Late last year we reported on the opening of stage II of the East London Line and also said farewell to the South London Line (SLL). Nowadays it is not often that we see a the discontinuation of a service on National Rail in the London area. The next planned discontinuation is the replacement of through trains to Greenford on Great Western by a West Ealing – Greenford shuttle because of Crossrail. This is not due until 2018 at the earliest and even then it only inconveniences the limited number of existing users to the extent that they will have to change trains rather than have a through service.

Whilst no closures are expected in the next few years it is also true to point out, as Diamond Geezer has observed, there are also no further major TfL new services scheduled to start in the next few years.

Alternatives Revived

At the time when proposals to terminate the SLL service began to emerge five various alternatives were proposed to mitigate the inconvenience. These came to nothing so it was quite a surprise to read that TfL are now reported to be in discussions with the DfT for some new proposals to make better use of the South London Line.

The saga of events that have led up to the withdrawal of trains on the SLL is quite complicated, as is the combination of journeys that still can and cannot be made directly. You can read about its impact in a detailed but not easily digested report or look at Diamond Geezer’s short but easy to understand summary.

A very short potted history

Train Loadings at London Bridge. On the face of it the argument for discontinuing SLL services seems overwhelming.

Thameslink reconstruction at London Bridge means that only six terminating platforms will be available instead of nine from May 2013. Clearly some services would no longer be able to terminate at London Bridge from that date. This does of course beg the question why it was felt necessary to discontinue the SLL service from December 2012. The SLL used only four carriages in the peak hours and each of the two trains an hour in the morning had an average of only around 240 passengers. This was in stark contrast to a train from Brighton which could be expected to have over 800 commuters aboard. It was inevitable the SLL would be one of the services proposed for withdrawal – at the very least until 2018 when fewer terminating trains due to Thameslink may mean that there will be platform availability again.

In mitigation Network Rail proposed a new service. Effectively the 2 trains per hour from Victoria would go south rather than north at Peckham Rye and call at Nunhead, Crofton Park, Catford and Bellingham instead of Queen’s Road Peckham, South Bermondsey and London Bridge.

The original Network Rail proposal. Its aim was simply to mitigate the inconvenience of withdrawing services from the SLL and if there were any additional benefits they were fortuitous rather than intended.

This would mean:

  • a continuing direct link between Peckham Rye and all stations to Wandsworth Road (inclusive) and Victoria
  • most journeys would still be possible without requiring a more circuitous route and needing, at most, one additional change at Peckham Rye
  • 4 trains per hour instead of just two serving Crofton Park, Catford and Bellingham

Short Platforms

Trains would have to be restricted to four carriages due to short platforms at Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street. The fact that lengthening has never been suggested for any potential service serving these stations probably indicates that it would be very difficult or very expensive to do so, but in fact the platforms used to be much longer so this would appear not to be the case.

A fairly obvious alternative course of action would therefore appear to be to extend the platforms and have a few existing services call at these stations. Surprisingly this does not appear to have ever been suggested, though it would probably be rejected on the grounds that calls at these stations, which are on separate tracks, would add a significant delay to other passengers. It would also produce conflicting train paths as services crossed over to access these tracks.

East London Line Extension to the rescue

Around the time of the Bellingham proposal it was dawning on a lot of people that if ELLX2 (London Overground to Clapham Junction) was open it would do a lot to mitigate the problem of withdrawal of SLL services. In fact with 4tph it would probably be more beneficial than the 2tph Network Rail proposal. As is often the case the problem was a lack of money to pay for it.

TfL and others were arguing the case that the DfT really ought to pay, as it was critical to get this up and running before works commenced at London Bridge. Not surprisingly, the DfT was having none of this. In a bit of realpolitik, TfL and the mayor came to an agreement with the DfT that the proposed Victoria-Bellingham services could be abandoned if the money that the DfT would save was put towards ELLX2. When this agreement leaked out a lot of people using the SLL felt betrayed, particularly as TfL publicised their success in progressing ELLX2 but initially kept very quiet about the agreement that made it possible. The feeling held by many was that TfL were hoping to put the blame onto the DfT for the lack of a suitable replacement service and the DfT felt they had been “stitched up”.

For those who want a little more detail we advise re-reading our posts written at the time available here and here.

The Battersea Issue

Of course it wasn’t just at London Bridge that there was an issue of SLL trains occupying valuable platform capacity. This was also true at Victoria. As terminal capacity in London is becoming critical, it is hard to make a case for a train service serving two terminals and occupying a full-length platform at each of them but only having four carriages at most. There was however a potentially bigger problem preventing reinstatement in the future and indeed would have probably meant that even if the Victoria-Bellingham service had been inaugurated it too would have to be withdrawn eventually.

The issue was that, as part of the Southern train lengthening, Battersea Park will get lengthened platforms able to take 10 car trains. This will apply to platform 3 and according to Network Rail’s Control Period 4 Enhancements Programme (September 2012 update) it will be complete by December 2013. Now all the earlier talk was that this would be achieved by severing the SLL – rather like platform lengthening at Farringdon was possible by severing the Moorgate branch. If this is still the plan then obviously this will kill off any future running from the SLL into Victoria via Battersea Park, although termination at Battersea Park from the east would still be possible. It would appear though, from the fact that Battersea Park does not appear on any of the diagrams of proposed services, that trains will continue from Wandsworth Road to Victoria via the Stewarts Lane route and will not serve Battersea Park.

Taking a broader Overview

On the face of it, the case for abandoning a service on the SLL seems unarguable. One could, however, view the situation completely differently.

The first obvious thing to do is compare the South London line with the North London line. For years the North London line provided an indifferent service at not that frequent an interval. When it was improved and trains ran more frequently the service became more popular and today the problem is providing a service to meet demand. No-one says that we shouldn’t run the North London Line service because the trains are only short trains and are therefore not using the fixed resources to their best advantage.

The second important thing to realise is that if a service operates infrequently and is not heavily used it does not necessarily mean that there isn’t a large potential demand. We have seen how a two car shuttle used to operate between West Croydon and Wimbledon and was hardly used. When it was replaced by six trams an hour that was inadequate, so the service has been increased to eight trams per hour and plans are underway to make that twelve trams per hour.

The third thing is really almost a corollary to the second point, and the fact that the level of use of inner urban services is extremely volatile. The history of the SLL is one of reasonable passenger flows followed by intensive use when an early form of overhead electrification was introduced, followed by near abandonment due to a fast and frequent tram service developing and also priority being given to outer suburban and long distance trains. It is therefore highly probable that if a significantly improved service were to be offered then either a modal shift or entirely new journeys would quickly ensure that it was well used.

Indeed, following from the last point, many railway managers have openly stated that inner London services will always get a bad deal as managers will inevitably focus on their longer distance commuters who may well be paying thousands of pounds for an annual season ticket. One of the arguments for the success of London Overground has been that managers haven’t been distracted by longer distance services because they do not have these services to manage as part of their job. If north London and now south east London can have an improved service then why should this approach not also apply to south west London?

Finally, Howard Smith, when he was in charge of London Rail, casually remarked that the trick for providing new and better services is to find former railway routes that can be revived as providing a new surface route would be very difficult. Whilst this it undoubtedly worth pursuing it seems absurd that at the same time we are not utilising the lines that we already have and the services that already have a passenger base.

Will the South London Line ever be revived?

As everyone knows, once you get rid of a service it is extremely difficult to revive it. If it is a railway this applies even if the track is physically there and maintained. Even if the SLL will be cut off at Battersea Park, then it would presumably be possible to at least run a Battersea Park – London Bridge service if there was the will to do so. If not and there is no platform capacity at Victoria, one has to ask if it would not be possible to build a short platform, possibly a bay platform, somewhere at the southern end. The obvious place to start looking would have been in the wide gap between platforms 7 and 8. Unfortunately this has now been built on but it might still be possible to demolish some of the building in order to fit a bay platform.

At the other end is London Bridge. It is highly likely that once Thameslink is complete then any spare platform capacity will be used up coping with the general growing demand. Again one wonders whether space for a short platform could be found, although if so it would be rather sad that it would be tacked onto a station that had just been rebuilt. There are tentative plans for the functions of the signalbox (covering the site of the former platforms 17, 18 and 19) to be transferred in 2018 as part of Network Rail’s plan to control the entire network from 14 signalboxes. Whether the box will be demolished, which would free off some space at the south side of the station, is unknown. It may be the case that the relay rooms (basically the ground floor of the signalbox) remain in place, in which case squeezing in an extra short platform would probably be impossible. However the Thameslink website FAQ page reports that platform 15 will initially be only 10 carriages long but “There is passive provision within the design that if in the future the signal box moves, platform 15 could be extended to 12 carriages”. It may also be the case that space could be found for a short platform.

Deja Vu?

It has to be admitted that the chances of the SLL ever returning to London Bridge are pretty remote, and it is even more unlikely that the signal box is demolished and a SLL platform created in the space made available. If that were to happen though it would return the situation to one similar to the 1930’s when the four southernmost platforms (then 19-22) were shorter than most of the others and generally referred to as the South London Line platforms. The fact that there were four platforms to serve trains coming from the SLL shows how important this line once was.

A New Proposal : Victoria – Bromley South

Even if reinstatement were to be possible it would arguably seem to be the wrong thing to do. The right thing would be to look at all the proposals and see which one, if any, would be the most beneficial and this is in fact the approach adopted by London TravelWatch and TfL.

The recently emerged Victoria – Bromley South proposal. The peak only service shown is presumed to refer to an existing service.

It has been reported by the BBC that there are proposals to introduce an off-peak service from Victoria – Bromley South from 2014. This would basically be an extension to Bromley South of the original Victoria – Bellingham Proposal. Unfortunately statements released by TfL and the DfT are not encouraging.

According to the BBC, TfL state that:

The Mayor and TfL are in discussion with the government regarding the creation of a new South London off-peak service from 2014, between Bromley South and Victoria via Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill, to mitigate the withdrawal of the London Bridge to Victoria service.

Whilst, again according to the BBC, the DfT states that:

Any decision on introducing a new off-peak South London service is a devolved matter for TfL.

Which sounds depressingly familiar. If the service is not a London Overground service then surely this is still currently ultimately a matter for the DfT. Those who follow the saga of Gospel Oak―Barking electrification will no doubt note some nearly identical emergent themes.

TfL’s desire to pursue this proposal is confirmed on the TfL website. In case you are wondering how this was not spotted earlier, a clue can be found in the fact that TfL in the final analysis detailed the investigation of the original five shortlisted options and then subsequently looked into two additional ones. It referred to the Victoria – Bromley South proposal as “option 7”.

The most notable thing about the proposal is that it relies on the route from the SLL to Victoria not to be blocked by the platform extension at Battersea Park. It is unlikely, one hopes, that TfL would have overlooked such a basic flaw in the plan so we have to presume that the SLL route will not be curtailed at Battersea Park in the foreseeable future.

Ignoring the Battersea Park issue, this proposal does, however, intuitively make more sense that the original one terminating at Bellingham. The Bellingham proposal was really the “do-minimum” option. In particular Bellingham is not a major traffic generator but does have carriage sidings south of the station which would be convenient for terminating trains. It really was only intended to be a partial solution to mitigating the loss of the SLL service and didn’t consider any possible wider benefits.

Extending to Bromley South, a further four stops down the line, would have the advantage of:

  • Terminating at major traffic generator so ensuring that the service is better used throughout its length.
  • Providing all stations on the Catford loop line with 4 trains per hour off-peak which is what TfL and London TravelWatch regard as an objective for the minimum level of service for all stations within Greater London.
  • Being cheap to implement because presumably there is no capital cost of rolling stock as the service is off-peak only. There would probably be no or very little additional station staffing costs. Running costs would be dominated by the cost of providing train drivers, track access charges and a contribution to rolling stock costs.
  • Having minimal additional train pathing problems. The only junction beyond Bellingham is Shortlands Junction which was rebuilt at great expense as a burrowing junction for phase I of HS1 (when trains still ran into Waterloo). The trains would terminate before reaching the complex of Bickley Junction.

Off Peak Only

The most obvious disadvantage would be that the service would only be off-peak. One would probably have to take the attitude that an off-peak only service is better than no service and could lead to positive developments in future.

The reason given for providing an off-peak only service is that a peak hour service would not be possible without a recast of the South Eastern timetable. Differing dates can be found for when this is next due. It is not clear if it is dependent on completion of Thameslink (whether it is or not is another story we won’t go into here). There has also been the suggestion that the original Victoria – Bellingham proposal would have only been possible as a off-peak service, although this does not appear to have been raised at the time it was proposed.

Bromley South

A major problem with implementing this is that Bromley South, with its four through platforms, is hardly an ideal place to terminate trains. Currently this is only possible from the London direction at platform 2 (the down fast). One wonders whether the intention is to build a proposed fifth platform. The obvious place seems to be to the south of the existing station where there used to be sidings. At first glance this would seem hardly ideal because the fast lines are on the south side and the slow lines are on the north. Under normal circumstances this would lead either to conflicting movements or to running a slow (stopper) train on the fast lines thus delaying other trains. At Bromley South one can get away with this because the complex burrowing junction just west of Shortlands station means one can get from the fast lines to the Catford Loop and vice versa without any conflicting moves. Nevertheless, if a new platform were to be built one would probably have to slightly relocate platform 1 further towards the country end to accommodate the junction to the new platform.

Alternatively, the plan – if it has progressed this far – may be to create a turnround siding at the country end of the station. This of course has implications for checking that the train is empty before it enters the sidings, but is obviously less of an issue for 4-car trains only running outside peak hours.

A real possibility or just optimistic talk?

The proposal looks on the face of it to be eminently sensible if the necessary issues can be resolved. One problem seems to be finance and we know from the recent TfL business plan that TfL have not allocated any money to this in the next three years. It is difficult to see the DfT showing any enthusiasm for spending more money. It is unlikely to get support from the treasury as would not be seen as a capital project that could kick-start economic revival but instead something that would be more of a drain on resources. Indeed by being off-peak only it doesn’t even particularly help people get to and from work.

The other problem with this proposal is that it seems to have hit an impasse between TfL and the DfT. If looking for a timescale, maybe the best one can manage is “sometime after Goblin electrification”.

Clearly there would definitely be a benefit in such a service, it would be relatively cheap to initially implement off-peak and, with a timetable recast, has the potential to be a useful all-day service possibly run by London Overground rather than South-Eastern. With so little that is definitely happening in the near future this just may be one to watch.

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There are 226 comments on this article
  1. Anonymous says:

    That would be West Ealing to Greenford shuttle
    [Doh! Yes. Corrected  PoP]

  2. swirlythingy says:

    The first link in the article is not only broken, the server tries to fix it up and ends up sending you to an article on Stratford from 2009. North Ealing is on the Central line – I think you probably meant West Ealing. The SSL (Sub-Surface Lines) are not to be confused with the SLL (South London Line).
    [All fixed. Thanks. PoP]

  3. Greg Tingey says:

    As you say, getting this past the obstructors at DafT is going to be the problem
    As for physical implementation, there don’t seem to be any significant problems.

  4. Steven Taylor says:

    Just a small observation. I often used the SLL service. Apart from alternate services on Saturday recently, where 2-car and 4-car trains alternated, Monday to Friday the trains were generally 2 cars only. So probably the total passengers in the rush hour on each 2 car train would be around the 100 mark.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All these problems boil down to the same thing: the messed up tangle which is the rail network south-of-river. Until lines are segregated into self-containing one with limited branches that run through and not into central London, issues of terminal and line space will continue to be a problem, which is only going to worsen due to population growth. Ultimately, we’re going to run out of opportunities to increase train and platform length as well as signal upgrades, or at least the expense and disruption will be too great for the returns obtained. Even that favourite of many on here, express tunnels, cannot work without removal the metro services from termini.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is one thing that provides a context for a “quick win” off peak service and that is the transfer of National Rail services to TfL operation. On the basis that we get an announcement from Mr McLoughlin sometime before June about both devolution and the shape of the overall franchising programme then you can see why TfL would be investigating their options. TfL clearly have no objection to running decent enough frequencies off peak with resources that would otherwise sit idle – the bus network shows this. There is still rumbling political complaint about the SLL service which I doubt will ever go away and TfL and the Mayor have to be sensitive to this despite the occasional Mayoral rant about “supine jellyfishes” when describing his political opponents.

    Being able to “unveil” more trains almost immediately over the SLL and Catford Loop, which also serve Tory voters in Bromley, is a “good start” for any prospective South Eastern Overground scheme. A December 2014 timescale also broadly fits in with decision and mobilisation milestones if the SoS does give Boris a bigger train set to play with. It also gives 18 months or so for the scheme to deliver benefits before the next Mayoral election. New trains and extra peak services would not turn up in that sort of timeframe for either Greater Anglia or South Eastern so off peak fiddling and station and train refreshes will be the order of the day in the first few years of any expansion of the Overground scheme.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Surely if the Bromley service will only be off-peak then there would be the capacity to allow it to go down the side of Battersea Power Station and cross the fast tracks to be able to call at Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street. Battersea Park station is still conspicuous by its absence on the proposal’s diagram.

    Whatever happens at Battersea Park, the 10 carriage trains are still coming to the stopping services from Victoria to Croydon via Norbury. Platform lengthening is underway at all other stations, including major bridge work at Balham and closing a major road bridge for several months at Streatham Common so it can be rebuilt over the slow lines to allow platforms to extend under the road.

    So for Battersea Park the only options are severing the south London line platforms, halving the services that call there to those that go via Crystal Palace, or, if possible, selective door operation.

  8. ngh says:

    Re The apparent gap between the end of SSL services in December 2012 and the start of London Bridge works in May 2013 (i.e. post timetable change).

    Anyone who has used the Southern (terminating) platforms at LBG recently will have noticed that they have already started the enabling works* for the main construction works. Some of these enabling works are being done off-peak so removing the SSL services in December has allowed a platform island to be out of use off-peak and some work to take place on that island in daylight/normal construction hours.

    *i.e. construction of temporary platform roofs, temporary PA and CIS (all the same style as Blackfriars works) and crash deck for the removal of the listed roof.

  9. stimarco says:

    Both the GOBLIN and SSL issues reveal the same symptoms of the UK’s (and, in this instance, London’s) dysfunctional infrastructure management systems. Why the hell should TfL have to beg the DfT to help electrify such an obvious piece of *London’s* infrastructure? Are they not named “Transport for London”? If so, which part of the word “London” do the DfT not understand? Londoners have already voted: they want electrification. Now, please.

    If the DfT don’t want to pay for it up-front, they shouldn’t get to slam the door in the face of the project entirely: TfL should have the powers to tell the DfT that if they (TfL) raise all the funding, the DfT should not expect to be able to send freight trains over it without the freight companies paying *TfL* the access charges.

    Local and regional infrastructure should be entirely managed and run by local and regional infrastructure organisations. The DfT should only be concerned with strategic planning at the national level. This is primarily a political problem, not an engineering one.

    I’m not convinced by the Bromley South “SSL 2” suggestion. The Catford Loop runs through an awful lot of sod all; this feels like an attempt to sweat the assets rather than provide a particularly useful service. Bromley North (possibly via a chord at Bickley Junction and a second chord to gain the Bromley North branch – no demolition would be required for either) is a lot better sited for Bromley’s town centre and would be a better option for an off-peak service. Plus, it already has two terminating platforms! (A cheaper option would be to terminate the service at Grove Park. It could alternate with Bromley North shuttles. There are turnback facilities here, not to mention the Hither Green complex just up the line.)

  10. c says:

    Looking at moving to Denmark Hill, so the more services the better.

    There is also clamouring for an increase in Victoria – Lewisham – xxx – Dartford services. These do a lot of the SLL function themselves – minus the Wandsworth Road and Clapham HS stations which are served fine as LO only I think.

    The Catford Loop needs 4tph to Central London (ideally to the same terminus!) and so does Lewisham – Victoria. If Lewisham loses the Dartford via Bexleyheath from CX services (looking likely) then Victoria seems the obvious increase.

  11. Brock says:

    It is possible for trains to run between Victoria and Wandsworth Road via the Stewarts Lane Lines – so the Victoria – Bellingham/Bromley South proposal does not rely on retention of the connection at Battersea Park.

  12. Steer says:

    Interesting article, about an area I know next to nothing of – thanks!

    I do know the Greenford area though, and can tell you that the shuttle will be brought in before Crossrail, probably December 2015. Once the relief lines on the GWML are electrified, there’ll be even less justification for using paths for Greenford diesel services, so they’ll probably take the advantage of using that excuse to curtail it to West Ealing.

  13. Stu says:

    All very interesting, but as a Bromley resident I am left wondering “what’s the point” ?

    If there was a real need to turn trains around at Bromley South, I would think that some space for additional sidings could be found to the east, closer to Bickley station

    As an aside, why do some people insist that the Bickley/Chislehurst junction is such a master of efficiency and grade separation ? Plenty of surface conflicts in a number of places, a single reversible stretch used in both directions within minutes during morning rush hour etc etc. It is dire !

  14. timbeau says:

    The “South London Line ” platforms at London Bridge were used by all trains on the Peckham Rye route, whether they turned right there for Victoria, or left for Tulse Hill. The other terminal platforms were used for the original (Forest Hill) LBSCR route.

    How do these proposals fit in with the stories told at the time that TfL woulkd not countenence compettion from SE or Southern on the Pejham – Clapham stretch, as I understood this was a factor in the demise of the direct service via battersea park?

    It is an oddity that SE Victoria – Peckham Rye services, which use the “cambria” lines rather than the “Atlantic” lines used by the LO trains, pass through Brixton station without stopping (the atlantic lines pass over the top, as has been discussed before) How hard would it be to tidy up the derelict platforms there to allow trains to call?

  15. Brock says:

    As noted in the Thameslink discussion, one of the implications of the decision to retain the Wimbledon loop was the curtailment of the 2tph TL service to Bellingham as previously proposed in the RUS. Rather than running to and from the Blackfriars bays, will this now re-emerge as a Victoria – Bellingham service?

  16. Littlejohn says:

    Any chance of a GWR pannier tank and auto-trailer returning to the Greenford branch?

  17. Michael says:

    Running 2tph off-peak services from Bromley South through Crofton Park would mean that a number of stations would end up with more trains off-peak than during peak times. This is a nonsense in terms of demand. Passengers in Crofton Park and Bellingham require a frequent (4tph) service in the peak at least as much as off-peak.

    The best solution is the Bakerloo line coming through South East London to Bromley, possibly making use of this line with spare capacity, or preferably continuing underground as far as possible, and providing the first real underground service for South East London and reducing the pressure on Network Rail routes.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Options 6 and 7 were both contained in the study above.

    Battersea Park is not included in any options as any new service would be a Southeastern one and therefore would not be routed through BAK.

    Any curtailment of the SLL at BAK would definitely put paid to any future LO services into Victoria. Anyone know what the plans are for P1 and 2 at BAK?

  19. Steven Taylor says:


    Re LOROL service to Victoria. My understanding is that `Southern` would want compensation if LOROL had services to Victoria in the current franchise as they would loose traffic.

    Re Peckham Rye – Victoria service. During Monday to Friday, 1 train an hour from Victoria goes on the Cumbria line, but the return trip goes on the Atlantic Lines. This is probably to limit conflicting moves at Brixton. On Saturday, there is an up service via Cumbria.

    It would cost money to re-instate the missing platforms at Brixton. In the down direction they no longer exist. the up platform is only about 3 carriages long.

    Going off at a tangent, I have a hunch that under the auspices of Chris Green, a lot of these problems would have been resolved. Such as extending the platforms at Wandsworth Road/Clapham High street etc. The sad aspect here is that regular South Eastern trains go on the Atlantic lines and pass through these stations non-stop.

  20. timbeau says:

    Would the extension of Platform 3 at Battersea Park necessarily sever the connection from Victoria to Platform 1? If not, could this not be used as a single line connection to/from the SLL route – if P1 is too derelict to use, the line could be slewed once clear of the extended platform to serve P2

  21. c says:

    Agreed on Bakerloo. I know people don’t love it, especially Hayes customers. But it is needed.

    This thread, the whole Thameslink debacle, any conversations about BML etc all show one thing – South London’s railways are a tangled mess. Too many flat junctions, too many routes, too many termini.

    Bold action is required hence:

    – No more long distance trains from Cannon St or Victoria (to Kent)
    – Victoria – slows and semis to Orpington, Sevenoaks via both Kent House and Catford. Double Lewisham trains. Take over Wimbledon loop. Bromley South served by semi fasts and peak fasts to Thameslink/Blackfriars.
    – Charing Cross – all long distance Kent trains (except HS1)
    – Cannon St – services via Greenwich and New Cross only, including Orpington via Lewisham. Nothing further out, metro only.
    – Blackfriars – TL only except in peaks. Peaks to Kent. No TL to ‘Southeastern’ lines – West Croydon and Sutton routes considered.

    Bakerloo to Hayes via New Cross (an east/west station which underground links both NR stations), Lewisham and down to Hayes. 24tph might be too many. A second branch could run to Bromley North via Grove Park – or indeed the spur to Beckenham Junction could take some too.

    Many freed up paths at CX and CS to intensify the remaining routes. Gillingham via Blackheath could stay via Charing Cross – running via Tanners Hill and so remaining a ‘fast’ for pathing purposes. Eventually this should pass to Crossrail.

    DLR and LO to New Cross both need looking at in terms of extensions also, but Lewisham seems to suck everything in! Difficult.

  22. Steven Taylor says:


    I think it would sever the connection at Battersea Park but I am not too sure. I would guess that if Victoria Services via Clapham High street and Wandsworth road were ever re-instated, they will use the original 1862 low-level route into Victoria, via Wandsworth Road, which is the original 1862 station, despite many books saying overwise.

    Just realised there is a mistake in my earlier post – currently, South Eastern trains on the Atlantic Lines pass through Clapham High street but NOT Wandswowrth Road unless they use the low level lines via Stewarts Lane.

  23. ngh says:

    Battersea Park platform lengthening.

    A few months ago I had a look for some detailed stuff on platform lengthening (in general as I wanted to see how much my commute through Balham would be disrupted at Christmas) and came across an NR document (I stupidly didn’t save and now can’t find quickly!) which suggested they had new plan for lengthening than didn’t involve closing the Atlantic lines.

    In several NR documents it suggests that P4 (Up Slow from Clapham) would just use SDO.
    [As all 10 car trains would be 377s (the original planning might have had to assume use of 456/455 combinations before the 456 transfer to SWT was confirmed?) so this is less of an issue.]

    In this 1 document which I now can’t find (it took a while to find originally) it suggested extending P3 southwards which I though was interesting as it was different to everything suggested previously (i.e. extend north across the SLL tracks).

    Thinking about this today it does have some merit even if it it is more expensive and isn’t as difficult as it might look.
    1. If a railing were put down the edge of P2 at the narrow northern end of the P2/3 island the safe working length of the platform could be increased by 20m (look how far the yellow line is from the northern end at the moment.) This would lengthen the current safe platform length from 7 to 8 cars.

    2. If P3 were extended through the station building and along side the over-bridge as far as the pavement on the other side of the road, the platform could be lengthened by another 42m i.e. lengthened to 10 cars.

    The adjacent gas holders has now been decommissioned which might provide another solution in the longer term.

  24. Greg Tingey says:

    Much better idea would be the restored Churchward “rail-motor”!

  25. mr_jrt says:

    I found the notion from those option documents that there are 6paths per hour on the SLL available intriguing (4 for LO, 2 for SE). Could we perhaps see a future where all 6 are being used for LO?

  26. Max Roberts says:

    This seems to be a lot of trouble to get rail service from one station in London to another (Clapham High Street has an alternative route to Victoria, perfectly able to swallow up people who used to travel by SLL).

    Which tail is wagging which dog? If SE London needs a direct service to Victoria (for people who work at TfL HQ and Scotland Yard presumably) then the best way of providing this should be identified independently of whether trains should call at Wandsworth Road.

  27. Lemmo says:

    If they rebuilt Lewisham they could run a service through to Charlton. If capacity at Victoria remained the limitation then it could run as an orbital route from the WLL.

    At the north end of Battersea Park the viaduct widens to accommodate a long carriage siding. Surely this could be relinquished and the Brighton tracks slewed west, to provide space for the SLL? On the west side of the viaduct at the north end of the platforms there was originally a junction leading to an incline down to the wharf. This has now gone but the dog-leg on the viaduct remains and could be linked to the other carriage sidings a short distance north by extending the viaduct on the west side.

    This would provide the opportunity to create a segregated SLL route into Victoria, if a new bay platform could be provided. The carriage siding which is the westernmost track on the Thames bridge would become the Brighton Up Fast, and a track could be relaid on the easternmost side for the Kent mainline Down.

  28. Jeanpierre says:

    As far as I am aware, the fast lines at Bromley South are the northern pair serving platforms 3 and 4, where all Kent Coast, Medway Towns and Ashford services stop. The southern pair, platforms 1 and 2, currently see Victoria-Orpington (via Herne Hill) and Blackfriars and beyond-Sevenoaks (via Catford and Swanley) stoppers.

    stimarco @ 01:04pm

    I wouldn’t call Catford and the Bellingham Estate ‘an awful lot of sod-all’! I lived in Bromley from late 1958 to mid 1974, and did my early trainspotting around Bickley, Petts Wood and St Mary Cray junctions, and you could not create a chord between Bickley and Chislehurst junctions as there’s a bit of a valley and a lot of very expensive property in the way. You would also have to demolish some (less expensive) property to create a chord from the north-bound Tonbridge-London Bridge line onto the Bromley North branch.

  29. Anonymous says:

    c: “- Victoria – slows and semis to Orpington, Sevenoaks via both Kent House and Catford. Double Lewisham trains. Take over Wimbledon loop.”

    Diverting the Wimbledon loop into Victoria is, in fairness, a very stupid idea that comes from drawing lines on a map.

    There are already quicker journeys from Sutton to Victoria via Wandsworth Common so anyone travelling from stations between Sutton and Mitcham Eastfields will use those services instead.

    Passengers from the stations between Sutton and Wimbledon (including Haydons Road) either feed into alternative services from those stations for Victoria or Waterloo, or stay on a Thameslink service for the sake of convenience if the stations and connections from Elephant or beyond suit their journey.

    From Tooting you can either use Mitcham Eastfields with its fast Wandsworth Common trains to Victoria, or use the Northern line to Stockwell which takes just as long but much faster assuming Victoria is not your ultimate destination given the higher frequency and avoiding the nasty change to the tube there.

    At Streatham the train is used specifically for those wanting the city or connections in that area, otherwise people use the bus to Brixton for the Victoria line, with a peak frequency of more than a bus a minute on that corridor. While a direct train link may transfer some of those travellers off the road, that would also mean needing a zone 1-3 travelcard, while the Britxon method only requires one for zones 1-2. I would expect Tulse Hill is a similar situation with another busy bus corridor.

    The only beneficiaries of such a change would be those at Herne Hill who would gain practically empty trains.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous12:29PM, 26th February 2013
    There is one thing that provides a context for a “quick win” off peak service and that is the transfer of National Rail services to TfL operation.


    c02:01PM, 26th February 2013

    Both of these comments (and indeed a lot of the comments on this blog) highlight a complete disregard of what goes on outside the GLA boundary. They are also politcally naive given the number of Conservative MP’s in Kent and Sussex who will be furious to hear that Labour supporting Boroughs in London will get a better service at the expense of their constituents.

  31. Anonymous says:


    The official designation of lines at Bromley South is that the southern pair are the Fast lines and the northern pair are the Slow lines. This dates from the re-arrangement of the tracks between Shortlands and Swanley carried out as part of the Kent Coast Electrification and has nothing to do with current usage.

  32. JN says:

    An excellent article that features a station I use every morning…

    Wholeheartedly agree with Michael that this proposal would mean stations on the Catford loop would have a better service off-peak rather than on-peak… How does this make any sense!

    Of note however is that it would make for interesting use at weekends as currently the Catford loop receives 2tph to Blackfriars and if this additional 2tph to Victoria also operated on weekends, it would give a portion of south east rail users an opportunity of access to 2 key terminals.

    I therefore support this suggestion of an additional service in the off-peak but a recast of the full southeastern timetable needs to be carried out as soon as possible… Peak services really need sorting but as mentioned in article, favourable to those from Kent rather than those already in London :/

  33. Anonymous says:

    3-4 trains per hour start from platform 2, Bromley south in am peak – some to Victoria, some to Luton. Off peak you would have thought this would be doable. I think though it would be better to have 4tph dartford to Victoria, 4tph Sevenoaks/Bromley south to thameslink route, with same platform interchange at Peckham eye/nunhead. This would get away from the scattergun approach to termini that plagues south london services.

  34. James Bunting says:

    I was interested to discover that South Eastern already have a service from Victoria to Bromley South via the SLL. You have to get up early to catch it as it leaves Victoria at 0530, calling at Wandsworth Road at 0537 and Clapham High Street at 0538 before arriving at Bromley South at 0557. The train then proceeds as Empty Coaching Stock to Maidstone East. The return journey is provided by the 1818 Sevenoaks to Victoria, calling at Bromley South at 1846, Clapham High Street at 1904 and Wandsworth Road at 1905, arriving into Victoria at 1914.

    By doubling the Catford Loop service, adding 2 tph off peak to the rather irregular peak service, may just provide a tipping point at which passengers may be attracted to the line. With Overground and other National Rail connections at Peckham Rye the number of journey opportunities is greatly expanded. It is surprising how many different routings are used, especially to and from work. Not everyone wants to travel into Central London, so making it easier to use rail for other journeys should be encouraged.

    There has been discussion above about platform space, or the lack of it, at London Bridge and Victoria. This seems to be on the assumption that all platforms must be at the same level. In Tokyo, where land space constraints are far worse than in London, they have been a little more open in their thinking. When Keikyu Railway needed to remove a major road/rail crossing at Kamata Station they followed the now standard procedure of raising the track up a level. However, the also needed to expand capacity as this station is the junction between the main line and the branch to Haneda Airport. The solution was to raise the track and station in one direction to a second level. There is sufficient air space above the tracks at both London Bridge and Victoria to provide a solution if wanted.

  35. Slugabed says:

    James Bunting 7:25pm 26/02
    London Bridge perhaps but not Victoria.
    The station is crossed by several road bridges at “first-floor” level,and these would need to be addressed as well as the slightly less troublesome 80s retail development above the existing station…

  36. Anonymous says:

    What is the long-term future of Stewart’s Lane? It’s certainly not the depot of yesteryear. With all the development around Battersea could a new terminus/interchange be built linking the south and south east metro lines and the new Tube, without impinging on the capacity at Victoria?

  37. JN says:

    Interesting thought from anonymous above, Stuart’s lane interchange with Crossrail 2… Rather like old oak common for Crossrail1 & HS2… Would be valuable but not connecting at Victoria would miss too much… Certainly couldn’t do both…

  38. Steven TAylor says:

    Re earlier post concerning Network rail works for 10 car trains at Battersea Park. I am a little confused as well. I found on the web a copy of the CP4 Delivery Plan 2011 enhancements (March 2011) . It specifically states that Selective Door Opening will take place on Platforms 3 and Platforms 4 at Battersea Park for 10 car trains.
    However, I cannot find the source, but I recently read that the junction will be taken out on the SLL at BP in the Spring. I will try and locate the source. It could be that SDO has fallen out of favour, after all, these trains are very busy in the rush, and it would delay departure if a lot of people had to move forward from the rear 2 carriages.

  39. Ig says:

    Would the likely coming of the Northern line to Battersea, (c. 300m away from Battersea Park Station), make the idea of a service terminating there more logical?

  40. Whiff says:

    One thing that I haven’t seen discussed anywhere is that the article says that Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road only have platforms long enough for 4 car-trains with no plans for extension, yet TFL are planning to run 5-car trains on all their non-GOBLIN Overground routes. Will this mean yet more Selective Door Operation or are there plans about to unveiled to lengthen these 2 stations?

    (PS and only slightly off-topic has TFL produced a definitive list yet of the station improvements they plan to carry out to prepare for 5 car-trains on the Overground)

  41. StephenC says:

    @Anon08:19 and @JN, Stewarts Lane/Battersea can in fact be used to reduce the cost of Crossrail 2 with Crossrail SSW. With additional platforms, it could also become a new interchange point for the lines to Peckham Rye and Herne Hill. Going further, if CR2’s core tunnel were built as a single bore 4 track (see Madrid, p58) then you could run 24tph to the SW (via Wimbledon) and 24tph to the South (12tph via Balham and 12tph via Herne Hill), completely changing the south London metro map.

    @Anon05:22, the political realities of beyond London is why I’m surprised TfL is pitching for so much CR2 SW London focus on Tooting/Wimbledon, when the real problem is the long distance services. Again, see the Crossrail SSW plan.

    The real question with the proposed 2tph service to Bromley is whether it adds enough value. Surely a consistent 4tph (or more) to Blackfriars is more valuable to Catford as it creates a real turn up and go service. Is the Victoria service really needed? Maybe instead, trains could be turned using the start of the Brockley route, providing a short Victoria to Nunhead booster to get that service to 4tph (to the same terminal).

  42. Steven Taylor says:


    The TFL approval document says all platforms will be extended to 5 cars except I think at Rotherhithe, Wapping and Canada Water. It also states that where feasible – ie not too costly, they will be extended to 6 cars. It did not go into any detail.

    Re Clapham High Street. The existing platforms are long enough for 5 cars, although the extensions have been grass covered for at least 50 years to my recollection. They would need work – just not a tarmac job. Wandsworth Road may need a signal moved at the Voltaire Road junction, but would require an extension. My guess is that as the speed limit is low through the station in this direction – going towards CHS – the overlap re Voltaire Road junction may not be compromised otherwise this could get very expensive.

  43. Steven Taylor says:

    Thanks for post – I have missed this. It does beg the question why no extension at Clapham High Street when the platforms are long enough already!

  44. Grammar police says:

    Lots of begging the question going on here but also lots of people not really knowing how to use the phrase properly!

  45. Anonymous says:

    @ anon 1722 – I struggle to see how highlighting a possible *off peak* service from Bromley to Victoria as an early win for a devolved set of inner London services does anything to upset Tory MPs outside of London. There is no suggestion that such a service would affect anyone travelling from Kent so there is no reason for “Mr Angry of Tunbridge Wells” to write to his equally fuming Tory MP.

    It is quite clear that ensuring appropriate governance and representation for people outside of Greater London who *might* be affected by a devolved TfL operation is a key point that requires resolution. The SoS has publicly stated this – I saw him on TV saying so. I understand the Mayor has publicly acknowledged this point and TfL have stated this too in a recent publicly available document. TfL have also increased the number of Board members with specific responsibility for “out of London” rail services.

    There is no evidence *at all* that Labour boroughs are going to cause the mass cancellation or withdrawal of trains carrying Tory Home Counties voters. Last time I looked London had a Tory Mayor whose voter base was in the outer boroughs and not the inner boroughs. What limited improvement there has been has actually been in Tory voting areas – I’ll ignore ELLX Phase 2 as that was originally a Ken era scheme. I do not see the Mayor deliberating going out of his way to antagonise Tory MPs who he might need to rely on if he ever seeks the leadership of the Tory party.

    If we are going to go “all territorial” about TfL providing services to the democratic detriment of those outside London perhaps TfL need to stop running bus services to Staines, Slough, Dorking, Epsom, Redhill and Bluewater? I don’t see the locals in this towns complaining about cheap fares and regular, frequent daily bus services on the TfL bus routes in those places.

    There are no detailed plans about what TfL would or would not do to South Eastern or Greater Anglia services. It is quite clear, though, that TfL could not grab train paths to the detriment of longer distance South Eastern services because ORR would not grant the paths and the DfT would object to anything that damaged South Eastern’s ability to earn revenue and pay the franchise premium to the DfT. The stated high level objectives for a devolved South Eastern inner suburban operation are very modest in terms of the scale of service expansion with no timescales given. This must be because of the crowded nature of the infrastructure and the inability to squeeze any more trains into London in the peaks.

    If you can point me to some facts, rather than conjecture, that longer distance commuters will *definitely* be worse off as a result of a devolved TfL operation then I would be very happy to read the info. All I have read to date is a lot of opinion based on an unsubstantiated fear of the unknown.

  46. TfL need to stop running bus services to Staines, Slough, Dorking, Epsom, Redhill and Bluewater?

    I can’t speak for many of these destinations but the Epsom service (166) and the Redhill service (405) despite being in all outward appearance a TfL service with Oystercard etc. are in fact subsidised by Surrey County Council (HQ in Kingston) for the portion outside the London boundary and integrate into their transport network. They are a shining example of what can be achieved when public transport organisations co-operate.

  47. @Whiff and others

    I think you are getting confused with regard to London Overground and 5-car services. I did not intend to suggest these would be London Overground services using LO trains. I don’t think that is the idea. The idea is that TfL in its strategic planning role thinks that this service is a good idea and wants to see it happen. I believe it would be operated by a TOC. Whether it is paid for by the DfT or TfL and who specifies the exact details of the service are two of the outstanding issues.

    It would make absolutely no sense initially for TfL to provide their own trains for an off-peak only service when there are TOC-leased unused trains available off-peak. So discussions about platform lengths and SDO would, initially at any rate, be irrelevant.

  48. Graham Feakins says:

    When the Southern SLL service was running, it provided a 7-day, all-day service right until close of service (23.15 departures) between London Bridge and Victoria via Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill.

    This was supplemented by the Victoria-Dartford service, which ran and still only runs weekdays until about 19.30, with no Sunday service. The simplest solution would therefore be to extend the operating hours of this to cover the loss of the SLL services between Victoria and Peckham Rye.

    Victoria and the West End as far as Chelsea and Notting Hill at least have become an important area for business and leisure and access between it and Denmark Hill/Peckham Rye is today impossible by any reasonable route* outside the restricted hours of the Dartford services. It is plainly not sensible to find oneself in a situation where one cannot return home in the evenings from Victoria to the main SLL stations. Traffic at all stations on the route had been increasing year-on-year, even before the introduction of LOROL services.

    * Nobody in their right mind is going to use LOROL to Clapham Junction and change there to/from Victoria more than once.

    One of the reasons that Bellingham fell off the proposals is that because somebody realised that the sidings there are filled with Thameslink stock off-peak at the moment. That might change when their new depot has been built at Three Bridges.

    Like others, I share doubts about reversing trains on the main line at Bromley South from an operational point of view. The demand to Victoria from Bromley South via the Catford Loop would in any case be minimal, bearing in mind the existing Victoria services via Herne Hill. All intermediate traffic is catered for by the Thameslink services. The only advantage would be to increase services to 4 tph on the Catford Loop.

    Southern have in mind to increase the service to London Bridge via Peckham Rye by 2 tph but this would not be to Victoria but to restore the 2 tph services taken out some time ago via Tulse Hill which ran via Crystal Palace to East Croydon. Whilst the southern destination has not yet been decided (unlikely to be East Croydon again because of line capacity problems), I guess they may use the revitalised platform 7 at Norwood Junction to terminate and reverse.

    It is correct that Battersea Park Junction will be taken out soon but direct access is still available to Victoria from Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street. Incidentally, platforms at both those stations could accommodate 6-car trains of the original SLL A.C. electric stock, so I fail to see why 5-car LOROL services would require SDO if the unused bits were renovated as pointed out above.

    Those affected in the Denmark Hill/Peckham Rye area might be interested to view the Southwark Rail Users’ Group website (centred around the Peckham area) –

  49. Rich says:

    @ Pedantic of Purley
    RE: 12:56AM, 27th February 2013
    @Whiff and others
    I think you are getting confused with regard to London Overground and 5-car services. I did not intend to suggest these would be London Overground services using LO trains.

    Maybe I have the wrong end of the stick here, but i thought that Whiff was referring to actual eg: SLL LO services here (Eg: the recent-ish CJ via Canada Water services).? These are LO, meaning trains will become 5 carriage as part of the plan. But if the Clapham H St and Wandsworth Rd platforms are not long enough for 5 carriages, they will need to be extended or SDO used as part of LO lengthening. I think it is a comment pricked by this excellent article, but not specifically relevant to it. But it’s getting late, and i might have got completely confused.

  50. Whiff says:

    Thanks Rich, that was exactly the point I was trying to make. The article suggests that any future trains to, for example, Bromley South will be limited to 4 cars because of the short platforms at Wandsworth Road and Clapham High Street. Therefore I was wondering, firstly if those 2 stations are going to be altered to accommodate the longer Overground trains and secondly if they are, will this affect the plans for introducing any new services on the South London Line.

    Additionally, if, as Graham Feakins suggests, it’s relatively easy to extend the 2 stations to fit 6 cars could (should/will) this be done at the same time as any work to prepare for the Overground trains.

  51. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous 10:47
    I don’t see the locals in (Staines, Slough, Dorking, Epsom, Redhill and Bluewater) complaining about cheap fares and regular, frequent daily bus services on the TfL bus routes in those places.

    Exactly. No-one cares about democratic input if they get decent services (cf Mussolini and Italian railways 🙂 ). For commuters subjected to SouthEastern’s appalling management, it would appear that even with democratic input the service and passenger communication just keeps on going downhill whilst the fares keep on going up. Which is why I, for one, find my MP’s opposition to Boris having Dartford incomprehensible. Especially as he’s already got Watford, and I don’t hear their residents screaming for the Overground to be taken away from him.

    I’d also be glad to see the end of the Revenue Protection stasi penalising all the people who don’t realise they can’t use their Oyster out to Dartford. Must be making SouthEastern a mint.

  52. Jeremy says:

    To what extent is there genuinely proper local democratic ability to influence current services? Presumably, any TfL rail services beyond London are going to involve negotiation with the DfT and the involvement of the regulator, which is pretty much the same deal as with the present franchised services.

    Not only can I not see the accountability problem here, but the improved services are the kind of thing you’d hope MPs would be falling over themselves to claim credit for ‘negotiating’.

  53. Steven Taylor says:

    I do not understand why SDO is/was proposed at Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road. As I and Graham have mentioned, Clapham High Street already has sufficient length for 5 car trains. It requires the grass covered extensions to be refurbished. Wandsworth Road is almost long enough, and would not require much work to take a 5 cars train. I would expect TFL to publish more information in the next few months.

    It perhaps should be mentioned that the finance package to pay for the trains for the leasing company has not yet been finalised, and our loss of `AAA` rating may impact this.

  54. peezedtee says:

    Graham Feakins says “The only advantage [of a Catford loop service from Victoria] would be to increase services to 4 tph on the Catford Loop.” But if you happen to live on the Catford loop, that is a very great advantage! If it ran 7 days a week and into the late evening, it would also supply some of what the Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill campaigners want in terms of a better service to and from Victoria:

    More generally, I detect a tendency in some of these comments, on this and other threads, to dismiss the off-peak as not very important. This possibly happens because all the RUSs naturally concentrate on the morning peak since that is what determines the maximum resources (infrastructure and rolling stock). Thus the whole debate about possible or desirable patterns of service risks becoming skewed.

    As seen by the passenger on the ground at many of the inner stations we are discussing, the odd peak-hour train to or from distant parts is neither here nor there, it is the all-day pattern that is of interest.

  55. Sleep Deprived says:

    Slightly off topic but a more frequent off-peak than peak service is not unheard of, as anyone using Chesham Station on the Met line regularly will know.

    Also, it sounds like people are harking back to LT and there old Green Line busses which served areas well out of what some people would consider London. I think that TfL running train services out of London would be well received if there was a regular reliable service which maintained or improved existing service patterns. That’s what is important.

  56. StephenC says:

    @peezedtee Catford loop getting 4tph is misleading if its 2tph to Blackfriars and 2tph to Victoria. Neither service at 2tph is good enough to be turn up and go. I’d strongly suggest Catford needs 4tph to Blackfriars and 0tph to Victoria. Improve the Nunhead/Peckham Rye to Victoria service to 4tph and you get the full access to Victoria with a single change.

  57. DeepThought says:

    @Sleep Deprived – A little off topic, but I’d dearly love to see a rough costing for building new tracks from the west of Amersham round to Chesham, and closing the old link. The Business Case would never make it due to the small populations served, but it would end up being a far more useful service!

  58. timbeau says:

    Deep Thought
    I have heard that the locals are not keen on driving new railway lines through the area!
    Such an extension would have to be largely in tunnel as the area is quite built up, and the rest is an AONB. It’s also quite hilly.

    Why was Amersham chosen in 1960 as the limit of electrification anyway? Why not electrify the whole LT system (as it was then) all the way to Aylesbury? Or why not hand over everything beyond Rickmansworth to British Rail, and not electrify anything?

  59. Jeanpierre says:

    Anonymous @ 06:45pm, 26 February

    Point taken, however the reality is that, since the demise if the Victoria-Folkestone/Dover boat trains and, more recently, the opening of the CTRL phase one, all regular fast trains through Bromley South run through or stop at platforms 3 and 4, therefore anything terminating at/starting from platform 2 will be interfering with local services rather than semi-fasts. I believe the Tonbridge-Ashford-Folkestone route is still called Boat Train 1, but when was the last time a boat train ran over it?

  60. Philip Wylie says:

    @Stephen C re Catford/Catford Bridge, how about a good pedestrian interchange between the two stations? Just running away with thoughts – create a rail link between the two lines on the stadium site which could provide flexibility in new routes/diversions via a re-doubled spur at New Beckenham. Perhaps a DLR interchange at Catford Interchange…?

  61. Anonymous says:

    @ Jeremy 0822 – well exactly. From what I have read there are three basic issues about the potential take over of some cross boundary services by TfL. One is that people in Kent / Herts / Essex cannot vote for the Mayor of London so somehow they will be the mercy of the Mayor’s decision making. If any of them travel into London and use the tube or bus or certain roads they are already subject to the same “democratic deficit”. The second is some misplaced belief that their MPs or Councillors have more sway with the Secretary of State than with the Mayor of London. Having watched the SoS swat away endless demands from constituency MPs during Commons debates I wonder just what influence the MPs think they have. Thirdly there is a fear that the Metropolitan Line service pattern is the template for every TfL rail service and therefore if they have fast or semi fast rail services today then the evil TfL empire will come along and remove them and condemn them to all station stoppers in the future.

    I do not believe that TfL are so bloody minded that they will remove fast and semi-fast services. The regulatory regime prevents them mounting a takeover to the detriment of other TOCs and their passengers. TfL will also want to ensure the infrastructure is used as effectively as possible or else they will be dumped with the bill for any enhancements needed. There is not the money to fund huge infrastructure and signalling works on South Eastern just to run more all stations peak services. Whatever money there is would be better spent on making sure each peak train path uses trains of the maximum length (where justified) where today that is not the case. The case for easing bottlenecks has to follow on from that. Such works are likely to benefit everyone on South Eastern’s metals not just those on inner suburban lines.

  62. DW down under says:

    Sleep Deprived:

    Perhaps it means that TfL should metamorphose into TfLSE. We could ask Chris Green to be Chairman of the Board, and Adrian Shooter to be a non-executive Director. Graham Hewitt could help with the planning.

    We would need a better branding than TfLSE – how does “Network South East” sound?

    Ahhhhh – music to my ears.

    DW down under

  63. JM says:

    With fast/slow lines, how many routes are there where TFL intensive v longer services could be an issue? Southern through Herne Hill & certain routes out of East Croydon/Chiltern through Wembley (which probably prevents a 4tph Chiltern Metro) Lea Valley and east of Dartford/Swanley are probably the only ones I can think of.

    Would (or even could) TfL be any more likely to route something like Bexleyheath line services to one terminal if they had control?

    I still can’t think of any good reason for running Amersham/Chesham Mets as stoppers though. There remain plenty of local interchanges at Moor Park, Harrow, Wembley Park and my hunch is that the end destination for many using these services is beyond Baker Street.

    A useful longer term strategy maybe ensuring part of any future Tube extensions (Bakerloo, Victoria) help create or maintain links to the West End ensuring you can route more frequent Kent trains to eastern terminals provided standardised routes are accepted as the best method of resolving caapcity constraints of main line terminal routes..

  64. c says:

    4tph Catford to Blackfriars/TL and 4tph Dartford to Victoria seems a no brainer. These could then be 8 cars as standard, hopefully longer.

    Gives both routes a more metro service, timetabled well would give Nunhead a very decent service (and interchange point for 7-8 mins), and keeps it simple, stupid.

    Clapham HS and Wandsworth Road to remain LO only. The ELL will eventually want 6 cars – why don’t we learn something for once and extend now to 6 cars at both for the future.

  65. Anonymous says:

    The problem is the rail network is so fractured that Tfl have to work with multiple bodies in the rest of the SE before even consideration politicians. If it was just Tfl and British Rail things would be far simpler, like they are in Paris where RATP and SNCF seem to cooperate a fair amount, mostly notably on the RER network where line management is split between them. None of this is helped by the strange relationship that TFl and the DfT appear to have.

  66. Steve Taylor says:


    I always remember what Chris Green delivered in the 1980`s with Network South East etc. Less red-tape and disparate bodies to deal with. As I stated in an earlier post, I feel sure he would have found a cost effective solution to reinstating a stopping service from Denmark Hill to Victoria somehow.

  67. Matt says:

    If ever there was a case of suppressed demand, it’s on the zone 2/3 stations of the Catford Loop, especially Nunhead and Crofton Park.

    There is very high peak loading on the Sydenham corridor and boarding a northbound train anywhere from Honor Oak Park inwards in the morning rush hour is difficult and unpleasant. The extra carriage for the Overground services will help, but Southern services into London Bridge may be reduced with the Thameslink rebuild. Either way it’s a busy stretch of line with ever-increasing passenger numbers.

    The Catford loop crosses the Sydenham corridor between Brockley and Honor Park, and while there’s no direct interchange, Nunhead and Crofton Park are in walking distance and would both be viable alternatives, if the level of service was good enough. Currently though the 2tph off-peak and poorly-patterned variable peak service isn’t good enough to attract people to the line.

    Perhaps a scenario of 4tph Bromley South to Victoria and 4tph Sevenoaks to Blackfriars and beyond is wishful thinking, but an 8tph service with all trains at 8 cars long (there’s probably even scope for extensions to 10 car on the Victoria route) would transform the route and abstract passengers from the Sydenham corridor, easing congestion on that route.

  68. JamesBass says:

    If local services were withdrawn from Charing X and instead sent to Cannon St (assuming enough capacity there) would there be enough capacity at Charing X to take the Victoria SouthEastern fast services? If so, then it would make perfect sense for TfL to be given responsibility for the slow lines south of the river and let DfT, NR and the TOCs run the fast line services physically segregated from the stopping services.

    For democratic accountability, make sure that representatives from places like Sevenoaks and Dartford are on the London Rail board (or whatever the TfL rail body is called nowadays) as the extremities of the stopping services are in those areas.

    You’ve got the fast line via Balham into Victoria, the fast line via Orpington into Charing X and the fast line via Wimbledon into Waterloo- a similar situation exists on GE mainline into Liverpool St, the lines into Paddington, St Pancras and Kings X and if you view the District, Overground/Bakerloo and Metropolitan/Jubilee as the slow lines, then also Fenchurch St, Euston and Marylebone. Doubling the North Kent, West Anglia and Windsor lines would be great in the long term to remove conflicts in those places. Obviously one would retain running rights for engineering and emergencies.

    I don’t particularly like the “option 7” outlined. doubling the TL/Blackfriars – Sevenoaks service and the Victoria – Dartford service to 4tph seems like the sensible medium term aim barring a fundamental sorting out of the tangled and infrequent services south of the river.

  69. Sleep Deprived says:

    Still off topic but…

    Deep Thought,
    It would be nice but I fear that the gradients on a route west of Amersham would be prohibitive to getting to Chesham that way, also as pointed out later, people aren’t keen on new train lines in this area. What is interesting is the increase in demand for housing in Chesham (which I am assuming from the increase in sale/rent figures in the area above what I assume would normally be expected) since a through service started.

    In a way we are lucky that Met line services have remained as far as Amersham & Chesham! These two stations are easily the furthest out and lie in deepest Buckinghamshire. A more logical place to have curtailed the service would have been Rickmansworth (or possibly even Moor Park), which lies on the London side of the M25. Maybe someone important from LT lived up there?

    It would be nice for TfL (in collaboration with whatever the NR SE becomes) to run integrated services outside their political boundaries, a la LT. I fear it will be seen to much like a power grab however. Still, integrated track and passenger services… it’ll never catch on.

  70. Sleep Deprived says:

    The obvious benefit of running the Amersham/Chesham trains as stoppers is that they get off the fast line, which leaves it clear for the Chiltern trains. I would assume that Chiltern pay track access fees (with penalty clauses) to use TfLs track between HotH to just North of Amersham and so the fewer interactions (and therefore fewer potential delays) caused by TfL trains the better.
    Also, there is now a much more frequent service for the good citizens of Northwood, Pinner etc.

  71. mr_jrt says:

    My friends from Watford bought homes in Chesham because for the same money as a 2 bed terrace they can have a 3 bed semi…and they still have a Met station they have to cycle to as it’s so far away 🙂

    They’ve very much hoping for a north curve Chesham-Watford shuttle post Croxley Link to save the change at Moor Park 😉

  72. JM says:

    @Sleep Deprived


    Although from a service pov, you would only have 6 trains in each direction in total using the route off peak. If there is no problem more or less doubling the frequency with higher level of interaction in the peak, I can’t see the logic in adding 10 minutes to the journey off peak.

    If the Watford Junction extension gets the green light, allowing for Watford closing, you have traffic from three extra stations probably adding over 2 million journeys via this route a year, you may have to enhance the freqency of the Croxley service, particularly going north am/south pm putting a squeeze of what you can run to or from Am/Chesh. Only in my humble opinion of course.

  73. mr_jrt says:

    I wonder that if that were the case then perhaps a proposed transfer of the fast lines to NR and a rebuild of Ricky with longer platforms might offer better times to central London using fast Chiltern AC EMUs than using a stopping service all the way to HotH. Could of course have Chiltern platforms at Moor Park instead…but I suspect there’s orders of magnitude more non-interchange traffic at Ricky to convince Chiltern to stop there, outweighing the Watford traffic having to divert that way.

    Could have Amersham/Chesham to Watford as the primary service with the Met terminating in central bay platforms at a rebuilt Ricky able to handle 8 car NR EMUs. 😀

  74. Sleep Deprived says:

    As you suggest, hopefully if an extension to Croxley does require more train paths (presumably on the slow) it will result in the Amersham/Chesham trains being kept on the fast lines. I suspect that tph at the northern end of the line will only truly be able to increase once the signal improvements are complete. If it also allows the new stock to approach the speeds of the Chiltern trains (or even the old stock) that would be nice too!

    The first train from Chesham does go round the curve to Rickmansworth but that’s about it. It would be nice to have an outer outer loop but I suspect the met will be kept as an up/down line. Also they’d need to electrify north or Amersham to run EMUs and I don’t see it as a priority for anyone atm. I think the northern end of the met line is a good example of the compromises between speed and frequency. Finally, one of the benefits of the met over the Chiltern is that it doesn’t terminate at Marylebone but does go further into/round the centre.

  75. Anonymous says:

    12:10PM, 27th February 2013 – “Thirdly there is a fear that the Metropolitan Line service pattern is the template for every TfL rail service and therefore if they have fast or semi fast rail services today then the evil TfL empire will come along and remove them and condemn them to all station stoppers in the future.”

    This is a good comment on TfL taking over services outside of the GLA area and the above is the major concern for passengers outside of the GLA boundary. For example the 2 track section from Sevenoaks to Orpington has 2 stations indside the GLA area and these stations have a 2 tph frequency. Any more then the fast trains from Kent and Hastings will either be slowed down, or cut back in order to provide a 4 tph service to what is a very minor station at Knockholt and a not much bigger one at Chelsfield. Therefore, it would need TfL to commit that they would not press for their stated objective of 4 tph at such stations, or did they do that on the Metropolitan line originally and still did it anyway?

  76. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Chelsfield would be the run-of-the-mill outer suburban station were it not for various things.

    A lot of trains terminate at Orpington. Also a lot of longer distance trains do not want to be crowded with Orpington commuters and possibly prevent longer distance commuters from boarding their train to Tonbridge or Hastings. So these long distance trains have a first stop of Chelsfield. In the other direction it has a non-stop service to London Bridge in the morning peak hour but don’t expect to get a seat.

    When the Zonal system was brought in Chelsfield was the last station in Zone 5 – the outermost zone. As a consequence it attracted a huge number of people who drove to the station. The streets all around was packed with parked cars. It was certainly the case that it had a good service whereas Knockholt – the next station down – had a very limited service but, if I recall correctly, a larger car park than it needed. I don’t know if the current good service existed prior to the zonal fares.

    When the zones were revised Chelsfield was put in zone 6 and Knockholt also became a zone 6 station. Despite this, usage at Knockholt was poor due to the infrequent service. I presume that still is the case.

    I suspect any operator would be a bit reluctant to improve the service at Knockholt and Dunton Green as they wouldn’t want too many stopping services on this two track section. Also if passenger numbers remained low then the disadvantage to other users of the line in the form of extended journey times would probably outweigh any benefits. As the line speed is quite fast any additional stop probably takes a few minutes extra by the time the train has slowed down and speeded up again.

    Of no relevance to anything whatsoever, at the end of the up platform at Chelsfield is a four aspect signal with flashing double yellows.

  77. Chris says:

    mr_jrt @ 03:52PM, 27th February

    Where’s the traffic to justify all that investment going to come from? Eventually the Chiltern services will probably be electrified through OHLE and dual voltage rolling stock, but it’s hard to see anything else.

  78. mr_jrt says:

    I keep reading that the Chiltern services are rammed, with some passengers driving to the WCML to use the Tring stoppers instead. When services are rammed, you have to either reduce demand (i.e. raise prices or provide a better alternative) or provide capacity. If you sell it to TfL as cutting the Met back to Ricky to reduce their exposure outside London then there’s a good chance they’ll bite. Ricky gets a new station to the east as originally planned (you know the four tracks were meant to continue through Ricky, don’t you? And loops fitted at several stations north of there?), the Met gets to be an all-stations metro, and Chiltern get both a clear run to Marylebone and carte-blanch to actually invest in the route with line speed improvements, longer platforms and perhaps OHLE.

    As it stands, there’s no point Chiltern investing in longer trains as TfL aren’t interested in investing in the current Ricky station (so they wouldn’t be able to call there) and the fast services from there are probably one of the largest markets on the route after Amersham. HotH shouldn’t be too hard to lengthen, and then it’s just down to whether you believe there’s justification for an interchange at one or all of Wembley Park, Neasden, and West Hampstead.

  79. timbeau says:

    Several proposals have been made for sorting out south London’s complex rail network, but different people want different things – having a choice of terminals inevitably dilutes the services to each. Underground users are happier to change because they will not have to wait long for a connection. But if you currently have 2tph to the City and 2tph to the West End, what increase in frequency on each leg would be acceptable if you were now forced to change trains somewhere on the way, twice a day, every day?

    It should also be recognised that the old Southern Region is made up of four (not three) different networks with very different characteristics. Yes, four: despite being under the same management since 1899 they are still quite distinct, with only very limited rationalisation in Thanet and the Medway towns, and a couple of connections at Chislehurst, and Lewisham. Even Thameslink 2000-and-counting is actually designed to segregate flows on the SER from those into the LCDR terminus. And despite Beeching almost every population centre in Kent of any significance from Catford to Canterbury, is still served by both networks. It was a surprise to me that Kent was not seen by the privatisation fans as a golden opportunity for some real competition!

    Anyway, I digress:
    The SER: nearly all stations have City and West End services: interchange is possible between them at Lewisham – but this makes Lewisham a serious pinch point. The main line is fourtracked to the limit of the suburban services at Orpington

    The LCDR: nearly all stations have City and West End services, but the only interchange point is out at Bromley South, from where there are two separate routes to both the City and West End. There are four* tracks between the Greater London boundary and both termini but the two pairs take different routes and both carry suburban traffic. There is no interchange where the two routes cross.

    *In fact there are five, because the original route via Birkbeck is still available.

    The Brighton: nearly all stations have City and West End services, but there are multiple intermediate routings (as many as five between Sutton and London Bridge – Wimbledon, Mitcham Junction, Norbury, Crystal plaace and Forest Hill) and often no interchange between them – e.g between the TulseHill-Streatham-Mitcham Junction line and the two lines from Victoria to Croydon – resulting in a further dilution of the available services to cover all the local spurs, e.g Tulse Hill to West Norwood. The main line is fourtracked to well beyond the limit of the suburban services.

    The South Western: a very simple tree and branch arrangement, similar to SER, but with only one London terminus, and that not very conveniently located. The main line is fourtracked to well beyond the limit of the suburban services.

    It is unlikely a one-size-fits all approach would sort that lot out. Crossrail 2 would solve the biggest problem SWT has, although access to the City could still be better. Interchange with the LCDR lines is now better than it was, as the Overground provides a direct link between Clapham Junction and Peckham Rye, but there is still no direct interchange between LCDR and SWT services, despite the LCDR route passing right over Queenstown Road station. Try getting from Clapham Junction to Herne Hill!

    A good interchange at Loughborough Junction would allow all Kent House line trains to go to the City and all Catford Loop trains to Victoria. Similar arrangements in the Streatham and Tulse Hill complexes might again allow a more frequent service on fewer different routes.

    On the SER, I can’t think of anything that would help except a complete redesign of Lewisham from the ground up (and down!) to separate flows and provide cross platform interchanges.

    Any plan to simplify the unholy mess that is the south London rail network would be expensive, and probably result in a worse service for some. But you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs

    – yes I know it’s a mixed metaphor: you crack eggs to scramble them, not to unscramble.

  80. JSG says:

    I can’t believe the Victoria – Dartford service is still so poor. There must be a bloody good reason why it isn’t improved. When I had to use it from Denmark Hill to Lewisham in the evening rush hour it was the worse journey I made commuting in London. The first train after 5pm was always just 4 cars, and arrives 30 minutes after the previous I believe. Incredibly busy with people going to Lewisham and further into Dartford. If cancelled then there was no chance of getting on the next one, which I think was 20 mins after. The frequencies only change from 2 tph to 3 thp for a short time.

    It should be 4tph all day at the very least, or at least all trains 8 car in the peak. There clearly isn’t enough stock but prioritising it for long trains in the short term would be good. In the peak the demand is there. Stopping running at 7.30pm and no service on Sundays is also very annoying.

  81. Graham Feakins says:

    General comment: TOPIC: “Towards The Start of a New Era on the South London Line?” Why have we all these posts on Amersham, Chesham and other locations far remote from the SLL cluttering up this page?

    peezedtee – My apologies; I didn’t intend to imply that the Catford Loop was not worth 4 tph. I am well aware of the situation as I edit items for the site you and I mentioned.

    Steve Taylor – Re. Chris Green – interesting to note, however, that in pre-Thameslink days but during Network Southeast days, the SLL had a peak-hours only service only, as did the Nunhead-Lewisham link and Forest Hill-Crystal Palace.

    In my first post, I discussed Victoria as being important as a main station for users of the SLL and connecting services. I emphasise that one of the major users these days is at King’s College Hospital & Dental Institute (with The Maudsley over the road) at Denmark Hill, for patients, visitors and staff alike. The hospital employs over 5,000 staff from London and the South East and has over 700,000 patients annually. Add to that the number of visitors. A sizeable number of staff and patients alike rely on the railway at Denmark Hill to travel to/from the hospital. The hospital is therefore most supportive of an all-day Victoria service.

  82. DW down under says:


    Someone upthread mentioned that it wasn’t unknown for off-peak services to be better than peak, and cited Chesham as an example. That opened the floodgates.

    It certainly indicates scope for an article to provide a place for a lively discussion!!


    DW down under

  83. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham Feakins and others

    Going off topic is a bit of an issue. I openly admit to being guilty of it at times. If only it were easy to move comments to another topic we could start another thread in a controlled manner which would be the ideal approach. Alternatively we could delete irrelevant comments for the time being but save them for a more appropriate future article. At the same time we don’t want to stifle discussion so provided it doesn’t get ridiculously out of hand we are reluctant to intervene.

    We did internally discuss having a forum but decided against it as it would be difficult to moderate and generally control it. Many sites nowadays have a policy of only allowing members to post comments. John Bull wants to avoid having to go that route but it does mean more behind the scenes intervention is necessary. One of the arguments against having a our forum is that there is nothing to stop commentors starting their own or posting on an existing one and it wasn’t really what London Reconnections was about.

    The far end of the Metropolitan line raises some interesting issues and is one of many topics for which I have an article half-written. This was done in anticipation of the Croxley Rail Link being approved in the next few months. Trouble is, as always, it is the easy half that I have already written about! Hopefully if/when Croxley Rail Link is approved it will appear so if people could hold back a general discussion about the subject for now we will try and cover it in future.

    Of course this comment is nothing to do with the South London Lines so is also off-topic.

  84. Some Corrections.

    Clearly, looking at this afresh, it is obvious that it was intended all along to go via Stewart’s Lane. I did not notice that Battersea Park was missing from the diagrams. Or maybe I did but did not realise the significance. Thanks for pointing this out. I have modified the relevant paragraph.

    I suspect you are correct and the Greenford through services will disappear before 2018 because of electrification. However I have not seen any official confirmation of this and so I am leaving the text as it is. I am also pretty sure I am wrong because if this were not the case then by December 2018 Crossrail will only provide a Paddington – Abbey Wood service so a service could be run until 2019.

    @Anonymous 01:51 PM 26th February
    I don’t know how I missed option 6. I seem to have got very confused between the link that you give (and I inadvertently gave twice) and this link. I have replaced the hyperlink near the start with it. This is what I originally intended to link to there. I have also changed the wording and removed the reference to option 6.

  85. MikeP says:


    I suspect the Dartford-Victoria service is like Epsom Hospital – there is a high level agenda to get rid of it, and has been for decades, but the pesky users of the service keep preventing it.

    I seem to remember that there was a strongly-opposed proposal at some point to remove it, tied in either with TL, one of the franchising rounds or HS1.

    As a service from Dartford to the West End, it’s useless – Charing X and then some other mode is far quicker even to destinations around Viccy. But for the intermediate stations (here we get close to on-topic for the SLL) it’s clearly vital. Maybe the desire for its removal is driven by the alleged Beeching view that only end-to-end passengers count.

    I suspect 4tph isn’t do-able without some reconfiguration of the Cannon St circulars, and it may also cause platform problems at Dartford especially in the rush (cf a down at 08:01 and an up at 08:04 in P2 – must be an operational nightmare)

  86. Steven Taylor says:

    @Graham Feakins

    Re Chris Green

    I appreciate SLL all day services only started again in 1991, but my understanding was Chris Green was one of the driving forces behind this. Is this not so?

  87. Greg Tingey says:

    Sleep deprived
    Problem with reliable “out-of-London” services is the argument over PAYING for them.
    Essex (Epping trains, but NOT buses) & Hertfordshire (Met-line) are happy, so far, but Kent?
    Forget it, the selfish narrow hug-it-to-yourself narrowness exhibited by Bromley is only too likely. For historical reasons, perhaps? See below.
    Generally, the already-commented-on-elsewhere almost total dearth of decent bus services 5mm outside the GLA boundary, & especially at weekends is a disgrace.
    … see also Anon’s comment @ 12.10
    Other people have noticed this insanity & don’t want it.
    TfL may not be so bloody minded, but LUL have already proven that they are that stupid, haven’t they?
    …also JM @ 12.53 … that’s because there isn’t any reason, good or otherwise …..

    Because they recognised that 4 tracks were desperately needed, at least as far a Moor Park & probably Ricky (Wasn’t there a proposal to 4-track to Ricky – which would have made a lot of sense at some point?)
    All wasted now, of course, by the idiot current mis-“management” of LUL, ignoring the fast lines for most of the day. – I really don’t believe that level of stupid, actually.

    The Streatham – Mitcham Jn – Sutton line is still called the “Portsmouth” though no trains have run through to there since the Southern put the 3rd rail down the LSWR line via Guildford!

    DWdu @ 12.39
    Like it – I’ll have one right now, thank you!

    Anon @ 13.02
    “Strange” is not the word – “Bitter trench warfare” would be nearer the mark, with DafT desperately defending their aggressive gains made during the take-over following the collapse of Railtrack. Not so much “Gentlemen the boches are still in Soissons”, as “I’m afraid DfT are still sitting on the GOBLIN” [ See *NOTE * @ end ….]

    Sleep deprived @ 13.49
    I’m told that the S-bound Chiltern services are now utterly rammed, because the trains are faster, & of, course the new “S” stock is not only slower, it has fewer, harder, less comfortable seating. LUL really shot themselves in the foot with that, didn’t they? Of course, being LUL they will never, ever admit to it – in fact they are starting to behave like DafT (over GOBLIN & IEP) which is not a pleasant prospect.

    Mr jrt
    Yes, a Chesham – Watford service is so obvious & needed, I expect we’ll have to wait 20 years for it … /snark
    Like your idea @ 15.52 – much too sensible & practical.

    Anon @ 19.50
    Excuse me, WHAT “fast trains” from Kent & Hastings? There are none – have you SEEN the average speeds for these semi-semi-fasts? Just because they don’t stop @ Orpington, Chelsfield, Knockholt (Sevenoaks) or Hildenborough, doesn’t mean they are fast, at all!
    27.75 miles, LB Tonbridge in 31 minutes for the very “fastest” trains. Pathetic.

    Pedantic @ 20.33
    Err … Chelsfield & Knockholt have exactly the same service – a half-hourly one, or so table 204 tells me.

    Timbeau @ 22.56
    Yes. I was actually thinking of writing an historical overview of the “reasons” (ahem) behind the unwonted complexity of the sarf-Lunnon services East of CJ, the double termini, & the lack of interconnectedness. The LCDR/SER split/union being the worst. Be it noted that both those railways approached the LBSCR with a view to working together, against the “other” of course, at some point. It is also (I think) why so many people in Kent are anti-railway whilst wanting a better service at the same time. The legacy of Watkin & Forbes is still with us. Most noticeably if you live in Maidstone, incidentally – this really must be the absolute worst for a town of this size. Close to any major conurbation, never mind London?
    Note – of course Herne Hill, (!) not Bromley S, used to be the split-point for LCDR services, waaay back when.

    JSG @ 00.57
    There’s a reason for so few Victoria – Lewisham – Dartfords … Fitting them in between all the other (ex-SER lines) services along the Bexley/Bexleyheath lines.

    Mike P @ 06.42
    Well, only solveable, really with a complete (12-car length 5 or 6 platform (?)) station @ Dartford, after Xr1 opens & before 25kV ohle goes to Gravesend/Strood.

    Yesterday, men were actually working @ W’stow Midland, removing fencing, asbestos cable-troughing, & starting work on the new E. entrance (!) – apparently they started on Tuesday – hooray! ]

  88. THC says:


    OK, I’ll bite. You’re still banging the drum for a four-platform station at Ricky when, as I’ve told you elsewhere in the past, building the Waitrose on the car park has killed that idea stone dead. Had the 1990s conception of Crossrail got the go-ahead, of course, a station would have been delivered on the straight but I do not recall whether this was to have been anything other than a two platform affair.

    You also mention that the four-tracking of the Met was to have continued through Ricky. Not so; the original 1935/6 plans would have seen the four-tracking end there. Some formation widening was done south of Ricky, e.g. where the line crosses the River Chess, but that is all. And I don’t recall seeing plans for station loops further north; Chorleywood already had a freight loop but there would have been no room for loops at C&L.


  89. Pedantic of Purley says:


    If table 204 tells you that Chelsfield and Knockholt have exactly the same service then Table 204 is wrong or at least inconsistent with National Rail online journey planner.

    In the morning peak at train from Sevenoaks departs from Knockholt as xx.05 xx.25 and xx.45 to Cannon Street. It arrives 3 minutes later at Chelsfield. Another train from Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross follows that arriving at Chelsfield four minutes later. It does not stop at Knockholt. The latter train runs fast from Chelsfield to London Bridge.

    If you want to travel from Knockholt to London Bridge your fastest journey is achieved by alighting at Chelsfield and getting the following fast train which overtakes your original train and gets you to London Bridge ten minutes earlier.

    Off-peak the service is the same. The minimal half-hourly service.

    The point is, I would suggest, that Chelsfield is only busy in peak hours and only because there is parking space and a good service for recent historical reasons. Chelsfield is in the London Borough of Bromley and commuters there have good reason to thank Ken’s fares fair policy and the introduction of zones. The irony will not be lost on you.

    27.75 miles, LB Tonbridge in 31 minutes for the very “fastest” trains. Pathetic.
    Well I think that is really impressive on very crowded railway and a route that includes long two track sections and a long tunnel. And it is clear from above it is a lot faster than the slow trains. And 3 minutes faster than the fastest peak hour journey from London Bridge to Hayes for considerably greater distance.

  90. mr_jrt says:

    I refer you to this diagram. 🙂

  91. THC says:

    Haha, touché JRT! 😉


  92. @Jeanpierre says:

    I seem to remember Portsmouth trains running via Sutton and Epsom/Horsham until perhaps the early 70s (correct me if I’m wrong) and operated by 4-CIGs. Think they were diverted via Gatwick to maximise connections there. Certainly they were running for many years after the Portsmouth direct line was energised in the 1930s.

  93. Steven Taylor says:

    I believe the `whole` line from Peckham Rye to Epsom etc was referred to as the `Portsmouth `and that it was the direct London Bridge services which ceased in the 1930s when the `direct line` from Guildford was electrified.

    I think the Victoria-Sutton-Dorking-Horsham etc run into the early 80`s.

    (I am at work and going from memory-trust it is serving me well today)

  94. Mark Townend says:

    Seating design on Metropolitan S8 stock

    Whilst using their services frequently a few years ago, I often wondered why or how Southern ended up with various different standard class seating configurations in their new units. However the units mostly seemed to turn up mixed in 12 car sets, and that, whether by accident or design, appeared to help longer distance coastal and country commuters choose nicer seat, whilst leaving plenty of room for the stampeding hordes of Gatwick and Croydon (ideally nearer the front of the train where they naturally congregate). Contrast with the SWTs Portsmouth Line operation when the era of 2+2 white trains was curtailed entirely and abruptly for a diet of pure blue 3+2 Desiros. The changeover might have been better managed PR wise if SWT had converted a number of the 450s to the 444 2+2 standard seating, as already demonstrated by the 350 interior elsewhere, and had operated them mixed up with their 3+2 fleet on this line in the same way as Southern.

    Similarly, a couple of cars worth of all – high back transverse seating at the country end of each Met unit might help placate the Amershamites without significantly reducing the theoretical crush load capacity of each unit.

  95. James Hardy says:

    On the off-topic topic of off-topicness, have you considered adding (optional) threading to comments so that if a couple of people diverge into a tangent those who are only interested in the core article can ignore it easily?

  96. Anonymous says:

    I commute daily from Nunhead to Westminster, meaning that I can either take the train to Victoria or take a TL service originating from Sevenoaks and change at E&C (work being exactly equidistant between both stations)

    Trains on both lines are heavily loaded in the morning peak before arriving at Nunhead. Lewisham-Denmark Hill (or Lewisham-E&C) does often seem like the busiest part of the route. Return journeys from Victoria are just as bad. A particular local bugbear is how there are no evening (post-7.39) or weekend Victoria-Dartford services. Surely if the reason for the poor service is due to use of the lines for non-stopped SER trains, why does the service get worse out of peak when by definition there will be fewer through services running?

    I do recall that service patterns are constrained by the large number of freight movements through Nunhead. While locals have been lobbying for a new Vic-Bellingham or Vic-Bromley service, if this is to have metro-style frequency, something will have to give. From the OP it looks like it’s just going to fall into a black hole unless more pressure is exerted. But it’s pressure exerted by commuters and interest groups that leads to an unstrategic, incoherent railway.

    Our through TL services are, incidentally, under threat, with the decision to retain through services on the Sutton loop meaning that all trains from my neck of the woods may be Blackfriars terminators in future.

  97. Anonymous says:

    @ Anon 1302 27/2 – I am not sure that the Parisian set up is any sort of panacea. There are well reported problems with RER service reliability due to operating and maintenance issues involving both RATP and SNCF. Funding is a bit easier there than here – it is channelled through STIF which is the funding channel for subsidies and capital investment. Nonetheless there are several parties involved in STIF itself and it appears that there have been conflicts over responsibilities with the government – sounds familiar? The government has also introduced various bits of legislation to either devolve or then centralise again responsibilities for planning and delivery. There has also been a bit of a “bust up” with SNCF over the scope and costs of the contract with STIF for rail services. Again sounds a bit familiar?!

    The bus situation is even more complicated once you get outside RATP’s core city operating area. Once in the departments outside Paris coverage is very patchy with weird service patterns and frequencies from various different companies (many part of big groups like Transdev). The bus company association is called Optile.

    Where I think there is something of a difference is far greater political concensus about the need for good public transport, what that looks like and to have agreed long term funding. This is what has delivered a good programme of consistent improvements to rail, metro, tram and bus services. TfL tries hard to create the same long term direction but is subject to the whims of the Mayor and cannot influence (too much) Central Government policy.

    And apologies for mentioning the Met Line. I did consider whether to or not for fear of opening the flood gates about a controversial subject. I’ll know better in future !

  98. Kit Green says:

    Here in Tooting I keep thinking I am in RATP’s core operating area, at least for buses.

  99. Greg Tingey says:

    I was looking at the “off-peak” service, not the rush-hour one.
    Tonbridge is pathetic, compare against the “Stansted express” service (which isn’t) it’s about as fast, with at least 3 stops & a single-track tunnel section & virtually all the rest of the route on a shared double track, & lots of twiddles/speed restrictions.

  100. Paul says:

    Mark Townend perpetuates a bit of a self perpetuating myth that ALL Portsmouth services are 450s. By any sensible analysis they are about 50/50. That may be of no help to someone who always takes exactly the same train every morning, but there are significant numbers of 444s on the route as well.

  101. Anonymous says:

    If you DO think of adding threading to the Comments section, could you perhaps also add cookies as well, to enable place-keepers to be saved, to get back to the right place in the list of comments to each posting?

  102. JM says:


    Suspect service levels on the Am/Chesh route are actually OK. Just the capacity of Aylesbury services perhaps particularly offpeak. There appears to have been huge shift offpeak to Chiltern from outer Met stations since the timetable was changed.

    Would hope longer term if they’re electrifying all routes between Amersham and Verney, then this route too can be electrified and you can run a single service on the fast tracks as either extended Met to Aylesbury or beyond with new stock or as part of a new regional scheme with MK to Marylebone via PR so it can complement 2 tph to Oxford.

    @ Graham Feakins

    Guilty on thread derailing too. One of those things, given the potential of everything you can discuss. Can keep any further Met Line (bar the one above) posts for a Croxley article as per PoP’s post.

    @ timbeau

    I’ve never lived in south London (lack of frequent trains to one destination being one of the reasons). Given the disparity in frequencies, I’m surprised clamour for single destinations and better interchange hasn’t been passenger led. The amount of people south of the river in the City who have to plan their time around their train home. Some useful interchanges exist that probably aren’t well utilised currently or where you may be able to create something useful (Norwood Junction, Catford, Herne Hill) and tube extensions could play a part in offering better connectivity, particularly if you split them.

    Suppose it depends on what a public transport network wants to deliver, make the best of what there is, an egalitarian planning of equal connectivity throughout the region or easy connectivity to what are or will be the 4 major commercial destinations within the City.

    A whole other discussion so will stop there…

  103. Anonymous says:

    “’m surprised clamour for single destinations and better interchange hasn’t been passenger led. The amount of people south of the river in the City who have to plan their time around their train home.”

    Probably because people do not want to get a train that goes out of their way so they then have to change onto an already packed tube to get back to where they used to be able to access directly.

    Also because while north of the Thames lines may all feed a single terminus, they also all feature places along the route to conveniently change onto the tube, or DLR to avoid them, and more easily get to different parts of the central London. An option that most south London lines do not have

    Also, a large number of south London stations do primarily serve a single destination. It is only really the Victoria to Lewisham line, Orpington and Bromley South area, and the Mitcham Junction line that have truly split services.

    South west London via Wimbledon or Richmond all go to Waterloo.
    South east London via Greenwich, Hither Green, or Ladywell all go to London Bridge. They may then continue on to either Cannon Street or Charing Cross, but London Bridge still offers that single major terminus with Underground interchange if it is important to you.

    From Selhurst the service primarily serves Victoria with a 6tph weekday service, with just 2tph to London Bridge and 1tph to Kensington Olympia.

    All weekday 6tph between Sutton and West Croydon also only serve Victoria except a few peak services, when there is specific demand to get to the City.

    From Kent House there is only a 4tph service to Victoria, except for its peak City services, to City Thameslink.

    The Sydenham line only serves London Bridge (although most local services are now Overground ones so do not serve any terminus) with Victoria being the “country end” to some of those.

    All North Dulwich trains go to London Bridge.

  104. Anonymous says:

    Also, how is Herne Hill a poorly utilised interchange? There are 4tph services to both Blackfriars and Victoria, more-or-less evenly spaced, and with same platform interchange per direction. For all its problems as a flat junction, as an interchange it is practically perfect.

  105. Timmy! says:

    Pedantic and the LR team – thanks for another good post. I personally don’t mind the conversation tangents despite a short attention span!

    I think further services on the Catford Loop would be beneficial (preferably peak and off-peak) and had assumed from previous articles Thameslink would provide 4TPH and would continue past 9pm. Commentators here suggest otherwise especially following the Wimbledon Loop announcement.

    As it’s been pointed out on the site, there’s no link at Brockley with the old Brockley Lane station but Brockley and Honor Oak Park are near Crofton Park which has step-free access. I think the line would have improved usage if more of ‘turn up and go’ approach was taken or more regular 4-6 TPH service. If Catford could be made step-free, you could also have some good interchanges as suggested by JM on the routes. I’d probably take the Thameslink service from Crofton Park towards Holborn-way if there was more frequent service.

    On another note, I agree with Pedantic with TfL using spare train stock in the off-peak. TfL could really improve services and passenger experiences if they could increase TPH on routes such as the Catford Loop without great expenditure.

  106. Malcolm says:

    People seem to be wondering why the train arrangements in South London can’t be rationalised. (Or perhaps “made more like North London”).

    I suggest that the main reason this cannot happen is the old problem of “too many losers”. Radical action might improve things for, say 1 million people, and make them worse for, say 750,000 people. Of course these figures could be way out, but bear with me for a moment. As a further simplification, assume that everyone affected is benefitted or disbenefitted by the same amount (or unaffected). Quite unrealistic, but it makes the maths easier.

    There is absolutely no elected official who would ever push for such a plan. The fuss created by the losers would enormously outweigh (in noise) any satisfaction gained by the winners. And the elected official would soon be an unelected non-official.

    Wherever there has been radical change in transport (in democracies) it has always been where there has been a scheme with a fairly small number of losers. HS2 will probably go ahead now, but I think even that relatively loser-free scheme has only struggled through the too-many-losers barrier by the skin of its teeth.

    Returning to South London, I think the only hope is for a series of small changes, over decades, which might in the end mean that our grandchildren get a better system. Sad, but that’s life…

    “The greatest good of the greatest number” is a fine sounding phrase. But does it happen? Not on your nelly.

  107. Graham Feakins says:

    Thanks for your apologies re. going off topic and to PoP for explanation. Maybe it’s me but it is rather tiring to plough through the ever-lengthening thread several times to get the energy up to reply to points on topic and sifting through much OT material on the way. I was careful not to say that the latter isn’t interesting and maybe that a separate comments section would indeed be useful. It’s certainly a trend recently, producing discussions on everything bar the topic, producing long threads (try to find one that doesn’t mention GOBLIN!).

    However, I break my own discipline and infringe PoP’s request and reply to mr_jrt and THC on Ricky and the MET. From Follenfant’s “Reconstructing London’s Underground”, the LTPB 1935-40 programme of new works was proceeding when war intervened. When the programme recommenced after the war, the whole of the operating requirements and the design standards were re-examined, and the scheme was changed considerably. A major change was that the four tracking previously intended to go as far as Rickmansworth was to go no further than Watford South Junction, with no passing loops at Chorleywood.

    Returning to the SLL, @ Steven Taylor – Re Chris Green

    It was not Chris Green as such but the original SLL pressure groups (SoLLTA, LPTG and local Railway Development Society members), who finally persuaded NSE to restore all-day services on the SLL. There was even a special train with headboard for the occasion. The SLL up to then had been the poor relation of the North London Line, which got itself even on the Underground map.

    I agree with Anonymous @ 08:33PM, 28th February 2013 and subsequent post. Herne Hill is a well-used interchange between Victoria and Thameslink services.

    “Probably because people do not want to get a train that goes out of their way so they then have to change onto an already packed tube to get back to where they used to be able to access directly.”

    Quite. People in the area tend to move there precisely because of the choice of routes or availablity of trains to their preferred destination. Take that service away and there would be trouble in the ranks. Imagine if one or other of the wilder ideas mentioned above (“No more long distance trains from Cannon St or Victoria (to Kent)” (!!) and transferring local services from Charing Cross to Cannon Street!). Just imagine the uproar. Might just as well close the stations.

    The railways are used by folk who wish to get to particular destinations and not everyone wants the same place and certainly does not want to be dumped well away from it. So, one moves to an area, as one poster above has done to Denmark Hill precisely because of the transport links (and possibly because of good pub at station). My next-door neighbours – husband uses North Dulwich for London Bridge, whilst his wife uses Herne Hill for Victoria. Ideal.

    One common thread in these posts is the need to restore evening services on the Victoria route via Denmark Hill and, like others, there ought to be no reason why this is not possible by enhancing the Dartford via Nunhead and Lewisham services. Somebody mentioned the freight paths but they are already there and are well utilised throughout the day as well, not interfering with passenger services. I understand that SouthEastern are looking into this possibility, maybe for the 2014 timetable change. (If I were in charge, they would be running to tomorrow but I’m not, so that’s that.)

  108. Pedantic of Purley says:

    On another note, I agree with Pedantic with TfL using spare train stock in the off-peak. TfL could really improve services and passenger experiences if they could increase TPH on routes such as the Catford Loop without great expenditure.

    Nice that people agree! One thing that was explained to me recently which I had never previously understood is why London Underground (and to some extent London Overground) seem to manage a much more intensive off-peak than most National Rail services. I had thought it was all down to having to maintain a frequency in the central area and “operating difficulties” in terminating prior to the outer destination but it is more than that.

    If there is a conventional TOC then the issue is whether any potential additional services at least cover their direct costs. At the end of the day the shareholders don’t want to see loss making services. For TfL the approach is completely different. They have to take cost into account of course but their general approach is to evaluate if the extra service is worthwhile in terms of overall benefit. Thus running even a fairly lightly used service at quarter hour rather than half hour intervals will quickly justify itself to TfL in a saving of passengers’ time and other factors and be of overall benefit  even if this does not directly relate to an improvement in net revenue. The fact that less than a quarter of the seats are occupied would not worry them provided the benefit criterion was met. In other words the overall benefit to London is appraised – not just the immediate cash benefit to TfL.

    Once you evaluate schemes on the above criteria then the figures tend to lean towards a good off-peak service as a spend of marginal costs creates great social benefit. So once TfL gets involved off-peak services should improve. That’s why TfL can justify running 24tph on the Victoria line on a Sunday or a really good service of night buses. Of course the absurdity is that in the past various places, such as Kingston, have campaigned for being connected to the Underground in order to get a good off-peak service as they regard the two as closely coupled. Nowadays at least campaigning to be served by London Overground should produce the same effect. The absurdity is that it shouldn’t need to take a change of operator to get the off-peak service in place on the Catford Loop to Bromley South. Nor should it involve issues between the DfT and TfL on some lines but not on LO-controlled lines.

    To put its at its simplest the TfL attitude is that most of the capital cost is in providing the infrastructure. To actually run a train service once one has the trains, track and signalling is a relatively low marginal cost but it produces a great social and overall economic benefit even if you cannot always convert that into revenue. So you might as well use your assets and run a decent service.

    @Graham Feakins
    Ah, Follenfant! I knew  I had seen a diagram of proposed four tracking at Rickmansworth – or at least read it. I just couldn’t think where.

  109. Graham Feakins says:

    @PoP – Follenfant pp. 102-109 – “The Four Tracking of the Metropolitan”.

    P.S. Is there a way to send a pdf of scanned pages such as these, if not publicly here on LR to avoid copyright problems, then to those commentators who are genuinely interested?

    In other words, is there a mechanism by which contributors may be contacted ‘off-group’?

  110. THC says:

    @Graham Feakins – cheers for the heads-up on Follenfant, sounds very interesting. Copy duly ordered. 🙂


  111. MikeP says:


    “The greatest good of the greatest number”

    Ah, yes. Utilitarianism. Even without political pressures against it, I firmly believe it’s impossible to achieve until we develop (possibly infinitely) more sophisticated modelling techniques, thanks to the law of unintended consequences.

    I do note that it’s classed as an ethical theory, not a political theory. Maybe that’s why Politicians should steer clear of it 🙂

  112. Graham Feakins says:

    @ THC – You are fortunate to locate this long out-of-print but splendid book published in 1974 by London Transport. H.G. Follenfant was LT’s Chief Civil Engineer from 1965 until his retirement but his career started with the London Electric Railways in 1929 and therefore the book is written from the civil engineer’s point of view. Elsewhere you will read in the book about the joint Met* and Bakerloo lines 2.5 mins. service between Wembley Park and the Central Area, as well as running 40 tph through South Kensington Junction in each direction in the 1950’s and earlier, whilst enlarging the Aldgate triangle to accommodate longer trains and lowering the track there with just a single weekend of disruption to passenger traffic.

    It shines throughout the book that emphasis on all civil engineering works were undertaken with minimal or no disruption at all to LT’s passengers. Follenfant would have a fit should he be alive today. I just sit here and weep. Try and let us know what you think once you have read the book.

    Also relevant to a multitude of SLL weekend engineering disruptions recently.

    * My original message mentioned “MET”. I meant “Met” of course, to distinguish from the M.E.T. – Metropolitan Electric Tramways. A mistake that can get me in trouble.

  113. DW down under says:

    Graham Feakins @ 07:16AM, 1st March 2013

    Yes indeed, a wonderful read. It left me just hungering and hankering for more.

    THC …

    … let us know when you’ve read it, and what you think.

    Others who advocate 2 or 3 year closures should seek access to a copy to learn what London civil engineers and tunnelers CAN do!


    DW down under

  114. Graham Feakins says:

    Thanks DW down under. I wanted more, too but re-reading the book provides additional sustenance. It is one my most treasured books.

    Just try to apply those principles as described in the book to today’s (meaning the next five years+ of grotesque) disruption at London Bridge and it might suggest a measure of lack of civil engineering competence as regards the users of the railway (passengers). For example, tracks disconnected and slewed over will be reconnected 18+ month’s (not days) later to enable a service to resume. Is there really no possible interim solution for continuing passenger services for all through the site? I realise the complexities of the London Bridge project but one wonders whether budgetary considerations have overridden the needs of the very passengers the staion is meant to serve.

    This affects SLL users, as they will be unable to change at London Bridge for Waterloo & Charing Cross services (and of course for services in the opposite direction out of London) for those 18 months as the latter trains will not stop there, followed by a further 18 months with no trains stopping at LB to/from Cannon Street, let alone those many who use LB as a final destination. The alternative routes are less than convenient. No through Thameslink services at all throughout the period.

    Can’t wait to see how Canada Water on LO copes with the additional passengers forced off the SLL during this period to use the Jubilee Line as a way of access to Waterloo, with Underground connection for Charing Cross, for example. I suspect that the bus routes local to the SLL will be even more heavily loaded than they are now, once passengers realise.

    Back to the book!

  115. c says:

    Anonymous @ 18:33 – fair points on London Bridge as a terminus, but many trains for Waterloo East and Charing Cross don’t stop there in the peaks – and it’s not actually central enough to walk to many popular locations.

    And all of your examples of single terminus lines were then not single terminus lines. 2tph to London Bridge from Selhurst for example, is useable if you know the times.

    The common theme, at least for starters is that both Victoria – Dartford and the Catford Loop need doubling. The Catford loop should probably stay Thameslink/Blackfriars for simplicity. Therefore both are 4tph and to the same terminus/route. Until midnight!

    The Bromley South solution wouldn’t help as much – and in the peaks wouldn’t exist, as Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye would get diverted Kent trains instead.

  116. Fandroid says:

    When contemplating the disruption at London Bridge, consider the Reading rebuild. Comparable in terms of intensive train services and total rebuild. Once that project had got going, suddenly, the project management team lopped one year off the programme! Also, the disruption to traffic has been fairly minimal, with just two major blockades (one over Christmas 2011, and one over this coming Easter period). Watch carefully, something similar may actually happen at London Bridge.

  117. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Yes Reconstructing London’s Underground is an excellent book. At the moment you can get if via Abe Books. Cheapest copy at the moment is £10 + p&p.

    If you have a really good reason to contact someone else on the site you can send an email to me at pedantic [at]* and I will forward it if appropriate. I don’t mind doing this occasionally. So if anyone wants to contact Graham via me for more details of four tracking on the Met they can do so. Alternatively I can recommend Mike Horne’s “The Metropolitan Line” (Capital Transport) that has a good description of the work but no diagrams. It includes a sentence starting “Four tracking into a rebuilt Rickmansworth station was no longer on the cards…”.

    At the moment I seem to be revealing most of my sources for the Met article I was in the process of doing.

    Now who was that person who was complaining we were going off-topic ?

    Meanwhile I can see Graham has raised the issue of Canada Water being very busy during the reconstruction of London Bridge. I hadn’t heard about this officially and wasn’t even sure if the information was correct so I felt I couldn’t raise the issue but now that he has done so you can see why SDO or not on the ELL at Canada Water is not the thing that is foremost in LU’s concern about that station in the coming years.

    * usual anti-spam precautions taken to avoid presenting the email address exactly as it is.

  118. Graham Feakins says:

    Yes thanks PoP but being the soft person I am, I weakened under pressure of trying to conclude the off topic comments, whilst bringing to notice that book. If I had succumbed completely, I would have gone onto my childhood dreams of running A60 Stock on the Southern Region (beyond New Cross).

    Canada Water – total closures of London Bridge are planned on the Southern (Brighton side) – August Bank Holiday, 2014 – 9 days and Christmas Period, 2014 – 16-days. During those periods at least, SLL passengers and those coming from Tulse Hill and Forest Hill will be encouraged to use LO to Canada Water (or Blackfriars on Thameslink if less inconvenient).

  119. Pedantic of Purley says:

    That’s just a few days! What about people coming from south of London Bridge, say Forest Hill, and want to go to somewhere like Whitehall? They won’t be able to change at London Bridge for a Charing Cross train as Charing Cross trains will be non-stopping at London Bridge for around a year I understand. So the fear is that they decide to use the Jubilee line and go to Westminster. And then they decide to avoid the mad scramble at London Bridge to get on the Jubilee by getting the London Overground to Canada Water and getting the Jubilee line from there.

  120. Philip Wylie says:

    @Pedantic of Purley “and be of overall benefit” …my plea for an extension of the Vic/Orpington 4tph through to end of service (after 20.25). Recently, 20.55 cancelled, no train for an hour, freezing cold and train in platform from at least 21.05 with doors closed until 21.20. 4 car and like a sardine tin. If the Bakerloo were to take over the Hayes line, I wouldn’t mind too much as terminal/underground connection time would be compensated for by being on the move.

  121. Anonymous says:

    I second Philip’s proposal. The Victoria-Orpington service could easily be 4tph in the evenings but like you, I’d happily swap it for a tube from the West End. I really do loathe taking the tube to Victoria only to be met with a half hour (or more) wait.

  122. JM says:

    @Anonymous @ 8.33PM

    Would argue in many cases (Waterloo, London Bridge in particular), people are already transferring to tubes when they arrive at a mainline terminal, which are normally infinitely more packed Northern n/b at London Bridge a case in point.

    Quite conceivable in the future, connectivity in south London becomes a larger plank in any Mayoral transport manifesto, particularly with up to 800,000 new homes required in London the bulk of which in the ‘East’ (in LDA literature East appears to include south London boroughs Bexley, Greenwich & Lewisham). It may be that dual terminals , particularily around the Dartford lines, are completely unsustainable relative to local demand to travel.

    I would also argue that, in the case of Victoria and Charing Cross, unless you work within a 5 minute walk, you can conceivably use either station as a terminal point for access to most of the west End either by foot or transfer to tube/bus from east of Lewisham.

    Part of my point was also to state that if a long term aspiration is to extend deep level tubes south of the river then part of the rationale for them could include connection to mainline services ala Tottenham Hale/Stratford/Kentish Town allowing CPI where you can or multi level rapid interchange like you see at Canada Water or Canning Town where possible.

    Although seemingly not a popular option, you could split the Bakerloo/Victoria and Northern Line extension at the southern ends and still ensure frequent connectivity to Vic/CX/Waterloo with an interchange somewhere in south London as an alternative to a core NR route running to the City/West End only allowing a route to be isolated as well as allowing new areas access to the tube.

    With the Northern Line at Battersea, an extension further west (vastly improving access to the Battersea site to begin with) can relieve central terminals and offer better frequency to Waterloo from anyone displaced onto a Victoria service from a future Crossrail 2.

    RE Herne Hill

    This was maybe clumsily worded. The actual intention was just to highlight disparity in level of service compared to the north. I agree it does an excellent job given the operational challenges it faces.

  123. Anonymous says:

    Will people with a London Terminals ticket (arriving on the Southern side of LBG) be able to use any reasonable route on LUL to/from WAE/CHX during the period that those trains don’t stop at LBG ?? Inquiring minds want to know. Googling only seems to bring up someone asking the same question.

    That’ll cost NR a fair bit, I’d have thought.

  124. JM says:

    Sorry moderators, can I revise two sentences above to the below. The original sentences do not read very well – I’m blaming low blood sugar.

    “Although seemingly not a popular option, you could split the Bakerloo/Victoria and Northern Line extension at the southern ends and still ensure frequent connectivity to Vic/CX/Waterloo with an interchange somewhere in south London as an alternative to a core NR route running to the City/West End only allowing a route to be isolated. aswell as allowing new areas access to the tube.

    With the Northern Line at Battersea, an extension further west (vastly improving access to the Battersea site to begin with) can relieve central terminals and offer better frequency to Waterloo from anyone displaced onto a Victoria service from a future Crossrail 2.”
    [Done. On this occasion. PoP]

    Also given the comments on tangents, looking through the archive many of the things I raise may have appeared in previous articles. Is there generally any issue bringing something back up or is there a finite limit?
    [I don’t think that there are any rules. Just use your common sense. We’ll let you know if it gets out of hand. PoP]

  125. Anonymous says:

    @ PoP 0100 1/3/13 – As I have written a few business cases and submission papers in my time I thought I’d add a couple of comments to your explanation of TfL’s methodology. Where there is a “profitable” project where extra revenue exceeds costs (e.g ticket gates) or efficiency / cost savings outweigh the costs then these will typically be approved (subject to budgetted funds being available). These days there will be a variation of this approach whereby it is sometimes profitable for TfL to buy itself out of certain contracts to remove risk, allow a change of strategy or avoid future financing charges. There are several examples of this type of initiative over the last few years.

    Referring to the more general example of wider social / time savings being calculated then there is a further element to consider. TfL’s methodology includes “revenue generation” based on the better service levels / reduced waiting or journey times encouraging additional passengers to the network over time. It is therefore legitimate for sponsors to include a progressive build up of generated revenue (to a given proportion of the passenger benefits). The extent of generative effect varies according to the type of initiative and elasticities of demand. Therefore the “fairy gold” type of projects do make money too! I have tried to see if the TfL Business Case Development Manual is available on line but it seemingly isn’t. Plenty of references to it but not the document itself.

    It is, of course, bonkers that the DfT endorse TfL’s approach to benefit appraisal but then constrain the TOCs in pursuing such “unprofitable” things as better off peak services which would improve society’s mobility and put some extra cash in the bank.

  126. The other Paul says:

    At risk of embarking on a philosophical tangent, I believe it is a mistake to presume that politicians, and all the bureaucratic detritus they surround themselves with, is an objective and impartial view of the world – or an objective and impartial approach to major projects. In particular, any project sold on “efficiency savings” is going to be hugely based on guesstimations and suppositions which can be easily massaged to make the case.

    The nature of politics ensures that data are largely used to support decisions already made rather than to reach decisions on a purely objective basis. The government of the day actually has an enormous amount of power, as everything from the Iraq war to IEP to HS2 demonstrates. But they always like to hide behind a false veil of objectivity, and another false veil of accountability. The issue is not really how justifiable the project is, but how well it can be sold to the public, and how well those involved can cover their arses if someone questions it. The BCR and merit of any particular government project is thus inherently rigged to support the objectives of the government in power (and probably the civil servants informing them too).

    So making a case for any infrastructure project requires engaging with this Realpolitik – of which making a good objective case is usually a part, but is by no means the whole. Indeed, a government particularly keen on any kind of infrastructure building or warmongering or other substantial expenditure will find a way to do it regardless.

  127. Anonymous says:

    The other Paul

    I’m afraid you’re just not cynical enough, or have not watched enough of the original Yes (Prime) Minister, said by Anthony Jay to be an under-stated, otherwise it would have been just too bizarre. The end of your second para should read:

    The BCR and merit of any particular government project is thus inherently rigged to support the objectives of the senior civil servants, who will ensure that these are modified around the fringes and presented in such a light as to appear to match the objectives of the government in power.

    I have seen this in action (in this case the civil servants concerned ensuring they had a follow-on project once their current one finished). It’s a depressing waste of our money. And, I’m sure, explains the IEP.

  128. Mark Townend says:

    @Paul, 04:49PM, 28th February 2013

    Re: Portsmouth Desiros, I recall the negative media coverage when the bulk of the 444s were reallocated to the longer distance duties vacated by 442s. My personal experience of SWT commuting from Basingstoke into Waterloo ended a few years ago however, so I accept my personal observations may be a little out of date now. Portsmouth itself gets another regular London service running via Eastleigh and those were the trains I often used, regularly 444 units at the time.

  129. Anonymous says:

    @ the other Paul – my comments about business cases were based on personal experience. I agree that the dynamic at government level is almost certainly different and quite possibly as cynical as you set out. However at the lower level of an organisation like TfL then there are definite choices and not everything gets approval. Obviously you do need to get the support of the relevant stakeholders or else you’re on a hiding to nothing. Nonetheless there are few guarantees – I suspect a project directly supporting Mayoral policy would be the only thing “guaranteed” to get through the TfL approval process. Harking back a very long way it was the case that the Prestige project (now Oyster) failed to get LT Board approval. We did get it eventually but that was a real shock and caused project team morale to plunge. There was a later battle to get it through the DoT but from memory that was relatively straightforward once Glenda Jackson and John Prescott were happy about the project.

  130. Tim Burns says:

    Just a fantasy thought, but would the “which terminal to focus on” be solved by a tunnel that starts from the Victoria and the takes an arc following the river rather than going cross city?

    Lets say the tunnel starts at the Victoria approaches with stops at Victoria, Charing Cross, somewhere Cannon Street, London Bridge and then back into the open air to the east of London Bridge. Say it was 30 tph each way. That would create more capacity south of the river and provide more joined up journeys?

    As I said, pure fantasy

  131. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 11.11
    Even when some senior civil servants inside DafT know (because they are ex-railway) that IEP was & is a disaster, every attempt to stop it failed, because a decision had already been made, sometime back in 2009 or before, when R Ford’s bionic duckweed was going to power the non-electrified trains …..

    Tim Burns
    If you are going to do that, then far better to “do” Xr3/4/5 (as Paris already has) – much better value for money & interconnectivity.

  132. DW down under says:

    Tim Burns

    You’d need to add Blackfriars as an interchange with TL. And that still leaves Waterloo. Maybe there should be 4 tunnels in all?! A zig from CX to Waterloo and a Zag back to Blackfriars …. and while you’re at it, run it through Canary Wharf, too!

    You’d then swing south to hook in between New Cross and St Johns, and between NXG and Brockley. There we are: W&C relieved, Victoria line relieved, Jubilee Line relieved, ELL relieved, everyone’s happy. Let’s call it the Riverlink, or XR South.


    DW down under

  133. HowardGWR says:

    These discussions seem to centre on the commuting peak problems caused by the mish-mash that is the (ex) Southern Railway. I like the direction of travel of Tim Burns; otherwise we provincials (and tax payers) would prefer to see solutions that involve commuters from the SLL area getting up 15 mins earlier and walking the final stretch, be it from the West End to City or vice versa. What Tim Burns pleads for as just an extension of part of the Circle line to London Bridge and a bit further, it seems to me.

  134. HowardGWR says:

    I meant of course SR area, not SLL – they need some tubes like Bakerloo extensions.

  135. Anonymous says:

    @Tim Burns

    As I said, pure fantasy

    Well actually not. Schemes like this were seriously looked into in the first Abercrombie report which was planning for post-World War II reconstruction. If you ever meet John Bull do not get him on the subject of this report unless you really want to talk about it, or rather listen about it, in great depth.

    As I have said before, just about any scheme with any potential merit has been at looked before.

  136. timbeau says:

    DW 0851 – if the proposed loop conncted the SW lines at Clapham Junction with the SE lines east of London Bridge, via Victoria, Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Cannon Street and Fenchurch Street it would indeed mop up waterloo traffic as well.
    Or as suggested, cross the river between CX and Waterloo, and then interchange with Blackfrairs on the south bank.

  137. stimarco says:

    @Tim Burns:

    “Lets say the tunnel starts at the Victoria approaches with stops at Victoria, Charing Cross, somewhere Cannon Street, London Bridge and then back into the open air to the east of London Bridge.”

    Oddly enough, I have seen the occasional reference to a similar project that would create both a new north-south “Thameslink 2” and an east-west “Crossrail South Bank” that basically boils down to replacing Waterloo East station with a full-on triangle ‘delta’ junction linking the SWML with the route out of London Bridge. Two tracks would run east-west along the riverbank, while another two pairs would run through a rebuilt (Blackfriars-style) CX before diving down underground.

    The primary destination for the new “Thameslink 2” would be Euston, effectively taking over most, if not all, of its urban and suburban services. Whether it goes there in a straight line (i.e. via Tottenham Court Road), or with each pair of tunnels taking different routes via (say) Bond Street and Farringdon, is a matter of engineering and preference. It might even be preferable to send the western branch up to Baker Street instead and have it take over the Met services north of that station, simplifying the SSL network in that area. A connection with CR1 at Bond Street would actually speed up journey times into the City as fewer stops would be involved and the Crossrail trains have higher line speeds.

    The “Crossrail South Bank” element removes the capacity problems inherent in having to serve a tiny terminus. With some careful design, the Waterloo East junctions could be mostly grade-separated, with cross-platform interchange at the rebuilt CX through station. (As for the “How popular would it be?” argument: check out the flood of commuters changing at Waterloo East for Waterloo, and vice-versa, during the peaks. Many are only travelling one stop from CX!)

    A four-track alternative to the present (rather old) Thameslink core would also provide some much-needed redundancy for the latter.

    Abercrombie, like Wren before him, was a visionary. London needs proper “master plans”, not this hodge-podge, piecemeal approach of just slapping on a fresh sticking plaster every 20 years or so.

  138. Roger says:

    Regarding Charing Cross and Waterloo East stations, these two are too close, so the best solution would be do “a Blackfriars” on Charing Cross with a 6 platform station straddling the Thames which would make for faster train times as a station stop is taken out as well as solving the short platform problem at Charing Cross.

    Then you can have a concourse on the Charing Cross side above Embankment station which gives better tube connections than the current Charing Cross tube. You can also sell off the current Charing Cross platform area and make lots of money to fund the rebuild, whilst keeping a pedestrian entrance/access from the Strand.

    Then scrap Waterloo East and have another entrance and concourse on the South Bank which will connect directly to Waterloo underground station and a direct covered link to the mainline station concourse. This would instantly solve the current access problems to Waterloo East and the walking distance from Waterloo main line concourse would be about the same as at the moment, and the walk could be eased by putting in a travelator for which there would be room.

    Easy, and unlike a lot of schemes it is fundable from commercial development.

    What do people think?

  139. PeterSR says:


    Instantly sounds good to me. I’ll await the more thoughtful others who point out the inveitable snags!

  140. Greg Tingey says:

    Anon @ 11.51
    There’s a lot in “Rails under the clay” about the ABercrombie plans & IIRC, “Klapper” (London’s Lost Railways) mentions him as well.
    This is apart from the “New Works Plan” btw, for those unfamiliar with the terminology.
    And I’d like to have a LONG chat with Mr Bull – since he appears to live in ‘ackney, I can suggest at least 4 good pubs ….(plus my local which has the tunnel underneath named after the boozer!)

    Tell me about the floods of people @ Waterloo East!
    ( I’ll probably be there, Wednesday week, counting, um )
    I’m beginning to wonder if the solution to the “Thameslink problem” ( yes I know, this should be on the “other” thread … is to drill a second, main-line tunnel for the slink, so that the Metro services use the current lines, & the long-distance ones use the new tunnel, which has a Blackfriars S / Southwark(LUL) / Waterloo E station, the next one @ Farringdon & one at KX St.P ….That would enable 24 – 28 tph in “The core” of metro services & another 20 – 24 longer-distance ones in the extra tunnel.
    Cost-benefit ? Probably quite good, especially if it was done in conjunction with Xr2, so that you really could have Portsmouth – Cambridge/Lynn or Brighton/ Peterboro, or Ashford/Bedford services.

    Waterloo East is well back from the river bank 500 metres (half a kilometre) in fact . PLUS thw width of Hungerford Bridge.
    OTOH, IF you did this, by widening the ex-SER viaduct to the NW of Waterloo, and “flipping” the entrances, so to spaek, I wonder – VERY tight fit to the building-blocks on each side, & you’d have to build it on stilts over the roads. Um.
    Oh, I see, you put the station INSIDE a commercial box, like Shoreditch – very clever!

  141. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Greg. Rails Under The Clay?

  142. Roger says:

    Greg Tingey

    The width of Hungerford Bridge isn’t a problem when you consider the two pedestrian bridges either side. As you rightly point out, you can create commercial development space on both sides of the river and on the south side you will still be the same distance from the main line concourse as Waterloo East is now.

  143. DW down under says:

    timbeau @ 12:05PM, 3rd March 2013

    No, I think return to the North Bank to cover Blackfriars and Cannon St (for City walk-up traffic). I would suggest Bank, but having had a close look at that for the GNCX concept, I think it may be a tad challenging!! 🙂

    AND …. I did forget to mention relief for the Circle/District through Victoria.


    DW down under

  144. Rational Plan says:

    My idea for a third Crossrail would involve a Core section running from Victoria – Charing Cross – Ludgate Circus – Mansion House – Tower hill – Canary Wharf. Or you could miss out Charing Cross and go via Waterloo.

    There could be two branches at each end.

    The Eastern is straightforward, with Branch A going Canary Wharf – North Greenwich – Custom House – Barking and then connecting to the Southend lines. Such a route would allow for a big increase in services and would provide them with Direct trains to the Wharf and the West end while still serving the same part of the City. If such a route was built it’s easy to see Fenchurch street relegated to Peak only services, with non in the evening or Weekends.

    The other Eastern Branch would diverge East of Canary Wharf and then Southwards along the Greenwich Peninsula. There would be no stations on this tunnel but it would link with the Kent Lines at Kidbrooke, Mottingham and Elmstead. These connections would allow additional direct trains that connected all three main business areas. I can’t see why they would not be very popular.

    At the western ends there could be two options again.

    One branch that ran Victoria – Knightsbridge – Marble Arch – Marleybone and then express tunnel to West Hampstead and at some point a tunnel entrance to the Chiltern Mainlines.

    The other branch could run Victoria – Earls Court – Hammersmith – Gunnesbury – Richmond and then Twickenham before linking with a extra trains to Heathrow, Windsor, Reading and Alton.,-0.219555&spn=0.058038,0.169086

    Rather expensive with 18 possible stations, but it strings together all the central London destinations in one line ensuring massive passenger numbers all day and services would start to be redrawn as people changed to new routes.

    Apart from the commuter lines, there would be massive benefits for the Underground, with the Jubilee, the DLR, The District, The Piccadilly and the Bakerloo line.

    I imagine the interchange between it and crossrail 2 at Victoria would be very busy indeed!

  145. DW Down under says:

    Rational Plan

    I came, I saw, I looked again, and I sighed. If XR1 cost £12bn, then what would this cost?

    But more: XR1’s route was safeguarded. Has this plan’s route been safeguarded? If not, can it be built deeper than tall City buildings’ piling foundations? If not, then it has to thread along below the streets.

    Having just gone through the exercise of practicality, and looked into the costs and possible benefits case, for a rather short link from Moorgate via Bank to Fenchurch St = £1.7bn + rolling stock with some ?s about tunnel topology near Bank unresolved, I challenge you to do the same for your schemes. See the thread at:
    … for some idea of the challenges and issues.

    Enjoy!! 🙂

    DW down under

  146. Greg Tingey says:

    Oops – Rails THROUGH the Clay!
    (particularly as all I have to do to see the tilte is turn around, without even leaving my chair!)

    Hungerford Bridge isn’t a problem – it’s the width of the solum/footprint needed beyond that – the next 350-500 metres to Waterloo that’s the problem!

  147. Roger says:

    Greg Tingey

    Not really, as there is a government owned car park between the River and Belvedere Road which gives plenty of room for a concourse and then there is room between the tracks and the Shell Centre for a travelator etc.

  148. Rational Plan says:

    DW down under.

    The line through the City is close to the circle line and misses the main areas of high rises in the City.

    To cut costs you could chop the Western arm after Earls Court and then drop it straight down to the Windsor main lines.

    I’m not sure it would cost that much more than Crossrail 2

  149. DW down under says:

    OK, RP – here’s the challenge on “Riverlink”:

    Look at what I’ve done, and the various stages of refinement I went through based on feedback and informed challenges – both here and at District Dave’s

    Then, get your pencil sharpener out, open up Bing maps or Google Maps or your favourite web-map-aerial-sat image provider, and get carto.metro open as a guide – then work out exactly where the tracks, the ramps, the tunnels, the stations, the entrances, etc are to be. Checking all the time for adequate clearances from obstructions, or designing the obstructions out (which could include some building redevelopment). Then using Graham Hewitt’s rough guidance to costings, start working out what it’s going to cost.

    Once you’ve done all that, put up your drafts there and here, and the commentary team will then set about analysing it, challenging you on any “Achilles Heel” you’ve left uncovered.

    Then try to work out a benefits case – if it’s relieving PiXC, is good. If it’s realising latent demand, that’s new revenue – potentially good. If it saves travel time, then the value-of-time saved is a social benefit. If it increases net mobility by making linkages not currently efficient/effective/viable for the public become readily available, then that’s a social benefit. If it resolves operational problems, like the bottleneck is ability to terminate and turn around enough trains per peak hour, then that has a benefit.

    Expect a fair bit of work, but all worthwile if you actually prove that there’s a prima facie case for putting the proposal up to TfL and into the NR RUS strategy team.


    DW down under

  150. DW down under says:

    Greg T and others

    re: Rails THROUGH (ahem!) the Clay

    Have found that there’s 4 editions. The 1993 is of 574 pages, the 2007 is of 406 pages, as were the 1964 and 1962 editions.

    Do you know WHY there is this difference – is it a matter of content?

    I’m looking at and they seem to have the 1993 edition on sale. If I get that, do I miss anything of importance that’s in the 2007 edition? Can’t find out online.

    Cheers and thanks

    DW down under

  151. PhilD says:

    If amazon UK is to be believed there’s an edition of Rails Through the Clay coming out next month:
    It’s not clear if this is a new edition or a reprint of an older one. Still, this looks like a good chance to pick up a copy for less than an arm and a leg that older editions are going for

  152. DW down under says:

    Thanks Phil

    Pre-ordered a few mo’s ago. Look forward to some substantial reading.

    DW down under

  153. Jeremy says:

    RP – not a criticism as such, but do remember you’d need to cost in electrification of the Chiltern line.

  154. Sleep Deprived says:

    What was the query about tunnel topography around Bank, I would have thought it would be fairly easy to find if you can find some of the literature on the Bank Station Upgrade?

  155. stimarco says:

    @Rational Plan:

    I know there’s a preference among many for a W-E Crossrail route that connects the SWML (and BML, given the links at Clapham Junction) with the Southend route somehow, but too many of us seem to be missing the obvious…

    London *already has* two sets of perfectly good West-East underground infrastructure, built to *mainline* gauge over 150 years ago. Most people think of it as a bunch of routes, but, to Fantasy Railway Planners, said infrastructure is best known as the “Sub-Surface Lines”.

    Take a look at the new rolling stock that’s appearing on it. Look familiar? That’s because it’s *exactly the same* as the stock already in use on the London Overground, which, as we all know, is just a collection of mainline gauge railways that happen to form a ring around London when you squint at them in the right way.

    The District and Metropolitan (now Hammersmith & City) lines both run through infrastructure that was originally built to provide “Crossrail” or “RER”-style links right across the eastern and western Home Counties. While the Windsor-to-Southend services never caught on back then – Greater London was quite a bit smaller at the time – the only reason these lines have become separated from our mainline networks is entirely due to the system of electrification they adopted. (This can easily be changed. The new rolling stock being introduced has provision for installing pantographs.)

    In my view, a combined CX – Euston / Baker Street “West End Thameslink” plus a “South Bank Thameslink” project could be built as part of a master plan that also involves handing the entire ex-London Tilbury & Southend network over to a new pair of east-west Crossrails, created by simply restoring what already existed prior to the early 1900s: through running via the District and (current) H&C routes.

    Only one key piece of new build would be necessary: a connection between the Fenchurch Street approach viaduct to link that route to the current District metals near Tower Hill. (Ideally grade-separated, but I’m not holding my breath.)

    That’s two additional “Crossrails” right there.

    Yes, it would require *some* money being spent, but there would be negligible tunnelling and only one (possibly) new station beneath Fenchurch Street. Those are the most expensive elements of any new underground railway.

    Everything else, barring compatible signalling, is already there, with mainline gauge to boot.

    While 12-car trains would be ideal, the greatly increased service frequency would make up for that, so any platform lengthening (and electrification throughout using OHLE) can be deferred until overhauls and renewals are needed anyway. (This is an advantage of a holistic “master plan” approach: you don’t have to do everything in one “Big Bang”.)

    The work therefore breaks down as follows (the ‘b’ options are “nice-to-haves”):

    1. New connection / tunnel mouth east of Fenchurch Street, connecting to District.

    1b. Grade separation for said junction to reduce conflicting movements.

    2. Conversion of SSL core to 3rd rail. (Or OHLE. The District originally planned to use OHLE, so the clearances are, presumably, already okay for this. Whether the Met / H&C sections can be so converted, I’m not so sure. I suspect there may be a handful of low-hanging girders added since the war as stations once open to the air gained a concrete-and-office-block hat.)

    3. New, compatible, signalling to allow through running.

    4. Recasting of services, so that the “Circle” line can be eliminated entirely and replaced by services running up the “sides” of the SSL network before turning back at stations with suitable facilities.

    4b. As above, but also add in taking over a branch line or two to the west of Paddington. This could free up capacity on the original Crossrail, allowing it to focus on faster ‘skip-stop’ services instead, effectively turning it into a proper ‘express tube’ route.

    5. Suitable interchanges with any new-build Crossrail / Thameslink tunnels.

    The only missing link here is the obvious one of running two tracks in tunnel from Victoria to Marylebone. The problem with that is the ex-Great Central trunk route is effectively gone, but Oxford – Canterbury would be one possible option. It also opens up the possibility of allowing new towns to be built on some of the old, disused, alignments, with the reopened railway providing a convenient service to all the major centres in London with just one change (probably at Bond Street).

    The result would be a legible, simple, grid of core, high-capacity, routes sitting on top of the existing (deep-level) Tube network, providing massive relief for all of it. And the new “Thameslink” north-south routes would finally open up the far (i.e. “south of the Thames”) south-east of England to the rest of the country, unlocking massive economic potential given Kent’s proximity to the continent.

    Finally, there’s another advantage: Railfreight can be diverted over any one of the new north-south tunnels (and even through the SSL sections if possible) at night and possibly even off-peak. With the ample redundancy allowing for freight to be routed through different tunnels as maintenance requirements permit. This isn’t possible if the only north-south route through the city is the present, solitary, Thameslink route.

    But I have rambled on enough! Time to take my dried frog pills.

  156. Rational Plan says:

    @ Jeremy.

    Not really as I would imagine that even if this was built at the same time as Crossrail 2 and they really pushed it still would not be open until the late 2020’s.

    I can’t see the Chiltern still being a diesel line by then.

    As for designing new tube lines across London, the easiest way is to avoid trying to fit lines into the most congested spots, where there are already plenty of lines and lots of tall buildings.

    But in London there are not many clusters of tall buildings.

    Also you have to think about whether a new interchange could take the extra traffic, and what could be done to mitigate it.

    Looking at an East West line through London, the North Bank of the Thames is fairly easy route. There are few if any towers in that part of London, and only the circle line to contend with, but that is very shallow.

    The trickiest bit to thread lines through is the City, with it’s narrow twisting streets and tall buildings and deep basements.

    For me that means that it’s best to avoid Bank/Monument and Moorgate. Any new East west routes should be North or South of city along the circle line, as is the new crossrail line. Any new North south routes could orignate around Elephant & castle and either go East to London Bridge, then Tower Hill, maybe Aldgate and then Liverpool Street – Old Street and from there it could go any where in North London.

    The Western option could go via Elephant to the Western side of London Bridge and then to a combined Mansion House St Pauls station, then to Barbican and the Angel or Old Street.

    Once your are out of Zone 1, there a few limitations where you can route a new line.

    After that is looking at plausible traffic generators. For example a new North South route through the city has long been a core route for my Two Hills line (Muswell Hill to Herne Hill),-0.075016&spn=0.058034,0.169086

    Going back to the route I chose, You could drop Custom House station, but it makes a nice interchange with crossrail. I did not bother with a second North Greenwich station on the SE leg as it made the turn to Canary Wharf a bit tight if you wanted to keep a station close to the Dome, besides there is a station on the NE leg and people can go one station and swap platforms if they need to.

    Canary Wharf does have that final empty Dock and it’s much easier to get an East West route through here than a North South One.

    I avoided interchange with the East London line as interchanging at either Canada Water or Surrey Quays is tight and while a new station here would relieve the Jubilee platforms it would make the situation on the East London even worse as more people tried to use it.

    Tower Hill makes a good station as it’s surrounded by low rise modern crap and is close to Fenchurch street.

    A Mansion house/Blackfriars station is trickier as the buildings here are more expensive if still low rise, but tunnel wise it’s not too complicated, plus it gives important access to the SW City.

    With such connections I can’t see anyone in South Essex or SE Kent complaining if there train was diverted.

    The slowest bit construction wise would be the rebuilding of the old Jubilee tunnels through Charing Cross.

  157. Greg Tingey says:

    The Circus Line, either Noth or SOuth half is already completely rammed & uou want =mpre trains on thsi?
    Forget it.
    Also, for anCrN substityte, there are far too many stations far too close together.
    Won’t work.
    “dried frog pills” – precisely – some total idoit, looking at the map & nothing else, who was being paid by Railtrack floted thsi one, to universal derision, about 1997 ….

    Rational Plan, & everyone ….
    What we need, eventually, is a “Union Jack pattern of lines
    E-W (Cr1)
    N-S (‘slink)
    SW-NE (Cr2)
    SE-NW (Cr3) [ Marylebone lines + LNW – South Eastern + LCDR ]
    A fitfth (given that Paris has 5 & London is bigger is then up for grabs ….

  158. DW down under says:

    Sleep Deprived @
    03:44PM, 4th March 2013

    “What was the query about tunnel topography around Bank, I would have thought it would be fairly easy to find if you can find some of the literature on the Bank Station Upgrade?”

    Would you care to cite some URLs. My searches came up with motherhood statements and surface plans for new entrances. Nothing about the solid geometry of the tunnels.

    I’m aware of

    But I need something which shows the Northern Line north of Bank (under Princes St) and shows depth of tunnels, and likewise where the Northern and Central cross.


    DW down under

  159. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    No, I want to put *different* services on it, not merely add to the existing ones. Remember, too, that none of this would happen until *after* Crossrails 1 and 2 are completed, which makes a big difference to the capacity equation. (Also, there’s a link west of Stratford that could be doubled in order to send some Shenfield services onto the District as well, should that be desirable. This would allow CR1 to offer mostly semi-fast services to points further out, such as the proposed new station east of Chelmsford. That would definitely balance the service’s offerings.)

    If the District and H&C sides of the Circle are restored to their original “Crossrail” status while the other projects I suggested were built too, there would be no capacity constraints at all. That’s the advantage of the “London Grid” approach I tend to advocate.

    Service resilience is absolutely crucial. It’s by far the biggest (often implied) complaint about the existing infrastructure. London’s infrastructure has almost no redundancy, which affects the resilience of the services and their ability to cope with even relatively minor problems. This is why the most common whinge is of delays on one or more lines, or the seemingly endless series of weekend closures for engineering works.

    The Greater London conurbation is broader than it is tall: it follows the Thames, more or less, so additional east-west lines make sense because there is simply more demand along that axis. London also needs a solution to the “ring of termini” problem: there are too many inefficient terminus stations, most of which are in the wrong place.

    If Paris needs 5 RER lines, then London, which is quite a bit larger, needs even more of them. Currently, it has just the one (ageing) Thameslink route, with Crossrail 1 due to arrive some 20 years late. Crossrail 2 is still in the “Will we? Won’t we?” phase at the Dept. of Dithering & Procrastinating.

    Instead of stopping at Barking or Upminster, you run trains all the way out to Southend and Shoeburyness to the east, because there really is no reason for the LT&S route to be an independent entity. (Some work for rail freight will be needed, but nothing particularly difficult from an engineering standpoint.)

    Take over a one or two branches on the GWML via the H&C branch, allowing CR1 to become a semi-fast service at both ends if the Shenfield services can be diverted onto the opened-up District via Fenchurch Street. The District takes over the Fenchurch Street route and handles the southern half of the LT&SR loop as well, but remains broadly as it is to the west. Fenchurch Street thus becomes a greatly improved DLR terminus with additional capacity to provide operational flexibility and — that word again — service resilience.

    *Every* major part of London can be reached with, at most, one change of train. Even if one interchange is taken out of use for a while due to unforeseen circumstances, you can *still* reach most parts of London with just *two* changes, given that the deep-level Tube lines will also still be there.

    Three north-south routes, (minimum), would allow almost all suburban services to be diverted under the city itself, instead of terminating on the edges. Coupled with four east-west “Crossrails”, the result is a grid of heavy rail lines that connect with each other at least once, providing ample interchange options, but without the mistake of focusing all that interchange on just one or two mega-stations that would have to be built at staggering expense under London’s historic core.

    The “Union Jack” solution you (and many others) appear to prefer – almost every suggestion on this site seems to involve sending damned near every new line via TCR, which will already have no less than *eight* platforms once CR2 is built – merely creates a single, massive, point of failure. It offers no service resilience at all.

    This is the exact *opposite* of how any decent rail network should operate. What London needs is *dependable* infrastructure. Not 89% reliability. Not even 99% reliability, but, in a perfect world, “five nines” — i.e. 99.999% reliability. Short of a direct hit from a passing meteorite, it shouldn’t be possible to bring the entire network grinding to a halt. Like the Internet, a transport network needs to be *resilient*. If a line has to close, we should have viable alternatives, regardless of our ultimate destinations, that don’t involve being turfed off the network and told to catch a bus.

    And we shouldn’t spend money building brand new infrastructure that duplicates what we already have without a bloody good reason for doing so. Sometimes, it makes more sense to step back and see if we can repurpose an existing piece of infrastructure and to make better and more efficient use of it.

    I’ll say it again: *Resilience* is what London desperately needs. And you don’t get that by copying the discredited “star” and “ring” network topologies. You achieve it by copying a network topology that was designed in the 1970s by DARPA in the US to withstand nuclear attacks. You may have heard of it: it’s colloquially known today as “the Internet”.

  160. DW down under says:

    stimarco @
    04:11PM, 4th March 2013

    “While 12-car trains would be ideal, the greatly increased service frequency would make up for that, so any platform lengthening (and electrification throughout using OHLE) can be deferred until overhauls and renewals are needed anyway. (This is an advantage of a holistic “master plan” approach: you don’t have to do everything in one “Big Bang”.)”

    I suggest you get a read of Follenfant’s book to understand the sheer scale of work needed to extend Circle/District platforms. OHLE is totally out of the question – insufficient clearances throughout. Many undertrack utilities, sewers, etc so track lowering ruled out in many critical locations. Effectively, you’re limited to S7 or 5-car LO stock. The District can support wider stock than NR in general, but is tight above by comparison.

    The ideas demand capacity on the 2-track SSLs that looks beyond their ability to give, @ 32tph of 100m-ish.

    I’ve looked at Fenchurch St in detail, and posted on LR. You’re welcome to work from those details. See also the discussion @ District Dave’s


    DW down under

  161. Anonymous says:

    Fiddling about with the SSL in central london seems a massive waste to me. Money is being spent on merely changing the nature of the service. How much new capacity is added in the central core? Not a lot by the sounds of it.

    There doesn’t have to be a ‘Union Jack’ network. We all know capacity issues are biggest in the South and East. Given this, just make CR3 a split of CR1, so both Shenfield get double the capacity boost and more reliability. Run it to Liverpool Street and then to Waterloo, either below the District (stop at Blackfriars), or go down to London Bridge and west. From Waterloo it can either continue west to Victoria and beyond, or go directly south in a core tunnel. Options are to Streatham and then branch (Sutton and Croydon), or to E&C and down to Hernie Hill/Dulwich before branching. SE gets a massive capacity boost due to doubling on the Abby Wood branch, allowing for branches, and for Thameslink being able to head more SE than South.

  162. timbeau says:


    “The District originally planned to use OHLE, ”

    no, it was the Met who wanted OHLE -the District wanted live rail – the District won the resulting court case to resolve it (Watkin and Forbes were a godsend to the lawyers – they fought over absoluetly anythoing from the Cromwell Curve to the comletipon of the Circle),

    ac/dc units were 70 years in the future.

  163. The other Paul says:

    I love that this discussion has evolved into a “fantasy London infrastructure” one.

    Personally I think HS2 terminating at Euston is a big missed opportunity. The better scheme would be to have a 2-4 platform below-ground station to interchange with KXSP and then continue to somewhere where land is cheaper for loads of terminating platforms. Like maybe Ebbsfleet. Also, re-route the various more local services (to XR1, Primrose Hill, Clapham J all with an interchange at Willesden) so that Euston can be closed and sold for redevelopment to offset the costs.

    I still think a London HSR ‘box’ is the way to go – Old Oak, Stratford, Lewisham and Clapham Junction all acting as interchange points (not Termini) for HS lines.

  164. Graham Feakins says:

    @ DW down under – “But I need something which shows the Northern Line north of Bank (under Princes St) and shows depth of tunnels, and likewise where the Northern and Central cross.”

    This might help:

    Bank Station Part 2: The Upgrade Proposals –

  165. DW down under says:

    The other Paul @
    01:38AM, 5th March 2013

    re: HS2 @ Euston

    While I agree that it would be good if the rebuilding @ Euston was an element in a Main Line Cross London link, somehow I think just getting to Euston will blow any budget that might be squeezed out of the Exchequer!!

    The best we can hope for, I think, is a new big station box deep enough for tunnels to extend out south if required. This would favour the HS2 tracks being terminated in the lower level, alongside the proposed Kingsway tube line/branch.

    How this could be built while Euston was in full operation boggles the mind, but we should note there are top-down construction techniques which offer minimum disruption at surface level.

    But certainly, there will be need to deflect traffic away from Euston – hence the tube proposal. Also, there will have to be more traffic (especially from Birmingham) directed down the Chiltern route, intermediate services redirected from Bletchley via either Aylesbury or Oxford (all electrified by then); in the Willesden area, a link from the WCML outer suburban to the GWR tracks for access either to XR1 or Paddington; and via the WLL (subject to paths) to use the Waterloo International platforms. From Manchester and north, like during the WCML electrification some traffic would need to be routed down the MML (Blue Pullman, anyone?). From Glasgow, some traffic might be redirected via Edinburgh and the ECML. Resurrecting the link from Northampton – Bedford might prove handy – plus give Birmingham – Northampton (London Midland City) traffic access to TL and the south.

    Some outer suburban trains would be diverted via Highbury & Islington and may terminate at Stratford.

    The temporary links might form the basis for ongoing services if local custom is viable.

    What this has to do with the poor old SLL is a distant point – but ultimately it’s about taking the load off Victoria sufficiently to accommodate that end. For LB, apart from the question of paths, once the signalling centre is demolished, we can anticipate more terminal platforms being re(built). So steps to deflect traffic by other routes help. Whatever happens, the SLL should be a TfL concession, not part of a franchise. So TfL can balance traffic loads on the ELLX with LB.

    The Euston – Aldwych – Waterloo tube line if extended to Battersea, could be linked to Battersea Park, which could then become a local terminal for the SLL – with a 3-line interchange, the stopping patterns for Battersea Park (as well as meeting traffic demand arising from the development) could be expected to be enhanced.

    Anyway, we’ve ranged from one end of Britain to the other, so perhaps it’s time to put this post to rest!! 🙂

    DW down under

  166. DW down under says:

    Graham Feakins @
    02:24AM, 5th March 2013

    “This might help:

    Bank Station Part 2: The Upgrade Proposals –

    Yes, thank you Graham.

    I’d dearly love online access to the 3D model so I could play around with the angles of view, and I’d dearly love it to extend further to include the approaches to Bank – especially under Moorgate and Princes Sts; the tight corner at Lothbury; and the Northern Line rollover.

    But it was one photo from one angle. Apart from that one photo (and the artist’s impression of the new platforms), I had found the rest from TfL and other sources.

    But thanks again

    DW down under

  167. Pedantic of Purley says:

    For LB, apart from the question of paths, once the signalling centre is demolished, we can anticipate more terminal platforms being re(built).

    Meanwhile back in the real world …

    I suggested in the article that “It may also be the case that space could be found for a short platform.” I have to admit I wasn’t even confident that this would be possible.

    If you take a look at this photo-montage from Network Rail you can just about see the signalling centre beyond the rightmost canopy. If/when this is demolished the adjoining platform will be extended to accommodate 12-car trains rather than 10. To get the track into an extra platform may well be problematical and I suggested you could only accommodate a short platform anyway.

    In any event a single short platform, which must be the most that would be possible, would only make sense if there was as SLL revival and, for reasons given in the article, I doubt if any replacement service that may one day be provided would replicate the former service. So in all probability even if you could fit in one short platform it is unlikely to be of any use.

    Still, at least we are back on topic.

  168. Philip Wylie says:

    Just curious as to how many passengers used the SLL end to end which led me to realise that 99% of my journeys into London involve the Underground so the reduction of fixed termini could be advantageous in favour of more CRs. In view of rising petrol costs and the reintroduction of congestion charge even for the greenest cars, capacity will be an ongoing issue and London probably needs a rolling programme of transport infrastructure improvements ad infinitum to meet demand.

    On a personal note, a Victoria/Blackfriars/Cannon Street/London Bridge tunnel could be useful with a split at Victoria or thereabouts to e.g. run SE Metros (if such a thing will exist in the future) from, say, Orpington via Lewisham, through the City and West End and ‘loop the loop’ via Herne Hill or Catford on the return or go SW or NW via Notting Hill Gate/Old Oak Common to the Chiltern Line.

    There are so many permutations as to make the whole thing mind-boggling and I love this site for the genuine interest and depth of thinking.

  169. Sleep Deprived says:

    @ DW down under

    I was going to point you at that article as well. There is also a reasonably good 3D model link that someone provides in the comments to that article.

    Are you looking to go below the northern line running tunnels?

  170. DW down under says:

    Sleep Deprived
    11:00AM, 5th March 2013 wrote:

    “@ DW down under

    I was going to point you at that article as well. There is also a reasonably good 3D model link that someone provides in the comments to that article.

    Are you looking to go below the northern line running tunnels?”

    I hope I can locate the link.

    To put the GNCX underneath the Northern would require some of the tunnel swapping described under the Finsbury Park topic. Indeed, the tunnel swapping would have to occur BEFORE Old St. It would make the GNCX a bigger project again. There’s just not the clear space below the Moorgate St easement south of Moorgate to accommodate 4 tunnels wide to allow the GNCX to “slip under” the Northern. An alternative would be to drill new GNCX tunnels from north of Old St right the way through beneath the old tunnels. Seems a waste to me – but the numbers (if they ever get crunched at that level of detail) would decide.


    DW down under

  171. ngh says:

    RE Pedantic of Purley 08:27AM, 5th March 2013

    Post 2018 NR have stated that the extra paths to London Bridge terminating platforms would be prioritised for services via Tulse Hill.

    Tulse Hill routes limited to 8 car without major expenditure. Other routes can have increase use of 10 car (from 8 car) or could more easily be extended to 12 car from 10 car as passive provision has been made during 10 car lengthening.

    Increases service levels on the eastern half of the SLL (& more interchange opportunities at Peckham Rye for those travelling to London Bridge).

    On the subject of Battersea Park or not for western SLL replacement services.
    In 2012 the Battersea reversible lines were mostly relayed from Stewart’s lane to Battersea Pier junction as part of the Chatham line bridge rebuilding.
    This should have resulted in improved track geometry and line speed. (These are the tracks that SLL services from the Atlantic lines would take).

    In recent weeks the Brighton reversible line (starts half way along Battersea Park station and runs to the west of the Brighton fast to Victoria) has been completely relaid along with new signalling equipment. This should help peak capacity in the Station throat and could provide more capacity for SLL services from Battersea Pier junction to Victoria to access platforms 8-13/14.

  172. DW down under says:

    Thanks Pop

    Had a look at

    I see what you mean. Certainly not room for a 5-car LO 378 in there … maybe just a 456.


    DW down under

  173. DW down under says:

    Sleep Deprived @
    11:00AM, 5th March 2013

    Yes I found the link, thank you. It’s

    Nice to be able to flip the station around. But it’s left me hungering for more – because I need to tie the solid geometry up with the surface roads and the approach tracks as well. There’s probably some models at NR, TfL and/or LUL, but I’m only a colonial Joe Public – so don’t rate my chances/

    Thanks again.

    DW down under

  174. JM says:

    @Greg Tingey

    What we need, eventually, is a “Union Jack pattern of lines
    E-W (Cr1)
    N-S (‘slink)
    SW-NE (Cr2)
    SE-NW (Cr3) [ Marylebone lines + LNW – South Eastern + LCDR ]
    A fitfth (given that Paris has 5 & London is bigger is then up for grabs ….

    Would agree with most of that not as a flight of fancy either. I actually think it’s worth having ‘2’ CR2’s one route via Vic and the West End for Croydon/Norwood Junction and one from SW for Shepperton/Twickenham/Chessington etc. Going north you coiuld include Stansted via Epping, N Heights, Chingford, Cheshunt/Enfield Town and Hertford line as end destinations.

    At both Clapham and Dalston, you could easy access to the other line with one route via West End as current and one via Waterloo and the City (over new alignment in the City then part of the Northern City). Along the Waterloo route, you could have stops in areas such as Lambeth Bridge (to ease Victoria) and St Pauls (to ease Bank) particularly as an awful lot of City firms are probably as close to ST P as they are to Bank and north/south axis by rail between Thameslink/Northen LIne isn’t great given the agglomeration of law firms/financial services and tourist sites (Cathedral, Tate Modern, Mill Bridge). This can also help disperse people not travelling to Euston away from there rather than changing onto crowded routes at a crowded interchange and offers relief to tubes and trains north and south of the river without impacting peoples current choice of destination.

    I think if HSR goes to Scotland by the 2040s then the modal shift from air to rail will probably ensure a NW/SE link gets built. Particularly as by then, I can see the City branch of the Northern being the busiest section of tube in London. A new and radically enhanced ‘Metropolitan Line’.

  175. Sleep Deprived says:

    @ DW down under

    If you just assume all of the lines go directly under the middle of the roads in that area you’re probably making a safe assumption. It would have been far to expensive to get easements to go under the buildings.

  176. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Thanks for the info. It would seem to make sense. The initially proposed services terminating at London Bridge after Thameslink works are complete amount to 3.6 trains per hour per platform. At Blackfriars a faster platform turnaround is planned. For suburban services they could probably easily go to 4 at London Bridge. I suspect there would be potential available platform capacity and also spare capacity on the approaches unlike a lot of London terminals. The trade off would be a slight reliability hit in the event of late running trains unable to depart on time. So assuming that the paths are available via Herne Hill it would seem like a logical idea.

    There do seem to a lot of positive ideas being floated around. The trouble is that many of them cannot be implemented until after the Thameslink work is done and even then Network Rail would probably want to be confident that the current timetable works before pushing forward with these extra trains. And of course one has to have the trains to run the service in the first place!

    Since I wrote the article at the end of last year Network Rail have published their CP5 Network Route Specifications. On page 3 of the Sussex Route Specification it does state that

    Heading south the Slow lines split at Battersea Park Junction with a route diverging onto a viaduct bound for Factory Junction and the South London Line to London Bridge. The junction will be removed during 2013 in advance of platform lengthening of Platform 3 at Battersea Park.

    A document about control period 5 (2014-2019) is not the most logical place to look for about what is happening in 2013!

  177. ngh says:

    Re Pedantic of Purley 02:30PM, 5th March 2013

    The limitation at LBG may well be interactions with other services at junctions further away and the future 3 (at the bottleneck) track approach to the future terminating platforms at LBG may well run under theoretical capacity because of that.

    At the Battersea end, NR seem to have at least done the sensible thing and sorted out the other tracks first before removing the junction. There is more potential capacity for future Victoria SLL services avoiding Battersea Park than through it.

    Presumably an extra 3tph could be run on the slow lines through Clapham Junction since the withdrawal of the SLL services if there was enough platform capacity at Victoria, rolling stock and if it avoided East Croydon?

    There are 3 possible weekends in March and April (service reductions due to other planned works) alone when the slow lines junction at Battersea could be removed (probably in stages).

  178. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Presumably an extra 3tph could be run on the slow lines through Clapham Junction since the withdrawal of the SLL services if there was enough platform capacity at Victoria, rolling stock and if it avoided East Croydon?

    But don’t forget to take into account any trains that have been diverted to Victoria from London Bridge during the period of reduced platform availability. I am not sure how many this is. It may just be one train but I think it will happen/has happened. It is probably another less publicised reason why the SLL had to close prior to platforms being out of use at London Bridge.

    Why 3 ? Wasn’t the SLL a half-hourly service all day ?

    service reductions due to other planned works
    Presumably the rebuilding of the road overbridge at Streatham Common. That is a big job and shows that platform extensions can be far from trivial and SDO is not always suitable.

  179. peezedtee says:

    @stimarco “The problem with that is the ex-Great Central trunk route is effectively gone”

    My understanding is that, give or take the odd cowshed on the formation, it is all still there as far north as Rugby, apart from the demolished viaduct at Brackley. North of Rugby it has been built on.

    But I don’t understand why you are mentioning it here in the context of London outer suburban services. The whole purpose of the GC was (and could again be) to get to the Midlands and North at speed. Surely there are no significant traffic generators north of Aylesbury?

  180. ngh says:

    RE: Pedantic of Purley 04:47PM, 5th March 2013>
    Why 3?

    2tph from former SLL services and an extra 1 tph (being pessimistic so probably actually 2tph extra) due to the removal of conflicting moves of Up Victoria SLL services across the Down slow at Battersea Park which reduced the number of available paths to Clapham Junction.

    service reductions due to other planned works
    Up coming service reductions / closures (effectively every other weekend) not just for Streatham Common but also at:
    Balham – previous 10 day closure to add the extra bridge deck and move points + signals at Christmas/New Year and they still haven’t started on the actual platform! other civils and signalling still on going. Plenty more still to do.
    Clapham Junction P15 (BML down slow) building a platform extension over the gap between the 2 Falcon Road bridges (2 bridges = P0-15 and P16-17) with P15 and P16 at different heights so railings down the middle of the platform extension all with traffic passing underneath…

    I would expect the LBG to VIC service switches to be in the May timetable change aligning with the start of major works at LBG shortly afterwards.

  181. Malcolm says:


    You could be right about the GC formation being largely still there. But as you say, it’s irrelevant – I think Stimarco only mentioned it because one of his lines went to Marylebone, and that sort of triggered the remark.

    Rather than being built on, though, it’s interesting that the GC is essentially being resurrected as HS2. What lines, other than the GC and HS2, go from London via Wendover to the West Midlands, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow?

  182. Greg Tingey says:

    The trouble with “just” re-laying the GCR would be the curvature, both horizontal & vertical for a truly high-speed service to run on it …..
    What a pity!

  183. Slugabed says:

    I think the old GCR route would,with modern track and stock,be easily good for 125 mph if not 150,which,frankly,is enough for most sane people…but its real value would be to abstract freight from the near-capacity WCML freeing up capacity South of (at least) Rugby.

  184. Anonymous says:


    Much agree although I would prefer to see longer distance WCML services (many of which run without stop at least as far as Rugby) over GCR route & signalling allowing 140mph running. Paths freed would allow increase in service for intermediate WCML stations and increased freight movements. Problem, as always, would be London approaches.

  185. DW down under says:

    Slugabed and Anonymous

    ISTR the GC tracks ran at right angles to the WCML New St branch tracks at Rugby. Any ideas how the branch and the main line would be hooked over to the ex-GCR route?

    I would assume the trains would run via Aylesbury and High Wycombe. The stations from High Wycombe in towards London would have their fast through tracks restored and perhaps the slow tracks extended to cover several signal blocks.

    And, after XR1 opens, there should be enough capacity at Paddington to terminate a good few trains from ‘oop norf. Prior to that, there’s no spare space AIUI at either Paddo or Marylebone during the peaks

    But yes, to restore the GC to relieve the lower WCML would cost a mere fraction of HS2. It would only bring about a modest %age of the benefits, but better some soon. It could be the be undertaken in a way that allows for HS2 to be built in an iterative manner over 15 years, but benefits to flow after about 5.

    My 3p

    DW down under

  186. Greg Tingey says:

    The real problem with HS2 (apart from really crap publicity – thank you AGAIN DafT – see the current issue of “Modern Railways”!) is that it is specified for too high a speed, requiring ridiculously large-radius curvatures in both planes.
    Yes, I know it sounds potty, but (IIRC) it’s specified for 480kph running, not 400 & this makes a signoficant difference & makes it more expensive …. { That might be 400/320 – btw! }

  187. DW down under says:


    For an engineer, you’re sometimes a tad light on detail.

    According to my good engineering colleague, Mr Wiki, it’s 400km/h (max) and 360km/h (initial operational).


    DW down under

  188. Greg Tingey says:

    DW du
    I blame increasing age, faulty memory & being too bloody idle to check my numbers, so there!

  189. Mikhail says:

    It seems to me as the recent changes resulted in one major loss: direct link between Wandsworth Road and Victoria. One can hardly imagine a number of commuters travelling from London Bridge to Victoria via South London line, and at Peckham Rye one can find services to every destination of SLL, thus they are usually accessible with only one change and at a good frequency. Clapham High Street is supplemented by Clapham North tube station with Victoria line in one stop only. I am sorry if my view is superficial but it does not look like a huge issue, unless you need to commute from Wandsworth Road or Clapham High Street to Victoria on a daily basis but it is still few stations and only one interchange one way or another.

    It is, however, a nice thing to have this new scheme introduced and Bromley South seems to be a reasonable destination.

    PS. There is no obvious similarity between the North and South London lines apart from they names: the former is not a horseshoe-shape link between two central termini but rather a chord between to Zone-2 hubs and something similar to a line from Clapham Junction to Lewisham would have been more plausible as a comparison. In reality most of such hypothetic line (Clapham Junction to Peckham Rye) is already being served by London Overground.

  190. Anon (as 8/3) says:

    @ DW down under

    (how did we get so off topic?)

    re GC tracks at Rugby. I envisage short connecting link west of Rugby connecting to Trent Valley route and short branch from this to serve Coventry route. I don’t see need to serve Rugby station.
    Costings surely a pittance cw HS2 project.

  191. timbeau says:


    I understand that the loss of direct services between London Bridge and Denmark Hill, now requiring a change at Peckham Rye, is not exactly popular.

    The North London Line did operate more as a terminus to terminus horseshoe in its early days, rather like the SLL, from Broad Street to Victoria (later Mansion House) via Addison Road – the “Outer Circle” which ran until 1908. Its last vestige was the LNWR (later LMS) service between Willeden Junction and Earls Court which was suspended in 1940, although it was resurrected in rather different form (and ownership) as the Olympia shuttle six years later.

  192. peezedtee says:

    @DW du
    There is no need for the revived GCR trains to go through Aylesbury at all. Stay on the main line at Princes Risborough and rebuild the short section of line between Ashendon Junction and Grendon Underwood. The formation is intact, and even the earthworks for the flying junction at Ashendon are still there (hence the strange little kink in the present-day Chiltern service).

    Incidentally, somebody claimed in Modern Railways not long ago that Catesby Tunnel (between Woodford Halse and Rugby) is in good condition, and also that, although the GC formation between Rugy and Leicester has been built on, that of the Midland line between those two places has not, so you could join up with the Midland Main Line if you want.

    Probably the biggest difficulty will be persuading the residents of Brackley that their demolished viaduct will have to be put back.

  193. DW down under says:

    Thanks PZT

    Yes, I noticed the link when perusing the HS2 route later the same day, and went “D,oh!!!”

    Of course it would go that way.

    So it looks like it’s possible to build a WCML relief line into Paddo while Euston is being given the treatment, and then progressively hook the 400km/h line into it as the latter is built and commissioned. The relief line would then be left to provide a limited passenger service and serve as a significant freight relief – connecting to the north-south “spine” with a new chord south of Verney Jct.

    Most important is that Quainton Road gets a Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday service, of course!!


    DW down under

  194. Anon5 says:

    Tenuous south London link but…

    As a result of the works at London Bridge at Easter Southeastern will run a shuttle service from Hayes to Beckenham Junction via New Beckenham. While the chord between the stations is used a few times a day on weekdays this is certainly an usual diagram. Will the driver leave his cab or will a relief operate the short run?

    It allows a connection to Victoria but some London-bound passengers at Clock House might find it easier to walk to Kent House. Replacement buses will run from New Cross – New Beckenham and on to Beckenham Jn. I haven’t looked to see if Southern’s Beckenham Junction – London Bridge service is running.

  195. stimarco says:

    “some London-bound passengers at Clock House might find it easier to walk to Kent House. ”

    Not necessarily: The most direct route involves shortcuts through ill-lit alleyways and allotments that aren’t much fun when it gets dark. It wasn’t particularly well signposted either, though that may have changed.

    The Barnmead Road route is okay (they do appear to have spent some money on the roads around the station since I was there last), but Barnmead and Plawsfield roads still appear to have retained their gravel surfaces, which aren’t much fun if you’re not wearing “sensible” shoes. Especially in bad weather.

    But, crucially, the Beckenham Road Tramlink stop is just one stop away from BJ and much closer to Clock House than Kent House. If you can time it right, and you already have a Travelcard (or equivalent), it’s quicker than continuing on to Kent House.

  196. Anon5 says:

    I hadn’t studied the timetables of the Clock House, Kent House, or Tramlink services for that weekend but I wasn’t suggest dark alleys and allotments, just continuing along Beckenham Road and turn right into Plawsfield Road on which Kent House station is situated. As you pointed out I said “you might”.

    If you live on Churchfields Road for example (and you’d usually walk to Clock House) you’re certainly close to Beckenham Road tram stop. But if you’ve just missed a tram do you wait for the next tram to Beckenham Junction and change there for the National Rail service via Kent House? Maybe you walk to Clock House for the Beckenham Junction service and its novel reverse at New Beckenham and then walk from platform 4 over the footbridge on 3 to platform 2 for the Victoria service via Kent House; or simply think it easier walk to Kent House and catch the train?

    If you live near the fire station you might walk to Beckenham Junction or catch a bus. It’s all swings and roundabouts.

  197. Anon5 says:

    Lots of commuters cope with the unadopted surfaces on Plawsfield Road and I’ve seen plenty of senior citizens, women in high heels and people pushing buggies use the footpath. If you’re a local and you know you can’t manage those surfaces you’ll use one of the alternatives mentioned.

  198. ter says:

    I have been browsing on-line more than 3 hours nowadays, but I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth sufficient for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the internet shall be a lot more helpful than ever before.

  199. Steven Taylor says:

    Re Ghost Train / Bus

    At risk of being trivial, there has been a notice posted at Wandsworth Road Station – since 10th May – which has to be displayed for 4 weeks, giving formal notice that the infamous Tuesday only coach to Ealing Broadway and the Wandsworth Road / Clapham High Street stations `ghost` train to/from Kensington (Olympia) will be withdrawn. No date given, but I suspect an early demise for the coach and for the train, which will run empty in future to and from Selhurst depot to Kensington.

  200. Steven Taylor says:

    I was at Battersea Park Station today, and observed that the junction with the South London Line has been taken out over the weekend. There were a lot of people on site and the footings for the platform extension across the junction were complete.

  201. ngh says:

    Re Steven Taylor
    20:06, 30 September 2013

    Wow – Battersea Park is progressing about 100 times faster than the typical platform lengthening south of the Thames at the moment then. Just shows what can be done if you want / need to. They still haven’t finished my local station (and plenty of others too) after 19 months!

    Looks like they should manage to finish all the Southern platforms for the December timetable change and the introduction of the 5 car units (10 car services). The first pair of 377/6 have been in service for about 10 days on services to / from London Bridge.

  202. Steven Taylor says:


    I should have added they have been on site about 10 days, and some of the actual brick arches are exposed. But, they are really getting a move on. Frankly, I was beginning to think the extension to the down platform was not going to happen in time for the December timetable change.

  203. Greg Tingey says:

    Peckham Rye Station & surrounding shanty-town to be redeveloped.
    Network Rail local announcement here
    And a notice of a local show of the plans Ian Visits here, too.

  204. ngh says:

    Re Greg Tingey 18 January 2014 at 09:27

    lets hope they sort platform lengths etc as well as making it look nice

  205. stimarco says:

    For what it’s worth, Gravesend is also undergoing something of a transformation.

    Details, with pics (or it didn’t happen), start here.

  206. Graham Feakins says:

    @ngh – Sort platform lengths? Not sure what you mean.

    This link goes into more overall detail:

    In particular, not all is plain sailing as there is confusion between Network Rail’s intentions and those of the Council (and the buck is being passed an awful lot). Notably, “as in the ‘preferred option’ map, it shows that the ideas were also possibly to develop all the land and buildings on this site to the sides and the rear of the station. This overall plan if it went ahead looks as if it would need the removal of all current businesses, including those spearheading the growth of the creative industries on this site: those alongside the station building (pink in Map 2) and behind it (green in Map 2), although the Council has said that this is not their intention.”

    Peckham Vision has spent at least ten years getting this far and then NR appears to change most of that which was thought to be happening.

  207. DavidG says:

    I dropped in to the consultation meeting last Saturday, it was packed, and the Network Rail speakers faced a lot of sceptical, verging on hostile, questioning. This was mostly due to the planned removal of existing businesses, and the proposed seven-story-tall new buildings. I’ll be very interested to see what, if any, amendments are made to the latest plans as a result.

  208. ngh says:

    Re Graham F

    The current platform lengths are circa 8.5 car? but there is space for 12 car if everything was sorted during any rebuild…
    On the Southern side London Bridge is effectively becoming 12 car (10 on the new P15 for a while till the signal box goes) which will remove the biggest (most expensive) impediment to train lengthening for the via Tulse Hill services. The 2 remaining big ones being Peckham Rye and Tulse Hill?

  209. Greg Tingey says:

    David G
    Relevant to the comment on another thread about a “Property Company with a trading arm” perhaps?
    Indeed, here in sunny Walthamstow, a superbly hideous “development” is in the process of being erected, flanking the Grade-II listed original station building.
    “Solum Regeneration” – who are associated with / part of / part-owned by [delete as appropriate] Network Rail
    Isn’t there a similar development proposed for Herne Hill?

  210. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ David G – I have briefly looked at the Peckham proposals. I am not surprised people are cross given it just looks like another scheme to gentrify an area and boot out local businesses so NR can charge higher rents. I rather like the mix of local businesses and traders alongside the usual High St firms that you get in Peckham. I am rather fed up with this notion that everywhere has to be “dragged up” to some homgeneous notion of retail paradise so every town centre is identical. I think Greg used the term “shanty town” to describe the entry link to Peckham Rye. Ok it’s a bit dingy but you don’t need to sweep those small local businesses away to brighten it up. One thing that Waltham Forest Council has done is improve local high streets by funding a clean up of retail buildings and providing smarter frontages. This was done in Leyton and looks rather good. A similar approach in Peckham would tidy things up but allow the traders to keep their businesses.

    Greg has also beaten me to by referring to the monstrosity that Network Rail have inflicted on Walthamstow Central. Utterly out of character and pointless IMO. There is no obvious passenger gain at Walthamstow despite all the investment on railway land. I see that Peckham Rye station improvements are specifically excluded from this scheme. On that basis I’m not at all convinced. I note also that the former waiting room on the Southern / LO platforms at Peckham Rye has been swept away leaving people to “enjoy” a freezing, windswept wait. The dreadful up and down nature of the station and long access times really need attention and it’d be a big job. It should be done before Network Rail gentrify the area as I am sure the new trendy tenants would immediately object to “disturbance” from the railway works.

  211. Graham Feakins says:

    @ ngh & WW & others – Thanks for taking an interest in Peckham Rye.

    The original intention was to smarten up the station frontage by opening it up to appear as per Battersea Park frontage by removing the 1950’s (I think) installation of ‘temporary buildings’ with those shanty town outlets leading onto Rye Lane. The rest was intended to receive a general smartening up without expelling the existing traders, whilst also opening up access to the trading areas behind the main station buildings under the arches of the two railway lines.

    The local traders, as WW identifies, are most popular and coupled with that is the Bussey Building opposite, on Rye Lane:

    Oh, WW, those newly frozen, windswept platforms on the Southern side now the buildings have been demolished! It was a TfL ‘safety’ requirement before LOROL services started because it was judged that parts were too narrow between trains and platform buildings. As it is a Southern-managed station, Southern were perhaps understandably not minded to do much more than take away the warmth and install glass screens, with ‘seats’ and wind to blow away those cobwebs.

    Similarly, the absence of lifts, or rather any active plans for them is because NR and Southern lack any fruitful co-ordination that might produce the money and the oomph. I stress that I do not blame Southern but rather the various NR departments concerned (I am aware of four, who don’t communicate with each other!). In fact, the former goods lift shafts to the platforms still exist to start with.

    The (Southern) platforms could indeed be extended back over Rye Lane to cope with 10-car operation on the Southern side, at least. Tulse Hill is indeed the Achillees Heel where running more than 8-car trains on that route is concerned but not insurmountable. I note that 8-car West Norwood on the 10-car route, from a journey yesterday, copes OK with on-board announcements to alight from the front 7 cars (up direction) and front 8 cars (down direction). Trouble is with that, it’s the rear of the 10-car down trains that fill at Victoria and there’s an invariable delay as I witnessed at West Norwood with folk pouring through the ‘gangway’ from the back of the train to the 8th car as it arrived at the station to alight.

    In all that, Southwark Council has been generally supportive of the (original) plans at Peckham Rye but even they have limited budget and time to pursue Network Rail, not forgetting that folk leave the ‘team’, which produces its own problems.

  212. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham Feakins,

    I am aware of the short platform at West Norwood as I pass through on the Thameslink train. So it is just as I feared with the inevitable delays as people pass through. It will be interesting to see if the passengers learn to change their habits.

    From my brief glances from the train (actually not so brief because we are talking about a Thameslink train via Herne Hill) it looks like it would be perfectly easy to extend the platforms providing the road overbridge was widened. No doubt this will happen one day anyway but one wonders how long it will be before a case can be made for this based on reduced dwell time on a two track line with some trains at present non-stopping.

  213. Greg Tingey says:

    More on the Peckham Rye proposals on Ian Visits, today …..

  214. Steven Taylor says:

    @Graham Feakins
    I fully concur that waiting for a train at Peckham Rye can be windy. This is where I used to change from Southern to the London Overground. However it is much better than my first choice for changing, namely Queens Road Peckham. What a dismal station with almost no shelter, unless you huddle at the top of the stairs by the booking office, blocking ingress/ egress from the platform.
    Whilst the Overground has done a lot to spruce up stations, the lack of proper shelter at some busy stations should surely be addressed. I often use Clapham High Street to change ton the Northern line. When it is raining, lots of people congregate at the top of the stairs, blocking easy access to the platforms. I know money is tight, but I have seldom seen any long term plans to replace platform canopies etc. that were so often dismantled in the 1960s, to make the travelling experience more civilised when it is raining.

  215. Greg Tingey says:

    Re WW 21/01/14: 20.53
    I strongly suspect (there was some sort of “announcement” a few weeks back) that another reason that the WHC – WMW pedestrian link is so behind schedule is the construction of said monstrosity.
    It is a couple of months (at least) behind schedule, after construction bits fell off some time back – some down on to the platforms @ WHC, which caused stirrings in the dovecotes. And, the car-park is still full of contractors vehicles & plant – which should ‘ave all gorn by nah ….. The bottom SW corner of the car-park needs & was promised resurfacing, which hasn’t happened yet – indeed there’s a material dump there, right now …. which is blocking exactly where the link will come out ……..
    I hope that, once the main building-works are finally complete, the link will then open.

    But, as with Peckham Rye, it appears to be a lack of co-ordination between different departments, as well as organisations, plus the aforementioned upset(s) causing time-slippage.
    Again re. Peckham Rye … stations on viaducts are really horrible if there’s no shelter. Never mind rain, “just” a cold wind can be unpleasant { Waterloo E, London Bridge, Deptford, Blackfriars, Bruce Grove, Stratford p/f 9-10, Wood St Walthamstow [WST] } all raise unpleasant memories at times.
    The absence of any shelter at all at PMR is a disgrace, but I’ve a horrible suspicion, that whoever you start with [ NR, LOROL, TfL, Southern ] all you will get is a rapidly-accelerating game of pass the parcel!

  216. MikeP says:

    Greg – one thing that seems much more apparent with station works than any other civils I observe is the total separation of phases of the work. This has really stood out at Dartford. Station completed and re-opened on-schedule but the surrounding area a building site. Little happened with regard to removing the temporary platform access, except removing the overbridge and steps to the platform, nor the temporary ticket office, for some months. But now the second building from the 70’s has gone (following the predictable asbestos works) along with the temporary ticket office, it’s suddenly full steam ahead on the surrounding area. I think someone must have lit a fire under someone, because some “this is what’s happening next” laminated A4 sheets have appeared on the Heras fencing.

  217. DavidG says:

    Greg et al, what’s particularly annoying at Peckham Rye is that the (now demolished) waiting room on platform 1/2 had the positive effect of drawing waiting passengers away from the eastern end of the platforms, where the stairs are, so the crowding there has now worsened. And despite only being able to accommodate maybe 20 people its full height was a far more effective windbreak for those outside than the new glass structures. Regarding the local businesses, the area has been going downhill for years, there aren’t the usual high street tenants, WH Smith closed recently, and it’s no fun having to step over discarded chicken bones and human hair every day.

  218. Melvyn says:

    According to the attached item plans for Peckham Rye Station include installation of lifts –

    The number of users of this service is far more now than when it was just a 2 carriage shuttle between London Bridge to Victoria with the new overground now connecting with Eaśt London line and through to North London passengers who travel between LB and V can simply change trains on the same platform a luxury that passengers at stations like Green Park would love to have !

  219. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Melvyn – You have omitted the 2tph from PR to Victoria on Southeastern, which was additional to the South London Line service; also the Thameslink services on the Catford Loop, AND the 8-car 6 tph (was 8tph in the peaks) to London Bridge from South London via Tulse Hill.

  220. evergreenadam says:

    Has there been any news on further development of a Victoria – Bellingham/Bromley South service recently?

  221. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Evergreenadam – nope. However I am sure Chris “the passenger’s friend” Grayling will magically use “teamwork” to create extra trains and paths to allow it to be part of the new South Eastern franchise specification (he says ironically). 😉

  222. ngh says:

    With GTR proposing to operate 4tph stopping on the Catford Loop post 2018 as Thameslink services to Blackfriars the justification has some what reduced…

  223. Graham Feakins says:

    Especially since the original Victoria – Bellingham/Bromley proposals were made, the Victoria – Dartford via Denmark Hill and Nunhead now run all day.

  224. evergreenadam says:

    Crofton Park Transport Users Group have succeeded in getting some additional stops in morning peak semi-fast services towards Victoria since December 2016. The new services started from Monday 12th December and run at the following times:
    07:36 Crofton Park – Victoria
    07:58 Bellingham – Victoria
    08:24 Crofton Park – Victoria
    08:43 Crofton Park – Victoria
    09:01 Crofton Park – Blackfriars

    Apparently the stopping services towards Blackfriars are so full that passengers struggle to board them but the semi-fast services had seats free.

  225. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Working in Richmond some days, I regularly go back via Clapham Junction and Denmark Hill to St. Mary Cray (then a bus home to SH Towers). This works out as being about as fast as going via Waterloo and Orpington. The train from Denmark Hill has lots of seats free, even in the rush hour!

    It was pleasant surprise the first time I caught it!

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