughter!!!) And maybe, if HS London Central ~ Euston Cross gets up as the HS2 main central London stop, then Euro* trains could go to North Pole (or future equivalent) while HS2 go to an expanded Temple Mills.

    And finally, it’s my take that Crossrail will start “core” operations at about 14tph from the east, all terminating at Paddington. This could be 6tph from Shenfield and 8tph from Canary Wharf (maybe 4tph from Abbey Wood). They will spend as long as needed to bed this operation in, before commiting to westward extensions. This approach would mean that they continue to quarantine the project from external factors, but intelligently recognise that their present plans around OOC will be overtaken by events. It also means that time is allowed for the OOC plans to reach maturity, and the project change case for Crossrail to be costed, funded and authorised.

    The project change case would need to include more rolling stock. The question arises then whether it’s more of the same Class 345 or maybe a longer-distance version (345/2?) with one disabled and one regular toilet per unit, and gangwayed through units – but conforming to the PEDs used through the “core.”

  39. DW down under says:

    stimarco @ 10:30AM, 4th May 2013: “I think some readers here are forgetting one of the fundamental problems with getting infrastructure built in the UK: it’s a lot easier to come up with a “core” scheme that can be extended at leisure later (e.g. the DLR) than to convince politicians across a wide swathe of the country to approve of a ‘big bang’ scheme that tries to gold-plate everything from the outset. … ”

    Absolutely!!

    ” .. Once CR1′s core tunnel and stations are built, you can chop and change the actual services to your heart’s content. The key is to get that core infrastructure built first. You need to get over the massive political obstacles first. That ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is the hard part! Everything else is just engineering…..”

    Well each addition becomes a “Crown Case” in its own right it would seem, due to the financial extraction process.

    ” … The GWML electrification will also have a big effect on service quality on the existing routes into Paddington: nobody’s building new “Thames Turbos”, so it’s not physically possible to extend those from the current 3/6 car formations. Nor is there much point buying new diesels in the interim: we’re seeing a transitional phase where the mantra is to ‘hold the line’ as much as possible while the work is completed. Once the line is electrified, it probably won’t be long before CR1 ends up being extended out to Reading.”

    Witness the difficulty extending the GOBLIN 172/0′s. But perhaps the key to whether Crossrail trains run through to Reading will be rolling stock. Above, I suggested a possible Class 345/2 incorporating 2 toilets per 5-car unit might be included in the OOC junctions and interchange project scope, costing, funding and approval (maybe, just maybe).

    ” .. As for the Gravesend side: as I understand it, that station is already getting a disappointingly cut-price ‘rebuild’ of sorts that will see the passing loops lost in favour of adding a London-facing bay platform on the ‘up’ side of the station.

    When CR1 will actually get to Gravesend is anybody’s guess. There’s the thorny issue of Dartford to consider: the intention is to build a new, dedicated, pair of tracks all the way from Abbey Wood to the latter, including widening of the deep cutting. But that means you have five approach tracks arriving at four platform faces, so it’s likely Dartford will need a major rebuild into a six-platform beast. Beyond Dartford, CR1 stock would switch to 3rd rail collection for the final stretch along the NKR to Gravesend. (I suspect it may prove easier to just re-site Dartford to the west, on the western approaches.) … ”

    There’s no way the existing CR1 project will encompass dual-voltage rolling stock. They’re too risk-averse for that, especially the risk at voltage change-over locations. Certainly, once the whole gamut of CR1 passes to the concessionnaire, the view might change. But we then need to consider the fact that none of the existing dual voltage kit is suitable for the CR1 “core”, so either mods will be needed (and the fleet has been trimmed to the bare bones so making release of units for mods difficult), new stock needed (another business case and approvals process) or a blend with enough new stock to provide an enhanced engineering reserve, so that already commissioned stock can be modified. Raises the question: who benefits and who should pay?

    ” Extending to Rochester is unlikely: too many junctions and speed restrictions in the way. Although Reading is closer as the crow flies, it’s also on a 125 mph. railway. The North Kent Railway wasn’t built for speed: trains rarely get above 70 mph. Typical journey times into Charing Cross from Dartford are over an hour. Compare with Oxford, which is 56 min. from Paddington, despite being much further out of London. Extending to Rochester would require a lot more rolling stock to make up for the longer journey times.”

    Perhaps the 345/2 class (if ordered in sufficient quantity) could cover Rochester – Reading, and Colchester – Central Milton Keynes? Again the question: who benefits, who should pay? Makes the line more of a Network South East operation than a TfL – so maybe this is the resistance point.

  40. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @ 11:45AM, 4th May 2013: “@stimarco – I doubt Crossrail stock would go 3rd rail on any extension to Gravesend. They’d replace the 3rd rail with wires (note the replacement of Southampton-Basingstoke in HLOS2012, to be seen as a trial of the potential business case for such works on the former Southern network). I’m pretty sure the Crossrail stock is not specified for dual voltage. ”

    The 345 class as AC only is my firm understanding, too. However, the next question is the business case: who benefits, who will pay for OHLE conversion? The further out CR goes, the less it is a TfL project – but perhaps an extension to an interchange (even connection) with HS1 at Ebbsfleet International would garner support.

  41. DW down under says:

    RichardB @ 12:07PM, 4th May 2013: “I note the apparent offer of a consolation prize to Kensington and Chelsea council of a monorail. Does anyone note that when references to monorails are made in a UK context it is effectively a fantasy. As such the offer to consider such a proposal is a fig leaf to hide the real decision which is that the borough’ proposal represented an unacceptable complication to the CrossRail scheme as currently defined but the council leader needs to show that something might be in the offing to divert criticism within the council chamber. I cannot think anyone believes this is a genuine proposal.”

    Totally agree … DLR type scheme most likely, if anything at all.

  42. DW down under says:

    stimarco @ 12:38PM, 4th May 2013: “@Anonymous (11:45AM, 4th May 2013): The problem with stringing wires up beyond Dartford is the tunnels and some low bridges. As modern EMUs are typically designed for easy addition of 3rd rail collector shoes (the UK isn’t the only country to use 3rd rail electrification), switching mode at Dartford is no big deal. If Thameslink can do it, there’s no reason why Crossrail can’t…. ”

    Except that the Crossrail project is extremely risk-averse. Voltage changeover represents an operational risk which they have sought to design out. TL couldn’t design it out.

    ” … Any conversion to OHLE of the lines into Kent is likely to begin with the faster routes, such as the Tonbridge and Chatham main lines. The North Kent line is one of the slowest “main lines” in England, so it’s unlikely to be at the top of the list.”

    Perhaps, but I would suggest the priorities will be based on “use-by” equipment renewal dates. The whole OHLE conversion idea is to cut renewal and lifetime maintenance costs. Tunnels and bridges generally can be addressed by track lowering using paved concrete track bed or even the so far untried LR55 approach. Also, overhead contact beam can be used to minimise overhead clearance requirements. The OHCB system is used in the CR1 “core.”

  43. DW down under says:

    stimarco @ 12:43PM, 4th May 2013: “That episode of “The Simpsons” (which so many people seem to have mistaken as a satire on monorail, rather than on politics and the stupidity of the ‘mob’) has arguably done more harm to the case for monorails than anything else.”

    Never saw it, don’t watch the Simpletons.

    “The simple fact remains that a monorail system, done right, is actually a better solution than a traditional tram: … no reason whatsoever why a monorail system couldn’t run at-grade in (for example) pedestrianised areas. None. You can literally swap a tram for a monorail, like for like. Except the monorail can ‘fly’ over congested areas in a way trams and other light rail systems cannot. ”

    Traditional tram – there’s a few in Crich. Modern tramways can (if that’s part of the political remit) run without stringing OHLs. Inductive charging, 3rd rails at stations, batteries for on-street operation (charged while on dedicated track) all are viable and included in contemporary schemes. Roads get dug up for pipework, repairs, resurfacing – it’s something that is taken in stride. What makes the monorail better? Nothing. These days a means of safely reaching ground level (even for those with ambulant disabilities) from elevated structures, is required – same as in tunnels. While the uprights won’t look like a series of Eiffel Towers any more, the reinforced concrete beamway will have side walkways – all above the pavement. For all the difference it makes, a modern tram or ALR (~DLR) type system could run on elevated beams with rails 1432 – 38 mm apart and side walkways equally well, and operate much better on dedicated way at ground level than any monorail could. Also avoids re-inventing any wheels. But Stimarco is a fan of monorails and it must irk him that Sydney has offered its system up for sale or scrap.

  44. DW down under says:

    Fandroid @ 05:38PM, 4th May 2013: “The extension of Crossrail to Reading would only really make a lot of sense if semi-fasts made the journey time to central London at least equivalent to the present journey using Intercity trains and the Tube.”

    Somehow, I don’t think outer suburban semi-fasts are part of TfL’s Crossrail’s target market. Should the original target market fill the line’s capacity, bringing forward the extension to 12-car trains, then totally out of the question. If there’s so large a shortfall that additional traffic needs tapping, then perhaps my 345/2 concept (above this thread) might see the light of day, with some 345 class tranferred to other routes.

    ” … IIRC the RUS thought there might be scope for fast trains from Oxford (with a Reading stop) taking over the role that Intercity trains currently have of providing a fast commute into London. Those Intercity trains are always ‘full & standing’ between Reading and Paddington. They were when I did it fairly regularly in the late 1990s! … ”

    As was the 0930 Stevenage to KX IC125 in the mid-80s. But back to the future, I seriously doubt the RUS authors meant that the Oxford fast outer suburbans would run through TfL’s Crossrail. They would be Paddington terminators, and later possibly among the through non-HS trains that are routed to stop at HS London Central ~ Euston Cross if built.

    ” … What we might see in the interim is a stopping pattern for semi-fast terminators so that central London bound travellers can swop to Crossrail at say Ealing Broadway, or wherever the Crossrail semi-fasts stop. That would allow passengers to avoid the fairly long-winded interchange at Paddington.”

    That’s the intended role of OOC.

    ” … The changes that might be bolted on later to accommodate HS2 at Old Oak are a different matter. But that depends on HS2 getting through Parliament.

    When the noble knight of K & C says “Heathrow-Style monorail”, does he mean the pods that link T5 with its business car-park? There is no actual monorail at Heathrow, real, planned or ‘conceptual’.”

    The good knight probably had a good night. These chaps are not noted for understanding matters pertaining to the hoi polloi, you know! :) But yes, PODs may be the right scale and capacity for the area – but would you snog, marry or avoid?? (POD computes than none of us are worthy of “her” attentions)

  45. Anonymous says:

    @Roy 2047
    “ORR doesn’t allow OHLE and 3rd-rail together”

    Since when? There are several places you get this, notably at Euston.

  46. DW down under says:

    Roy @ 08:47PM, 4th May 2013: “I would have that one problem with extending the knitting to Gravesend or beyond as part of a CR extension would be that ORR doesn’t allow OHLE and 3rd-rail together which would mean having to replace SouthEastern’s 46[5|6]s with something dual voltage (obviously 395s are already running that way and 375s are cleared for diversions along that route).”

    Are you sure that it’s ORR that doesn’t allow OHLE and 3rd rail together? Can you cite a reference for me, please? From my perspective, I’d ask what on earth has it to do with them? It’s an engineering challenge which should be required to achieve a performance benchmark.

    AIUI, engineers are behind the reluctance to have dual system electrifications on the same track. Issues of isolation, earthing, voltage regulation, track circuits, signalling, safeworking are all tied up with it. Nonetheless, there are extended sections of dual system electrification. For example, Farringdon – City T/L is a 2-station overlap voltage changeover zone.

  47. stimarco says:

    Re. OHLE to Gravesend:

    As I understand it, there is no plan to extend OHLE to Gravesend because it’d be a very expensive job for very little gain. You really want to be upgrading big chunks of track in one go, not tiny stretches, otherwise you miss out on economies of scale. It’d be better value for money to convert all three Dartford lines and on out to the coast in one project.

    As the ‘pilot’ 3rd rail to OHLE conversion project is taking place on the SWML, which would benefit far more from the technology, it would be logical to assume that the SWML would be the first beneficiary. The BML might well be next on the list, followed by the Chatham and Tonbridge lines. The rest (including the lines serving Dartford and Gravesend) would be effectively infill schemes and unlikely to happen for many more years yet. And that’s assuming that pilot scheme is considered successful.

  48. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 17.26 4/5/13 & others
    Yes
    At present a lot of people change at either Ealing Bdy for Central line destinations that you can’t get to from Padders, or across the presently-cacked “interchange” to the H&C…
    This will vanish with CR1
    People will stay on the CR1 trains to wherever they are going – W end (Bond St or TCR) or City (Faringdon or Liverpool St). Another reason for extending CR-working to Reading, incidentally.
    I predict that anything less than an 8-car would be rammed from day one – hence the proposals for 12’s I think?

    Roy @ 20.47 4/5
    NO
    Plenty of places with 3rd rail + OHLE – NLL, Faringdon, Camden bank …

    sitmarco @ 21.19
    Sorry, your mania for monorails is palpable … yes the points do need to be damned reliable – they are not fail-safe, even at low speeds. And the case fr hanging the bloody great ugly things in the air isn’t on, I’m afraid – and they COST.
    Monorails are tried & tested … and peol usually pick trams & other tw-rail systems. I wonder why that might be – practicality, perhaps?

    Oh Ian J … thank you so much – point made!
    Also DWdu @ 05.26 5/5 ….. And: But Stimarco is a fan of monorails and it must irk him that Sydney has offered its system up for sale or scrap. I know, & I’m laughing my socks off!

    Meanwhile, especially for him:
    Try THIS for size and impractability & total lunacy (i.e. Listowel & Ballybunion )

  49. Alan Griffiths says:

    DW down under04:20AM, 5th May 2013

    “it’s my take that Crossrail will start “core” operations at about 14tph from the east, all terminating at Paddington. This could be 6tph from Shenfield”

    I do hope not. That’s the mid-day, early evening and Saturday service we have now.

  50. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    Wait, what? I’m supposed to be the maniac, despite my providing concrete evidence that monorails (or “modular guided systems” given that ‘monorail’ is a rather vague term) are not only in regular use, but have been for decades?

    And your comeback is that Sydney’s infamously half-arsed tourist trap – you do know that it’s a single track line which runs in just one direction, right? – is being scrapped? It was clearly never intended as a form of mass transit, but that’s a planning and design problem, not a fault with the technology. How many trams and branch lines have been closed since the 1950s in the UK alone?

    The Indonesians, Chinese, Japanese, Singaporeans and even Las Vegas are all either building new systems or extending existing ones. If they’re finding no problems with the technology, what’s your problem with it? Not Invented Here Syndrome?

    I’m familiar with the ill-fated Listowel & Ballybunion line. In return, I give you Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway. That was such a massive success, wasn’t it? Or how about all those trams that have long since disappeared from London’s streets. Why is it better to put those tracks back in again when there may be better alternatives?

    ” yes the points do need to be damned reliable – they are not fail-safe, even at low speeds. And the case fr hanging the bloody great ugly things in the air isn’t on, I’m afraid”

    And you posted that on the basis of what evidence, exactly? I pointed to two suspended monorail systems, both of which clearly make use of points, and both of which have been in service for decades now. And I’d like to remind the honourable gentleman that nothing is truly ‘failsafe’ if they’re not properly maintained: Google “Potters Bar” and “stretcher bars” if you don’t believe me, because that’s a seriously nasty example of what happens when points fail unsafely. (Similarly, the Clapham Junction disaster was similarly caused by so-called “failsafes” failing to fail safely due to poor workmanship.)

    You and a few others here seem to be shockingly ill-informed about the technologies available today. I had expected a higher level of debate than this hurling of puerile ignorance and abuse. Grow the hell up. I am no more a monorail fanatic than you are, but I’m also not blind to the limitations of the 200-year-old technologies that most people tend to advocate.

    Would squeezing trams down Oxford Street solve its current congestion, given that most of the vehicles on that road are actually buses, not private vehicles? No. We’re already building an “Express Central Line” relief line in the form of CR1, but that’ll only take us so far. What happens next? The ground beneath London’s core is becoming increasingly saturated with tunnels and other infrastructure. How much deeper can you go? Even supposing London gets as far as a Paris-matching CR4 (Thameslink also counts as an RER-style route), where the hell are you going to build it? It can already take over 10 minutes just to reach some Tube platforms from street level. Where do you draw the line?

    PRT, flexible RT, self-driving vehicles, light railways, modular guideway systems, etc., should all be on the list of options for consideration for future transport solutions. No one system is going to solve every problem, but each one will have its niche.

    @DW Down Under:

    Why would a suspended monorail require walkways? Did you not bother clicking on the links I provided? At no point have I even considered suggesting a straddle-beam design: there’s no way such a design could run at grade for a start.

    As for stations: Yes. For the umpteenth time, such stations exist all over the sodding planet. Even the DLR has no end of the things, including one in Deptford, so they’re hardly limited to undeveloped areas. (Yes, that one crosses a road, but nobody’s suggesting a suspended system needs to slavishly follow the A40 and the Euston Road all the way to Islington either.)

    How do you solve a problem like Oxford Street? Double-decker trams with double-decker tram stops? (Actually, that might just work…)

  51. JA says:

    @Milton Clevedon – Thanks for your answers…..

    Going slightly back to John’s article it is interesting that K&C seem to have learnt from previous mistakes and are now pushing hard for a King’s Road station in any potential Crossrail 2 scheme.

    I am certainly not an expert on the GWML but another longer term factor to consider is the Western Rail acccess to Heahtrow scheme. Could influence operations at Reading as it would probably be in the form of a Reading to Heathrow service.

  52. josh says:

    An alternative power source for trams is desperately needed. I was in Manchester last week and all that metal webbing looked terrible.

    Currently trams solve one problem by creating another.

  53. Mark Townend says:

    @Roy, 08:47PM, 4th May 2013

    It is not so much that ORR “doesn’t allow” OHLE and 3rd-rail together, rather that the costs, risks and difficulty of a dual system make little sense from any rational point of view, except for necessary short changeover sections and maintaining legacy examples like Camden to Euston.

    Apart from the costs of duplicated lineside equipment, the key reason is that traction return current and safety bonding design for each stand-alone system are completely different. Because of the overriding safety imperative to protect passengers and staff, the 25kV standard of full bonding of rails to stanchions, signal cabinets and any other static metal structure near the track must be undertaken in a mixed installation, despite that these measures expose all these possible fault return paths to the substantial traction currents passed by trains running under DC power, and there are potential effects outside the railway boundary too with the possibility that some of the current could take a ‘short cut’ through metal utility pipes etc. By contrast, in a pure DC installation nothing is bonded to the rails in a deliberate attempt to ‘encourage’ the return current to travel back to the substation through the rails alone.

    It should be fairly trivial to fit 3rd rail pick up shoes to the new Crossrail fleet to enable extension beyond the overhead wires in South East London.

  54. timbeau says:

    @Stimarco
    “Why would a suspended monorail require walkways?”

    because

    @DWdu “These days a means of safely reaching ground level (even for those with ambulant disabilities) from elevated structures, is required – same as in tunnels.”

    I don’t think this arrangement (from Farenheit 451) would be acceptable, even for emergencies
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Nu6IbTqtJEQ/S8g3aoDR5dI/AAAAAAAABPg/Cc3w-J9wChQ/s1600/vlcsnap-2010-04-15-14h31m02s72.png

    the term “monorail” seems to be bandied about a lot with different people meaning different things by it. Certainly many of the schemes described have more than one rail (for instance the two embedded in the overhead beam in the system cited by Stimarco (2110, 4th May) . To some it seems to mean any guided system (usually but not always elevated) which doesn’t use conventional vehicles running on rails – so for example the “Transits” at Gatwick Airport are often referred to as monorails. By that definition even the Cambridgeshire busway is a monorail!

  55. Whiff says:

    As Kensington and Chelsea, or at least their soon-to-be-replaced leader, are so keen to have a Crossrail station in their borough it’s a shame for them that the only station on the GMWL that was in their borough, Westbourne Park, closed just over 20 years.

    And, Lemmo, it’s good to have you back and also good to hear there has been some progress behind the scenes on OOC as there have still been no public announcements. Personally I think there is a case for building an interchange there regardless of what happens with HS2. It seems, however, the fate of OOC, and probably CR2 as well, is dependent on HS2 being approved by Parliament. which is frustrating for those of us not convinced HS2 is worth the money

    And I also agree with Fandroid that what the line between Reading and Paddington really needs is more semi-fast services but I am biased as that would make my occasional journeys from the south-west to Ealing much easier. At the moment, even once Crossrail opens, it looks like it will still be quicker to change at Paddington. At least West Ealing is finally going to be open 7 days a week, though.

  56. Anonymous says:

    The GLA has recently consulted on a draft ‘Opportunity Area Planning Framework’ for Old Oak Common. However, that was for ‘limited stakeholders’ only. [Not Joe Public.]

    A full public consultation is scheduled for June.

    An ‘Old Oak Common Development Corporation’ is currently being explored by the Mayor with the four boroughs concerned (Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea).

    Discussions are at a very early stage, and the Mayor is investigating legislative procedures for its establishment and the degree of co-operation required. [Docklands: none. Olympic Legacy: some.]

  57. Greg Tingey says:

    The Indonesians, Chinese, Japanese, Singaporeans and even Las Vegas are all either building new systems or extending existing ones Because they’re flash, that’s why – they are seen to be “cool” …..
    However, simple engineering constraints are against them ….
    Yes, the technology CAN be made to work, but why make life difficult for yourself?
    Potters Bar was possibly sabotage – there was certainly something very peculiar going on there …
    If you want railways in the air, what’s wrong with the DLR, then? And, there, when a train does derail up in the air , it does not fall off & kill people, as did happen on the Schwebebahn, I believe?

    Josh
    We already know the answer to that one … bionic duckweed, of course!

  58. peezedtee says:

    @josh “An alternative power source for trams is desperately needed. I was in Manchester last week and all that metal webbing looked terrible. Currently trams solve one problem by creating another.”

    I don’t agree, I think it looks fine, but if that is what people think, there is a solution to hand: Alimentation Par Sol as used on the city-centre sections of the Bordeaux and Reims tram systems .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-level_power_supply

  59. Slugabed says:

    Mark Townend 11:06 05/05
    The more I read about 25kv and the huge costs involved in its installation and the ugly mess that results…..what are its compelling advantages over DC??
    (Apart from the (not entirely true) assertion that “everyone else has it” and “it’s modern”….)

  60. JamesBass says:

    AC overhead wires are better suited to longer distance and faster services and DC third/fourth rail is better for shorter distance and slower services. Most tram systems in the UK use DC overhead. The wiki articles on “overhead lines” and “third rail” give a good overview.

  61. Moosealot says:

    Having done the Slough-Paddingon commute for a year, I can’t see any better solution than Maidenhead to terminate on the GWML…

    Currently some of the express services call at Slough or Maidenhead which is not ideal for people travelling longer distances, so if it were me I would be wanting to run all HST stock ex-Paddington fast to Reading. There are some peak services that run Maidenhead-Taplow-Burham-Slough-Paddington (to/from Bourne End) but I doubt the good burghers of Maidenhead would be happy with that as a replacement for a non-stop HST. A Maidenhead-Slough-(OOC)-Paddington service would probably be OK though. Once you’ve got that as your semi-fast pattern, adding Reading and Twyford on the front is a no-brainer – some would be Oxford stoppers.

    Crossrail could just take over the existing Heathrow Connect service, but you would then need to cover Langley, Iver and West Drayton and there will be plenty of capacity to take over those slows so it has to go as far as Slough – there’s a decent amount of demand for Slough to intermediate stations on the GWML. It would be difficult-but-probably-not-impossible to rejig Slough station to terminate Crossrail, but the pattern we have here has no service at Burnham or Taplow, so Crossrail needs to go to Maidenhead.

    It doesn’t need to go to Reading because nobody’s going to worry about semi-fasts stopping at Twyford: anyone going to London from Reading will take a fast and change to Crossrail at Paddington.

  62. Greg Tingey says:

    Slugabed
    Err… let’s see:
    Doesn’t cover up with ice or snow at the slightest hint of precipitation not in liquid form.
    Much more power, oodles & buckets more power – work it out, given that …
    Power = Volts* Amps
    If your power is coming in at 25kV as opposed to 0.75kV, then for 5MW of power you “only” need 200 Amps current …. not (euw) 3000 amps (!)
    Much lower losses, because, since you are using high-voltage & (comparitively) lower current, your resistive losses due to heating are much lower … remember that heating due to resistance is directly proprtional to the current – see above.
    So substations can be much further apart.
    In fact, with modern solid-state equipment I’m not sure it is any more expensive than “low” voltage DC kit.

    The same reasons, in fact that the National Grid uses the highest voltages it can for any power-transmission line.
    See also the ignorant bullying swine Edison vs the educated & intelligent Westinghouse ( & Nikola Tesla, of course)

    For more information, see any good “O”level physics text-book!

  63. Anonymous says:

    Slugabed, the case for the electrocution:

    Watts (rate of doing work or power) = I (current) x V (Potential difference between supply & return)

    So, for a given power delivery requirement with return fixed at ground, supply current is inversely proportional to supply voltage.

    For example, the supply current for a power requirement of 10,000 Kw (Kilo Watt)

    At 25Kv (Kilo Volt) = 10,000 / 25 = 400 amps.

    At 750v = 10,000,000/750 = 13,333 amps

    The problem of high current supply is the energy lost in the supply system – or burnt out cables when their resistance is too high.

    Watts (rate of power loss in the distribution system) = I(current) x I(current) x R(electrical resistance in supply system)

    So high supply currents require low electrical resistance supplies, which is achieved by using large cross section cable, short cable distance between supply and demand, and low resistance conductors. Which is why the number of power supply substations had to be increased on Network South East to run more powerful trains, and why London Underground is using stainless steel and aluminium composite conductor rails.

    To summarise, for equivalent efficiency, 400 x 400 x R = 160,000R and 13,333 x 13,333 x R = 17,777,777R or a 750 v supply system needs to have around one thousandth of the electrical resistance of a 25kv system.

    In the early days of railway electrification, material and power supply technology, installation speed and cost, and deployment for low speed suburban services, meant low voltage, ground level conductor rail electrical supply was the optimum choice.

    Presently, with advances in materials technology, national electrical power distribution systems, cost of materials, cost of energy and demand for fast (powerful) trains, high voltage, overhead conductor wire is the optimum solution.

    There are other advantages and costs – like vulnerability to weather – and safety.

    For on street trams, conductor rail supply will mean something like the LCC trough conduit an plough, big cross section conductor rails (in the conduit), and lots of power supply substations.
    - and horrendous stories of delays when a plough fails and the immobilised tram (held fast by its jammed plough) blocks the line and brings the network to a stand.

    Are there prominent “Danger Overhead High Voltage Cables” in Croydon town centre. Or is it assumed that everyone knows not to drive a high load or climb up onto the roof of a van underneath them?

  64. Anonymous says:

    @Slugabed, 05:07PM, 5th May 2013

    Electrical power is the product of voltage across and current through a load, P = VI.

    At 25kV a nominal 2,500kW load draws only 100A
    At 750V the same load draws 3333A

    So a huge difference in the current with implications on the conductor size required to carry it and therefore its cost. At lower DC voltages, conductor ‘voltage drop’ also becomes much more significant, drastically limiting the maximum possible distance between supply substations for a DC system. This constraint is directly related to the large currents that must flow to power the DC trains, as all conductors no matter how large have an inherent resistance proportional to their length, and the higher the current is the more of the available voltage at supply is lost in the supply and return rails, the worst case being where a train drawing power is at the extremity of the section furthest away from the supply point, where total loop resistance is highest and thus the the voltage available to the train is lowest. Whilst old style resistive control systems might continue to struggle on at reduced output at the extremities of an overstretched supply, the power electronics on modern trains could shut down completely if the available voltage falls below specified limits.

    3rd rail power collection shoes are practically speed limited to around 100MPH. The battle is to maintain consistent contact pressure to allow the massive currents to flow without significant wasteful and damaging arcing, and the dynamic movement of stock at any higher speed would probably make this impossible. There simply isn’t sufficient room at around rail level on bogies to incorporate the kind of sophisticated suspension arrangements employed for rooftop overhead pantograph systems.

    So high voltage OHLE is really the only show in town for heavy haul and high speed operation, and much of the ‘main line’ Southern could easily be placed in this category, especially the freight spines to south coast ports and the continent.

  65. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Seeing as we are getting into physics lessons …

    Not to disagree with anything initially said but …

    Physicists have an annoying but understandable habit of referring to either an absolute term or a change in a value in an equation in the same way and taking it as understood which is actually being referred to. Same way as programmers do the same with “object” and “instance of an object” which they presume is obvious from the context. Unfortunately many physics teachers presume that their pupils somehow intuitively grasp this when it is not at all obvious.

    The above leads to meaningless equations like: E=mc²
    E=mc² only makes sense if you think of it as: (the change of) energy = (change of) mass x speed of light squared.
    So more correctly ought to be written ΔE = (Δm)c² where Δ means “change of”.
    Actually there ought to be a minus sign in there because if mass is destroyed energy is created so ΔE = -Δmc² but physicists are remarkably lax about minus signs. Again you are somehow just expected to know.

    Now with electricity you have voltage and current. The simplistic analogy is flow of water. The pressure may drop as it flows but the volume of water flowing is unaffected. Similarly in in electricity the potential difference (voltage) may drop but the number of electrons travelling is unaltered.

    To be consistent with convention in what follows “I” refers to current (Amperes), W = Watts, V = volts.

    Clearly the current doesn’t “drop”, it is the voltage that drops. So the power loss ΔW = ΔV x I. The resistance is defined as the drop in voltage divided by the current so ΔV/I = R and so ΔV = IR. From the above it can be deduce that ΔW = I²R give or take the usual implied minus sign. The important thing in that equation is the delta. Loss of power = wasted energy = I²R.

    Now if loss of power is proportional to the square of the current and also the resistance it follows that the effective way to reduce power loss is to reduce the current which since W = VI (also true without the deltas) means increasing the voltage. The alternative is to have extremely low resistance by turning your “wires” into thick rails.

    To observe this in a practical way, try running 12V garden lights around a garden with the transformer located next to your house. You will find that the lights will be barely visible. Your 12V Christmas tree lights with the transformer located at the bottom of the tree will work fine.

    Sort of related. In this accident report from as recently as 1961 the inspector refers to the extremely quaint term of “electric pressure” no fewer than five times and just “pressure” but meaning the same thing another five times. It is extremely bad terminology and he seems to equate isolating the power supply as meaning the same as earthing it but with such archaic language one really wonders just what he means.

  66. Lemmo says:

    Remind me, didn’t the RUS note the option of reconfiguring to an Up Up Down Down arrangement for the GWML, which would ease the operation of semi-fast services? A huge undertaking, but still a potential long-term option?

    Thanks Whiff and others. DW, I’ll be in Melbourne. Melbourne Reconnections anybody?

    @ Anon 1.48pm (and others), thanks for the info, we’ll incorporate this into the OOC articles.

    And, fascinating though the monorail discussion is, my comment above stands: RBKC could have its station, but on a four-track alignment. No monorail or light rail required.

  67. Graham Feakins says:

    Pedantic of “Puley”: The use of “electric pressure” by the railway inspector was an accepted term and would have been well understood in the circumstances – it did not matter whether the supply was cut off at e.g. the substation or was earthed. “Pressure” of course referred to the voltage and the point was to reduce that to zero. “Electric pressure” was a term well used by the local London electricity boards in the 1960′s and beyond when referring to the domestic electricity supply voltage.

    [Oops. Name corrected. PoP]

  68. timbeau says:

    An example of the problems of power losses over distance with low voltage systems was the early CSLR operation, where the power station was at Stockwell and the steepest gradient at the other end of the line at King William Street. There were many reports of trains failing to manage the gradient into the station because of the low voltage (and therefore power) available so far from the power station.

    Another example, more recently, was in the BBC2 series “James Mays Toy stories”, which, among other enterprises, tried to reopen the Barnstaple to Bideford railway at OO gauge, electrified at the Hornby Dublo standard 12 volts. Batteries had to be provided at very short intervals to compensate for losses in the rails – eventually they used a mobile battery following behind the train.

  69. 0775john says:

    Fascinating indeed, and call me old-fashioned but all the pictures that I have ever seen of monorails in the “traditional” form have one thing common and that is that they are ugly! A monorail in a low rise city like London (and most still is that) is completely out of scale and dominates the scene. In a modern high rise one they can blend in as the eye has adjusted to the scale and the infrastructure is dwarfed rather than dominant. I know that there are many definitions of monorails but if we are seriously considering using existing communication throroughfares then above is the only space left.
    And concerning the physics tutorials above – very interesting but if you were having trouble understanding the explanation years ago in school – as I was – then to have four kind and wise souls explaining it in their various ways just reinforces how much better it would have been had I paid more attention all those years ago! Somehow PoP confirms what I always thought though – that in some teachers of the sciences the habit of “taking it as understood” by those who did not consigned some who were having trouble grasping things to eternal darkness….

  70. Graham Feakins says:

    josh 10:17AM, 5th May 2013 – “An alternative power source for trams is desperately needed. I was in Manchester last week and all that metal webbing looked terrible. Currently trams solve one problem by creating another.”

    Regretfully, Manchester is a good example of where railway engineers inexperienced in light rail practice collide with what ought to be done. This small clip from Oslo shows an example of good practice within a street environment:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeHocrbg8dg

    Note the almost complete absence of supporting traction wire poles, which has enabled the street furniture to be much reduced, as almost everything is suspended from adjacent buildings and the overhead wires are scarcely noticeable, even if the film quality were to be better.

  71. DW down under says:

    @ Alan G: Indeed, 6tph isn’t the full monty. But Liverpool St isn’t going anywhere, so while CR1 is bedded in, I expect peak only services to start/terminate there for a modest season.

  72. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: you do realise the Las Vegas monorail was an ignominious commercial failure, don’t you? Don’t be misled by the rosy depiction on Wikipedia. The Moscow Monorail was a disaster too. Every time someone comes along and says “there is this fantastic technology just around the corner that will solve all our transport problems”, whether it is PRT, self-driving cars, or monorails, a little scepticism is healthy. It’s too easy to use pie-in-the-sky technological fixes as an excuse not to spend money on improving the transport networks that actually exist. In this case monorail is clearly being used as a political diversion to break the news gently to Kensington and Chelsea.

    @Lemmo: Perhaps there are interesting parallels between the Regional Rail Link project in Melbourne and the mix of long-distance and commuter services on the GWML? Certainly provides an idea of how much work is involved in adding extra tracks to a rail line through a built up area. And speaking of Melbourne, how about overhead wires so attractive that they are heritage listed?

    http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/result_detail/4666

  73. DW down under says:

    @ Stimarco. Wouldn’t want the Japanese structure in any urban environment other than an industrial estate. The artist’s impressions around London left a singularly unfavourable impression on me.

    Have you asked HSE what the rules would be for emergency egress, especially after 2019? After all, there is a reason for JLE, CR1 and DLR tunnels having the emergency escape walkways at substantially increased tunnelling cost. How will the elderly, the one-legged, the walking-frame using passengers, parents with prams, not to mention wheelchair users safely leave the elevated vehicle. Not by rope ladder, my boyo!! And most certainly not abseiling straight into traffic.

    Add to that: how many streets in London have a central median or reservation? The artist’s impressions carefully omit what happens in narrower streets. A straddle structure would be needed, or the tracks mounted on separate beams. That means concrete pylons either in the footpath, reducing pedestrian mobility; or in the road surface reducing either traffic capacity or parking. The defunct Sydney system was largely built with pylons in the street surface.

    If you want to “disappear” such a contraption, face the pylons and beams with a red brick veneer or cut stone veneer, other than in the “all marble, steel and glass tower” country, where a false marble finish would probably blend nicely!

    Yes agreed the suspended system allows for passive tilt – but then again, so does the Talgo system.

  74. DW down under says:

    @ PZT: these direct contact systems have issues with reliability, weather, public exposure to voltages over 100v. Much better for new installation would be the latest systems which use a combination of:

    * induction charging (suited to trams mainly);
    * overhead in places where it is not an issue, and batteries to cover more sensitive area (trams and trolleybuses);
    * charging at fixed points along a route whether by an overhead beam, a 3rd rail or induction (trams, trolleybuses in short guideway sections – the guideway could be physical or electronic) – typically at stops/stations with appropriate protection for the public.

  75. KiburnKid says:

    what about making the turnabout facility at Westbourne Park a station? They are putting in a platform and signalling anyway.

  76. DW down under says:

    @ Stimarco

    The Sydney monorail was designed to connect the Darling Harbour lifestyle and convention/conference/hotel/casino development with the City Centre and Town Hall Station. Yes, it has a limited commuter function (but does carry workers to the various facilities it serves), but does have a serious local transport role. It wasn’t just a tourist ride, like a fairground dangleway. It was transport for tourists, visitors, workers, convention-goers, exhibition attendees, hotel guests, gamblers and curious locals. One problem was its non-incorporation into the mainstream ticketing system (such as it was in Sydney) and consequent relatively high fares.

    The real issue driving closure is that the rolling stock has reached its use by date, and the business case for renewal didn’t stack up.

  77. DW down under says:

    @ Lemmo

    Welcome down under. I’ve PM’d “Lemmo” at DD’s – hope that’s you.

  78. DW down under says:

    @0775 Dear John

    Think of it this way: the more pressure you have, the more you can squirt through a given size of pipe. Low pressure means a blimmen big pipe; high pressure means a smaller (perhaps higher quality) pipe.

    Small pipes take less space and are usually easier to install.

    Voltage is (to use the Inspector’s archaic expression) simply electrical PRESSURE.

    Low pressure drops off more quickly than high pressure. With high pressure, you can go further before needing a pumping station.

    Does that analogy work for you?

  79. Greg Tingey says:

    Graham Feakins
    The absence or presence of “too many BIG POLES” is down to the “elf’n safety” attitudes prevailing.
    The Oslo wires appear to be strung from support-points on buildings.
    There were several cases in both Croydon & M/cr where the safety inspectorate insisted on heavy poles & similar structures – ditto in the undercroft of “piccadilly” station.
    Contrariwise, they are worried about the trams knoocking down support structures, causing collapse, a la Lewisham / Granville.
    You pays your money & you takes your chioce….

  80. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Almost.

    In Piccadilly (that is Piccadilly, Manchester for those unfamiliar) it was indeed the issue of fear that a tram could cause the collapse of the major terminus above if a tram managed somehow to knock out one of the undercroft walls. A pretty unlikely scenario but the consequences would be catastrophic. That’s how H&S works. You consider the risk and then the consequences of the risk. So in a nuclear power station you adopt a slightly different attitude to risk even though the risk is low as opposed to, say, injuring your fingers in the filing cabinet where the risk is high.

    The prevailing thought at Croydon was that in the event of a overhead support failing for whatever reason (not just a tram hitting it), it should not cause a live 750V wire to fall to the ground. There was a fear of a domino effect where the failure of one support would put too much tension on the next support and cause it to fail too. If it were not for the perceived risk of electrocution I am sure we could have had a less visually intrusive like Oslo. Really neat tram and underground (T-Bane) in Oslo by the way.

    Croydon’s ugly tram supports were not just put in to keep it in character with the rest of the town. It was claimed that many potential buildings were not structurally strong enough to be able to take the tension of the support wires. I could certainly believe that is true for properties in Station Road, West Croydon. Unfortunately I doubt that when the buildings get replaced it will be a condition of planning permission that it provides structurally sound anchor points for the overhead wires so I suspect that we will live with the heavy “poles” for ever.

    There was also a typical treasury last minute “the project can go ahead but only if you cut £10 million off the budget” imposition. The foolhardiness of such an approach is now recognised as being extremely harmful in the long term but then it was popular. One of the last minute cost savings was to ditch the equally strong but more slender round poles planned for the town centre and replace them with the less-aesthetically-pleasing off-the-shelf I-beams placed vertically.

  81. Anonymous says:

    At the risk of getting too pedantic:

    Physicists are ruthlessly consistent – they have to be or the maths does not work, and in physics, if the maths does not work, the physics do not work either.

    Energy really does equal mass times the square of the speed of light.

    It is not necessary to confuse volume with change of volume, or even rate of change of volume.

    If I have ten pounds in my pocket and beer cost four pounds a pint, then my four pounds will buy two and a half pints of beer. I do not need to consider that when I exchange my ten pounds the vendor’s beer stock is reduced (destroyed) by two and a half pints.

    Cost = unit price * quantity or my ten pounds is equal to two and a half pints of beer.

    I do not need to consider my lack of sobriety represents a decrease in vendor’s beer stock.

    The energy loss in a conductor is a function of current and resistance. One person running through treacle will expend energy dependent on the viscosity of the treacle (resistance). Increase the number of people running (current) and the total energy expended increases. (Don’t worry about the speed – for the analogy every one runs at the same speed, like electricity does)

    Quantitatively, a watt is the amount of energy required to raise one coulomb of electricity by one volt of potential.

    And one ampere is the current caused by one coulomb of electricity flowing in one second.

    A coulomb of electricity is approximately 6.2415 x10^18 electrons and, because Mr Franklin had fixed what was negative and positive electricity, when physicists discovered what caused what is perceived as electricity, electrons are deemed to carry a negative charge. Physicists really do take sign conventions seriously.

    Current is a function of the potential difference between the supply source and destination and resistance. All components in a circuit contribute to its total resistance.

    Getting work out of a component in an electrical circuit is effected by getting coulombs to fall from a high potential to a low potential. This is measured in watts as the product of current in amperes (coulombs per second) times potential difference in volts between input and output.

    Getting work out of the transmission wires is inefficient – a loss.

    Remember that in the electrical circuit of a railway train, there is a machine working just as hard as the train raising the electrical potential of coulombs.

    Work done by train = work done by electricity current generator – energy lost in electrical energy transmission system.

    The voltage in a circuit can be transformed with electrical transformer machines. This means you can adjust the voltage to minimise loss commensurate with safety and practicality as appropriate.
    Alternating current induction transformers can do this with close to 100% efficiency, but they do warm up due hysteresis loss. Direct current transformers are a bit more difficult and inefficient. This was traditionally done with rotary converters – the City and South London railway used to have the converters from traction to lighting and lift motor voltage in the bottom of the lift shafts, and lights that dimmed as the train started to move from the station.

    Returning to the energy loss in a component, this is minimised if you reduce the number of coulombs (electrons) flowing through the component, or minimise its electrical resistance.
    Minimising current flow whilst achieving a desired work rate requires the potential difference between the supply and destination to be increased.
    Minimising electrical resistance is achieved with superconductors, good conducting materials and large cross section conductors.
    This applies to all components in the circuit, the dynamo, supply wires, control system and the train motors.

    Therefore, a conductor rail made out of steel, limited to low supply voltage due safety and practicality, is not a good idea unless you have lots of electrical transformation stations along the track to supply electricity to the conductor rail. These can be supplied efficiently with high voltage alternating current. When the trains are supplied with direct current, the electrical transformation stations have to change voltage and rectify from alternating current.
    Good conducting cables (copper with a big cross section) carrying electricity at the conductor rail voltage can be run alongside the track to reduce the number of transformation stations but risks attracting the attention of metal thieves.
    An aluminium conductor rail has a lower resistance than steel, but may increase theft too.

    Also, there are other practical problems with a conductor rail supply as have been enumerated and described.

    Now, if you are still paying attention at the back, have a look at an alternating current transmission line. You will notice that the conductors come in multiples of three. This is because coulombs are delivered in three supplies that alternate two thirds Pi out of phase with each other, but how do the electrons get back to the electrical current generators?

    And why do electric motors not get really, really hot when they have lots of coulombs falling through big potential differences flowing through them?

  82. Tim says:

    My understanding is that CR will only open in stages with nothing west of Padd for nearly if not a year after public service begins in the core. I believe this links to building in reliability into the system but also that the signalling on the GWML will not be adequate by the initial opening and a year or so after. This combined with testing and bedding in the signalling on GWML and CR1 itself creates the situation of all trains initially terminating at Padd with those from the east sub surface and as present from the west on the surface platforms.

    The reason as touched on early for OHLE over DC is that services can operate faster, greater efficiencies as less energy is lost due to heat, more spacing between substations, less energy lost in transmission and there a lot more reliable in winter weather as evidenced for almost a few weeks or more every year in the UK by the DC lines being suspended/services limited due to lack of traction current and in autumn with the grease created by the leaves falling reduces the resistance for braking but adds a film thus reducing the power available to the DC train, whilst the OHLE does not have either of these problems. I am not 100% on this but am sure I read somewhere that OHLE trains can accelerate/decelerate quicker than their DC equivalents. As can be seen by the DC extension to Weymouth the number of trains that can be operated are limited by the power capacity and whilst OHLE and DC will both have maximum levels of usage I have not heard this happen on any OHLE line.
    Regarding OHLE to Gravesend were the networkers built with passive provision for pantographs like recent builds? However, I would agree with Stimarco @ 6.36 5/5 that if the DC to OHLE conversion goes well then first for conversion shall be the rest of SWML, infill of connecting braches that go to Waterloo, BML and then services emanating from Victoria then working its way next to southern services from London Bridge. I can see the lines to Dartford being amongst the last to convert due to the low operating speeds so they’ll only be converted as I think I read somewhere when the DC is life expired. Which I believe is the case for part, if not all of what is being converted on the SWML.

    Also I agree that it is highly likely that if not when CR1 opens it will go to Reading it will be not to long after that he shall. However, as discussed here and other places how much demand there will actually be, without a price difference, taking people of a 25-30 mins journey to Padd then change to CR1/tube and onto a 60ish mins equivalent on CR1 I don’t know.

  83. Anonymous says:

    I shall drown, no one will save me.

    I will drown, no one shall save me.

    One statement is an intention to commit suicide by drowning, the other a desparate plea for help from someone drowning.

  84. timbeau says:

    OHLE and DC are of course not mutually exclusive – as seen on most tram systems. Outside the modelling environment, I do not know of any ac systems using live rails though!

    OHLE has its own weather-related problems of course, usually caused by high winds.

  85. Tim says:

    I believe that the ECML is affected the most by high winds due to the wisdom of HMT decreeing cost savings during electrification which resulted in the spacing between the stanchions being increased and now these gaps having to be narrowed. Whilst the WCML, where the spacing is closer, does not have this issue as frequently. However, the delays caused by high winds to OHLE compared to ice/snow on DC lines is significantly less. Bar the conversion cost I see no reason not to convert all the DC lines to OHLE promptly. However, due to the costs it will take many decades for this to be complete.

  86. stimarco says:

    That ‘life expiry’ point is a valid one: if memory serves, much of Kent’s 3rd rail network had to be upgraded relatively recently to allow for the newer, more power-hungry trains then being introduced.

    I believe similar upgrades were needed on the BML corridor, but the SWML didn’t need quite so much work done. This means the Sussex, Surrey and Kent routes have electrification equipment that isn’t due for renewal or major overhauls again for some time.

    If memory serves, the SWML’s electrification beyond Alton wasn’t completed until 1967, while the final stretch to Weymouth was electrified as recently as 1988. This means, aside from that Bournemouth–Weymouth part, much of it is due for renewal pretty much now-ish, while the North Kent routes don’t need one just yet. So the SWML is, frankly, a no-brainer as a candidate for this experiment. If it’s successful, the SWML will look like the GWML in short order, with lots of lovely new knitting.

    Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s a great big substation / distribution point just outside Dartford (at the first junction west of the station; you can’t miss it). This has a direct, high-voltage cable connection to the even bigger distribution centre at Lewisham, which gives you an idea of the sheer scale of the electrical infrastructure involved here. It’s not just a matter of unplugging some wires and ripping up the conductor rails. Consider that there are three other lines approaching Dartford, with CR1′s route being a brand new line (most likely using OHLE) nailed on. Beyond Dartford, many services from London continue on to the Medway Towns and beyond. All using 3rd rail. So you don’t gain anything by adding OHLE only as far as Gravesend from Dartford as you’ll still need to retain that 3rd rail too, for the other services.

    If switching from OHLE to 3rd rail once in each direction is considered a reliability issue (which is weird because nobody’s claiming this about Thameslink), then having to do so twice in a distance of under 5 miles would be even worse. CR1′s TOC might be okay with that, but Southeastern would be livid.

  87. lmm says:

    Switchover certainly is a reliability issue for Thameslink, and they’re going to some lengths to make sure that a train that fails switchover in either direction can be taken out of service into the Smithfield sidings. It’s just that there’s no realistic option for avoiding it entirely.

  88. stimarco says:

    As trains can, and do, fail for any number of reasons, that one, specific, failure condition does not appear to be a serious enough problem to produce calls for (re-)installation of OHLE all the way down to Brighton by FCC. Although it seems that may be distinct possibility in the future.

    But even if it is a major contributing factor in Thameslink’s reliability statistics, then that hardly helps the case for requiring all non-CR1 services to perform such a switchover not once, but twice within five miles, in each direction, does it? So my point still stands.

  89. stimarco says:

    @DW Down Under, et al:

    Re. “Monorails”.

    There is a lot of confusion as to what is meant by that term. Most “monorails” are nothing of the sort. (Even MagLev systems get lumped under the term, which is just moronic.) I prefer “modular guideway technologies” as that’s a more accurate term for the range of technologies available. And that’s the key: it’s a range of technologies, not just one. In fact, only the Wuppertal Schwebebahn and the Ballybunion & Listowel systems are technically “monorails” – and even the latter is pushing it as it used two additional ‘guide’ rails to stop it wobbling too much.

    The “Monometro” link I gave actually links to a system based on a 12″ narrow gauge railway from which the rolling stock is suspended (thus its switches are based on traditional railway switches, for example.)

    It seems I was a little out-of-date with my LV Monorail extension date: it was done in 2004. Whatever its managerial faults, the system is clearly popular given the length and number of passengers, and I’ve not seen anything that suggests it’s likely to be torn down.

    And one final correction: the two links to suspended monorails in Japan use the SAFEGE technology, which was invented in the 1960s… in France. You can see the prototype line in Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451″.

    *

    Now, I agree that London has some narrow streets, but (a) trams wouldn’t fare any better down those either, and (b) why would you build down such streets anyway? You’d go where the most demand is, not down backwater residential roads.

    One advantage of London’s low-rise cityscape is that you could easily send the route over some buildings. For example, the line could simply run above a typical supermarket and car park, with a suitable station linking to the supermarket below.

    Tower blocks – even low-rise ones – are typically surrounded by empty space to allow some light in. A tram couldn’t use that space as it’d take up too much of it, or blot out the sun if a raised trackbed is used, but a suspended Monometro-style system could use that space by coming in high enough to remain out of reach. (Before anyone points out the obvious privacy issue, two words: polarised films. Attach one set to the property’s windows; attach the other set, rotated 90º to the train windows. Job done. And the kids still get to play on the lawn.)

    But there are enough industrial / light commercial areas, open spaces and parks, particularly in south London, that routing isn’t a problem – and certainly no worse than would be the case for trams, whether they use OHLE, induction, or flywheels.

    The Old Kent Road is a particularly suitable candidate, for example. (Another possible route is the A202 route via Peckham and Camberwell to Vauxhall and onwards to Victoria — currently covered by the 36 / 36B bus routes.)

    Finally, a suspended guideway system can do one-way sections just like anything else. There’s no need for ‘stacking’ if you don’t like it. But I’m rambling.

    Frankly, I’m well aware that there are obvious problems with choosing one of the range of technologies typically lumped under the misleading “monorail” term, not the least of which is the lack of standards. That Monometro suspended 12″ narrow gauge railway option is proprietary, as are most other systems. For some reason, the Asian markets don’t seem to mind this as much as the West does, and the Japanese have made a mint out of selling straddle-beam monorail systems.

    I’m (obviously) with the Asians on this: if you’re going to be paying the likes of Bombardier for 20+ years to build and maintain your leased rolling stock, it’s hardly a great stretch to ask them to maintain the infrastructure they run on as well. After all, they’ll have the best understanding of how their trains will be interfacing with it.

    Patents don’t tend to last for more than 20 years in any case, and that’s a lot less than the full working life of a typical train.

    I really do need to get out more.

  90. Greg T ingey says:

    sitmarco
    London has some narrow streets, but (a) trams wouldn’t fare any better down those either,
    WRONG
    Antwerp has metre-gauge trams running (sinlge-line as loops) running down narrlow medieaval streets!

  91. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: Here’s an alternative view on the success of the Las Vegas monorail:

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/las-vegas-monorail-ridership-continues-fall

    Ridership down 12.8% year on year. They originally predicted 19 million passengers a year.

    “There are enough industrial / light commercial areas, open spaces and parks, particularly in south London, that routing isn’t a problem”: that’s what they said about the Ringways, too.

  92. Whiff says:

    Someone earlier suggested that Sir Merrick’s passing mention of a monorail was more of a political smokescreen than a serious proposition; judging by this comment thread it has been a successful diversionary tactic!

    For what it’s worth my main experience of elevated railways, though not a monorail, is Bangkok’s skytrain. It works well because Bangkok has lots of tall buildings, so the railway is not an eyesore, and lots of wide roads. Unfortunately London has neither of those so it’s hard to see how an elevated railway could be successful.

  93. DW down under says:

    @ Tim

    I disagree your suggested priorities for OHLE in Southern DC country. The whole exercise is predicated upon the need to replace existing power supplies. This need can be triggered by heavier or faster trains needing more current, or by the existing infrastructure reaching its use-by date. I have previously suggested that the highest priorities will be to avoid replacing DC electrification infrastructure with new DC gear.

    Your’s is an operator-oriented viewpoint. NR is the sponsor of the OHLE exercise. Their viewpoint is long-term (life-) cost of operation. If a TOC were to sponsor OHLE in order to speed up train services, or increase service frequency (with support from DfT of course), then a different order of priorities would apply to the area they had specified.

  94. Graham Feakins says:

    lmm and stimarco and others are right in highlighting the potential Thameslink changeover problems, both between AC & DC traction but also between ATO and driver-operated trains.

    At 24 tph per direction through the Thameslink core, there will be 48 tph trains changing power supplies within the ATO area – OK this is achieved with the lesser service today without the hindrance of ATO, whereas there will be 96 tph trains changing between ATO and non-ATO at the ATO boundaries a little further out. I have not deduced how many times a train will need reliably to cope with these changes in daily service. However, just supposing that each train is of 12 cars (which it won’t be, however, because of the Wimbledon and Bromley route services), each comprising three units of four cars, that’s a maximum of 144 individual train units needing to cope per hour with the AC/DC changeover and, presumably, 288 with ATO control through the multiple-unit system. I stress that it is the maximum but it makes the point.

    Although I am somewhat unpopular with those who promote ATO through the Thameslink core, I have seen nothing yet to convince me that it is necessary over a route with just four/five closely-spaced stations and speed limits ranging between 15 mph and 45 mph and all that running 4/8/12-car trains. ATO is fine for end-to-end lines like the Underground, where a train has few daily ‘encounters’ with booting up for ATO and no voltage changeovers but to stick this system in the core of an important route, just for a couple of miles with all the rest of the Thameslink trains running ‘normally’ down to the South Coast, northwards etc. seems like asking for reliability troubles.

    To obtain a reliable 2½-minute frequency in each direction through the core is going to rely far more on the unreliable time spent in public boarding and alighting from trains (not able to be designed for the purpose) at the core stations, rather than getting the trains moving and catching up with the one in front. ‘Normal’ train drivers used to be able to cope with that.

  95. Graham Feakins says:

    stimarco – Patents diversion: Yes patents have a normal maximum life of 20 years but the idea is to invent something else as an improvement or to meet a new challenge, thus meriting a fresh patent. Thus, a major supplier of rail fastening clips – Pandrol – has constantly improved on its original patented design and thus to the benefit of all has remained in the field with several patents over the years. There are not many new patents in the ‘monorail’ field simply because there is not far for the technology to progress – and it remains ugly.

  96. Greg Tingey says:

    Given the service densities up/down the Northernmost pair of tracks on Bethnal Green bank, & also beyween “Piccadilly” (London Road) & Deansgate in Manchester, can someone explain why is ATO regarded as so essential? Especially given that tpws will be fitted, anyway?

  97. Ian J says:

    Re: ATO: the post on the Northern Line implies that Northern Line trains are currently switching between ATO and manual operation many times an hour somewhere near West Finchley without any major dramas. Also, don’t forget that as well as the current Thameslink changeover, FCC’s Moorgate trains also manage it at Finsbury Park without any issues. London Overground switch from AC to DC on the North London Line too, and in fact used to do it twice on every journey. The Paris RER has AC/DC changeovers in very intensive services too. Enthusiasts do sometimes seem to make a great deal out of imagined technical problems but it would be interesting to know what the professionals working on the scheme see the real risks and issues as being: I seriously doubt they are the same.

    Similarly, I think some people are reading way too much into a small DfT-driven pilot scheme intended mainly to allow AC freight locomotives to get to Southampton and taking it as evidence that 3rd rail is doomed. It makes me want to paraphrase a Network Rail executive (who was speaking about mechanical signalling): there are people not yet born who will retire after spending a long and fulfilling career working on third rail railway equipment.

  98. ngh says:

    Electrification and potential switch from 3rd rail to OHLE upon renewal or supply upgrade/enhancement.

    Electrical installations such as the 3rd rail substations are usually assumed to have an equipment lifespan of 50 years.

    3rd rail electrical installations: Older installations typically contain the electrical equipment inside large brick structures (which can be difficult to replace or service equipment in), newer installations are smaller modular stainless steel containers than can easily be moved during their service life.

    Where upgrades on existing older supplies have been done (for new more power hungry rolling stock (375, 376, 377, 450, 444, 458), longer trains or more services) they have been a mix of additions to existing brick structures (e.g. Wandsworth Common) or additional factory made stainless steel units (e.g. Clapham Junction [new capacity in addition to exiting older brick substations] or Gipsy Hill [completely new substation]).

    This means that when a line is converted to OHLE upon 50 year renewal of the older equipment, a certain amount of the more recently added electrical equipment (that might have another 30 years working life left at the time) will be able to be reused elsewhere to reduce the renewal cost of the DC power supplies on other lines and thus keep 3rd rail going on certain part of the network for much longer. Hence Ian J’s paraphrasing is indeed justified as 3rd rail will still be around when electricians who have yet to start work have retired.
    Reusing existing equipment only works for while before certain places require total renewal with new equipment is required but extensive reuse pushes that beyond the point when 3rd rail only capable units will have retired or are about to (442, 455, 456, 465, 466).

    Recovery of certain items for reuse elsewhere will probably have been factored into the reduced cost of early OHLE conversions say SWML and the BML south of Croydon.

  99. Milton Clevedon says:

    A significant amount of bridge re-engineering is underway on the Basingstoke-Salisbury line, nominally to accommodate W10 gauge freight trains on diversion from Southampton via Laverstock, but looks eminently OK for OHLE also.

    If the primary reason for getting OHLE to Southampton is for AC freight engines, then why not route them this way in the first instance? Or would future 24/7 objectives require both routes to be wired?

    Neither would I rush to assume that Weymouth-Waterloo whizzers would stick their pantos up at So’ton and down at Bas. West of England could be a more varied test-bed, define your train that goes DC/AC/diesel – or would it bother and just stay diesel all the way?! (Certainly though you could have a dual electric service for intermediate stops Waterloo to Salisbury, but I don’t think that’s muh of a test-bed).

  100. Tim says:

    The Kent RUS on pages 11 and 203 (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/rus%20documents/route%20utilisation%20strategies/kent/kent%20rus.pdf) notes that if CR1 did go to Gravesend the rolling stock would have to be dual voltage as TL as ‘overhead electrification of the North Kent line would only be possible at prohibitive cost’. Therefore in my view, unless the situation has changed as costs have fallen since publication’, then CR1 shall not go to Gravesend until any line that a train takes that would use this route is converted to OHLE. Meaning that OHLE would in effect need to go to from Deptford to Gillingham and beyond maybe Blackheath to cover the North Kent line or routes changed and as seen with the TL loop service debacle it won’t be easy.

    The inadequate power supply infrastructure on the SWML between Bournemouth to Weymouth is confirmed here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-18874000 as even for the Olympics they did not upgrade it sufficiently, due to the planned conversion to OHLE. As discussed above SWML is the prime candidate to a full conversion, as it will minimise transfers from DC to OHLE and to provide adequate infrastructure for current and anticipated demand on the SWML. The conversion of SWML and its associated branches will take such time and cost that it will go past CP6 and I’d say to at least CP7. I can also envisage that some current lines be converted from diesel to DC rather than OHLE eg: Uckfield, North Downs lines as it will fit the infrastructure and TOC needs best. The NR electrification plans seemingly anticipate conversion of diesel to DC, diesel to HOLE and DC to OHLE to be taking place till 2040, if not beyond. I also found it interesting that the BCR on GOBLIN upgrade to OHLE was very good yet it seems politics is getting in the way of doing this despite it making economic and engineering sense.

  101. ChrisMitch says:

    I find it difficult to imagine the funding justification for EVER converting the whole of the SWML (or any other extensive 3rd rail network) to be converted to OHLE.
    The 2 systems would have to exist in parallel until ALL the rolling stock had been converted or replaced – this would be even more expensive than initial conversion of a diesel line to OHLE, as at least diesel trains can keep running on an OHLE line as an interim measure.

    Has anyone worked out how long it would take to re-electrify all lines out of Waterloo?
    Presumably some subset of the lines would be converted for CR2, or a thameslink-style switchover solution could be used.

  102. Lemmo says:

    @ Graham Feakins

    To obtain a reliable 2½-minute frequency in each direction through the core is going to rely far more on the unreliable time spent in public boarding and alighting from trains…

    Indeed, that’s why we’ve spent so much time looking at the design of Blackfriars and Farringdon. Opportunities to provide two platform faces on each Thamelink line here have not been taken, and the proposal to provide this at St Pancras was binned by DfT.

    The end result may be that, for all the fanfare of a new high capacity cross-city line, Thameslink train frequency may be limited by dwell times due to insufficient platform capacity.

  103. timbeau says:

    @Chrismitch
    “Has anyone worked out how long it would take to re-electrify all lines out of Waterloo?”

    The Southern converted the entire ex-LBSCR ac system (which extended to Coulsdon and Sutton, and included two London termini) to third rail in three years .

    “The 2 systems would have to exist in parallel until ALL the rolling stock had been converted or replaced ”
    The majority of electric units now in operation in the UK are capable of, or readily convertible to, dual-mode operation.

  104. ChrisMitch says:

    Conversion to OHLE will still cost a HUGE amount of money though.
    Is it better to spend a limited budget on conversion of existing lines, or digging new tunnels….?

  105. Greg Tingey says:

    Chris Mitch
    BUT
    If the existing equipment, both mobile & static is wearing out (as it does) …
    Sooner or later, it needs replacing, which is going to be expensive, anyway.
    If you swittch to the 25kV OH system AT THAT POINT the capital cost is not going to be significantly greater … especially when the lower running & operating costs (see previous discussion) of the higher-voltage system is taken into account.
    Or could you not see that equation, so to speak?

  106. stimarco says:

    “sitmarco
    London has some narrow streets, but (a) trams wouldn’t fare any better down those either,
    WRONG
    Antwerp has metre-gauge trams running (sinlge-line as loops) running down narrlow medieaval streets!”

    And a 12″ narrow-gauge railway would be unable to do exactly the same thing because…?

    I never said trams couldn’t go down narrow streets, but if a tram can indeed fit down a particular street, so can a 12″ suspended narrow gauge railway.

    (Also, I don’t think the Croydon Tramlink network uses metre-gauge trams. I may be wrong though. The ride certainly felt bouncy enough.)

  107. Anonymous says:

    Croydon’s trams are standard gauge – as indeed are those in Ghent which also thread some historic streets.

    The gauge is immaterial. I don’t doubt that a suspended railway, whether metre, standard, 12 inch, Brunel, or Z gauge, can fit down such a street, but it has to be suspended FROM something, and that “something” has to be substantial enough to support the weight of the trams.
    Far better surely to have the weight supported by the ground, so that only the contact wire is suspended, supporting nothing but its own weight.

  108. Slugabed says:

    Greg 07:42 8/05
    In a perfect world what you are saying would be true….but on the Southern,renowned for its complex layout and having been built on the cheap,and with many routes that are never used for freight,the number of bridges,tunnels and viaducts that would need to be altered simply to fit the wires in,would make OHLE enormously expensive….an extra cost that would not be incurred if the 3rd-rail infrastructure were simply being renewed.
    On this topic….and a hobby-horse of mine….when are we finally going to produce an electric train that does the same job but uses LESS current than the stock it replaces….what with the world going to hell in several handcarts all at once…..?

  109. ngh says:

    Re ChrisMitch 10:04PM, 7th May 2013

    The RSSB put the BCR for almost total 3rd rail to OHLE conversion (excluding bits such as the Thames Tunnel for ELL) at 2.04. (This includes replacing equipment before it is life expired!) It also assumes replacing 300km of single track electrification on the whole system a year after the initial test project (i.e. the electric spine work). If electrification is also aligned with plans for rolling stock renewal/casdade, signalling equipment renewal the costs will drop further as passive provision can be made in the interim.

    OHLE electrification requires significantly less substation and control infrastructure than 3rd rail both in terms of quantity and cost so as Greg points out if you go for OHLE at equipment renewal it would probably pay for half the masts as well.

    As an example from the RSSB work (http://www.rssb.co.uk/sitecollectiondocuments/pdf/reports/research/T950_rpt_final.pdf) the ~63km from East Croydon to Preston Park (Brighton) currently has 30 DC substations (avg. spacing 2.1 km) [this is before any future DC supply upgrades needed.] With a 25kv autotransformer set up there would be 1 main substation and 6 local feeder stations (half of which would be there just to allow maximum use of regenerative braking).

  110. Fandroid says:

    @Slugabed. Something is being done to reduce energy use by EMUs. The Class 455 modifications will make them more efficient and capable of regenerative braking. Any replacement of old DC EMUs with ones fitted with AC drives should reduce like for like energy consumption.

  111. ngh says:

    Re Android and Slugabed

    Bombardier and Siemens latest EMU designs (still stuck on the drawing board) are less power hungry than the current 377s/450s for the same performance largely achieved through vehicle weight reduction.

    Regenerative braking will reduce the net power consumption at which point we get into definition semantics.

  112. Mark Townend says:

    @Greg Tingey, 07:42AM, 8th May 2013

    Very good points about renewals. Also the high sustained power requirement of heavy freight and continuous high speed passenger running favours 25kV, making all of the main lines projecting outside the M25 leading candidates for conversion. In comparison start/stop urban and branch operations at moderate speeds have only very short high peak current requirements as each train starts and accelerates, balanced by much coasting, and frequent braking that might be captured using regeneration. The suburban maze of lines in south London also has many hundreds of overbridges and other structures that could require expensive and disruptive modification to accommodate OHLE, so a mixed system where the main lines are converted to 25kV with substantial groups of inner suburban branches and perhaps the terminal approaches remaining at 750V could become a realistic permanent solution.

    So which main lines? Brighton and its associated south coast routes would be fairly low priority, with little freight. SWML is definitely the rational first choice in connection with the electric spine concept to the Midlands and North, allowing electrification of the substantial and growing freight flows to and from the ports; on that line without significant upgrade the existing DC capacity wouldn’t allow electric haulage even with DC capable dual voltage electric locos. A route through south London and on to the channel tunnel should be a priority too, allowing through running of 25kV freights between the WCML and continent, once channel tunnel approved euro standard locos are available adapted to the UK loading gauge.

    Electric freight should be faster, in particular accelerating away from stops and up long gradients. Puny diesels often eat up paths disproportionately on mixed traffic railways, so a freight speed-up could also open up new capacity for expanded or accelerated passenger services. Siemens UK Desiro trains are readily adaptable to dual voltage, and AC variants on London Midland are or are about to start running at 110 MPH, so that speed might be possible west of Basingstoke too.

  113. Anonymous says:

    Not got a lot of time, but some comments that might bear looking out for:

    - I believe there is a plan to relocate Rochester station slightly Westwards. It would be interesting to see the plans…
    - I have seen something where people claim Dartford station is a disaster waiting to happen. I believe they think the North side retaining wall might collapse… Not really seen anything from Network Rail on this though…
    - Why isn’t Crossrail going to Greenford?
    - Another hazard for OHLE is freezing rain. In the Netherlands trains are parked with the pantographs up in winter when rain or snow are forecast. You can imagine what happened when the forecasters got it wrong and a size-able proportion of the trains could not make contact with the wires…

  114. Anonymous says:

    I can’t help thinking SWT may have missed a trick in re-equipping the 455s with 3 phase drives (calling them ac drives is a mite confusing as they will still take power from a dc supply – indeed I understand even an ac-supplied train with ac motors needs to rectify it to dc before converting to the variable freqiuency needed for the motors)

    SWT is also planning to go to 10-car trains as soon as possible, but is hobbled by the low number of 2-car sets available. 91 class 455s means 45 8-car trains, (and a spare unit, now 5913 has been mended). But there are only 24 class 456s , meaning that, at most, only just over half the 455/456 fleet can be ten-car.

    Could the 455s not have been re-equipped with more powerful motors, enabling a second trailer to be slotted in to each unit? I understand there are thirteen redundant 508s knocking around. That’s thirteen trailers already and, potentially (if they can be converted readily) another 26 from the motor coaches. (Or we can wait until the entire merseyrail 507/508 fleet (59 sets) is replaced in a few years time)

  115. Anonymous says:

    “- Why isn’t Crossrail going to Greenford”

    Have you seen the length of the platforms on the Greenford branch?

  116. JM says:

    @Anonymous @7.02PM on 3rd May

    Have TFL released any information on the the Overground route you’re speaking about?

    AFAIK Terry Farrell/Park Royal City is just ‘A’ plan rather than ‘THE’ plan.

    I understand the reasons for not doing it (get the thing built) but I actually think a station for ‘Kensal’ is a good idea. It brings direct rail access to the west End and further for many people around North Kensington, Harrow Rd and Trellick Tower areas. Given the amount of stations in the east, I don’t think it’s too much of an imposition to the rest of the line westwards, especially as a lot of the routes are likely to be skip stop anyway.

    In fact there are probably other sites where stations would be useful too. You could probably run a full service to Hanwell with a southern entrance/exit. Stockley Park would be another area, not only for the businesses based there but also from the area of Hillingdon around Brunel/Colham Green/Pield Heath.

    Re the Maidenhead sidings thing, can someone advise what it is being built to the north west of the track at Reading. Last time I came through it ‘looked’ like electrified sidings were being built here too.

    Very happy if the service splits and goes north west to Watford although once you past there, you would be giving London Midland customers slower trains.

    For a new/another Crossrail depot, you have arguably space to the north of Acton Main Line and east of Southall, probably more I can’t remember off the top of my head

  117. ngh says:

    This recent IMechE lecture (Nov 2012) is worth looking at for those interested in DC to AC conversion and the economics thereof.

    http://www.imeche.org/docs/default-source/events/Sir_Seymour_Biscoe_Tritton_Lecture-_DC_to_AC_Conversion_by_Steve_Yianni.pdf?sfvrsn=0

    (It contains lots of extracts from otherwise non public NR documents.)

  118. Anonymous says:

    @ngh

    Spot the irrelevant statistic in that report

    “1955 BTC report concluded 25 kV ac OLE was more economic than 1.5kV dc OLE for new electrifications schemes”

    The data is nearly sixty years out of date, is concerned with new build rather than conversion, and no-one was talking about dc OLE anyway.

  119. ngh says:

    re Anonymous 01:00PM, 8th May 2013

    Indeed but I think that is there to prove that 25KV AC being the best option isn’t new.
    At the time (1955) DC OHLE electrification was relevant given that was the way than several routes had been electrified in the preceding 20 years using 1.5KV DC and the BTC was suggesting a change away from the default situation and technology at the time, in the same way the RSSB and NR now are today with 3rd rail to OHLE conversion.

  120. Kit Green says:

    May I suggest terminating Crossrail trains at High Wycombe? (Obviously via Bourne End!)

  121. JamesBass says:

    @MarkTownend

    I agree that the focus should be on main lines and freight routes for short- to medium-term OHLE conversion. The one thing I’d say is that the route for freight to the Channel Tunnel should be very decidedly Reading -> Guildford -> Redhill (new viaduct) -> Tonbridge -> Ashford. Yes this route would need a lot of work to operate as the main freight route from the Tunnel to the Midlands and the North, but it has to be worth using this route rather than sharing lines with the Overground and other inner suburban services in South and West London, as well as interfering with the approaches of multiple London termini. Upgrading this line could also improve passenger services, rather than being detrimental to them as they seem to be within London. For example, improved services from places like Guildford, Dorking & Tonbridge (or even further along the network to places like Maidstone, Woking, Medway & Reading, or even the broader cross-country network again) to Gatwick and Brighton could be a real boon. All that’s without going into the frequency increases to be had for passenger services on the West London Line and other inner suburban services.

  122. Mark Townend says:

    @Anonymous, 12:05PM, 8th May 2013

    Rochester

    No great detail on the web beyond the approximate location (Commercial Street car park) and that it will feature 3 platforms capable of handling 12 car trains. There will be new or improved pedestrian links to both the town and the various developments to the north of the line. This is the most detailed online report I’ve found so far:

    http://www.railexpress.co.uk/news/nr-reveals-new-rochester-station-plans

    The old station layout is very constrained at both ends, constructed on an embankment and surrounded by road underbridges that prevent any significant platform lengthening. The resignalling work underway also demands a revision of the existing substandard signal ‘standback ‘ distances and overrun arrangements. Whilst 12 car trains could probably call there with SDO provision, they would foul junctions and block other movements. Clearly terminating 12 cars there to reverse would thus be impossible.

    @JM, 12:40PM, 8th May 2013

    Reading

    There is a new depot being constructed at Reading which will be used by a new GW suburban electric fleet once wider electrification is complete. I understand the electric infrastructure is being put in place at construction, well in advance of its actual use, so as to avoid future disruption. I expect the existing Turbo diesel units will move into the new depot soon, allowing the old depot facilities to be scaled down ready for construction of the grade separated junctions that are planned to the west of the station.

  123. Anonymous says:

    Quiz – it is a mercury-arc rectifier – nasty!

  124. Tim says:

    Could the former Eurostar depot at North Pole be used for either GW or CR1 either with a dive under/viaduct or using WLL if space is at such a premium around OOC? Regardless are there any plans for the site or will it continue in its current state?

    @ Mark Townsend is correct re the depot from the centre of the triangle west of Reading station is being moved north of the tracks to allow the dive under route for the Basingstoke/Newbury line to pass through the current site. NR has remarked in publicity this will give workers a good view of the Reading festival from the new site.

    @ JamesBass this would make TOC sense for many operators, especially LO, with the additional paths available for passenger services. However, this would mean the Windsor line stock would need to be dual voltage as the Line to Wokingham at around 10 miles would surely be too long to be DC and OHLE. Thus an increasing number of SWT stock would need upgrading and as SWT are currently upgrading the rolling stock on the Windsor lines it is unlikely they’d be keen to upgrade them again so quickly, even though I believe this class has passive provision for a pantograph. From just south of North Camp DC is installed to Guildford so again more stock needing conversion. There may be an issue with Guildford being OHLE and DC however, as it is a short length then as with TL one may be ok with it. Then beyond Reigate you would need to convert some Southern stock to be dual voltage as again this would surely be too long for a dual voltage section to Redhill, let alone Tonbridge. Also as around half the passenger services stop regularly then the speed increases would not be significant enough to bring the BCR enough to green light it. For these reasons I can see this being a line that if electrified would be DC initially due to the initial costs of the infrastructure and the rolling stock unless the freight industry or LO, being desperate for more path, funded it. As even if the equipment became life expired at a convenient time the BCR would still be so low surely to mean other routes would be prioritised over this.

  125. JamesBass says:

    @Tim
    Because of all the bridges that would need to be sorted out on the North Downs line to allow W10 loading gauge clearance, I would absolutely anticipate the scheme being driven forward by FOCs and LO/TfL, rather than by the TOCs.

    I knew about the Redhill -> Tonbridge -> Ashford bit being DC, but had forgotten about the bit past Wokingham. Given the current frequencies on the line there, would one line bi-directional DC and one line bi-directional AC be sufficient until it’s time for the Windsor lines to be converted? Probably not. No idea about the SWT services through Ash. Maybe DC in the short term and OHLE in the long term would be better.

    Dual voltage track through Guildford and for Southern trains to access Reigate should be ok, or some grade separation with an extra tunnel needed south of Guildford to avoid conflicting with the mainline to Portsmouth.

    You’re right about the section Redhill -> Tonbridge -> Ashford; it would require dual voltage trains in the medium term until it were time to convert the Brighton and Tonbridge mainlines. From what I’ve read from articles and comments here, dual voltage EMUs are much easier to come by than dual voltage freight locos.

  126. Tim says:

    @JamesBass
    We all do that. At one point I believe NSE did propose DC for the whole line, I think as you suggested, to be used by freight from channel tunnel services and avoid London. Currently North of Wokingham there is 2 tph but 4tph peak DC and 2tph diesel. The North Camp to Guildford section is close to 10 miles again and also has presently 2 tph diesel and 2 tph using the DC. If they did put OHLE along here one could see it going to Virginia Water, if the Ascot to Guildford, via Aldershot, service remained the Alton and Ascot to Guildford lines being converted as well. It is unfortunate that many lines switched to DC from OHLE, admittedly that was not the 25kv of today, but surrounding infrastructure ie tunnels and bridges would be better, if not fully ready, for OHLE and required clearances. However, there may be an opportunity for when the SWT franchise comes up for renewal in 2019 for provisions to be put in place mandating the TOC to assist with conversion whether with contributions or forfeiting any claim to damages resulting from engineering disruption, due to notice of the upheaval and all anticipate losses accounted for in the bid price. This could, if Government desired be replicated across the DC network and whether they do convert DC to OHLE it could minimise costs on their side.

    Is there any rule over how far one could have DC and OHLE co-existing. I’ve seen people raise concerns about the proximity of each on separate tracks at Reading.

  127. Graham Feakins says:

    I read from “Modern Railways” that the tunnel sections of Crossrail are to be equipped with overhead conductor rail rather than wire. Not uncommon on the Continent.

    A Southeastern Railway project manager told me late last year that they had in mind to electrify the presently non-electrified Ashford to Hastings line with AC first. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to query further.

  128. ngh says:

    re Graham Feakins 10:29PM, 8th May 2013
    If you look at the map on page 24 of the IMechE presentation you will see certain lines highlighted in addition to the more widely discussed Southampton- Basingstoke and BML from East Croydon – Preston Park as 2nd stage schemes for industry consultation.

    These routes were:

    SWT:
    Southampton – Poole (core)
    Poole – Weymouth (optional)
    Southampton / Eastleigh – Basingstoke via Salisbury (optional)

    Southern:
    East Grinstead branch (core)
    Uckfield branch (optional)

    Southeastern:
    East Kent, all lines east of Faversham and Ashford (core)
    Tunbridge – Hastings (core)
    Hastings – Ashford (optional)

    With the unloved Goblin down as being electrified in CP5…

  129. Graham Feakins says:

    ngh – Thanks for that. Yes I did read the IMechE document; I had intended to attend at the time. What I quoted (Ashford to Hastings first) came from a Southeastern man, who was obviously quoting from internal ideas of Southeastern, I presume as an area/franchise. He was of course already aware of the Electric Spine proposals and suggested that, from the Southeastern point of view, the Hastings stretch would be a good place to start (and experiment) and then work inwards. In some small way, that made sense as there is already the 25kV supply and setup at Ashford – and Ashford – Ore (Hastings) needs electrifying.

  130. Greg Tingey says:

    Except, if you want effcient freight movement, especially with “Shell Haven” coming on stream & no paths for its trains (!)
    Then GOBLIN should come first ….

  131. DW down under says:

    @ Graham Feakins. That’s the “overhead line conductor beam” system to which I have referred on several occasions.

  132. ngh says:

    Re Greg Tingey 06:35AM, 9th May 2013
    GOBLIN was on their confirmed CP5 project list and assumed to be done before all the above list for consultation.

    Re Graham Feakins 02:47AM, 9th May 2013
    The list was in order of NR thinking pre consultation. The NR, TOCs, FOCs, ROSCOs, etc will all have different priorities.
    Taking the Ashford-Ore (Hastings) example:
    - NR have it as a lower priority on the list presumably as it is the quietest route suggested but due to the relatively low number of short trains would be cheap from a supply equipment point of view to electrify (i.e. just fed at Ashford?) as an add on scheme rather than a stand alone scheme.
    - Given there is a national DMU shortage and the ROSCOs don’t want to buy and then lease out new DMUs, the ROSCOs would be quiet happy about electrification as they could then lease more additional dual voltage EMUs to the TOCs. The existing DMUs then help ease the shortage elsewhere.
    - TOCs, could allow a swap from Southern to Southeastern (currently DMU free) as you mention, more uniform fleets, lower operating costs. Better EMU acceleration might enable 1 less unit to be diagrammed to provide the same service. pattern etc.

  133. Baskii says:

    @KitGreen

    I know your comment was in jest, but I’ve been thinking about Crossrail to Wycombe, and the Wycombe-Bourne End route would be one way to gain access to Crossrail. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that the line will ever be reinstated now; plans are afoot to build on the route, and it could only ever be a shuttle service due to the constrained platform space at Bourne End.
    However, linking the Chiltern line into Crossrail seems relatively easy; after all, the route from South Ruislip to Old Oak Common is already there. The Chiltern line would need to be electrified of course, but a Chiltern manager at a ‘meet the manager’ event earlier this year suggested that an electrification programme should be on the agenda if they retain the franchise in 2015.
    Is the Crossrail-WCML link now set in stone or is there still a possibility to get Crossrail to Wycombe in the future?

  134. Castlebar says:

    @ Baskii

    l fear you are too late

    AFAIK, one of the local councils had tried to protect the route, but l understand another was not so understanding and has allowed a development proposal to go trough quite recently. l would like more info on this if anyone has any, but this is not the right thread for a Wycombe – Marlow discussion

  135. Nathanael says:

    stimarco: there’s nothing wrong with elevated railways, but actual monorails are stupid. Given the current *health and safety* requirements for escape pathways, monorails (whehter suspended or riding over the beam) end up taking up just as much space as elevateds. And as such they are a more expensive and less reliable version of… elevated railways.

    Your arguments seem to be mainly directed towards the value of els, not monorails, however. I can’t argue with that; els are a good thing.

  136. Anonymous says:

    Slugabed: 25kV AC is more energy-efficient than DC for long distances and high speeds; requires fewer substations (which can be much more widely spaced) than DC; and can handle much higher top speeds than DC. (It’s not useful for tram lines or other slow trains.)

    Finally, since commercial power is AC now, it eliminates the giant and expensive lineside rectifiers.

    Overhead lines themselves are less expensive than third rail, as well, and allow for higher top speeds. The only purpose of third rail these days is to fit into cramped tunnels.

    As for Crossrail, that was a debateable choice — but it saves an awful lot of effort and money for trains to use pure AC trains rather than AC/DC dual-mode trains, and to use only pantographs rather than pantographs AND shoes.

  137. Ian J says:

    @anonymous 6:35am: “it saves an awful lot of effort and money for trains to use pure AC trains rather than AC/DC dual-mode trains, and to use only pantographs rather than pantographs AND shoes”: Really? All modern AC trains convert AC to DC anyway, and many modern EMUs have the potential for DC capability built in even if they run on AC lines. The Crossrail rolling stock specification states that the trains must be capable of being converted to run on DC.

  138. DW down under says:

    @ Castlebar. Hello on LR … Crossrail to High Wycombe. Maybe via West Ruislip? Would be an near no-brainer with OOC and HS2 going that way.

  139. Windsorian says:

    @Castlebar & @ Baskii

    I’ve also been mulling over the possibility of extending Crossrail from Maidenhead to Bourne End / High Wycombe in order to provide a Heathrow / Paddington connection for Chiltern line users.

    The initial Crossrail proposal is for 4tph starting in December 2019 and terminating at Maidenhead; this date arises from the £1B cost savings identified by the 2010 comprehensive spending review; these trains are intended to run solely on the GWML.

    However since then and in the background, we have the possibility of Western rail connections to Heathrow, the L&SE RUS identified 2 routes, a northern T5 to Reading (Option J2) and a southern T5 to Staines (Option J3 ); with both options having an up/to 4tph service. http://www.airrailevents.com/index.php/component/simplelists/item/797/component/event/?Itemid=15

    What clearly needs sorting out, is whether the demand exists for both a 4tph direct Crossrail / GWML service from Paddington to Maidenhead plus a 4tph Crossrail Paddington / T5 to Reading service ?

  140. DW down under says:

    Further to @ Ian J’s post. The requirement to use reticulated DC (ie 750v) on an AC drive train limits the DC voltage available to the VVVF equipment used for the 3-phase permanent magnet induction motors. As might have become clear from discussions on DD’s forum, higher voltages are often used. These allow lower currents and less waste heat (ie more efficiency).

    There is a trade off between:

    (1) taking the 750vDC, putting it through an inverter, then transformer to raise the voltage, then treating it like an AC reticulated supply …..

    … on the one hand; and

    (2) use the 750vDC as the DC voltage bus, with resulting lower efficiency in both AC and DC supply modes – but less capital plant …..

    … on the other.

    To be honest, I have no idea how to make the break-even calculation. But I can be confident of this: someone has.

  141. DW down under says:

    Windsorian @ 06:06AM, 13th May 2013

    These RUS concepts need to be read in conjunction with WRAtH project assessments. A shuttle service from the west into T5 using 5-car trains has an acceptable BCR, it seems. Using full-length Crossrail trains takes the proposal into the marginal area. What would happen once built and in the hands of a TOC, would be another matter altogether.

    Perhaps Staines, Maidenhead, High Wycombe and Tring will be the western termini of peak Crossrail trains; interwoven with Paddington, Marylebone and Euston terminators FROM the west/NW. I envisage that regular Reading trains will run semi-fast via T5 (a lower %age during the commuting peaks).

    As for High Wycombe via Bourne End as a Heathrow access service; first of all, there is the issue of building authorised over the track bed. Secondly, a change at OOC is likely to provide a more frequent and quicker service.

  142. mr_jrt says:

    Hello all, missed all these discussions as I’ve been on a jaunt to Japan, and the reason I mention this is because whilst there I got to ride on one of the monorails Stimarco mentions, namely the one in Okinawa. Was rammed when we used it, and it made short work of the ground-level steep gradients by having much gentler ones simply using taller supports…and we saw a lot of points (which incidentally I noticed at the time thanks to the subject being brought up once Stimarco starts evangelising)! The depot and its connections would make the eyes of some naysayers bleed!

    Still not convinced it’s a silver bullet, but it does indeed work well there.

  143. Graham Feakins says:

    @ mr_jrt – Unless things have changed, I think that Okinawa only has a single route running 2-car trains (which explains why they may be packed) and with just a single set of points at each end and just one other to connect with a single track leading to the depot. Of course, the depot will have more points feeding the sidings, probably only used twice a day, but they are all extremely clumsy and slow-operating arrangements. Here is a fly-through on You Tube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TivjwXtJ8do

    This next one shows the points at each end station (turn off 3D viewing if necessary) and watch from the beginning until shortly after departure for the first ‘junction’, plus the one for the depot. Then go right up to the other end of the clip to see the points arrangement more clearly at the other terminal station:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8thPDxIJGE

    Hardly ideal for a multi-route system.

    Japan is not known for its aesthetic qualities within its cities and this monorail is no exception. I would call it both intrusive and ugly. They also do not deter from putting transportation of any sort up in the air.

  144. Greg Tingey says:

    Only even remotely acceptable if you wan to turn your whole city into a down-market copy of Brent Cross, in other words!
    Gives me the shudders, just looking at those fundamentally-unsafe (& slow of operation) “points” up in mid-air.

  145. DW down under says:

    @ Greg T. [GRIN MODE = ON] You needn’t worry about those monorail points. This is Japan we’re talking about. Zero fault tolerance. Nothing ever goes wrong. (Mother Nature takes a dim view of this, of course, and grants Japan earthquakes and tsunamis, and messes up the zero fault nuke stations.) So no need to shudder unless an earthquake does it for you. Then Elfins Afe Tee’s nice emergency escape systems will be of no use to you, anyway. [GRIN MODE = NORMAL]

    I’m also wondering how the Dangleway and Wheel got approved without the same sort of emergency escape systems demanded of railways?

    Also with the prevalence of earthquakes, one wonders how much this affects Japan’s attitude to aesthetics?

  146. Tim says:

    Was not sure where to put it but Surrey County Council put out a little while ago their rail strategy and the deadline for responses to the consultation is in a month, 28/6. They talk about lengthening services, Clapham Junction and Electrification of North Downs Line, etc. As it will affect London some may wish to contribute to the consultation. http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/environment-housing-and-planning/development-in-surrey/surrey-future/the-surrey-rail-strategy

  147. Greg Tingey says:

    DW du
    Hadn’t thought of that re the wheel!
    As for the dangleway, you know my opinion of the real H&S@W values of that piece of engineering, given it’s position.
    NOT good.

    Tim
    A very quick skim seems to indicate that they have thought about it seriously & are prepared, unlike Kent, to work withothers, to get something useful.
    I hope one of the regular writers takes the challenge up!

  148. stimarco says:

    @Graham Feakins & Greg T.

    The Okinawa monorail is an Alweg-derived design with the almost clichéd straddle-beam design. Japan has lots of these, as do other Asian countries. Many of them were built by Hitachi. (You know: the same company that built the Class 395 “Javelin” stock for HS1.) Strange that they’re quite happy to build monorails too.

    However, my interest is mainly in the suspended designs, such as the systems in Shonan and Chiba City that use the 1960s French “Safege” design.

    The Shonan line is single-track with passing loops at all stations. It has been running since the 1970s with no problems. Clearly, they haven’t been paying attention to Greg T’s repeated, tiresome, and utterly incorrect assertions that monorails can’t “do” switches reliably.

    I like to see things with my own eyes, so have actually ridden on the Wuppertal line, among others. I prefer to go with the evidence, not unreliable hearsay. Monorails work. There are dozens of them in Asia alone. There’s clearly nothing inherently or intrinsically wrong with these technologies, else the likes of Hitachi and Bombardier wouldn’t be involved in them.

  149. stimarco says:

    * correction *, the Shonan line has passing loops at most stations, but not all.

    Anyway, here’s a YouTube video showing the line in action. (Like the Wuppertal system, it’s more light rail than heavy rail in character.)

    The guideway is quite chunky, but this is a 40-year-old line. Even so, it’s still a lot less ugly and intrusive than a DLR viaduct.

  150. stimarco says:

    (And here’s a recent cab-view video, for those who like that sort of thing. Those are some evil gradients. Lots of bicycles at some of the stations too.)

  151. DW down under says:

    @ Stimarco: you still haven’t addressed the health and safety issues of emergency escape for all passengers, including disabled – at all point along the route. A requirement that seems to apply to (almost) all forms of fixed track transit systems in the UK. Until you do, all your “monorail” posts will have the appearance of special pleading.

    Also, the attitudes towards human life and the disabled in Asia has had some very material differences to those (officially) in Britain, the EU and western nations like Australia, NZ, etc. And as I posted before, the Japanese design on the basis on “no faults” – which is all very well until Mother Nature intervenes with an earthquake or tsunami.

  152. Graham Feakins says:

    @ stimarco – Well your Shonan line example is rather better as it fits in the crowded environment of buildings and surrounding geology. I found a link showing the operation of the points (switches) there and on other monorail systems:

    http://www.monorails.org/tmspages/switch.html

    It’s still all rather clunky, though. I fear “diamond crossings” would be a problem*. It’s a little unfair to compare with the DLR viaduct as that is double track, whilst the Shonan route is effectively bi-directional single line. If the Shonan line were to be doubled in width, it might not be the same story – see the Wuppertal link below. I’m not denying that the DLR viaduct is ugly (has too many curves as well, some built to avoid buildings later demolished!). If the original DLR proposal had been grasped, we would have had conventional light rail, including street-level running, on viaduct and in tunnel. As it happens, the original DLR cars were transferred to Essen, where they did just that. Poor quality video here of them in Essen:

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

    For those still awake at the back, here is a good video of Wuppertal, including the bogie suspended from the rail:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeVrkO4L63Y

    It is a proper monorail suspended from just a single rail by double-flanged wheels (with separate conductor rail); it forms an essential part of the local transport infrastructure in the narrow valley and runs at a 2/3-min. interval during the greatest peaks. However, the structure is amazingly expensive and disruptive to maintain and repair because of its age. In normal service, Wuppertal uses no points but negotiates tightly curved loops at both ends of the route. You can see the extremely cumbersome pointwork leading to the depot sidings at the Vohwinkel end about 3 mins. into the video, requiring about a minute to change over tracks (and also a tempting glimpse of the Solingen trolleybuses below). I have known Wuppertal since the 1960′s and have seen the monorail over those years, including welcome depot visits. I wouldn’t recommend it first off anywhere else, though.

    * If e.g. Shonan were to be doubled and had diverging routes, there would have to be a series of single leads forming a version of spaghetti junction, so it is fair to suggest that monorails are (can be) ideal for only single-route arrangements where street-level arrangements are unsuitable and where nobody objects to the substantial infrastructure. If in a tunnel, then one might as well use conventional rail.

  153. Graham Feakins says:

    @ DW down under 01:58AM, 28th May 2013 – This Wuppertal link should show you what can be done, in this case in the real event of a crane bashing into the side of a Wuppertal Schwebebahn car:

    http://www.schwebebahn-wtal.de/

    If that link just brings you to the home page, then look for “das ist neu” in the left-hand side links and then “05.08.2008 – Unfall an der Kaiserstraße Schwebebahn Gtw 24 wurde von Kran aufgeschlitzt”.

    In any event, two cars can be coupled together to move a disabled one to the next stop, whilst the emergency services are geared to rescue any passengers from wherever on the route if the incident is more serious (apart from Tuffi the circus elephant on the Schwebebahn which panicked with the popping of the press flash bulbs, broke through the side of the car and fell into the river in the 1950):

    http://planetgermany.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/the-strange-tale-of-tuffi-the-elephant/

    Meanwhile, back at the London Eye, I wonder how many read these terms and conditions before boarding:

    http://www.londoneye.com/termsandconditions.aspx

    whilst this is what happens, as per the media, in reality:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1582700/Trapped-tourists-go-potty-on-faulty-London-Eye.html

  154. Graham Feakins says:

    @ DW down under 09:44AM, 27th May 2013 – more OT than even your GRIN MODE comment, but true – I asked one of my Japanese clients in his 32nd floor office in Tokyo about emergency procedures during a devastating earthquake and he dutifully pulled open a drawer in his desk to show me his emergency kit – food, water and so on, to last three days. I asked what happened after that. “We all die”, he said, and laughed his head off. But he was serious – they hadn’t planned for survival after three days. Then we went off for a meal and drink.

    As for aesthetics in Japanese cities, apart from caring for their temples and similar, anything goes and they even replace modern buildings faster than we do. One 14-storey office I saw being erected in 1994 had been demolished and replaced again by 2009. I visited Japan annually until recently and certainly became intimately involved with their unique lifestyle from one end of the country to the other. Loved cycling* around Tokyo, which I did for both business and pleasure, in addition to using the public transport systems. Driving was an experience, too. Nice habits endure, like turning off headlights behind cars waiting at traffic lights, to avoid blinding the driver in front through his rear-view mirrors until the traffic gets on the move again. What with police on point duty and manned police section boxes everywhere, all very mindful of 1950′s UK.

    * Borrowed friend’s bike which had its own licence plate in case of policeman query but no bike lock. My friend explained: “What do you want lock for? Nobody takes. Anyone who wants bike has one. Why would they want second bike?” And he’d spent two years near Waterloo over here, so he was well aware of bike theft here. And this in the centre of Metropolitan Tokyo. Licence plate came in handy when ‘failed’ bike had to be taken to any nearby bike repair shop as the work was done without direct payment but the bill sent to the bike owner. A very trusting nation.

  155. Greg Tingey says:

    sitmarco
    There are dozens of them in Asia alone.
    And how many hundreds of thousands of miles of “conventional” two-rail track ??
    IIRC the Wuppertal train fell off its’ rails a few years back … the casualty rate was much higher than that from a normal train falling off its track at that sort of speed.
    Echo DWdu regarding emergency egress, too. You are going to have an escape route somewhere aren’t you? Where are you going to put it?

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