Today’s London Assembly Transport Committee meeting covered Crossrail and wider London Rail developments – two areas of great interest to LR readers. Andrew Wolstenholme (CEO) and Terry Morgan (Chairman) both attended from Crossrail.

Taking Crossrail Forward

Crossrail updated on tunnelling and procurement progress. As it stands, it appears that the rolling stock competition will be a straight 4 way contest without an intermediate “narrowing down to 2” stage. This is because the financing has been simplified. Despite some pressure about the trains “needing” to be built in the UK, the Crossrail representatives would only say that they had to the best trains that offered the best value for money.

The politicians spent a lot of time challenging the fairness of the procurement process, access for smaller London businesses to win work and also the “blacklists” issue. A very robust defence of Crossrail’s position on blacklisting was given – i.e. that it is not acceptable and not evident.

The questions then moved on to scope related items such as the fitting out of Woolwich station, the construction of an Old Oak Common Station and extension of services to Reading. Perhaps understandably the representatives would not be drawn on changes to scope. That was a matter for the project sponsors, they said, who would need to instruct the project to implement a revised specification.

Interestingly there appears to have been progress on the agreement on fitting out the Woolwich Station box. It is not yet finalized, however, and from a Crossrail viewpoint there is only a few months before a decision must be taken so as to avoid extra risks materializing. This is apparently all to do with what happens when the TBMs arrive at Woolwich and how they are dealt with. The decision on whether to fit out or not seemingly has a bearing on this, but further detail was not forthcoming.

Getting Forensic on the GOBLIN

Representatives present for the second half of the meeting were Geoff Hobbs (Head of TfL Rail Planning), Howard Smith (Chief Operating Officer, London Rail), Paul Harwood (Principal Network Planner, Network Rail) and Jim Steer (Steer Davies Gleave).

On the subject of London Rail several topics were covered including GOBLIN electrification, 5 car expansion of non diesel routes, rail devolution, Thameslink, Crossrail 2 and HS2 impacts.

On the subject of the GOBLIN electrification it was clear that there is a consensus on getting it done. It was confirmed that TfL’s contribution is £25m based on the operational savings that will accrue from electric operation compared to diesel. It is now the case that Network Rail have commenced GRIP 3 of their planning process to get the scope and costs clarified. This should report in October this year. This might then allow the funding opportunity in the Autumn Statement 2013 to be exploited.

Two other related issues also received a mention. First was the diminishing market for diesel trains due to emissions regulations. If electrification is not forthcoming soon TfL will be forced to buy (not lease) longer DMUs and carry their cost on its books. This is because leasing companies will not take the residual life risk of stock that may have no life beyond the GOBLIN. This poses a dilemma for TfL – because if electrification is/was to be authorized a few years hence, it will have stock with no purpose or else face the prospect of still running them under the wires on the GOBLIN!

The other issue, one that has received little press as of yet, is one of timing. When pressed TfL said the earliest completion date for electrification is 2017 (assuming a smooth approval process from here on).

Network Rail, however, said their latest completion date is 2018 – because after that date Crossrail will cause the diversion of far more freight over the GOBLIN meaning less access to actually do the electrification works.

TfL then inadvertently suggested that the last date for approval was actually “infinity” (suggesting approval may never come forth). This earned him a very sharp rebuke from one London Assembly member who said “do nothing” was simply not an option, given the scale of overcrowding on the service.

TfL also confirmed that they had expected a go ahead at the last Autumn Statement and there was an extremely strong suggestion that it was the Treasury that pulled the scheme at the last minute. The Assembly members said they would want to conduct a forensic investigation as to why the decision making for such a well supported scheme had been so perverse. It was also confirmed that 4 or 5 car EMUs were the preferred option for further improving the route (as part of the electrification scheme).

Extending the Overground and Oyster

On the subject of the 5 car scheme it was confirmed that progress is being made on planning processes and land acquisition for the expanded depot and sidings. The contract for the longer trains should hopefully be signed in two months. The target is to deploy 5 car trains to the ELL in 2014 with other lines following by the end of 2015.

On the topic of rail devolution, TfL is continuing its dialogue with stakeholders and MPs to try to calm the anxiety about any transfer of services to TfL. Only three stations beyond the Greater London boundary fall within the scope of the TfL devolution plan for South Eastern.

Interestingly, TfL went into some detail to dispel rumours about fast train services being cut, slowed down, passengers being forced to get off at the boundary and get on slow trains and various other issues. The TfL representative explained that if it went ahead, Oyster would be extended to Dartford, Dunton Green and Sevenoaks. This was the number one demand from stakeholders. Fares at Dartford and Dunton Green would be zonally based but Sevenoaks would not change from current levels (presumably because fast services stop there and to avoid cutting income on the residual SE franchise). On Greater Anglia fares are already on Oyster PAYG so there is not the same demand for that sort of change.

An announcement on devolution to TfL from Government is expected in April or May – in line with decisions on the wider franchise programme. If a positive decision is made then the earliest date for TfL taking over would be mid 2015.

Tackling Thameslink

The key issue on Thameslink was the impact of the Government’s decision to retain Wimbledon Loop services running via the core, something we’d previously highlighted was potentially problematic.

There was obvious disappointment from Network Rail, who now face the problem of how to deal with the implications of this change. They suggested that more money will be needed to change the layout south of Blackfriars to deal with the implications of an amended service pattern.

It seems that proposed services from the Kent lines (Dartford & Orpington) via London Bridge and on to the core route will not now happen. They would be diverted to Cannon Street. It was not clear what services will terminate in the Blackfriars bays but probably the Sevenoaks service. Depending on the track layout on Thameslink, the track pairing arrangement from Elephant southwards may mean conflicting movements to get Sevenoaks trains into the bays while Wimbledon loop services run through.

The other stated impact was that proposed frequency improvements for the loop service will probably not happen and – just to add further spice to the mix – it seems the DfT have not finalized the service specification for Thameslink and are still musing on whether to give franchise bidders “more commercial freedom” to plan the service pattern. Needless to say there was little sympathy from politicians who criticized the scheme planning being based on engineering and operations and not what the passengers actually want.

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 and HS2 were seen by some of the politicians as interlinked, but TfL stated clearly that Crossrail 2 is justified on a standalone basis rather than needing HS2. There was some challenge about HS2 trains reaching Euston rather than being diverted to Old Oak Common, but it is worth noting that this came from the Assembly member with responsibility for Camden, so there is perhaps a vested interest in him not favouring a project that will bring widespread demolition and disruption in the borough of Camden. Naturally enough he favoured HS2 depositing people at Old Oak Common. TfL felt that Euston was by far the better option because of established transport connections, even though those connections are already under pressure which will worsen with the arrival of HS2.

There was a bit of dissent from Jim Steer as to the preferred scope of Crossrail 2 – he favoured an automated metro type option (Scheme A+ in project parlance) rather than the regional Metro scheme with through running from the South Western lines (Scheme B). There was a general political consensus that Crossrail 2 should follow on immediately from Crossrail 1 to avoid the dissipation of skills, knowledge and experience that will have accumulated by 2018/9. Clearly we have a long way to go, but TfL are in the process of securing funds to allow further planning to take place and to resolve the issues surrounding safeguarding of the original and any revised alignment. This has to be resolved by 2014.

TfL did confirm that a regional metro scheme would take over stopping services on the Lea Valley north of Tottenham Hale. In response to questions about extending Crossrail 2 to Stansted Airport there was a clear preference not to do this. This was to avoid mixing service types (stopping, semi-fast) on one railway. There was a feeling that Crossrail 2 should provide the all stations service, and new infrastructure would release track capacity for an enhanced semi-fast and fast service north of Tottenham Hale. This would allow faster services to Stansted while preserving easy interchange to Crossrail 2 and the Tube at Tottenham Hale.

TfL also said they were very confident of securing agreement and filling a funding gap to add tracks from Walthamstow Marshes to Tottenham Hale and then, in a second phase, up to Northumberland Park to support substantial housing development in this area. Network Rail said they were planning on an early Control Period 5 start for this work. This extra track capacity would allow a 15 minute service from Stratford as far as Northumberland Park. Although not stated, it seems likely that the funding for this has been found from the housing developer, plus recently announced regeneration funding for Tottenham & Tottenham Hale station. Completion would be in 2017 assuming agreements are finalized soon and the Network Rail business plan is approved and funded.

For those who have a spare 2.5 hours, the full webcast for this session can be found on the London Assembly website.

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There are 112 comments on this article
  1. Si says:

    So Crossrail 2 will get 12tph to Tottenham Hale and then it will become a handful of tph to Hertford East – quite a waste, no? At least the ‘same type of services’ issue with Crossrail won’t be repeated.

    Also undermines the Stratford-Tottenham/Northumberland Park link – unless there’s some track-sharing awkwardness.

  2. Slugabed says:

    I notice that the extra tracks on the Lea Valley only go as far as Northumberland Park,as I understand it,which avoids confronting the real headaches on that line namely the level crossings.
    Although this is a start,it simply defers the inevitable.
    North of Northumberland Park has been thrown onto the “too difficult” pile….

  3. Paul says:

    Si – I thought the description above meant that Crossrail 2 would only include the all stations service, and then the extra infrastructure would allow separate semi fast and fast services to be run (presumably into Livrpool St) by either a mainline TOC or TfL rail?

  4. Anonymous says:

    ” It was not clear what services will terminate in the Blackfriars bays but probably the Sevenoaks service.”

    Those would be the services which the government announced, as a result of the consultation and alongside the loop ones, would continue through the core.

    “The other stated impact was that proposed frequency improvements for the loop service will probably not happen”

    What proposed frequency improvements? None have been proposed for the line to Blackfriars, with any increase having been explicitly ruled out as an option in the RUSs because Herne Hill lacks the capacity for them.

    There was a proposal to increase the current 2tph peak service between around the loop from London Bridge (which serves the Wimbledon side against the peak flow) by adding a 2tph service in the opposite direction. Although nothing had been said as to whether this would also continue off-peak to provide all stations a 15-minute service.

    But that increase was to be made possible by using capacity available at London Bridge after the works there complete, and the freed-up capacity at Tulse Hill from no longer having to route morning Brighton Thameslink services via Elephant & Castle.

    As both of those are completely separate from the Thameslink loop services, it should not be affected by what happens north of Tulse Hill. The only impact should be if there is a knock-on requirement for terminating capacity at London Bridge, but there is no reason this should be the case. With the Kent services terminating at Cannon Street all other services via London Bridge can continue through the core as proposed.

    There is something vary strange going on with those two claims.

  5. Walthamstow Writer says:

    The summary was necessarily brief to cover all of the topics. No one in the meeting said the majority of trains on Crossrail 2 will terminate at Tottenham Hale. It was clear that there would be a much enhanced service level north of Tottenham Hale – Geoff Hobbs from TfL confirmed this. The reference to 4 tph is only in the context of earlier enhancements to add tracks on the Lea Valley which would permit a more frequent service to Stratford. There was no questioning as to how Crossrail 2 would integrate with an enhanced stopping service to Stratford. Achieving 16 or 20 tph on separate stopping service tracks to cater for both Crossrail 2 and a Stratford service is not exactly difficult given the right rolling stock and track / signalling configuration.

    @ Slugabed – the extra tracks as far as Northumberland Park are an early phase of planned works. Clearly there is a strong desire to push on beyond there to achieve segregation between fast and stopping services to raise capacity and give better service levels. The NR rep said the Network Rail CP5 Business Plan sets out the future plans. I would suggest that going as far as N Park is the scheme that can attract S106 developer contributions as well as giving the new housing development a better local service level. I got no sense that anyone was setting out to avoid tackling the more difficult bits of alignment further north.

  6. mr_jrt says:

    Crossrail 2 as the all-station’s lines is a bit of a waste of capacity in more than one way. The North London Line current terminates at Stratford and you get few opportunities without building a new tunnel to have a service you can project over new infrastructure….let alone one so perfectly matched to the all-stations service pattern. 8tph terminating at Stratford would be perfect if projected as all stations 4tph services to both Chingford and up the Lea Valley.

    Crossrail 2 can deal with the other sticky issue instead – the services via Hackney Downs. Run CR2 to Cambridge Heath as the East London Railway was once going to do and pop up and take over the services to Enfield and Cheshunt….and maybe run to Chingford as well as LO.

  7. Valentine says:

    ‘Cheers ears’ for listening in and squelching it all into satsuma-sized summary-ness! Saves me a pick-nicking picnic.

  8. Slugabed says:

    Walthamstow Writer
    10:01 07/03
    I’m very glad to hear that….and I see the logic of what you re saying.
    At some point the nettle will have to be grasped,and some (more) level crossings will have to be either closed or bridged.It will be interesting to see how they plan to resolve the various crossing-points.
    The opening of the A1055 about 20 years ago has made things ironically both better in some ways (access to areas previously nearly isolated by the railway) but worse in others (it is a traffic objective in its own right to avoid more generalised congestion).
    And I hope that funding doesn’t become a political football and lessons have been learned from the GOBLIN charade in this respect….

  9. Mr A says:

    I understood that any TfL takeover of Southeastern metro/Greater Anglia metro would be 2014, on franchise renewal. Why is it stated as 2015?

  10. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anonymous 2141 – I have gone back and listened to the relevant part of the meeting on Thameslink. The NR representative is clear in his statements that

    a) there are possible infrastructure implications from the DfT announcement about W Loop services.
    b) partly as a result of the DfT decision and also other consultation responses on Kent services that services from Dartford and Orpington proposed for the core would now go to Cannon St. The consultation responses state that people want to retain their link into Cannon St rather than be shoved through the Core.
    c) The Network Rail rep does specifically state that planned higher frequencies for the W Loop would no longer be possible. I confess to not having Pedantic of Purley’s encyclopeadic knowledge of Thameslink service patterns, track layouts and all the RUS iterations so can’t really say more than what was said in the meeting. The NR rep might have it wrong or he may be privy to something we are not aware of. We shall see in due time what the Franchise spec actually sets out.
    d) I missed the NR rep’s point that there were also “performance concerns” within Network Rail following the DfT’s decision on the W Loop. Work is continuing to identify what might need to be done to mitigate those risks.

  11. Chris says:

    Geoff Hobbs was quite clear that Crossrail 2 would be use its own alignment north of Tottenham Hale, as is widely assumed, rather than trying to share the existing double track – it’s the only practical option.


  12. Mark Townend says:

    I’ve revised my previous Blackfriars – Loughborough Junction ideas to incorporate an additional through platform at Blackfriars where additional terminating tracks were suggested previously by others.

  13. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Walthamstow Writer – Can you remember who the Network Rail representative was? One who came to a NR public meeting in Southwark quite recently to explain the forthcoming London Bridge work, following on from their ‘success’ at Blackfriars, proceeded afterwards to tell me why they needed ATO through the core (“It’s necessary because you cannot have that frequency of trains at those speeds without it”). When I pressed on the speed aspect and clarifying that the maximum speed was hardly going to approach 40 mph through the core Thameslink route because of the nature of the tracks and tunnels, he admitted that he didn’t know anything about the core route because he had never travelled on it!!” I wonder whether it’s the same chap.

    How far in on the TfL webcast is the Thameslink discussion?

    I wonder whether those performance concerns reflect a realisation already amongst those with possibly more informed knowledge that they might still need to run empties to/from Cannon Street ‘around the corner’ and via ‘somewhere near Blackfriars’ and Loughborough Junction during the peaks as they do today, especially if those Kent services are still to run into Cannon Street (as they indeed should do, rather than being diverted to Blackfriars in service). This concerns main line Kent Cannon Street services as well as the Dartford/Orpington services.

    As Anonymous suggests, both the Wimbledon Loop services and the Catford Loop services (Sevenoaks) are now expected to continue to run through the core via the Elephant. That was what all the fuss was about and to continue the Wimbledon servioces through was in no way intended to compromise the existing Sevenoaks services.

    These folk need reminding that the scheme is called the Thameslink IMPROVEMENT Works.

  14. Graham Feakins says:

    P.S. It’s Network Rail’s wretched fault if the “infrastructure problems” they refer to include taking out, as planned, the connection from Cannon Street at Metropolitan Junction leading to the Blackfriars tracks, the Blackfriars stabling (train road) siding, as well as abandoning plans for any possibility for trains from the London Bridge/Cannon Street direction to use the new terminating platforms at Blackfriars. Just a guess. Put it this way, it’s not our fault that there are also now no terminating platforms on the London Bridge side.

  15. Si says:

    Paul – yes, that’s it, but I have no idea why you need to say that.

    The article also talks of a Stratford – Northumberland Park 4tph link – you won’t put that blocking the fasts/semi-fasts (would they stop between Cheshunt and Tottenham Hale? unlikely, else Waltham Cross and Enfield Lock passengers will take the semi-fasts and then change at Tottenham Hale – Hertford/Ware ones will change at Cheshunt and again at Tottenham Hale as it is!), so it will intermingle with the CR2 Tottenham Hale terminators (and likely terminate there) instead. Hertford East trains will gain back stops that they lost with the minor upgrades too.

    Here’s the best 04-05 to 10-11 usage figures on the planned route north of Tottenham Hale:
    Hertford East 0.719 million (10-11)
    Ware 0.921 million (08-09)
    St Margarets 0.315 million (08-09)
    Rye House 0.369 million (08-09)
    Broxbourne 1.496 million (07-08)
    Cheshunt 1.707 million (08-09)
    Waltham Cross 0.705 million (07-08)
    Enfield Lock 0.950 million (07-08)
    Brimsdown 0.533 million (07-08)
    Ponders End 0.288 million (07-08)
    Angel Road 32,394 (08-09)
    Northumberland Park 0.176 million (10-11)

    Hertford East, Ware, Waltham Cross, Enfield Lock, and maybe Brimsdown, are about all that’s worth serving with a Crossrail – other than the Interchanges of course. Though St Margarets and Rye House are both may-as-well-serve, given they are on the Hertford branch.

    Sure the Lea Valley line is under-utilised and fast links south of Tottenham Hale will help bring passengers, but unless they build all over the marshes those southern three will never see much traffic, especially Angel Road. As such, 6-car platforms on the new lines for NLL services, rather than 12-car CR2 services makes financial sense. Yes, you’d have the CR1 problem of metro at one end, outer suburban on the other (or go somewhere that isn’t Tottenham Hale), but that’s less of a problem than completely wasting the branch by only serving Hertford via all stops.

  16. DW down under says:

    I’ve read the London First final report – and other online dox, and TfL and the gov’t seem to refer to the valley up Northumberland Park way as the “Lee Valley”. And that’s consistent throughout.

    Has there been an official nomenclature change from the Lea Valley?

    DW down under

  17. MikeP says:

    Mr A – all franchise renewals were put on hold following the West Coast debacle, hence the new date. But as the franchising process has yet to be restarted, I’d say in reality 2015 is presently no more than an aspiration.

    I note from the news that the 4 bidders for Great Western have lodged High Court papers demanding their bidding costs for the failed round be repaid. Even though the Invitation to Tender (ITT) makes it quite clear that bidding costs are entirely at the risk of the bidder, even if the tender is abandoned by the Government. Although I do see an opportunity for argument over what part of the process the word “subsequently” applies to…

  18. Greg Tingey says:

    There’s an elephant in the room here & one with much wider implication, beyond (just) Barking GO/Carlton Rd Jn. That is, of course freight & specifically freight from what I still think of as “Shell Haven” (Thamesport).
    There is currently no proposal for a N-facing curve @ Stanford-le-Hope or a link to the GE main – so contrary to the forward planning seen @ Ipswich & Nuneaton, we are going to get this huge increase in freight in & through London, with no provision, at all, for extra paths & heavier, longer freight-trains through & on a system which is groaning under the load as it is ….. Err ….

    And “do nothing” really isn’t an option, for reasons given above, never mind the poor squashed passengers!

    passengers being forced to get off at the boundary You WHAT? I would love to know who deliberately invented that, erm, false idea? Could I guess some selfish tory representing an area 3mm outside the GLA boundary? Please do tell!

    I’m told that there is NOT a problem with money or potential approval for these schemes, at all – they are both infrastructure wins & employment boosters, both during & after construction.
    There simply are not enough people with the trained, even minimal-level “engineering skills” ( like batter than “O”-level! ) around in the country, & most of them are already in employment. The past 35 years denigration of science, technology & engineering in favour of financial whizz-kids & supposed “entrepreneurs” (Whose smoke-&-mirrors exploits are unfortunately subject to the ridiculous Brit libel laws.) have now come home to roost.

    Lea Valley
    So 4 tracks Coppermill Junction (Or Clapton Jn – with flyover, avoiding conflicting moves – oh purleaze!) to Northumberland Park – presumably with 4 tracks eventually extended to Broxbourne, to accommodate both LV & Xr2 trains – good. (?)

    Si @ 19.33
    Xr2 gets the Hertford East service, complete – it is very crowded & heavily loaded now, which is why it is proposed for Xr2.
    And, the LC’s can be dealt with, but one thing at a time, huh?
    [ IIRC – N’um Pk; Brimsdown; Enfield Lock; Trinity Lane & Chesunt; & 3 more to Broxbourne. Hmm … ] But it is do-able, there is very little land take required – a few grotty sheds beside a couple of the crossings.

    Mr jrt
    Much better to re-instate Hall Farm Lea Valley Jns & have 10-minute Chingford service, all going to Livp St, but alternating via Hackney Downs & Stratford. (or even terminating ‘ Stratford, for Xr1 ??)

    There are several problems with a much-to-be-desired 15 minute frequency on the Wombledon loop …
    1] Fitting them through the idiot single-track section @ Wombledon itself, without allowing mixed tram/train working, or evicting the trams to the street above …..
    2] Finding paths through Herne Hill (!) discussed-to-death on this forum.
    3] As mentioned re-re-arranging pointwork between Blackfriars & Loughboro’ Jn
    4] Finding space to put the displaced 2 tph into the (now) “wrong-side” bays @ Blackfriars
    5] I’m sure there’s a [5] – any suggestions?

    Mark Townend
    MUCH better!
    But, you’ve still got a deliberate bottleneck between Loughboro’ Jn & points N, with a dead-end & a 3-track section – get rid of that, & you’re there.

    Graham Feakins
    Yes NR are “to blame” but, but, remember … these so-called “plans” were made back before 2009, when spending money on shock horror RAILWAYS had to be extracted form DafT (Then the Ministry of Roads) using pliers from between their tightly-clamped teeth! We are now seeing the after-effects of that penny-pinching. I predict, to no-ones’ surprise, that IEP will be an equally disastrous fiasco – though I do hope it won’t be as bad as the “Fyra Floptreins” between Brussel & Amsterdam. { If you really want an unbelievably expensive public transport disaster, that has got to be it, for this week, at least! }

    IF your numbers are from ORR, then they’re not worth the paper they are written on.
    Before the rush-hour short workings from Broxbourne started, I’ve counted over 350 people get off an 8-car ex-Hertford E train @ Tottenham Hale, & when it left it was still full-&-standing. Err ….
    Sorry, but you seem to have grasped the completely wrong end of the stick, here.

  19. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham Feakins – the name of the NR rep is in the article. It was Paul Harwood, the Principal Planner for NR. He did not come across as lacking in knowledge or being simplistic in his approach. The Thameslink discussion is at 1 hour 46 minutes and lasts for about 3 minutes or so.

    The discussion centred on the Wimbledon Loop service because of the political campaign to retain through services. Mr Harwood said the DfT had only given half of the picture in making its statement about the Loop services and NR really needed to understand what the full service pattern will be in order to reach firm decisions on whether the planned infrastructure will work. As I have already stated I am not especially knowledgeable about the intracacies of train working on the “Southern Region”.

    @ Si – I am not sure what point you are making in quoting existing usage numbers. Geoff Hobbs made the point that he has to be guided by the London Plan as to where development is planned and where extra infrastructure is required to support new housing and development. The Lea Valley is identified as a major redevelopment area – the Meridian Water housing development was particularly mentioned. The linked document below shows the scale of proposed development along the corridor.

    Geoff Hobbs went on to say that there is something of a paradox in that transport investment needs to support development but developers need to have good transport links to attract home owners / businesses.

    @ Greg – there was no specific mention of the new Thamesport development but clearly everyone present knew that freight is a major issue for the GOBLIN but also in a wider national context. Jim Steer made the point that there is next to no scope to “force” freight operators to adopt electric haulage even if the wires are strung up. Undoubtedly that sort of industry “failing” is causing some angst in framing a business case that people will sign up to. No one doubts there are benefits but you clearly must have something that is agreed upon. Both TfL and NR made the point that GOBLIN is unusual in having such strong support and also that GRIP3 is now being done without there being a formal approval or funding for the final scheme.

    Geoff Hobbs made the “get off at the boundary” comment. There was a slight sigh of resignation as he ran through some of the arguments that have clearly been thrown at TfL in trying to fight off their devolution proposals. He was diplomatic enough not to name any names. It does seem that people have dredged up every conceivable (and inconceivable) point to try to stop the idea. Interestingly several Assembly Members said they’d had high volumes of correspondence from constituents demanding services are taken over by TfL because they have seen the investment in the Overground and want the same on their lines. Caroline Pidgeon said the Transport Committee is likely to call a separate session just on Overground / rail devolution issues as there is so much interest.

  20. timbeau says:


    for a [5] on 4tph Wimbledon Loop.
    That implies 8tph not only through Herne Hill but the Tulse Hill – Streatham section as well, which also has to take London Bridge – Croydon via Norbury services. There are also the flat junctions at Streatham where Victoria – Sutton services (4tph) meet up with the Mitcham leg of the loop and cross the Wimbledon leg, and at Sutton itself.

  21. Pedantic of Purley says:

    WW writes Jim Steer made the point that there is next to no scope to “force” freight operators to adopt electric haulage even if the wires are strung up.

    Which really is the heart of the problem that no-one talks about. Freight is done on tight margins. It makes money because there is massive bulk. It is the railway equivalent of pile it high and sell it cheap. Put yourself in the position of a FOC.

    You can buy a diesel loco. £1½ million to you guv. Nice little cruiser. Goes anyware. Cuts out logistical problems. Don’t need to worry about your loco bringing the wires down and getting an enormous unbudgeted-for bill. Just fill it with fuel and you are away.

    What ? You want one of those electric jobbies ? You do realise they cost £3 million apiece don’t you ? And are you sure that all the sidings you need are electrified ? And what do you do when the Chief Electrical Engineer at Network Rail won’t pass it for use over a critical section of line because of stray currents. You’d be well and truly stuffed wouldn’t you ? Oh and don’t forget everyone will perceive an electric loco as producing savings for you so guess what. They will be round your door asking you to contribute to a dinky passenger line they want to electrify ‘cos you are running your electric locos on it.

  22. Greg Tingey says:

    arguments that have clearly been thrown at TfL in trying to fight off their devolution proposals. He was diplomatic enough not to name any names ……
    This is SO tiresome. It really would help if we knew who these people are. However, since there are no names, we can call them deliberate liars, without fear of being sued! [ How do I put a red-smiley in? ]
    And why are they doing it, since it’s plainly untrue?
    I find the opposite approach from real actual people, as opposed to supposedly representative politicians, as noted by Ms Pidgeon very interesting, now….

    Yup, that’ll do!

  23. DW down under says:

    Greg T

    You mentioned a shortage of suitably skilled workers. No problems – do what Aussie companies do out at the remote area mines, etc – get a bunch of foreigners in on special visas and pay them half the going rate (which will be a fortune to them). You’ll have to employ supervisors who are multi-lingual – not an insurmountable problem.


    DW down under

  24. Slugabed says:

    DW Downunder
    04:05 08/03
    Both Lee and Lea are acceptable spellings.Lea is most commonly used these days,but Lee shows up commonly on official (particularly legal) documents.The public use both interchangeably.

    01:39 08/03
    I would use Northumberland Park much more if the service wasn’t so wretched.
    Sometimes if I just miss a train it is an hour till the next one.
    In Zone 3!
    (and it’s only a 20-min walk to Tottenham Hale)
    I think there is suppressed demand.Angel Rd is near an enormous retail park but is cut off by roads from its traffic goals and suffers the same,miserable service.
    I know that the service is unlikely to change while the level crossings are there…

    Slugabed,aka Nick Barber
    Friends of Tottenham Marshes

  25. answer=42 says:

    If someone says ,”TfL could make you change trains into stoppers at the Greater London border,” he/she is not lying. This is a conjecture, unlikely to occur and intended to deceive, but it is not a direct falsehood. If you then called the person who said it a liar, you would be the liar, not them.

    I used to work for a really, really bad person. He later became very important in his home country. There is now a warrant out for his arrest in said country. It will never be served, in my view. Even he rarely lied and when he did so, he had a little verbal tick that gave him away. Humans don’t lie much; other methods of deception exist.

    Back to the thread.

  26. ngh says:

    RE timbeau 10:35AM, 8th March 2013


    for a [5] on 4tph Wimbledon Loop.
    That implies 8tph not only through Herne Hill but the Tulse Hill – Streatham section as well, which also has to take London Bridge – Croydon via Norbury services. There are also the flat junctions at Streatham where Victoria – Sutton services (4tph) meet up with the Mitcham leg of the loop and cross the Wimbledon leg, and at Sutton itself.

    Exactly just too many conflicting moves across the entire network that would require currently unbudgeted infrastructure spending in multiple places to sort (though some stretches won’t be able to have work done till after the core via London Bridge services start, for example Tulse Hill eastern bridge (A205 south circular) replacement is planned for 2018).
    Also as the post 2018 plan for LBG terminating platforms is more conflicting Tulse Hill services.

    The long term future of the loop in the light of CR2 (completion 2026? if it follows on from CR1) needs to be thought about very quickly.

  27. Greg Tingey says:

    Off topic
    You do realise there are terns & kingfishers in the marshes, don’t you?
    That the mating dance of the Great Crested Grebes on the Walthmstow reservoirs is one of the most amazing things I’ve EVER seen.
    That the green arm of the Lea Valley lets very stange birds appear – I’ve heard Snipe in Walthamstow & seen Hen Harrier too! And yes, I think there are crested newts somehwhere in there, as well.

    Not so
    Someone could say it, but WHY would TfL even WANT to do such a thing?
    There’s no profit, of any sort, because it would actually cost more to implelment & make the whole service more difficult to operate, so, it is a deliberate lie, manufactured for the pure purpose of scaremongering.
    I mean do people have to change on/off different trains on the Central & Metropolitan lines? No.
    Why would someone want to make up such a fanciful & unlikely tale?
    Come on, get realistic …..
    “Humans don’t lie much” – I disagree, but I’m not going to enter into that discussion right now, or there really will be a riot.

    Which brings us back to the Herne Hill problem, doesn’t it?
    I’m suprised in all our discussion on that thread, we didn’t mention (or hardly mentioned) the similar problem at the next station to the south!

  28. c says:

    I’m gonna go all Greg on this.

    The Wimbledon trains through the core is STUPID STUPID STUPID! The whole Thameslink scheme is lacking any backbone or vision, and is unravelling to become slightly better infrastructure but no better services!? The exception being Brighton peak trains – running as they should do (and do off peak) anyway – hardly revolutionary!

    Secondly – WTF is the point of 4tph Stratford – Lea Bridge – Tottenham Hale – Northumberland Park?

    I assume that will replace the other Stratford West Anglia services? Pointless train to nowhere at a junction-fouling frequency. At least to Brimsdown as before served 3 more stations, getting busier. This is a waste – they should go to Cheshunt or Broxbourne.

    And finally the GOBLIN situation is so infuriating! And 2018 is effing pathetic. It needs to be fully integrated and consolidated with 5-car 378s and through services to Richmond/Clapham.

  29. timbeau says:


    “You can buy a diesel loco. £1½ million to you guv. ……….What ? You want one of those electric jobbies ? You do realise they cost £3 million apiece don’t you ? ”

    Why the huge difference? And why that way round? Nearly all diesel locos are actually diesel-electrics (what a motorist would call one of these new-fangled “hybrids”) Are you really saying that the power collection system, (even including any transformer and rectifier) can cost £1.5million MORE than all the equipment needed to generate the electricity on board (diesel engine, alternator and so on)?

    I’m not sure how track access charges compare – electrics weigh less, which should reduce the costs, but the electricity they use has to be paid for.

    The issue of conflicting moves over the Southern network in particular, (although the issue comes up in a few other places on the old Southern Region, notably Lewisham. Herne Hill and Barnes) made me start to think about what it would take to introduce a more Tube-like network – fewer individual routes but higher frequencies. This can be done, but only at he cost of connectivity – at present most Southern inner suburban stations have a through service to at least two termini – usually Victoria and London Bridge, and to a north Londoner surprisingly good services for journeys within the suburbs – for example Crystal Palace to Caterham or Herne Hill. (try doing Golders Green to Highgate, or Hainault to Seven Sisters!)
    If eliminating as many conflicts as possible is the aim (and this would be neceesary if Tube frequencies were to be provided on these lines) most stations would only have a service from one terminus – for example you would have to choose between Crystal Palace and Selhurst, or between East and West Croydon, depending on whether you were going to Victoria or London Bridge – again North Londoners are used to this, but the difference is that Tube lines do tend to meet up in the middle. Worse – there would be few interchanges to allow the journeys to be made by changing – if there is no service between Streatham and Streatham Common, you might have to travel via Sutton and West Croydon (or even having to change stations in Croydon), or via London Bridge, Waterloo, and Clapham Junction instead.

    To restore anything like the connectivity and choice that south Londoners are used to would require major infastructure work in the Streatham, Anerley and Croydon areas. For example:
    – new connection between Streatham and Streatham Hill:
    -new interchange where the Beckenham Junction line crosses the Forest Hill line:
    – either a new interchange near Windmill Bridge Junction, or a new connection between East Croydon and Waddon (and closure of West Croydon)

    There is a different problem on the former Chatham lines,which is that although there are three routes between Bromley South and Victoria/Loughborough Junction, they are all only double track. If you want Tube frequencies on all three, the long distance Kent services would have to find another route. Either you have to withdraw the local service (perhaps on the Sydenham Hill route, as unlike the Nunhead and Crystal Palace routes this is not shared with any other services) or divert all the Kent services via Chislehurst to Charing Cross – which of course has implications for the South Eastern lines!

    Would it all be worth it? I suspect there would be as many losers as winners. Had the south London network been designed in one piece from scratch like the Paris Metro it would look very different, but it wasn’t and it’s probably not worth trying to make it so now.

  30. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I don’t know and I too would have thought it would be the other way round. I wonder if it is because diesel is bought off the shelf from companies like GM whereas pure-electric have to be customised even though the majority run on 25kV ac. I was hoping someone could illuminate as to why this is.

    Speak to a freight company though and ask about issues and I am sure that Route Availability (weight permitted) and loading gauge are above electrification in importance. Speak to signallers and train planners and I bet the length of passing loops is a big issue. But as far as I can tell the desire for electrically-hauled freight comes from outside the freight haulage industry. That is not to say there isn’t a case for mandating it on the grounds of removing fossil-fuel dependence and improved air quality in urban areas – but beware of the unintended consequences.

    What constantly seems to be missing in the Goblin debate is an explanation of the actual economic benefits of electrification to the freight companies which by implication could shared with the government/taxpayer/NR by higher track access charges. Everyone assumes they exist but no-one has established that they actually do.

  31. answer=42 says:

    @PoP, timbeau
    surely the specific point about freight on Goblin is that either the Goblin itself or an associated line has a steep gradient. This restricts the length of train that can be hauled by a current generation diesel and thus wrecks its economics, compared with electric haulage.

  32. ngh says:

    Re timbeau timbeau 01:57PM, 8th March 2013 and Greg Tingey 01:45PM, 8th March 2013

    Herne Hill was on my mind and to a lesser extent Tulse Hill but Tulse Hill partially solves itself post TL completion in 2018 as the non stopping TL services via Crystal palace disappear thus reducing the (worst) conflicting moves at Tulse Hill and giving much greater pathing flexibility for NR future planned LBG terminators via Tulse Hill post 2018 (also know as how to use paths into LBG terminating platforms with the least conflicting moves on the network).

    Works at both are out of the question before 2018 because of the LBG rebuild, other thoughts I had (less effective* as they are further out of town on quieter stretches but give more flexibility at bottlenecks like HNH, TUH and blackfriars approaches) were grade separated junctions at Sutton (East or both?), Streatham South Junction, Streatham Junction and kicking the tram out of Wimbledon to regain the 2nd loop platform.

    *i.e. lower BCR but could you do the lot for the cost of Herne Hill? The sites are generally less awkward and work could be done with the lines open most of the time.

  33. JM says:


    Said it on another thread but depending on where commuters head from Victoria ie anything above Buck Palace, Charing Cross is probably just as useful for the west end. If access from CX to Embankment tube was enhanced, you could also go west relatively quickly. Certainly you could put Bexleyheath and Chatham services that way. If (if) you could ever send the Vic to Herne Hill, the Orpington stoppers could go to Blackfriars or T/L opening up connectivity on the route.

    Something that adds to your argument I suspect will be Brixton tube station. I wish I could see the stats but I suspect many people using it as their start point for their journey more than likely have other less frequent alternatives further south/east.

    People will always cite inconvenience but surely the increased frequencies with useful interchanges means people don’t have to plan their lives around when the train leaves in the morning or evening. Given the amount of business agglomeration in London, people would not have to live and plan their lives around where work/trains dictate.

    As for XR2, regardless of London homebuilding plans, if major work is pencilled in for Stansted in the future, the political pressure to send it there will be massive I suspect – which would mean a whole new route or stopping all WAGN services north of probably Ponders End and reducing it to the same standard as Chingford/Enfield/Cheshunt lines.

    I know the Mayor has cited 18 areas he has identified as areas for large scale homebuilding. Have these sites been identified publicly?

  34. Mark Townend says:

    Electric locos should not be significantly more expensive than freight diesels. That they are is mostly down to economy of scale in production, as one can purchase a bog standard ‘class 66’ off the EMD production line for use all over Europe and all the design and approval overhead has been bought and paid for nearly 20 years ago. So it’s a classic chicken and egg situation; if there was an equivalent no frills go anywhere electric design already then it should be no more expensive if not cheaper, and significantly more economical over whole life, but such a design won’t become available without large orders in the first place! Just like the old class 73s on the Southern Region, to solve the sidings issue some new European freight electrics are now appearing with small diesel gen sets incorporated for short forays off the wires; as known from shunting designs significant tractive effort can still be derived from small power units as long as speed is limited. Electrical interference issues are much less of a problem on AC infrastructure than they have been on the much higher current DC network, and manufacturers now have years of experience limiting this problem at source by design. In addition the signalling infrastructure is changing. Track circuits are the most vulnerable infrastructure components as they are electrically connected directly to the same rails used for traction current return. The modern preference for train detection is axle counters and these are not connected in the same way. Long relay circuits wired via copper cables parallel to the rails are being displaced by digitally encoded serial data links with sophisticated error checking. Copper data cables themselves are being replaced increasingly by fibre optics, completely removing the risk of electrical interference in transmission.

  35. Greg Tingey says:

    AND that the GOBLIN is already electrified at one end, for a little bit in the middle & conncts with two electric lines at the other end, so juicing it up increases total connectivity – it’s called, err, oh yes, I remember “Intergated transport” or more basically: “joined-up-thinking”. Um.

    Isn’t there a new “EU” approved (gradually) electric loco in the works – seen it in “Modern Railways – can’t remember it’s name right now ???? ( Veyron ? )

  36. Martin Smith says:

    “Getting off at the boundary” may sound far-fetched but Barry Doe’s column in Rail this week suggests that on-platform Oyster readers are being actively removed, and that passengers changing from ticketed travel on long-distance trains to Oyster travel on London trains are expected to leave the station by the barriers using their ticket and re-enter on Oyster.

    Not exactly the same thing, but anti-passenger enough in the same spirit that being made to change trains at the boundary won’t sound completely outrageous to many.

  37. Martin Smith says:

    @JM Charing Cross has goodaccess to Embankment tube, you just wouldn’t know it. I can’t recall if it’s actually unsignposted or just very unobvious, but the link taking the walkway that heads from the left of the leftmost platform and onto the jubilee footbridge, but turning left before the footbridge (to right outside the Thames-facing entrance of Embankment) is about as direct as you could manage without major building work.

  38. Mark Townend says:

    Greg Tingey, 08:55AM, 8th March 2013

    The 3-track section just to the N of LJ is as short as I could get it and I think 2 turnouts tip to tip would be preferable to a diamond crossing, which given the desire to keep the fasts moving ‘fast’ might have to be of the seriously non-prefered ‘switched’ variety. I think a flyover there would be total overkill and practically impossible given the viaduct construction. The overlap spur coming from DH is a part of a deliberate attempt to get the signal as close to the junction as possible for an approaching train creeping up to cross behind a fast from E&C heading to LJ / HH. The spur could be omitted if the signal was moved further back from the junction, but that would increase the time for a train stopped there to accelerate and clear the junction subsequently.

  39. Fandroid says:

    Speaking myself from relative electrical ignorance, I think Pedantic is slightly wrong when he says most electric locos run on 25kV. They do in the UK, but things vary a lot in the rest of Europe. Germany, Austria & Switzerland are 15kV ac, Netherlands is 1500V dc, Belgium, Poland & Czech Rep. are 3000V dc etc etc. I know that they have mastered the art of multi-voltage these days, but it still suggests that there is no totally standard loco that can easily be bought off the shelf.

    There is always the perennial curse of the British loading gauge too. All modern continental locos are monsters that would carve big chunks off our lovely Victorian heritage. I believe Bombardier are looking seriously at a shrunken British version of their standard beast, and one of the minor British freight companies is talking about procuring new electric locos. Freight companies are not frightened of specifying new/modified designs if they make sense commercially. Look at the class 70s ordered by Freightliner.

  40. Littlejohn says:

    Walthamstow Writer 10:01PM, 7th March 2013 (and elsewhere in other topics as well). S.106 is sometimes seen as a convenient pot of money to achieve things otherwise not affordable. The system is changing from next year. A Community Infrastructure Levy will replace Developer Contributions (S.106) on all housing developments granted consent from 1 April 2014. CIL will be spent on the infrastructure (either new or enhancements to existing) identified as being needed to support the development in a specific area. Developer Contributions can then only be used for affordable housing and to help deliver site-specific infrastructure, such as access roads. The rationale behind the change seems to be to prevent the perceived misuse of contributions, where a developer offers a wad of money to ease the planning process or a Local Authority asks for money for a particular purpose and then puts it in a pot to be used later, sometimes in a different area. In theory there will be no reason why CIL should not be used for transport improvements but it will be incumbent on the LA and developer to show that the expenditure actually supports the development.
    Separately, I don’t think anyone has commented (unless I have missed it – quite possible) on the 1 March announcement that the Crossrail rolling stock purchase will now be fully funded by the taxpayer. This means that the public sector contribution will increase from £350 million to £1 billion. The move is said to be designed to ensure that the project stays on track (no pun intended) following a delay in the procurement process. The full article is here:

  41. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP 1051 – I think “the unspoken aspect” is precisely why Jim Steer brought it into the discussion. I completely take your point about the flexibility of diesel freight locos and their comparatively low cost. It is also true that there has been no published discourse about why electric freight on the GOBLIN is better. It is clear that the politicians have a “no carbon” / air quality justification in their mind plus a view that rail freight is better than road freight. I guess part of the pressure for electric GOBLIN freight is that demand for paths is rising, pressure to take freight off the NLL (in part) will go up and, as another posted has said, electric locos can typically haul longer trains per path. I have not seen how or if an electric GOBLIN fits in with the MML / Electric Spine electrification initiatives but there must be some logic that if you are going to do wiring infills on to the GWML why not do the GOBLIN too given it will serve a huge, brand new port on the Thames. It would be helpful to see more details from the relevant parties. The Assembly did ask Network Rail to share as much info as possible despite NR not being privy to FOI requirements.

    @ Greg 1051 – I agree with you that the ill founded challenges are tiresome. However you are not going to get a TfL senior manager (G Hobbs) saying who said what in front of politicians, colleagues and the public. You surely cannot be surprised that people will come up with good and not so good concerns about any proposed change. People also choose to ignore what is put in front of them not matter how professionally produced or how reliable the source info. Some people do not want change and do not want to be persuaded either. I know Geoff of old and he is a decent, thoughtful chap who I am sure is doing his utmost to present a decent and reasoned response to even the most tiresome, unreasoned of concerns.

    @ Slugabed 1106 – there is massive suppressed demand on the Lea Valley corridor. If you want to see the most obvious examples of this demand then look at how stupidly overloaded the 192 and 491 buses are. The 192 runs out of T Hale with small buses (tight clearances further up prevent bigger vehicles) and frequently leaves jammed full with people up to the windscreen. The 491 covers the northern end around Ponders End, Brimsdown and Waltham Cross. While not as frequent as the 192 and using bigger vehicles it loads extremely well and had to have its frequency doubled by TfL after 4 years or so. A far better rail service on the corridor would certainly cater for a proportion of these trips. I use the T Hale – Stratford service fairly regularly and even with a 30 minute headway it has decent loadings and plenty of people waiting for it. I am sure a TfL style service would bring signficant patronage increases. You only need to see the level of interchange from the GOBLIN to/from the Vic Line at Blackhorse Rd to see an analogous example. Planned developments will just increase demand.

  42. Mark Townend says:

    @Martin Smith, 04:33PM, 8th March 2013

    Not a problem at traditional terminals like KX where you have to exit mainline barriers before going anywhere else. At Finsbury Park however where such an interchange could be cross-platform or same-platform, forcing an exit and re-entry would be completely impractical, not only inconvenient and ‘non-intuitive’ for the punter but putting additional strain on already crowded stairways and passages.

  43. Fandroid says:

    Amazing that a mere £650 million can immediately be found to keep Crossrail on time, when other train procurements (EIP, Thameslink?) seem to slip so far behind that no-one can remember what the original target dates actually were. Perhaps those Crossrail bosses need to take over all such projects.

  44. Fandroid says:

    Getting slightly closer to the topic. I have travelled from central Walthamstow to Stratford, changing at T Hale, and can see that 4tph in the lower Lea valley would help at lot. However, I’m not sure that those people from further out on the Chingford line would be terribly impressed by having to change twice to get to Stratford. Even then, it only makes sense for a shopping expedition. I suspect that any rail commutes from Chingford to Canary Wharf are real tedious chores, with three changes required. I’m with Greg in that I suspect the reinstatement of the Hall Farm curve would suddenly release a massive suppressed demand for good public transport along the east side of the valley.

  45. Mark Townend says:

    @Walthamstow Writer, 04:58PM, 8th March 2013

    Not only can modern electric locos haul heavier or longer trains (up to the maximum allowed on particular routes) than a diesel of similar size and weight but they can haul a given (maximum) load train significantly faster, particularly when climbing long grades or accelerating away from stops.

  46. Greg Tingey says:

    The Tottenham Hale – Stratford err … “service” excuse me, whilst I fall about laughing ….
    Approx 4.25 miles in 13 minutes ( & often late, even then!) slower than 20 mph …..
    Agree re suppressed service in the LV, certainly to the South of Chesunt

    Also agree re G Hobbs – I’m not criticising him, just the (presumed) politicians telling porkies about changing trains at the international frontier called the GLA boundary … (ahem)

  47. Slugabed says:

    Greg Tingey
    1:45 08/03
    *Off topic*
    I am not a birder but many of FoTM’s members most certainly are,and wax lyrical about the bird-life and its seasonal changes….I personally tend an allotment and keep bees on the Marshes…but I always appreciate other peoples’ enthusiasms.

  48. Greg Tingey says:

    I too, am an allotment-holder & have encountered a weasel, one day on the path between the Copper Mills & Springfield Marina, & as for other animal-life …..
    Taken by me at the door of my hut – he was waiting for a biscuit!

  49. Slugabed says:

    Walthamstow Writer
    4:58 08/03
    *Back on -topic*
    Being a long-time sufferer of the over-crowded 192 bus I couldn’t agree more….but it isa better bet than waiting for the train.Personally I cannot wait for four-tracking to enable a proper urban service on the Lea Valley corridor,even if this means that the Marsh Lane crossing (inter alia) is closed.

  50. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Fandroid – I agree about the benefit of reinstating the Hall Farm curve. Regrettably it is a long way down the agenda in terms of things to do with the Lea Valley corridor. It’s very likely to be a missed opportunity even under devolved TfL control.

    @ Greg – Yes I know the journey time is relatively poor. However it is lightning fast compared to a 45 minute slog from Stratford City to Walthamstow on a 97 bus in the rush hour. Someone needs to get some work underway, akin to that done between the TOCs and Network Rail on the WCML, to look at why reliability and timekeeping on the Lea Valley route is so poor. I’ve lost count of recent train failure / signal failure / overhead wire problems on the line.

    @ Mark T – thanks for the additional comments on electric freight. Given those beneficial characteristics you can perhaps see why there is pressure from parties other than the FOCs to get wires strung up and electric locos running. It was my understanding that Freightliner’s usual practice is to run a good proportion of its freight workings on the NLL with electric traction. Perhaps it would wish to do something similar on the GOBLIN if wires were present and it wins extra work from Thamesport. And before I’m corrected yes I know Freightliner has plenty of diesel locos too including the “interesting” Class 70s.

  51. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I think Pedantic is slightly wrong when he says most electric locos run on 25kV. They do in the UK, but things vary a lot in the rest of Europe. Germany, Austria & Switzerland are 15kV ac, Netherlands is 1500V dc, Belgium, Poland & Czech Rep. are 3000V dc etc etc.

    I suppose I keep thinking of France and forget how big Germany/Austria/Switzerland are. I am not sure about Austria and Switzerland but in Germany it is single phase (the same phase throughout I believe) with no plans to change it. My knowledge of schoolboy physics cannot work out how the country’s power stations can cope with that.

    But I suppose that all makes my case all the more valid. If there isn’t  a standard-ish electric loco to buy they will almost certainly be more expensive than off-the-shelf diesels.

    @Mark Townsend 05:22p.m.
    but they  [electric locos] can haul a given (maximum) load train significantly faster

    I don’t doubt that but my point is do the FOCs care? Unless they are penalised for running slow trains (or incentivised to run fast ones) why should they give a toss about being able to accelerate faster? It will make little difference to the overall time as freight trains typically are kept waiting to allow more time-dependent services through. If better acceleration stopped them being “looped” then yes I think it would be an incentive to buy electric locos. I am presuming there are no suitable freight loops on Goblin.

  52. JM says:

    @Martin Smith

    Thanks, will take a look.

    @ Walthamstow Writer

    Would also add that if major redevelopment took place around Kimberley Road/Nth Circular, Angel Road would be a much more useful station. Enhance the 444 and Trinity Park/Chingford Hall area is relatively close. Further north, Picketts Lock, car parking and 313 access to Wharf Road/Ponders End and you could probably bring many more people onto the route from western Chingford to either the west end or the City.

    I use the Stratford service up the Lea Valley quite often. Speaking personally, I’d rather either all services went through Stratford at higher speed or extend DLR north to Tottenham Hale.

  53. Greg Tingey says:

    Copper Mills Junction to/from Stratford – problems.
    Hall Farm curve (we should be so lucky!) and, of course, more on wildlife – I wonder how long before the resident wild rabbits (Yes – visible from Chingford trains in summer) start undermining the embankments?
    A suprisingly sharp reverse-curve just to the south of the Lea Bridge Road overbridge, where the top end of Temple Mills yards used to be ( 30 or 20 mph IIRC).
    The dreadful trundle between there & the Ruckholt Rd overbridge & the creep across Temple Mills E Jn.
    The moving train/flat crossing conflicts at both Copper Mills & Clapton Junctions …
    It is to be hoped if 4-tracking is implemented, that a third / or replacement / up Lea Valley line is laid from above CMJn, raising over the direct Stratford line, parallelling the NW curve & coming down to the south of the line in to Clapton – there is planty of room & it is all on railway-owned land ….
    The conflicts on both the Chinford & the Stratford services at these two flat junctions is very common, so W’stow C -> Livp St takes 25 minutes instead of 15 – & still slower than in 1922, oops.
    Indeed, as I’ve noted before, the Chingford line cannot, at present improve on 4 tph/8-coach service, because there are no paths “inside” Clapton Jn to spare ….

    Of course there are three bus “services” between Walthamstow & Stratford [ 97, 69, &, if you are prepared to hop one stop to Leyton Central line, the 58 ] all terminally slow in normal conditions.

  54. DW down under says:

    Re: electric locomotives vs diesel

    Why electric locos are more expensive. The first thing to do is compared apples with apples.

    A 3000hp 130t diesel compared to a 6000hp 84t electric or a 6760hp 126t electric.

    So, in terms of maintaining schedule, we should compare 2 diesels with one electric.

    In terms of starting heavy slow bulk trains, power is less important than actual tractive effort which is influenced by tractive weight (the mass on the driving axles, which in these cases is 100%), gearing, type of traction motor (AC or DC) and the effectiveness of wheelslip protection systems.

    For lifting intermodal traffic out of Thamesport, electrics would be fine. For lifting bulk traffic, diesels could have an edge. But you wouldn’t want the diesels running on busy inner urban tracks due to their limited ability to sustain schedule.

    In summary, it’s horses for courses:

    – for heavy bulk freight, two 84t electrics would be needed to start the train and maintain adhesion – or one 126t electric.
    – for schedule maintenance, two or more diesels would be needed – this is why Freighliner went for the GE Powerhaul – more hp to maintain speed.

    Let’s look at the electrics. The traction motors are around 50% – 80% more powerful than a diesel’s. The traction control packages need to handle more than double the diesel’s traction package in terms of current and power.

    Modern locos convert the incoming current into a standard, controlled DC voltage to feed to the inverters. Therefore everything from the main traction bus “down” is common for the same power rated traction motors. So, whether the supply voltage is 25kv @ 50Hz, 15kV @ 16.667Hz, 3000v DC or 1500v DC, by suitable switching (series-parallel) of the traction modules and through voltage regulation a standard steady DC supply is achieved. The main transformer and converter can be common to both AC systems, and their output standardised at say 1500v DC.

    So, your trade off is a 5MW+ transformer with dual tapping plus high current switchgear cf a 3150hp diesel engine and 2.25MW alternator, you see the costs starting to balance. Then when you consider the much higher power and current ratings of each traction motor and traction control circuit – you can see that the electric loco combines higher performance rated equipment with some offsetting major componentry. In summary then, the electric’s main traction components deliver roundly double the power at likely double the cost, and the cost of its high power transformer and voltage management systems offset partially the cost of the lower powered diesel engine and alternator. So, we should not be surprised that a 6760hp Co-Co electric costs roundly double a 3000hp Co-Co diesel.

    We should note that standard Euro loco packages are designed to fit into most loading gauges (so they can be exported with little difficulty) – therefore it’s only a matter of specifying a carbody to suit the UK. The UK should be able to benefit pricewise, from the standard packages available in Europe.

    The 92s were built in a class 60 carbody which clearly cut development and production costs.


    DW down under

  55. Glenn Wallis says:

    As far as I am concerned this Transport Committee was the final proof that the only obstruction to the electrification of Barking – Gospel Oak is DafT!

    Our latest e-bulletin gives the nearly up to date position and explains why extra vehicles for Class 172s or new DMUs are uneconomic. Also in our “Other Documents” section of our website Library page are the representations BGOLUG and the London Assembly Transport Committee sent into the Office of Rail Regulation regarding the Network Rail Strategic Business Plan.

    It seems some contributors are unclear about the use of electric traction by the FOCs.
    Freightliner have a fleet of Class 86 (used in pairs apart from 86501) and Class 90 locos working WCML container traffic to/from Ipswich and Tilbury via the North London Line. Freightliner complained bitterly when the NLL was blocked for upgrade works and NR had to compensate them for having to use diesels to drag the electrically hauled freights via the T&H Line [Tottenham & Hampstead Line (Barking – Gospel Oak route)]. Although it has ordered more diesels, including the Class 70s, Freightliner insists it wants to continue with electric traction. However some of the elderly Class 86s have been withdrawn but 86501 and the 90s carry on.

    DB Schenker of course have a vast surplus of diesels and a smaller one of electric locos. They have Class 90 and dual-voltage Class 92 locos, the latter built for the Channel Tunnel and some of each in store and under threat of scrapping or sale abroad. Much Fords Dagenham traffic was Class 90 hauled but since marshalling has been shifted from Wembley to Didcot this has declined.

    GBRf has purchased Class 92s from SNCF and parent Euro Tunnel (DBS won’t sell locos to the opposition). Both DBS and GBRf are trying to expand european freight traffic via HS1 and Barking for which only Class 92s can be used. GBRf have stated that they want the Felixstowe – Nuneaton route electrified.

    Of course Jim Steer’s comment about not being able force FOC’s to use electric traction is just as applicable to the “Electric Spine” which is one of DafT’s HLOS headline grabbers. The trouble is, it took so long for DafT to accept the logic of rolling electrification, Freightliner, for one, gave up waiting and ordered more Class 66 “sheds” and the Class 70s. Of course the Class 66 no longer meets the latest emissions regs and possibly neither does the Class 70.

    A large number of Class 86 and Class 87s have already been sold to eastern Europe, mainly Bulgaria.

    Glenn Wallis
    Assistant Secretary
    Barking – Gospel Oak Line User Group

  56. DW down under says:

    Glenn Wallis BGOLUG

    Re: no new diesels

    The group’s latest newsletter confirms much of the discussion that’s already occurred.

    We applaud the fact that electrification is still on the agenda, but note:

    – the earliest completion would be 2017 (I thought 2018)
    – costings specifically exclude platform lengthening
    – the Group is consistently being told that traffic and engineering spares cannot be committed to permanently timetabled services

    So, how do you want to go forward to deal with PiXC in the short term?

    I’ve already outlined two possibilities:

    1) insert class 508 trailers into the class 172;
    2) push-pull operation by diesel loco of passenger cars including one DTSO or temporarily demotored DMSO

    There is one other possibility you could pursue:

    – pre-emptible hire/use of traffic spares with conditional services put in the timetable

    What this does is further “sweat the assets” – this time the rolling stock. By allowing LOROL’s traffic spare to be provisionally scheduled, and hiring maybe one from Chiltern (or a ROSCo), which would be on the basis that if they need it, they’ve got it, you could have your PiXC buster services running much of the time. Of course, if there are problems, well GOBLIN also then has problems with a conditional train not running. But at least you get the problem addressed most of the time.

    So that’s three near term suggestions to help your members and stakeholders out …


    DW down under

  57. MikeP says:

    Well, I can name one objector to TfL taking over SoutheEastern Metro services, complete with spurious justifications.

    No secret, coz it’s on the internet. I dare say he’s recycling the DafT position, ‘coz that’s precisely what he did when I wrote to him when the fare increase was still budgeted at inflation + 3% (yes, I know that’s what MPs are meant to do by convention, but decent ones don’t. They take their representative role seriously)

    No news of a Road to Damascus moment yet, but I’m working on it….

  58. timbeau says:

    So let’s indeed compare apples with apples – if you need 6000hp+ you need to compare the cost of two diesels with one electric. If a 3000hp diesel could do the job, presumably a 6000hp electric is over-specified: how much would a 3000hp electric cost?

    And as has been pointed out, there are spare Class 92s sittingb around. They may be not the latest technology, as they are nearly twenty years old, but they have not been used at all (or hardly at all).

  59. Greg Tingey says:

    Glenn Wallis
    GBRf have stated that they want the Felixstowe – Nuneaton route electrified. And at the very least, Ipswich – Felixstowe & doubled, surely, not just increased, longer loops?

    DW du
    “Platform Lengthening” on GOBLIN, with two exceptions is easy – the platforms are still/already there, so TfL can do that from small change
    The exceptions are South Tottenham, but there the North-side platform can be extended East & the South-side platform extended West – we have already discussed this & I’m sure Tfl could afford it.
    The difficult one is Gospel Oak iteslf, & I’m not going to reherase the mulifarious possible options again, right now.

    You missed the possibililty of connecting up “spare” “Pacers” to the existing units as extra capacity on existing services – I though we had worked out that this was feasible (?)

    Mike P
    This Gareth Johnson is only too obviously a selfish little twerp, isn’t he?
    Reminds me of the (Republican IIRC) Governer of New Jersey who has cancelled new MTA tubes under the Hudson River, because it will only enable NJ residents to “emigrate” (for work that isn’t available in NJ) to NY.
    I mean, where do three of the four rail-lines from Dartford go to? Yes, well then!
    The very idea of connectivity & joined-up services & service patterns does not seem to occur to him, or that improved connections means better employment.
    He is not lying, but he certainly appears to be badly self-deluded.
    Or, I wonder, is he a latter-day thatcherite, hating all railways, & not having noticed that we have already passed peak car use?

    Or, again, is this a general illustration of the non-educational and non-technical level of the inhabitants of the lie-factory in Westminster?

  60. JQ says:

    Oyster to Sevenoaks and Dunton Green? What about Swanley to Bat & Ball? Or will Southeastern send all their RPIs to those trains to catch unsuspecting commuters? (You can touch in and touch out, but you can’t take this train)

  61. mr_jrt says:

    “Indeed, as I’ve noted before, the Chingford line cannot, at present improve on 4 tph/8-coach service, because there are no paths “inside” Clapton Jn to spare”

    Surely if you 4 track Stratford to Broxbourne it removes all fasts from all “current” lines, leaving you with as many paths through Clapton as you could want (as all fasts could run via Stratford), not to mention as many as you could want for a local extension of LO from Stratford up the Lea Valley. Sending 12 car CR2 services from Hackney Downs to Chingford should provide the service levels they already have…though I still suspect sending some LO services via Hall Farm to Chingford as additional capacity wouldn’t hurt.

  62. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Glenn Wallis – Several people (myself included) put the DfT in the dock over the failure to get electrification confirmed in the Autumn Statement. However Geoff Hobbs of TfL stressed very strongly, in replying to Jennette Arnold, that DfT had been very supportive in getting a proposition ready for the Autumn Statement. It was the Treasury that was actually “fingered” as being the block. We all know that the Treasury is probably the most powerful department in Government so it makes sense that they’d be the ones to say “no”. Now we don’t know exactly what went on but I really do not believe that Peter Hendy would have said what he said to the Transport Committee back in October without having had a strong positive steer via the DfT / Mayor’s office that a “yes” was expected. Later comments by Val Shawcross switched the focus back to the DfT despite what Geoff Hobbs had actually said.

    @ Greg – you might not like the view of the Dartford MP but his stance is not much different in principle (looking after local issues and what he believes are the concerns of his constituents) than Jeremy Corbyn and Jennette Arnold fighting hard to get the GOBLIN electrified. I agree he may be lacking in facts but the press release is from a year ago and I would expect him to have been in receipt of much more info from TfL since then. What he has done with it is a separate question!

    @ JQ – Swanley and Bat & Ball were not mentioned in the Oyster discussion. I assume this is because TfL have not stated that they wish to take over the service that serves those stations. There was a later question in the session as to whether TfL would transfer some of the Thameslink services to Overground operation. This was pretty much ruled out because the services stretched too far beyond the London boundary. I recognise FCC run to Bat & Ball but disaggregating some Thameslink services from the wider franchise is perhaps not what is needed. Looking at the timetable Swanley has a majority of trains run by South Eastern that run on to Ashford so they’ll stay with the residual Kent franchise. I imagine the new Kent franchise will mandate the adoption of ITSO smart ticketing so the two stations in question will get that functionality at some point. I understand it is probably “untidy” in the context of two routes between Bromley South and Sevenoaks which may have some form of inter-availability.

    @ Mr A 2236 7/3/13 – On the franchise timing point I suspect that the current delays to the franchising programme and the need for the DfT to develop new financial models for future franchises means there is a delay. Although no formal announcements have been made beyond WCML / Great Western / Integrated FCC & Southern / Essex Thameside I think the consensus is that all franchises falling due for renewal soon will be delayed. I cannot see South Eastern being renewed in 2014 so perhaps 2015 is the current view of the most likely switchover date. Go Via are therefore probably in for a franchise extension as are many other franchise holders. The DfT have a tremendous volume of difficult franchises to get off the decks before getting round to South Eastern, Northern / Trans Pennine Express, Greater Anglia and East Coast.

  63. Greg Tingey says:

    MR jrt
    All fasts COULD run via Stratford, provided something is done about line-speeds & alignmentsbetween Copper Mill Jn & Stratford, since even the twiddles via Hackney Downs are faster than the ghastly trundle going down the old mainline at present. And a floyover wouldn’t be that difficult, if (big if) you are doing the 4-tracking anyway.
    Oh the Forest Road overbridge at Totthenham Hale station will have to go , anyway – the Eastern half is suprisingly ancient – it was not replaced when the knitting was strung up the valley, & I think one of the lamp-standards must be one of the last trollyebus poles remaining in London!
    12-car-platforms on the Chingford Line – sorry, not on – a 10-minute service of “8’s” is do-able, though. because where are you going to put the platform extensions? Presently, the platforms are 9(maybe 10) cars long, but is there room to extend all pf’s @ Hackney Downs? No.
    It could probably be done @ Clapton, St James St, Walthamstow C, Wood St & Highams Park. But .. NOT at Chingford – look at an ariel view of the carriage-siding layout & pointwork.
    Also those sidings take 2×4-cars, & they used to take 3×3-cars of the old units, and they are needed for stock storage, & we don;t want them taken away, because that’s why we have such a good early-AM & late-night service.

    Yes, but what does the twerp in Dartford actually want? If he wants an improved train service, he’s going exactly 150% the wrong-way about it, isn’t he? And, assuming people commuting out of, or even in to Dartford need a better service, though anything enabling escape from Dartford is a good idea (!)(note*) then surely getting the major London service-provider on-board is the thing to do.

    (note* : Dartford is probably not the worst, since there’s a joke going around, which IIRC, states that Erith has a suicide-pact with Rainham on the North bank of the river!)

  64. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mr_JRT – it is my understanding that any 4 tracking would run from just south of Tottenham Hale northwards. It would not and cannot stretch to Stratford because the alignment has been swallowed by edges of the Olympic Park plus the new sidings and Eurostar depot at Temple Mills. The Network Rail Strategic Plan for CP5 specifically rules out sending Lea Valley trains via Stratford once Crossrail frees up paths into Liverpool Street. Any relinquished paths will be used for enhancing Great Eastern services into Liverpool Street. Therefore the alignment via Clapton will remain as a constraint and there is far more growth on the longer distance Lea Valley services than there is on the Chingford Line. Therefore the investment will go towards the Lea Valley route. As a local I think the x15 minute daily service on the Chingford route is not at all bad – certainly way better than Enfield Town gets! The way to get a better Chingford service would be via the Hall Lane curve reinstatement and running to Stratford but we’ve done that one already!

  65. Anonymous says:

    @DW down under, 12:32AM, 9th March 2013

    Good informative analysis of the electric technical issues!

    Just a couple of points:

    It’s not only on the busy urban routes that heavy freight diesel haulage constrains total capacity. On longer distance routes like the GW via Westbury, lumbering aggregate trains grinding up long grades get in the way of Intercity trains too.

    You didn’t look at the whole life cost issue. Compare the regular maintenance requirements of a big modern diesel engine, keeping everything adjusted to sustain maximum power output and stay within emissions limits, with the almost fit and forget nature of a main transformer within an electric.

  66. timbeau says:

    “there’s a joke going around, which IIRC, states that Erith has a suicide-pact with Rainham on the North bank of the river”

    That was the late, great Linda Smith, of her native Erith: “It’s not twinned with anywhere, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham.”

  67. Glenn Wallis says:

    Greg T There are no spare Pacers, indeed ROSCOs are now looking at life extension plans for them. Also Class 172s cannot work in multiple with them.

    DW du The amount of inertia in the Bristish rail industry is such that strengthening LOROL’s Class 172s with a 508 trailer would end up costing as much and take just as long as ordering new DMU vehicles.

    WW Good point. But it has only been in the last six months or so that DafT have reluctantly started to support B – GO electrification.

    BGOLUG believes that increased pressure on TfL will produce at least one 2-car DMU for the short term from some where, most likely from Chiltern. Otherwise, if no sign of the wires, we will have to await until Crossrail/GW electrification to free up some Class 165s.

    By the way Greg, have you heard that work has actually started on part of the Walthamstow stations pedestrian link?

    Glenn Wallis
    Assistant Secretary
    Barking – Gospel Oak Line User Group

  68. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, you know that, & I know that & every engineer on the planet knows that.
    But politicians can only, ever, see” first cost” – why do you think the DLR has been more or less completely rebuilt at least twice ( & some places three times)?
    This also, was the “argument” used by Daft 1967 – 1985 & 1988 – 2010, as backed by the Treasury & publicly spouted by none other than Richard Bowker to a lecture-hall full of indignant engineers as late as (IIRC) 2009.
    I just hope the “electric spine” doesn’t collapse, through lack of joined-up “bits” like Sheffield – Dnacaster/Moorthorpe thus condemning the railways to another 45 years of Treasury hate ….

  69. Greg Tingey says:

    Cross-postings make comms difficult – pity we can’t “edit” our earlier posts!
    Opps re. pacers – I thought it could be done – someone said so here – maybe it wasn’t with 172’s
    DafT have had their arms twisted, that’s why they are giving carefully lukewarm support to GOBLIN electric ….
    Yes, I commented somewhere here, last week, that they’d started @ Walthamstow Midland, & they were well at it on Wednesday (27th Feb)

  70. Fandroid says:

    Glenn/Greg did you spot that Walthamstow Queens Road Stn is called a ‘transport hub’ in that Guardian article! Do the reporters live in outer space?

  71. DW down under says:

    Glenn Wallis

    You paint a depressing picture of the British railway industry – but have presented no hard data to support your view.

    Apart from the insertion of an extra car into the 172/0s, I mentioned loco push-pull working with short rakes of passenger cars, with one DTSO or temporarily demotored DMSO at one end. Have you guys not considered seeking formal views on that as an interim PiXC busting measure pending electrification? It should work as a “fix” but its economics rule it out as a “solution”, therefore it doesn’t threaten in any way the decision to electrify. One possibility, subject to technical confirmation, is to loco work Coastway 313 units displaced by 377s that are in turn displaced by newly delivered stock. The 313s would then become the main stock on the route until platform lengthening at critical station(s) is completed and new 5-car 378s delivered – the lead time for which I don’t know.

    If you’re looking to release of 165s to assist, are you sure they are gauge-approved for the GOBLIN? If it’s a case of the 165s allow a cascade of narrower stock, then that’s reasonable. The problem is that you’re looking at 2019 for the cascade to occur, and you’re looking at 2017 as the earliest completion of GOBLIN electrification.

    Better to look for an OBVIOUSLY temporary interim measure to eliminate any risk of that measure causing further deferral of the main objective.

    DW down under

  72. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @
    04:00PM, 9th March 2013

    Re: electric locos

    Agreed that diesel haulage, with internally limited hp, can lead to heavy path “consumption”. The cost per path could influence how much power is put on the head end of the train, of course.

    Electric locos, apart from their continuous rating, also have shorter term ratings which allow them extra power to “punch” up banks, and accelerate trains. It’s their starting tractive effort which is ultimately their limiting characteristic.

    As for whole of life costs, there are two angles here:

    1) yes, diesels have more routine maintenance requirements; and

    2) diesels generally have a shorter useful life; but

    3) electrics can become obsolescent long before they’re worn out – which has the effect of making replacement parts, when needed, hard to get and costly – hence the sale of working British electric locos to eastern Europe.

    Probably the ideal combination is a lower hp specification electric which shares traction electronics and traction motors with heavy diesels (around 4400hp/3.3MW). A Co-Co with lots of batteries (NiMH, Li-ion or Li-poly or maybe NaHx) as both ballast and “last-mile” infill – plus a form of regenerative braking in sections which are not equipped to support regenerative braking through the external current supply. Alternatively, a high-speed diesel (like used in the HST power cars, but more cylinders) with alternator could be fitted to provide the ballast weight and “last mile” capability. (Also the “middle mile” in the case of GOBLIN!! )

    That way, you get the benefits of volume from the diesel side, starting tractive effort from the mass of the unit, and power ratings for performance. Run in MU with an 87 or 90 where necessary.

    DW down under

  73. Glenn Wallis says:

    DW du – My depressing view of the British rail industry is formed from 22 years working in it and 21 of those years actually on the T&H Line (Barking – Gospel Oak route), up to the end of 2009, Network Rail and I finally parting company at the start of 2010. Class 165s were (probably still are) cleared between Gospel Oak and South Tottenham with step boards removed for visits to Bombardier, Ilford. Since Class 172s are cleared (both 23m long but the 165 is a little wider) I am guessing that very little, probably nothing would need to be done to clear the Class 165s for the whole T&H into Barking.

    Consulting my trusty Platform 5 Combined Volume I see that the Class 508s are owned by Angel Trains, who are also the owners of the Class 172s, which means that your proposal might fly if Angel are prepared to do the work required to adapt Class 172s and 508 trailers to run together, if this can be done (I have my doubts) and Network Rail and the RSSB sign off the mods. The project would probably take a year to complete and a Class 172 would be out of traffic in works being adapted for at least six months. Then there is the loss of performance. The Bombardier Turbostars were designed as all vehicle powered DMUs, sticking a 26.5 tonne 508 trailer into a 2-car unit would certainly affect acceleration and could well give Network Rail concerns over freight train pathing. Altogether, very unlikely to get beyond the drawing board.

    The loco and coaches solution is equally unlikely. While it would be possible to source some Mk II vehicles, it is less likely that driving trailers could be sourced, although there are some privately owned ex Anglia Mk IIf DBSOs in store at Eastleigh. Since Network Rail made the working of Gospel Oak bay more restrictive in 2010, there would not be room for 2xMk IIs ‘top and tailed’. TfL would hate this solution because they want their trains to look modern and in their colour scheme, that’s why they would not repaint the ex Silverlink Class 150s and 313s when they took over.

    The Class 313s Tightlock couplers are not compatable with any other loco or MU. Again, a semi permanent adapted coupling would be needed between the unit and loco. Class 37s, 47s and 67s might be able to provide power to the units’ brakes, auxilaries and lighting but again the restrictions on Gospel Oak bay might scupper this idea too.

    Sorry to be so negative.

    Glenn Wallis
    Assistant Secretary
    Barking – Gospel Oak Line User Group

  74. DW down under says:

    Greg T

    re: electric locos – first cost

    It would probably pay when putting up a proposal for electrification to include locos costed according to the following parameters:

    a) same sort of power as top-hp AC drive diesels (US sourced: 4400hp, 3.3MW)
    b) same Co-Co frame and cab set-up (well perhaps a tad prettier than the (ugh!) 70 class) as high hp eurodiesels but to fit UK gauge;
    c) fill the vacant space with concrete blocks for ballast
    d) later, when the time is right, get batteries – or a high-speed diesel and alternator with associated cooling plant and fuel tank fitted in place of the concrete blocks

    That way, the primary costs are shared with higher volume diesels, it uses the same AC traction packs and AC traction motors as the diesels, and the same frame, air reservoirs, cabs, comms, etc as the diesels. The only extra is the transformer, which is a lower MW unit to match the traction power.

    When it comes to maintenance, shared parts become a benefit. The Euro loco builders are working towards standardised platforms on the basis of this logic.

    It’s a necessary evil to work around election cycle politicians, but also makes good business sense, too.

    DW down under

  75. Mark Townend says:

    @DW down under, 11:14PM, 9th March 2013

    Single engine heavy diesels in the USA have managed 6000 hp and above, although there have been problems with some designs, mainly with the diesel engines themselves and including meeting emissions requirements. Hence the SD90MAC from EMD is no longer in production, although a later design using the same engine is in production for China. Meanwhile, also in China, Bombardier is cooperating with Dalien Locomotive works to produce one of the the most powerful single unit Co-Co designs ever at a whopping 12,870 hp, Note all these ‘super powered’ electrics are ballasted as required up to maximum axle weight.

    Interesting Wikipedia page here:

  76. DW Down under says:

    Thanks Mark

    Yes I am fully aware of the SD90H as it’s now generally called, and the AC6000 and ES60C. Indeed there are working examples of 6000hp diesels from both camps in Western Australia, but all new orders are for the 4300/4400 hp units.

    If we just focus on the export ranges, we see that it’s the 4300/4400hp units that are getting the volume for the Australian “main line” network.

    GE are supplying a lot of 4400hp C44ac models with the old 7FDL engine because the EVO engine doesn’t fit to the interstate loading gauge across Eastern Australia. These have ac drive, but there are some ES44DC models being built for Rio. The C44ac models weigh in at 132t but many get ballasted up to 134 or 139t. Some have been built to 180t. Purpose: starting tractive effort. But the base model would be so very close to fitting the UK loading gauge that I was taken aback when I saw GE supplying the Jenbacher engined “PowerHaul” PH37C to Freightliner.

    I was equally surprised to see that dynamic brakes were omitted from the 66. Those whopping bogies must add a lot to the weight of the units. They look very much larger and heavier than those used for comparable JT42C locomotives here. BTW, the GT42CU-ac 3000hp model is being supplied to our narrow (3’6″ 1067mm) gauge networks with dynamic brakes and AC drive and weighing 126t. These are in use in Queensland and Western Australia.

    Nonetheless, there will be a hiatus soon, as the US manufacturers rejig for the next stage of US emission standards. Some of the higher rpm smaller displacement engine manufacturers are claiming compatibility with the latest Euro standards, ahead of the lower rpm, big engine (some have characterised them as “dinosaurs”) builders. I suspect GE have got the Jenbacher on board because it can be adapted readily to meet the more demanding standards. There are hints of this IIRC in their promotional webpages/brochures.

    For Britain, which will have a decent penetration of electrified trackage after CP5, electric locos with “last mile” and “middle mile” capability would become ideal. This favours the smaller, higher revving diesel engines and/or battery packs to complement the AC and/or DC supply.


    DW down under

  77. James GB says:

    I would be interested to know what the price difference is between wiring GOBLIN for 25Kv and putting in third rail 750v. This is because most of the high cost per mile associated with the GOBLIN electrification seems to be associated with tunnels, bridges and putting OHLE supports in awkward places. If you can establish that the project has a decent BCR for one type of electrification (assuming 92s on freight) you can then have the argument over who pays the difference for OHLE.

  78. Mark Townend says:

    @Glenn Wallis, 12:16AM, 10th March 2013

    If the main problem accommodating longer trains is the Gospel Oak bay, why not omit this stop entirely and run additional PIXC buster services through to somewhere people might actually want to go as I suspect the vast majority of GOBLIN passengers interchange there.

  79. Greg Tingey says:

    James GB
    I’ll repeat what has been said before … NO!
    Having a relatively tiny double section of 750V DC 3rd rail between two long & one short sections of 25kV AC is not on for lots of reasons, which should be obvious … never mind the necessity of then fitting all your units & locomotives (for freight) with dual pick-up.
    Just not economic long-term, or in engineering simplicty = costs.

    Mark Townend
    Equally NO
    How are we to get to the “Southampton Arms” if we don’t have a GO stop?
    PLEASE get your priorities right!
    Actually, having done GOBLIN counts, about 2/3 of passengers do proceed beyond GO in a Westward direction, BUT … that number isn’t nearly as big in absolute terms, as you might think as a lot get off at the previous two stops

  80. DW down under says:

    James GB & Greg T

    As an academic exercise to isolate costs, this would have merit. After all, LO stock is able to run on 3rd rail.

    For an electrification based on diesel displacement (as was the St Albans Abbey IIRC), PiXC and suspected latent demand, it has some prospective merit. But for freight, as has been pointed out, it would be impractical.

    Also, from a policy perspective, AIUI NR’s policy is no new 3rd rail (bar minor infill), only 25kV.

    But if we can get the cost of 3rd rail, and TfL agree to pay that – then the balance to make the route 25kV would be NR’s through their sponsors (DfT, Exchequer).

    Maybe that is the way to get the parties to sign off?

    A thought

    DW down under

  81. DW down under says:

    Mark Townsend

    Re: Gospel Oak terminators

    AIUI, there are pathing difficulties which preclude the regular interval services proceeding further west.

    DW Down Under

  82. Glenn Wallis says:

    Greg T
    We would need a campaign to reopen Highate Road High Level if the Gospel Oak stop was under threat! Generally the westbound peak trains lose about half their passengers at Upper Holloway and at least half of those remaining transfer to the westbound NLL at Gospel Oak, returning in the evening.

    Mark Townend & DW du
    The original (circa. 2005-6) TfL London Rail plans for Overground were for a 2tph Stratford – Queen’s Park service and a 2tph Barking – Clapham Junction Service picking up those paths around the Hampstead Loop at Gospel Oak, the other 2tph on the T&H continuing to terminate at Gospel Oak and all T&H services formed of refurbished 3-car Class 150s (West Midlands & now FGW style). Ironically, FGW has reformed at least two ex LOROL Class 150s as 3-car units!

    Then by 2007 plans were revised with the Queen’s Park service cut back to Camden Road and TfL accepting MTR/Laing’s (as LOROL then was) offer of new 8×2-car DMUs meaning that the rolling stock problem was solved (they thought, we told them they were wrong) but the the T&H service would remain Barking – Gospel Oak, putting off the rebuilding of Gospel Oak to four platforms, which was decided to be too expensive to do immediately, into the future when electrification happened.

    By late 2008 the North London Line rebuilding was going over its £236m budget and £40m was saved by cutting the 4-tracking back to east of Camden Road and we ended up with the 8tph peak Stratford – Willesden Junction service we have now.

    Both Network Rail and TfL would argue that the only way to find paths for 2tph off the T&H onto the Hampstead Loop would be to turn 2tph an hour around at Camden Road and that would be too disruptive without the originally planned turnback platform cut in 2008 along with the Camden Road bridge refurbishments to save money.

    Glenn Wallis
    Assistant Secretary
    Barking – Gospel Oak Line User Group

  83. timbeau says:

    JM March 8th 15:25

    “People will always cite inconvenience but surely the increased frequencies with useful interchanges …………. ”

    The point I was trying to make is that you can only increase frequencies by removing conflicts at flat junctions, which means a much simpler network. And if you do that you lose many of the existing through journeys or interchanges, and it woulkd cost serious money to restore the status quo.

    For example, on Southern’s inner suburban network it is possible to travel from almost any station to any other with at most one change, and without going anywhere near Zone 1. It may only be 2tph on each leg, but it can be done.

    Now, if you simplify the network to, for example
    1. Victoria – Gipsy Hill – Beckenham Junction
    2. Victoria – Norbury – East Croydon – Caterham
    3. Victoria – Norbury – East Croydon – Tattenham Corner
    4. ELL – Forest Hill – West Croydon – Sutton – Epsom Downs
    5/6. London Bridge – Streatham – Mitcham Junction – Wimbledon loop (each way)
    7. London Bridge – Streatham – Mitcham Junction – Dorking
    8. Blackfriars – Herne Hill – Sydenham Hill – Orpington
    9. Victoria – Denmark Hill – Bromley South – St Mary Cray – Sevenoaks

    (Note that this “simple” network still has nine lines: more than the Overground or the DLR, and only covers the LCDR and LBSCR lines of the south London network)

    This reduces the network to four flat junctions which can’t be eliminated, at Balham, Purley, Streatham and Sutton – note that two of these are for the Wimbledon loop.

    All stations would still have a London service, and if you can squirt 16 tph through the ELL you should be able to get 8ph – near Tube frequencies – on routes 1-4 given that none of them share track with more than one other, (route 4 is constrained by service density on the ELL core). Routes 5,6,7, share tracks as far as Streatham, so 6 tph on each route may be the max there). Routes 8 and 9 are completely independant of each other but have to share track with, respectively, long distance Chtaham line services and any services using the Nunhead-Lewisham spur – not to mention the flat junction at Herne Hill!

    You can tinker with this a bit – e.g swap the London termini of routes 8 and 9, but only by transferring the flat junction problem to Brixton, and closing Loughborough Junction. Similarly, although I have kept the Overground service going to West Croydon rather than East, but the layout north of Croydon would allow the Epsom Downs and Cat/Tatt services to be swapped over, thereby giving Sutton a Victoria service. Using the flying junctions at New Cross Gate and Anerly you add a London Bridge – Crystal Palace service via Forest Hill (or LBG – Cat/Tat and ELL- CryPal) .

    yes, 8tph is a lot better than two, but look at what you’ve lost – many through journeys are lost and, worse, the only interchanges between routes are at Sutton, Shortlands, and Beckenham Junction, plus the option to reach either London terminus from East Croydon using fast services. Tough luck if you’re at Crystal Palace and want to go south. Tulse Hill is just a through station, with no service to the Crystal Palace, Norbury, or Herne Hill lines). Interchanging at Croydon may require a change of stations.

    Building the infrastructure that woukld be necessary to restore the existing interconnectivity would require major expenditure – for instance to provide a connection in the Streatham area, perhaps by diverting Norbury line trains (routes 2 and 3) via a bi-level interchange station at Streatham and a new tunnel link to Streatham Hill (thus freeing Crystal Palace line trains (route 1) from having to serve Streatham Hill, so they can go to Tulse Hill and London Bridge instead, and in turn allowing trains from the Mitcham Junction/ Wimbledon direction (routes 7,8,9) to go to Herne Hill – but then you get conflicts there – which might be resolved by sending all Chatham line long distance trains to Charing Cross (in turn requiring all services using the mid Kent platforms at lewisham (Hayes, Sidcup, Orpington) to use the Nunhead spur and mix it with Route 9 above) and/or closing the stations Kent House to West Dulwich on route 8 and extending the CryPal line (route 1) services beyond Beckenham Junction to Orpington to replace them, and /or rearranging Herne Hill to pairing by use so that all trains go Tulse Hill – Brixton and Sydenham Hill – Loughborough Junction – which would require any long distance Chatham Line trains to go through the Thameslink core.

    This is getting complicated, and the CBR would be huge. If you want to increase capacvity, longer trains will achieve it more efficiently than higher frequencies. If a network emulating the Tube is required, you will lose a lot of existing services and have to spend an awful lot of money.

  84. DW down under says:


    I think I was getting a bit lost – some route diagrams might help south of river illiterates like me. I’ve got Carto.Metro and with a print out, will try to follow what slips off your keyboard so smoothly and elegantly!

    DW down under

  85. timbeau says:

    Not sure how I could add a route diagram to a comment, but essentially you would end up with a grid –

    routes 1, 2/3, 8 and 9 running generally NW/SE, (from north to south, they are 9, 8, 1, 2/3) with 1, 2/3 and 9 radiating from Victoria, routes 1 and routes 2/3 share tracks as far as Balham. 2 and 3 only diverge at Purley, on the edge of the GLA area.

    Inbound, Route 8 passes over route 9 at Loughboro Junction (no interchange there at present) on its way to Blackfrairs. Routes 1,8,9 all meet up again in the beckenham Junction/Shortlands area.

    Routes 4 and 5 run roughly northeast to south west, route 4 being the more easterly, and meet up at Sutton.
    They cross all the other routes.

    6 and 7 are a loop off route 5, diverging at Streatham and rejoining at Sutton.

    The only place where one of the NWSE routes has an interchange with one of the NESW routes is at Peckham Rye, where the section common to routes 5/6/7 meet route 9.

    This is the arrangement which minimises conflicting moves (and therefore maximises potential throughput) whilst still serving all stations – if there is one with no more conflictions, but better interconnectivity, I was unable to find it.

  86. Anonymous says:

    I can see at least two more flat junctions, timbeau; either side of the two Peckham stations where the London Bridge to East Dulwich and Overground to Clapham Junction branches join and diverge. It you want an up to 6tph service on each of the London Bridge to Sutton lines these this will surely be a problem.

    But a simple journey I have made many times, from Streatham to Thornton Heath, does not bear thinking about on that simplified network. It is just three stops on a direct train.

    If those routes existed it would mean instead having to head four stops north east to Peckham Rye, changing for the Overground to go four stops west to Clapham Junction, and finally changing again to go five stops south west to Thornton Heath.

    As you say “8tph is a lot better than two, but look at what you’ve lost.” In reality if those routes were implemented then for that journey I would instead just get a bus, but any plan that pushes people off of the railways and onto the roads is an awful one. And any simplification means cutting off connections to the extent that resorting to road transport would be unavoidable for those whose journey is not into central London or whatever random destination is assigned to the southern end of their line.

  87. timbeau says:

    Indeed – a route I used to use often from Tulse Hill to East Croydon to connect with the Brighton Main Line would be equally problematic (probably requiring use of a tram from Mitcham Junction to EC, or a walk to West Norwood and then change at Balham).

    You’re right about Peckham Rye of course, The 4tph now added by the SLL would limit you to 4tph on theeach of the three routes through Tulse Hill (although I suspect 4 tph each way through the single track section at Wimbledon might also present a challenge)

  88. Anonymous says:

    I have put together a diagram of timbeau’s simplified network.

    Clearly I am no graphic designer, but the yellow lines are the routes that would be lost.

  89. StephenC says:

    I think there is value in brainstroming the possibilities (although who knows if this is the right thread…)

    Firstly, you’ve assumed a Beckenham Junction from Crystal Palace service is needed, which could probably be removed (goes to Tramlink with its next extension). Adding that back allows line 1 to serve East or West Croydon.

    You’ve also missed the Victoria to Lewisham service. Adding that allows route 9 to start from Blackfriars.

    You’ve taken the Tattenham and Caterham branches into account, but they typically get/need faster services.

    Finally, there is the possiblity of Victoria-Brixton-Herne Hill-Tulse Hill-onwards. This creates some interesting links, and I suspect would be best connected to Crystal Palace.

  90. Malcolm says:

    StephenC refers to brainstorming the possibilities. I don’t think that was really what Timbeau was getting at. I think his case (maybe hidden a bit) was to sort of indicate that the idea of achieving turn-up-and-go frequencies in South London by “just” simplifying the network probably wouldn’t work. To convincingly show that it wouldn’t work, he had to make a good try of making it work. The response to his good try – particularly the not-via-London-termini journeys that suddenly vanish – satisfies me, at least, that it wouldn’t work.

    Not that I am mad keen on the status quo either. But I happen to think that there is no magic bullet, and the only possible way forward consists of “small” changes, a few at a time. (Though of course a “small” change could be a multi-million-pound project in itself.)

  91. Anonymous says:

    There is quite a range of off-the-shelf electric freight locos from the usual suspects. There would need to be because these engines are needed for the EU-wide TEN-T freight network. You don’t want to change locos four times between Rotterdam and Genoa. Most now support ERTMS and a range of different operating voltages. Some of these locos are currently only allowed in five or six countries with application pending in others. However, a pan-EU certification system is in development so in future a loco manufacturer would only have to apply once for all 27 states.

    Most popular is the Bombardier TRAXX platform ( with 1500+ sold to date.

    The Alstom Prima II ( is Alstom’s answer to Bombardier’s successful range.

    Siemens Vectron ( is the most recent loco from the big manufacturers.

    The Alstom and Siemens locs have been tested for use in the Channel Tunnel earlier this year (

    Generally these locomotive can support ERTMS plus a range of legacy signalling systems (depending on the buyer) and multiple types of AC and DC. The only big challenge for the UK is the lauding gauge. Bombardier is working on a special narrow version of the TRAXX platform for use in Britain.

  92. timbeau says:

    @: Anon
    Brilliant! Just one point that Crystal Palace to Bromley Junction (where the Norwood Junction and Beckenham Junction lines diverge) should not be in yellow

    @Stephen C

    “Firstly, you’ve assumed a Beckenham Junction from Crystal Palace service is needed, which could probably be removed (goes to Tramlink with its next extension). Adding that back allows line 1 to serve East or West Croydon”
    Indeed, but I was taking the “do-nothing” option as the starting point. Also, at the frequencies I envisage for the locals, there would be no paths for fast trains (a mixed-speed environment cannot squeeze in as many as if all the trains call at all stations – or none). So if we solve that by reserving the Sydenham Hill line fast trains from the coast to Victoria, the locals will have to go via Birkbeck and so Tramlink can’t have it

    “You’ve also missed the Victoria to Lewisham service. Adding that allows route 9 to start from Blackfriars”
    At the cost of two more flat junctions, between Denmark Hill and the Elephant. I had assumed that to get a similar level of service on the South Eastern lines all trains using the Mid-Kent platforms at Lewisham (Hayes, Sidcup, Orpington) would go via Nunhead (and all trains via Blackheath or Greenwich would go to Cannon Street ), thereby removing conflicts at Lewisham but putting a very intensive service through Nunhead – the flat junction there already being the operating constraint.

    “You’ve taken the Tattenham and Caterham branches into account, but they typically get/need faster services”.
    The services to East Croydon have to go somewhere – but yes, if you run a fast service London Bridge – NXG – East Croydon – stations to Caterham, you would inprove connectivity a bit.

    “Finally, there is the possiblity of Victoria-Brixton-Herne Hill-Tulse Hill-onwards. This creates some interesting links, and I suspect would be best connected to Crystal Palace”
    but this brings us back to the Herne Hill problem. A rearrangment of the tracks would avoid conflicting moves with the Sydenham Hill/Blackfriars route (albeit with the loss of cross platform interchange)
    Moreover this would cause problems at Tulse Hill – if you want to use both the Peckham and Herne Hill routes, you can only avoid conflict if the Peckham trains go to Crystal Palace and the Herne Hill trains to Streatham. But if the Crystal Palace line is served from the Tulse Hill direction, you’ve lost the route from Balham. And then Streatham Hill gets no service at all”

  93. Anonymous says:

    I think that what’s been demonstrated is that with current infrastructure we can have either frequency or connectivity, but not both.

    That dilemma could be resolved (at a cost!) by the construction of interchanges where lines cross, as has been suggested for Brockley and as has happened elsewhere in the UK, eg at Liverpool South Parkway and Smethwick. (The proposed footpaths at Hackney and Walthamstow are cheaper versions of these.)

  94. Anonymous says:

    The yellow line after Crystal Palace was just unfortunately getting the overlap wrong. A few more yellow lines I missed out of the map:

    London Bridge to New Cross Gate would see no local services
    Balham to Mitcham Eastfields
    Brixton to Herne Hill, which also means Brixton itself would have no service without a major rebuild

    Surely even the idea of continuing the Victoria to Lewisham service goes against everything being demonstrated, it serves no stations uniquely so the only reason to run it is for added convenience. If the point is giving stations a single terminus and reducing conflicts to provide a tube like frequency then there is no place for it. It loses the link between Lewisham and Nunhead, but that it just one more yellow line among several.

    Although Catherham and Tattenham Corner services run fast in the peaks, the off-peak services are all station ones. But to keep it that way then a peak solution is simply to split services on the lines by having those run fast from East Croydon along with stopping ones starting at South or East Croydon.

  95. timbeau says:

    My thinking in keeping, or even expanding, the Victoria – Lewisham services was to remove the conflicts at Lewisham – essential if you want to squeeze the maximum frequencies on the lines through there. They could use the tanners Hill flydown to go tio Charing Cross, but then there would be no capacity left for the longer distance services (Dover, Canterbury, Ramsgate etc) The most efficent way to resolve this was to have no local services to Charing Cross at all, and send them all to Victoria via Nunhead or to Cannon Street, with interchange with the fast services at london Bridge providing a connectrion to CX.

    Brixton would have the Underground, or the cambria line platforms could be reopened. The alternative was sending Herne Hill trains to Victoria and Denmark Hill trains to Blackfriars, losing Loughborough Junction.

    yes,Mitcham Eastfields to Sutton woukld be served by London Bridge via Tulse Hill, rather than Victoria.

    It’s not perfect, but that’s the point – it can’t be.

  96. Graham Feakins says:

    Skimming through this, there seem to be an awful lot of crayons on maps in South London and constant mention of the restrictive Herne Hill flat junctions etc. (here and other threads). Supposing one returns to Moody’s peak hour passenger (in service) train occupation maps of 1969 in his “Southern Electric”. Worth reminding everyone. Here are the a.m. figures.

    Herne Hill: 20 tph a.m. up from West Dulwich direction, plus 5 tph up from Tulse Hill, out of which 14 proceeded onto Brixton/Victoria and 11 towards Loughborough Junction.

    Tulse Hill: 9 tph towards North Dulwich/Peckham Rye plus those 5 tph towards Herne Hill.

    Peckham Rye – London Bridge up: 12 tph.

    Streatham Common up through: 19 tph; ditto up local: 14 tph (20 tph by the time Balham is reached).

    West Norwood up: 9 tph, out of which 3 tph went to Tulse Hill, the rest to Streatham Hill.

    Peckham Rye – Denmark Hill up from Catford Loop/Lewisham: 15 tph (18 down p.m.).

    Loughborough Junction – Elephant up through: 11 tph – Up local 15 tph. That makes 26 tph alone into Blackfriars via the Elephant!!*

    Let’s go to Forest Hill – London Bridge up through: 15 tph – Up local – 12 tph.

    Lewisham – St. Johns up: 14 tph, culminating in 22 tph on the up local through New Cross and 26 tph on the up through.

    Enough? Once I see these services restored on the present infrastructure, we can discuss any required improvements as opposed to the further deterioration apparent in the so-called Thameslink Improvement Works.

    *1969. And now they are proud to announce that Blackfriars will, after all the disruptive palaver, be able to accept 18 tph from the Elephant & Castle direction. By my reckoning, that’s 8 tph fewer than 43+ years ago!!

    What planet are these folks on?

  97. DW down under says:

    Graham Feakins @
    02:05AM, 12th March 2013

    I think the planet’s called Elfinsafetee, and it orbits around a source of energy called Protectmyarse II in the Ucarntbeesirius system. The govmint of Elfinsafetee is led by a species called loreyerz fillmypokketupius and their pet slaves are called countants, a sort of mutant form of intelligent life.


    DW down under

  98. timbeau says:

    From Moody’s figures, 16tph for a stopping service on double track with flat junctions seems about the maximum that cold be coped with even then. The majority of the 20tph through West Dulwich were non-stoppers, and the combined total through HH on both routes was 25. Likewise into Blackfriars, 26tph on four tracks.

    I used frequencies on the ELL as my guide, but the Thameslink core is working on 24tph, after a lot of infrastructure work (and Moody has Balham and New Cross both handling 20+ on the local lines), so maybe service frequencies could be 50% higher than the figures I gave. But this still only gives 8 tph on each of the three routes through Balham, or 6tph on each of the four through Nunhead, so although you might get tube frequencies within Zone 2, the outer suburbs would.

    The point is that, however you cut it, flat junctions reduce capacity, (which is why the deep tubes don’t have any) , and that the more branches you have, the fewer trains you can run down each one – which is again why the highest capacity lines are the Tubes which are a simple shuttle. Increasing the frequencies in south London to anything like Tube levels means reducing complexity. Whether you can get 16tph or 24tph on the final approaches to a terminus, it’s nowhere near the 33tph expected on the Underground, and rapidly dilutes at every branch. Even with flying junctions all the way down the main line as far as Woking, and 20tph on the slow lines through Wimbledon, SWT can get only 2tph on each branch.

  99. Anonymous says:

    “*1969. And now they are proud to announce that Blackfriars will, after all the disruptive palaver, be able to accept 18 tph from the Elephant & Castle direction. By my reckoning, that’s 8 tph fewer than 43+ years ago!!”

    How many went to Blackfriars via London Bridge in 1969? The reason for that limit via Elephant now is because of Thameslink giving priority to London Bridge services. Also how many of those 1969 services were going through Blackfriars on the way to Holborn Viaduct, which allowed a greater capacity but is now no longer an option with just the two terminating platforms and two tracks to St Pancras.

    I genuinely do not know what services were like then, but it just does not seem a like-for-like comparison.

  100. timbeau says:


    “How many went to Blackfriars via London Bridge in 1969?”
    I don’t know, but in 1977 the only way I could track bash that stretch was by being there just after midnight.

    “Also how many of those 1969 services were going through Blackfriars on the way to Holborn Viaduct, which allowed a greater capacity but is now no longer an option with just the two terminating platforms and two tracks to St Pancras”.

    I commnuted between HV and Herne Hill in the early eighties. My recollection is that its three platforms only handled about 6-8 tph even in the peaks. The throughput of the Thameslink core is considerably greater – indeed the elimination of terminal working at HV and Moorgate was the original justification for re-opening the Snow Hill link.

  101. Greg Tingey says:

    The answer to both of your questions is … none (subject to interpretation)
    ECS Blackfriars to Cannon St, but that’s it.
    Freight via Snow Hill
    ALL passenger services into Blackfriars, before the (re)-opening of what is now called Thameslink went to Loughboro’ Jn …..
    The number of Holborn Viaduct terminators was not too high, as the station was cramped & small …
    Quoting from my copy of Moody’s “Southern Elastic” (erm “electric”) off peaks terminating @ Bf = 0, peak = 4, Holborn viaduct off-peaks = 4, peaks = 22/20, so a max total in the peak of 26 tph, all going to Loughboro’ Jn.

    timbeau & the property bonanza from the HV site, of course!

  102. Steven Taylor says:

    I have been a daily commuter since 1968 on the Southern. At risk of being contentious, what is surely reducing capacity is the absence of slam door stock and current driving routines.

    I often stood into Waterloo, and adherence to speed limits could on occasion be lax. I understand the SUB units had no speedometers, so during `work-to-rules` the drivers` would not take these units as they could not regulate theirs speeds. Again, not condoning, but doors were often opened before the train had stopped facilitating quick egress although with obvious risks. Likewise when the guard waived his flag, there would always be the late passenger joining a moving train, doors swinging. He would seldom use the brake. There was also no speed control into terminal platforms, and on occasion I have feared the train would hit the buffers.

    The following happens on South West trains – although not Southern or other TOCS which do not have a guard.
    When the train arrives, the guard opens his door, steps out on the platform to look up and down the train, then after 5 to 10 seconds he opens the doors. When passengers have left/joined the train, he closes the doors, looking up and down the train again from the platform. then he goes into his compartment, closes his door, the beeps the driver with his starting signal. Then the driver acknowledges this and the train departs. this often takes 90 seconds.

    I state all this not because it is not necessarily wrong, but it all adds time. Speed limits are rigorously observed now. For example, the Overground into Clapham Junction has a 10 mph speed limit. Often you can almost walk as fast as the incoming train because it is only doing 6 mph.

    As I mentioned a couple of months ago, during the 1970s, down trains on the local line to Wimbledon left at 1502, 1504, 1506, 1508, 1512 etc. during the rush. It is hard to imagine that happening now.

  103. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Steven Taylor

    At risk of being contentious…
    I suspect not at all. I think a lot of people recognise that it is exactly as you say it. A train could come to a halt at Cannon St and be half empty – half the passengers having got already off and already continuing their momentum down the platform.

    we now have the perennial comments:

    – they used to run xx trains per hour yet now they can only manage yy
    – In 19xx it was so much quicker. What took yy now takes zz minutes

    Often you can almost walk as fast as the incoming train because it is only doing 6 mph.
    That is down to TPWS which is quite crude but very safe. When it gets replaced with something better terminal approach will be more sophisticated and faster.

    down trains on the local line to Wimbledon left at 1502, 1504, 1506, 1508, 1512 etc. during the rush. It is hard to imagine that happening now.
    But easy to imagine it at some point in the future when ATO starts becoming a reality for main line railways.

  104. timbeau says:

    Dwell times at intermediate stations were inevitably shorter when a ten coach “slammer” had fifty three individual doors each side (instead of twenty double doors in a modern train), and no-one was further than the width of the carriage from the nearest door.

    Space at Holborn Viaduct was very tight, and trains had to get to within inches of the buffers to clear the fouling point at the rear of the train. On one occasion the driver overdid it slightly, and hit the buffers very gently – just enough to stop the train. I saw it all – as I had already got off the train and was level with the front when it stopped!

    PoP – there was one – a late night public service from Blackfriars via London Bridge, at least in 1977.

  105. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Greg, so taking away the slight of hand caveat of Loughborough Junction from Graham’s derision, there will be more trains approaching Blackfriars overall.

    I’m too young and from the wrong part of the world to have used Holborn Viaduct but always thought it was more like a Fenchurch Street but with an extra platform or two. I can see why it made sense to reopen the tunnel.

  106. Greg Tingey says:

    Try these
    Pictures, taken very close to the end ….. at least one platform has already gone – look at how cramped it was!

  107. timbeau says:

    It was even more cramped than it looks – those must both be six-car trains. There used to be two more platforms in the gap there, but they couldn’t take a full 8 car train. Platform 1 (the one on the right of the picture) was extended in 1939 so that it could take 8 car trains, but only at the cost of blocking platforms 2 and 3 completely when there was a train in platform 1. They had been removed by the time I knew the station in the early eighties

  108. Ian J says:

    @anonymous “There was also no speed control into terminal platforms, and on occasion I have feared the train would hit the buffers”

    …which is what happened at Cannon Street in 1991. Looking at the Wikipedia page for that crash I am amazed, firstly that 2 people were killed and 524 injured by a crash that happened at 10mph. and secondly that the underframes for the two worst damaged coaches dated from 1928 and 1934.

    The other point about dwell times is that there are significantly more passengers now than there used to be getting on and off at each stop.

  109. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Anonymous 09:58AM, 12th March 2013 and Anonymous (same?) at 04:15PM, 12th March 2013

    There will be six more trains approaching Blackfriars overall including now those from London Bridge (but only two more through than in 1969). As Greg confirms, 22 stopped at and then ran through Blackfriars to Holborn Viaduct in the morning peak hour, with four others terminating at Blackfriars. That compares with the proposed 24 through and 8 terminating at Blackfriars. 20 ran out of Holborn Viaduct and 6 more from Blackfriars p.m. This corrects timbeau’s impression of a mere 6-8 tph in the peaks at Holborn Viaduct.

    I suspect that if the demand had been there at the time, more trains could have also been terminated at Blackfriars at its three terminating platforms.

    Not sure if the allusion to my apparent derision was meant to be complimenatary or not but, whichever way one looks at it, they handled 22 tph terminating on three platforms at Holborn from a single up track from Blackfriars (with all the complications that entailed) whilst it now apparently needs ATO to run an extra 2 tph each way on a simple, double-track through service.

    Steven Taylor quite rightly mentions Wimbledon and, again in 1969, the up local a.m. handled 22 tph whilst the up through handled 25 tph in the same period.

    Ian J says “The other point about dwell times is that there are significantly more passengers now than there used to be getting on and off at each stop.” With respect I dispute that. The EPB’s had a greater capacity than today’s trains and those passengers had to get on and off somewhere!

  110. Ian J says:

    @Graham Feakins: Total passenger numbers are higher now than they were in the sixties when, as you say, more trains ran. So there must be more people per train on average and, as you say, they have to get on and off somewhere.

  111. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Ian J – Point taken but more folk travelling off-peak, coupled with longer ‘rush hours’ these days?

  112. Amber says:

    I think that Crossrail should not go to Southend unless express trains continue to run there and that maybe double tracking is in order. I would also suggest the Southend Victoria be connected up to Southend Central, maybe a tram system. Ideas for the Southend Pier Tramway extension could become useful here! Maybe street running on the high street? Creating a hub station at Southend between C2C/Crossrail/Express/Southend Pier Tramway would open up London old seaside town and help redevelop the town.

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