A very strange thing has happened in the past year or so regarding London Underground and the Northern Line – senior managers have actually wanted to talk about it.

This comes as quite a surprise. One expects the usual over-excitement as they proudly remind you that London Underground can now run 33 trains per hour (tph) on the Victoria Line, or talk enthusiastically of the sheer scale of modernisation underway on the sub-surface lines. Even evangelising over the Jubilee Line is comprehensible given that, now that it is finally working properly, its operation is increasingly impressive. Indeed they now seem itching to get 33tph on the Jubilee Line but they don’t have the trains.

But the Northern Line? Traditionally discussion of the Northern Line has been restrained, unless it is to illustrate how difficult it is to run a tube line and to highlight that in some ways it is a miracle we have such an intensive service at all. So what’s changed?

A history of Misery

The Evening Standard used to routinely refer to the Northern Line as “the Misery Line.” The twin curses of being starved of investment and being the most difficult line deep-level line to run meant that it was an easy source of horror stories for commuters to read about.

Everyone, even the Government, had recognised that what was needed was a major overhaul of the line. A comprehensive upgrade was planned for the mid 1990s, with new trains and new signalling. The new trains arrived and constituted a vast improvement, but the signalling project was cancelled by the Government leaving the line to soldier on with out-of-date signalling equipment that was liable to breakdown. Worse, without the new signalling, the trains could not run at their full capability. The service level failed to match the original aspirations since that relied on the signalling being replaced and consequently there were more trains available than could be usefully utilised.

The split that wasn’t

At around the same time as the signalling was due to be replaced, the possibility of the splitting the line into two was once again investigated. This had for a long time been recognised as a very cost-effective way of increasing tube capacity in central London. Unfortunately it was well-known that to do this one would have to rebuild Camden Town station, in order to cope with the number of people who would then have to change trains there. London Underground drew up comprehensive plans, but there were many objections due to the loss of a market (not the market – Buck St Market), the Electric Ballroom, the facade of the station and other properties.

In effect those against the scheme, which included the local council, argued that the rebuilt and expanded station would change the whole character of Camden for the worse. At the public inquiry the inspector agreed with the objectors and recommended that the scheme should not go ahead. This was very awkward for London Underground who had argued that anything less that the full scheme would be completely unsatisfactory.

The lost decade

With no real “Plan B” ready and waiting, and subsequently no money available, a period of inaction seemed inevitable. For more than a decade, the strategy for senior managers facing questions about the Northern Line appeared to be to answer them as quickly as possible and then move on, in the hope that the next question would prove less awkward. It was not so much that the Northern Line had regressed back to its former misery line status, it was just that there seemed to be no long term integrated strategy and, entirely appropriately for the Northern Line, no light at the end of an extremely long tunnel.

The pieces start to fit together

In recent years, three things have arguably transformed attitudes towards the Northern Line within London Underground.

Probably the biggest catalyst for positive change has been the proposed extension to Battersea. Never mind that it doesn’t make much strategic sense. Don’t worry about the fact that this is an extension of an already busy line built to historical small tube dimension size. The important thing is that the government is keen on it and wants to see it happen, and with this short extension a complete separation of the Northern Line suddenly makes even more sense than before.

The Northern Line Battesea Extension

The Northern Line Battesea Extension

Artist's Impression of Battersea Station

Artist’s Impression of Battersea Station

Artist's Impression of Nine Elms Station

Artist’s Impression of Nine Elms Station

Although no-one from London Underground has explicitly linked the extension to the split, one gets the impression that a split of the line can now be reconsidered for it is needed to maximise the success of the Battersea extension itself. Crucially, it opens the door on Government support, something essential to facilitating the split – or so it is believed.

It should be noted that TfL have already submitted a Transport and Works Order (TWO) for the extension. This is a critical decision – a bit like ‘go’ or ‘no go’ in a space mission or paying a deposit on a house. Once you have gone this far you really are pretty much committed to seeing the project through. Both Airtrack and the DLR Dagenham Dock extension seemed to have plenty of momentum, but when the crunch came and the next step was to submit the TWO application the backers in question (BAA and the Mayor respectively) cancelled the project.

A second major impact on thinking has been the proposed HS2 terminus at Euston. It is all very well planning Crossrail 2 to disperse the crowds, but the obvious first thing to do is maximise capacity of the lines you already have serving Euston. Again, HS2 is something that the Government is anxious to see successful and therefore support for improving the Northern Line in any way possible is seen as something that will get their backing.

The third major impact is the success of the Jubilee Line resignalling and implementation of automatic trains. As the Northern Line will use the same system of automation as the Jubilee Line, London Underground can now be confident that they are implementing a tried and tested system known to work in the London tube environment. Although getting Jubilee Line automation working was both a technical and political nightmare, now that it is up and running it generally works very well indeed. The omens are therefore good for the Northern Line installation, with the painfully learnt lessons and teething troubles from the Jubilee Line hopefully a thing of the past.

It all comes together at once

As well as the game changers mentioned above, something else is creeping up upon the Northern Line – the early 2020s. These bring potential problems that may represent opportunities if handled well.

Assuming that funding is secured, the fruits of the “Deep Tube” project to run new cabless trains will materialise at the start of the next decade. This is soon after the Battersea extension should be up and running. Therefore there is an opportunity, with a bit of shuffling around of rolling stock, to re-equip at least part of the Northern Line with new trains.

Again assuming the funding can be found, Bank station will also have been rebuilt by the early 2020s. Current plans envisage a completion date sometime in 2021. Currently, even if you could physically run more trains, it is unlikely that Bank station could handle many more people arriving in the morning peak (in the evening, strictly speaking, this is less of a problem – if the station is too crowded you simply don’t let people in). So it would be a big win to co-ordinate a more frequent service with a bigger, better Bank station.

Beyond Bank, there are also proposals to upgrade Old Street station due to the “Silicon Roundabout” effect. Something that would also have a major effect on the Line.

Kennington Cross Passages

Plans for additional passages at Kennington as submitted as part of the Battersea extension TWO application.

Finally another minor factor, often forgotten about, is improving interchange at Kennington before the Northern Line can be split. This is actually included within the Battersea extension project. It may be a small part of the Battersea extension project itself, but it is a “must address” issue before any full Northern Line split can take place.

Could Camden Kill it all off?

The feeling now is that the momentum is unstoppable. So what about Camden Town station? Here there seems to be a change of attitude. In the past it was thought necessary to sort out all the short-comings of the station. Now attention is focused on providing a scheme that just sorts out the interchange issues.

There is confidence that this can be achieved because it can be done without destroying the buildings and environment that people fought to save and, should it go to a public inquiry, any inspector will probably accept that this is essential for the greater scheme of splitting the line to go ahead. As the split, or at least the increase in service levels made possible by it, will effectively be government policy then the station enhancements are unlikely to be rejected.

It may be that the London Borough of Camden will not be overly happy with lots of work being carried out for no benefit of the people of Camden. Indeed they have already voiced similar concerns about HS2 at Euston. At the very least they thus may wish to see something in the package that would benefit the Borough itself. The reality, however, is that this would cost more money and increase the risk that the project would become too expensive. The likelihood of opposition, however, is far less than one might think. Sources suggest that TfL and Camden made their peace a long time ago, with an agreed compromise plan for the station in place, privately at least, if not publicly.

The reality, of course, is that even with objections from Camden Council, TfL would be unlikely to check their Camden advance. Although as an organisation they would be far too politic to say it, a feeling that the Borough had “missed their chance” ten years ago is likely to have some currency within TfL. One suspects that TfL would be determined not to let Camden halt progress on the Northern Line a second time, even if it meant publicly butting heads with the Borough. Indeed if Camden protested, one suspects TfL would expect the government to back them up and force the scheme through.

Such a scenario would hardly be ideal for all the parties involved but, if such a thing were to happen, one cannot help being reminded of that Millwall chant “You don’t like us, we don’t care”.

Signalling Progress – A Pleasant Contrast

A crucial question for the Northern Line now, of course, is just what progress is being made on the signalling upgrade.

Pleasantly, the answer seems to be that it is progressing as well on the Northern Line as it was progressing badly on the Jubilee Line. On 17th February the first of six stages was successfully upgraded without fuss. Of course the work required some weekend and early Sunday morning closures, but it only required a Sunday morning shutdown to actually implement – and that was just to test it before going live with passengers after midday.

Migration stages

The Northern Line Migration Plan to convert to TBTC. NMA1 is already live.

Indeed the project team are currently confident they can complete the job for the entire line well before the December 2014 deadline. This is largely thanks to their confidence of understanding the system based on the hard-won experience with the Jubilee Line. The only areas of nervousness are converting the junctions at Camden Town and the Kennington Loop. The junctions at Camden Town are a concern because nothing as complex as this has yet been converted to automatic train operation on London Underground. The Kennington Loop brings similar challenges – it will be the first case of this software ever being used on a system where trains do not reverse, but loop round to return to where they came from. In the latter case it is expected that, having identified the potential problem and catered for it, this will in fact go smoothly.

Trickle Down Rolling-stock-onomics

It is pretty self evident that if you build an extension to Battersea you are going to need to buy more trains. Indeed the original business case factored in the cost of buying these trains. The problem is that you don’t really want to build trains the are built to an old design, possibly with obsolete technology, just to be compatible with the existing twenty-five year old fleet – which is what the Northern Line trains will be by the time the Battersea extension is opened. Even if you did, it is quite possible that this wouldn’t comply with modern legislation on issues such as disability from which existing units might currently be exempted. In any case, it would probably be prohibitively expensive compared to an add-on of an existing order. Indeed one wonders if the cost of extra stock based on existing stock in the business case was only ever intended as an accounting exercise, and nobody really believed that this is what would actually be bought.

As it turns out, we can fairly safely discount purchase of additional 1995 compatible stock. This is because the Mayor, Mike Brown (head of London Underground) and now Sir Peter Hendy himself have all emphatically stated that London Underground will never again order an underground train with a cab.

What we now have is a situation where trains on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly need to be replaced in the early 2020s at the latest. Some extra trains are going to be needed for the Northern Line as well as the desire for around seven extra trains for the Jubilee line to get that service up to 33tph. It looks like it won’t be a straightforward case of “out with the old, in with the new”. The challenge is to allocate the proposed “Evo” (cabless) stock and reallocate the existing stock in such a way that each line solely consists of either Evo stock or legacy stock. This does presume that one does not wish to mix “cabbed” and “cabless” trains on the same line. Ideally each line should have only one type of stock (e.g. 1995, 1996 stock) and there should not be a significant surplus of perfectly serviceable legacy stock that has to be prematurely scrapped.

What will undoubtedly make things more complicated is the platform edge doors on the Jubilee, which will either restrict the options available or add to the cost if these have to be modified. What could well help to enable an optimal solution to be found is a split Northern Line with Evo stock on one of the lines and legacy stock on the other.

Piers Connor, writing in Modern Railways for January 2013, described various rolling stock permutations that would be possible. Clearly in these early days the numbers are not exact and it is all a bit tentative but the article ended with the statement that “London Underground is looking to have firmed up its ideas by July 2013”.

What does the future for the Northern Line hold?

Any description of a possible timeline for the Northern Line is inevitably going to be very speculative. It is almost certainly going to be wrong in the detail, but we hope the general gist will be accurate and give you an idea of how things are expected to pan out.

The remainder of 2013 will see TBTC (Transmission Based Train Control), a form of Automatic Train Operation, continue to be introduced on the Northern Line and the critical junction at Camden Town will be converted. By the summer, or shortly after, London Underground will have developed a rolling stock strategy for the early 2020s for the deep level tube lines. A crucial element in that may or may not be the fully splitting of the Northern Line into to separate lines.

If all goes well then by about September 2014 the Northern Line will be fully automated. Based on Victoria and Jubilee line experience, they will no doubt want the system to settle down before imposing changes to the timetable too rapidly.

In 2015 there will be an increase in frequency which has long been held up as an objective. There will be limitations as there will be a constraint caused by the limited number of trains and a limit to what can be handled at Bank. 24tph on both central London branches has long been held to be an intermediate objective for the peak period. As the line down to Morden already has 27tph, this will have to be maintained. In the peak period Morden trains will run via Bank except for 3tph which will go via Charing Cross. Off-peak all Charing Cross branch trains will terminate at Kennington and in the peak hours only 3tph will go through to or start from Morden.

It may be that the above service improvement will be introduced cautiously in stages, so may not be complete by the end of 2015 itself. It should be apparent how awkward it is to have 3tph in peak hours “off-pattern” and starting at Morden and going via Charing Cross. A desired objective will be to get to 27tph on the Bank branch as soon as practical so that all Morden trains can go via Bank. Ultimately it is hoped to get this figure to 30tph. Amongst other things this relies on sufficient rolling stock and the ability of Bank station to handle the passenger numbers.

Probably around 2016 London Underground will know if they are definitely going for a full split of the Northern Line. This is tied in with the crunch decision of whether to apply for a TWO to build extra cross-passages at Camden Town. This will not be anything like as easy as at Kennington as the platforms in question are considerably further apart. If these are to be built, it would be nice to have them ready by the time the Bank Station Upgrade is complete.

Around 2020 the Battersea extension will open. It would be unthinkable that the opening would be delayed for want of rolling stock. It would appear to be extremely unlikely that extra rolling stock would be available on opening day, but most new or extended tube lines take time for traffic to build up so it may be that London Underground implements a short term plan to provide a limited service to Battersea with the stock that it has.

Around 2021 the Bank Station Upgrade will be completed. It may be that the station has been sufficiently upgraded before this date for an earlier increase in service to be introduced – if there is the rolling stock.

Depending on what the rolling stock strategy is, it may be that the Northern Line has gone to the top of the queue to receive new cabless trains. If that is the case and a full split is to take place then this will take place soon after the Bank Station upgrade. It would then be possible to run at least 27tph on the new Morden – High Barnet Line as far as north Finchley Central, although 27tph may well have been implemented a few years previously. It remains to be seen how Mill Hill East is handled.

The number of trains per hour would be expected to increase gradually to reach 30-33tph. Note that the split has to be Morden-High Barnet and Battersea-Edgware due to the main depots being at Morden and Golders Green. On the Battersea-Edgware Line we can be reasonably confident that by the time HS2 opens around 2026 this too will be operating at near maximum capacity, which would be also presumed to be around 30-33tph.

A Complex Plan

Although the constituent parts of the plan may all be sound, it is apparent that this is quite a complicated plan. Like all plans it is reliant on funding for every part of it. It is also reliant on the Deep Tube project producing the goods, namely cabless tube trains, in the timescale required.

For the first time in a long, long time, however, it appears that the fortunes of “the Misery Line” are now looking up. If all the disparate elements of the Northern Line work come together, then we will see increased tube capacity and reliability in central London. One would be getting something that was equivalent to around half of a new tube line at a fraction of the cost – something that all parties would agree would be of enormous benefit to London.

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There are 309 comments on this article
  1. stimarco says:

    I wasn’t aware the re-signalling project had already begun, let alone ticked the first check-box on its To-Do list.

    I’m also curious about the difference in scale between the Nine Elms and Battersea surface buildings. The latter seems a bit on the small side, despite being a terminus. There’s clearly a lot of redevelopment planned for the area. Is this the only surface presence the station will have, or is there also going to be something within the old power station grounds too? (It’s hard to tell from the mock-up exactly where that station entrance is. I can’t see a railway viaduct anywhere.)

  2. RoG says:

    Given the huge cost of providing the tunnelling equipment to extend the line to Battersea, it seems perverse and strategically shortsighted not to continue the line now as far as Clapham Junction, where a tube connection is badly needed. If this further extension is just pencilled in as a possible future option, it’s unlikely to happen for years, and if it should eventually happen the cost will inevitably be much higher than necessary.

  3. Tim says:

    Are there any timeframes for completing NMA 2-6 or is there just the overall TBTC completion date? Also I agree that it seems like a potential missed opportunity to take the drive past Battersea but then I guess TFL don’t have the money to do this extension and are only doing this due to Government and local developers’ contribution. Could they leave the tunnel machines in situ ready to bore to Clapham Junction or wherever they decide to take the Northern line (or whatever it is called post-split)?

  4. Kit Green says:

    The architect’s impression of Nine Elms Station implies a build very soon, as The Tower at Vauxhall appears to be unfinished with the construction crane still present.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think the Northern Line has sufficient capacity to take passengers from Clapham Junction, so don’t expect this branch to ever be extended there.

  6. Euloroo says:

    It should be noted that the principal objection from Camden Council to the previous scheme was the 11 storey office block allegedly required to fund it.

  7. Mark Townend says:

    @Anonymous, 12:40PM, 6th May 2013

    It seems a strange inference that a Clapham Junction extension beyond Battersea must necessarily result in further overcrowding of the existing parts of the Northern Line. Changing at CJ onto Northern to access central London would always be much slower than continuing on to a major terminal and switching to tube or bus there, so I don’t think this is in any way proven. On the other hand some sort of improved link with heavy rail at the branch extremity would seem to me VERY MUCH in the interests of the those developing the land around the new stations, as better faster links to greater south London and its surrounding counties would be a very good selling point for new offices in the area. Without such a link, any longer distance commuters to such developments will have to travel into the central terminal (e.g. Waterloo), then travel back out again, taking much longer and doing nothing to relieve main line or tube station overcrowding in the process.

  8. Milton Clevedon says:

    While TfL is in the business of designing and building several underground passageways between the Edgware and Barnet branch platforms at Camden Town, it would be interesting to know if someone has considered the business case for extending one of these passages from the north end of the Barnet branch platforms to the Overground at Camden Road station. This is only 300 metres further on. Observations suggest that many passengers use this unofficial interchange on the surface. The Overground is rapidly growing its passenger numbers, at a rate that ORR is not keeping pace with, while there is a substantial gap in tube/Overground interchange in the 4 mile section from West Hampstead to Highbury & Islington, which means there is no direct radial/orbital connection from many of the northern suburbs.

  9. stimarco says:

    @Mark Townend:

    What’s wrong with Queen’s Road Battersea or Battersea Park stations? Both are easily within walking distance of the development area. There’s already plenty of provision for commuters to the area.

    The Northern Line extension is intended to provide better links to central London for residents who move into the development, not to south London commuters who would only be working in the offices there. Those new riverside apartments aren’t going to be cheap to buy or rent: Thameside apartments can go for tens of millions of pounds in this area. The wealthy residents who buy these will not be pleased if the trains arriving at their shiny new ‘local’ station are already rammed with oiks and plebs. Even if most services on the branch eventually go via Charing Cross rather than Bank, as long as some go directly via the City, it’s no big deal. And, in any case, CR1 should be open by then too, so changing onto that at TCR shouldn’t be a big problem as the CR1 stock will be much bigger and thus less prone to overcrowding (and overheating during the summer!). It’ll get them to the City and Canary Wharf much more quickly than changing at Kennington will.

    Follow the money. This branch has sod all to do with “serving London” and everything to do with “serving a mostly privately-funded redevelopment project”. TfL gave it the nod because it helps their case for Camden junction and the Great Northern Line Divorce™ in the great political game of draughts*.

    * (Anyone who thinks politicians are capable of playing Chess to a high standard clearly hasn’t met one.)

  10. Mark Townend says:

    “. . . the Mayor, Mike Brown (head of London Underground) and now Sir Peter Hendy himself have all emphatically stated that London Underground will never again order an underground train with a cab”

    Thats a very dogmatic statement by these officials and politicians. Whilst I completely understand and support the need to move towards an automated underground, there are many scenarios where small additions to cabbed fleets could be necessary or cost effective, and to have such a rigid diktat on record could be counterproductive. Perhaps they really mean that no major new FLEETS would be ordered with cabs – that would be more rational.

    I think it would be sensible to develop the future Evo family through a small pre-series of cabbed units, the driving positions of which could be designed to be decommissioned subsequently, even removed entirely, on commencement of full automation on a target line.

  11. Mark Townend says:

    @stimarco, 02:44PM, 6th May 2013

    Yes the various existing Battersea stations are ‘walking distance’, at a pinch if you can pick your way through the maze of streets and viaducts, but they also have fairly limited service compared to the myriad connectional opportunities at Clapham Junction. To quote “The area will become an ultra-modern, exciting destination in central London offering 16,000 new homes, 25,000 new jobs, new schools, parks, culture and the arts”. They see the development as a destination clearly, so if it is a success and their majority of visitors and workers come from further afield than central London itself (which is likely as few people actually live there comparatively) then the development will actually add to central London transport system congestion rather than help in any way to relieve it. I’m glad there has been talk of safeguarding a future CJ extension, but I can’t see a case for building it in the shorter term. There is a possibility the promised 25000 permanent jobs may never materialise or might take a very long time to build up. I think the best short term answer would be to improve walking routes and local bus connections from the wider Battersea area into the development, including perhaps a dedicated high capacity shuttle from Clapham Jn, ideally on bus lane throughout if that was feasible.

  12. stimarco says:

    “Yes the various existing Battersea stations are ‘walking distance’, at a pinch if you can pick your way through the maze of streets and viaducts, but they also have fairly limited service compared to the myriad connectional opportunities at Clapham Junction.”

    Those stations offer a damned sight more service choices than I ever had from Lewisham or Gravesend. But let’s not go there…

    It’s not that difficult a walk from the existing stations to the development site, and it’ll be a lot easier once the development and surrounding road improvements are completed.

    I don’t understand this fixation with having a major piece of urban metro infrastructure built every few hundred yards to save a small minority of people from having to take a short walk. Take a bus or tram if it’s such a pain to place one foot in front of the other for a few minutes. If you’re too snobbish or stupid to take advantage of all the modes available to you, that’s your own damned problem. That the extension is being built at all is a minor miracle in itself given how long such projects usually take to grind their way through the system.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If money was no object (although this is London), there is space to remove the bottleneck at Camden Road (remember Camden Road has 4 platforms), so an extra pair of track could be built over Camden Street, Camden Gardens and Kentish Town Road thus the NLL could use the new northern pair of tracks between Kentish Town West and Dalston via the currently disused platforms at Camden Road, and the ELL could use the existing southern pair of tracks between H & I and Primrose Hill continuing to Watford Junction, you could you could then access the tube by digging from Camden Gardens towards Buck Street – so Camden Road would have a new exit to Camden Town at the eastern end, and Camden Town would have a new exit to Camden Road at the northern end.

  14. Ian Sergeant says:

    Camden. My favourite rant topic, so I will attempt to be rational.

    1) The terms for acceptance by Camden Council for work to be done at Camden Town station are well known, and in the public domain. See the inspector’s report and Camden’s planning brief. I don’t see a planning issue with what is being suggested.

    2) At the moment, empirical evidence suggests that people on the Edgware and High Barnet branches wait for a train going to their destination, as the train to which they will change is likely to be a couple of minutes behind them. This ensures that, at peak, about 10% of people change at Camden Town. With complete separation, this is going to change to an average of 50% changing. Given, at peak, the Bank branch is busier, that Bank platform is going to become awfully busy. All it would need is a passenger taken ill on a train and the Bank platform is going to be overwhelmed. At least now the impacted people or on a train or on the (less busy) platforms north of Camden.

    3) I believe that what is necessary is something like this. This would also benefit businesses in Camden as, without it, the station is staying exit and interchange only on Sunday afternoons.

    The original rant, for those who haven’t seen it, is here.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t the regents canal between Camden Town and Camden Road. Or are we planning on burrowing underneath. That would be quite an staircase from the platforms at cr to the platform level at ct

  16. ChrisMitch says:

    @stimarco 1444

    If the Northern line is split into 2 separate lines as proposed, then NONE of the trains from Battersea will go via Bank, making the new owners of these luxury flats very disappointed indeed. Although personally, I can’t see that anyone shelling out millions for one of these flats would ever be seen dead on the tube – it would be taxis all the way…
    I still can’t understand who actually buys all these riverside appartments springing up all the way along the thames – most people want a nice house with a nice little garden…

  17. lmm says:


    If you’re a banker working long hours it becomes all the more important to have a short commute, and you wouldn’t have time to maintain a garden anyway.

  18. ChrisMitch says:

    But none of the trains from Battersea will go to Bank, so the commute will not be that short/uncomplicated.
    And how many bankers are there? Compared with the rest of us who live in London? Surely homes should be built for the majority, not the privileged elite (getting a bit political now, sorry)

  19. Littlejohn says:

    @ChrisMitch. I don’t think that’s politics – surely it’s a question of economics. Either people will want them and buy them or they won’t. Developers will always build for the market, whatever that happens to be. If most people want a nice house with a nice little garden then that’s what the developers will build.

  20. Mark says:

    @Chris – a cross-platform two-minute interchange isn’t really a problem for most people. Even bankers.

    @stimarco – very few apartments in the area are selling at “tens of millions” – mostly just a handful of penthouses. Most apartments are priced at a couple of 000K – 1M. Yes, still beyond the reach of many, many people. But not it’s not a sea of banker’s mansions.

  21. Rational Plan says:

    The only reason this can happen is that Nine Elms industrial area happens to opposite Chelsea and Belgravia, some of the most expensive land in the Capital. So the Uplift in land values if comprehensive development occurs is huge.

    It roughly works out that each flat sold will contribute £50,000 to the cost of building the tube extension.

    There are few places in London where potential increase in land values could support such contributions.

    It’s not about providing flats for city traders it’s about flats for hedge funders in Mayfair, and people who can’t quite afford Chelsea or Belgravia anymore, so good links to the West End are important.

    Also the commercial side may come good quicker than I thought. The relocation of the American Embassy has already had the Dutch agree to relocate and the Chinese are now looking for a big new building, up to another 8 embassies are making enquiries. If they make the move lots of the other West End occupiers could follow them.

    It won;t be huge numbers but 25,000 jobs in a central London context is a mere drop in the bucket.

  22. Dave says:

    Thank you for some Camden clarity. As a resident, I can’t believe that awful station hasn’t been upgraded. There’s a lovely plot of land I believe is owned by TfL, accommodation for some kind of music venue could be made I’m sure and expensive apartments put in with maybe a floor or two for nice Camden style nick-nack stores.

    How did the Angel upgrade happen?

  23. Anonymous says:

    @Rational Plan

    Are you referring simply to the extension, or everywhere? I think regardless of the extension the split would have happened, the money is coming from a separate pot. Of course, that depends on the funding agreement, but even if it’s reduced by 50% it would eb enough to cover the tube upgrades. It’s probable the extension banged heads together however.

    On Camden, the station needs expanding at the top whatever happens, it already closes on SUnday for a period. It’s become like Covent Garden.

  24. Ian J says:

    The politics of this one will be interesting as it’s a test case of whether people are prepared to accept a change of trains in return for a more frequent service (see discussions on South London ad nauseam). There are a lot of people on the two northern branches who currently have a one-seat journey to work who are going to have to change trains at Camden. All for the greater good of course but if a Wimbledon Loop-style campaign starts up then how many politicians will have the backbone to resist it?

  25. DW down under says:

    @ Ian S

    Re-arrangement of tunnels at Camden Town to achieve what you have shown for cross-platform interchange would be ideal. However, the two pairs of platforms are not parallel, but at quite an angle (something like 40deg). There’d be a combination of issues of engineering feasibility, and of costs vs benefit.

  26. DW down under says:

    It seems a shame to me that TfL have already got to the TWO stage. Why? Because IMHO, extension of the W&C to Battersea at one end and via Liverpool St to Bishopsgate at the other, makes a heap more sense.

    Another thing that would make a heap of sense would be to (somehow) restore the Northern Heights connection through to Moorgate (ideally beyond, but that was a different discussion had some months back). This link of the Highgate branch to the City could go a long way towards relieving the Northern Line per se, and taking a significant part of the traffic load off Camden Town.

    I would be suggesting main line gauge trains for Mill Hill East and High Barnet (on 3rd rail) and a cross platform change to Northern Line @ East Finchley. Weekend and night services to be by Northern Line tube train, mainly via West End.

    To do this would require high capacity signalling on the GN&C, and relay (stepping back) drivers at the Moorgate terminus during the peaks, to support perhaps 27tph, comprising 12tph from the GN suburbans and 15tph from Northern Heights.

  27. Ian Sergeant says:


    I draw the platform pairs parallel deliberately. The lines diverge to the north in a realistic fashion.

    My point regarding the platforms isn’t that it’s a nice to have. I suspect that something would have to be done for health and safety reasons because the current platforms are too narrow (which is why the station is interchange and exit only on Sunday afternoons). The alternatives are pretty bleak – queue one line when there is an issue with the other (in which case it’s pretty pointless having separated them) or non-stop one line when there is an issue with the other (this isn’t pretty, but it kind of works with a long walk at Euston).

    It will be interesting to see what proposal is put forward.

  28. Greg Tingey says:

    Anyone who thinks politicians are capable of playing Chess to a high standard clearly hasn’t met one Oh dear, how true these words are – even today!

    Mark T etc
    “Cabless”? Really? Without platform-edge doors at ALL the truly sub-surface stations served?
    Is this physically possible, given the curvature of some of these stations?
    Also, I hate to bring this up – but no driver & you get a jumper or worse someone pushed off the p/f face – a manual driver can, at leeast apply the brakes – or will there be fallible radar-sensors on the train fronts?
    In which case, I can see malicious people buggering up the service with fake “obstructions” (Like a pocket aluminum corner-cube reflector.
    Oh dear …..

    Of course, people waiting for a “correct” train at present HAVE A SEAT (usually) whereas, if they change @ Camden [ & I don’t believe the crowding that will result ] they will have to STAND for the rest of the journey.
    Is this really a win?

    Ian S
    Agree re a PROPER rebuild.
    There was no reason at the time, why LUL (as they then were) could not have kept the historic buildings & gone for a really thorough sub-surface total reconstruct.
    Damned by their own stupidity & arrogance I think?
    Is it too late now – because without really significant extra cross tunnels & links, the “new” station is just going to wedge up.

  29. Slugabed says:

    I read recently (Evening Standard??,so caution naturally applies) that a significant proportion of new flats in the Vauxhall/Nine Elms area are bought off-plan by overseas investors as a sort-of piggy-bank…..relying on the rise in land and property prices to provide the return on their outlay,and who are CERTAINLY NOT interested in tenants,who might soil their investments and require administrative work.
    Consequently,apart from an occasional visit from a concierge,these flats stand empty…..
    Reminds me of the story of the spiv and the lorry-load of tinned fish (“They’re not for EATING,they’re for buying and selling”) but it makes me wonder how many people will actually use this vanity project (the NLE)

  30. Milton Clevedon says:

    Back to the original topic. Just been looking at some engineering drawings.

    @Ian Sergeant
    Have you considered using the existing deep-level express railway tunnels (16′ 6″ diameter) built as WW2 shelters, that lie on an approx. Chalk Farm-Euston alignment between just north of Jamestown Road and just south of Greenland Street. The most visible parts are the bomb-proof entrances in Underhill Passage and Buck Street. I do presume however that TfL is trying to design Camden Town works to an affordable price rather than up to a high level of passenger convenience as you are seeking. Possibly a Buck Street entrance/exit on its own might alleviate some of the current and future passenger flow problems. (I’d upload a diagram of where the deep-level tunnels are but don’t know how to do that on LR!)

    @Anonymice 04:31 and 04:58 6/5 PM
    Like the idea of using Camden Gardens location as access point for Camden Town and for NL/Overground interchange, would need to be designed sympathetically for the area. Rearrangement upstairs on the Overground could happen later. From Camden Gardens it’s only 200-205 metres to the top end of the Barnet branch platforms at Buck Street.

    Re height and stairs etc, an interchange passage could follow alongside the Northern Line tunnels under Regents Canal. Starting northbound, it is about 120-125 metres distance from the Barnet platforms to the Regents Canal, and there is at least 5.5-6 metres clearance between the top of the higher railway tunnel and the bottom of any Regents Canal structure. A DDA compliant ramp rising from the LOWER of the two platform tunnels at Camden Town would have at least 3 metres margin going under the canal – it could have more if required – and would have ascended a total of 9 metres/30 feet by the time it reached Camden Gardens. There would then be a similar distance to reach ground level locally, so would presumably need an appropriate combination of stairs and DDA lift (if not escalators). Comments on interchange options are welcome!

  31. Alan Griffiths says:

    Ian Sergeant 04:56PM, 6th May 2013

    The junctions are south of the platforms and the northbound and southboud lines are at different levels. Designing, let alone tunnelling, “something like this” is much more complicated than your sketch. It might be easier to sketch, and even build a duplicate for each platform. Camden Town isn’t Herne Hill!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Between them, QT Road and Battersea Park provide services to a wide range of southe and south west London destinations (the SW mainline being a notable exception)

    @Ian S 1656
    it MIGHT be possible to relocate the platforms further south, where the corossover tunnels are, but they are far too short, and narrow, to be used as they are.,r:62,s:0,i:277&tx=108&ty=75

    The side by side tunnels are differently paired in the two directions – southbound we have Finchley to Bank and Golders Green to Charing Cross: northbound it’s CX to Finchley and Bank to GG

    I doubt that the number changing at Camden would be as high as 50% – in the absence of a through train people may choose to change at Euston or elsewhere – for example an Edgware to Bank passenger might change at TCR, or a Finchley to Waterloo passenger at London Bridge. Many passengers already change to another line anyway to complete their journey – e.g a passenger for Holborn can change at either KX or TCR, dpending which branch of he Northernm they find themselves on.

    I can see he attraction of extending the Drain to Battersea instead of the Northern Line – the cost of the extra length of running tunnel possibly being balanced by the shorter station tunnels. But it would also nrequire extensive remodelling at Waterloo – effectively a new station on a different alignment – and the Drain is already grossly overcrowded in the peaks with, unlike the Northern, little scope for adding more tph.

    Milton Clevedon 1441 – In what sense id the interchange between Camden Town/Road “unofficial”? It is a recognised out of station interchange (OSI), and is no less official than, for example, crossing the road at Hammersmith.

  33. Ian Sergeant says:

    @Alan Griffiths

    I’m not suggesting that any of the existing platforms can be reused. The northbound and southbound lines would need to remain at different levels: whether this would be the same level as now or (more likely) lower and to the north of the current position needs to be determined. Incidentally, moving north makes a possible interchange to Camden Road easier.

    @Milton Clevedon

    Re, the deep-line tunnels – see the end of my article and a reply to Long Branch Mike. I don’t think it quite works but it is worth exploring. Likewise I don’t think a Buck Street entrance would get past the council, and I think you would need to move off Kentish Town Road and outside the conservation area to achieve the council’s buy-in to a new entrance. The deep-level tunnels are not currently listed (or they weren’t when I looked at Christmas), but I suspect you would see attempts to spot-list them if you tried to use them.

    For what it’s worth, my opinion is that you should both use the deep level tunnels and put an entrance on Buck Street. Both the council and London Transport/TfL have been intransigent throughout the negotiations, but, unfortunately, within a conservation area the council hold the upper hand. Hence my compromise proposals.

    If you could send me the map of the deep-level tunnels (ian at crookedcottage dot co dot uk) I’ll add it to my article tonight and reference it here.

  34. Milton Clevedon says:

    @anonymous 10:01
    Camden Town Camden Road isn’t shown as an interchange on TfL’s official London Rail and Tube Services map, for example, so many passengers won’t think of using it.

  35. Mikey C says:

    There are 2 problems with Camden that need fixing

    1) is the the interchange between the different branches, the existing passageways are inadequate, as highlighted when they have engineering work, and they split the line. With a permanent split there would be chaos, especially in the morning rush hour with City bound commuters from Edgware having to change at Camden – the interchange at Euston is a long one. Going the other way, yes there is a cross platform change to the Victoria Line at Euston bank branch for the West End, but the Victoria Line is horribly packed by this point!

    2) the surface building is hopelessly small, especially at weekends, for what is a major tourist attraction.

    Dave 09:09PM, 6th May 2013
    Angel, while on the way up at the time, was nowhere near as trendy as Camden, especially the area near the station which is nothing special, so they were able to build the new station entrance under a new office development.

  36. Andy M says:

    If the Northern Line is split in two – which makes sense – surely it would also make sense to rename one of the lines.

    Any suggestions what to?

  37. marek says:

    @Andy M

    City and South London…?

  38. peezedtee says:

    @Anon 10:01 ” for example an Edgware to Bank passenger might change at TCR, or a Finchley to Waterloo passenger at London Bridge.”

    Have you ever tried the Northern/Jubilee interchange at London Bridge?

  39. Anonymous says:


    “Have you ever tried the Northern/Jubilee interchange at London Bridge?”

    all right, at the Elephant or, possibly, Bank

  40. peezedtee says:

    Nobody in their right mind would change at Elephant for that journey.

  41. Anonymous says:


    “Nobody in their right mind would change at Elephant for that journey”

    TfL’s journey planner suggests that route from Angel to Waterloo – (whether anyone in their right mind would use JP is another question)

  42. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Milton Clevedon
    Camden Town Camden Road isn’t shown as an interchange on TfL’s official London Rail and Tube Services map, for example, so many passengers won’t think of using it.

    TfL should really add more OSI connections onto the Tube & London Rail and Tube Services maps, to make passenger’s journeys more efficient. A network’s only as efficient as the number of its connections. More connections give more route choices, alternate routes during service disruptions, spread out line transfers, and shorten journeys.

    The long interchange symbol (the 2 interchange station circles connected by a hollow line) appears to be commonly used for longer transfers. For instance, Bank to Monument, Bow Church to Bow Road, Paddington betwixt Circle/District and HammerCity.

    A similar long interchange symbol could quite easily be used betwixt Camden Town & Camden Road. This should certainly abstract passengers away from crowded Camden Town on busy weekends.

  43. ngh says:

    Battersea extension tunnel diameter:
    The PR material seems to suggest 5.2m internal diameter which is bigger than the last deep tube (JLE) internal diameter at 4.35m (which does have the now obligatory emergency walkway). Does any one have any thoughts as to the choice of diameter (Crossrail is 6.2m ID for comparison)? Is it as simple as being able to take main line stock (though may be not GC guage) not using OHLE?

  44. Anonymous says:

    Camden Town tube would be a lot less congested if some pratt wasn’t playing a drumkit RIGHT IN FRONT of the main High Street exit every Saturday.

  45. Anonymous says:

    perhaps Helen Mirren can be sent to deal with him.

  46. Matt says:

    Part of the current station building is currently occupied by the ‘First Choice’ fast food store which occupies two levels with its frontage on Kentish Town Road. Could some temporary relief and better circulation space be achieved by reclaiming this for the tube station?

    @Andy M: if another tube line is ever built, or a part of one split off, then I have a feeling it will be called the Elizabeth Line.

  47. Rational Plan says:

    @Greg Tingey

    I understood that the new Cabless trains, will still have Cabs, they just will be able to be removed easily in the future. if they went driverless. Unless of course they really plan a DLR type solution.

    @ Waterloo and City obsessives.

    It drives me nuts the constant number of claims on why it’s the ideal line to extend. Just because it’s a line on a map, it does not mean it’s a great system to extend. If it was it would have been done decades ago.

    The line was designed as shuttle service with only enough capacity for that and was not built with further extension in mind. So the platforms are too short for full length tube trains. The Bank Station is blocked by other tube lines. Plus the line is pretty much full from Waterloo.

    To get around these obstacles people talk of extending station platforms or tunneling brand new stations all to reuse a bit of tunnel linking the two stations.

    Considering the cost and disruption it would be cheaper and easier to just build a new tube line between Waterloo and the City and just have it extend as far North and South as the traffic numbers justify it.

    Re: Camden Town

    I used to have the leaflet showing the previous proposed scheme. Basically they would knock down the market and buildings behind the station and build a big diaphram walled pit and build a temporary station with 3 new escalators. Then scoop out the old station innards and build a new phalanx of 5 escalators with a fancy 2 level underground mezzanine interchange. Then demolish the temporary station and rebuild above it.

    I used to wonder why they did not just uses the market site for an extra three escalators and some connecting tunnels and save themselves the cost of rebuild of the existing station.

    If people can cope with different entrances for entry and exit at Oxford Street then surely they could at Camden

  48. Tim says:

    If the Northern line is split then without Camden Town being improved and either the entrance capacity enhanced or a second one opened I can see it being an exit/interchange station a lot of the time.

    Anonymous @ 4.31pm unfortunately the current plan is to have the southernmost line at Camden Road to be used as the HS1-HS2 link, although I can see this change prior to operation. Also it would make sense to use the space to run 4 lines even if to enhance freight capacity if not to provide a diversion for services via Queens Park when Euston is ‘redeveloped’ for HS2 and platform 9, which LO use, is removed. As whilst it is talked about here that CR1 may send services up the WCML this would be around WJ and Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead would be without a service if Euston is not available and no service goes to Camden Road. One option is to have one platform to terminate said services, one for HS1-HS2 link and the northernmost two for the present NLL service.

    Unfortunately DWDU @ 2.22am Anonymous @ 10.01am is correct, the W&C does not have the capacity for current demand at peak hours, let alone any added demand due to an extension. Also the platforms are short by deep line standards and as discussed here and on DD as part of any extension the platforms at bank would need to be replaced and sited elsewhere due to the potential issue of a northern drive and the BofE safes getting in the way. I am not sure if they would get in the way of an extension to Liverpool Street but new platforms would be required. If it went solely to Liverpool Street then that may work as it could be reasonably anticipated that much of the demand would be for journeys to Bank and not Waterloo and provide relief to the Central line. There would need notable reconstruction at Waterloo to both the station and depot so maybe something like the Bakerloo just north of Queens Park to happen if W&C extended south? Also how likely is this as tfl are currently spending quite a bit of money on opening a new entrance above the w&c platforms at Bank to enhance capacity and step free access as well as the obvious of cost

    Slugbed @ 7.42am I believe you are correct about who have purchased many of the flats as the BBC did a piece on this on the first day they were made available to buy off plan.

  49. Ian Sergeant says:


    Good idea, but see this part of the Camden planning brief:

    7.38 Proposals should aim to create level access from and to the street and within the development and facilitate the necessary step free access down to platform levels. The difference in levels between Camden High Street and Kentish Town Road poses a challenge to this aim, which must be satisfactorily addressed in the design. Any scheme should look to improve the accessibility and permeability of the site with its surroundings. A new legible pedestrian link (which formed part of the previous proposals) between Camden High Street and Kentish Town Road is supported as contributing to an appropriate form of development, as well as to the permeability of this part of Camden Town.

    Also this:

    7.64 The pavement lines around the site have previously been re-configured to accommodate both the current traffic system and heavy pedestrian flows. The pavement has been widened on part of the Camden High Street frontage, and adjacent to the apex of the site, but remains relatively narrow on the majority of the Kentish Town Road frontage. The roads and crossings, pavements and public spaces around the site should be carefully considered in relation to any proposed development. A key objective should be to improve conditions for pedestrians around the site through wider pavements and/or reduced building footprint(s) UDP Policy T12 relates to works affecting highways.

    Basically the council are looking for a Rolls-Royce – we’re offering them a Mini. The fact that what you are suggesting is better than what is there now, is, I suspect, irrelevant.

    @Rational Plan

    Great idea, and exit to Buck Street doesn’t have the same issues as exit to Kentish Town Road. Even the council acknowledge that the southern side of Buck Street is a mess:

    4.13 The cleared market site, the deep shelter entrance next to the market at Buck Street and the large sub-station building and shops (178-182 Camden High Street), as well as the adjacent hoarding next to the station, are specifically highlighted as making negative contributions [to the area].

    However, the inspector concluded:

    29.6.74. Camden is a healthy town centre but unusual in having a lower than average fashion representation in conventional shops. In my view, the scale of the fashion offer in the markets, together with their attraction to tourists, means that they act as an anchor at the northern end of the town centre making a significant contribution to its overall
    strength. The loss of a significant proportion of the total stalls within the markets, particularly the high proportion of fashion stalls would in my opinion have a particularly detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre, and its function as a tourist attraction, contrary to national and local planning policy objectives.

    In other words “remove Buck Street market and you damage Camden as a tourist attraction”. We really are in a difficult political situation within the original triangle of the work site: hence my suggestion (actually Taz’s suggestion) that a site for a second station entrance outside the conservation area on Inverness Street might work. And this fits nicely with my idea of moving the platforms northwards.

  50. Lemmo says:

    @ ngh, so the NLE tunnels are 5.2m, is that wide enough for mainline stock with OHLE?

    An interesting question, I hope someone can answer it. If yes, it does beg the question: why would TfL do this?

  51. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I am pretty sure it is for maintenance reasons. For Crossrail they are planning a really sophisticated maintenance regime with a wide continuous walkway and workers clipped in on a safety line so they can keep trains running and cannot accidentally come into contact with a train. The worker will also carry a device that means he will be identified and his position known by the signalling system so trains can only pass him at slow speed.

    You can see the advantages. In the event of signal or other failure trains have to proceed very slowly but an engineer can walk to the site without any interruption of traffic. Also, if you have to do overnight work you can have all the tools and materials in place the night before and remove them the night after. And if you do need to interrupt traffic to do work on the track that doesn’t compromise safety you can actually safely do it between trains.

    It is just one of many potential advantages of a decent ATO system combined with a decent infrastructure.

    I suspect that they are also planning to do this on the Battersea extension. It is the way forward.

    Remember running tunnels are relatively  cheap and with a TBM the wider diameter isn’t that big a deal.

    Even though there are no plans related to this whatsoever, it does also assist a future option to connect the Battersea extension to a new larger size tube or, if the technology to do this economically was ever invented, to rebore the rest of the line and have larger rolling stock.

  52. Ian J says:

    Wider tunnels also means lower air resistance which means lower power consumption (and less heat in the tunnels).

  53. Taz says:

    An interchange with the Met/Circle at Euston (Square), part of HS2, would save Edgware branch passengers changing for a Kings Cross train.

    Perhaps the larger tunnel diam. is due to the Jubilee Line walkways being declared too narrow for safe use!

  54. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @ 10:01AM, 7th May 2013: re the Drain

    You might have noticed that I wrote of a line running from Battersea to Bishopsgate. I have described this more fully earlier and on DD’s. The new line would use full length (132m) tube trains. W&C could handle more trains as is – but doesn’t have them. Indeed, either a new station parallel with and possibly below Waterloo International (sorry, I don’t know the engineering of the side of Waterloo) or the station extended through the existing depot then south and west.

  55. DW down under says:

    @ Ian S

    The deep level tunnels are 16′ dia. They were intended as running, not platform tunnels. The hardest thing about them is that they are located at the stations which the express tube would be “not stopping at ….. “.

    Whether listed or not, because they were designed and built for express tube trains, any such use would be within the preserved purpose of the structures. Could be very interesting. Bit like Platform 3 at Liv St SSL.

  56. DW down under says:

    @ Andy M: Line split. I’ve already suggested the CX branch becomes the Northern, and the City Branch (ex C&SL) oddly enough: “the Southern Line”.

  57. DW down under says:

    @ Tim and others. Please see the thread @ DD’s:

    … where Graham Hewett provides background about the feasibility of eastern extension of the W&C.

    I have always seen the reworking of the W&C as an interative process, not a grand gold-plated 30 month closure scheme. In the first instance, moderate works are undertaken at Bank to accommodate 5-car (72ts length) trains. ASAP after that, the XR3 Kingsway Line connects from Aldwych to provide rolling stock access to a mainstream depot.

    As soon as the depot is vacated and reworked as a longer-platformed station, a new Waterloo-Kingsway service with 5-car trains starts. The development then interates from there. No big bang demands on DfT or the Exchequer.

    The arguments put against recycling this asset would equally apply to most other tube lines. In this case, I’m avoiding projecting into the suburbs. The core function is Waterloo – City, the reversing stations are Battersea and Bishopsgate allowing maximum throughput at Waterloo, Liverpool St and Bank.

    I also envisage that with the connections that become available at Bishopsgate, Liverpool St and indirectly at Battersea, an interchange station will be constructed at Blackfriars. Again, I wouldn’t saddle the early project with this. It would wait until there was confidence in the business case showing sufficient BCR. It should be noted that such a project would provide some relief for the Central, an additional distributor from Liverpool St towards the mid-City employment area, and an economically valuable contra-flow traffic to complement the main peak flow of the W&C.

    So please don’t constrain the leaky old lady – she needs to work smarter and my limited extension project would achieve that.

  58. DW down under says:

    @ Lemmo pointed out that the NLE tunnel dia is 5.2m. That’s 17′ in the old currency, 12″ or 305mm larger than the GN&C and “express tube” tunnels. If the tunnels were being built for main line gauge compatibility, they’d be closer to 6m (~ 20′ ) dia. So the intermediate size would be to do with emergency egress for all passengers – in anticipation of the DDA and TSI requirements for disabled and wheelchair-bound passengers. These are the same issues I am raising with Stimarco, regarding his enthusiasm to keep monorail-style technologies in the discussion frame.

    5.2m, 17′ is still quite a bit smaller than platform tunnels in long-established tube lines. These are over 21′ in diameter, to provide 11′ of platform width.

  59. c says:

    Couple of things:

    – The Euston / Euston Square interchange should hopefully help relieve Kings Cross, Moorgate and possibly Bank, by offering another option for City access from both branches of the Northern line.

    Fingers crossed people crack on with this before HS2. Ditch the underground taxi place, no doubt in the way.

    – Crossrail factor.. Edgware people for the City can change at TCR and be there in a shot. They can also get to Moorgate and Canary Wharf. High Barnet people can change at Moorgate for Canary Wharf, rather than Bank.

    Crossrail will definitely aid and support the split. Perhaps Camden would be fine with more circulation space.

  60. Moosealot says:

    In 2015 there will [be] an increase in frequency…
    [Corrected. Thanks  PoP]

  61. Fandroid says:

    @DW. To avoid inventing anything new, perhaps the split lines could borrow the old names back and be called the City and South London line (no more syllables than the H &C) and the Hampstead line.

  62. Anonymous says:

    While I can see the arguments for improving the station to allow better entry/exit, I’m at a loss as to why we are looking at separating the two branches given the obvious benefits of the current arrangement to passengers of having no change regardless of destination.

    If frequencies are going to be pushed to 30 tph and above, a 4 minute wait for a train going to your destination must beat a 2 minute wait then a change (with another 2 minute wait), even if it’s a cross-platform change and the interchange is never so busy that you miss a train.

    The ATO is hopefully smart enough to avoid service pollution by dynamically rerouting trains and there are no conflicting movements on the junction. A dynamic reroute would lead to passengers having to change at Camden but only in the event of problems, not as a matter of course. Additionally, in the event of there being problems at two points on ‘opposite’ lines (e.g. Chalk Farm and Bank), there would still be the possibility of running a through service (in this event from High Barnet/Mill Hill on the Charring X branch). If the lines are formally separated this would not be possible even though the track is there to permit it. If service resilience in the event of trouble on one of the branches is a major concern, building in the ability to turn trains at Camden (from either N or S) would surely be a better solution than splitting the service.

  63. peezedtee says:

    Para 2: “now that its finally working properly, it’s operation is” should be “now that it’s finally working properly, its operation is”. You’ve missed out an apostrophe where there should be one, and included one where there shouldn’t!
    [Agreed. Corrected. I think the apostrophe police got the wrong suspect.  PoP]

  64. c says:

    But why not merge two other lines? Like Piccadilly and Victoria – via Warren St and via Holborn?

    It’s complex and pointless. Northern line people have been spoilt for years – most lines only have one set of destinations, so why should it be terrible for them to all of a sudden have to change? 30tph and reliability will be better than anything they’ve had.

    I think Northern and Southern line makes sense. It’s simple, and reflects their ‘mirror-image’ and relationship – they’ll still be connected and associated with one another.

    Old fashioned railway names and line names were always too wordy and today just sound pompous. They’re archaic and belong where they are, history. City & South London is cumbersome as is Hammersmith & City. Railway nostalgia does produce rose-tinted glasses sometimes!

    I’d worry it’d be some sycophantic royalist drivel like the Elizabeth line. Especially as she’ll have carked it by them. And everyone will scramble to outdo each other in their outpouring. VOMIT.

  65. Anonymous says:

    I think there’s an NR franchise called Southern already, which could be confusing

    Given its close relationship with the Victoria Line, what about the Albert Line?

    Suggestions bandied about whan the H&C got its own identity included the Regency Line and the Premier Line.

  66. JM says:

    I’m not sure I actually think the NL northern or southern passengers for the City being able to change at TCR for Crossrail is a good long term solution as I imagine e/bound Crossrail trains will already be very busy and interchange probably more laborious than what you ‘could’ do at Camden or East Finchley with the Northern Heights.

    I actually think the Battersea extension is a good idea (ditto Bakerloo to Hayes). Following the historical development of the tube, it makes sense if you extend tube lines south that they align to mainline routes that serve the same mainline terminus. Given the frequency increases possible and EVO, running to 2/3 terminuses can create a lot of capacity at mainline stations for longer distance services. Given some of the platform space problems on some of the Waterloo lines, the NL may be the best solution in the very long term future.

    Not a lot of mention is given to Nine Elms which brings in a whole chunk of South Lambeth to the tube and could well relieve the Victoria at Stockwell or Vauxhall. I don’t think the NL would be overloaded as many of the new sites are actually closer to Vauxhall (the US Embassy for one) and with a passenger bridge, Pimlico is also an option for access to the site.

    I don’t understand why the developers aren’t already paying for a CJ extension. How do they expect people from the sw to access the site?

    I understand the argument for splitting the route as suggested in the article if it happens but would argue if you can use the Northern Heights in the future to High Barnet, the split works better the other way. If you use NH, you need a new depot anyway and I think there are areas (area to the north of Mill Hill East, currently a Barnet Council depot) for example, where it would be possible to build. The route the Bank branch takes, a good solution may be divert those travelling from north direct to the city/Old St via the NH direct instead ensuring Bank branch is primarily filled with people for Euston/KIngs X/Angel particularly as Old St is now a 7 day a week destination and could justify a 7 day service along the Northern City

    Could South Kentish Town be any use as an access site for works at Camden? With Hawley Wharf and other developments, you can probably make a good argument for opening it again once it’s finished. You can walk to Camden Lock in about 5 minutes.

  67. JM says:

    As for the names, ‘Northern’ in black for the CX branch and ‘City’ for the Bank Branch in FT pink, particularly if there is still a desire one day to get the Met out to Barking and effectively render the H&C obsolete.

  68. Bakerloo says:

    One problem with cascading the 95 stock to the Bakerloo – they won’t fit. Each 95stock tube car is almost 2 metres longer than 72stock ones. The curves are too tight for anything longer without some major tunnel works

  69. Greg Tingey says:

    I find your dislike of our monarch, who does a very difficult job, quite sickening.
    Presumably you would prefer something like President Blair (shudder)?
    Now keep on-topic, please?
    Also, those who do not learn from history will be condemned to repat it – so, as I have pointed out, more than once in these pages, history is IMPORTANT.

  70. c says:

    Greg – I’m not getting into a thing about royals and the travails of a life of palaces, hunting, the odd public walk-about, wealth, comfort and entertaining. Freedom of choice and opinion and all that.

    What is sickening is how you dismiss another’s viewpoint. Very closed minded. Your precious ‘history’ has softened your ability to question anything – is that nature or nurture? I’m not sure what creates such blind obsequiousness.

    And the default ‘President Blair’ answer is tedious and overplayed. Yes is the answer. Better someone elected than someone not. Full stop – that is democracy. You don’t always get your choice. But at least you had a choice. The Windsors are no longer apolitical.

    Now… apologies to all and moving on.

    I would imagine any future Bakerloo stock would be ‘space train’ in terms of being articulated – as the 378s and S stock are. Would help with the curves.

    Piccadilly arguably too, for the Central London stretches. It would also be useful as luggage space.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Is there any evidence that the Northern Heights still features in any authorities’ thinking?

    Any proposal for reusing it will generate more opposition than the nimbys in the Chilterns can muster.

    I’d also suggest Bakerloo to Hayes is politically impossible as well as being a bad idea.

    Tube stock should never take over NR gauge.

    Let’s hear no more about it.

  72. Andrew says:

    18-metre carriages like the 1995 stock were once claimed to be too long for the northbound Northern platform at Embankment but they were introduced.

  73. Rational Plan says:

    @ JM

    The developers are paying for it with a levy on each flat sold. The thing is being paid for by a government loan and that being paid off as the flats are sold and the local authority also collects much higher council tax receipts, which will be used to pay off the debt.

    It would be impossible for the developers to pay for it before they sold the flats as they just don’t have that sort of capital lying around. Many developers rely on presales to help fund future phases. The big profits tend to come towards the end of the scheme.

    Also I’m sure that the scheme was supposed cost of £1 billion includes a 60% optimism bias, so hopefully it comes in much less than that.

    Really need construction costs to be much lower in London, if we want developer contributions to be able to make much difference.

    A new line down the Old Kent Road to New Cross would not raise anything like the same amount from developers as the land values would never be as high.

  74. JM says:

    @Rational Plan

    Thanks for the clarification. I have read some London Assembly minutes online featuring Michelle Dix and others from TfL state that CJ extension was an asperation when pressed by south London Assembly members. So one for the future possibly.


    Nothing official I have seen. I brought it up as an East Finchley to Moorgate link offers you capacity relief in the future for the Northern Line as HS2 phases 1 and 2 take shape with various business agglomeration around it plus Google/Railwaylands/UCL and other KX development, ‘Tech City’ at Old Street and various retail and leisure facilities around Old St/Hoxton puts a huge huge strain on a six car Northern Line in 30 years time in my very humble opinion.

    I’m sure lots of people would oppose the loss of Parkland Walk as they know it. I’m sure lots of people would also like the opportunity of better transport in the area. Not always something you can effectively measure. People opposed to something (anything) are generally more passionate than those in favour of something who will tacitly support something but not get involved in public meetings or online surveys.

    If you read between the lines slightly from the London First report with CR2 that it will eventually run up to Hertford East then the Northern City Line has to go somewhere…..

    As for the Bakerloo that I only mentioned in passing, why? Capacity? Anyone owning a property near a tube line converted from NR might think differently. Nor anyone currently regularly travelling to Charing Cross or the West End.

  75. Milton Clevedon says:

    There’s also ELLX to Hoxton etc if you could ever get to it directly at Camden Road via Camden Town, or via GN&C/Highbury interchange…

  76. Ian Sergeant says:

    I don’t think the Northern Heights is about nimbies any more. Yes, if you take out the Parkland Walk and demolish the new houses to the south of Bunn’s Lane, you are going to make yourself very unpopular. If you decide that the new Northern Heights should run into Moorgate and terminate Great Northern trains at Finsbury Park, you make yourself unpopular with people who travel into Moorgate daily without a change. If you decide to have a mixed service pattern so that some High Barnet trains go along the Northern Heights, you take away the benefit of the line separation to those who would now have 30-odd tph to their chosen destination.

    So now that I’ve said what not to do to avoid issues with nimbys and commuters who feel disadvantaged, here’s what you could do. But it’ll cost you.

    1) Knock down the four houses built across the track bed just to the west of Mill Hill East.

    2) Quadruple East Finchley to Finchley Central, widening some bridges (possibly including the North Circular) with the possible loss of some outhouses.

    3) Find a way for the East London Line and the North London Line to “change places” via small tunnels or flyovers avoiding ventilation shafts from HS1 between Canonbury and Dalston Junction – while allowing ELL traffic to continue to Highbury and Islington grade separated.

    4) Electrify the Goblin to allow all freight to be removed from the Canonbury curve, allowing re-doubling.

    5) Find a way through Finsbury Park for the extended East London Line, almost certainly requiring two extra platforms and about 400m of track.

    6) Build underneath the Parkland Walk as cut and cover.

    7) Build a tunnel from east of Page Street to Mill Hill Broadway to join the MML, a distance of about 800m (that isn’t just about the houses off Bunn’s Lane – the M1 built over the line, despite being well above it).

    8) Double the Dollis viaduct.

    I don’t see an issue with nimbies here. But I see a huge issue with the BCR of such a project. What have you actually achieved for your tens of millions?

  77. Greg Tingey says:

    You started it, with your gratuitous reference to our monarch. Not I.
    History IS important – as service patterns & difficulties with changes in rail operation continue to show – keeping to topic.

    Extension beyond the “new” terminus of the N line is inevitable – but where to, that’s the question.
    I would echo previous posters & suggest avoidin CJ, & going to Wandsworth (or somewhere)

    Ian S
    Your money figure is waaaay to low.
    That’s the killer for that, as you suggest

  78. Ig says:

    Great article. (Minor comment: The 3tph peak Charing X bit is repeated in consecutive sentences).
    [Yes but I couldn’t think of a better way of wording it without losing clarity  PoP]

  79. Taz says:

    The original Jubilee trains of 1983 tube stock sometimes diverted over the Bakerloo until one was dented getting out of London Road depot if I remember rightly. So longer trains might fit with minor tunnel adjustments, but the gap at curved platforms may need filling. A gap filler is being developed for the new cabless fleet.

  80. Ian J says:

    How about calling it the Olympic Line to permanently commemorate one of the greatest moments in London’s history?

    Now let’s watch Greg stick on topic…

  81. Ian J says:

    @Taz: interesting to hear about a gap filler – would it be on the trains or on the platforms? The New York Subway used to have platform mounted gap fillers at South Ferry station.

  82. Anonymous says:

    One thing I’m curious to see is whether the Camden Town junction will work better when all the trains are running on ATO. Seltrac seems to have some pretty fancy schedule-management functions, so it might be easier to arrange the timetable and actual operation such that trains are much more likely to arrive at Camden Town in such a way as not to delay each other. Which means that it may be possible to put more trains through the junction, reducing the need for a split.
    But there are other things that a split would help, notably platform crowding at places like Bank in the afternoon peak. If everyone just gets on the first train that comes, then the platform empties out completely. But if people are waiting for the train to their branch, then only half the people get on any given train, and the platform needs to hold 50% more people to accommodate those who are waiting longer.

  83. Whiff says:

    Thanks Rational Plan for that useful explanation of how the developers make their money. I think it’s clear that the developers of this project expect to make most of their money from selling expensive flats and not from office space. Although I think the estimate is for 25 000 jobs to be created they are only interested in a railway line that will allow residents quick access to central London and not one that will allow commuters from south London quick access to their development.

  84. Taz says:

    Gap fillers: request for expressions of interest –
    South Ferry station reopens –

    Looks like LU are thinking of fitting curved platforms. They were thinking of fitting gap-fillers to the S stock doorways, but it came to nothing. S stock docks alongside platforms rather than overhanging like earlier stocks, leaving a gap and there would be less trains than platforms to fit.

  85. Taz says:

    Could we revive the name Fleet Line, which I thought was short and snappy, and suggests a fast way to travel? With the Camden Town junctions removed, trips should be faster. There may still be some unused signs laying around somewhere! Does there have to be some association with the line? The Jubilee Line was to travel under Fleet Street for a very short part of its total route. Well the Fleet River does rise on Hampstead Heath, and passes through Camden Town. And there isn’t a line starting with F as yet, which helps avoid confusion for non-English readers and aids abbreviation.

  86. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    You started it – & that was gratuitous.
    What “greatest moment in London’s history”?
    NOT commemorating thousands of muscle-bound fascist morons, surely? { fot the third time, euw. ]
    The greatest moment in London’s history was probably in 1666-7.
    “Team Games” – I was able to escape @ age 14, & it still gives me the cold shudders.
    YOU want to do it – fine. DO NOT EVER try to force it on other people, especially children….

    Gap fillers?
    Do we mean mechanical devices that pop out to fill the ‘oles?
    ( Ah yes, looking at the link, we do …)
    If so ANOTHER complicated item to go worng, re wrong, er ……
    Cabless on existing deep-level without p/f edge doors?
    I don’t think so
    P/f edge doors on existing curved deep-level p/fs …?
    I don’t think so for that either.
    I’ve asked before – & no-one has answered.
    What are the PRACTICALITIES of this?
    Can I please have an answer – that works?

    Will anyone have the sense to buy?

  87. iggy says:

    Could they expand Mornington Crescent instead?

  88. Andrew Stanley says:

    I think it should be separate lines between lines for example one direct line from Battersea Station to Edgware and one line from Modern to High Barnet with different colours to avoid confused two lines going through via Charing Cross and Bank branch. Camden Town Tube Station should be improve and more accessable than present.

  89. DW down under says:

    @GT – I looked at the South Ferry video (link in post above). Requires accurate stopping (per JLE PEDs). Has a bit of platform that looks like an extended escalator plate at edge of platform. This is extended by ram (pneumatic or hydraulic, wasn’t clear) a set distance. The rest of the platform is chained off from the edge. The visual similarity to an escalator I think helps engender an appropriate response. Notable was the cumulative delay before doors opened. Driver also had to wait until ramps withdrawn before proceeding. (Looks like approach control signalling interlocked with the ramps was in use.) Worth a look.

    For a network with endemic curved platforms, I would suggest train mounted kit would be preferable.

  90. c says:

    Could it be the Thames line? Bit obvious perhaps, but it does sort of skirt the new western ‘South Bank’ the developers are pushing.

    District line would be the true Thames line though, really.

    Fleet is a good call, but I think a little obscure now so would need some PR. No major problem though, people pick up quick.

    How about the Camden line? Not only as it runs from Hampstead through Chalk Farm, Camden Town and Mornington Crescent themselves, but also those mischievous bits of the borough of Camden which reach even Tottenham Court Road. Doesn’t focus much on below that though – but many lines don’t.

    If Tottenham Court and Charing Cross Roads were the same continuous street and had a short, snappy, memorable name (like Piccadillly or Kingsway) – that’d be ideal as it’s the main artery of that branch.

  91. JM says:

    @ Ian Sergeant

    Just to clarify, the use of Parkland Walk is a longer term option to relieve capacity on the Bank branch of the Northern. Consequently I think you could only link it to the Northern City. To send it down the ELL is not sending it through any major commercial centre (West End/City/Docklands) Is also taken on the premise that the GN is to go over to CR2. I don’t see any Crossrail anywhere ever being mixed use.

    Again for potential capacity reasons, would also send anything through Parkland Walk up to High Barnet as an Overground service or part of a wider scheme. Opportunity to lengthen platforms plus you have CPI at East Finchley and if you use the NL branch from there to run via CX then Finchley and Highgate residents get more destinations than they get now and far more trains, more direct trains to Old St/ City and you’re not shoehorning commuters for Camden, Euston, Kings Cross, Old St and the City on the same trains.

    If the Highgate depot goes to the newer service then that just leaves what you do with the NL branch. There is room to the south of Finchley Central for a further bay platform in my opinion, where you can terminate half the service. If Inglis Barracks is ever complete, you also have more demand at Mill Hill East which may enable you to justify building through platforms. From there, the only place I think you can get a depot (Inglis development takes over the council depot and business park at Frith St, is to the north is further west.

    Agree if you demolish the 4 houses next to Sanders Lane you can do this but I don’t think you need to go to Mill Hill Bdy if you already have Thameslink/Northern interchange at Kentish Town. You can have a depot and maybe even a station at Page Lane for Saracens/Copthall or the M1/A41 without disrupting residential land, MIll HIll RUFC or the new stadium.

  92. Anonymous says:

    Problem with running the Barnet or Mill Hill branch via the Parkland walk and the Northern City is that everyone ends up at Moorgate. (there is also the small matter of serving the Highgate – Camden Town section, but a Mill Hill – Camden – (Euston?) shuttle could be he answer to that.

    has anyone considered running beyond Moorgate over the existing City branch, and using the Euston- Old Street section as part of CR2?

  93. Ian Sergeant says:


    Basically the split of traffic at Camden gives us a 36% increase in capacity on the Bank branch. If CR2 were to take over the Hertford North branch (and lengthen the platforms), that would leave the capability for 12tph on the WGC branch to go into Moorgate rather than the two planned after Thameslink. I know you can’t take all the trains all the way to WGC, but you could potentially terminate 8tph at Potter’s Bar, and then your operation north of Potter’s Bar is the same as after Thameslink. Also add DW’s suggestion elsewhere of lengthening the trains when the fleet is replaced and using SDO EVO underground – that’s a further 17%. As I’ve said before, the WGC branch is a Northern Line relief line being less than a mile away from the High Barnet Branch (at least in places).

    So, unless you run Northern Heights trains beyond Moorgate and do a lot of work underground, you are looking at 12tph along the Northern Heights to Moorgate, and the 2tph from WGC which go to Moorgate after Thameslink are now in search of a terminus. My suggestion delivers the same capacity, and it would appear much cheaper.

  94. Anonymous says:

    @Ian Sargeant

    Cut and cover under Parkland Walk? Interesting idea – but bridges would present a problem. How about a level crossing under the bridge at the former Stroud Green station!

  95. JM says:

    @ Anonymous

    If it were ever used, my preference would be to use NL from MHE down via CX. The reasoning being, with Crossrail 2 being planned NE from Euston/KX, there is a possibility for a more useful interchange from Essex Road rather than Angel, particularly if developed as the type of cross directional interchange that exists at Canada Water. A CR2 station at Essex Road with, for arguments sake, a southern exit around Cross Street with a rebilt northern platform probably gives you better access to large parts of Islington than Angel, particularly large parts of Upper St and probably prevents CR2 taking some major curves between KX and Dalston.

    This way, anybody on the northern branches on the NL, as now, requires one change at most to access any part of the current network at either Camden, East Finchley or Finsbury Park. And those travelling to the City aren’t forced to take, effectively a detour via very busy retail areas and mainline stations.

    @ Ian Sergeant

    Fully accept your argument for the short to mid term and the kind of changes I’m talking about I anticipate would be post HS2 phase 2 so post any current planned development by TFL and not competing for funds. Depending on your Hs2 view, by this stage, anything from 60-90% of ALL modal share to the north and Scotland could be congregating around Euston Rd and with the advent of further TGV lines to the south, up to half a dozen or more rail operators or airline alliances may want to run services to St Pancras by this time. Add in a whole host of media and educational businesses and I believe something like this offers greater capacity post 2030/40 and beyond, possibly as part of a wider scheme. I was going to post something to that effect on DD’s site as it may be more appropriate there.

    Oakleigh Park aside, would argue TL and the Piccadilly line are far more closely tied yet CR2 is being lobbied for with the anticipation of capacity enhancement for the Picc.

  96. Anonymous says:

    YOU want to do it – fine. DO NOT EVER try to force it on other people, especially children….

    Seems like a sensible suggestion. Hope you won’t mind following your own advice and stop trying to force your rabid monarchism on the rest of us.

  97. Anonymous says:

    Is closing, or removing the ability to interchange at Camden Town a step too far?

    Like closing it on either branch.

  98. Jeremy says:

    It seems like we’re heading into some pretty crazy territory here. Closing Camden Town for interchange? I suspect that would require work of some considerable expense at Euston.

    And closing Camden Town full stop? Nearly 21 million entrances and exits per year suggests that’s a non-starter.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Anon 1317

    What an intriguiing idea! Are you suggesting running non-stop Euston (City branch) to Kentish Town? Or perhaps Mornington Crescent to Chalk Farm? Could Euston cope with the extra interchange traffic? Would Euston have to be a Z1/2 boundary station to allow interchange between the branches, and if so how would that affect Overground fares into Euston?

  100. Anonymous says:

    Not sure…

    Edgware branch non-stop would make more sense, as it already has stations at either end of Camden.


    High Barnet branch has cross-platform at Euston with the Victoria line, and so that covers the West End there. Also Piccadilly line at Kings Cross.

    Neither is ideal – but it’s one solution. Or separate the lines so interchange is only possible by the street – in other words, disincentivise it.

  101. Ian Sergeant says:

    Folks, we are going off into fantasy land. Remember the row over people from Wimbledon having to change at Blackfriars? Now let’s present this to the good burghers of Hampstead. “Remember how you used to have trains to the West End and the City? Well now you’ll only have trains to the West End. And if you want a City train, you won’t have the easy interchange at Camden you used to use occasionally when there wasn’t a through train indicated. You’ll have to go across Euston to change between the Northern Line platforms there.”

    It ain’t gonna happen. We need to fix Camden, at least for those interchanging.

  102. Greg Tingey says:

    But what set of rules are you going to use, given that Rushton transfers are no longer allowed … ?

    NOT rabid monarchism – just that the wonderful examples of France & the USA don’t convince me! In fact we live in a republic, that happens to have an hereditary head-of-state Just like the Netherlands, Sweden & Norway, in fact …..
    Again, I did not raise the subject, someone else did, quite gratuitously, IIRC.

    Next Anon
    Err, with Camden’s usage figures? Not really on.
    See also Jeremy!

    Camden needs a complete rebuild, with the co-operation of the borough of that name …
    Not going to be easy or cheap.
    But a few extra “cross-platform” tunnels, especially since they will all have steps in, is emphatically not going to be enough for the traffic volumes under consideration.

  103. Milton Clevedon says:

    @Greg 02:33 9/5
    “Camden needs a complete rebuild, with the co-operation of the borough of that name …
    Not going to be easy or cheap…”

    In which case the deep level tunnels give a headstart for cross-platform interchange in one direction, with no stairs, with the existing tunnels in the other direction. And while you are about it, why not create that Overground interchange with Camden Road…?

  104. Anonymous says:

    Ian Sergeant

    The difference is, they were given the option of a terminating service. NL passengers will continue with a through service, just only one route through central london.

    It will happen, the line needs it and the politics are different to Thameslink. The howls from Hampstead and beyond will be easily dealt with, not least because the service is lopsided currently anyway. The line is quasi-split during certain periods.

  105. Jeremy says:

    “The howls from Hampstead and beyond will be easily dealt with”

    For a split of the two branches with the continued presence and increased quality of interchange at Camden Town, plus an otherwise-undeliverable frequency increase to both branches, I’d imagine the potential noise could be dealt with by explaining the considerable advantages.

    But if we’re off into wilder suggestions of partially or wholly shutting a key interchange, then no, the understandable noise would not be easily dealt with. And that’s even before the potential fare minefield that I hadn’t considered.

  106. Jeremy says:

    More than which, as I have said and the venerable Greg Tingey has agreed with, anything that pushes people away from interchange at Camden Town means they’ll need to change somewhere else. For a substantial number of people, this means Euston. With crowding at Euston already feared as a result of other developments, and the pretty lengthy interchange routes relying on a single escalator in each direction and a separate fixed stairway, it would probably be easier to completely redesign the Camden Town scheme.

  107. Anonymous says:

    Noone has commented on the comment about Mornington Crescent someone made earlier. How close are the lines at MC, it wouldn’t be cross platform but could help take the load from Camden Town.

  108. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous 0516

    I give you this, most wonderful map, which will answer your question and waste hours of your life:

  109. Sleep Deprived says:

    I was actually thinking the same thing about Mornington Crescent the other day.mAs I understand it both sets of tunnels actually go under Mornington Crescent but if you go to the station you’ll see the existing platforms are very close together. You would have to potentially completely rebuild one (or change the alignment of the existing running tunnels) to allow level interchange and. Also there would be quite a significant impact if you add a new station (with no additional benefit to residents as the area is served so the BCR is low).

    Still the impact of closing MC to do all the work and then have a grand reopening, rather than a piecemeal approach at Camden, is appealing. You would need significantly more tunnelling work!

    On the fact the line is to all intents and purposes split already in the off peak direction, I’ve always thought this is a little unfair to the people going from one to a SFA station to another on the NL, as there is no way you can do it if you have to interchange at Camden!

  110. Lemmo says:

    @ JM

    …Could South Kentish Town be any use…

    I totally agree, it would help spread demand especially at the weekend when Camden Town closes the gates because of overcrowding.

    …the use of Parkland Walk is a longer term option to relieve capacity on the Bank branch of the Northern. Consequently I think you could only link it to the Northern City. To send it down the ELL is not sending it through any major commercial centre (West End/City/Docklands)… Again for potential capacity reasons, would also send anything through Parkland Walk up to High Barnet as an Overground service or part of a wider scheme.

    Are you saying an extension of GN&City to the Northern Heights is being actively considered by TfL? And that the route is being eyed up as an Overground route? Do you have any more info please?

  111. Greg Tingey says:

    I was actually thinking the same thing about Mornington Crescent the other day…
    “I’m sorry, I haven’t a Clue!”
    And, by the looks of it, neither has anyone else on this subject …..

    YOU CANNOT CLOSE CAMDEN tube station.
    You MUST re-build it, comprehensively if you are going to have effective interchange there, & especially with disability regulations.
    Whatever you do, it’s going to cost shedloads, so you might as well do a proper job on the project.
    Now then, sensible suggestions, please?

  112. Mark Townend says:

    I wonder whether it would be possible to close both Mornington Crescent and Camden Town stations and replace both with a new interchange station ‘Camden High Street’ located between them and with completely new street entrances on either side of the namesake road. (Note: I realise the grade separated junctions are in this area at the moment).

  113. Saintsman says:

    An excellent article. Rebuilding Camden is one of the most important schemes. If a way of minimising the surface impact can be achieved to the satisfaction of Camden and its residents then this is should be pursued as a priority. Delivering this “key” opens up a number of other possibilities

    1. By splitting the Northern Line it could generate a 30-33 tph service pattern significantly increasing capacity. However this still means the service will be based on 6 car formations (or EVO equivalents), this is very short sighted. There is a golden opportunity to move to a potential 8 car solution, boosting capacity still further. Current Tottenham Court Road and Bank rebuilds should urgently include this to their plans. The Battersea extension including Kennington improvements should plan the same. The Edgware to Battersea branch requires 34 platforms to be lengthened, 27 after the rebuilds mentioned (of which 7 are on the surface); made more complicated as many are island platforms. Although expensive and disruptive to complete this has the potential for an additional 33%. Unfortunately the more desirable High Barnet to Morden branch needs 62 platforms to be extended (8 of which mentioned) so is unlikely to be completed any time soon.

    2. A wider Camden plan. Although rebuilding Camden Town is the key, improving other connections in the area would spread demand and reduces pressure at this location. Therefore the following should be added to the Camden rebuild scheme
    i. Building a pedestrian access to Camden Town to Camden Road (LO) under the Grand Union canal would be very beneficial interchange.
    ii. Re-open the northern line South Kentish Town station; gives a local alternative.
    iii. To the north reopen Junction Road on the GOBLIN. Building a direct link via lengthened platforms to Tufnell Park. It is important not to interfere with the freight junction and paths. This assumes the GOBLIN electrification goes ahead.
    iv. For completeness as part of different scheme (Crossrail 1 to Milton Keynes) reopen Primrose Hill (LO) and redirect 4 (current 3) Watford DC away from Euston onto NLL. As part of this build a link to Chalk Farm.

    3. The enhanced capacity makes reopening City Road station possible. This is not without difficulties. Reinstated original platforms may no longer be suitable to meet modern standards and an “Angel solution” with a short bypass tunnel maybe necessary. Links to the surface may also need significant modifications. Attracting funding to such a scheme is a difficult challenge.

    4. Turning to the southern end. The Battersea extension logically needs to go to Clapham Junction to compliment Crossrail 2 (with an intermediate station at Albert Bridge Road). Personally I would further extend under the Windsor line with a station in Wandsworth and another creating a new interchange linking Putney / East Putney. This reduces the areas Network Rail stress point and should give a more pleasant journey between Barnes and Waterloo.

    5. For the Mordern branch dropping back into tunnel within the depot footprint, building a new station to link Morden South, then under Morden Park and Cemetery to “capture” the Chessington branch line (taking over these 4 stations). Finally extending along the part completed earthwork to “Chessington Parkway” opposite the World of Adventure, where a car park deal should be struck. A potential platform box to be provided in Tudor Drive area. Total length north and south of the river would become similar. This is not going to have a very high BCR with 3.8km of tunnelling. It does however free up 2tph at Waterloo which can be recycled for profitable distant commuters. It is also more rationale than sending some Crossrail 2 services down this branch which can be better allocated. Using the same team and equipment used for Battersea and working from Malden Manor end then may reduce some costs. Morden depot will need remodelling at some stage to deal with increased number of trains, such an extension gives opportunity for extra stabling (eg Tolworth). Without a creative solution this is probably an extension too far.

    Splitting Northern line is a must do project. Bringing Edware to Battersea (and beyond) to similar capacity as Central and Victoria lines is another step to getting the deep tube lines to deal with the demands which will be placed upon them

  114. Ian J says:

    @Greg: “Cabless on existing deep-level without p/f edge doors? I don’t think so… Can I please have an answer – that works?”

    The DLR at Bank.

  115. Ian J says:

    Or if it’s the curves that worry you: Paris Metro Line 1 at Bastille.

  116. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I’ll reply in detail to your post because it also covers a lot of the general points and general themes raised.

    1. Lengthening platforms is something I also dream of but needs a bit of a reality check. It is generally at least one order of magnitude, probably two, harder to extend deep level platforms as opposed to platforms on the surface. I know it has been done in the past but it is something that nowadays the engineers seem very reluctant to do.

    If there were a deep-level line for which this was suitable it would undoubtedly be the Jubilee as the underground station tunnels on the Jubilee Line extension were built to eight car trains length with the extra space filled with various plant infrastructure. These could presumably be relocated easier than extending a platform tunnel – and with a lot less disruption – yet there is no serious suggestion to extend the length of trains on the Jubilee. I suspect that this is because extending the five older deep level stations (Swiss Cottage – Green Park inclusive) is just too hard, too disruptive and too expensive for what it achieves.

    Both parts of a split Northern Line would only have six surface stations (ignoring Mill Hill East). They must be beaten only by the Victoria and Waterloo & City for the relative difficulty in relation to benefit of having longer trains.

    Again, being realistic, the island platforms at Clapham North and Clapham Common haven’t yet been sorted out. Each will no doubt cost £100’s millions to do and is a higher priority.

    2. I am certainly not dismissing plans for a more comprehensive Camden Town rebuild in the longer term but the current rather vague proposals are all about bringing together improvements at the same time. Ideally so the benefits are there by 2021 and certainly by 2026. TfL will not want to lose sight of that. As the first round of attempting to rebuild Camden Town shows you cannot just consider this a railway project. It is fundamental to the location, arguably to the whole borough, and must be treated as such. Sorting out Camden Town properly from planning to finance to completion of construction to the satisfaction of all parties is going to span decades.

    Another factor is that any decent total rebuild is not going to cost less than £1 billion so with other more urgent projects and limited funds a rebuild is not going to be financed by 2026 let alone 2021.

    3. Re-opening disused stations is always a favourite of railway enthusiasts. When an analysis is done one has to take into account the disbenefit to all the people who will have their journey extended by more than a minute as a result. This is small but affects a lot of people so tends to outweigh any benefits there might be. In general (Southwark on the Jubilee Line being an exception for a particular set of circumstances) it is noticeable how stations on new lines tend to be further apart.

    What seems to be the more popular approach (Victoria, Bank, Euston Square one day) is to take an existing station and “double end” it. This goes a long way to providing what is to a large extent the equivalent of a new station. Taking your example of City Road, I suspect a better case could be made for a second entrance to Angel roughly where the original entrance was which wasn’t that far from City Road. Given how deep Angel is the re-use of the lift shafts may well be justified.

    4. I am not saying that the whatever-it-is-called line from Battersea should never be extended to Clapham Junction but everyone suggesting this seems to forget it is going to be bankrolled by developments at Battersea. The developers are not going to want to pay for an extension to Clapham Junction when it would do little to add value to the developments. Indeed the converse is probably true – it would probably reduce it. If it went to Clapham Junction then, even if they did not have to pay for the Battersea – Clapham Junction portion, they would argue that the trains would already be full or at least all the already seats taken and the attractions of a station at Battersea is substantially diminished.

    5. Another perennial favourite is extending tube lines (especially the Waterloo & City). These never seem to take into account that there is no spare capacity to be had. The one accepted exception to this is that it is generally agreed that there is some limited spare capacity on the Bakerloo Line to enable it to be extended beyond Elephant & Castle. The proposed Crossrail II does a really awkward ‘S’ bend to serve Tooting Broadway in order to relieve the Northern Line there (even though the Morden branch should have at least 30tph running by then). If one builds that expensive detour and extra station (certainly not less than £1 billion in total – probably much more), the last thing one wants to do is have trains half full before they even reach Morden. And a Northern Line train takes around a maximum of 665 passengers whereas a 12 car main line EMU can hold around 2000.

  117. Taz says:

    Reopening a closed tube station couldn’t be that difficult, could it? Well standards have changed! See: for York Road reopening problems.

  118. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Excellent. I had not seen that before. That really spells out the reality. If only we could find a similar article for South Kentish Town and City Road.

  119. Steer says:

    And of course, extending City Road is further complicated by the fact that the platform tunnels are only half the length of the other platform tunnels on the Northern line, and would therefore require both station reopening AND platform extensions.

  120. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    Trains are manned, not fully automatic, and very importantly, come in at walking pace
    It would not be allowed now …..
    SO ,,, how,please are you going to manage, given the necessary (& they are necessary, real actual safety, not imagined) legal constraints ???

    for a second entrance to Angel roughly where the original entrance was which wasn’t that far from City Road.
    Angel is at the junctions of Pentonville Rd & Upper Street/City Rd
    City Road WAS (vent still visible on the City Rd) just to the West of City Road basin By Moreland St, half a mile away.
    Admittedly a second, “Eastern” entrance would probably be a good idea, though.

  121. Sleep Deprived says:

    @ Greg, I was mentioning that I wondered whether it was possible to build the interchange at Mornington Crescent (as the tunnels are close in that area) but it is a difficult ask as you would need realignments, lots of new tunnels and as PoP points out above you are adding a station to the bank branch thus increasing journey times with no new areas served.

    @ Lemmo
    I’m not aware of any TfL plans to re-use the Northern Heights section of the NL. It’s not something mentioned (or hinted at) in any funding plans. There are now also a number of difficulties associated with trying to take that land back into rail ownership and I can’t imagine ‘Friends of Parkland Walk’ would be keen.

  122. Anonymous says:

    Greg: The original lift entrance to Angel was different, it wasn’t on Upper Street, it was on City Road. Very cramped and tattered it was too, and the lifts didn’t always work. I used to have a shop near there in the 70s. The entrance closed when the new escalator entrance opened.

  123. ngh says:

    Re Pedantic of Purley 03:37AM, 10th May 2013

    3. Double ending etc.
    From a passenger logic point of view I’ve always been surprised by the number of stations that aren’t double ended including many SSL stations with the entrance at one end of the platforms which must push up door to door journey times (inc walking) quite a bit (as well as creating larger pedestrian flows at key road junctions).
    National rail type service offer more opportunity as the platforms are now typically up to 240m compared with 100-120m for the underground
    NR’s initial work on the RUS successors points to improved connectivity, faster journey times (door to door), improved capacity, higher frequency but with no completely new infrastructure (i.e. crossrail type projects are OK as they use existing infrastructure at the ends) some of which are mutually exclusive.
    Which raises lots of questions on station entrances and poor / non existent interchanges.
    The information to date on CR2 is extremely vague so might we to assume (or is that too much to hope for?) that a reasonable number of the CR2 stations would be double ended to improve interchange opportunities such as the proposed CR2 station at Seven Sisters actually being Seven Sisters / South Tottenham for NR / Victoria Line / Overground GOBLIN / CR2 Alexandra Palace branch interchange;
    Hackney linking Hackney Downs and Hackney Central but done properly this time (see LR article on the current attempt to link the two: for linking overground NLL, NR, and CR2 Cheshunt branch
    And on the subject of Tooting Broadway, the purpose of CR2 is to effectively to abstract all the Charing Cross branch (as well as some Bank Branch?) Northern line passengers to take the strain off Kennington as an interchange. Tooting Broadway CR2 station – it would be useful to have a 2nd entrance nearer to St Georges to reduce the pedestrian and bus issues around the current entrance which would only get worse with CR2.

  124. JM says:

    @ Lemmo

    SKT is still on standby as an emergency exit from the Northern Line I believe. And offers people around Camden Gdns better access to the tube. And agree with Chalk Farm, Mornington Crescent and South Kentish Town, you offer local residents around north and eastern camden, Primrose Hill/Somers Town access to the tube without having to walk into the centre of Camden.

    I think Camden Town needs a CPI rebuild. But although it will make interchange easier, suspect extra capacity will be swallowed up before long and access to the site will still be strained at certain points. There are plenty of areas to the north of CT station still ripe for development and I can see the north end of camden High St to Hawley Rd being pedestrianised one day. Plus you remove the problem at places like Euston in particular where people wait on the platform edge for the right train northbound.

    As for Parkland Walk, only stating my opinion which is based on no official record (on or off). Although my hunch is that if both GN suburban routes are being eyed up for larger schemes in the future ( more intensive Thameslink/CR2) then the Northern City either becomes a shuttle from Moorgate to FP with a small depot west of Drayton Park or makes use of another route to the north of Finsbury Park which leaves the Parkland Walk or use of spare tracks on the GN. Of those two options, combined with extra demand for the Northern Line Bank Branch with incremental development in the Euston Road and Old St area, Parkland Walk probably makes more sense to use from a connectivity point of view. But this is all supposition, nothing more.


    Interesting document but not sure I buy some of that analysis. If York Way was reopened, it would inevitably be as a consequence of development to the south of the station and some increasing residential development to the north. Consequently I think you can remove the possibility of people changing at Kings Cross for the Piccadilly to use York Way as they may arguably reach their destination by foot in the time it takes to change to the Picc platforms and wait for a train, then ascend then essentially travel back on themselves by foot. With the new exit at KXSP, it doesn’t seem like a logical journey to make. No one working in the Moorgate or Bank area from Essex changes onto the Central or Circle at Liverpool St, they walk up Old Broad St or London Wall.

    Most of the use from commuting would be from the north and I wonder if analysis was done to counter the effect it could have on the Victoria from Finsbury Park for example. Looking further ahead, a Crossrail 2 and the murmurings of Manor House going to the Vic with a Harringay stop for the Picc should give you increased capacity, even with a Harringay station (the idea being many journeys use the service already either at Turnpike Lane or Manor House). It could have a very positive effect on Kings Cross and actually reduce footfall through the station.

    And I always find the argument about the effect to passengers a bit of a lame one. My current commute on the Central takes 24 minutes according to the TfL website. In reality, it takes 25-35 minutes depending on dwell times at stations, waiting for tubes ahead to leave the next station or whether passenger alarms are activated due to overcrowding – it’s rare in the morning peak you get a clear run. In theory, the addition of an extra station with approx 4/5 million e&e per year (as the document roughly states) will add, what, around 2/3 minutes max if you include deceleraration, stopping and acceleration. It’s not a massive imposition in light of the general operation of the service. I think most passengers not using the new station would be ambivalent providing the service runs effectively and are not conscious of time savings or additions of any magnitude under 5 minutes, maybe even more. It’s hard to be with a turn and go service relative to the majority of national Rail services where you have 4/6 trains per hour max.

    The Central Line has been crying out for a Shoreditch station for years. Bishopsgate is full of either people walking to the station from the area or vice versa or waiting for Terravision coaches to Stansted. As one of those that would be ‘inconvenienced’ by a Shoreditch station, I’d pay for it myself if I could. And I work nowhere near the area.

  125. Tim says:

    If CR2 is built and does go via Clapham Junction then would it be more advantageous for any potential Northern Line extension from Battersea to head south. It could go under Clapham Common and to Streatham as that is one area that surely the BCR for a tube extension would be high. However, the main problem I can see is that it may be too popular and before the trains even reached Battersea they would be full. This would obviously lead to some disagreement from, as noted above, the developers who are contributing to this extension. Such an extension could optionally have its own station on Clapham Common or stop at either Clapham Common or South stations to share demand between there and Kennington, but then such a station would need vast improvements and fill up what, if any, spare capacity is available on the Morden branch. Alternatively the Victoria line could be extended as many of the customers joining at Brixton travel from the Streatham area and would not add as much to the current demand. This could also potentially give a marginal increase in revenue as people joining at Brixton would add zones to their oyster rather than commute by bus to Brixton. Also it could potentially allow a reduction in the number of buses in the area.

  126. StephenC says:

    @ngh Double Ending. Definitely agree that London would really benefit from more double ending.

    Angel is one of the few tube stations where it makes sense, as the current exit is a long way from the platforms and was pretty busy last time I used it. Adding an eastern exit would help spread that load, assuming there was capacity on the trains themselves.

    CR2’s TCR station is another example where double ending will be necessary. There, the goal should be an entrance on Shaftsbury Avenue if possible, so the areas around Leicester Square/Charing Cross which really should have their own station but won’t are served.

    @Pedantic point 5, extending Northern to Chessington. In this case you also forgot to mention journey time being terrible if the branch was changed.

    point 4, extending the Battersea branch. I’ve also written up the Northern line via Tooting cost, which I estimate to be around £1.5bn when compared to a better express tunnel option for the main SWML, which also enables relief of East Croydon. I think the Battersea branch can be extended, if the SSW proposal is adopted, because most Battersea users would take CR2-SSW not the northern. You could then extend the northern line from Battersea to Tooting Broadway to relief the northern line using the northern line (which seems like the best tool available to me).

    @JM, so far, I think the proposal for Moorgate to High Barnet looks pretty sound, although I’d suggest a GOBLIN interchange and/or serving Crouch End to really complete the picture (because I suspect that you’ll need a tunnel anyway).

    And on Camden… IMO there should be no split without full cross-platform-interchange using full wide platforms. Which could be done London Bridge style with two additional platforms and conversion of the other two to circulating space, with decent length new tunnels on the north side to link things together to get the CPI. Not cheap, but it is necessary. Or just get the ATO to serve both branches and don’t split the Northern!

  127. Mark Townend says:

    @Sleep Deprived, 08:26AM, 10th May 2013

    Mornington Crescent Interchange idea – hence my earlier suggestion to close BOTH Camden Town and Mornington Crescent, to be replaced by a much better ‘Camden High Street’ station built between them, perhaps with 2 concourses, 1 at either end of the platforms. Once you get south of Greenland Street there are many fewer landmark buildings or facilities that really need protecting from new construction although I don’t know the limits of the conservation area.

  128. Mark Townend says:

    A staged outline programme to allow line split to occur and interchange to be relocated at new Camden High Street, fully capable of handling the interchange and local entry/exit traffic throughout the week.

    Step 1. Some limited work around Northern platforms at Euston, perhaps duplication of some passageways to allow better interchange between lines there temporarily IN ADDITION to existing facilities at Camden Town. This work should be designed to be useful in meeting future demands arising from HS2 etc once Northern interchange has been relocated to Camden High Street.

    Step 2. Northern Line service split occurs.

    Step 3. Redundant connecting tunnels south of Camden Town decommissioned.

    Step 4. Construction of new Camden High Street Station, if suitable using any non-operational tunnels as part of final design or as construction access. Design must ensure service can continue on both lines throughout construction.

    Step 5. Once Camden High Street is complete, existing Mornington Crescent AND Camden Town stations closed. “Bank” line loses a stop hence decreasing journey time.

  129. ngh says:

    Re Tim 12:13PM, 10th May 2013

    The BCR (especially the cost part) for alternatives to extending the extension will be far better…

    People earlier on have suggested extending to Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Town, Putney but congestion relief along that corridor could probably best be achieved by increasing capacity on the Windsor Lines i.e. bring some / all of the Waterloo International platform back in to use, partial demolition of the disused Waterloo curve to allow reversion to 4 tracks and increasing platform lengths to 12 car.

    Streatham, already has several stations and a choice of termini, the issues appear to be capacity, frequency and onward interchanges from those termini (i.e. trying to get on the Victoria line @ Victoria in the morning)
    CR2 would via a change at Clapham junction from NR services provide a good onward alternative to swapping to the Victoria line @ Victoria.
    Platform and service lengthening to 12 car including sorting out Tulse Hill and Herne Hill which would increase the number of available paths and hence possible frequencies.

  130. Castlebar says:

    Surely, with a split at the southern end, the Kennington loop will become “emergency use only”? Will it even continue to exist?

    And l also agree what has been said about “the “W & C obsessives”. At the southern end, this line is pointing NORTH east towards Borough. It would almost be cheaper to re-bore the whole thing than fanny around looking for a new job for it. It exists, and that’s part of the problem – – it would be better if it didn’t, so we could start again from scratch.

  131. Anonymous says:

    The W&C platforms are perpendicular to the maoin line platforms above, which is ESE, and is indeed facing Borough.

    My understanding was that a proportion of the CX branch service would continue to terminate at Kennington, and use the loop.

  132. Fundy slingitt says:

    Greg – what is the rule change which means the DLR at bank without platform doors ‘wouldn’t be allowed now’?

    Noting that Vancouver and Kuala Lumpur both have fully automated systems without platform doors

  133. The second phase of automation has been rumoured for a while on District Dave’s website and elsewhere to be Sunday 2nd June.

    Rather confusingly this morning’s Metro in the TfL weekend travel news section states:

    All Weekend: No service between Camden Town and High Barnet/Mill Hill East owing to the testing and commisioning of new signalling.

    Rather more signficantly the six month look ahead of track closures was updated today and for Sunday 2nd June it now states:

    Camden Town to High Barnet and Mill Hill East
    until 08:30 southbound and 09:00 northbound
    and then
    Archway to High Barnet and Mill Hill East until 12:00

    So it looks pretty definite that phase 2, or NMA2, is due to go live then.

  134. Anonymous says:

    RE tunnel diameter:

    The new Thameslink tunnels between St Pancras and the ECML are nominally 6.0m, which when allowing for construction inaccuracies is taken as 5.9m. W6A just fits in with OLE and two emergency walkways (one at “platform” level, one at track level), but it’s *very* tight, particularly around the OLE. Without OLE (i.e. use third or fourth rail) you could probably get down to 5.5m (as constructed), possibly 5.2m at a real push, but you’d only have emergency access on one side of the tunnel.

    W6A is the base freight gauge so typical non-passenger vehicles can fit without modification. Loosely, W6A is slightly wider than a passenger train and about 4m tall (in motion, from top of rail) – the details are on the RSSB website somewhere. Thameslink trains are 3.8m tall when moving at 30mph, and given that the OLE is down to 3.9-something metres above the rails in the existing sections, W6A won’t ever get through to Blackfriars without a shedload of work or a large copper scrape mark on the vehicles that push the boundaries of the gauge – and that’s assuming the OLE is switched off!

    I don’t know if CR1 with its 6.2m diameter can take W10 or W12 or even GB+, but it seems possible with a quick estimate.

  135. peezedtee says:

    @Fundy slingitt “Vancouver and Kuala Lumpur both have fully automated systems without platform doors”

    Not correct. I can’t speak for Vancouver, but the only driverless metro line in Kuala Lumpur is the Kelena Jaya line, formerly Putra LRT, and it has platform-edge doors at all five of its underground stations. ( but I am not just quoting from Wikipedia, I have been on it several times.)

  136. Anonymous says:

    Now that the DfT are again looking at Lewes/Uckfield, any chance of an article by PoP on what to do to increase capacity on the BML/Windmill Jnc/BML2?

  137. Long Branch Mike says:

    As a former resident of Vancouver, I can confirm that the 2 SkyTrain Lines are fully automated, and that there are no platform doors. It used to be BC Transit (the operator) policy to have at least one employee on board each train, who could take over manual driving in case of emergency. I don’t know if this is still the case.

  138. Graham Feakins says:

    Especially for Anonymous 08:41AM, 10th May 2013 here is the link to the 1st part (of four) of the memorable BBC documentary in 1989 “Heart of the Angel” which follows 48 hours at Angel station prior to reconstruction, failed lifts and all the warts:

  139. Anonymous says:

    1) Re extending platform lengths. I’m not suggesting that all Northern line platforms get extended in the near future. Extra capacity from the split and then EVO project should give sufficient relief for now. There are plenty other projects which should be further ahead in the queue. However the new Northern lines will run eventually run out of capacity (if you believe the projections). With new stations inside the Circle’s ring particularly expensive to build, then at some time in the future train lengthening will become more attractive. So in 15-30 years time when this is needed it does not seem sensible to then rebuild Camden again. I therefore advocate whenever the deep tube stations need a major rebuild then 135-140m platforms and the associated passenger handling is delivered. Such work is expensive so doing it once is better in the long run. You refer to the Jubilee line and see no reason why this strategy is not pursued there. Unfortunately, with current technology I think the Piccadilly line is a lost cause on this one as there is too much that needs doing. The Northern High Barnet to Morden although desirable north of the river is massively expensive to deliver south which makes this unlikely to possible in future. But Edgware to Battersea could be done in the future if all the current schemes deliver a piece. This would make the final delivery scheme when it is time more attractive. Obviously when money is tight now then extra costs to help a possible scheme is not an easy sell but in terms of disruption and total overall spend I think it is worthwhile. Camden and Kennington are so important if you don’t extend platforms now you effectively kill off platform lengthening for a very long time, hence I stongly believe this should be a part of current plans.

    2) Comprehensive Camden – it is all dependent on how much political support and hence cash is behind the scheme. If we don’t talk about the wider Camden transport context and push for the extra interchanges and dispersing demand away from Camden Town the wider problems won’t get fixed. Original schemes suffered as being seen as THROUGH Camden and not FOR Camden, which helped loose the local battle. Hence the bundle of desirable schemes which do legitimately reduce the pressure at Camden Town. Ultimately if you don’t ask you don’t get

  140. Taz says:

    The new trains on the Hammersmith & City are a car longer than the old ones. Where platforms are not easily extended, they just overhang half a car at each end with the doors automatically cut out. Wouldn’t this be a cheaper solution to lengthen tube line trains? Obviously not as good as the Rolls Royce solution, but more achievable. Sidings, depots and teminii would still need adapting, so not without cost.

  141. Fandroid says:

    Nuremberg has a fully automated U-Bahn with no staff on either the trains or the stations and no platform-edge doors. There are fixed sensors at the stations to detect if anyone or anything has gone over the edge. There are retracting ‘flaps’ under every door which completely fill the gap to the platform. Needless to say that the platform edges are absolutely straight.

  142. Anonymous says:

    Which stations on the Hammersmith and City line are not extended to take the longer new trains? Is it just a handful?

  143. Castlebar says:

    @ anonymous (9:33p.m. yesterday)

    Lewes/Uckfield has been discussed locally for very many years. Nothing seems to get done. So much money has been spent on discussing it, it would already have been cheaper to re-build it 30 years ago when l remember it being talked about. It is a disgrace

    But l think a new thread should start for this as it is well ‘off topic’ here

    I am pleased that the Arundel Chord is back on the local W.S.C.C. politico’s agenda too. Another disgrace. Southern promised it as part of their franchise bid to get it from Connex, and on being successful, they immediately shelved it. Could somebody start a new thread on these if they have informed comment??

  144. @Anon 11:54

    1. Tube platform lengthening
    I take in all the points you make. In particular that if you are going to do this you don’t want a half-hearted effort and might as well do a decent length extension. Obviously this will have knock-one effects such as on station capacity and passage widths. I suspect it will come down to civil engineering. This is currently regarded as quite a challenge and you cannot normally close the line to do it. Also the cost may be such that it is easier and cheaper just to build another line. A lesson expensively learnt from motorway widening and the WCML upgrade. Hence the comment by someone (slightly paraphrased) that it would be easier and cheaper to extend the Waterloo & City if it wasn’t there in the first place. I understood what he meant. My hope is that the civil engineers one day invent something (a tunnel expanding machine ?) to make tunnel widening realistic.

    2. Camden Town
    Not being a civil engineer and not being very familiar with Camden I don’t think I am qualified in any way to suggest, support or dismiss any proposed idea for station enhancement. I just don’t want people to lose sight of the fact that this is all related to line capacity upgrade and HS2 and the clock is ticking. So I am just making the point that long term plans shouldn’t distract from the short term one.

    @Anonymous 9:33, Castlebar and everyone else

    I’ll try and do something related in some way to yesterday’s slightly curious announcement along the lines of Anonymous’s suggestion so if we can avoid too much of a discussion on this at present I would appreciate it.

  145. DW down under says:

    @ Milton C:

    So long as you accept that the 1200′ of 16′ tunnel will have to be modified to be used for station platforms, which need to be well over 6.5m, maybe up to 8m to handle the crowds. That’s over 35% of the length of those existing tunnels. Perhaps it would be better to plan to use them as passenger circulation tunnels. They may even assist with reaching suitable new surface level access/egress facilities.

  146. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @ 07:26PM, 10th May 2013 “RE tunnel diameter: …. ”

    Lowest OHLE = 3925mm arl (source RSSB, private communication)
    W6a max height = 3965mm (Source RSSB gauging doc)
    Thameslink and GN&C have official gauge as “SPL.” The clearances are LESS than W6a. “SPL” means “special.”
    Min clearance between train and 25kV OHL = 125mm (Source RSSB, private communication)

  147. DW down under says:

    I think someone asked here, and I haven’t seen a response …. does anyone know how the 1600′ long 16′ diameter WW2 emergency tunnels lie with respect to surface structures?

    In particular, would they be of any use for providing passenger circulation and corridor access towards:

    a) Kentish Town South
    b) Camden Rd.

    The ideas I’d like to explore are whether one or both of these two stations’ surface facilities, suitably updated – could provide alternative means of access and egress to Camden Town. In this, I’m assuming use of escalators and if necessary, travelators. These ideas clearly embraces the “double-ended station” concept discussed in this thread.

    The other question is whether the emergency shelter tunnels would be suitable as circulation and waiting areas for relocated running/platform tunnels (essentially routed to the outside of the shelter tunnels).

  148. Petras409 says:

    Why do the developers’ drawings of the new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea have to be so boring?

    Look at those poxy little roundels. Let’s have something big and bold to be proud of, with lovely big signs as used, boldly on the pre-war Piccadilly and Central Line extensions (eg Park Royal, Bounds Green, Redbridge, etc).

  149. Long Branch Mike says:

    @DW down under

    The WW2 emergency shelter tunnels appear to be below or above the existing tunnels and platforms, depending on the station:

    Above, from this diagram of Belsize Park

    Below, from this Fig 1. Arrangement of Typical Shelter.

    “It was decided that each shelter would comprise two parallel tubes 16 foot 6 inches internal diameter and 12,000 feet long and would be placed below existing station tunnels at Clapham South, Clapham Common, Clapham North, Stockwell, Oval, Goodge Street, Camden Town, Belsize Park, Chancery Lane and St. Pauls. It may be assumed that at these points the deep-level express tubes would have no stations as the diameter was too small.”

    Courtesy Alan A. Jackson’s `Rails through the clay’© as quoted by

  150. timbeau says:

    @stimarco 1123 May 6th

    I think the viewpoint for the proposed Battersea station is here,-0.143981&spn=0.014166,0.052314&hnear=Battersea,+Greater+London,+United+Kingdom&gl=uk&t=h&z=15&layer=c&cbll=51.478839,-0.143908&panoid=6aXdOU2iBoIotQnExG2qwA&cbp=12,30.59,,0,0

    The old trolleybus standard (if that’s what it is) to right of shot is a reference point, together with the street at lower level on the right. You are on the bridge carrying the low level lines out of Victoria, with Battersea Park station behind you and the power station off to the left (probably the big block on extreme left in the artists impression).

    I suspect that the OSI between Battersea Park and Battersea Dogs Home will be quite popular – quicker, and not much further, than the Long Trek at Victoria.

    Incidentally, the proposed NLE terminus station is not in Battersea, it’s in Nine Elms: Nine Elms station will be in South Lambeth.

  151. marek says:

    The only reason for seeing Nine Elms station as not being in Nine Elms is the impenetrability of the railway viaduct to Waterloo. The wider regeneration plans, including those for the US embassy will introduce more, and more pleasant, crossing points. If you were to stand outside the proposed station site and ask passers by where they thought they were, I a would be astonished to find anybody answering ‘South Lambeth’.

    And as for the terminal station, if you can persuade the dogs’ home to change its name, you would have a case – but if that’s in Battersea, so is the station.

  152. Slugabed says:

    Timbeau 12:23 11/05
    The “Trolleybus standard” is,I rather suspect a Victorian “stink-pipe” or sewer ventilation flue.
    If you’d like to see some trolleybus traction standards in their natural habitat,there are still four of ’em (for the time being) on the bridge which carries Ferry Lane over Tottenham Hale station

  153. Anonymous says:

    Nine Elms was part of the old metropolitan borough of Battersea, and included the area occupied by both the Power station and the Dogs Home. But the proposed Nine Elms station, like Nine Elms Sainsburys, is in South Lambeth,177250&st=4&ar=N&mapp=oldmap.srf&searchp=oldsearch.srf&ax=527767&ay=176590&lm=0 – note the (purple) borough boundary

    Note also the SW8 (South Lambeth) , not SW11 (Battersea) postcode

    Battersea has, over time, migrated eastwards. Clapham Junction is in Battersea, not Clapham. Similarly, Tooting station is actually in Mitcham.

  154. Anonymous says:

    What does “NMA” stand for?

  155. marek says:

    You can’t have it both ways. If you want to go by postcodes, Battersea station will be in Battersea.

    The other station is to be built in the car park of the Sainsburys which has been known as Nine Elms since it was built over thirty years ago. It doesn’t seem unreasonable for the station to follow that long standing usage.

    In terms of local authority boundaries, that station will be in Oval ward. That’s probably not the best place to look for a name.

  156. DW down under says:

    @ Long Branch Mike. Yes, thanks. I’ve got Rails through the Clay. On this point, the detail is a lot more sparse than on the financial complexities. What I am looking for is specifically at Camden Town: the alignment, furthest point north compared to the existing platform tunnels, the furthest point south compared to the existing platform tunnels – some way of gaining a sense of whether these tunnels could assist with access to/from alternative surface locations.

    Thanks again. DW

  157. DW down under says:

    Can I pick up a point made above about the Jubilee Line. If this line was operated with cars of 92ts length, the trains would be 8-car. It’s not as if the stations were made short, just longer cars used (17.77m over the body).

  158. Graham Feakins says:

    PoP (also relevant to DW down under’s latest comment) – You have somewhat confused your comment by referring in the same paragraph to both tube platform lengthening and tunnel widening. I’ll deal with both.

    The former ought to be able to take place without substantial disruption to services, as in past decades, since it would take place ‘behind a screen’ at the head of a tube platform. However, that assumes that the track ahead runs straight on in alignment and level with the platform but, as we know, many tube station platforms have tunnel tracks which commence curving immediately beyond the platform (and often before they leave the platform), and almost certainly have a rising or falling grade as well (depending on which platform head is being worked on). To extend a platform today in such a situation I feel would be frowned upon and would inevitably result in some unwanted ‘distortion’ of the railway alignment in tunnel beyond should the extended platform area be levelled and/or straightened.

    Camden Town has a mix of all of this, plus the added complication of junctions and tunnel roll-overs immediately beyond the station.

    Notwithstanding train lengths, the length of each tube car is dictated by the overhang of each when passing through the sharpest tube tunnel curves, of which there are many, and the resulting clearance between car body and tunnel wall. Past instances of failure include (foreseen and advised by me but ignored) what was then the new Piccadilly Line stock (6-car train effectively the same length as 7-car train of stock being replaced) when the prototype got dented in both the vertical and horizontal planes when passed on a test run through the double-reverse curves approaching South Kensington, whilst another is where, on the Bakerloo, sections of the tunnel linings (cast iron segments) were screeded in concrete so that when, not if, the trains scraped along the tunnel through the curve, not quite so much damage could be observed! I was taken down the Bakerloo one night to be shown where there were score marks in the concrete. Visible signs on the trains were dented gutters above the double doors. In the case of the Piccadilly, some tunnel widening was done through the curves for the new stock but not, so far as I know, on the Bakerloo.

    This also is relevant to those who like the walk-through S-Stock of the Metropolitan and sub-surface lines (District and soon Circle). I cannot see such a style being adopted on any new deep-level tube trains simply because of the small-radius (sharp) curves on the running lines of most of the Tube lines. There would be an unacceptable concertina action between cars not exactly amenable to passenger comfort.

    Of course, given the money and the will, any tube tunnel can be widened without disruption to daily services but I fear that, almost everywhere, we are stuck with what we have got.

  159. Graham Feakins says:

    DW down under – cannot help on the northern end at Camden Town for the moment but this set of pictures graphically illustrates (hopefully) the complex layout at the southern end:

  160. Graham Feakins says:

    P.S. Click on the “Amazing Underground” picture to bring up enlarged views from the link just sent.

  161. Pedantic of Purley says:

    What does “NMA” stand for?

    I believe it stands for Northern line Migration Area.

    More of a challenge for me was what the X stands for in Euston X /Angel. I gave up and emailed an ex-Northern line person for the answer. Apparently an X suffix is a Northern Line convention to indicate Charing Cross branch.

  162. Taz says:

    “Amazing Underground” gives a good impression of the complicated layout, but uses some artistic licence. The south end of the platforms is immediately beneath the ticket hall, once linked by lift shafts. The escalators arrive half way down the platforms. A split service will see the eastern-most tunnels of each set of three become disused, to achieve 27tph. But these diagrams claim 110tph in all directions, i.e. the same, without modern technology!

  163. Nathanael says:

    The thing is, the Camden Town platforms are already arranged properly — northbound lines on one level, southbound lines on the other level. All that needs to be done is to have LOTS of wide, direct, flat passages between them.

    The problem of how to do this without demolishing the buildings above is a difficult one, but surely not an unsolvable one.

  164. Greg Tingey says:

    Needless to say that the platform edges are absolutely straight. Precisely – & it is a “New-build” isn’t it?
    The problems come when some (all?) of your old platforms have curves in them & are not level, either, and are already overcrowded …..

    Yes, the service frequencies in the mid-50’s seem interesting, don’t they?
    Like the “necessity” for ATO through the ‘slink core, for the same train-frequencies as are already used out of Liverpool Street.
    And, here, we have air-door stock in all cases, it’s not like the days, pre-1980, where almost all stock on “BR” lines was slam-door, with shorter dwell-times, is it?

  165. Anonymous says:

    I think that diagram has mislabelled the Bank and Charing Cross branches – the Bank branch is to the west of the CX branch on leaving Camden Town – they cross over each other at Euston

  166. Ian Sergeant says:


    All that needs to be done is to have LOTS of wide, direct, flat passages between them.

    This may be current TfL thinking, but, at the risk of repeating myself and others, the potential overcrowding on the narrow platforms will make for unhappy passengers, particularly in the event of a delay. Anything which encourages people to change at Euston rather than Camden should be discouraged.

  167. Ian J says:

    @Greg:”SO ,,, how,please are you going to manage, given the necessary (& they are necessary, real actual safety, not imagined) legal constraints ???” (sic)

    I think that shoulder-height platform edge doors like on Line 1 of the Paris metro are the most likely solution, but I wouldn’t rule out no platform edge doors at all and door operation by platform staff using CCTV monitors (since it is currently considered acceptable to have drivers operating doors they can only see by CCTV)

  168. Rogmi says:

    @ Anonymous 08:11
    If you’re referring to Ian Sergeant’s drawn map, then it could still be right as shown. It’s difficult to compare because of the proposed track realignment.

    There are various versions of the “stomach diagram” for Camden Town Junction around and they generally look much the same.

    However, the first one that I know of was on the official poster issued for the opening of the new junction on 20 April 1924:
    (bottom of the page)

    I first saw this on display at the LT musueum when it was at Syon Park.
    It just goes to show that passenger misinformation is not a modern thing and was alive and kicking even in those days!

  169. Rational Plan says:

    One of the main reasons the last station plan for Camden did not get through was the honking great 11 storey block they said was needed to part fund the thing, As a scheme it did benefit Camden as there would be now a 5 escalator station with a fancy mezzanine for interchanging.

    I always contend, rather than going for a such an expensive and long drawn out scheme, they just went ahead with an extra three escalators at the ‘temporary station site’, with some extra passages, they would have ended up with a much cheaper scheme, with no requirement for such a large over station development.

  170. Anon E. Mouse says:

    @ Rational Plan

    I always laugh when officialdom tells us that something is only temporary

    That’s what they said about Income Tax. Some people are still living in “temporary” housing (= prefabs)

  171. Ian Sergeant says:


    The anonymous author is (I believe) referring to the map from the Bear Alley Blog, the link to which was posted by Graham Feakins. My drawing is meant to be conceptual to show the need for CPI with wide platforms. But at least I put Charing Cross and Bank in the right places!

    @Anon E. Mouse

    Like the temporary green building on the front of King’s Cross. Or, for that matter, the planning permission for Buck Street Market.

  172. Rational Plan says:

    While we are at the splitting of the Northern Line and extension of the Bakerloo line are the only cheapish ways we have left of squeezing the last possible pints into pint pots we’ve got.

    In fact the whole of the current tube upgrade programme only lets it cope for the next 20 year (hopefully), but considering the way new tube capacity is gobbled up in London maybe not.

    After that if traffic keeps growing (there is no guarantee it will) then it no good looking at platform extensions. This is not the surface network, and they are already running into the limits of that, such extensions are too expensive for what capacity they will give you.

    So new lines it will need to be.

    Current thinking has it crossrails are the way to go to stop commuters bothering with changing to the tube.

    But which ones? The Southern and Eastern stations are all dominated by commuting traffic but the Northern ones are weak by comparison. I suppose that means lines with lots of branches on the Northern side for any North South lines.

    The other problem is that it’s not just Stations terminus’s that are congested, most of the main lines up to 50 miles outside the capital are as well. The ideal solution is a combination of new crossrail tunnels for inner suburban lines and new express tunnels bypassing the congested suburban lines. it’s the only solution that avoids lots of new underground stations.

    Problem is, of course, it’ll be a stretch to build HS2 and Crossrail 2 at the same time, when you might need two more crossrail lines in a similar time frame.

    We are going to need some new financing methods to do this and I’m not sure if the inertia will be broken. It’s taken a long time to get crossrail 1 underway and the serious planning for national high speed network.

  173. Anonymous says:

    @rational plan

    You can probably throw in the Victoria line post-CR2 as a relatively ‘cheap’ extension, probably on par with the Bakerloo, maybe 20% more. I still think the Met can be extended into SE London for much less than building a brand new line, but it might need to travel a bit further East before tunneling under the Thames.

    Financing is the major problem, but it does seem Tfl are being bolder lately. Both crossrail and the Olympics have shown that additional levies are politically and technically possible. The BRS could be made permanent for one and applied across the whole of London. An olympic-style levy on CT to fund transport would likely be an easier sell, but it would have to be 4 or 5x the £20 a year levy and for 15 years at least (that gets you around £4-5bn).

    The real problem is the DfT and The Treasury do not want to give London and Tfl – or anyone – more rail and fiscal control. Central government the world over loathes empowering local and regional authorities, especially urban ones. When it has happened like the US, Spain, Germany, etc, it’s usually due to a complete restructuring of the political system and constitution, which then codifies which authorities gets what power. Such an opportunity hasn’t been available since 1688, or 1945 at a pinch.

  174. Anonymous says:

    Tangential to the main discussion but carriage length has been mentioned above. I’m no engineer, but why not a completely different type of carriage for the deep level tube lines that is designed for curved platforms. Think of the caterpillar concept – a large number of short segments rather than 6, 7 or 8 long ones – more along the lines of an articulated tram. That would allow the train to be walk through (if a little head-banging close to the sides of the ‘carriage’) end to end because the concertina movement between each segment would be smaller and the gap between the segment and the platform would also be reduced. Because the carriages / segments would be walk through, you could have oversize trains and use SDO. If the platforms were also progressively lengthened over time, the train could be designed so that extra segments could be inserted easily.

  175. Greg Tingey says:

    Rational Plan & Anon
    The penny has not yet dropped (at guvmint & especially civil service level, that we … are past peak car use.
    How long beofre that really sinks in is anyone’s guess.
    THEN we will see a change …..

  176. Rogmi says:

    @ Ian Sergeant

    I completely missed that post!

    Yes, looking at the labelling on the coloured map, it is wrong. They must have copieed it from the poster.

  177. Fandroid says:

    Some of the designs used elsewhere for walk-through trains involve articulation similar to Eurostar units, with single bogies supporting adjacent ends of carriages. That fixes the connections better than having two bogies per carriage. While articulation reduces the total number of bogies, it then allows some scope for shortening the carriages, so that the angles between adjacent carriages can be reduced on those sharp curves. I suspect that is one of the concepts being looked at for the future Tube trains.

    As Anonymous 03.48pm wrote, many trams use the same principle and deal with some really tight radii.

  178. Greg Tingey says:

    YOU CANNOT (re)-use ARTICULATION in this country (any more)
    The great Sir Nigel used it for his very smooth-running carriage designs & it is therefore BANNED from use ever again here …
    ( Trams, of course are different, so it is allowed …)

    “There’s no reason for it, it’s just our policy”

  179. JamesC says:

    RE Anonymous above @03:30

    I think you will find the met did at one time run into south east London, it was called the east London line, and the tunnels at St Marys still exist that take it from the district line between Aldgate and Whitechapel onto the east London line, however they will never be used for tube trains again as the overground now runs through the rest of the line

  180. Graham Feakins says:

    Here is a link to a diagrammatic view of the original construction track layout at Camden Town, taken from District Dave’s site but original source unknown. It clarifies why the City Branch diverges southwest at Camden, whilst the Charing Cross branch is ‘straight on’:

  181. Graham Feakins says:

    And here is a nice discussion extracted from District Dave’s site on Camden Town in pre-escalator days:

    “There were three lifts at Camden Town which were replaced by two escalators in the late-1920s”

    “There were only four platforms when the station was built. If you look at the road layout above, Camden High Street splits into a Y-shaped formation: one is Chalk Farm Road, the other Kentish Town road, and when the line was being constructed between 1905 and 1907, all underground lines had to be underneath the streets above and not stray into any private property. This explains why a lot of the 1907 stations had the same pattern, with the lines and platforms underneath the streets; stairs up and a bridge either left or right over the lines to the base of the liftshaft which rose to the booking hall situated on the side of the road above.
    At Camden Town, the street space above was limited and the north- and southbound lines had to be situated above each other in the shape of a V. The original exit and liftshaft is situated at the crux of the V at the southern end of the station: it’s the only point on the station where you can still reach all four platforms relatively easily. The original railway, which ran from Charing Cross to Golders Green and Archway (present name) split/joined just south of the station. Going south, the present Barnet branch curves to the left, and then the tunnel enlarges where there is a large junction, now a 4-way, which was the original southbound junction of the two branches. Going north, there is a similar junction, also now a 4-way, just south of the station, which was where the northbound lines split. You can see it if you stand on the Edqware platform and look south, but don’t get confused with the line that joins from the right: this was put in during the 1924 reconstruction.”

  182. Mark townend says:

    @Graham Feakins, 09:49PM, 12th May 2013

    Brilliant! sorts out my misconception of which line mornington crescent is on!

  183. Ian J says:

    @Greg: “YOU CANNOT (re)-use ARTICULATION in this country (any more)”

    Presumably all those articulated trains in the trainshed at St Pancras are a figment of my imagination?

  184. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @ 03:48PM, 12th May 2013

    Most of your thinking is reflected in the SDO EVO concept, itself a “grandchild” of the ambitious “space train” concept.

  185. DW down under says:

    @ Graham F. Thanks for that link. What I’m after is the juxtaposition of these tunnels and the wartime shelter tunnels below – to get a handle on whether the “express” tunnels might have a role in any redevelopment of CT’s underground arrangements.

  186. DW down under says:

    @ Greg T: I think I need to articulate a point about articulation. NR’s analysis to date shows that articulation causes greater track stresses than conventional suspension. Therefore, any proposal that uses articulation must address the issue of track forces first – in order for any other aspects of the bid or design to be considered.

    The EVO concept interestingly uses conventional bogies, but suspends one end of each car directly onto the next. Whether this reduces track forces, I don’t know – but it is claimed to allow full width gangways without doors, between the cars. LU is behind the EVO development.

    @ Ian J: The articulated trains observed at St Pancras run over a railway designed and built for them. They don’t provide a point of reference concerning the main network.

  187. Graham Feakins says:

    DW down under – at Camden Town, the two deep level wartime shelter tunnels were aligned, as I have ascertained from the fine book “London’s Secret Tubes” by Andrew Emmerson & Tony Beard, with Camden High Street, i.e. underneath the Golders Green/Hampstead Line and extended from just beyond Greenland Street to the south and just beyond Hawley Crescent to the north. See here (hopefully!):

    Entrances were located at Buck Street (north) (before Hawley Crescent along Camden High Street) and Stanmore Place off Underhill Street, also known as Underhill Passage (south), shown on the Google map nearly opposite Greenland Street.

    Ought not to say much more as I’m sure the authors would welcome the book sales.

  188. Ian J says:

    @DW down under: “The articulated trains observed at St Pancras run over a railway designed and built for them”: not between 1994 and 2007 they didn’t. The Kentish railway network seems not to have fallen to bits during that time.

  189. Graham Feakins says:

    Taz & Greg Tingey – Yes, it’s interesting isn’t it, to mention (in fact almost forbidden to mention for fear upsetting present day railway planners) 110 tph through the Camden Town Junctions in days of yore. I have it confirmed in my 1928 book “Handling London’s Underground Traffic” by J.P. Thomas, where he states: “At the new burrowing junction at Camden Town no fewer than eight different tracks converge and join without fouling one another. One hundred and ten trains are worked in both directions through Camden Town in one hour, necessitating 1,184 lever movements per hour in the power signal-box cabin.”.

    And later in the book, “On the Underground railways it is possible, with electrically controlled automatic signalling, to operate forty trains per hour in one direction over a single track, and the highest number worked has been forty-three.”. He adds: “The maximum numbers of passengers which can be carried past any point on the railway in an hour, based on the seating capacity of the trains, is about 13,500, and with 100 per cent. of standing passengers, 27,000.”. I wonder how that compares with today.

    To ensure that a fair comparison is made with elsewhere on the Underground in 1928, the following are mentioned, as quoted from the same book: (1) “… a slack hour service of one & seven eighths-minute frequency on the Central London Railway” [SLACK HOUR – NOTE!], but with a 2.5 minute frequency with longer trains during the extended peak hours [but also remember that they were all reversed then at Liverpool Street]; (2) “while on the District Railway, the 1½-minute interval on the main line from Sloane Square to Mansion House is only widened to 2 minutes in the slack periods.”; (3) “With crews changing ends at stations with terminal crossovers, it may be of interest to note that, whilst allowing adequate safety margins for human or mechanical errors, the Underground has actually maintained an hourly service of forty-two trains [of various lengths]…at the former terminus of the Hampstead and Highgate Railway at Strand Station before construction of the Charing Cross Loop.”; and (4) “If, however, the crews have to change ends….is the 2-minute service of thirty trains an hour regularly worked in and out of Elephant & Castle on the Bakerloo Line”.


  190. DW down under says:

    @ Ian J: indeed they did, to Waterloo International. And it’s my understanding that NR obtained their data using the Euro* operations. Their prejudice is based on more recent data than the Gresley cars, I’m afraid.

    So @GT, it’s not prejudice against pre-BR rolling stock – certainly not a conspiracy or anything to get your blood pressure up about. 🙂

  191. DW down under says:

    @ Graham F. At the “macro” level, it is very noteworthy how much less frequent our modern trains are. Another f’rinstance: the two underground terminal sidings north of St James underground station in Sydney handled 26 tph from 1926 – 1956 (when the “loop” was completed via Circular Quay). These trains were generally 4- or 8-car trains up to 160m in length. (I’m told by Sydney railway staff that it would not be possible now, even if the sidings had been kept operational.)

    Since those days, we’ve had Moorgate; we’ve got Elfins Afe Tee; we’ve got massive crowds on platform and in trains; we’ve had the internal layouts modified to maximise standing load; we’ve had escalators either replace or complement lifts; we’ve had cost-cutting; DOO; risk-averse management; opportunity-driven lawyers; an increasingly litigant commercial environment, DDA regulations, TSIs ….. should I go on? (And I didn’t mention Unions at all!)

    Still, it is remarkable that with all the modern tools available, the net result is notably below the past best.

  192. DW down under says:


    DW down under @ 12:13AM, 13th May 2013:
    “Anonymous @ 03:48PM, 12th May 2013

    Most of your thinking is reflected in the SDO concept, itself a “grandchild” of the ambitious “space train” concept.”

    That should have read “EVO concept.” My bad. Many apologies. Of course, part of Anon’s post made reference to SDO as well.

  193. Taz says:

    Euston (Square) interchange was mentioned earlier in this list. A letter in this month’s Underground News asks why Euston Square station wasn’t built closer to the main line station to start with? A fair question since the Met was built to link the northern rail termini, and was closer to Kings Cross, Liverpool St and Paddington.

  194. Ian J says:

    @DW: Terminating 26tph in two platforms might be beyond Sydney’s capability now, but either end of the Victoria Line manages much more than that (and more than it managed in the 1960s). Hopefully former LUL director of operations Howard Collins can show them how it’s done, in his new job as CEO of Sydney Trains.

  195. Greg Tingey says:

    That Camden Town diagram is wrong in detail, anyway.
    I can clearly remember that at least one of the Euston stations had a central, & very thin island platform, before the rebuild …

    Ian J
    Yes, they are ..
    They were not designed or built HERE for domestic use, were they not, except temporarily…
    They are a horrible FOREIGN design & only allowed here on sufferance (remember this was the 1990’s when railways were still in “decline”) (!)
    … & DWdu
    So, why, then, is articulation still popular on nasty foreign railways & tramcars?
    Remember, the train is carrying LESS mass [ 2n-(n-1) ] in bogies, where n is the number of coaches articulated per unit….
    EVO is STILL articulation, in that fewer bogies are used (IIRC)
    Where do you want to put your costs, & which box(es) do you want them to come out of?
    Fewer bogies & less mass – lower production costs & less maintenance on trains, but possibly higher track costs – especially if maintenance isn’t up to it to start with.

    … Apart from the Kentish railway network falling to bits as much as usual – their trackwork is still abysmal!

    Same as you must not mention timings to S Wales or Plymouth when the HST’s were first introduced, and not all of them stopped at every 3rd lamp-post. Naughty!
    [ Like Walthamstow Central to Liverpool St is slower now than in 1922 (!)]
    Of course, on LUL, the time is taken up, because you have to have at least three (& sometimes five) “announcements” shouted out to deafen everyone, before the train can just close its’ doors & go (/snark)

    DW du
    One slight problem.
    I know the great HNG’s bogies were maintenance-hungry, especially by modern standards, but they gave an exceptionally smooth ride.
    I remember catching a train at Spalding (having originated at Grimsby) for KX, with all BR Mk-1 stock, one or two on “commonwealth” bogies + a Gresley buffet (in blue-&-grey) – guess where one sat NOT to be shunted all over the place at speeds above 70 mph, on the way south?
    You don’t need to mention “unions” – the impedances you mention are easily enough & more than enough!

  196. Ian J says:

    @DW: “it’s my understanding that NR obtained their data using the Euro* operations”: so you are saying that Eurostar trains do, in fact, form a point of reference for the “main network”?

  197. Ian J says:

    “They are a horrible FOREIGN design & only allowed here on sufferance (remember this was the 1990’s when railways were still in “decline”) (!)”

    The Trans-Manche Super Train design team would strongly disagree with you about that. There was a lot of British input into the design (wasn’t the traction package designed and built in Preston?) and the whole project was a source of great optimism. It was not until 2003 that it was definitely decided not to stop running any international trains over the “classic” lines into Waterloo: originally the intention was that trains would run both to Waterloo and Kings Cross/St Pancras permanently, because so many passengers were expected that it was thought just one terminal couldn’t cope with them. Some versions of the BR original channel tunnel rail link scheme involved new lines only as far as the outskirts of London. And the regional Eurostars were meant to get to Manchester, Edinburgh etc. So no, nothing temporary about Eurostars on the mainline rail network. Sorry if this doesn’t fit your prejudices about the supposed insularity of British rail management, but there you go.

    “Of course, on LUL, the time is taken up, because you have to have at least three (& sometimes five) “announcements” shouted out to deafen everyone, before the train can just close its’ doors”

    Yes, dwell times on LUL are determined entirely by the length of announcements…

  198. Ian Sergeant says:

    @DW Down Under

    So the deep tunnels are under Camden High Street (as one might expect, given that they are heading for Belsize Park). Does that make it easier to use them? Or does it simply mean that they are in the way for platforms which would ideally be north-south (or slightly west of that alignment)?

    My opinion is that it doesn’t matter technically – the High Barnet route can be rejoined long before Kentish Town (arguably before South Kentish Town, but that probably isn’t required if Camden is rebuilt properly).

  199. DW down under says:

    @ Ian J. Apart from there being no NEED to reverse 26tph in the network any more (until the silly NWRL “metro” starts terminating at Chatswood), the reasons for not being able to achieve that include:

    1) the DD stock @ 20m cars with two 1500mm doorways per side – meaning longer dwell times (that’s why my designs involve shorter cars, wider staircases and much wider doors) – no DD stock in use until 1964;

    2) door interlocks; the stock used when 26tph was being achieved included IIRC passenger-operated doors. Modern stock is slower to release doors to open; and involves more steps before the train can restart (ie platform times are longer); and

    3) Some aspects of safeworking had changed in the interim; with adverse impact on the turnback performance.

    I can’t recall the other aspects mentioned – it was on a Railpage Australia forum.

    I really don’t think Howard Collins taking up his role will change any of those issues, other than possible full automation with “train captains” on the NWRL; and/or relay (step-back) driver/ops.

    In the longer term, better train design will happen anyway, because the problems are known and acknowledged. Later trains have wider staircases and wider doors. It takes a long time for poorer performance stock to be retired.

    Secondly – the operation of Euro* trains over HS1 does NOT provide a general point of reference for the wider network – the line is designed from the outset to carry the trains’ impact forces. It is only useful as a reference to the extent that the same standards are used in the network (or on HS2, for instance). The previous route to Waterloo International certainly does provide a point of reference. But the original point was a bunch of trains at St Pancras being a figment of the imagination. And that was in turn, a response to one of GT’s characteristic remarks about NR.

  200. Castlebar says:

    @ Ian J

    Yes, l thought that Waterloo Int would continue to be used along with St Pancras. When St Panc Inc reaches saturation, will they say, “What a pity we didn’t keep Waterloo as well”. This isn’t rocket science but it is typically of the planners inability to plan. I’ve said on another thread that these people couldn’t plan Christmas if it occurred on a different day every year, and here is another example of concrete thinking.

    Just imagine (just as a unique example) French rugby fans for Twickenham: – is it better to send them from Paris to Waterloo or to St Pancras?? And what about ordinary Eurostar “customers” from the SWT area now having to cross central London in the peak hours? Do they think demand has already peaked?? All this puts extra strain on central London LU services

  201. Fandroid says:

    Fewer bogies per train (as with articulation) mean less unsprung weight, which damages track more than the sprung weight created by the carriages and passengers. However, fewer bogies mean that the axle-loads are greater, therefore the point loads on the track beneath each wheel-set are greater. To (marginally) balance that, recent bogie designs with the frames inside the wheels (as on Voyagers) are a lot lighter. It’s also surely not beyond the skills of modern designers to build bogies where the axles can shift to suit the curves.

    It all depends on how keen TfL are on full-width gangways. Does anyone know how much tighter the radii are on the deep tubes compared with the SSL routes? It may well be that some deep Tube lines can cope while others cannot.

  202. Fandroid says:

    Severe Off-Topic Warning!

    St Pancras (international bit) is nowhere near capacity, so Castlebar’s serious angst attack is unjustified. However, if we threw all Xenophobia & Ukipia to the winds and joined the border-free Schengen Zone then St P might just have trouble as all those zillions of Chinese tourists in Paris nipped over for a quick shopping trip to Bicester.

    As a south-west located Waterloo and Eurostar user I find it less convenient these days, but Eurostar are still so keen to pretend they are an airline, that they create sufficient delays for travellers without me worrying about the extra 30 mins on the Tube. The Tube is definitely not designed for big bags, but then neither are peak-hour SW Trains.

    The volume of Eurostar-bound travellers on peak-hour Tube trains is a minute fraction of the total number of Tube travellers, and the current north-bound ones are balanced by those from North-East England and the East Midlands who no longer have to use the Tube anyway.

    Lastly, Eurostar did provide one example of how to brilliantly plan and execute a difficult changeover – that from Waterloo to St Pancras – all done with almost zero hassle. Compare that with Heathrow T5 opening!

  203. Castlebar says:

    @ Fandroid

    I’m not thinking of ‘today’, (are you a planner??), l’m thinking of 20 years ahead

    And one statistic you omitted is that the big bags you refer to are more in evidence with Eurostar travellers than the daily commuters, and even though the International travellers are in a minority, their luggage isn’t

  204. DW down under says:

    @GT “So, why, then, is articulation still popular on nasty foreign railways & tramcars?”

    Perhaps, Greg, having indicated that NR would need convincing first and foremost that the track stress issues they had identified have been fully addressed, and they can replicate the results independently – it’s not a question I need to address. Quite clearly however, in Britain there is a prejudice or wariness towards such technologies.

    In those “foreign” environments, perhaps:

    1) the suppliers have demonstrated to their clients’ satisfaction that they have the track stress issue under control; and therefore articulated designs don’t have to overcome the same hurdle;

    2) the infrastructure provider deals with track impact forces differently to NR, perhaps charging more;

    3) the rail operators haven’t undertaken the measurement and analysis to the same degree as NR, and are more laisse faire about the issue; or

    4) the track is designed to accommodate such track forces, so no special consideration is needed.

    As for EVO, it is a different approach to articulation, so one would expect the attendant forces to be somewhat different. Hopefully, at least one of the Radical Train innovation projects looks at the EVO system for main-line applications, and works through the issues with/for NR.

    Overall however, I fail to see the major benefit of articulation without use of much shorter car body segments – where curved platforms and infrastructure could be negotiated without compromise to cross-sectional area (ie width and hence capacity). If it’s just used to save on cost and reduce overall mass, by increasing the load per axle, then:

    i ) the buy cost must be offset by potentially higher running costs, especially of a more complex suspension system;
    ii ) the capital cost must be offset by potentially higher track access charges;
    iii ) the indivisibility of a unit limits the scope at depot level to reform a unit after damage; therefore a higher engineering spares level is needed cf individual cars – higher capex;
    iv ) energy consumption per unit/km will be less;
    v ) fitting traction motors to articulated bogies seems to be avoided where possible – suggesting issues of complexity.

    Nonetheless, as for ride – the further from the bogie pivot, the lower the tracking forces experienced by passengers. Articulated bogies with the pivots at the extremity of the car body would provide a better ride to more passengers than a conventional Mk 1. Hence the observation about the Gresley coaches.

    Finally, low floor trams are a separate issue again – these tend to have individually suspended wheels – no solid axle at all. The wheels are mounted on body shells that have no doors – and between the wheeled shells, there are hung body shells with doors but no wheels. These are technically articulated, but not in the way the original T&W cars were. They are of little relevance to a discussion about LU.

  205. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure I’ve seen articlated freight wagons (container flats, and car carrying trains) at some time. Are these also now out of favour?

  206. Anonymous says:

    “Articulated bogies with the pivots at the extremity of the car body would provide a better ride to more passengers than a conventional Mk 1. Hence the observation about the Gresley coaches”.

    “HNG’s bogies …..gave an exceptionally smooth ride……….I remember catching a train …..with all BR Mk-1 stock + a Gresley buffet”

    As the vehicle in question was obviously not articulated, Greg’s comment was clearly about Gresley bogie design, not articulation.

    One advanatge of articulation is the extra space it provides between the wheels: useful where headroom is important (double deck trains, car transporters, freight containers), or for low-floor trams.

  207. JamesC says:

    Does anybody know the current record for thr number of responses to a single article? At over 200 is this not getting close………. Maybe its time for two busses to turn up at once again (regular readers will understand this joke)

  208. Anon E. Mouse says:

    DW Down under said, “Quite clearly however, in Britain there is a prejudice or wariness towards such technologies”, but in actuality In Britain, the prejudice is against any ‘thinking outside the box’. As somebody recently said on another thread, after the 81B bus was deemed inefficient and insufficient for passengers travelling to Heathrow, it was decided to build the “West London Air Terminal” directly over the District Line but without any rail access, serviced by a dedicated coach fleet to shuttle along the A4

    The descendants of these “planners” are still with us. Their diktats override common sense. “They KNOW” what is good for us and that is what we’re gonna get!!!

  209. Ian J says:

    Actually the bigger cultural problem in the UK is anti-intellectualism and the cult of the gentleman amateur – as manifested in hand-waving objections to “planners” and such like and the belief that “common sense” is all that is needed. For example, St Pancras has six platforms for 27 trains a *day*. Charing Cross has a similar number per *hour*. For comparison Tokyo station has four platforms for the Tohoku, Joetsu, Yamagata and Akita shinkansens combined. But there will never be as many international trains on HS1 as on the shinkansens because the limiting factor is the need to allow paths through the tunnel for the car and lorry shuttles. So if there really is massive growth in the future it will need to be accommodated by running double deck trains rather than many more trains. The hypothetical French rugby fans are better served by a half hourly train from Paris connecting into frequent local services than by a less frequent service into Waterloo. As I believe Pedantic has already pointed out, before the switch to St Pancras there were numerous armchair experts predicting it would be a disaster and Eurostar’s passenger numbers would plummet. But Eurostar’s planners were right and the armchair experts were wrong.

    I’m also a little puzzled by how the question of whether future tube trains would be articulated turned into a discussion of whether Network Rail would accept them. The decision is London Underground’s to make, not Network Rail’s.

    To bring it back on topic: it is easy to sketch out on paper a better, more capacious layout for Camden Town. It is much more difficult to come up with a scheme that will actually happen. Transport in London is all about the art of the possible.

  210. Anon E. Mouse says:

    I am not going to get into an argument, neither do l think French rugby fans are hypothetical

    I do know that the “West London Air Terminal” was preferred to the cost of extending the Piccadilly Line from Hounslow West, and l suspect that one day, Eurostar might wish to have retained SOME Waterloo International services.

    I was never one to say St Panc would be a failure, but I was one to say that Eurostar are now losing some traffic to Heathrow because personally, from S W London, I USED Waterloo International, but it is now simpler for me to get to Paris by air from LHR

  211. Armchair X Pert says:

    As for articulation and track forces, Tfl is a vertically integrated transport operator, so it’s entirely up to them to decide the economics/practicality of balancing track wear against train design. NR effectively has to openly tell all operators what the standards are for all trains running on particular lengths of its tracks.

    Over the water, the loading gauge is bigger, so loaded freight wagons tend to be a lot heavier. That may have resulted in generally higher standards for track design, enabling them to accept passenger trains imposing greater track forces.

  212. Rogmi says:

    @Greg Tingey

    Euston City had the standard C&SLRly terminus layout with island platform and siding (as did the termini at Angel, Stockwell and Clapham Common). The NB track was diverted to allow cross-platform interchange with the Victoria line and the platform area filled in to become the wide platform 6 of today, although there is a tiny bit of the island platform left at the south end (the wall hides the Euston loop overrun which was the original NB track. The layout can be seen on the Carto.Metro map.

  213. Anonymous says:


    “Does anybody know the current record for thr number of responses to a single article? At over 200 is this not getting close”

    I checked the archive back to May 2010 – there have been six articles with more than 200 responses (and two with exactly 199!) . None of them was started more than six months ago.

    In order of size
    199 Thameslink loop (31 Jan)
    199 South London Line (26 Feb)
    204 Northern Line Extension (14 Nov)
    213 future of the Northern Line (6 May – this thread)
    239 Crossrail (12 March)
    252 South London Line (7 Dec)
    256 Finsbury park (12 Feb)
    298 Thameslink (20 Feb)

    So this thread has a way to go yet. As for the “two buses” theory, note that the top two were just over a week apart

  214. Anonymous says:

    Ref articulation on NR, there is the glorious APT to consider as well.

    I suspect NR’s views on the use of articulation at high speed on the UK network have rather more to do with legacy of APT and the enormous engineering and scientific effort behind it than some random old coach or something that virtually nobody knows nor cares about.

    But don’t let facts get in the way of a good rant.

  215. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    Yes, dwell times on LUL are determined entirely by the length of announcements … well, one wonders from time to time !
    Ditto the apparent ban on articulation – since they DID accept Eurostars, but anyting else … naah – something peculiar is going on, that’s for sure.
    … AND
    But there will never be as many international trains on HS1 as on the shinkansens because the limiting factor … is actually, how slowly we can force people throught eh 150% unnecessary security theatre of having their luggage scanned (when it isn’t on the shuttles!)
    Personally & way off topic, I’d be very happy if we were IN Shengen & OUT of the EU (like Switzerland & Norway ….

    AND … yes, of course the last time I rode on the main lines in a Gresley product, it was a stand-alone … but the “artic” units of coaches also gave a better ride than other contemporaty (ex-LMS & early BR) rolling stock.
    Overall train weight is down & unsprung weight is down, yet it is “thought” (believed?) that track forces are greater (which they will be actually, by the same ratio as the bogie-number formula, I suspect) to such an extent that the other benefits are not worth having, or not as the case may be.
    It is a matter of engineering judgement (AND prejudice) – um.

  216. PeteD says:

    @Anon E Mouse

    Eurostar have lost a few passengers by leaving Waterloo but have saved a fortune in not operating what would be a less than half full international terminal with scanners, passport control and customs. Also how many less passengers would use St Pancras if the service was cut to every other hour from its current hourly offering. Eurostar are a commercial operation and are not interested in offering loss making services to Waterloo (or Birmingham, York and Manchester).

  217. Anon E. Mouse says:

    As l said, looking ahead, perhaps 20 years, l can see a need for more capacity. Surely there will be many more destinations than today, Germany?, Nice?, Warsaw? Why can’t we try and predict the future rather than always be taken by surprise?

    (Shut the railways in the 1960s, and 50 years later we need more railways). We need to learn from errors of the past.

  218. ngh says:

    re articulation.

    From both tribology theory and experiment, wear of the track/road/other surface of choice scales with the 4th power of axle load (ignoring any additional fatigue issues at this point).

    As an example swapping from a 2 bogie/car configuration of a modern 4 car suburban EMU (377/450) to an articulated set up would lead to an expected 6 fold increase in track wear rate (also wheel tyre wear…).

    However I suspect the killer might actually be the lateral force profile* as the 2 carriages “fight” over each bogie. The evo concept appear to bypass this potential issue.

    BR and successors have plenty of data from the VAMPIRE project/programme.

    * if worrying about Type 3 fatigue (RCF) initiation

  219. Anonymous says:

    But my local service does not serve Waterloo or St Pancras, so what about self-important people like me who think the whole world should resolve around us? I demand that Eurostar services also terminate at London Bridge. And Liverpool Street would be helpful for me too.

  220. Anon E. Mouse says:

    You really just don’t get it, do you. I’m not interested in the “now”, but the future. I think that in 20 years or less, we will wonder how people today were so dumb/short sighted/pig ignorant not to have Waterloo Int as a back up/stand by/alternative. It isn’t about me and it shouldn’t be about you. It’s about the future and, back to the original topic, taking unnecessary extra traffic off L.U. in the central London area

  221. PeteD says:

    St Pancras has 6 international platforms and two international trains per hour. Plenty of spare capacity to cover the next 20 years of growth. St Pancras was underutilised and Waterloo International’s platforms are desperately needed by SWML domestic passengers who out number any potential international passengers many times over.

    PS I live on the MML – so no bias 😉

  222. Anonymous says:

    On a tangent has everyone seen the BBC confirmed they’ll show programme on Thursday about 150 years of the tube. Details here

  223. Mikey C says:


    St Pancras International may have plenty of capacity, but the same can’t be said of the previous domestic operations, with the MML being shunted off into a small corner of the station

  224. Alan Griffiths says:

    I know a Civil Engineer (the ones that don’t swear at Architects) who explained the relationship between Gresley’s trains and APT to me. Its entirely practical to put bogies between carriages, except that when something needs fixing you can’t uncouple ’em and have to take the whole train out of service.
    A parallel is true of cabs at both ends of 4-car or 12-car trains.
    If you’re confident that every part of the train is so robust that it rarely needs to be taken out of service, it makes sense to have 12 car rather than 4 car trains, and bogies between carriages. If you aren’t so confident, it makes no sense at all.

  225. stimarco says:

    @Anon E. Mouse:

    What PeteD said. Waterloo International can only be reached via classic lines that are already close to capacity. South London’s rail network struggles as it is and really doesn’t need half-mile-long trains cluttering it up. And the SWML really does need those additional platforms. They’re already seriously considering adding a fifth track all the way out to Surbiton from Clapham Junction, and this is on a railway that’s already blessed with segregation by direction and full-cream flying junctions! (Well, as far as Surbiton anyway. At Woking, the junctions are properly flat and annoying, as a good south London railway should be, damn it!)

    Meanwhile, in EVO Land…

    As I understand it, the articulation of an underground train (think Victoria Line) only makes sense if the intention is to increase capacity. This was supposed to be achieved by having articulated cars which were much shorter than the present ones; each ‘segment’ might only have one pair of doors, for example.

    More segments = more bogies = less weight per bogie and therefore less force exerted on the tracks.

    The problem is that urban metros live or die by their performance characteristics: many of those bogies in your articulated train need to have electric motors and shoe gear. Trams are much shorter and lighter than a typical metro train, so they can get away with, say, electric motors only at the (often raised) cab ends. A metro train can’t do that.

    If you want wide gangways, that means either following the tram model and only having motors under each cab (which will presumably sit on its own, proper, fully-axled bogie), or finding some way to squeeze electric traction motors and all the necessary command and control wiring into the tiny, tiny space left over after you’ve fitted your wide gangway.


    You can’t raise the floor height by much at the gangway as there’s already very little headroom in the noddy Tube-sized cars as it is. So you could maybe opt for the smaller motors used on hybrid cars, where the motor and the wheel itself are pretty much one and the same thing. But that increases the unsprung weight, as well as reducing the amount of power available at each axle. You’ll need to fit such motors to pretty much every single wheel on the train. That’s a hell of a lot of weight, a lot more complexity, and you need a way to control them all too, which means running wires all the way from the train’s central computers to each and every wheel. (That’s on top of all the other cabling a modern train needs.)

    One option that is possible today, but which might not have been an option way back when the original “Space Train” concept was first floated, is to reduce the wiring necessary by having the train’s traction motors communicate with its central computer (or perhaps even with a central control computer) via the tracks, using digital signals. It’s much easier to separate one digital set of signals from another by frequency as digital signals require far less bandwidth than analogue ones do. However, this would certainly require a lot of R&D on the signalling side.

    It might even be possible to use a single cable for multiple command functions by basically using a computer network. Again, however, this does have safety implications and would itself require even more R&D to ensure network glitches and interference aren’t going to cause problems. (All those sparks you see coming off the shoe gear of a Tube train? They send spikes and cause interference on unshielded cables. Such things make computers very sad. Very sad indeed.)

    It’s very easy to forget that what we’re talking about here is cross-sectional area, which increases exponentially, not linearly: shrink a train by just 50 cm. in diameter and you lose PI*25 cm. squared in area (roughly 2 whole metres) in which to put all the stuff the train needs to work. People here have been talking blithely about the APT and Eurostar rolling stock, but these dwarf any Tube train and run (or ran) at much greater speeds, so the data from those trains is going to be only tangentially relevant at best to LU’s calculations: Tube stock doesn’t run for long distances at 90 mph, or so, nor would any articulated Tube stock be likely to consist of coaches over 20 metres in length. Quite the opposite, in fact, given that the intent is to use much smaller ‘segments’.

    And, even if you can pull it off, how many extra passengers are you likely to be able to squeeze on board such a train? Will all that effort truly have been worth it for such a small increase in capacity? It might well be more logical to build such trains for the SSL network than the Tube network.

    In short, I think such trains are doable in theory, but the small size of the Tube tunnels will make it bloody difficult, and very expensive, to pull off in practice. It’s no accident that fully walk-through trains currently only exist on lines built to much bigger loading gauges: you have a lot more wiggle-room for all the kit you need to install, even with those wide gangways. I suspect we won’t see such trains on the Tube network though. It’s unlikely to make much of a dent in the capacity problems TfL expect us to face. Indeed, this may well be why we’re seeing so much more pressure to build more Crossrail-style lines, instead of trying to slap yet another sticking plaster onto the Tube network.

  226. Graham Feakins says:

    taz asked about Euston Square station and why it was not closer to Euston when constructed. Whilst I have not researched this, looking at the 1872 OS map, Euston Square station was originally called Gower Street and was already located on the corner and next to much established building in that street and along that section of Euston Road. The Metropolitan Railway was built under Euston Road which at that time bisected Euston Square itself for quite a length. The only half remaining today is Euston Square Gardens outside Euston station, itself well set back from Euston Road, as it always was.

    Thus, there were no buildings on Euston Road through Euston Square when the Met. was built, even as far as Euston station entrance. When viewed on the 1872 map, the distance from Euston station to Gower Street station, was then as now, not that far, half the walk being taken up through Euston Square (Gardens) and the other half being one housing block along Euston Road to Gower Street. In fact, I think the present entrance to Euston Square is relocated east of the original entrance on Gower Street, so is closer to Euston than it was before.

    Since the Met. railway was built as cut-and-cover under Euston Road, it seems to me more luck than judgement that Kings Cross and St. Pancras front directly on Euston Road.

  227. Graham Feakins says:

    Mornington Crescent on maps and diagrams – The earlier Underground maps showed Mornington Crescent station correctly on the eastern line south of Camden Town and the first Harry Beck maps repeated that. However, it was not long before it was realised that there was confusion at the interchange stations on the map, showing the Charing Cross branch on the right and the City branch on the left between Camden Town and Euston, with the two lines indistinguishably crossing over there.

    Thus the two lines were swapped over on the map for clarity and this was clearly followed by everyone attempting to draw the Camden Town tunnel arrangements.

    Greg – I said that the map I linked to was diagrammatic. It was of course the City branch at Euston which had the island platform.

  228. Ian J says:

    On the Met’s mainline connections: the original King’s Cross Metropolitan Railway station was where King’s Cross Thameslink was later on Pentonville Road, so not as close to King’s Cross as it could have been. My guess is that the Metropolitan Railway was more focused on providing for links to the various main lines for trains to run on than on the concept of passengers making connections on foot (there were plans to connect to the lines out of Euston as well as King’s Cross but they never happened).

  229. answer=42 says:

    On the question of articulation, I can’t think of any bored metro that would serve as a comparator for the London tube (as opposed to sub-surface). The closest would be PATH in New York, using large scale river-bed tubes and the Paris Métro, which is cut and cover but a very restricted cross-section.

    Paris Métro have much tighter curvature than London tubes, increasing the potential benefit of articulation. The greater overall height allows greater design freedom in where to place traction and other equipment. Yet the current MF01 design, although it has walk-through cars, does not use articulation. See:

    So the probable lack of articulation on new tubes is not just a Brit thing.

  230. DW down under says:

    @ Stimarco. That was a rather long thought bubble about articulation and EVO. I won’t trouble you with a breakdown blow by blow, but suffice to say there are ways of tackling the task – and there are ways of increasing a 33tph line’s capacity by ~ 7,000 pax/hr by making better use of the volume available.

    I submitted one such concept to the Radical Train innovation competition. None of it is technologically challenging – it’s only a matter of putting all the elements together in one package and debugging it.

    You must remember that the key issue today is that the wheels protrude above the floor, requiring “wheel arches.” These limit the space between seats across the aisle to notably less than 1400mm.

    The “space train” proposed wheels of ~ 435mm dia to stay below a floor of about 580mm. These are totally unproven in service. I proposed standard driving wheels of 770mm dia but idler axle wheels of ~500mm. This size has in-service precedents. I also avoided any question of platforms being cut back – they are too narrow as it is. The driven wheels would be under the cabs, and under transverse seats at each end of the car body. While the motored axle is attached to a bogie mounted under one of the car bodies, the driven wheels protrude beyond and use space beneath the corresponding transverse seats in the next car body.

  231. Anonymous says:


    ” PI*25 cm. squared in area (roughly 2 whole metres)”

    Whilst I agree with your basic argument, I should point out that you can’t measure an area in metres. An area of pi*25cm*25cm is actually pi/16 = 0.2 sq metres, or four sheets of A4 paper.

    And the increase is not exponential, but quadratic

    Graham Feakins/ian J

    The LNWR would not have been as interested in connecting to the Met as the GWR, GNR and, later, the Midland, as they already had their own access to the City using the NLR to Broad Street

    The Paris Metro did dabble with articulation with its MA51 stock – the first departure from traditional “Sprague-Thomson” stock. It was used on line 13 until 1974 and then Line 10 until 1994. No other Metro stock has featured articulation.

  232. Anonymous says:

    Off-topic but big news – Crossrail 2 consultation on TFL website:

  233. Snowy says:

    I suspect the crossrail 2 consultation should be compulsory homework for all here!

  234. John Bull says:

    I’ll be writing up the Consultation tonight, so if we can avoid any discussion here for now that’d be good.

  235. JM says:

    @Stephen C

    Thanks. I think if it were ever used, you need to use both Crouch End and Stroud Green (for Overground interchange) to help mitigate opposition anyway. Although I think you would also need to pretty much rebuild every station along the N City anyway if you want it to be more than a shuttle.

    @Rational Plan

    Agree with you regarding new routes in the future. Not only for the tube but it’s possible the eastern end of Crossrail could be running at full capacity within 10/15 years of coming into operation. I think there are some Underground routes (Met, western end of the Picc, eastern end of the District, 1 or more branches of the Central). Given other recent converations about 24 hour operation, it may be worth seeing how extra capacity could ever make this happen 3/4 tracks double ended signalling etc.

    @Anon E Mouse

    I actually agree that if SNCF complete all of their planned TGV routes by the time HS2 phase 2 opens, a large number of destinations (particularly some useful business ones) become within 4/5 hour reach. If the amount of operators increases too such as SkyTeam running a service or Ouigo style stopping services to Paris and any airport option in the Estuary is taken forward there could well be a capacity constraint. I wouldn’t use Waterloo though for the same reason as the arguments made by others. Somewhere such as the south platforms at London Bridge or Fenchurch St might be better for a more direct link to HS1. But then the demand for the services currently there would no doubt exceed any international travel demand.

    You could probably make a similar argument for Hs2 if its a commercial success and a relief route to London is needed.

  236. Anon E. Mouse says:

    Thank you JM

    That is the point l was making. I expect far more destinations to be available in 20 years, so with 2 x London Eurostar terminals to choose from, it would avoid passengers with heavy, bulky luggage crossing London on LU services. In Paris 40+ years ago, we had the choice of which airport to fly to London from (Le Bourget or Orly) and it saved having to cross the city to get to an airport with Heathrow flights (and of course, from Heathrow we could fly to either). That is the choice l would like Londoners to have with Eurostar- if there were only one train every 2 hours from Waterloo to Paris, l would work my travel times around that, with Waterloo being used for perhaps Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona etc. each just 3 or 4 trains a day. My objective is to take traffic of the LU tubes with a bit of forward thnking.

  237. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous 09:13
    Not wishing to be picky but the area of four pages of A4 is precisely 0.25 m2. (NB a sheet of 80gsm copy paper weighs exactly 5g). I had to mention this but I’ll go away now.

  238. Milton Clevedon says:

    The thread on de-cluttering the tubes of via-London international travel is interesting… Various contributors have focused on Eurostar and possible extra needs over 20-30 years or more. However a number of factors seem to be ignored in the debate:

    (1) The European economy and future population isn’t currently looking vastly bigger in the future than now, though I agree there is likely to be better high speed rail connecitvity, and you might want a future option or two for rail capacity to or via or even bypassing London.

    (2) Unless/until/how UK joins Schengen, we have a physical/marketing barrier which diminshes UK-continent rail attractiveness. No idea when that changes, it’s a matter for Government.

    (3) By hopefully 2020s/30s we should have more than one international rail operator, but journey times are still unattractive beyond 3-5 hours, and train utilisation and track access costs are severe impediments for affordable rail fares and commercially viable yield management. It’s not often worth running a through train, and planes can be a better unit size for the point to point demand on offer and enable higher daily frequencies.

    (4) Unless/until we build a second Chunnel for conventional/HS rail only, the hourly number of through European expresses will still be no more than ca. 8-10 tph, after allowing for different slot use within Eurotunnel, and Kent Javelins. At present the max is about 3 each way, so there’s oodles of space, including at St Pancras.

    (5) Currently Eurostar handles an average of about 550 passengers per 750-seat train, 9+ million passengers a year. Just extending that volume to be 3tph throughout a 12 hour day (and the day can be longer than that) would allow about 15 million passengers at current load factor. Times that by say 3 to get near 10tph at current load factors would put you on 45m passengers per year, and with bigger (?double-deck) trains and higher load factors pushes you towards 60m or more.

    (6) So there really isn’t a line capacity problem, it would just be a passenger handling problem at London stops, and we don’t currently have anything resembling a problem. It is cost-effective for Eurostar to aggregate passenger volume through one international station.

    (7) HS2-HS1 however deficient in its current design would allow at least 1tph each way (up to 3tph according to HS2, though TfL and Network Rail disagree) and trains could call at Stratford and/or Old Oak Common, possibly even Heathrow if the suggested HS2 spur is built there, and maybe some trains from Midlands/North. That gives more outlets for international passengers (but sorry, not Waterloo…)

    (8) HOWEVER, the greatest international passenger travel via London is actually to/from Airports, not Eurostar etc.

    (9) Quickly waggling a finger in the arithmetic air puts annual London airports’ use excluding inter-lining at 110-120m passengers, and rail-based surface access at maybe 30m passengers (counting Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Southend, London City). Looking forwards, air travel (which is world-wide, and chartered as well as scheduled) will have its own growth demand factors.

    (10) So the likelihood of more tube travel as part of the total journey linking to express airport rail services, could be more worthwhile to address as a priority in the London area in the next decade or so. Eg, how do you deal with what the Davies Commission recommends? That would leave HS2 to open up other options for direct European rail travel from the London & Home Counties area.

  239. Milton Clevedon says:

    Just one further thought – would a second or third passenger rail operator through the Channel Tunnel want to use the same stops as Eurostar or might they want their own terminal? If so, where and how? There would be high costs in setting up your own ‘branded’ terminal with customs, immigration etc. Could these functions be on-board trains? – they were originally when Eurostar began services. That might be one way to lower London terminal operating costs for what might begin as low frequency additional services. Whoever is to market future HS1 and HS2 line capacity might be interested in broadening the operator supply base affordably!

  240. Anon E. Mouse says:

    @ Milton

    Agreed. But:

    1) Escalating airport taxes could soon make air travel an unattractive option for the shorter journeys across the channel. l can see them being used as a tool to fight airport saturation. They will probably play the eco friendly “pollution card”

    2) Politicians are telling us that Heathrow is saturated and new runways/airports are needed.

    3) 40+ years ago, your state owned airline, BEA, gave me the choice of flying to either Orly or Le Bourget from Heathrow. I chose du Bourget every time. Why is it impossible to have such alternatives with Eurostar? Thus LU gets extra passengers with bulky luggage, totally unsuited to the LU tube system and thus causing delays.

  241. JM says:

    @Anon E Mouse @Milton Clevedon

    At the risk of taking this miles off Camden, my personal view is that there aren’t many routes where you could justify 16 cars every hour or 2. Possibly only Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam. I think any route around London is dependant on where airport capacity gets increased.

    I think any new terminal in the future requires a comparative journey time with that of St Pancras to the channel. So would have to be further east which saves any further major infrastucture spend.

    What you do have is a number of destinations from Luxembourg and Strasbourg to Germany to the Med where you can join 8 car services once or twice a day.

    With the timing argument, I agree to some extent that it’s difficult once you get over 5 hours but using London to Scotland as a template, rail can make a significant dent if marketed well.

    Given you could one day have more direct French route through Amiens and La Defence you could probably make a large dent in foot ferry passengers aswell as air. Stratford Intl becomes a lot more attractive as a stop if you ever have direct services to La Def, Frankfurt and Switzerland.

    It will be interesting to see how the Ile De France develops with the ‘Greater Paris’ idea. The improved connectivity could lead to an increase in demand for international travel from these areas.

  242. Anon E. Mouse says:

    @ JM

    La Défense is a good example

    Anyone who thinks that what currently exists with St Panc Int. is sufficient for 2030, as is you say “bonkers”

    Eurostar will regret the short sightedness over Waterloo in l5 years or so. In the meantime, stuff all you can, with its luggage, into the already crowded tube (s)train.

    P.S Blucher won Waterloo for you, not Wellington

  243. Milton Clevedon says:

    Only just – his (dragoon) train was late!

  244. ngh says:

    Re JM 01:00PM, 14th May 2013

    If CR is extended from Abbey Wood to Gravesend with a stop at Ebbsfleet Intergalactic you get a simple interchange to services to Canary Wharf, the square mile and Heathrow and unlike St Pancras or Stratford plenty of space to play with for park and ride (A2, M25).
    The acceleration of the current eurostar trains isn’t that great so more stops could become viable if new rolling stock has far better acceleration.

  245. Tim says:

    I know verrying of on a tangent but @ ngh has a good point about the connection possibilities extending CR1 to Ebbsfleet and unless eurostar start to stop at Stratford ‘International’ that would be probably the most convenient place for business people going to Canary Wharf to change. Also the car parks at Ebbsfleet have always been sparingly used when I’ve gone past them so there is opportunities for it to finally become useful and be an interchange point for commuters. However, would Southeastern or whoever is the TOC have to be given a cut of the fare revenue due to competition with their extortionate HS service?

  246. JM says:

    @ Anon E Mouse

    To be fair, I didn’t say it was bonkers to think otherwise. I think it’s possible and if you build extra air capacity for London in the Estuary, I think it will become essential as you will need half of the length of HS1 for fast trains to the airport so a spur like that to Waterloo may be useful to have then.


    True although Stratford gives you the same. I think a 2 tier service even now would work quite well.

    London – Stratford – Paris
    London – Stratford – Brussels – Antwerp/Rotterdam/Schipol/Amsterdam
    London – Stratford – Brussels – Liege – Koln – Dusseldorf/Frankfurt

    Then a Ouigo model along the lines of

    London – Ebbsfleet – Ashford – Calais Frethun – Lille Europe – Brussels
    London – Ebbsfleet – Ashford – Calais Frethun – Lille Europe – CDG – Marne la Vallee

    If demand ever warranted it and the EU/RFF allowed use of the routes, you could plausibly have a separate terminal for each mode of service.

    I’m not sure how you could allocate levels of service, maybe in airline style slots at terminals or via the tunnel.

  247. stimarco says:

    @Anonymous: re. my maths skills. Numbers make my brain hurt, so I sit corrected. Even so, 4 sheets of A4 still offers plenty of room to run cables through, so I think my point, if a bit wobbly, still stands.

    Re. CR1 & Ebbsfleet:

    CR1 is supposed to get to Gravesend via the existing North Kent line, which goes via Northfleet, not Ebbsfleet. (Why the hell they didn’t divert the existing railway above the Ebbsfleet site boggles the mind. It’s not as if Northfleet is particularly well-used: many services non-stopped through it when I lived in the area.)

    That said, it might be sensible to run CR1 from Dartford to Gravesend along a completely new alignment that takes it through both Bluewater and Ebbsfleet. The two sites are actually supposed to eventually join up thanks to the magic of housing development. They’re taking their sweet time over building it all, but this is why there’s what appears to be an odd-looking pedestrian bridge in the middle of nowhere just south of Ebbsfleet station itself. All this will be screaming for a decent rail connection and it’d also help those living to the west of Gravesend access Ebbsfleet and HS1. (Currently, the HS1 Domestic services via Gravesend dive off onto Ebbsfleet’s domestic platforms just before Northfleet station, then run up HS1. There’s no way to get to these platforms from anywhere west of Gravesend at present, which limits their attraction to the good burghers of, say, Dartford and Swanscombe.)

    Also, I’ve said this before and I think it deserves repeating: sleeper services! Proper sleeper coaches can’t be used on the UK’s classic network as they’re too tall, but the UK’s fledgling HSR network can handle such rolling stock. This, I think, will be a massive game-changer as that network slowly spreads: it means that “3-5 hours” issue disappears as a sleeper train isn’t competing with air travel. They’re very popular on the continent and the newer German-built sleeper stock is a major improvement over the old French “couchette” stock of old. And, yes, they do all the passport / customs stuff on the trains themselves. (I have personal experience with these services as I hate flying.)

    As for the UK joining Schengen: forget it. Schengen makes sense if you have land borders, but the UK is only connected with the continent by machines that are susceptible to damage. A bomb isn’t going to destroy a land crossing, but it will cause serious disruption to a ferry, an undersea tunnel, or an aircraft. And this isn’t really a modern problem either: the UK’s been dealing with terrorists / freedom fighters* since the dark days of The Troubles. You need some controls at the borders, though I’ll grant that most of the security procedures in place are theatrical rather than defensive in nature.

    * (delete as applicable)

  248. Greg Tingey says:

    Use the Steve Bell name for “Ebbsfleet”
    Fartyswamp Central.

  249. Malcolm says:

    I do agree that sleeper services in the rest of Europe seem to be popular.

    What I cannot understand is how (or whether) they can possibly cover their costs from fares at a level which will compete with air. Each sleeper carriage carries about 25 passengers max per day, and spends the rest of its time in sidings. A normal seated coach carries about 75 passengers per trip, and, even if the trip is 5 hours long, it can certainly do at least 3 trips per day. And it costs less to build, and less to staff. Do the math!

  250. Malcolm says:

    It’s a bad habit, talking to yourelf. But I’ve just realised that there is a perfectly good answer to my own question. The good burghers of, say, Germany, probably see wider society advantages in the existence of good sleeper services to, say, Warsaw, Moscow and Rome, than those which are captured in the farebox. As indeed do the good burghers of Britain respecting London-Scotland sleepers. It is pretty certainly a serious mistake to drag everything down to the squalid level of money. Money is a good servant but a bad master.

  251. Mikey C says:

    It is a relevant question though, the high subsidies required to keep sleeper services running, especially when many of the services are still expensive, and thus hardly transport for the poor.

    As day trains are upgraded, and the old compartment stock is replaced by modern open carriage EMUs, couchettes must start becoming an endangered species, as keeping old compartment stocks and locos just for the night time backpackers doesn’t sound likely

  252. ngh says:

    re Malcolm 10:26PM, 14th May 2013
    It depends on how you frame the economic analysis…
    Certain other countries might have taken account of the benefits of electrified sleeper services on reduced oil imports (vs increased fuel usage of flying or driving see France’s nuclear rush in the ’70s) on their balance of payments (which no one seems to worry about these days in the UK but give it time!), HMT by contrast doesn’t do this as it might suggest adding value in the UK is a good thing (vs the favourite see no evil, hear no evil, do no evil, we have lots of north sea oil import everything else) and might even help if you can’t really import deflation from China any longer (unfortunately you can’t get the same benefit as a decade ago due to high wage inflation).

    [Starting to sound a bit like Greg…]

  253. stimarco says:

    Where did you get that 25 pax / coach number?

    I’ve used the ‘Artesia’ sleeper service from Paris to Rome and each compartment can have up to six bunks. And there were a damned sight more than four of them per coach. Furthermore, these trains are very, very long. The ‘Artesia’ service I was on had around 24 coaches.

    There are fat margins to be made by charging for food — the ‘Artesia’ service had a good, if slightly overpriced, restaurant coach, for example; it was rammed with diners too, so clearly a profit centre — and for compartments with fewer bunks.

    In the ‘Artesia’ service’s case, I suspect it also helps that the Ialian state railway operator that runs it is notoriously tight-fisted and is still using 1980s-era stock. But I’ve seen some of their competitor’s much newer stock and know how good the experience can be.

    I’d wager that HS2 will probably kill off UK-only sleeper services to Scotland, but cross-Channel sleepers make a lot of sense. Getting the logistics right will be challenging, but it’s definitely doable.

  254. Ian J says:

    @Anon.E.Mouse: Anyone who thinks that what currently exists with St Panc Int. is sufficient for 2030, as is you say “bonkers”: I’ll happily own up to being bonkers if it makes you feel better. But you seem to be saying that you would rather the currently spare platform space at Waterloo were mothballed for 20 years or more, instead of being used for desperately needed extra capacity for SWT services, just so that in the future a few trains a day might be able to run to Paris and Brussels because it would be more convenient for you personally?

    @ngh: “Certain other countries might have taken account of the benefits of electrified sleeper services on reduced oil imports (vs increased fuel usage of flying or driving “: at 25 passengers per carriage per day, you would have to build a huge number of sleeper carriages before you saw the tiniest difference to the balance of payments. You would get a much bigger impact by using the same money to improve local transport and electrify more rail lines. Which is pretty much what is happening. ATO on the Northern Line, for example, means shorter journey times which makes the tube more efficient which benefits the economy.

    Anyone who wanted to could set up a business to run international sleeper trains to London tomorrow, and there is nothing to stop DB or any existing operator from doing it – they have the rolling stock, HS1 is subject to European open access rules, there is hardly a shortage of platforms at St Pancras. So why don’t they?

  255. lmm says:

    Are any of DB’s current sleeper trains compliant with the chunnel safety rules? I’m thinking of e.g. being able to push a failed train through ahead of itself.

  256. answer=42 says:

    The signal to absolute rubbish ratio is becoming dangerously low on this thread. So I’m going to get all Greg on you now.

    There is zero chance of Eurostar having a second central London terminal. The fixed terminal costs are just much too high. Eurostar is only just profitable, despite having the biggest market share. I’d wager DB, when they finally get to London, will also use StPI. By the way, the Channel Tunnel terminal in Brussels has be re-branded as such, although the Eurostar terminal in Londres (Laandan to locals) is still labelled as such. Probably cos DB already use Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel-Zuid (although not that part, obviously).

    Here’s a little intellectual exercise for you: why do four Slut West Coast, one LondonMidland and one Chiltern Trains trains per hour to / from Brummingham all use London terminals on the Mary Le Bon Road? And why no applications for open access trains to, say Stratford or Victoria (not easy but could be done)?

    London-Paris flights 40 years ago were tightly regulated and not subject to competition. These days, there are flights from London Heathrow, City and Luton (Easyjet). Not even Gatwick any more. You can fly to either Paris CDG or Orly but there are no flights from City to CDG. On the other hand, fares are much lower in real terms than the good ol’ days.

    So you can forget about a second London terminal for the continent. Maybe, just maybe a second Ebbsfleet-type stop to the North of London (OK Greg, Fartyswamp North) on HS2. For people with big suitcases to park at.

    The whole HS1-HS2 link debate is in a big mess. Modern Railways this month has a good try at disentangling it. They make the very valid point that the issue should be about access from Norf o’London to Saarf o’London and the continent is really incidental to the debate. Perhaps a future article there, LondonReconnections?

    Continental destinations for the tunnel are likely to be big, fairly close cities: Antwerp, Amsterdam, Köln, Lyon, Bordeaux (for the Brit expats in the region), mebbe Frankfurt. There are already good connections at Lille or Brussels for many of these destinations. There is masses of spare capacity in the Tunnel and even more on HS1.

    No, there is not increasing use of sleepers on the continent. There is falling use and many fewer services, replaced by low-cost airlines. Nice to know, though, that Italian State Railways are still making an effort on the Paris run. SNCF have, however, converted some of the Corail former inter-city trains to couchettes to replace the manky old stock they used to use. France-Germany-Poland-Russia is still a big couchette thing, apparently. Not with French trains, though.

    Britain does not need Schengen because it is an island and a bit? Don’t make me laugh. Scandinavia is in. You need to cross a bridge / tunnel to get to the rest of Europe or take a boat or fly or go outside Schengen. Iceland is in Schengen for goodness sake. Double passport checks by the Brits are back on Eurostar trains from Brux, by the way, by unpopular demand. It’s your taxes that are being wasted here, folks.

  257. Anonymous says:

    I thought I’d join in the off-topic fun.

    Last year I travelled on a regular overnight train from Paris to south of France.

    As Stimarco noted it, had 24 coaches, composed of couchettes and reclining seating.

    It was packed all the way and I believe there were about 60 to 70 in each of the couchette coaches.

    The Scottish sleeper remains popular with no threat of the axe.

    It would be an interesting experiment to attach two couchette coaches, with reduced fares, to see if UK people are prepared to accept -shall we say- less privacy than hitherto.

  258. answer=42 says:

    I too look forward to using SNCF couchettes this summer (hopefully a Corail-based one). But have a look at their quasi-domestic network map:
    pretty limited, huh?
    There are either zero or 1 quasi-domestic sleeper services in France. (as opposed to couchette).

    The Scottish sleeper is subsidised by the Scottish government.

    You cannot just add a couple of couchettes to a train using the tunnel. Would not be technically compliant with tunnel rules. There are no tunnel-compliant trains knocking about, apart from the ‘Regional Eurostars’. No tunnel-compliant couchette carriages or trains exist. Even under new compliance rules. Lots of reasons why it could never happen.

    What could be feasible, though, is an SNCF couchette train that serves Lille.

  259. Anonymous says:

    answer 42

    Thanks, but I meant attached to the London – Scottish sleeper.

    Apologies if that wasn’t clear.

  260. Castlebar says:

    I agree that “Airport taxes” need to be taken into acount. These will escalate well above any inflation rate.

    A proven source of revenue, these will make short distance air travel uneconomical. Airports are reaching saturation, and the “eco thing” will be used.

    That’s why l agree that the demand for international rail travel has been underestimated

  261. answer=42 says:

    Yeah, I had the wrong end of the stick, there. But it gave me a chance to rebut some of the ‘misunderstandings’ that have been posted on this thread.

    Sorry, but couchettes to Scotland aren’t possible either. UK loading gauge. I think it was tried about 70 years ago, so it’s clearly never going to be tried again. Probably wouldn’t be economic even if technically doable. But there are better persons than I on this site to talk about the engineering stuff.

    Did the London-Glasgow overnight seater once. Never again.

  262. PeteD says:

    [email protected]:17AM

    Spot on!

  263. Ian J says:

    @anonymous 10:00: “The Scottish sleeper remains popular with no threat of the axe”

    From the Scottish government’s “Rail 2014” consultation at : “We are considering a number of options for the future provision of sleeper services, for instance: removing or increasing financial support; and reducing the provision, either through removing the Highland or Lowland service, or by running the Lowland services to and from Edinburgh only.”

    That particular threat was fended off by the UK government allocating money for refurbishing the rolling stock and bouncing the Scottish government into matching it, but any service that receives a subsidy of £76 per passenger will always be dependent on the whim of future governments.

  264. stimarco says:

    @Answer = 42:

    I have no quarrel with your points re. St. Pancras’ future capacity, but I think you’ve missed main reason for not retaining the Waterloo facilities for vague, future HS1 services: Even if the ex-HS1 platforms at Waterloo were retained, how would the trains get there? South London’s railway network is already struggling to meet demand. By 2030, unless some seriously drastic measures have been taken, there is absolutely no way you could squeeze in trains up to three quarters of a kilometre long over such a clogged network and still maintain the necessary local and regional services. No chance. Not happening. Nuh-uh. Not a hope in hell. You’d need to build a few more Crossrails first.

    And then there’s the small matter of the Stewart’s Lane Chord, which is more likely to be demolished to provide space for more tracks from Waterloo to Clapham Junction. Without that, the only way to get from Waterloo to HS1 is via Redhill, which is a hell of a dog-leg.


    The ‘Artesia’ services are run by Italians. Italy is a country that thought nothing of running rolling stock dating back to the 1930s on urban metro services serving its capital city well into the 2000s. The Italians are good at sweating their assets. Take a look at Milan’s trams if you don’t believe me.

    A France-Italy sleeper service of some form or another, has existed for at least 30 years. (Pre-Chunnel, they departed from Calais or Boulogne, collecting passengers fresh off the Channel ferries, and went all the way down to Naples.) That such a service not only still runs, but actually makes a profit and continues to be packed with passengers, suggests that sleeper trains aren’t dead…

    … but they are entering a transitional state:

    I think it’s fair to assume that the spread of the HSR network across Europe will prove disruptive enough to cause some rethinking about how best to provide such services in future. If you can get to Rome from London via High Speed rail (e.g. via the Gotthard Base Tunnel, once that opens), within about 10-12 hours, a sleeper service will make less sense than simply travelling during the day.

    On the other hand, a sleeper train capable of running at full HSR speeds could get you all the way from London to Gibraltar, Moscow, or pretty much anywhere else in Europe within a single night by the late 2020s. And, of course, such a sleeper train need not be limited solely to the HSR network.

    Re. Schengen: Norway and Sweden are not islands. Blow up the Øresund Bridge/Tunnel and you’d still be able to get to Stockholm over land without swimming if you don’t mind going via Estonia and Finland. It’d be an inconvenience, certainly, but nowhere as bad as blowing up the Channel Tunnel would be for the UK: sea or air transport would be your only options.

    As for Iceland: its primary exports are Björk, IT data-centre services, geological features with unpronounceable names, and ash clouds; it’s very sparsely populated; it is very tightly linked with Denmark politically, so the two tend to have similar foreign policies. And, oh yes: it also went bankrupt not so long ago and its volcanoes are arguably more of a threat to passing aircraft than any zealot with a bomb in his shoe. It is, therefore, no great surprise that nobody considers it a serious terrorist target.

    The UK is not Iceland.

    As someone who can’t sleep on a moving vehicle, I’m not really the ideal candidate for the position of “Sleeper Train Evangelist”, so I don’t know why I find it strange to read so much resistance towards such services. Every train-load of passengers, sleeping or otherwise, is a train-load of people who aren’t driving or flying, reducing the pressure to build new runways and terminals.


    @Greg T. I used to live close to Ebbsfleet and see no reason to apply such a childish and ignorant insult to the place. How old are you? Six? The land the station was built on is neither malodorous nor even a swamp. It’s actually a very good walk, with many traces of the area’s industrial heritage; the entire landscape you see in photos of the area is man-made, not natural, for example. And the views from the high chalk ridge can be spectacular. You can even see traces of the industrial narrow-gauge railway network still in-situ.

  265. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Ian J – As one having used Scotrails’s sleeper 1st Class single from Euston to Edinburgh more than once in recent years (last time in 2011) at a cost only a few £’s above a typical off-peak day fare, it is hardly surprising that the sleeper service might require a subsidy. The fact that the trains managed to negotiate curves so violently north of Carlisle to persuade my head/feet to slide laterally into the walls of the cabin may have something to do with the ‘bargain’ fares charged. Can’t complain as the sleeper arrived in time for the morning meetings I was attending. There was no way I was going to be able to fly to Edinburgh and reach the city centre in time unless I went the night before and booked into a hotel.

    BTW, living in London, I am happy to use Eurostar, also on business, to reach Frankfurt via Brussels and Cologne. Apart from the hassle of flying by air, there is also the chance of some fair quality time to work on the train, as well as relax, perchance to eat and drink.

    Remember also, that Channel Tunnel-compliant sleepers were constructed for the “Euronight” services from London and the Provinces. That opportunity was sadly ‘scrapped’.

  266. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: “Blow up the Øresund Bridge/Tunnel and you’d still be able to get to Stockholm over land without swimming if you don’t mind going via Estonia and Finland”

    … and Russia, which is not in Schengen (have you ever been through the rigamarole of getting a Russian visa?).

    I think the “resistance” you are detecting comes from the way that niche ideas like sleepers distract attention and money from the big problems facing London’s rail network, which are basically problems of capacity. The Scottish sleepers transport something like 270,000 passengers a year. The Thello sleepers between Italy and France transport 300,000. Meanwhile the Northern Line transports more than 250 million passengers a year. Even Eurostar manages 10 million.

    @Graham Feakins: “Remember also, that Channel Tunnel-compliant sleepers were constructed for the “Euronight” services from London and the Provinces. That opportunity was sadly ‘scrapped’”

    I would suggest that they were scrapped (actually sold to Canada for a pittance after sitting around for years) because the services weren’t commercially viable.

  267. Graham Feakins says:

    Ian J – But they didn’t even start the Euronight services to evaluate whether they were going to be commercially viable in the first place; nevertheless, the sleeper trains were built ready for service. Yes, as you say, they ended up in Canada, wastefully shorn of the (expensive) sleeper ‘adornments’ and re-equipped.

  268. Malcolm says:

    Graham – you do not always need to provide a service to evaluate whether it will be commercially viable. Why is there no direct train service from Brighton to Stafford?

  269. answer=42 says:


    Your first paragraph is undoubtedly correct but, I fear, moot.

    Sleepers and couchettes have existed for over a hundred years but their use is diminishing. Fr’example, your beloved FS used to run a sleeper train to Brussels. No more. When the sleeper/couchette trains finally go the great terminal platform in the sky, they are (generally speaking) not replaced. There may be exceptions, such as East-West Europe. Night trains can’t use hi-speed lines; that’s when they’re maintained.

    As IanJ helpfully points out, you can’t get from Scandinavia by land without leaving Schengen and going through Russia. By the way, have you ever seen the television series ‘Lenin: The Train’? This thing actually exists – it is about the sealed train from Switzerland, through Germany, Sweden and Finland (then part of the Russian Empire). At Happaranda, they take a horse sleigh between the two stations at the break of gauge. Not only lots of critical exposition of Marxist-Leninist theory and bits about Lenin’s girlfriend but they also get the trains right. Fascinating.

    I agree, UK is indeed not Iceland. So, logically, you would support the UK’s membership of Schengen. Maybe, as Fandroid noted, some of the Chinese tourists would come and spend some of their money in the UK. Perhaps even in Camden Town. If they could get out and in from the tube station.

  270. Anonymous says:

    “If you can get to Rome from London via High Speed rail (e.g. via the Gotthard Base Tunnel, once that opens), within about 10-12 hours, a sleeper service will make less sense than simply travelling during the day”

    But not all journeys are city centre to city centre – a sleeper on that leg would make a journey from anywhere in the UK to anywhere in southern Italy possible by rail, without an expensive city centre stopover.
    Last summer I travelled from London to Austria in 22 hours. That was only possible because there is a sleeper service between Paris and Munich.

    Anyway, we seem to have gone way off topic, as I don’t think Camden Town is likely to be used as an overflow for St Pancras’s International services any time soon, and sleeping cars on the Nothern Line are also a little far fetched.

  271. stimarco says:

    Oh I dunno. I’ve caught up on quite a few sleepless nights on London’s Tube.

    But I agree, sleepers are very much a niche market. I don’t think they’ll die out entirely and I agree with Anonymous (09:36AM) above on the benefits of using sleepers to avoid stopovers.

    With regard to HSR maintenance times: the Paris-Rome sleeper service left at 1800 hrs. and arrived in Rome around 1000 hrs. the following morning. Only about 4 of those hours would be used for HSR maintenance. The rest of the time, the network would be open to all comers. (Also: sleepers have a lot more flexibility over routing. As long as you hit the scheduled stops, none of the passengers will care if you go via Genoa or Chiasso.)

    On topic:

    Camden Town is an awkward layout. I’d go for a rebuild into a cross-platform interchange. Why? Because trains are machines and don’t care if they have to work a bit harder to make life more convenient for their passengers. This is basic usability. Do it. Get it right. Fix mistakes, don’t just paper over the cracks.

  272. Greg Tingey says:

    I SAID it was Steve Bell’s (The Grauniad’s cartoonist) name for it!
    And it’s a dump with crap connections. Stratford un-international may also be a dum, but at least it has good connections, so there …..

    The Chunnel sleeper were scrapped because of sceurity paranoia, which is gaining again, hence the insane double-checking of passports & the scans of passengers luggage (bit not on the shuttle – why th f*** not, I ask?
    Is the ghost of Serpell stalking the corridors, I wonder… the way in which obstacles that don’t apply to railways elesewhere are being applied x-channel – because, perhaps, the air companies have to submit to this lunacy, so it is “decided” to make sure the trains are not competitive?
    {[I’ve just sen this NICE design for a tinfoil hat, btw …]

    Oh, but papering over the cracks is so muich cheaper ….

  273. Malcolm says:

    stimarco: I don’t agree that Camden Town is an awkward layout. I think it’s a very effective way of giving passengers direct access to twice as many central London stations as they would otherwise have. A GOOD THING.

    I do accept that it may be necessary to withdraw this particular GOOD THING if it really can be shown to be beyond our current ability to provide a reliable service over it with the required frequency. Withdrawing it may, sadly, be a necessary evil.

    Perhaps like others here, I was fascinated by the diagrams of the Camden Town swap-overs in my Arthur Mee Childrens Encyclopedia. Maybe that is a factor. (Oh dear, risk of another off-topic wander!).

  274. Graham Feakins says:

    Just to tidy up the continental sleeper aspect, here is a link to a City Nightline page – have a look at the video which goes with it. Note that, contrary to the thoughts of some, new sleeper coaches and routes are being introduced. Even showers and toilets are provided in the best compartments.

    The City Nightline network is here (pdf) – go to page 2 for the map:

  275. stimarco says:

    @Greg T.:

    The cartoonist may be at fault for insulting a part of north Kent by making demonstrably false claims about the area’s geological features*, but you don’t get to blame said cartoonist for repeating the cartoonist’s ignorance here and claiming it is anything other than insulting.

    Cartoonists in broadsheets (and their close relatives) are primarily trying to satirise. Satire is distinct from humour; read Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”, or Orwell’s “1984”. The latter is hardly a laugh-out-loud riotous comedy, but it is satire. Being satirical and not particularly funny is a talent almost every newspaper cartoonist has demonstrated since time immemorial.

    * (Ironically, it’s the area around Stratford and the Lea Valley that really was originally swampy. Some of the marshes are still there. Ebbsfleet is built in an area that was mostly dug out to provide chalk for the cement industry that dominated north Kent for generations. The landscape between Dartford and Gravesend is almost entirely man-made.)


    I can understand the sadness of losing the use of those underground flying junctions around Camden Town, but they were built to improve flexibility, so trains could be sent along any route, as desired. However, that flexibility is the station’s Achilles’ heel: the preference today is for as much segregation as possible as it reduces operational complexity. In which case, those wonderfully engineered tunnels are surplus to requirements and effectively redundant. A new station with sensible, segregated approaches, straight platforms, and cross-platform interchanges would provide a much better user experience than the present layout could ever provide.

    Recycling the bunker tunnels for at least part of such a reconstruction would save a lot of time and resources, while also allowing the present services to continue during the works. Some of the redundant junction tunnels could then be repurposed as sidings and storage areas.

    Not that any of the above will ever happen. Chances are we’ll see yet another short-term politically-expedient “solution” that will merely prove that nobody has learned a blasted thing from the mess that Bank station has turned into.

    Anyone would think cognition and design weren’t known sciences, with big, thick, textbooks, university degree courses and peer-reviewed journals, but they are. Seriously: they are. And they’ve been Proper Science™ since before the 1970s.

  276. Ian Sergeant says:


    I know a lot about sleeping on the Northern Line, especially the last train. I know the way back to Whetstone on foot from all stations north of Camden on both branches. But the one which took the biscuit was the railway worker who woke me up with the words “Wake up, you’re at Morden. No, just joking, you’re at High Barnet.”

  277. stimarco says:

    @Graham Feakins:

    That’s a lot more services than I remember them running a few years ago. They must have been buying more rolling stock (or other operators). I’ve never used their services myself as I don’t have relatives in Germany or Denmark, but I did manage a short peek aboard one of their coaches at Florence to compare it with the one I was sleeping in.

    One thing I did miss on the Italian ‘Artesia’ service was a coach with normal seats in it. I actually find it easier to sleep upright than lying down when travelling. I can sleep in the passenger seat of a car without any difficulty, but I couldn’t sleep in the bed in my dad’s motorhome while travelling, back when he owned one in the ’80s. Many of those CityNightLine services seem to include dedicated coaches with seating that can recline.

    Incidentally, although it looks like they run a lot of services, quite a few of them are clearly provided by a service that splits / joins at a particular station. (E.g. Munich – Rome / Milan. This one seems to split at Verona, with the Milan portion sitting at said station for a few hours to avoid arriving at Milan at zero-dark-hundred hours. The Rome service leaves much earlier as it has further to go.) We used to do such splitting / joining operations in the UK as a matter of course. Alas, it’s extremely rare now, but…

    WARNING: A very tenuous link to the original topic follows.

    …I wonder if it would be possible to reinstate such splitting and joining of services to make more efficient use of the branches of the Northern Line by buying rolling stock that can couple / decouple automatically?

  278. Graham Feakins says:

    @ stimarco – There are through carriages on all routes but, e.g. you can start off in a carriage at the back in Paris and, by the time you reach Munich, your carriage is in the middle of the train, with bits joining and detaching all along the route.

  279. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: “A new station with sensible, segregated approaches, straight platforms, and cross-platform interchanges would provide a much better user experience than the present layout could ever provide….”

    Actually the best user experience for someone in Hampstead who works in the West End, for example, would be achieved by not splitting the line at all. That way they need not change at Camden Town at all, and if they get a seat they can keep it until the end of their journey. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the optimum outcome the users of the line as a whole, but it’s worth understanding that as Malcolm rightly points out, in any change there are winners or losers.

    In the end abitrating between these winners or losers is a political decision. Making this kind of choice is what the Mayor is for, and I note that 2016, the year Pedantic suggests that the decision on whether to split the line will be made, is an election year. Have any of the likely candidates (including Boris) stated that they support or oppose splitting the line?

    “Anyone would think cognition and design weren’t known sciences, with big, thick, textbooks, university degree courses and peer-reviewed journals, but they are”

    Science can only get you so far: at some point you have to deal with the messy reality that resources, be they trains or limited capital budgets, are finite, and people have incommensurable interests.

  280. Carl says:

    Slightly off topic since we’re discussing the future of the Northern Line rather than the past but wasn’t there a plan in the past to extend the Northern Line from Morden to Sutton using the Thameslink loop (that goes from Streatham – Sutton – Wimbledon – Streatham)? Can’t remember exactly where I read the article from but it was a few years ago.

    Speaking of plans in the past, I personally would of loved the Northern heights extension (in the 30’s I think correct me if I’m wrong!) to have actually happened but of course I’m sure there’s reason behind it.

  281. Anonymous says:

    The Northern Heights plan was in the early forties, and was completed in part
    – transfer of management of the Northern City branch from met to Northern Line and conversion from its own unique electrification system (+ve rail on one side, -ve on the other) to LT standard 4-rail system
    – extension from what is now called Archway station to East Finchley, and takeover of the LNER Barnet line and part of the Edgware line (with through ticketing on buses from the railhead at Mill Hill East to Edgware)
    – some preparatory work for connections at Finsbury Park, and beyond Edgware

    Post war austerity, green belt legislation, and higher priorities elesewhere in the nationalised structure, put paid to the rest.

    Splitting and joining of trains – it happens four times an hour at Haywards Heath with the Eastbourne/Littlehampton services. Some services on SWT split at Woking (for Alton and Basingstoke – especially on Sundays) or salisbury (for Bristol and Exeter)

    I don’t think it’s a practical proposition on the Northern Line though – joining in particular requires very cautious approach speeds, which eat up dwell time. Unless there are capacity problems further along, caused by other branches coming in (as on the Brighton and SWML) , or limited terminal capacity, it would be just as quick to run two separate trains.

    The Caledonian sleepers also split, at carstairs for Edinburgh/Glasgow, and at Edinburgh for Aberdeen/FortWilliam/Inverness

    When I used the Paris/Munich sleeper (which does indeed include an ensuite shower if you go premium class) it left Paris with a portion for, I think, Berlin and, on the return leg, had a portion for Amsterdam. Nothing quite beats the ambience of eating Haggis in the club car of the Highland Sleeper as it crosses Rannoch Moor in the gloaming of a summer’s evening though.

  282. Castlebar says:


    “The reason behind it” was that every available man and all materials, especially metal, were needed for the war effort.

    There was no labour available to build new railways. With bombing etc, it was hard enough keeping existing services running.

  283. Milton Clevedon says:

    Electrification of Finsbury Park-Highgate-Muswell Hill-Alexandra Palace/East Finchley-High Barnet, and doubling and electrification of Finchley Central-Edgware, were to be funded by the LNER in the 1935-40 New Works Programme.

    These lines were to be de-coupled from the Broad Street and Kings X/City Widened Lines and added to the Northern City from Moorgate. It was effectively to be the “Great Northern Electrification Stage 1”, and had been desired for decades. Neither the Great Northern Railway nor the LNER had been able to afford it before. It was only do-able because of low-cost Government-backed funding through the London Electric Transport Finance Corporation – underwritten by the Bank of England.

    With the same funding source, LPTB would also build ‘Highgate’ (now Archway)-East Finchley tunnels, and to reach a new depot would build Edgware-Elstree-Bushey Heath. This would allow direct West End trains from High Barnet and from Edgware, via Finchley.

    This was the final version of a scheme which in 1934 would have been main line electric trains from (already electrified) Broad Street via Finsbury Park along the Northern Heights route, overlapping with tube trains extended from ‘Highgate’.

    What we now have was opened in stages until 1940, with Mill Hill East opened urgently in 1941 as a single track to serve the barracks. Elsewhere works were unfinished in September 1939 (though overall 75% complete including conductor rails in place, unfinished sub-stations and rails on site for Finchley-Edgware doubling). Other further activity was suspended, though it would have been only some months’ work to have completed the LNER elements. Other world events were far more important, especially from April 1940 when the ‘phoney war’ ended.

    What is also not known very much is that (1) the entire project was reviewed in 1937 and the LNER wanted to cancel its elements as it was in severe financial difficulty, but found itself legally bound to carry on, (2) the huge increase in demand for travel with wartime and subsequently meant that the order for new tube trains was inadequate and post-war a lot more trains would have been needed, and (3) inflation meant that even pre-war the LETFC funding was insufficient to pay for all the new works which were dependent on the monies and another £5m – I’ll guess perhaps £100m today – would have been needed to finish everything included other funded projects (Central Line, Metropolitan 4-tracking etc).

    Come nationalisation, the LNER contractual position was no longer material, and there were shortages of funding and available materials (even steel was rationed), so over time the hopes of continuing with the Northern Heights elements died a death. Local shuttle trains to Alexandra Palace were closed in the mid 1950s. Mill Hill East – Edgware never re-opened. Freight and stock working (for the Northern City Line) were either withdrawn (see LRC articles on Beeching and freight) or reouted via a Farringdon connection and Finsbury Park.

  284. THC says: is an entertaining short by Jay Foreman (Beardyman’s brother for the beatbox lovers among you) that explains the Northern Heights element of the New Works programme and the consequent abandonment of its majority.


  285. Fandroid says:

    Reading the article and skimming the commenters’ debate, I am still not sure what the current situation is re peak hour tph on all the branches. Pedantic tells us that it’s 27 tph to/from Morden south of Kennington with a long-held aim of getting 24 tph through both central London branches. Somewhere in that, 3tph goes from Morden via Charing X (to where?). I get the feeling from the debate that the fantastic flying/burrowing spaghetti at Camden Town is used to connect more trains to/from the northern branches with the Bank branch than with the Charing X one. What is that split currently? Any ideas what it might be if the 24tph is achieved on both central London branches? Can 27 tph be achieved without splitting the Northen Line? There seems to be an assumption that 30-33tph cannot be achieved without the split. Is that the case? Does the Charing X branch need 33 tph?

    Can anyone create a table?

  286. Pedantic of Purley says:


    This is how I understand it currently.

    The busier Bank branch can and does handle roughly 22tph without ATO. I am not quite sure why it cannot handle more and no doubt we will get the usual comments about how in the year 19xx it was perfectly capable of handling yy tph without difficulty. It might actually be the junction at Camden Town that is the problem.

    The Morden branch can squeeze in 27tph without ATO. This really is taking it to just about the limit – especially on a line as complex as the Northern line.

    A previous Northern Line manager, Jeff Ellis, pushed through a change that meant that the routeing of northbound  trains through the Camden Town junctions during the morning peak was fixed. This was to aid reliability at the expense of affecting relatively few people. See comment on other thread by Rogmi about the complexity of this junction. It also had the big benefit of reducing the likelihood of a points failure at Camden junctions during the morning peak by 50%. He had to push hard for this and encountered quite a bit of opposition from North London MPs and councillors. Hence his comment that you can’t even change a timetable without getting letters from MPs.

    So, if we take Northbound services in the morning peak:

    27tph leave Morden.

    22tph go onto the Bank branch and from there to the High Barnet branch terminating at High Barnet or Mill Hill East.

    5tph go from Morden onto the Charing Cross branch and continue to Edgware. As 27 is not divisible by 5 you can get an idea of how awkward this is. A further 15 start from Kennington being “looped” trains from the Charing Cross Branch and also continue to Edgware. You will notice that there are 20tph therefore on the Charing Cross branch. Also 20 is divisible by 5 which makes things a bit easier.

    Because of the current need to serve both branches, the morning peak southbound from the Edgware and High Barnet branch is more complicated. The Edgware branch (20tph) is evenly split 10/10 Charing Cross and Bank. Obviously an even split won’t work on the High Barnet branch and this has to be 10/12 and there is the added complexity of Mill Hill East. Whether MHE makes the situation worse or better I do not know.

    I don’t know the off-peak pattern and I believe that the evening pattern is not the reverse of the morning one but I am happy to be corrected on this if I am wrong.

    If one could get 24tph on both central London branches then one can see a number of advantages apart from the obvious one of increased frequency. For a start one could run alternate trains to the Edgware and High Barnet branches instead of the slight awkwardness there is today.

    The 3tph that would run to/from Morden to the Charing Cross branch would also fit in a bit better being every ninth train on the Morden branch and every eighth train on the Charing Cross branch.

    A couple of things I forgot to mention in the main article.

    – The reason for the order in which the signal areas are being converted appears to be so that the depots are done last. Presumably if the ATO went down to the extent that you could not get trains out of depots it would be a bit embarrassing. I believe that Tube Lines under PPP were planning to start at Morden and LU swiftly changed this when they got control of the project.

    – I should have, of course, mentioned that opposition to a complete line split would not just be from Camden but also from many that live north of Camden and use the Northern Line. Personally I cannot see any increase above 24tph through the Camden junctions being possible without a line split. If 30tph is possible with a split that is a 25% increase in capacity and I cannot see TfL missing out on such a cost-effective opportunity so I am sure they will be determined to “ride out” any opposition.

  287. timbeau says:

    An added complication is that the CX branch is shorter than the Bank branch, so that, even if all trains ran through from Morden branch the order would be shuffled when they reach Camden. This also makes running alternate trains on each central branch to Edgware and to Barnet difficult dovetail together.

    I was recently studying the timetables for the even more complex Glasgow suburban network. Essentially there are three branches west of Partick, (two of which meet up at Dalmuir and then split up again) and two branches to the east (one via Queen Street and one via Central – both of these split up again further east, and one of which includes a terminal loop service going via Hamilton in both directions). There is a through service from each of the three main branches in the west to each of the two in the east every half hour, resulting in a perfectly regular 10 minute frequency through both Central and Queen Street, and a 15 minute frequency on each of the western branches.

  288. Fandroid says:

    Thanks Pedantic, that clarifies the issue enormously.

  289. Moosealot says:

    The CHX branch and City branches having different journey times between Kennington and Camden doesn’t make a huge difference to routing provided the difference is predictable. Ex-Morden services on the City branch leave with alternating destinations. If the difference in timing through CHX/City is known then you know which City train the odd CHX trains will reach Camden Town alongside and give it the opposite destination. Similarly you should know what Ex-Morden train is going to be at Camden Town alongside any Kennington starters via CHX so that’s fine, too. Of course, any delays can screw this up marvellously but given the CX branch is shorter than City rather than vice versa, it should be relatively easy to reconfigure the Kennington starters as the predicted difference in journey time to Camden Town changes.

    Having used the H&C through Kings X to commute, I can comment that the dwell time when significant numbers of people are both leaving and joining a service is a significant factor. Could someone keen on splitting the line explain how adding this ‘feature’ to Camden Town and increasing dwell times there is going to increase the throughput of trains?

  290. Pedantic of Purley says:

    LU Track Closures Six Months Look ahead has an entry for Sunday 22nd September:

    Angel to Chalk Farm/Highgate until 12:00
    Euston to Chalk Farm/Highgate
    via Mornington Crescent until 12:00

    This very strongly suggests NMA3 is going live then.

  291. Taz says:

    The intention was to remove all points at CT to eliminate the speed restrictions over them, and improve throughput of trains. A connection would remain at Kennington for engineers trains.

  292. Taz says:

    Background papers for Crossrail 2 consultation reveal at page 4 that Upgrade 2 for 33tph is due 2021/22 with a ‘partial split’. But Victoria & Jubilee line resignalling for 33tph is to be stretched to 36tph in 2017/20. Surely NL 24tph could be stretched to 27tph without a split. Will a total split be needed for another 3-6tph?

  293. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @DW down under

    Because IMHO, extension of the W&C to Battersea at one end and via Liverpool St to Bishopsgate at the other, makes a heap more sense.

    TfL looked into W&C to Battersea and discounted it. See this leaflet which I have only just discovered and suspect is new.

    @fans of an extension to Clapham Junction

    It states:
    The current proposal is to extend the Northern line as far as Battersea only, but designed in such a way that would allow for a possible further extension in the future. There is currently no proposal to extend beyond Battersea and any proposal to do so would be subject to a separate assessment.

    Factsheets A-M are available at TfL’s Northern Line extension page.

  294. DW down under says:

    Pedantic @ 03:07AM, 24th May 2013: Great – saw that yonks ago. High level analysis – Hmmph!! Their reasoning is a load of Babble, and you can quote me.

    Of course you couldn’t do Battersea with doing something about the Bank end – which is do-able according to NSE engineers who examined it. As for Waterloo capacity, obviously an extension to Battersea would require reworking the W&C, in particular the depot arrangements.

    That’s why the W&CX has to be linked with connections to depots – the Kingsway link (Crossrail 3) would enable the Waterloo depot to be replaced with platforms and passenger facilities – if the station itself isn’t moved to become parallel with the main line tracks above.

    I’ve recently raised the possibility of a depot or stabling under the proposed HS2 Euston station development as a possibility, additional to the original W&CX and CR3/Kingsway Line proposals.

    Meanwhile, the only sound element in their argument was distance, and I suspect that is affected by whether or not the line is relocated to a new station at Waterloo.

  295. Ian J says:

    @DW: But I still don’t see what all this construction you are proposing is actually for, other than drawing lines on a map. The Waterloo and City isn’t broken and doesn’t need fixing. It gets large numbers of people from Waterloo to the City and vice versa. Similarly, the Northern Line already has perfectly adequate depot provision without digging hugely expensive holes in central London to add more depots.

  296. Taz says:

    This is the sort of cavern that can be excavated beneath London these days. Perhaps Camden Town interchange will be built something like this. Maybe ten or more years ago opening a station box to the surface was the only solution for such a large space.

  297. DW down under says:

    @ Ian J: because various studies show among other things a high BCR for an additional link Bank – Liverpool St, and substantial increases in traffic through Waterloo. I’m told that the W&C is well into PiXC, but one user says he only has to wait for one train.

    To increase capacity between Waterloo and the City requires either further investment in buses (unlikely in the light of falling bus operational subsidy support) to provide a more direct route, or upgrade of the W&C. The W&C can’t be upgraded without either or both of longer trains and/or more trains. Either way, the existing depot becomes the obstacle. This is taken together with HS2 @ Euston creating a stronger traffic node there.

    So my combined CR3/Kingsway line and W&CX schemes are the net result. The Kingsway line’s very first stage enables the W&C stock to be driven elsewhere for servicing and stabling, releasing the depot space to make up an extended 4-platform station to serve both lines.

    If the W&C together with the Kingsway line are extended to Battersea, instead of the Northern, then:

    1) the Northern line City branch will not need to carry Battersea branch traffic – the forecasts show it remaining extremely congested even after all the works, including CR2;

    2) the Northern Line CX branch will not need to carry extra traffic ex Battersea; that traffic will instead travel on the Kingsway line – with some interchange as needed at Waterloo;

    Bank is an issue for the W&C. Note the point above about extension to Liv St. I envisage a modest capital works project to extend the existing platforms at Bank, which would be followed by work to extend via Liverpool St to Bishopsgate (in turn escalator linked to Shoreditch High St LO). Also, probably an interchange station at Blackfriars. These works taken together would:

    a) facilitate full length trains on the W&C,
    b) provide back load and thus improve its long term economics;
    c) improve connectivity, esp from the LO (but does duplicate some routes available at Whitechapel and Canada Water) but mainly from Liv St mainline, Waterloo and Thameslink;
    d) turn the line into a 20/7 operation, like most tube lines;
    e) enable a much more frequent service, by having suitable reversing facilities;
    f) westbound trains would alternate between terminating at Waterloo and Battersea

    As for the Northern line and depots, to suggest that it has enough depot capacity is to ignore the current plans to increase frequency as well as add trains to serve Battersea. They need to be stabled and serviced. The point had been made about the lack of stabling and depots mid-route to the south. My comments about Euston were to show that there is potential for an operationally useful solution, if TfL wish to go down that path. First cost high. Cost over 40 years, compared to extra servicing capacity well to the north requiring more car milage: probably cheaper.

  298. DW down under says:

    Should also add:

    1) NSE engineers examined the configuration of Bank, and confirmed that a route through to Liverpool St was practical;
    2) notwithstanding CR1, the section of Central Line between Liverpool St and Bank is still forecast to be extremely crowded;
    3) The W&CX would help relieve some of that crowding;
    4) there may be scope around the Bishopsgate development for stabling;
    5) the Euston site might be useful for the Kingsway and W&C lines

  299. Kristof says:

    I’m not completely convinced of the extension of the W& C line, what I do remember from the Arcadis study on possible extension of the DLR from bank the connection Bank-Liverpool street had a BCR of 9,6:1 . The extension Bank-Liverpool street- Bishopgate, still came in with a BCR of over 4,3:1

    So without judging the discussion, the core section of the connection would make a great and very beneficial idea.
    It has been discussed extensively by John Bull in 2009, but I can’t find the link

  300. DW down under says:

    Ian Sergeant09:53AM, 9th May 2013 wrote:


    Basically the split of traffic at Camden gives us a 36% increase in capacity on the Bank branch. If CR2 were to take over the Hertford North branch (and lengthen the platforms), that would leave the capability for 12tph on the WGC branch to go into Moorgate rather than the two planned after Thameslink. I know you can’t take all the trains all the way to WGC, but you could potentially terminate 8tph at Potter’s Bar, and then your operation north of Potter’s Bar is the same as after Thameslink. Also add DW’s suggestion elsewhere of lengthening the trains when the fleet is replaced and using SDO EVO underground – that’s a further 17%. As I’ve said before, the WGC branch is a Northern Line relief line being less than a mile away from the High Barnet Branch (at least in places).

    So, unless you run Northern Heights trains beyond Moorgate and do a lot of work underground, you are looking at 12tph along the Northern Heights to Moorgate, and the 2tph from WGC which go to Moorgate after Thameslink are now in search of a terminus. My suggestion delivers the same capacity, and it would appear much cheaper.”

    1) That’s SDO (not EVO) through the intermediate underground stations of the GN&C. Not needed at Moorgate.

    2) On reflection, during the peaks with emphasis on City access, I think I would be advocating at least 4tph from WGC and 4tph from Hertford North to continue working to Moorgate. That would give 4tph from each branch plus 4tph from Muswell Hill to make up 12tph at AP onto CR2. The Letchworth via HN service, I’d suggest becomes an 8-car semi-fast running to KX or onto TL. In fact, how about Hertford Loop – Wimbledon Loop? Off peak, the GN suburbans would all go via CR2.

    3) The GN&C would need resignalling, probably with the same ATO as TL. During the peaks, we would have 8tph from the GN Suburbans, and that would allow up to maybe 16tph from East Finchley with relay drivers (stepping back) – but 12tph seems more likely to me. I’m not sure about taking the Moorgate service any further than East Finchely. If it is, total separation would be ideal (except for access by Northern Line stock to Highgate depot) which means quadruplication to Finchely Central.

    4) A long time before CR2, the GN suburbans need to come onto the TfL fare schedule, so as to neutralise the current fare-driven over-reliance on LU services.

    5) To go beyond Moorgate (southwards) means the miniCrossrail concept discussed in some detail earlier this year. Yes, I’d like to see it. No, I don’t think it would get funded, any more than a Bakerloo extension.

  301. Ian Sergeant says:

    @PoP 09:33 13/05

    I’m sure you would do a far better job than me – but in the absence of anything from you I’ve put some thoughts together – with considerable help with diagrams from Mark Townend – on Uckfield to Lewes at my blog.

  302. @Ian Sergeant

    Had a very quick look. Will read properly when I get a chance.

    The idea of writing a single article about the Brighton Main Line and related issues has failed woefully, It is worse than when I intended to do a single article on Beeching. Currently I am up to six related articles but can’t really publish the first one until, at the very least, the second one is ready to go. Also, like Beeching, it turns out not to be easy stuff. “Quick” articles are an evening to write and maybe another hour or two to clean up and format properly. And there is just so much to get my head around, these won’t be quick articles.

  303. Anonymous says:

    The basic question re Camden Town Station is does the entrance have to be where the existing one is given how Crossrail Stations have been built double ended with two entrances perhaps another closeby site or even under road location might allow a brand new station entrance together with additional escalators and step free access to all platforms .

    One has also to ask why Kennington Station which will become an important interchange is not also being made fully step free as part of the Northern Line extention to Nine Elms?

  304. AlisonW says:

    I was sure I’d once read, years ago, that if the Northern was permanently split then it would be the Char X side which would go to Highgate and onwards, not the City side. Something about alignments in the cross-overs?

    As regards rebuilding Camden Town YES PLEASE! It is so disabled-unfriendly it is impossible. Some years ago (when I did the politics thing) I argued that South Kentish Town should be re-opened, even only temporarily, while Camden Town was closed. Seriously, you could not reconfigure / rebuild that station without closing it in the same way Angel was.

    Of course, Camden Road (overground) used to be called Camden Town, and Camden Road was further up the road on an entirely different line, but let’s leave that aside ;-P

  305. Taz says:

    It mystifies me how they reckon to put 32tph through the flat junctions at Baker St, Aldgate triangle, Praed St/Edgware Rd, Gloucester Rd, Earls Court east & west, and yet beyond 24tph with Northern Upgrade 1 will require a split of routes at the grade separated Camden Town junction!
    Camden Town could surely see a merge of two 16tph into 32tph for each branch in each direction, which is what will happen at Baker Street Outer Rail. (Reposted from “The Past, Present and Future of Metropolitan Line Services: Part 2”)

  306. Greg Tingey says:

    The trouble with Camden Town, is because LUL made a daft (NOT a DafT!) proposal for there a few years back, they are now terrified of doing anything at all there – see posts way back up this thread.
    Now, they don’t seem capable of starting again, with a clean sheet of paper & really thinking about it. Which results in the dangerous overcrowding & apparent refusal to do anything useful we have today.

  307. Anonymous says:

    I recently stood on the overbridge at Finchley Central looking south and was amazed to see four northbound trains close behind one another which was only possible because of the new signalling system.

  308. Taz says: page 8 gives an updated upgrade programme for the current budget. Camden Town work is 2018 – 2024, but Northern Upgrade 2 is expected by 2021 with 28% increase which looks like 24tph up to 31tph approx. Doesn’t seem to depend on new Camden station.

  309. Taz says:

    The draft TfL 2013 Business Plan tabled at the December Board meeting suggests that the Northern Line Upgrade 2 will be achieved without splitting services at Camden Town, only at Kennington, with at least 30tph rather than 24tph of next year’s Upgrade. That will offer no increase for the overcrowded Morden branch, only all trains via Bank. This means that the split will have to await Upgrade 3 with the new design of tube train and 36tph to all branches some time in the future!

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