We had gone for quite a while without looking at Crossrail other than to publish some of the dramatic pictures made available showing the progress of the construction works. That had already started to change with our look at the report of the National Audit Office on the progress so far on Crossrail. This in turn was followed by the recent announcement that Bombardier would be providing the rolling stock for Crossrail.

It seems then that perhaps the time has come to look again at the line and the different aspects of this project. This particular article looks the implications of a recent report that has been published, notionally but not really, about Crossrail and one aspect of the much less readable (but considerably more important) Draft Further Alterations to the London Plan which was published in mid-January and which isn’t about Crossrail at all.

Lies, damned lies and population statistics

The true population of the United Kingdom and especially London has been, for a long time now, a contentious issue. For many years some of the chattering classes have insisted that official figures contradict other indications. Most notably the fact that it is fairly well known how much energy an average household of a specific number of people likely uses, and the total domestic energy usage does not seem to equate to the supposed population. Other indications such as the need for medical services, particularly in Accident & Emergency in the NHS, also seem to be considerably above the proper average that statistics have laid down for our guidance – as Lady Bracknell would have said.

More pertinent to our discussion, London has seen a surge in public transport use. Some of this could be explained away by other factors but the surge in core journeys to and from work by all forms of transport – public and private – has consistently defied any really plausible explanation other than that there were more people around. A notable feature of recent years has been a huge rise in public transport usage – notably on London Overground but also on Tramlink and other services. This was partly put down to a “improve the quality of service and the passengers will come” belief but even so the reality appears more and more to be that there is a latent demand that will seize any opportunity for new and better connections. It is very noticeable that much trumpeted improvements on the Underground, such as greater frequency of trains in the peak period, lead only to a very short term improvement before trains quickly fill up and the Tube remains just as crowded as before.

At many underground stations one is lucky to be able to board the third train that comes along in the peak period. From that it would seem clear that the latent demand is considerable but people are put off by the difficulty in making their journey. On that basis we are nowhere near to providing adequate transport services for a city that is so utterly dependent on public transport in its central area. The perception is that the Underground is just getting busier and busier. This perception is backed up by figures in the latest commissioner’s report which states:

A new non-Olympics daily record was set on Friday 6 December [2013] with 4.53 million [Underground] journeys made, which is only 14,000 fewer than the record set during the Games.

So, by the time you read this the Underground may already be at is busiest ever and roughly 50% up on the figure of 3 million a day which was generally quoted for much of the late 20th century.

One of the frustrations for commuters is that they can see there is a problem today and they are savvy enough to realise that providing 12-car trains instead of 10-car on the National Rail network, increasing Thameslink from 16tph to 24tph (but a lot of them still 8-car) in the core section or upping the frequency on the Underground lines by a few tph are not going to solve the problems. All they do is buy us time. One can almost envisage Neville Chamberlain waving around his tablet computer showing the Tube Improvement Plan and reassuring us that all is well.

Two views are of this problem are worthy of a note – although we may be a bit biased. Dave Hill of the Guardian did an article at the very end of last year in which he collated the opinion of many bloggers and other people. One of those other people was Sir Peter Hendy. What Sir Peter said wasn’t new and certainly wasn’t original. In fact commenters on our website have said the same thing. What was significant was that it was Sir Peter Hendy, Commisioner of Transport for the Metropolis, that said it. The quote was:

I predict that when Crossrail opens in 2018 it will be immediately full. The people who predicted that it will take all the traffic out of Oxford Street or that we’ll be able to sit down on the Central Line in the rush hour will be wrong. It will just be full up with people.

A soundbite or a serious concern?

We have to issue the relevant health warning to accompany what Sir Peter says. It is a bit of a soundbite and shouldn’t be taken too literally. It was probably said to shock some people out of their complacency. He would almost certainly admit he didn’t really mean literally on day one.

In fact, given Crossrail won’t be fully open until December 2019, one suspects Sir Peter would concede that one would have to stretch the definition of a “immediately” to mean “within one or two years”. Nevertheless, as with “we will never order an underground train with a cab again”, regardless of the strict accuracy, the general thrust of what is being said is probably true – and if anyone would know, he would. There is also the issue that a perception of full (e.g. “I could only just managed to squeeze onto my carriage”) isn’t quite the same as figures showing that there was no space in any of the carriages on the train for passengers.

So we have a problem. We also have a solution – Crossrail. It has been repeatedly stated that Crossrail will increase public transport capacity in London by 10%. What else have we got? Well, basically, to quote Private Eye: Err, that’s it. So what if Sir Peter is right? What happens when Crossrail is full up?

Don’t worry it might not happen

Last month a report commissioned, at least in part, by the New West End Company and produced by Arup was published. It got quite an airing on the BBC local news. The news report stated that by 2026 many more people than previously thought would be heading to Oxford Street via Crossrail. This was the conclusion reached by looking at the expected figures for passenger numbers at three central Crossrail stations then. Not surprisingly the New West End Company were calling for dramatic measures to accommodate the greatly increased footfall which would make the environment outside two of the stations (Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road) more pleasant for the increased number of shoppers that, it was presumed, would be using them.

As is often the case, one has to be careful at taking commissioned reports at face value. To get the figures to be much more dramatic the report highlights the increased prediction over the 2004 estimate and downplays the 2010 and subsequent updates. So, much higher than previously thought once upon a time but not so much higher than the current figures. Basically it is rather misleading.

The report looked at three Crossrail stations and the increase at those stations – so they did not confine the increase to Crossrail. Of course if you are the New West End Company it makes no difference to you if the person leaves Bond Street station having travelled by Central Line, Jubilee Line or Crossrail. That is fine but you can’t then legitimately subsequently use these figures to produce headlines such as New report suggests Crossrail to handle a quarter of a billion visitors by 2026 when it doesn’t suggest anything of the sort. In particular one of the three stations investigated was Farringdon and a lot of the increase in entry and exit figures will be down to Thameslink – not Crossrail.

One wonders on what basis Arup produced the figures and there is a least a partial answer in a quote on the report on Arup’s website:

“With London’s population growing by two thousand every eight days, Arup’s analysis suggests Crossrail’s stations will be somewhat busier sooner than was originally anticipated. This is in line with the experience of London Overground improvements and DLR extensions. Crossrail stations are designed to handle the flow but there are going to be significant opportunities – and some challenges – for property owners, local authorities, retailers, employers, the entertainment industry and residents.

Immediately the reason for the amazing figures Arup produced is clear. London’s population growing by two thousand every eight days? How on earth did they arrive at such a large – and such a specific – figure? And why is this figure far in excess of what TfL are quoting?

As recently as last September in a presentation to Camden Council TfL reiterated their standard soundbite on the subject that “London is growing at a rate equivalent to Tube train full of people added every week” – in rough terms that represents growth of approximately 750 people. 2000 people every 8 days would therefore represent a growth rate of roughly 265% of TfL’s estimate, equating to 91,250 people a year.

TfL’s presentation predicts 750,000 more people by 2031 – around 42,000 a year – or a very packed tube train of 800 people a week. If Arup’s figures weren’t at variance enough with TfL’s figures, Tony Travers, the generally well-respected economist from the London School of Economics, trumped that by appearing in front of the BBC cameras claiming that London’s population was going up by 100,000 a year. Clearly someone has to be wrong.

Keep calm and carry on – or not

At times like this it is clearly best to ignore the hyped report of Arup and take a sober look at the much more reliable and official figures from the London Plan – reliable because these figures will have been carefully prepared after a lot of research, without any desire (conscious or otherwise) to produce the sort of figures the client wanted to hear. So we can dismiss the Arup figure and use figures that are more dependable. For this it is very fortuituous that the GLA has recently published its draft Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP).

When one delves into FALP and finds the projected population figures one then comes to the very, very sobering conclusion that Arup, if anything, has underestimated population growth. One can quibble about some of the finer details of their findings but they are, in essence, correct.

The critical document is FALP Chapter 1 – context and strategy.

To quote paragraph 1.7

Informed by projections that average growth between 2001 and 2011 would be in the order of 46,000 pa, that Plan was based on the assumption that London would grow by an average of 51,000 pa in the two decades to 2031. However, the 2011 Census showed that during this decade London grew at a much more substantial rate – by an average of 87,000 pa, to 8.2 mll in 2011 rather than the 7.8 mll expected by the 2011 Plan

The penultimate sentence of paragraph 1.10c states

These projections suggest that London could grow by 91,000 – 106,000 pa in the decade to 2021, and over the term of the Plan to 2036 by 64,000 – 88,000 pa.

Remember Crossrail is due to fully open in December 2019 so, between 2011, when the population according to the census was 8.2m, and 2021, we can expect London’s population to grow by around a million. With these figures, the fact that Crossrail will provide an increase in London’s public transport capacity of 10% doesn’t look as if it is going to be anywhere near adequate. All it is going to do is help provide some of the capacity to enable us to stay as we are. It is not solving anything.

Londons PopulationAs published in FALP Context and Strategy. Original source: Office for National Statistics mid-year estimates to 2001, GLA estimates 2002 to 2036.

The Prolepsis effect

To continue our look at Crossrail it helps if we introduce the word prolepsis (we have Graham H to thank us for bringing it to our attention). Prolepsis is, according to one of its definitions, the representation of something in the future as if it already existed or had occurred. A good illustration of prolepsis exists on the website. Many people are showing indications of prolepsis when it comes to Crossrail.

If you thought the situation was already bad …

There is one critical group of people who, it could be argued, take a prolepsic attitude to Crossrail and that is property developers. Nowadays property developers do not wait for upgraded public transport to actually exist before they build and put out their property for sale or let. If one was in any doubt about this then a walk around the Victoria Station Upgrade site should make this clear. Victoria Underground station is at capacity in peak hours and on both the Victoria northbound and the District and Circle platforms one cannot expect to be able catch the first train that arrives. Worse than that the barriers to the solitary escalator to the Victoria Line platforms from the Victoria Line ticket hall are often closed for a few minutes in the morning peak to prevent a build up of crowds on the northbound platform. There is a substantial upgrade planned to open in two stages in 2016 and 2018.

Around Victoria there is massive office development going on and much of the surrounding area is a building site. The station cannot cope now even though these sites are devoid of offices or anything else that would generate many passengers. It is probably a fairly safe bet that, when the station upgrade scheme opens, not only will the capacity issues on the Victoria Line not be fully resolved, but  the District & Circle Lines will also be in an even worse situation.

The insatiable need for passenger capacity at Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is in a similar situation to Victoria only on a much larger scale. There had been a pause in construction but now there is lots of activity. One gets the feeling this is timed so that by 2018, when Crossrail opens via Canary Wharf to Abbey Wood, new offices will be available. The idea of the developers, no doubt, is to let or sell them at such time as when the public transport is best able to cope in order to make the property as attractive as possible to clients. It also helps if you aim tap into the market before your competitors. Of course this only really works if you have this idea and your rivals don’t. So the reality is more that developers are anxious to take advantage of new stations as soon as possible in order not to get left behind in the property market.

It is easy to envisage that public transport around 2020 at Canary Wharf is going to be struggling just as much as it was in 2010. One must not think that this problem will be isolated to the Abbey Wood branch of Crossrail. Links between Stratford and Canary Wharf are currently inadequate with the Jubilee Line busy and the DLR crammed in the peak hours with through passengers from Stratford to Canary Wharf. Undoubtedly some of those living on the Shenfield branch and working at Canary Wharf will use Crossrail and change at Whitechapel to get to work. With a predicted journey time of only 9 minutes by Crossrail it is also likely that many people changing at Stratford for Canary Wharf will continue their journey by Crossrail even though their journey by that route involves a further change.

Its the same everywhere you go

Of course, the phenomenon that is taking place at Canary Wharf is not confined to that location. A lot of people (including Arup) are predicting that Farringdon is ripe for business expansion having been for many years a place that is neither here (the city) nor there (the West End). We are also seeing Crossrail being very quick to do deals to sell the site overspace at stations which is being snapped up by speculators – although speculators may not be quite the correct word given the near certainty of the attractiveness of the site to those searching for convenient office locations.


On top of the extra demand at Canary Wharf we have seen when looking at the Piccadilly Line that it is quite likely Crossrail will be expected to handle a greater proportion of rail travellers from Heathrow to London. And, as commenters have pointed out, although Heathrow is operating very close to absolute capacity when it comes to flights this is not the case with passenger numbers and, as planes get larger and carry more people, this number is bound to increase.

The devil is in the detail

There is a little-noticed paragraph in the DfT press announcement on Crossrail rolling stock which is as follows:

London’s population is set to grow from 8.4 million today to around 10 million by 2030. Government, the Mayor of London and Transport for London are investing in Crossrail and other transport infrastructure to support access to jobs, education, housing and to boost economic growth.

This is presented as an amazingly positive message. Taken in conjunction with the much quoted “Crossrail will increase our transport capacity by 10%” it really does not appear to be great news. Putting it another way, in sixteen years time the population of London will increase by 19% on what we have today whilst he only really big infrastructure improvement to London’s transport system that is actually currently being built can only cater for just over half that increase. This is to cater for increased demand on a system that is already overloaded today. It is true that we do have the final phase of Thameslink to be delivered but much of the capacity benefits of that scheme have already been realised. So, if you want evidence from the government department in charge of this that Crossrail on its own is going to be hopelessly inadequate then just read their own press releases.

Plus ça change?

We can see that, if the latest population predictions are correct, the long term future-proofing of Crossrail looks like being used up in the first few years – replicating what happened on the Jubilee Line Extension. The stations appear to have been designed to be large enough to handle this capacity and are not generally expected to be a problem.

One issue may well be, as highlighted by the Arup report, that our pavements and roads just will not be geared to this number of extra Crossrail passengers in the first few years. No-one has really produced a workable solution to the Oxford Street problem as it is today and it looks like it is going to get a whole lot worse.

No more money?

One further issue – when considering the problem of Crossrail being full up pretty early on in its life – is that, until the project is regarded as complete spending is going to be closely scrutinised – as we have already seen in the NAO report. There is great pressure to deliver on time and on budget. Even if the external pressure did not exist there would probably be internal pressure in order to show to the government that TfL could be trusted with large projects. In particular, should more detailed planning on Crossrail 2 be authorised in the not-too-distant future, the government could be confident that there would be no major cost overruns with TfL in charge. So, it would appear that any obvious attempts at mitigating future problems by, for example, ordering more trains or longer trains or both would not be acceptable. In fact no extra expenditure on this basis would be acceptable.

If Crossrail were to go to Reading it will be interesting to see how the above accounting issue is dealt with. No doubt the public justification of appearing to be breach Crossrail spending limits would be that overall (taking into account other operators costs hence the value of the franchise) costs would be cheaper. This is presuming that the cost of extra rolling stock to Crossrail exceeds any Crossrail savings otherwise made – it is hard to see how this wouldn’t be the case.

And then the question would be, if you can take this attitude once, why can’t you do take this attitude any number of times?

Back to the future to look at the past

It seems that if we look forward to the early 2020s Crossrail may well be full up and we will be talking about how in the past we managed without Crossrail. And some of the people who have a penchant for obscure words would recognise that as a form of analepsis.

In one or more future posts we intend to to what options are, or will be, available in the event of Crossrail being “immediately full”.

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There are 352 comments on this article
  1. Anonymous says:

    That all sounds a bit optimistic. Crossrail will also increase the number of people who can commute from places that certainly aren’t London (e.g. Maidenhead, and maybe Reading if Crossrail extends there) into London. For instance, Maidenhead to Canary Wharf suddenly becomes a manageable commute. As a result, the number of people trying to behave like Londoners (working in London and doing their shopping and entertainment in London) will increase by more than the number of people ‘in London’ increases.

  2. Castlebar says:

    “It seems that if we look forward to the early 2020s Crossrail may well be full up and we will be talking about how in the past we managed without Crossrail. And some of the people who have a penchant for obscure words would recognise that as a form of analepsis”.

    I must ineluctably conclude this to be correct

    How did we manage before Motorways etc?

    How did we manage before the internet?

    I think Crossrail could be looked at in the same light, and this is the one that will be a major gamechanger. There is a danger that saturation could come too soon, if not immediately upon opening. That wouldn’t surprise me. Estate agents will factor some things in as a “done deal” on the first whiff of an announcement. And that could be self fuelling as it would drive others to areas without current transport links, thus creating a new need. Crossrail’s very success could create the need for Crossrail 2, and Son of Crossrail, (etc)

  3. Milton Clevedon says:

    Super article. All very credible. Crossrail was designed to allow 2016 (original opening date) + 28% demand growth, by 2076. The ultimate capacity would be 24 x 10-car (now 9-car) trains per hour moving to 30 x 10-car or 24 x 12-car, and then finally to 30 x 12-car, which is a 50% increase on the opening hourly volume in peaks.

    Since the original design freeze (which has then seen some design cut-backs – sorry, value engineering, not quite the same thing but that depends on whether proposed passenger facilities have been reduced), we have seen the population boom discussed in the article, a jobs boom, HS2 being planned with a direct Crossrail 1 interchange, the TfL and Mayoral desire to introduce West Coast local train services into Crossrail (also backed in the 2011 London & SE RUS), a Crossrail service to Reading looming, and a host of developers getting busy along the line of route. Heathrow also counts for 2 of the 3 short-listed airport expansion options.

    Some of that would have been forecast, but not all. Some questions which occur are:
    – how soon before more Crossrail 1 carriages are actually ordered, and which configuration, 24 x 11-car or 30 x 9-car (suspect Part 2 article to cover this)?
    – how soon for Crossrail 2 to be planned in detail?
    – how soon for a Crossrail 3 to begin to be defined (and what are its urgent tasks – does that include relieving Crossrail 1?);
    – what scale of tube station expansion in Central London needs to be planned beyond the existing programme?
    – do we need some high-capacity surface transit (let’s call it a tram) to take other flows out of the over-burdened central London rail system?
    – do we need more orbital links and capacity?
    – and where, other than Old Oak already planned, would we propose to put future jobs generators, given that simply causing more and more jobs in central London drives the demand for more Crossrails and tubes?!

  4. Castlebar says:

    @ Milton

    Well said!

    And it does make the decision to sever the NNML link OOC – Greenford seem even more bizarre……………although perhaps I’m missing something??

  5. StephenC says:

    Well written, clear and as thoroughly scary as I knew it would be. (I’ve been trying to make the case where I can that politicians, civil servants and the treasury aren’t anywhere near understanding the depths of the pressure on London transport in the next 10 years). Here is more from TfL on the topic of demand from 2012.

    To meet the demand, London needs money and power. A guaranteed stream of devolved money and the power to build lines without running back to parliament/treasury. A straightfoward £4bn per year for 20 years would probably be enough, and more importantly it would allow TfL to plan a sequence of investments, rather than forcing one project (Crossrail 2) to try and do way too much.

    Final thought. Does 24tph Crossrail 1 have enough capacity to handle the 60% of people from 30tph Crossrail 2 who will want to change to reach the City and Wharf? I *really* don’t think it does.

  6. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Stephen C
    London IS a devolved government, like Wales, NI, and Scotland (with its forthcoming separatist referendum). They were all introduced in the first term of the last Labour Government, though funnily enough Londoners weren’t given a referendum about devolution, unlike other parts of the UK, perhaps central govt thought they were just re-introducing a modern GLC. Don’t think they could take it away again, now.

    All that London hasn’t (yet) done is demand devolution of some legislation and/or taxes, just a few civil service control mechanisms have been handed over. Oh! London is a net contributor of tax income to the rest of the UK. Well well, maybe there’s an interesting debate to emerge in a few years time, then.

  7. Littlejohn says:

    To answer the population question really needs to start with a definition of population – and this may in part be the reason for wildly differing numbers. Do we mean resident population, working population or transient population (or a combination of all three)? Do we include someone living in Swindon and visiting Auntie in Gravesend but travelling through London? What proportion of those living in London will be using public transport, either occasionally or regularly? Will these numbers reach saturation point or will they continue growing year on year, and if so by what amount? As always with statistics, you can get almost any answer you want and they can all be proved to be correct – or incorrect. Maybe what is really needed is an agreed number of potential passengers.

  8. ngh says:

    Great article.

    The big supermarkets particularly T&S will have a very good idea of the population particularly in London given they know how much is sold and how much gets typically binned as well as accurate data of wast volumes and recycling!

    Questions also being asked about water usage levels.

    Re Milton 1702
    Spot on re your comments.

    We need to be thinking about CR3,4,5 re sequencing routes etc. Unfortunately I can’t see CR3 providing direct relief for CR1 as SE-NW will need doing (given growth in SE housing planned) so suspect it may have to wait till CR4 for East-West axis relief suggestion with a more southerly route Canary Wharf (Take over some Fenchurch Street services and spare Abbey Wood CR1 paths- City – Waterloo – then some capacity on the Windsors lines inc Wimbledon via East Putney?)

    Interesting to note in the latest CR2 report I linked to last week that Chessington is now mooted for big residential development to help fund CR2.

  9. CG says:

    Regarding the concerns about Oxford Street overcrowding – in the last few years the two Westfield malls at Stratford and White City have opened (both well outside traditional central London) and there is a third on the way at Croydon. New West End Company need to talk up Oxford Street so they wouldn’t say this, but if shoppers start to gravitate towards the Westfield centres instead of the West End, the problem may not materialise to the same extent.

    More generally, promoting employment sites outside Zone 1 would reduce the pressures on peak travel in and out of the centre.

  10. Roger Goodacre says:

    As an interested observer and London resident who lived for 15 years in Paris, but not a railways expert, I wonder – particularly given the apparent widespread awareness of rapid population growth – why it is that Crossrail was not configured for double-deck trains which would have offered valuable extra capacity? The cost of digging slightly bigger tunnels would have been marginal. Was it the cost of modifying infrastructure outside London, bad planning or false economy?

  11. Graham H says:

    A super article (not sure whether I shouldn’t apologise for introducing “prolepsis” here, or not). A few points that add to the gathering gloom alas (and my apologies if I have mentioned them before):

    – after CLE, the next biggest driver of demand for transport is the volume of transport offered. I discovered this in NSE days about 20 years ago after commissioning some modelling work from Prof Yarrow (not a popular result, which we kept well away from HMT); it aligns with some parallel work done by the then Standing Committee on Trunk Road Assessment. Quite why this should be is uncertain – suppressed demand (Castlebar’s point about “how did we manage without XXX” is relevant)?

    – London’s experience is paralleled by Paris. I once asked the RATP Director general about the impact on road traffic of the RER programme (supposedly its main justification) – “we bought about 6 months’ growth” was his response.

    – the conventional argument (CG refers) that alternative poles of development such as OOC and Stratford will help spread the load doesn’t seem to be borne out in practice. As with the post-war New towns programme, these developments don’t seem to “consume their own smoke” – that is to say that they simply attract traffic from a wider field with overlapping catchment areas. Better orbital routes reinforce that tendency, alas…

    – There’s also the last point’s close cousin – dispersal. There’s no sign that has ever worked. People creep back, and London seems to act as a sort of volcano spewing out suburban settlements without end, with new jobs welling up in the central area constantly.

    Que faire? However unpopular with the Treasury, there really doesn’t seem any way forward other than a long term programme of building new line after new line. We might reasonably be thinking of a further 6 or 7 high capacity lines through the centre, however defined, over the next 30-40 years. Paris, faced with the same issue, is planning to do that over a somewhat shorter timescale.

  12. lmm says:

    If LR is revisiting Crossrail could I humbly request a post summarising the plans for the terminal capacity it frees up? Some commentors appear to know things (I’ve seen talk of 12 platforms at Paddington and some scheme for Bow Junction) but others assume the capacity is available; it’d be great to put together what we know (and what we don’t) in one place.

  13. SG says:

    It all seems rather worrying for future quality of life. Though no doubt I will be decried by some – this kind of population growth and need for additional expenditure was never included in reports about the cost of immigration. As we have seen with primary schools the predictions have been well out, and additional billions needed. Recent EU reports, along with studies by other groups such as the London school of economics, don’t factor many related pressures when working out the costs of immigration.
    Until these predictions do and numbers accurately counted then there will be a continual process of chasing to catch the reality.

  14. SG says:

    An option that really need central government to get to grips with, or ideally the Mayor and Greater London Authority with far more additional power, is mass house building in London zones 1-4 under a London housing corporation. Far greater density in zones 1-2 to lessen the need for long commutes and transport strain. Those homes MUST be affordable too.

    There’s scope for tens of thousands of new homes within walking distance of Canary Wharf alone. The vast majority will not be affordable though, and sold abroad to be lived in part time at best whilst thousands in new offices will travel in on transport that will not be able to cope. Mass affordable housing for people on 20 -30k within walking/cycling distance of the City and Canary Wharf is needed.

    Same story in Elelphant & castle, King’s Cross, Paddington etc etc.

  15. peezedtee says:

    I don’t think you can blame immigration policy. Surely it’s just the centripetal effect of market forces. Centres of economic power, other things being equal, suck in ever more economic activity and hence people.

    There is nothing unique about London in this respect. Tokyo has reached 13 million (very few of them foreigners) and they seem to be managing. Here is its metro map:

    The surprise really is that London’s population remained stable or actually declined for so many decades after World War 2. We are still not quite back up to the 8.6 million of 1939.

  16. stimarco says:

    @Roger Goodacre:

    Actually, Crossrail could handle European-style double-decker trains in its core section, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever be used.

    The reason for that is a bit complicated…

    France, and most of the rest of continental Europe, built (or subsequently modified) their railways to take larger trains than the UK. This was partly because of the need for each country’s railways to connect to each other to provide through services, so reasonable continent-wide standards were needed. As the UK was, until relatively recently, an island, those standards were never applied to the British network.

    Furthermore, the UK, being first to market with their innovative, new, ‘self-propelled kettle’ technology, got to make all the mistakes that other nations learned from. One of those mistakes was to keep costs low by making tunnels and cuttings as small as they could get away with. Smaller tunnels were a lot cheaper (and quicker) to build, while cuttings could be shallower and the bridges across them would therefore be cheaper too. When you consider how many railway lines were built across the country during the 1800s alone, it’s easy to see how much money was saved by this approach, but we’re now paying the price for all that cost-cutting.

    Of course, nobody had any inkling that freight would later be sent via containers built to standard sizes. The UK has had to spend many millions adapting a limited number of freight routes to allow for the larger containers popular with freight logistics companies today, but those routes rarely align with those popular with passengers. Only the West Coast Main Line is fully cleared for W10 gauge, and that’s only because it was an EU requirement to do so when it was being upgraded during the late ’90s and early ’00s.

    The upshot of which is that very few of the UK’s older lines can handle double-decker trains along the European model. That’s not to say double-decker trains have never been tried – they were, but with limited* success, for reasons explained in the linked article.

    Continental double-decker trains usually follow a common design: a double-deck central section, with doors at roughly 1/4 of the distance from each end. There’s usually a single-deck section at each end at a height roughly midway between the double-deck sections. These single-deck sections lead to the doors that connect the coaches.

    Such rolling stock has only limited accessibility for the mobility-impaired due to the need to use stairs instead of ramps to save space: typically, only the lower deck has a ramp. There’s also very little baggage space due to the low ceiling heights.

    These trains can be quite cramped. The ramps and stairs, small as they are, still take up quite a bit of room, so you only get about a 50-60% increase in passenger capacity at best. It’s not twice the capacity, which is what the term “double-decker” implies.

    The TAF double-deckers frequently seen in and around Rome are universally derided for their terrible acceleration and overall performance. (They’re not particularly reliable either; I’ve yet to see a train without at least one door sticky-taped with out of order signs and locked out of use, though this may be a maintenance issue.)

    Finally: dwell times. To maintain high frequencies, you need to make sure people get on and off each train quickly. With a modern walk-through train design, such as the new rolling stock used on the London Overground and the Metropolitan Line, that’s not a big deal: just move towards the nearest door. There’s nothing in your way and no pinch-points.

    With double-deckers, you need to factor in time for people to make their way down the one set of steps / ramps to their chosen exit. On a packed commuter train, that can really slow things down – especially if passengers on the platform ignore the etiquette of letting people off the train first.

    * (If by “limited” you mean “remained in service for 20 years”.)

  17. SG says:

    One more thing – the obvious thing is to extend the Bakerloo down the Old Kent Road asap and build extremely high density along there with wide cycle lanes along the road into central London. It is in zone 2 and filled with out of town style retail barns. With an additional million people in the next 10 years plans need to be sped up quickly.

  18. stimarco says:


    I don’t think immigration is the key driver here. London’s problem is housing, not transport. We blundered in the 1950s and ’60s by building cheap (and, as it turned out, rather nasty) high-rise housing estates that gave the very concept a bad name. So we’ve now replaced many of those estates with yet more low-density housing. Only in areas like Docklands have we really seen high-rise housing gain any cachet. And even much of that is of mediocre quality compared to what can be found on the continent.

    The UK now has some of the world’s smallest homes, yet even those sell for silly money. Something has to give. More higher-density housing is urgently required – yes, even at the expense of many of those Victorian terraces; indeed, often because of them –  and when the government finally realises this and makes it happen, the UK’s endless series of property gravy trains will finally meet their rightful Beeching.

    Fundamentally, the argument against roads applies equally to all forms of transport infrastructure: build it and they will come. In droves. (And this is why I have no time for that argument when discussing additional river crossings east of Blackwall and Dartford: yes, the new crossings will attract more traffic. That’s the whole damned point!)

    This is also going to make for some very interesting debates once Low-/Zero-Emissions Vehicles start to become mainstream. That’s still a while off yet, but we’re seeing some real traction in that field, so it’s definitely coming. And when it does, the argument that road vehicles cause pollution will no longer apply. The only issue will be congestion, and we’re seeing no end of that on the rail network too.

    Interesting times ahead, I think.

  19. Saifur R says:

    @SG Which here comes in my idea for the Northern City Line extension. Sending the Bakerloo Line down Old Kent Road would mean the chance to have the tube come to Camberwell and Peckham would be missed yet again. But a Northern City Line extension would pick up on that.

  20. stimarco says:

    @SG (again):

    Maybe. The Bakerloo is currently using yesterday’s technology, but its tunnelled section is short enough that converting it to handle mainline-gauge trains would not be too onerous. (Especially as most of the existing stations could then be reused.) This is the only way you can justify extending it onto one of south London’s existing railways, whose customers are already used to 10- or 12-coach mainline trains capable of running at over 75 mph. The Bakerloo thus becomes a new north-south ‘Thameslink’ route, albeit one that primarily serves the West End rather than the City. Which is arguably no bad thing as, outside the peaks, few people are all that interested in the latter.

  21. Alan Griffiths says:

    Milton Clevedon @ 18 February 2014 at 17:32

    “Londoners weren’t given a referendum about devolution ”

    Don’t know where you got that one from. I remember voting in it.

  22. timbeau says:

    “But a Northern City Line extension would pick up on that.”
    Once again, the NCL is hemmed in on all sides at Moorgate. Extending it would mean a completely new tunnel from north of Old Street – and if you’re going to those lengths you might as well build a completely new line anyway.
    You COULD connect the DLR at Bank to the Northern north of Moorgate, and the Northern at Bank to the NCL north of Moorgate, giving you Morden to Finsbury Park, and Docklands to Camden Town and beyond, but both routes would have to operate Tube stock unless you expand the Northern Line tunnels (again) .

  23. Alan Griffiths says:

    I think a more detailed model is required for this kind of prediction.
    At which stations are the predicted increased numbers of Crossrail passengers expected to begin their journeys or interchange?

  24. Steven Taylor says:

    Although I don`t have figures, the Bakerloo has some of the tightest curves on the underground between Lambeth North and Oxford Circus. I cannot imagine any realistic proposal for increasing the loading gauge of the tunnels. The line speed is just too low.

  25. Jon London says:

    Good article! The total increase in London’s population is uncertain, but do we know where these people are coming from? I assume it’s almost certainly not births, is it migration from abroad or other areas of the UK?

    Also, what’s happening to the Crossrail TBMs? I have no idea of their lifespan but I love the idea of TfL just having a bunch and criss-crossing London with tubes… I can dream…

  26. Anonymous says:

    Once upon a time this used to be a site about new railway lines and station construction and layouts and things, with photos and explanations about what was going on and what they are going to do.

    Now it seems obsessed with statistics and process and train spotting. We haven’t had anything to say what the hell is going on with the roof at Farringdon, for example, or what it is that is going on right now to the tube station part of Moorgate, yet they’ve been going on for ages.

  27. Anonymous says:

    [Post deleted because I think it was suggesting linking the Northern City Line and the Waterloo & City. I have banned all talk of extending the Waterloo & City Line northwards as it is quite unfeasible and I am fed up with reading about it.

    The statement “The only thing that would actually be in the way is the travelator and connecting tunnel to the central line, and both of those things can be easily moved” is clearly absurd and the idea also fails to take into account the new Walbrook entrance at Bank.

    Please, this site is called “London Reconnections” not “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. The objective isn’t to try and get us to believe six impossible things before breakfast. Can we have some sense of reality and of not repeating well-worn go-nowhere topics ad nauseum otherwise there is going to be a massive cull of comments.

  28. Saifur R says:

    Waterloo and City, Northern City and Aldwych and Fleet lines have chances to become to be extended or created and all could be extended to South London as well as to Hackney etc. Four new lines which should stay as tube line with trains like the Victoria Line which has nice big higher trains then other deep tube lines.

    Crossrails should be ‘express’ line not file the role of both being a tube and express line.

  29. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Interesting article. Nice to see one or two “promo reports” being punctured by PoP’s analysis. One little quibble – have we really seen much of the Thameslink project’s capacity improvements already come to fruition? I don’t think we have at all. We don’t have enhanced frequencies, we don’t have new links in place and we don’t have longer trains on the majority of services. What is an interesting contrast is that TfL yell all the time about the “10% capacity increase” for Crossrail and what do we hear about Thameslink’s benefit? Not a lot. You could be mistaken for thinking it was not worth the effort given the lack of positive comment from those sponsoring the project.

    Given the sense of impending crisis I feel that those in charge really have no long term plan. IMO Crossrail 2 simply doesn’t cut it. There is no vision and no plan despite endless RUSs and lots of lobbying by various stakeholders and vested interests. There is also no obvious clue as to where the money will come from for ongoing improvements.

    As I write this I am watching Robert Peston in China where the City of Wuhan is *just* building 7 Metro lines in about 7 years. Wuhan will spend 5 times what the UK spends on development between now and 2020. One city spending more than an entire country. I know the constraints are very different between London and China but the scale of their ambition should perhaps teach us something. We seemingly have a crisis in London but there is no sense of urgency at all.

  30. John U.K. says:

    More pertinent to our discussion, London has seen a surge in public transport use. Some of this could be explained away by other factors but the surge in core journeys to and from work by all forms of transport – public and private – has consistently defied any really plausible explanation other than that there were more people around.

    Only anecdotal evidence, but I wonder what number of journeys are now made using the Freedom Pass? From my own experience, once the Congestion Charge was introduced, I I have never paid it, using travelcards then Oyster for daytime travel. Once I achieved a Freedom Pass, not only do I travel more, but the car stays on the drive from one week to another. National Rail has now been added to the mix.
    In addition to the Freedom Pass I believe that schoolchildren also get unlimited free (‘bus or ‘bus & tube?) travel, as do police officers, and LT & ‘bus employees, and???.

    I suspect that the numbers of people now enjoying free travel – 100,000+? [wild guess] – msy account for a significant proportion of the increase in journeys. Someone, somewhere, should be able to furnish accurate figures for “free pass” journeys?

  31. timbeau says:

    @Saifur R
    “Waterloo and City, Northern City and Aldwych and Fleet lines have chances to become to be extended.”
    No they don’t – all hemmed in at one or other or both ends by later developments and/or platforms too short.

    “Victoria Line which has nice big higher trains then other deep tube lines.”
    No it doesn’t – they are exactly the same size – indeed the 1967 stock that used to run the line are externally identical to the 1972 stock still working the Bakerloo – unless you’re suggesting the 2009 stock is somehow bigger: if so, how does it fit in a hole designed for 1967 stock?

    Can we please talk about lines that are actually being built – or at least have a chance of being built in my lifetime?

  32. Reynolds 953 says:

    I hesitate to mention bicycles on a rail-centric website, but if London population growth puts increased strain on public transport then TfL’s obsession with “smoothing traffic flow” on the roads looks increasingly futile.

    Low emission vehicles may address air quality, but they will get stuck in jams going nowhere just like vehicles with more polluting engines and cars are the most inefficient use of road space anyway.

    So time for some decent cycling infrastructure for local journeys and popular commuting routes? (and that doesn’t mean Boris’s bad joke Cycle Superhighways…)

    On my bike I can easily beat the District line door to door from Chiswick to the City without even raising a sweat. During the tube strike I squeezed passed all those cars in traffic jams going nowhere and some decent cycling infrastructure would cost a fraction of any new rail scheme you’d care to dream up on this website.. 😉

  33. Saifur R says:

    Victoria Line 2009 tube stock has a larger gauge then other deep tube stocks which means it can’t run on other tube lines.

  34. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Alan Griffiths
    18 February 2014 at 20:26
    London referendum…
    In which case I’m wrong on this detail, I don’t remember it.
    Which in turn would mean, taking your knowledge, that London is ‘fully’ devolved, in terms of validated voters’ views.

    So should Treasury get worried since London delivers lots of extra tax revenues? Sounds like a case to spend more of the collected tax within London, for example on transport infrastructure. Nothing that hasn’t been argued before by London First and others.

  35. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ John UK – I doubt that the level of concessionary / free travel is having much of an impact on demand for rail services. Most freedom pass and child free travel use is on the bus network – recent data provided to the London Assembly showed this. Clearly there are pressures on the bus network at school travel times but this is not really mirrored on the rail / tube networks AFAIK. There may also be some bus routes in London which have disproportionately high levels of concessionary use but that is not unusual in any part of the country. Lots of bus routes that are described as “pensioner life line” services.

    London Councils’ website has info about the Freedom Pass scheme and funding and the underlying assumptions about use by mode. Graham H has already said that the biggest drivers of rail service demand are employment and then service capacity offered. I see no reason to discount those factors in favour of a relatively small number of people (out of the total travelling) having a free pass. I used to have a free pass and I didn’t go round making oodles of extra journeys just because they were free. It does probably explain why I’ve never learnt to drive although behaviour that was pretty rare amongst TfL employees – most do drive and own cars for all the usual reasons that people own their own vehicles.

  36. lawyerboy says:

    The planning process does not help. As I understand it, public transport accessibility to developments is normally assessed for planning purposes using PTAL, which looks at the proximity and frequency of public transport, and not at its loadings. Thus developments are approved near existing (or proleptic) hubs: see e.g. the Victoria developments that PoP mentions (the PTAL for which will have been calculated on the (patently false) assumption that a traveller could expect board the first departing service), or the very dense development planned near Vauxhall, which seems destined to overwhelm the limited capacity available even taking the NLE into account.

  37. AlisonW (Continuity monorail faction) says:

    John U.K.:
    If your Freedom pass has stopped you using your car (as, indeed, it has for me) then I would say it has succeeded. Less road traffic is one aim of transport policy.

    Indeed, as noted above about zero/low emission vehicles, at some point they’ll have to become subject to the CC as their numbers grow.

    Roger Goodacre:
    Double deck trains take much longer to load/unload, plus there is the not inconsiderable issue that even if you built the new/below-ground sections to suit the great loading guage, the trains travel somewhat further out, hence an absolute non-starter unless you plan to reconstruct every line in the UK eventually.

    The main thing I’m seeing is that everyone is saying “we need CR2…” but nobody is defining *where* it goes, *what* will run on it, and *who* is going to pay for it.

    Plus ça change, indeed 🙁

  38. stimarco says:

    @Saifur R.

    The Victoria Line’s 2009 Stock is only 40 mm. wider than the trains on other lines – about one and a half inches. It’s hardly a giant among Tube trains. But it is just wide enough to cause problems on other lines. As the Victoria isn’t physically connected with any other line (that I’m aware of), this isn’t an issue.

    In any case, no South London route can be accommodated by a Tube line. Tube trains simply don’t have the speed or capacity to cope with the demand. Tube gauge is simply no longer an option for extensions south of the river.

    @Steven Taylor:

    Tunnelling is cheap today; it’s the stations that cost the big money. However, the Bakerloo already has a bunch of stations in the expensive bits of London. Basically, the only bits of the Bakerloo you’d keep are the stations you intend to retain – some may close due to proximity as the new platforms will be nearly twice the length of the existing ones. Everything else is expendable. There would be no ‘reboring’ or ‘re-gauging’ of existing tunnels because they would be almost entirely replaced by new tunnels – on new alignments where necessary – built outside the existing tunnels for the most part to avoid having to close chunks of the line down for long periods.

    The only exception to this would be Oxford Circus, where you’d need to modify the cross-platform interchange with the Victoria Line.

    For the rest, once the new station platforms are ready, you punch through to the old station, infill the old trackbed to create a wider circulation area, and you’re ready to reopen, with new lifts and escalators added as a second phase where needed. Job done, and no need to run tiny toy-town Tube trains down the Hayes branch.

    This is the only way to convert the line without closing it entirely for years; London cannot afford to lose an entire Tube line for that long.

  39. Long Branch Mike says:


    London First just published their proposal for funding CR2, at

    I haven’t yet read it in detail, but appears to propose about 10 different funding sources, governmental, council, fares etc.

  40. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Reynolds 953

    Isn’t it more Boris directing TfL to “smooth traffic flows”, in his auto based constituency? See also Boris’ reduction of the West End Congestion Zone…

  41. @Walthamstow Writer,

    I think Thameslink is a very worthwhile project and will do a lot for making journeys easier within Zone 1. It will also improve capacity into Zone 1 to some extent but we already have 16tph and some of them, admittedly a few, are 12 cars. Journeys will be quicker (e.g. no longer routed the tortuous way via Herne Hill to East Croydon). But it looks like the majority of the ultimate 24 tph will be 8 cars and incredibly all the trains will have first class (even to Wimbledon!) just to reduce capacity further.

    Once Blackfriars is back in use we will have additionally two terminating platforms (where there were originally three) in use during peak periods and the middle of the day compared to none at present and there will be some benefit north of the river with terminating capacity at King’s Cross and Moorgate freed off for re-use.

    On the negative side we will see a slight reduction of trains into Charing Cross (1tph definitely) and Cannon Street (1tph probably) as well as London Bridge terminators (around 4tph probably) compared to today. This should all improve reliability and resilience, as will the extra through platforms at London Bridge, but will do nothing to assist capacity in terms of number of trains.

    Given the sense of impending crisis I feel that those in charge really have no long term plan

    Well I think that’s what we all think. I suspect there is no “grand vision” thing amongst politicians. Well there is – it is called HS2 – but I think underground railways generally generate all the excitement of sewers or flood prevention schemes amongst politicians (and to be fair to them, a lot of the population who votes for them). Until of course they realise too late that these things really were necessary. I suspect TfL realise that they can only push for the next big project until attitudes and mindsets change.

  42. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Alison W – I’m not at all convinced by Crossrail 2 and I’m a potential beneficiary from the scheme. I understand the capacity issues that concern people in North East London and on SWT’s services into Waterloo. I also understand the need for more Zone 1 capacity and trying to relieve terminals by creating new through links. I could not support either proposal in the CR2 consultation as I didn’t feel they worked. I have read an interesting critique of the CR2 proposals which covers some of my concerns and highlights some issues I’d not considered. However we still end up back at one of PoP’s key comments – we are spending a fortune to barely stand still in terms of increasing capacity to meet future levels of demand.

    Without at least an outline of what will be done to expand the tube network (beyond line upgrades), the main line rail network and buses / trams how can you begin to work out what you need to do with Crossrail type lines? If we genuinely do need a CR3, CR4 and CR5 we currently have no official idea where they would go. How then do you ensure that the design of CR1 and CR2 are “correct” in terms of how they would fit into a future planned network? The related issue is obviously where employment and housing will be developed and how those plans (if they exist) will relate to the transport network and, in reverse, how the transport network will influence development. I have no killer solution but I don’t feel we have a coherent way forward.

  43. Ian J says:

    @castlebar: “the decision to sever the NNML link OOC – Greenford”

    Are you sure about this? If you look at the HS2 environmental statement then none of the tunnel vent shafts block the formation (see especially the photomontages on pp. 49-50).

  44. lmm says:

    @sitmarco I’m not sure even that level of reuse is beneficial. You’d still need to do substantial construction at those Bakerloo stations, requiring access shafts and a decent sized worksite in Piccadilly Circus etc. (and the changes are big enough to trigger accessibility obligations, meaning a rebuild of ticket hall access and the like in places that aren’t already accessible) – is it really that much cheaper than just adding new platforms to the station? And you’re still talking about closing the line for I’d think several months while those platforms are rebuilt – even for the Bakerloo, would that be acceptable?

  45. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Imm, Stimarco

    Stimarco’s idea is outlandish but …

    A further consideration is that it is going to get more and more difficult to find routes for new lines amongst the maze that is beneath our streets. In particular even a modest development can nowadays have quite deep foundations. See the RAIB report into the incident near Old Street involving foundation piles breaching the Great Northern & City Line for an illustration on how deep these can be and the large area they will often cover. We may one day get to the stage where the simplest option is to enlarge existing alignments rather than try and find new ones.

    I don’t think the tight curves on the Bakerloo Line really matter as one can re-bore the running tunnels in a different place subject to foundations not being there. One also doesn’t have to slavishly follow the existing route throughout. What Stimarco is essentially suggesting is sacrificing the existing Bakerloo Line in order to get new station tunnel locations with good subway connections to existing stations and to provide a route through awkward locations.

    It is an intriguing idea but I doubt if the tunnelling technology to do it currently exists to do this in any way that is economical and not massively disruptive. It may do in the future if this becomes a worldwide problem not just with railways but with other existing tunnels.

    I can see advantages. One could extend the current Bakerloo line at either end. One can correct obvious stupidities with the Bakerloo Line such as separate stations at Embankment and Charing Cross (formerly Trafalgar Square). It may get you a better station at Piccadilly Circus which would be pretty well impossible any other way. There are other possibilities for rationalisation between Baker Street and Paddington.

    I can also see great problems. At busy stations the passageways and station entrances probably couldn’t cope with the extra numbers of passengers so would effectively need rebuilding anyway. My belief is that a detailed examination would show that there just isn’t space at Oxford Circus to thread an enlarged Bakerloo Line through all the tunnels that are there. One reason why the Victoria Line was built to tube size was that to build to main line size would have made things considerably more difficult here and would have rendered the same-level interchange with the Bakerloo Line impossible. Incidently, King’s Cross would have also been a nightmare to design if the Victoria Line had been main line size.

    Whilst I suspect Stimarco’s idea is a step too far, there may well be a case in future for locally rerouting tube size running tunnels and relocating existing tube station platforms in order to free off a prime site for future Crossrail x tunnels. Paddington (Bakerloo) may be a case in point if it was ever thought necessary to have another Crossrail station at Paddington. This would also eliminate the ridiculously tight tunnels caused by a late change of plan as to the line of route after the Bakerloo Line had already reached Paddington.

  46. Windsorian says:

    @ Long Branch Mike

    I had to top & tail your link to get it to work

  47. RichardB says:

    I think that the underlying issue is that if passenger numbers continue to increase we need to consider developing a parallel underground network. The problem with the ethos of Crossrail and Crossrail 2 is that in order to keep costs down they have as few underground stations as possible in the central area. The assumption is that commuters etc would bypass existing tube lines such as the Central or Victoria until they arrive at one of the junction stations such as Tottenham Court Road where many passengers will transfer on to the current Tube network to reach their final destination. In actual fact given the projections it means putting even more pressure on the existing lines within Zone 1.

    I emphasise I am not opposed to the Crossrail concept per se but one of its rationales is about resolving problems for regional passengers and ideally encouraging them to travel through London with out de -training. It’s worthy enough but we actually also need duplicate lines with far more stations (approximating the ratio of stations provided on the Tube lines). Clearly there would still need to some interchanges but I think we need to pull away from the focus on as few new stations as possible and where absolutely necessary only at giant interchange points such as Kings Cross and Tottenham Court Road. Part of the design should be to ease the reliance on those stations. For the avoidance of doubt I am talking about new lines built to the gauge and capacity of Crossrail.

    I note a number of contributors still persist in wanting to extend the current Tube network by further extensions. I think that is in most cases a waste of time. The Tube network is already working to capacity (with the possible exception of the Bakerloo) and adding further traffic by extending these lines only compounds the problem. The Bakerloo if it is ever extended should not take over any of the existing above ground lines such as the line to Hayes as it would actually offer an inferior service in terms of capacity however attractive it may appear. At most I would favour an extension to Peckham Rye via Camberwell.

    I fully accept the costs of a new line programme would be formidable but not unaffordable but we need to find a new way of financing if possible rather than a reliance on central government taxation revenue as this leads to perpetual delay and arguments that London is taking too much of the transport investment.

    The issue then is how many lines would be needed to provide this new backbone and also how many lines would be required. Certainly I think three lines as a minimum but if you want to create a full grid then perhaps seven or eight. I also think you would want to avoid these new lines being part of the above ground network in the outer suburbs. That is an instinctive reaction on my part and I may be wrong but I don’t think these proposed lines should be “cross rails” as this would detract from their primary function of supplementing and relieving the Tube network. Ideally you should have both new lines and additional Crossrail lines.

    By the way I also have concerns about Crossrail2 as for many passengers in the inner and outer suburbs Waterloo is a real destination. As well as a major transport hub you only have to watch the numbers who walk from Waterloo to their place of work to realise that if Crossrail 2 means scrapping all services to Waterloo on the South West suburban lines we will have a problem. I am astonished this issue has not been fully discussed and in part I think that is because the proponents if Crossrail 2 have not highlighted this reduction in the existing services but it a time bomb waiting to explode when and if Crossrail2 becomes a really active proposal.

  48. timbeau says:

    @Stimarco 2329
    “As the Victoria isn’t physically connected with any other line (that I’m aware of), ”
    There are crossovers to the Picadilly at Finsbury Park which allow engineering trains in and out, and were used for stock transfers in the past – the 1967 stock used to work the hainault shuttle as well as the Vic – but I think the 2009 stock may be slightly out of gauge for the Picc – certainly the signalling is now incompatible.

  49. James Bunting says:

    @Peezedtee 18Feb 1947
    The Tokyo picture is broader than you suggest with the Metro map. The key thing there is the linking of lines to increase the amount of through running. This is done despite the multiplicity of owners and range of track gauges, as well as the lack of any common fare system. (Their versions of Oyster – Suica and Pasmo – can accurately calculate single journeys but there is no capping). Here is a privately produced map that gives a clearer idea of the scale.

    Instead of the doodlers trying to link bits of tube lines there should be some serious thinking about deep-level main lines linking between National Rail termini and not relying on Thameslink to do it all through a single tunnel. The concept of CR2 is fine, but there is much more that could be done.

    @John U.K.
    Neither the Freedom Pass nor the 60+ Oyster allow access to National Rail before 0930. Those living south of the Thames do not generally have access to the TfL rail network and so, with the peak-fare costing structure, it is not a very attractive proposition. I would doubt that there are many new commuters, although those who are existing ones may have some encouragement to keep working.

  50. tog says:

    @stimarco: “More higher-density housing is urgently required – yes, even at the expense of many of those Victorian terraces; indeed, often because of them – and when the government finally realises this and makes it happen, the UK’s endless series of property gravy trains will finally meet their rightful Beeching.”

    Unfortunately those Victorian terraces are no longer unfashionable slums to be swept away in a Pathfinder-esque government scheme, but desirable homes owned by vocal professionals (who actually vote), so no chance.

    At £500k+ (£1m+ in some areas) a go, you’d quickly be looking at hundreds of millions to compulsorily-purchase even a few fairly modest streets.

  51. Greg Tingey says:

    First thing
    The population figures are wrong.
    People don’t fill in forms.
    I reckon there are 12 million inside the M25 right now & “London” – the GLA area is close to 9.5 million now …..
    As said – look at the numbers going through the auto-counting ticket gates!

    As said before (by me) I predict CR1 will be full-&-standing a day after the Shenfield through link opens.

    Start building as soon as CR1 phase 1 is finished – or it will be too late.
    Which puts enormous pressure on the “planners” to get it right.

    [Needless derogatory comment deleted. PoP]
    The throughput of trains is pathetic (compared to Holborn Viaduct 1960, say) and the under-use of the 4-track section S of Blackfriars is disgraceful.
    As discussed here, many times.[So why bother repeating it yet again? PoP])

  52. VEP says:

    I think the answer is simply to reduce the need to travel into central London. One of the reasons Tokyo works well is that it has so many districts. Boris Johnson is obsessed with just two parts of London: creating a tourist-friendly Westminster that he can sell to tourist boards around the world and getting in with the cool crowd of Cameron’s ‘Tech City’ hyperbole.

    Old Oak is crying out for redevelopment. Developing the Park Royal City idea would take a huge amount of pressure of cross-London traffic from the west (Overground, Central Line, Crossrail, A40, A406), we well as giving a much-needed boost to this very deprived part of London (there’s a common, but false, perception that all of West London is affluent).

    Developing a new business district in NW London would be just like the Docklands, the land would be cheaper, with fewer English Heritage planning constraints and it would relieve pressure on the TfL network.

    Trouble is, by the time anyone has made any decisions, Crossrail will be running and full, taking people unnecessarily into the West End, City and Docklands.

  53. Moleman says:

    @anon 18th feb 20:53

    LU are refurbishing the roof at Farringdon, it’s knackered and long overdue. Nothing very exciting.

  54. Graham H says:

    @VEP – the theory of counter-poles of attraction reducing the need to travel outside the immediate area is, unfortunately, discredited. What actually happens in practice is that the catchment areas of these various “poles” simply overlap – thus canary Wharf attracts people from the west of London, OOC will attract people from the East End and so on. CrossRail will, in fact, reinforce that effect. Without a Soviet-style direction of labour, the problem is inevitable. The post-war new towns were supposed to do exactly what you say and be entirely self-contained but now, there is no difference in commuting patterns as between Hemel Hempstead and S Albans, for example.

  55. Steven Taylor says:

    Re this recurring discussion about terraced houses. Buying them up to put up tower blocks isn`t going to happen anytime soon. My house overlooks Clapham Junction station, on the flightpath to Heathrow, etc. A couple of estate agents have valued it at £850,000 for a quick sale. And boy!! they sell quickly. I should add I am not a rich b…….
    I bought way back in the 1970s when this area was considered a dump.

  56. Lemmo says:

    Great article PoP, and fascinating comments as ever.

    Much of this resonates with the thrust of my first two articles for LR, many moons ago. These aimed to reframe the discussion on capacity and the shape of the London rail network.

    As London keeps growing, the existing service pattern is perpetuating the capacity problem. Linking existing radial routes across the city is greatly beneficial where possible, but it is also becoming counter-productive building new routes through the core as a solution to overcrowding.

    How many more tunnels can you, or should you, thread through central London, fed by an inexorably growing hinterland? You have to expand the core.

    This requires new strategic routes around the fringes and investment in what TfL are calling “strategic interchanges”. But we still don’t have a coherent plan for this, not least how passenger growth co-exists with rail freight.

    Our articles on the throttling of the West London Line at Earls Court and the confusion around Old Oak Common indicate a dearth of strategic foresight. How can the planners not rewrite their strategic plans, knowing about population growth, the lack of capacity in the current network and the reality of the latent and generated demand so apparent from Overground services?

    The design for Crossrail 2 is woeful largely because it does not appear to be part of an integrated rail plan for London’s growth, which weaves together tube extensions, Crossrail 3 and major investment in the orbitals as new strategic routes. Planning still appears to be desperately fragmented and opportunist; there’s no overall picture.

    Huge credit to TfL and others for getting Crossrail past the bean counters in Whitehall, and delivered with such confidence and style. But TfL and the Mayor need to take a much stronger lead in providing a London rail plan fit to meet future challenges.

    I look forward to Part 2 🙂

  57. stimarco says:

    @Pedantic of Purley:

    Yes, that’s pretty much what I’m suggesting. I agree, however, that some stations may be very difficult to adapt without effectively rebuilding lumps of them. However, I honestly don’t think we can ram many more Tube lines through such stations either, so this is a challenge engineers are going to have to overcome sooner or later anyway.

    As for the ‘reboring’: I’m talking about driving new tunnels outside / below / between the existing running tunnels for the most part. You’d only have to interfere with those older tunnels at points were there’s no room at all for additional tunnels – e. g. at a couple of stations – but a mainline-gauge metro would also have much longer trains, so there may be a case to be made for re-siting some platforms entirely, or changing the line the new Bakerloo interchanges with. (E.g. it may be easier to build a cross-platform interchange with CR2 instead.)

    In fact, building / upgrading multiple new lines at the same time may be the answer to this problem. London is going to have to do that sooner rather than later anyway: building ’em one at a time simply isn’t fast enough given the rate of the city’s growth.

  58. Reynolds 953 says:

    It would be interesting to have a better view of where the high growth areas of London are and what locations are attracting, or likely to attract, most of the additional people.

    For example, I see Boris has just approved (or at least not called in) a new stadium and residential development in Brentford, so in that particular case, it will be the Richmond branch of District line, SW Trains and local roads and bus services feeling the strain of additional people.

  59. Steven Taylor says:

    I fully concur with your comments. (I misunderstood your earlier post – I felt you meant increasing the width of the existing tunnels.)
    In a way, building additional tunnels is similar to the quadrupling that was undertaken on many of the surface railways around London at the turn of the last Century.
    A line where an additional tunnel is surly needed in the Northern Line in the South. I understand that some of the second World War shelters were bored on the route of a proposed fast Northern Line.

    Another issue often mentioned is flexible working hours. Obviously this would not be possible in all industries, but about 5 years ago, I got fed up with packed trains, and I made a request to alter my working hours, starting at 7.30 instead of 9 am. This was pure bliss. Half empty trains; London Bridge station is quite a reasonable place at 1600 hours!

  60. Graham H says:

    @lemmo – a couple more strategic thoughts to throw into the hand-wringing fest in progress:

    – your point about radial lines is well-made, although it does seem inevitable that we will continue to build them, thus creating an unhelpful feedback loop. Looking at other states where there are successful “multi-pole” centres, albeit in terms of a balance between town and country, rather than within a great conurbation – I have in mind Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands – the rail network is organised as a grid with good connexions, not as radial routes from a dominant centre. Within the London conurbation that might provide a high level model for the future.
    – developing that thought, there may be an optimum size for a city before its spread and level of activities overwhelm its transport services. I don’t know what that would be except to note that in the three countries just mentioned, the local public transport in cities such as Bern or Dresden seems to cope very well, but in much larger conurbations such as London and Paris, it struggles, not because funding is short or the level of service on individual routes is inadequate, but because the geographical spread of overlapping catchment areas makes any sort of route structure difficult to design. The ultimate case in point would be Los Angeles, and these days, perhaps Joburg, where there is no centre in the way we know it in Europe, and public transport really struggles to cope.
    – a third point! Given the geography of Britain and the SE in particular, discussions have so far focussed on improving transport within the conurbation. However, it is also becoming clear that the longer distance NR routes will soon be full of commuters and apart from the RUS’ rather weak ideas, there is no long term plan. Put another way, we may well require several new radial commuter lines within the next generation or two, and that will be really difficult… [The sort of thing I mean is that not only may we require BML2, but also try and fill in the 90 degree gap between the Cambridge main line and the GE main line, a second route to Eastbourne/Hastings, and so on – my apologies if this provokes an emeute of Ueber-crayonistas; they should not take this as an invitation to write in unless, of course, they have some facts to share].

  61. Steven Taylor says:

    Quote `But it looks like the majority of the ultimate 24 tph will be 8 cars and incredibly all the trains will have first class (even to Wimbledon!) just to reduce capacity further. `Unquote
    My understanding is that 2nd Class passengers can sit in First Class at no cost if the service is run Second Class only. Although it does make the situation complicated.
    I joined a very crowded Southern Service at Watford Junction, and upon requesting an upgrade, the guard said there was no extra charge as the train was considered second class only.

  62. stimarco says:


    I agree that compulsory purchasing is going to be expensive, but so is building anything in London. Nevertheless, if Steven Taylor’s home is valued at £850K – and that’s near Clapham Junction, so prime development land – there is clearly a strong case to be made for linking new infrastructure with new (re-)developments.

    Sure, a property developer has to pay, say, £900K or so per property, but they’re going to be building more homes on the same site; given that house prices in and around London are now almost entirely dictated by location, that means the new properties will still sell for a fair old whack.

    Yes, it means older communities often lose out as new money moves in, but it was ever thus. Old communities may disappear, but new communities will be born in their stead. This is not an inherently bad thing.

    Long term, we have a serious problem with runaway line-building: we can’t keep building new ones forever. I have a suspicion that a long-term solution may involve ripping out some old lines wholesale and aiming for a more grid-based network. (See for the reasoning behind this.) Hence my occasional posts about linking Charing Cross, Euston, Waterloo, and London Bridge. It wouldn’t even be all that expensive compared to Crossrail 1, yet it would offer both a new north-south line and a new east-west one. (More details elsewhere on this site. Speaking of which, a “search comments” feature would be useful.)

  63. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Steven Taylor,

    You are showing your age. Standard class.

    I am aware of the rule about using first class on services not advertised as having first class. Southern even announce that on their on-train messages. However there is often doubt as to whether it applies to a particular train (e.g to or from Horsham) and in any case people seem to be reluctant to use it. First Class on 8-car Thameslink is deliberate to continue the provision for those north of the river. I am not convinced that the compartment will become bona fide declassified on reaching Farringdon. It is all another consequence of the decision to keep the Wimbledon services on Thameslink.

  64. Ady says:

    So, the politics for Crossrail 2 is in full swing it seems. I for one would like this project go ahead as I live literally seconds from one of the proposed stations. However I also realise that to the rest of the country more spending on London is a sour pill to take.

    Does anyone know (if Crossrail finishes within budget), could the remaining funds already allocated to Crossrail help the funding gap for Crossrail 2?

  65. Pedantic of Purley says:


    There was once a famous travel writer, HV Morton, who believed that the opportunities to visit cities and historical places should be available to all – and he saw the car as the liberator to achieve this. In London he advocated flattening much of our historical past in order to liberate the people and give them the freedom to visit our heritage. Incredibly he just could not see that in attempting to cater for his perceived desires of the population he was actually destroying the very things that made them appreciate a place.

    You can go to many cities in the world and see tower blocks. What people like is the feeling of history. Just see how popular conservation areas are (e.g. around St Johns). You can’t just have a financial argument about this. It is more fundamental. Those terraced houses you decry are part of what to many people makes the essence of our historical city. If you want to build an architect’s utopia then do it somewhere else such as Canberra. Oh, by the way, in Canberra many of the locals frequently visit other major cities to visit somewhere less soulless. Or plan a new town with links to London.

  66. Steven Taylor says:

    Actually what you are proposing is happening opposite the Brighton Yard entrance to Clapham Junction. The old 1930s Peabody estate is being redeveloped, and the 5 storey buildings are being replaced with 12 storey ones. However, this will make Clapham Junction station even more crowded. But we need the new homes, and 28%-ish of the flats are meant to be affordable, namely, affordable to middle-class people I would guess.
    A bigger problem is at Wandsworth Town station, where many new, mainly luxury flats have been constructed over the last few years. In the rush, it is almost impossible to board trains. My friend often goes in the off peak direction to Putney in order to board a Waterloo service.

  67. Steven Taylor says:

    Oops. Re Second Class. How depressing. I am only 61. Is it really all downhill from now on!!

  68. Steven Taylor says:

    At risk of going off-topic. The area around my house at Clapham Junction is a Conservation Area. Network Rail plans to extend Platform 17 to 8 cars authorisation actually mentions this fact.

  69. Lemmo says:

    @ Graham H, thanks and I’d be interested to hear more about the examples from Europe.

    For instance, how might you create a more distributed grid-pattern network while still maintaining the clustering benefits of concentration?

    Looking at it another way, where are the new clusters, and how should we link them?

  70. Southern Heights says:

    @ POP, Steven Taylor: No it should be second and third class, there is no first class. The service just isn’t good enough.

    Says he commuting on the (joint) worst TOC. Although having said that, the train I was on this morning was late, meaning I could catch it, hence saving me 15 minutes!

  71. Anonymous says:

    There is London and the London economic area, so people are commuting to Reading, Cambridge, Oxford, Woking, Ashford, Guildford, Brighton, Stevenage plus several airports – in many cases the quickest route is via London, even if a rail M25 was built, it would be no use for north – south & east – west journeys, even for other journeys staying on the train to London, changing and coming out again could still be quicker.

    The various CR proposals are still very much lines within London, in terms of the London economic area the best bet is to link up the main lines for the outer suburban services with around five stops in London, two outer suburban each side and /or near M25, two inner suburban stops each side, and one central London stop – if the tunnels started out in the suburbs then the remaining surface lines within London could be given over to high frequency services.

  72. Robert Sneddon says:

    Re: Tokyo — much of its public transport rail runs overground usually on elevated track. The Yamanote loop line, the equivalent of the Circle line in London, is all overground. The Chuo line (meaning middle or “Central”) running east-west is elevated most of its length.

    Tokyo’s provision of underground rail such as the Metro is actually quite limited, possibly because of the risk of earthquakes. I don’t see how something like the Yamanote or Chuo lines could be punched into London’s current city centre infrastructure even on an elevated basis.

    As for the debate about CR2 that’s done and dusted, it will happen because CR1 will attract more people to come and live and work in London thanks to its excellent and ever-improving public transport system and more capacity will be demanded. CR3 is the next Big Debate to come.

  73. timbeau says:

    What are the assumptions on which that population graph is based? How big are the error bars? (Note that the false zero makes it look as if the population has increased by 700% (eight fold) since the minimum in 1989, rather than the actual figure of 25%)

    Why does the rate of increase (the gradient of the curve) decrease from 2014? Is there any evidence this is happening?

    How accurate have such estimates been in the past? What predictions of London’s 2014 population were made in 1974? 1984? 1994?

    But if those predictions are correct, we cannot wait for XR1 to be complete before starting on XR2 (or 3 or 4 for that matter……). If Yerkes could build three lines at the same time 110 years ago, and the Paris Metro could plan and build several at a time in the same era, we can do it again now: and then XR2 won’t have to be a botch trying to be all things to all men, but can do one thing really well.

  74. DeepThought says:

    Random thoughts to various bits above, not all fully thought through:

    @Lemmo: To my mind we need a proper grid in and around the City, before/as well as thinking about new clusters. I can think of plenty of routes that would stop me having to travel and interchange at busy stations, but the powers that be seem determined to never again build a new station in Zone 1 (See the various CR2 proposals). The sad fact is that London often has lines that could be theoretically used in a grid, but due to history are lacking good interchanges (see most of South London).

    @stimarco/Re Bakerloo – While I agree that tube stock has limited capacity, I’m not sure why it is so unsuitable for South London given that North London has to make do with it? And given that we are stuck with deep level stock for the foreseeable future I wonder whether the per-unit costs of maintaining it would actually drop if we ordered more of it? I confess that my knowledge of the area is limited to travelling through E&C every day, but my preference would be for an extension down the Old Kent Road and re-opening Camberwell station on Thameslink instead. Denmark Hill now has brilliant connectivity to the whole of London, I don’t see the point of adding another line to it.

    Re Victoria – Surely the developments will lead to more people trying to get off in the morning peak rather than on?

  75. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Deep Thought and other Bakerlites
    John Bull covered a Lewisham-commissioned report on the topic of what/where/how much, south east from Elephant, back in 2010, and reviewed the topic again in early 2012. These are still the most useful works on the subject. There was also reference to schemes in the London & SE RUS of July 2011. Links here:


    [This commentor is a sock puppet of Rock Orange and is now banned.]

  77. Anonymous says:

    There seems very little appetite for building homes for the lower paid (£18-30k) in zones 1 and 2.

    The only large-scale affordable ones I can see in the medium to long term will be Barking and Lea Valley, hence the pressure to get WA four tracking, CR2 and the Goblin extension to Barking Riverside.

    Lea Valley would be a good experiment for Stimarco’s suggestions of very high density housing-, loads of cheapish unattractive terraces in an unloved landscape.

  78. DeepThought says:

    @MiltonClevedon – Thanks, I did read those articles at the time but had forgotten the exact details.

    E&C is going to be an interesting place in a few years – after a couple of years of inactivity there are now 3 skyscrapers under construction and the Heygate rebuild has finally started, but there is no sign of any station improvements. I don’t think this counts as prolepsis as the station rebuild was not fully planned (to my knowledge), but it seems a wasted opportunity to ensure S106 money towards the station and a Bakerloo extension 🙁

  79. 0775John says:

    All the above discussions are very sensible and look to the future in various ways with various plans to assist the movement of the enlarged population of London. As such they seem to me to ignore the long-term sustainability of cities such as London. I, too, was watching the Robert Peston programme on China last night and his view of Wuhan was not entirely encouraging. Building 7 metro lines in 7 years in that city is an impressive feat but it seemed that his premise was that the local authority funding of these and much of the other infrastructure and housing in China was reliant rather too much on debt from unknown sources and “corruption” had made rich a good number of those working for such authorities. The future of London is pretty grim if the only response to population projections is to keep building. What will London be like in 2075? And how much debt for the nation will have been incurred in delivering that city? Especially with the “reducing taxation” mantra now so widespread….
    Who will pay for the massive increase in housing to accommodate those who cannot afford to live elsewhere, and transport simply to move those who can afford to live elsewhere back into the central areas?
    London contributes in taxation to the national economy but surely it also actually drags talent from the regions to it rather than allowing those individuals to work in a possibly better environment and develop their own businesses in those regions.
    How many commuters, given the choice, would commute? Not many of those I see on the North Cotswold line really enjoy leaving home at 6.30 a.m and returning at 8 p.m.! And do the hordes joining at Oxford enjoy themselves – I don’t think so.
    So, whilst I know that “international businesses” like being able to be near the centre of things so that Heathrow to UK HQ is only a short taxi ride, that is increasingly a choice that is skewing the economy into delivering what cannot be delivered. And everyone is paying for it but those who use that taxi. Relocate your HQ for Europe to Paris and you will be faced with the same problem in 50 years as you will be faced with in the UK or Germany.
    Thus just building more infrastructure in London is not the answer in the long term. We shall be discussing the route of Crossrail 9 in a year or two at this rate….!
    A counsel of despair, maybe. But it is no good ignoring the fact and maybe the inertia of politicians is simply because they recognise their impotence in the face of the market! Vision for a long term better future would be welcome from our politicians but all we seem to receive is a promise for a shiny new Crossrail every few years. This is why it is so sad to see the HS2 plans (good or bad in detail) be rubbished when they actually try to look 20 years ahead.

  80. James Bunting says:

    @POP at 1046
    If you refer to the National Rail timetable it will indicate when these changes to the use of 1st Class accommodation occur. For example, in Table 52 the 0618 Bedford to Sutton is shown as only having 1st from Bedford to Blackfriars. I believe that this was one of the details added by the army of volunteer editors that now proof read the timetable from their home armchairs. Sadly FCC’s own timetable just has 1st class magically disappearing at Sutton, obviously not benefitting from such support.

    @Robert Sneddon at 1243
    Whilst the JR network in Tokyo is largely overground what has happened is for railways from different companies to link up with either of the two Metro operations to offer through running, as shown in the link I provided earlier.

  81. RichardB says:

    @0775 John I take your point but in reality unless we wish to consider draconian measures london will continue to grow. Attempts to redistribute work to other parts of the UK do not work or rather at best they slow the growth of London. Similarly assumption about the growth of remote working, home working and flexible working as potential panaceas seem misplaced. I believe the Khmer Rouge achieved the emptying out of the Cambodian capital through forced evacuation and ligududation of the populace but horrible though that time was Phnom Penh has recovered and I really don’t think such methods are in any way desirable.

    That means we have to assume London will grow and I agree housing is a key issue which all political parties have dodged. The Greater London built up area also known as the Greater London Urban Area which is determined by the urban sprawl as opposed to the political boundaries of the GLA had a population of just under 10 million in 2011. The London metropolitan area also known as the London commuter belt had a population of just over 13.6 million according to Eurostat and that doesn’t into account the probability that these statistics may under report the true figures which in any case have grown and are still growing. We have to deal with this through additional housing- London Councils estimates an additional 800,000 dwellings are required within the next 10 years within the GlA area alone. Saying building new infrastructure us not the answer is not acceptable unless we can come up with effective solutions which are acceptable to the electorate. Doing nothing whilst we ruminate on such solutions for 10 to 20 years (which rather seems the British way) is not morally acceptable either. We have to build new infrastructure now but that does not mean we forever exclude considering other solutions to the relentless rise of London. I think Wuhan as an example is misleading as the political culture in China is very different to that of the UK although I do at times envy their determination to progress infrastructure. The decision to build 17 lines for the Beijing metro is impressive!

  82. SG says:

    Deepthought – Elephant and castle is a good case in point. It needs a strong public body to take the lead. The market never move quickly as developers profit from limiting supply. The projects such as Heygate redevelopment move at a snails pace – it will take 30 years to redevelop one estate. And Bakerloo line/Elephant and Castle station improvements are similarly lethargic.

    It really should be a buzzing district with many high quality towers of the type seen in New York and active streets to avoid the mistakes of 60s estates. Unfortunately Boris put in a height limit by adopting a sight line from Hyde Park looking south that already has tall 60s buildings in it…

    With a very wide, segregated cycle lane heading north to London bridge and the City the vast majority of new residents could cycle to work. A better tube station would take others, and the Thameslink station others on the new more extensive service.

    Whilst China’s example is extreme, there’s a middle ground between what they are doing and the bare minimum that happens in Britain. In 10 years E&C should have much of the improvements mentioned above. It never will if things are left as they are.

    I would argue that a much bigger pot of UK government spending should go towards capital spending and annual budgets across the UK. The population increase is also leading to more people moving out to commute in, and also to move permanently to other cities which are in dire need of transport improvements.

  83. TRT says:

    Curiously, the “maps quiz” in the Grauniad today…
    Check out Map 1.

    Have a guess what it is, go on. Then check the answer.

  84. lmm says:

    @timbeau Hainault? How did it get out there? I thought there was no connection between the lines at Ealing Broadway. Does the Central have a secret link somewhere else?

  85. Reynolds 953 says:

    According to the FT article below (subscription may be required), there is net internal migration *out* of London but London’s population is growing based upon international immigration and the birth rate compared to death rate.

    A number of the outer boroughs are getting older (in terms of mean age of population), but inner boroughs are getting younger (with the exception of the rich ones like Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea)

  86. timbeau says:

    @lmm says:
    Hainault? How did it get out there? Does the Central have a secret link somewhere else?
    Yes, it does – round the back of Ruislip depot.

  87. Twopenny Tube says:

    @ Imm: “Hainault? How did it get out there? I thought there was no connection between the lines at Ealing Broadway. Does the Central have a secret link somewhere else?”

    The Central Line has connections at West Ruislip, with Network Rail, and with the Piccadilly/Metropolitan line to Uxbridge. In the period that I guess timbeau is referring to, the connection between BR and LT probably still existed at Leyton. Having said that, I don’t know how Victoria stock was conveyed to Hainault.

  88. Saintsman says:

    Crossrail (CR1) being “full” earlier for me should be celebrated not seen as a problem. More people can travel and with reduced journey times– both Thameslink and Crossrail’s new trains assume high standing densities, in peak, so experience should not be any worse. CR1 being successful helps build the case for CR2 (and hopefully latter a CR3 NW-SE). Options for longer trains and higher frequency in theory can give another 50% when necessary – which will also fill.

    I understood the Crossrail concept comes from suburban trains sat in terminals being turned around is seen as a waste. So tunnelling to another suitable “other” terminal means that they are more efficiently used (removing 50% of the turnarounds). Building a few (expensive) intermediate stations along these tunnels spreads the footfall away from the terminals. With suitable signalling there is potential to increase slow line capacity as you remove the platform constraint. This all adds up to more capacity AND more suburban journey choices. With the size and expense of central stations Crossrail(s) can’t be the only solution in zone 1&2. I see no reason why Crossrail won’t succeed on all these counts.

    I’m not sure you can read across total London (M25) population growth and then apply directly to Crossrail 1 capacity. Some developments eg Lee Valley will be more focussed on CR2 and the potential 4 tracking toward Stansted. That said there has always been a question of sufficient capacity on the GW Relief lines when Crossrail takes over these services. Add to the mix HS2 and the Old Oak Common hub and loadings are going to be high. At the other extreme Abbey Wood is likely to reduce loadings on DLR into Woolwich. The loading picture will be mixed.

    Ultimately delivering successful transport capacity schemes should keep journeys bearable. I suspect the strains on health service and schools will constrain London population growth more than the crush on Crossrail (or underground).

  89. SG says:

    Reynolds 953 – Yep the data shows London’s population rise is due to international migration and rising birthrate. Britons are leaving which is increasing population elsewhere and increasing pressure on transport from commuters and in other cities. Though there is inward domestic migration of young Britons from areas such as the north of England.

    In terms of future predictions – the one constant is that population increases have been continually underestimated for 20 years. Numbers will continue to rise in the short term, despite Tory claims, as Office for National Statistic data shows that immigration visa permission (student, study, work and family) were up by double digit amounts last year, as well as long term permission to stay (indefinate leave to remain etc) which was also up by double digits.

  90. DeepThought says:

    There is a topical advert today in the Evening Standard for a new development “3 minutes from Custom House Crossrail hub”. Good timing on the part of the LR editors!

  91. RichardB says:

    @SG yes it is interesting how the numbers are consistently under estimated. One example is the French community based in London. Not all French citizens register with their consulate to ensure they can vote in French elections but enough do to make London a sizeable French city in its own right but when you look at the ONS stats in 2011 the French community in London is considered to be far smaller. Clearly some were not swept up in the census but the disparity in the two totals is very strange

  92. timbeau says:

    I’m pretty sure the link from BR at Leyton (which was not electrified anyway) closed long before 1967 stock operation on the Woodford Hainault shuttle ended. 1967 stock was used on that route, supplementing the 1960 stock, right up until 1984.
    The branch, and the small fleet of non-standard 1960 stock, had been used as the test bed for ATO so the 1967 stock was completely compatible with the line. (Presumably 1960 stock could have worked on the Victoria Line, but I don’t know if it ever did)

  93. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ timbeau
    Think you’ll find that a temporary connection was laid in to the Vic Line depot at Northumberland Park, from the Lea Valley main line, to transfer the bulk of the new trains in 1967/68 – and/or spoil removal earlier from the new tunnels.

    I recall that through BR DMUs were still running between Liverpool Street and Epping in the early/late hours until ca. 1969. Eg, the 05:05 and 05:35 on Sunday AM from Epping are shown to Liverpool Street Eastern Region in the 14 October 1968 Underground public timetable. There are equivalent trains for public use from Liverpool Street to Loughton on Sundays at 06:19 and 06:55. Someone with a working timetable can give more detail, no doubt, it certainly don’t look like the full extent of operations. Similarly there is a very early train from Stratford to Epping on weekdays at 03:50, which is unlikely to be a tube train. They might have carried newspapers out from London, but unsure about that. So 1967 stock could have been transferred that way onto the Central Line.

  94. Anon5 says:

    Re: first class declassification. Southeastern’s Victoria-Orpington line is standard class but often 465/9 stock substitutes the usual 465. The 465/9 has signs warning passengers they need a valid ticket to sit in first class. You could correctly argue a standard class is a valid ticket on this route but nowhere on the sign or from automated/driver announcements are commuters informed they can sit in the first class section. You either need to know the timetable rule or receive confirmation from Southeastern. I’ve even seen them confirm this declassification when prompted on Twitter. For the sake of passengers squeezed into standard class the right thing would be for the driver to convey the information. He or she probably knows the difference between a 465 and 465/9. But this is Southeastern and that company has zero respect for its customers.

  95. timbeau says:

    @Anon 5
    If there’s no first class fare you can’t be made to pay it. I often use the 1st class on the Wimbledon loop if a 319/2 or 319/4 turns up.

    I understand the temporary connection was indeed used to deliver the 1967 stock. But being temporary it couldn’t be used for the regular swap-arounds of 1967 stock between Hainault and Northumberland Park over the following 17 years. (And after the Leyton connection was removed in the 1970s the Central Line had no connection with the outside world except at Ealing and Ruislip).

    I have a recollection of seeing an “out of service” 1967 stock unit at Gloucester Road (Picc) once, about 1980 I think.

  96. Alan Griffiths says:

    James Bunting @ 19 February 2014 at 08:49

    “Neither the Freedom Pass nor the 60+ Oyster allow access to National Rail before 0930. ”

    Which is why some of us are looking forward to Crossrail TOC (not yet appointed) taking over the Shenfield service from 10 May 2015.

  97. Anon5 says:

    Timbeau: I understand you can’t be forced to pay up but my point is Orpington-Victoria trains are packed on normal days. When 465/9s are used there is less because many passengers squeeze into standard class for fear of getting caught in first class. You and I know it has been declassified but others do not. If first class stock is regularly used in declassified mode (ie 465/9 or Thameslink) the operator should be made to include this caveat on the stickers that otherwise warn of fines, and most definitely on the internal visual displays and through audio announcements. Southeastern for does none of these.

  98. DeepThought says:

    @timbeau – I have to agree with Anon5. Until this thread I didn’t know what the “Standard Class Only” announcement on the platform display boards actually meant. Given that I often get on Thameslink trains that have empty 1st class areas and packed standard, I would not appear to be alone in being unaware.

  99. Alan Griffiths says:

    Greg Tingey @ 19 February 2014 at 09:23

    Start building as soon as CR1 phase 1 is finished – or it will be too late.
    Which puts enormous pressure on the “planners” to get it right.”

    4/10 tunnel drives have ended already, 3/10 are continuing and 3/10 yet to start. Difficult to start building CR2 when there isn’t even a draft Bill yet.

  100. Alan Griffiths says:

    stimarco @ 18 February 2014 at 23:29
    “new tunnels – on new alignments where necessary – built outside the existing tunnels for the most part to avoid having to close chunks of the line down for long periods.”

    Your bold vision has not yet been attacked by people who know about all the foundations and tunnels in the way. Perhaps they only know about the City and not the West End?

  101. Man of Kent says:

    @milton, @timbeau
    From memory, as I can’t find a piece of paper with it written down, is that the Hainault/Vic Line swap had to be effected via Ruislip Depot, then the Pic/Vic connection at Finsbury Park.

    After the Vic had arrived at Finsbury Park, rrangements for swapping trains on and off the residual GN&C were even more complex, involving battery loco haulage over BR tracks.

  102. JM says:

    Brilliant article and looking forward to future ones on this topic. Agree strongly with posts from WW, Lemmo and Milton too, particularly around Crossrail 2.

    People have highlighted the planning issues. Cr2 seems a prime example of shoehorning as many solutions as possible into one scheme because there may be a political sense that London has had its fill of transport money, at least for mass expansion. As it would suit many agendas to set regions against one another, instead it would be great if transport could be viewed by the public with the same value health and education are. MPs of all persuasions realise these are the two biggest hot potatoes that the public switch onto thereby act accordingly. More spending is generally viewed as a positive regardless of value for money. No one would begrudge nurses above inflation pay rises every year for example.

    We spend billions on Trident which really only ensures more of the world listen to what you say but people accept the value in this because it buys the UK a prominent voice in the world. HS2 is a prime example of why transport isn’t valued the same way. Too much ‘why can’t we have longer trains/stations,why does it cost so much/why not spend it on upgrading even if the last one cost billions and gave us about 1 extra train every hour’. Who would complain at the same capital investment in hospitals schools or armed forces. Other than the politically beaten fringes or the very partisan, not many I would argue. The public view of transport is awful regardless of performance. Trains are ‘always’ late, buses always come in threes. Nobody ever views this investment as social, that it can change cities and communities.

    I think until the public view can be changed (Lord knows how but this seems as good a place as any to discuss) and transport valued far higher than it is ( other than strike days) then politicians will not value prioritising infrastructure investment the same way and future planning will be a matter of shoehorning and always picking the Ford Mondeo option because politics dictates nothing else. Ergo Crossrail 2 or the Birmingham Hs2 station interchange become a bit of a dogs breakfast.

    Maybe the success of projects like HS2 and Crossrail could change attitudes? Maybe bus conductors or public owned railways or local PTEs running the buses? Dr Beeching and Ernest Marples are not treated kindly by history and Brunel is lauded by Jeremy Clarkson of all people which kind of shows you the potential legacy good transport design and execution can bring. Maybe appealing to politicians ego is the answer.

    Would also add that while the debate on south east housing goes on, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and others manage to have a much lower population density in their city and inner core since slum clearances. This has lead to a dearth of good local services in poorer areas. Maybe over the next 50 years, there should be a greater emphasis on encouraging the major growth there rather than London. Agglomerate new industry, allow greater local governance. build a higher skill base and significantly improve local transport so London isn’t the de facto choice for anyone coming to or already living in the UK. Then maybe London’s politicians can concentrate on improving quality of life rather than growth.

    Probably taken this in a direction it wasn’t meant to go, apologies if this is the case.

  103. Anonymous says:

    “Please, this site is called “London Reconnections” not “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. ”
    Please, this site is called “London Reconnections” not “Trainspotters anonymous”

    “The objective isn’t to try and get us to believe six impossible things before breakfast. ”
    It used to be about keeping people informed about station developments and new lines, not trains and pet arguments about spending policy.

  104. 0775John says:

    JM – Very much agree with your comments re other cities and glad you raise the “quality of life” issue. What concerns me is that people who would rather live elsewhere or not commute for 3 hours a day are forced by the search for jobs to gravitate to London.

    Plans are then made at vast expense to get them to work in less crowded conditions and quicker and then we find that the new facility is full from Day One. Heresy it may be, but maybe that money ought to be spent on bringing other places benefits that match those available in London already, like metro/tram systems, and then subsidise businesses to develop around them.

    The market will just demand continual growth in London and will not cease that demand just because there is no available land within the M25. The state (or local government) will be expected to provide the infrastructure. Our favoured system of capitalism demands the state provide a healthy and educated workforce coupled with infrastructure to transport them as required. This is to be done at no cost to the businesses who in general have no interest in how they are housed and who in general baulk at paying tax.

    Leave the tax paying to the workers via personal tax and VAT! These self-same workers then end up paying the large transport costs that are needed to pay for that infrastructure which is financed by increased government debt.

    Not a sustainable way of continuing – but, like addicts, we are hooked.

  105. JM says:

    I actually do think London needs major investment continually as do the regions but not at the expense of one another. I think unless there is a public shift then this country will struggle to get the infrastructure it needs.

  106. Ian J says:

    @PoP: I suspect there is no “grand vision” thing amongst politicians

    Not only that, there doesn’t even seem to be much of a set of more modest strategies. The transport section of the Further Alterations to the London Plan contains a long laundry list of projects, divided by mode, some funded and some not funded. There is no indication of what each project is meant to achieve, of how funding might be obtained for unfunded projects (and I thought the Mayor had a policy of not pursuing unfunded projects anyway?), or of relative priorities given that inevitably not all will happen.

    @Alan Griffiths:
    Neither the Freedom Pass nor the 60+ Oyster allow access to National Rail before 0930. ”
    Which is why some of us are looking forward to Crossrail TOC (not yet appointed) taking over the Shenfield service from 10 May 2015.

    Conversely, if Crossrail from Shenfield is going to fill up, wouldn’t that be an argument for retaining these time restrictions, so that retired people (who by definition can travel off-peak) are encouraged not to use the busiest trains?

    Which raises the question of the other factor which affects travel demand: price. Obviously a potential political death-trap, but it is both the most obvious short-term tool for managing and shifting demand, and also for potentially raising the money needed to expand the system in the long term. But are people prepared to pay more for a better service?

  107. JM says:

    @Ian J

    As long as the Transport Secretary job is so far down the chain of Cabinet posts to the extent I honk it’s been shared in the past, it’s no real surprise that there’s no major strategy. I hope HS2 could be a game changer top to bottom but we won’t find out for a generation.

  108. Taz says:

    The first GLA Long Term Infrastructure Investment Plan for London will be produced in two stages – an interim report (inviting comment) in February 2014 and a final report in Summer 2014. So there should be something out on official thinking within a week!

  109. ngh says:

    Re Stimarco 19 February 2014 at 10:41

    Very good point on scheme length both CR1 and 2 have fairly long tunnel lengths and large number of underground stations – similar to the earlier RER schemes. Further CR schemes could have shorter tunnelled lengths and fewer stations by comparison thus making the schemes cheaper and slightly quicker to build thus making doing 2 schemes at once more palatable. An example of this is RER E bridging the gap between Haussmann St Lazare (“Eastern” Terminus) and Nanterre in the west where it would join some existing SNCF track with non RER services and an exciting RER branch [A5] (with Services levels on the other branches [A1,3] being increased afterwards). Circa 16km of single track tunnel (inc grade separation of junctions), 1 new station, 2 new sets of station platforms at existing stations for €2bn!

    The technology to rebore/enlarge/realign tunnels isn’t there at the moment because no one has wanted to do that, it shouldn’t be hard to assemble the elements needed. TBMs should chew brick relatively easily (selectively weakened the brick work robotically just in front of the TBM?, cast iron (or rarer cases steel) rings could be dismantled robotically just in front of the TBM. The volume of spoil extraction would be lower and drilling quicker.

    The traditional selection criteria for a CR scheme seem to be an overloaded terminus or approaches and lots of demand (suppressed, potential or other…).

    Post TL/CR1/CR2 (+HS2) if you look at the remaining Termini (or effective Termini inc SSR tube and other pinch points), you get a list that makes looks like (going Anti Clockwise from the Thames @Z1 boundary):
    Fenchurch Street (inc more dockland capacity)
    Moorgate NCL (you end up rebuilding all the under ground bit)
    St Pancras (MML)
    Euston (inc DCs)
    Baker Street
    Paddington (especially if WCML CR services but 6 tracking if Ealing rebuild could be done)
    Earls Court
    Waterloo Windsor lines (4 tracks but effectively only 2 track service level. + Wimbledon District relief via East Putney?)
    Victoria Southern (pinch point above Balham)
    Blackfriars plenty of approach capacity and route possibilities.
    London Bridge group including ELL (assuming partial relief with CR1 extended to Gravesend)
    (Significant signalling improvements and grade separation on the lines into the termini might make the capacity gaps even bigger)

    Not on the list:
    Liverpool Street (CR1 and 2 relief and rest of infrastructure then maxed out)
    Kings Cross [ECML] (CR2 and HS2 but bottlenecks further out e.g. Welwyn)
    Victoria SE (pinch point relief further out needed)

    That is 12 lines on the list which would normally indicate 6 more possible CR routes but some of the above possibilities would be grouped for example Baker Street and Marylebone which probably leaves 5 remaining routes before engineering / economic reality culls at least another.

    An example of a shorter cheaper CR scheme along the lines of RER E completion might be linking Fenchurch Street lines and Abbey Wood CR1 branch from 1 direction to a pair of Waterloo Windsor Lines in the other with very few new stations/platforms. Canary Wharf would get 12tph CR1 to/from Abbey Wood branch and 12tph CR”x” to/from Abbey Wood branch with different Western destination on different CR routes thus leaving 12tph from Fenchurch (or District / Shenfield CR1) lines for CR”x”

    A NW-SE CR3 would be more similar to CR1 or 2 with 30km of single track tunnel needed to do properly.

  110. Ian J says:

    @JM: I agree on the scale of national policy, but that doesn’t so much explain the lack of vision London-wide: transport is a much high priority for any Mayor than it is for the national government.

  111. Graham Feakins says:

    Re. Victoria Line 1967 Stock transfers – it must be remembered that Underground stock had to reach Acton Works for overhaul, including that for the Northern City Line but the latter’s main depot was at Neasden (using battery locomotives on the main line). For the Vic. Line, here are some extracts from ‘Underground News’ published by London Underground Railway Society:
    “The Victoria Line was connected to the rest of the Underground via two crossover tunnels at Finsbury Park that connected with the Piccadilly Line…(trains were delivered to Northumberland Park depot via a temporary link between the depot and the adjacent British Rail main line. Each unit was coupled between two LU battery locomotives and was moved to Leyton, where there was an existing connection with BR. The train went down towards Stratford via Loughton Junction and then reversed to allow it to get up the Lea Valley line to Northumberland Park.)….Shuttling between Ruislip, Hainault and Northumberland Park and its future transfers to Acton
    Works for overhaul required the ’67 Stock to run over existing LU lines that were not equipped with Automatic Train Control. To allow the stock to run freely about the system, it needed tripcocks that would operate in the same way as “conventional stock”, i.e. stock without ATC, so it was designed with the facility to fit them and to switch from ATC to tripcock operation and back during a trip’.

    Where battery haulage remained was on the Northern City Line and these two pages show a bit of the operation:

    Many lament the loss of Acton Works to this day.

  112. The other Paul says:

    You seem to assume that relieving terminal capacity is the only or main reason for building Crossrail-type schemes.

    I would say that, for example, although what you say about Victoria is correct, relieving pressure on the Victoria line between Victoria and Green Park needs to also be a consideration. A very significant proportion of people disembarking from main line Victoria are trying to cram themselves into the same tiny Northbound tunnel. This is a pinch point that needs to be resolved before any consideration of pinch points further out. It eases at Green Park as many of them shift to the other lines.

    Victoria is probably the worst example, but this phenomenon must exist at most London termini to varying degrees, so to do the crayons properly one must consider that it may be more effective to provide services distributing passengers across a wider area, i.e. several central stations with various onward connections, than running to a single terminal.

    Thus whilst releasing terminal capacity for more trains is an important benefit, dispersing passengers over a wider area to relieve the onward capacity from the terminal is also a consideration.

  113. ngh says:

    Re The other Paul 20 February 2014 at 03:16

    Agree CR schemes about more than just terminal capacity but that would have been a very very long post going into how you might link the various terminals or in many cases the approaches for example do you avoid replicating existing tube links or not etc?

  114. Anonymous says:

    @The other Paul – indeed, the rational for XR1 was and is to relieve the Central Line; any freeing up of terminal capacity was a bonus, and not one that was highly valued when the scheme was approved, Paddington not being seen as congested at the time. And XR2 is about distribution within the central area (however badly it does it…) and relief of the running lines into Waterloo (WAT isn’t yet full and the constraint on filling it is the demand for paths out to Woking, not the number of platforms at the terminus). In fact, there is probably a case to be considered as to whether future XRs shouldn’t avoid existing rail termini simply to spread the distributional interchange load.

  115. Anon5 says:

    You only have to look at the huge increase in Southeastern passengers on the Orpington line who alight at Brixton to join the Victoria line compared to a decade ago as an indication of how bad things have got at Victoria. In an ideal world many of these suburban trains would continue underground with stops at (say) Oxford Circus and (say) Kings Cross or Euston. But we don’t live in an ideal world unfortunately.

    As for the public appetite for change: again you only have to look at the shoulder shrugging, eyebrow raising average passenger who hates their train operator and indeed the system but has no gusto to bring about change. How many people on Southeastern have written to their MP, tweeted David Cameron or phoned the DfT to demand action? Probably very few. In fact who is answerable to the passenger these days (other than the Mayor for TfL services)? It’s not like privatisation has brought us the choice and competition it promised.

    No government likes transport. No politician wants to be minister of transport. Perhaps it’s time for a broad party coalition strategy on transport with an agreement of a long-term post (perhaps headed by an opposition politicians) with clear, agreed objectives that can plan past the current short ministerial posts and governmental terms.

  116. Chris L says:

    The growth in passenger numbers on southeastern is why Bakerloo line extensions etc just won’t work.

    Tube stock trains are just not big enough to handle the loads.

  117. Saifur R says:

    But the Bakerloo would be good to connecting up areas in inner south east London like Lewisham and New Cross and letting a future Crossrail or Thameslink take the outer loads. The Jubliee Line is a perfect example of this. As well as the Central Line between Woodford via Newbury Park and the Victoria Line and Northern Line.

  118. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Saifur
    I agree. Peckham, Catford, Lewisham or Blackheath are natural break points and interchanges for any Bakerloo extension. The problem is not seeing enough of a case to go even that far, compared with current and foreseen competing demands for available capital investment.

    A very limited extension from Elephant as far as say Old Kent Road or Peckham might be do-able for about £½-1 billion (see the 2010 John Bull report linked above, covering a report to Lewisham Council). Perhaps it could be designed to meet at OKR a Crossrail 3, mainline-sized, coming the other way which would have picked up various South Eastern branches.

    Maybe defining Crossrail 3 is the means within which to find adequate relevance for an initial Bakerloo extension, with Bakerloo offering a cross-platform West End connection at OKR (à la Mile End), and Crossrail 3 heading somewhere else across Central London.

  119. DeepThought says:

    @Chris L – If you look at the previous articles LR have published about the various Bakerloo options, one of them shows a two-stage proposal going to Lewisham first, and then possibly taking over the Hayes line later. I don’t see how that would be overwhelmed with SE commuter traffic?

  120. JM says:

    Suspect the greatest need for CR3 if it gets legs might be another N/S line to cover up issues created by CR2 if it gets built in its current format. An opportunity to address some of the capacity constraints in south London too perhaps.

  121. timbeau says:

    The simplest Crossrail-type solution would indeed be to simply connect two main line termini with no intermediate stations. The termini are all well-connected to the Underground already (admittedly some better than others), and would itself be quite useful – imagine south western commuters having the choice of Waterloo or Liverpool Street. Or WCML commuters having a direct service to Charing Cross. Chiltern to Victoria? This would put many more commuters within walking distance of their London destinations.
    There already exists an example of this: Crossrail “0” , otherwise known as Thameslink, connects the former LCDR and MML routes with a direct link from Holborn Viaduct Low Level (now called City Thameslink) to Farringdon, with no attempt made to connect with the Central Line on the way.
    Crossrail 1 may be the exception, as the east west axis is much longer than north south, but for new N/S crossrails maybe intermediate stations are a luxury we can do without – or maybe connecting only with CR1?

  122. Fandroid says:

    There’s a danger that I might be repeating what has already been said. Having spent the whole of yesterday away from LR, I got comment fatigue this morning when I got as far as about 15.00 on the 19th. I suspect that PoP’s analysis of Crossrail usage also applies to London Reconnections. It’s already full up and we need more lines to be built!

    Just a few observations. I really thought Crossrail should have been specified for double-deck trains, as a small start to enlarging the London network. I have heard zillions of reasoned arguments as to why double-deck trains are no good, but they are expanding throughout the world and there’s no sign of any reversal to single-deck. The Netherlands has them on inter-city trains and France even has them on high speed routes. Can all those other nations be wrong? Is the UK’s little Johnny the only one in step?

    The relevance for Crossrail would have been shorter and cheaper tunnelled stations. I know that most have two ticket halls, but that’s possible without lengthening the massive station tunnels.

    I have had quite a lot of experience of the double-deck RE trains in Germany’s Rhineland. They are not slow, because they have a socking great push-pull loco in charge. Even these trains get very crowded, and the stairs and landings are commonly used as extra seating! The doors are wide with a dividing handrail, so simultaneous unloading and loading is normal. The lower deck empties quickly, so starts reloading before the upper deck passengers have all left. And (stimarco) I have never seen doors taped-up out of use!

    Graham H mentions Bern and Dresden as possibly ideal-sized cities with good public transport that copes well. I won’t argue with the notion that both are really nice cities, but both kept really good public transport systems in the form of trams, and both have developed commuter railways too, based on S-Bahn systems. They had the basis for a system that could cope, and didn’t throw it away like all cities in the UK did (except London which had a Tube network). The only one in the UK trying to reverse that and get close to Bern and Dresden is Manchester. Nottingham is closer in size to those two and it’s also having a really good go!

    London’s problem is probably because it’s the centre of a massive city-region, and history has given it a brilliant and dense network of railways all feeding into it (and all being upgraded to send even more in!).

    Final thought. Even if Crossrail is full from day one, there will almost certainly be immediate relief on some other lines – Central, northern Circle and probably the Jubilee too. It’s not all a tragedy, and there will be a short time to plan what comes next.

  123. JM says:

    re Bakerloo, what would the capacity increase be for 30tph tubes versus 5 peak trains on the Hayes line? What would be the capacvty increase from the stations that exist plus up to 5 million entries per year passing through Peckham/Camberwell and probably slightly less for a station on the OKR or Walworth?

    What effect would it have on the above mentioned Orpington/Victoria axis if people could board west End trains at Beckenham? What if Elmers End was sufficiently enhanced so that tube/Tramlink access allowed almost a seamless link to the centre of Croydon?

  124. JM says:


    Agree, sort of. But going N/S you could hypothetically build a line from Waterloo to CJ with a station at Lambeth Bridge and inadvertently ease congestion at Victoria for example as it would serve the Horseferry Rd/Westminster area in a similar way Vic does now. I think you can be more creative than just joining one terminal to the other, providing there is agood connectivity along the route as a whole.

  125. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Milton Clevedon, Saifur R

    I agree. Peckham, Catford, Lewisham or Blackheath are natural break points and interchanges for any Bakerloo extension.

    Which I intuitively feel from travelling in the area. In particular Lewisham is really quite a busy traffic-generator these days. One of the problems Southeastern have is the pressure to have trains call at Lewisham even though operationally it is not desirable.

    In particular we have rush hour trains that shuttle between Charing Cross and Orpington via Lewisham. I think they used to omit Lewisham in peak hours. No train planner would choose to route these via Lewisham if they could avoid this. At least the double-track Tanners Hill Flydown makes this less of an inconvenience these days. What is surprising is how popular these trains are with people boarding and alighting at Lewisham and how many make the journey Lewisham – Charing Cross.

    If an extended Bakerloo Line could capture some of that traffic and similar journeys from places nearby then that would go a long way to relieving overcrowding in the Lewisham – London Bridge area whilst at the same time hopefully giving people better journey opportunities. At the same time this would not deprive anyone of an existing service and neither would it overload the Bakerloo Line in a way that Haylerloo proposals would. I hope the current population estimates have killed whatever vestige of an idea there was of extending the Bakerloo to Hayes.

    Of course what this doesn’t help with is the large number of people who board a train at Lewisham in the evening peak to go further into the suburbs and who rely on people getting off the train to provide them with a space on the train (incidentally, same at New Cross).

    Regardless, any idea of extending the Bakerloo really needs to be done in conjunction with a complete tube line update so we are talking over 20 years before anything can be realistically be achieved and opened even if there was the will to do it. In that time who knows what further developments take place. For example, if Elephant & Castle is successfully regenerated could it be that the fabled spare capacity on the Bakerloo Line gets used up without extending the line at all?

  126. Saifur R says:

    Let a branch of Crossrail 1 or Crossrail 2 take over the Central to Epping, Central goes to just Woodford. Where Woodford would have to be rebuilt and have a Victoria Line extension here as well as well as Leyton and Leytonstone.

    Crossrail 3 take over the Met between Moor Park and Amersham and Chesham. The Met with then only go to Watford Junction and Uxbridge.

    Crossrail 1 branch to Watford Junction sharing with London Overground removing the Bakerloo Line and stopping it at Queen Park.

    Crossrail 3 will go and take over South Eastern lines leaveing the Bakerloo Line to cover inner London and the frontier of Outer London.

  127. RichardB says:

    I am astonished that some contributors favour new lines with even fewer stations than Crossrail. If you create a new line cutting through London with as suggested in some posts only one station in the central area you ensure that the entire train of perhaps 1500 people are decanted (potentially 72000 per hour with 24 tph) at that one stop as very few will continue onwards to outer London (Thameslink is an example of this at the moment). Most of those passengers will need to have recourse to the Tube network to complete their journey to work.

    The underlying assumption of such crossrail lines is that the burden will already have been lifted on the parallel Tube lines releasing capacity which passengers could take advantage of at the central transfer station but… as PoP in his article has explained it is unlikely that such capacity will be created or at best only in the first few months of operation. The Tube network is at or nearly at full capacity in the peak periods and what is needed are additional lines with a significant number of stations to spread the load both within the central area but also in the outer zones. The ethos of such a network would be to provide a duplicate metro system. This does not mean we should exclude crossrail type initiatives but more crossrail lines especially with even fewer stations without the presence of a new metro system as I am proposing in this post will only compound London’s problems.

  128. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – niceness apart (and who wouldn’t want a flat in the Old Town in Bern?), the point I was trying to make was that beyond a certain size, major conurbations either end up with an enormous CBD, or begin to develop rival poles of attraction, both of which radial lines struggle to serve. London and Paris are at that stage, cities below 1 m pop are probably not.

    The first London tram network was pretty well doomed from the start because it wasn’t allowed to penetrate either the West End or the City, although I suspect it would still have been swept away in the great ’40s and ’50s motorisation fad even if it had overcome its “doughnut” problem. Once the rolling stock and track weren’t renewed system-wide after LT took over, the decision was effectively taken.

    @lemmo – you asked about grid designs for public transport. I think the best example is probably Switzerland, where the rail system is deliberately timetabled around a series of nodes and half nodes with connexions planned at those points. The nodes embrace pretty well all the major settlements and some minor ones also – but then Switzerland doesn’t have dominant conurbation in the same way as Britain. The Dutch network is similarly planned – I’m thinking here especially about the Randstadt and the recent extensions to the metro systems and tramtrain operations – although the service frequencies are such that connexions don’t have to be built in as in Switzerland. Belgian timetable plans are also structured around a grid not wholly dominated by Brussels – Mechelen, Louvain, and Gent all seem to act as nodes served by a web of non-radial services. In Britain, ex-NSE services, which in other respects have many parallels with Nederlands Spoorwegen, seem to make an almost deliberate attempt to avoid any non-London connectivity.

    Turning to the conurbation itself, I guess the poles that might provide the basis of any grid are the usual suspects identified as growth points in successive Greater London plans – apart from OOC, Canary Wharf and Stratford, one is left with Harrow, Barnet, Enfield, Romford, Lewisham, Croydon, Kingston, Heathrow, Ealing, and so on. The problem with any such list is the “pairing” of adjacent but fairly equal town centres, eg Kingston and Richmond, Ilford and Barking, Harrow and Wembley, even Ealing and West Ealing where rail planners might well have to choose which of the pair to go for. (XR1 had an easy time in that respect, and XR2 is perhaps more concerned with OMA than the conurbation ).

  129. timbeau says:

    “Is the UK’s little Johnny the only one in step?”
    No – it’s the penalty of being the pioneer, wuth everyone else learning from your mistakes. Double deck trains will not fit British loading gauge. The new Crossrail tunnels could have been built to continental loading gauge, but you would also have had to modify the GWML and GEML – a big job as they are already “live” railways. As well as raising all the bridges and tunnels, you would need to modify the OHLE catenary. Remember that for many years after conversion from dc the GEML operated at 6.25kV instead of the standard 25kV because of restricted clearances between structures and the “knitting”). And then you would have to be sure that the current collection gear on existing electric rolling stock can still reach the wires, and not risk dewiring within the limits they can lean or sway. (This was a problem at one time on the ECML where slow trains were dewiring because the superelevation on certain curves, designed for much faster trains, caused them to lean over far enough for the wire to fall off the end of the collector arm)
    And the double deck trains would be confined to their route – unless you change the clearances on the approaches to the terminal platforms at Liverpool Street, which include substantial tunnels, the DD stock would be unable to be diverted there should the need arise.
    Crossrail went for longer trains instead. Not only does this give better dwell times and more level floor space, but lengthening the platforms is probably cheaper than raising the bridges.
    The French Swiss etc have the advantage of already having a bigger loading gauge, so it makes sense to use it to its maximum.

  130. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Graham H
    A nice point about ‘paired’ town centres in suburban London and a potential competition between all of them to be the ‘chosen ones’ for new growth. Could certainly be a judgement of Solomon if you wanted to beef up radial rail/tube services, or orbitals.

  131. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    “The first London tram network was pretty well doomed from the start . Once the rolling stock and track weren’t renewed system-wide after LT took over, the decision was effectively taken.”

    But to begin with, until WW2, LT’s policy WAS to renew the rolling stock and current collection system, although not the track. This was a continuation of London United Tramways’ programme, initiated in 1931.
    More than half the tram routes had been converted to trolleybus before the programme was suspended by the outbreak of war.
    What killed off the trolleybuses after WW2 was firstly the need for extensive modifications to the current collection network to accomodate new road schemes – particularly one way systems – and secondly the need to find a market for AEC’s new wunderkind, the Routemaster. But the trolleybus replacement programme did not start until twenty years after London Transport was created.

  132. Melvyn says:

    I find this talk of a vast increase in the number of passengers leaving Farringdon a bit ridiculous given that people travel to a destination for a reason and even allowing for local development I doubt if millions are suddenly going to want to go and see Faringdon Road !

    Interchange at Faringdon will increase but these passengers will remain in the station!

    As for the two Oxford Street Stations well the same will apply with a large increase in interchange between Crossrail and tube lines but again massive increases in passengers leaving stations well that again only applies if there is something to attract them . In fact the reality of Oxford Street is millions of passengers pass through the street every year but never get off because it’s just a street along their journey from say Victoria to Islington / Hackney via route 73. While many who get off buses promptly change to another bus and this is more to do with cuts to through routes that have been made over the years . Cuts that increase congestion and are the real reason for empty buses !

    As for Crossrail filling up well no doubt it will lead to changes to travel patterns as all new infrastructure does , just look at Victoria And jubilee lines but again the jubilee line has actually lead to a decline in use of the Bakerloo Line !

    The real problem of congestion is more to do with badly designed stations where instead of passengers having escalators and lifts from platforms they are forced to trudge up and down narrow stairs thus making to difficult to clear platforms before next train arrives.

    As to the future well we need to get on with plans for Crossrail 2 together with major station upgrades at stations like Euston and Oxford and Piccadilly Circus and even look at diversion of overground into Euston into a new sub surface station and extension across Central London with new Central London stations and through running to South London network !

    Of course trams and light railways also have a part in creating capacity with tram train allowing through running between lines .

  133. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – that’s curious view of history – precisely which was this rolling stock fleet which fleet which LPTB purchased? The trolleybus system was purchased to “run off” the investment in the electrical distribution system and when that wore out, then the trolleys went, too. The decision to get rid of the trolleybuses predated the rash of one way schemes (although these may well have speeded things up). The turning point was probably the decision not to implement the S London conversion programme. The Routemaster was not a design looking for a market but specifically commissioned by LT to replace the trolleybus fleet (indeed, the initial design was for a Routemaster trolleybus; diesel power came swiftly, but later ). Interestingly, trolley operating costs were lower than diesel but lost out on capex.

  134. Milton Clevedon says:

    “Interchange at Faringdon will increase but these passengers will remain in the station!”
    That’s fascinating, I’d heard about a possible Crossrail extension to Reading but didn’t realise it was going to head as far as West Oxfordshire along the GW route!

  135. StephenC says:

    Just to note that Crossrail 1 has more exit points than stations. Bond Street, TCR, Farringdon and Liverpool Street all have two exits, making them practically equivalent to 8 tube stations, not 4. I’m not sure everyone has got their head around that yet. Sadly, CR2 only proposes one real central station at TCR, and no matter how many exits there are, it will be overloaded.

    For SE London, its important to remember that the Metropolitan line also terminates pointing in that direction, and Met trains are a good deal larger than Bakerloo ones. A Met extension to Lewisham and Hayes (or to Greenwich and Charlton) would provide far greater capacity than a similar Bakerloo extension.

    Behind the considerations above of what to do when there is limited money is the question of whether it best to pitch for one expensive line (CR2) or two or three cheaper ones? My sums suggest that you can get two lines for almost the price of one, so are TfL backing the right horse?

    @ngh, the Windsor lines are one the least used lines in London having four tracks but a service of two. However, I’d suggest the potential demand is actually much higher, and if it weren’t for the level crossings then more services would be justified.

  136. Anonymous says:

    Stephen C

    Your plans do not do anything for the Lee (or Lea) Valley, so not really about CR2.

  137. Windsorian says:

    If we are seriously talking about XR2, XR3, XR4 etc then in my humble opinion we should immediately review the XR2 proposal for a combined Euston/St Pancras/Kings Cross station; these I understand are about 1km apart.

    Instead we should be thinking in the short term about extending the DLR to Kings Cross/ St Pancras and then onto Euston and Marylebone.

    XR2 could then allow mainline trains from Kings Cross to Victoria and XR3 from Euston to Waterloo. We know XR2 is proposing to intersect with XR1 at TCR and Thameslink with XR1 at Farringdon. So it’s only a question of where XR3 could intersect with XR1 in the Zone 1/2 area ?

  138. Greg Tingey says:

    I posted an admittedly long analysis/reply to ngh’s post, with I hope, helpful comments & the end-question “BCA”?
    I think it loaded – where’s it gone?
    [It wasn’t merely long. Some of it related to other social issues that are not appropriate to discuss here. You may think they are but I decided they weren’t. There were so many comments on so many issues that really did not add anything and were all written in a rather challenging style that doesn’t encourage meaningful debate so I gave up reading it half-way through and sent it to John Bull for a second opinion. PoP]

    Now then, following on to later things …

    The other Paul
    Indeed, a second N’bound platform @ Victoria would be a “good idea” – slight problem, apparently, is where do you put it? This is similar to extra p/f’s at CJ – there does not seem to be any simple, or at least affordable answer to these questions.

    Your comment on “any politician” is only too apposite … remember that Boris started out by cancelling even study-schemes for transport in London & we are now re-starting now he (appears to have) learnt better, after an hiatus – which, of course pushes final costs even further up.
    Oh dear.

    JM ( & timbeau)
    The most likely option for CR3 is (a version of) the original 1945/7 proposals, linking the Marylebone & Baker ST lines with the Dartfod loops ( Yes/No? )
    Someone else’s suggestion of newer CR’s having different interchange points, spreading the load, together with fewer stations, especially N-S seem valid to me. Suggested locations might be: Marble Arch, Chancery Lane or St Paul’s on the Central, & Euston Sq of course (!)

    Except that Lewisham has other problems, frequently discussed here – cramped layout, conflicting movements, the flyover access at the SE end, etc – never mind any putative DLR extension.

    Saifur R
    Of course your suggestion”1” was originally part of the first CR2 proposal, if only because the line was originally built to main-line gauge (I suspect)…

    Richard B
    Indeed – because that’s how Paris does it. The RER has stations in the centre – quite a few of them, actually.

  139. @Greg,

    But if you build a Bakerloo Line station (underground) at Lewisham how are the issues you mention relevant? Strictly speaking there is no need to build the station on or near the current station site at all. I suspect an argument could be made for a station in the town centre. You would lose the interchange but that may not necessarily be a bad thing. One of the problems of the Fleet Line and subsequently Haykerloo was the fear of people transferring to the Underground at Lewisham to get a seat in the morning and catching a train from Charing Cross in the evening to get a seat on the main line train thus providing sub-optimal asymmetric transport use.

  140. The other Paul says:

    If we’re onto full-on crayon mode I’d personally suggest Euston to Victoria, because Kings Cross to Victoria is somewhat duplicative of Thameslink, and I’m not sure post-Thameslink upgrade how many suitable services will be available for another suburban-metro route. An inter-city connection would seem to work better with Waterloo where there are longer distance services.

    I would see Euston to Victoria as having stops at Great Portland Street/Regents Park, Bond Street (for XR1) and Hyde Park Corner. A stop at Euston itself is perhaps unnecessary, and this could mean the line continues straight up the East side of Regents Park to join the WCML in the Camden area. I think a stop at Victoria would be needed to avoid overloading Hyde Park Corner, but Sloane Square could be an alternative.

  141. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    Your original premise was that “Once the rolling stock and track weren’t renewed system-wide after LT took over, the decision was effectively taken.”
    My point was that, at least until WW2 intervened, there was a rolling programme of replacing the various tram fleets (MET, London United, LCC, East Ham, Dartford/Woolwich etc) with a standard fleet of “trackless” trams, building on the pioneering work by LUT in 1931. There was even a prototype designed to run through the Kingsway tunnel, with double-sided rear platform. By 1939 about two thirds had been done, and the plans were well adavnced for the rest. No major new expansion happened after the war – the first priority was to replace the original LUT “Diddlers”, and by the time that was complete the decision had been made to go all-diesel, starting by replacing the remaining tram routes.

  142. ngh says:

    Re Stephen C
    My point exactly on the Windsor lines, lots of suppressed/potential demand but some infrastructure issues which all have chicken and egg type situation as you sort one issue you hit another one so it needs something major to break the deadlock.

    Agree with Anonymous 20 February 2014 at 13:33 though that unless a CR2 scheme looks at the Lee/Lea valley then it won’t get looked at.

    Lots of the future Paris RER schemes / extensions involve taking over a branch on an earlier RER scheme to rebalance things after 30-40 years.

    Re comments about newer line proposals having very few stations:
    CR1 has over 40km of tunnel as it has multiple underground branches and has to connect a bigger East/West gap and has correspondingly large number of underground stations. Future CR schemes could have a more Thameslink equivalent scale of tunnelling and central underground stations especially if all double ended (Thameslink being equivalent to about 8.5km of crossrail style tunnel if it had been done from scratch with 3 underground stations)

  143. JM says:

    From all the documents I’ve seen most new housing appears to be planned in the Lower Valley rather than Upper. A chunk of the Upper Valley is due to be turned into a nature reserve I believe. Not convinced so far it would be the best route to send it given other routes could desperately use the capacity and greater connectivity.

    And capacity spare on the Victoria Line could be extended up the valley quite cheaply if extra capacity was needed.

  144. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ CR-ayonistas

    Here’s a little exercise we can all do on our own. I’ve had a little go. What conclusions might emerge, may vary between individuals, and could be interesting to compare…

    (1) Take Zone 1, all the existing main line termini, plus Vauxhall, Elephant, Old Street, plus stations on Thameslink and Crossrail 1 (and allow for double-ended stations where relevant).

    (2) For each main group of entrances/exits, draw a 1 kilometre zone of accessibility. That’s 0.62 miles in old money.

    (3) Colour each circle: Green for access from the South of River lines, Red for access from the North of River lines, Purple for East-West including Paddington, Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street. Where there is more than one direction of access, increase the number of colours.

    (4) Consider where there is a shortfall of access:
    (a) in absolute terms, from just one corridor let alone two or three – I find Angel, Millbank, South Ken/Chelsea, and on the western circumference of the Circle (though Overground does a useful job along the WLL)
    (b) just from one corridor, not two or three. I find most gaps with that criterion are west of a N-S line drawn from Elephant to KingsX/StPancras. The whole West End is surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) deficient.
    (c) then look at individual directions of travel. East-West accessibility is particularly sparse. Yes there are tubes, but we are here looking at the accessibility of such territory from the perspective of existing main line corridors.

    Overall, there might be a case for joining up across the West End (or further west) N-S, with another Crossrail or three.

    There also appears to be an E-W shortfall if you consider the SSL will be under unreasonable pressure in another decade or so (particularly the District corridor) – how about South Ken-Victoria-Millbank-Waterloo-London Bridge (or City, shades of W&C!!!)-Canary.

    And, indeed, don’t forget the growth of Canary Wharf, Stratford and similar places. If you applied the same techniques to such locations, which you might consider as quasi-Central London in activity roles, you might then discover new connectivity requirements, in a future decade if not now.

    Comments very welcome, on a postcard-sized email… (unlike this one).

    , by ANY

  145. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ JM
    20 February 2014 at 15:12

    Have a butchers at this. Lea Valley 3rd tracking is central to the transport needs.

  146. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – I read your post as implying LT builds of new trams (I was talking about trams in my post and the die that was cast when LT took over was to liquidate the tram system asap – Ashfield was very public about that). If WW2 had not supervened, the trams would have gone in 1942 and the subway trolleybus prototype would have been joined by a large subfleet of trolleys with offside doors.
    @JM – even a dozen years ago, before the expansion of housing on the RSA site, there was a financial case for running a tube line up the Lea Valley. As to spare capacity on the Victoria – absolutely not, I’m afraid; the southbound trains are already full by the time they hit the Lea Valley, and there is really no spare capacity to play with at all – that was why, as part of the same exercise that looked at the Lea Valley extension, LRT rejected putting in a branch based on the depot spur.
    @MC – the Paris position (?) is instructive with the continued duplication and triplication of the Ligne 1 axis – still full despite all this.

  147. StephenC says:

    @Anonymous 20 February 2014 at 13:33, @ngh
    In the wink scheme I linked to I chose to follow TfL’s Alexandra Palace route over the Lea Valley option. Given how things are changing, were I to draw the scheme now I would choose the Lea Valley over Alex. I don’t think routing to Lea instead of Alex changes the cost to any significant degree. In fact it may make it cheaper. The real question is how far TfL are willing to re-evaluate – two new lines rather than one is a big gain.

    @Milton Clevedon, your proposed analysis missed mention of volume of people at each station. There are far more people arriving from the South than from the North, because the tube is almost exclusively in the north. Logically, this means that at least one Crossrail will need to go from the South to the South. Did I mention the wink option…

  148. ngh says:

    Re Milton Clevedon 20 February 2014 at 15:29

    We’re never going to capture the level of analysis needed in LR comments on this one…
    Many different types of analysis needed all producing slight different possibilities.

    On the shortfall of access method (point 4) agree on the gaps highlighted though it won’t pick up issues like lack of capacity from the SE into (and beyond) London Bridge in the first place. It works very well for looking at possible routings through Z1.
    For those problems you may be end up with 2 Schemes both doing some partial E-W and westerly N-S relief being a better solution so everyone being funnelled through a v small number of interchanges doesn’t happen so much (partial application of Stimarco’s Grid approach?) The are also fewer existing overlapping lines there to have to work around.
    Agree District corridor relief should certainly be south of the river for some of its distance given the scale of some of the developments taking place south of the Thames now.

  149. Malcolm says:

    Thank you Pedantic for a very thought-provoking article.

    It does seem to be difficult to pin down suitable definitions of the “population of London”. But one approach would be to observe that the key transport constraints mostly depend on non-contraflow rush hour travel. To estimate demand on this, we should perhaps try to count inner-London workplaces rather than people or even workers. Indeed, if transport cannot cope, perhaps it is workplaces whose numbers should be constrained, though how to do this with a “business-friendly” (or indeed any other) government is quite hard to see.

    Of course there is plenty of other travel taking place. But all this non-work, unconventionally-timed and contraflow travel can be economically provided by working the rush-hour-needed assets throughout the day (and sometimes night).

    Another lesson for the future might be to try to set budgets so that a future project can count as “coming in under budget” even if, while it is being built, the client (us) decides to go for particular anticipated (and passively-provided-for) enhancements. Because it would, I assume, be more economical at this stage to go straight for the 12-car trains, but that is ruled out because of the budget-credibility issue.

  150. JM says:

    @Graham H

    The idea I was thinking would that it would be post a new N/S Line. I can’t think of any reason why an interchange at Hackney cannot operate as a counterweight to TH. So shorter distance services use TH, longer distance Hackney for example – interchange traffic could be easily spread. Extra capacity on the Vic as a consequence could, in my view, support a new route provided an interchnage at Hackney exists.

    I strongly support Cr2 if built still going in part to Epping. The Central Line currently struggles to cope anyway but a new route via Leytonstone can open up greater connectivity from the east to the Euston Rd corridor and beyond bypassing busy routes in the City. The extra capacity on the Hainault branch should ensure journeys beyond the City part of the Central Line are split between both routes and the new route offers direct access to Victoria and the south. It also potentially allows parts of the Lower Lea valley such as ICity/East Village and Stratford Intl to have a meaningful transport link en rioute between hackney and Leytonstone as the current Stratford station really is not.

    Just my view of course.

  151. Graham H says:

    @JM I see! I tend to agree with you that the quadrant between the Lea Valley and the GE Main line is neglected by any sort of fast through service to central London; it is also remarkably free from any obvious development node, planned or existing – don’t think Barkingside counts… A propos the Lea Valley, however, as I recollect the outcome of the LRT study, any line up the LV slows would actually be, itself, full, so you’d have to empty the existing Victoria pretty thoroughly for it cope with another line full of traffic being dumped on it at TH. [Yes, of course, this begs the question as to why reinstatement of the LV slows hasn’t been pushed forward faster – presumably, even if done as a separate line, it would still put a lot more interchange traffic onto the Victoria and Central and really requires at least XR1 to deal with some of that – equally, presumably a serious case of suppressed demand?]

    Put another way, it may be better on current evidence for the Lea Valley to consume its own smoke as it were and deal with the needs of the NE “corridor” (ie towards Epping) separately.

    BTW, somewhat off topic but relevant, that “corridor” – the straight line route to Norwich seems a natural target for a complete new city complete with main line infrastructure and a beefed up inner conurbation train service – more attractive countryside down the drain, alas, but that’s what we face anyway whatever we do, given the likely population growth. It is very odd that that quadrant has so far escaped the planners’ attention. I suspect – no, I know, because they have told me – that Whitehall’s land use planners stick very firmly to stringing development along existing rail lines “like pearls on a string” as one of them explained it to me. The time for such poetry is past as these strings themselves are breaking under the pearly masses…

  152. Melvyn says:

    @Milton Check out Crossrail site for future Farringdon station and you will see how passengers changing from current Thameslink to future Crossrail will simply use stairs, escalators and lifts to change between lines. In fact the present wall on the Farringdon road side of the Thameslink station is only temporary until Crossrail station opens!

    Of course Canary Wharf shows how it can be done given how their Jubilee Line Station is fully integrated into the development allowing passengers to get from train to office without going outside and with modern bright subways linking the estate together again making it possible to reach many areas without need to go outside.

    It will be interesting to see if the major development at Victoria will be fully linked into the new Victoria underground station and likewise in Oxford Street where building like at Canary Wharf would remove many crowds from street level .

    It seems TFL is finally beginning to learn how things should be done with the new stations linked to Crossrail and their tube stations upgraded as part of over site development with similar work now underway at Bank for Waterloo and City and planned for Northern line both giving better access .

  153. Melvyn says:

    Literally hot off the press please see link to Modern Railways site re funding for Crossrail 2 which seems to suggest there could be enough to fund two of them !

  154. Graham H says:

    @Melvyn – it’s important to insert the word “if” into reports like this one from bodies like London First, who have no money or expertise of their own. Spending other people’s money is an easy game that we can all play…

  155. Anonymous says:

    Graham H

    “London First, who have no money or expertise of their own”

    Although I suspect Lord Adonis and Tony Travers have some expertise don’t you think?

    Lord Adonis, in my view, was the first Labour minister in decades to understand the potential of rail.

  156. Windsorian says:

    Credit where credid due …..

    @ ngh…..published the link to the London First Report on 13.2.13 (a week ago) see the Bombadier gets the Crossrail Rolling Stock article.

  157. Anonymous** says:

    The funding sources are hardly wild ideas either, it’s basically the crossrail model plus a few extras, so similar to what it would be. Of those, the CT levy is directly lifted from the Olympics and property contributions are being used for the NLE.

    Depending on where the line goes, I actually think a lot more can be creamed of future developments. I remember reading last year someone involved with crossrail claiming the project didn’t do enough to capture the increase in land values (in whatever way), and this is an area future projects can improve upon.

  158. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous – No, I don’t think Adonis has more than a good layman’s understanding of the issues – remember – his seminal academic work is “Making the House of Lords work” – an account of the upper chamber in the nineteenth century. It’s an excellent book but hardly an introduction to transport policy. A couple of years as a junior minister (and in the Lords to boot) is good background but doesn’t make you an expert. (But I agree, he has an excellent enthusiasm for the topic). He is a “name”. *

    Tony Travers is someone I have a lot of time for, and has always impressed when I have talked to him, but his special subjects are local government(not commercial) finance and London politics, not transport policy another “name”.

    In any case, no matter how many experts you pile up, the problem of turning a heap of “ifs” into actual cash remains to be solved.

    *Adonis is a nice chap and a good jobbing policy maker but I am frankly not at all impressed with people who spend a couple of years in a department of state and emerge as self-appointed consultants in their chosen topic. Lord H is a good example – he was a fool when in charge of Transport policy and has now emerged as a consultant on Energy policy – an area from which Mrs T eventually evicted him when she found out… Having worked as a senior civil servant with so many who have followed this path, I am intensely suspicious of what they say and always look behind them to see where they have cribbed their ideas from. You have no idea how common this problem is – there are some very good examples of men who have been appointed to high office in the present government on the basis of their “expertise” and who have fallen flat on their faces when confronted with the real world – I might mention LF and AL and …. Adonis is not in the same category of charlatans, quite the contrary in fact, but the general point remains.

  159. Anonymous** says:

    Come on, anyone whose specialist area is local government finance and London politics is likely to have useful knowledge about possible local sources of public finance for a London project, transport or not. Navigating political obstacles is a key challenge of designing up a funding package as well – it’s clear it’s not solely understanding finance.

  160. Fandroid says:

    @Malcolm. There is a serious snag with your notion that project budgets should be increased to allow for possible growth. The bean counters would not believe your predictions. Crossrail scraped through a Treasury expenditure review, with bits sliced off here and there, and with a delay or two added on. The Treasury axemen would consider your ‘just in case’ contingencies as either a reason to cancel the project or as something that they could find a better home for. Nice idea, but not related to realpolitik.

  161. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous** – agreed but this idea was sold to us as being easily financed… There is in any case a world of difference between local government finance – Tony T’s expertise – and the equally arcane world of private finance.

  162. Ian J says:

    @Fandroid: there’s no sign of any reversal to single-deck

    Actually Sydney has plans to convert some of its double-deck network back to more frequent automated single-deck trains. The frequency improvement would only be possible with the shorter dwell times of single-deck stock.

  163. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: What I think you are missing is that London First are calling the government’s bluff on its localism agenda. They are calling for more devolution of powers over tax, spending, and planning, not proposing a transport plan as such.

    Both coalition parties are committed in their rhetoric and ideology to this kind of devolution – removing the dead hand of the state from wealth-creating development in the Tories’ view, empowering local government in the LibDems’. “City deals” with other UK cities have already gone ahead – are they prepared to let go in London, too?

    After all, what could be more attractive to a politician than handing over the hard choices on funding transport to a different level of government? Whitehall will hate it, of course.

  164. Graham H says:

    @Ian J – as a local (non-political) councillor, I couldn’t agree more about the government’s hypocrisy on localism. The latest diktat on local housing targets is a good example of attempting to have your cake and eat it too. Note especially the two-timing arguments about not wanting to devolve powers to, say, regional bodies because we don’t need another layer of undemocratic bureaucracy, coupled with the simultaneous refusal to set up elected regional assemblies. Yes, Ministers do hate the idea of London devolution – not least because it provides a platform for the likes of Boris.

  165. timbeau says:

    “coupled with the simultaneous refusal to set up elected regional assemblies.”
    Hardly a refusal: the last Government tried to do it, but the referendum for the first, in North east England, voted (approximately 7 to 2) against having one.

    part of the problem, I suspect, was that the regions were too big: Cornwall saw no advantage in being ruled from Bristol, or Grimsby from Leeds, or Middlesborough from Newcastle, than being ruled from Westminster.
    If you consider London, Scotland and Wales to be regions they do have their own assemblies.

  166. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – and there was a large heap of gritted teeth at the time…

  167. peezedtee says:

    @Malcolm “if transport cannot cope, perhaps it is workplaces whose numbers should be constrained”

    Anyone remember the Location of Offices Bureau?

  168. Anonymous says:


    Wales has an Assembly, Scotland has a Parliament.

    Not a region either !!

  169. Graham Feakins says:

    @ peezedtee – “Anyone remember the Location of Offices Bureau?”

    Yes, as a result parts of major civil service departments such as the Home Office were relocated to Croydon, whilst the Patent Office was ‘sent’ to Newport, Gwent, much to the chagrin at the time of the P.O. Examiners (a senior grade) who had thought their career to be based in Holborn for ever and thus settled with their families in London’s suburbia.

  170. StephenC says:

    @ngh and Anonymous 13:33, I had a look at what a Lea Valley variation of the wink proposal would look like – here is the result. Basically, it reduces the cost of the two line solution by £400m, thus I get two lines for $12.5bn vs TfL’s one line at £12bn. I’ve also added some possible extensions to other growth areas with rough costs to indicate how the routes provide options if money is available.

  171. AlisonW says:

    Just a little correction. Re “Neither the Freedom Pass nor the 60+ Oyster allow access to National Rail before 0930. ” the _disabled_ edition of the FP does. (which is very useful, thankyou ;-P )

  172. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Milton Clevedon
    “There also appears to be an E-W shortfall if you consider the SSL will be under unreasonable pressure in another decade or so (particularly the District corridor) – how about South Ken-Victoria-Millbank-Waterloo-London Bridge (or City,…)-Canary.”

    @ngh Feb 20
    “The technology to rebore/enlarge/realign tunnels isn’t there at the moment because no one has wanted to do that, it shouldn’t be hard to assemble the elements needed. TBMs should chew brick relatively easily (selectively weakened the brick work robotically just in front of the TBM?, cast iron (or rarer cases steel) rings could be dismantled robotically just in front of the TBM. The volume of spoil extraction would be lower and drilling quicker.”

    Would a similar Victoria-Charing Cross-City-Fenchurch Street or -London Bridge-Canary Wharf alignment do the trick, by reboring of the Jubilee tunnels to Charing Cross (as a CR4 station) & slightly beyond?

    Charing Cross ex-Jubilee platforms would be a almost ready-made CR station (with extended platforms), and its’ existing Tube interchange tunnels should be able to handle the traffic to/from the Northern & Bakerloo lines.

    Moving east, using old Fleet Line building foundation allowances (if they haven’t been built on, and would hopefully allow for wider mainline gauge tunnels) at Thameslink interchange then Fenchurch Street?

    This CR4 corridor would relieve overloaded Victoria tube station, the SSL District to the City, with reduced tunneling required and only a few CR-tube station upgrades. A CR line on the cheap.

  173. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ LBM
    Think fast distribution to Millbank, Ludgate and far City fringe area from Waterloo could be very helpful, therefore specifically prefer a Victoria-Waterloo and onwards corridor, but there are plenty of options! Route has to aid distribution from termini, support area economic redevelopment, and reduce journey times while relieving overcrowded sectors on existing network.

  174. ngh says:

    Re LBM

    See previous threads for my posts on CR3…
    Had pencilled in using the Fleet alignment (Charing Cross (or close to Green Park) and East) for a NW-SE CR3 (New Cross – Canada Water – then Fleet alignment for the rest of the eastern part Fenchurch Street area onwards) as it would reduce changing to the new CR route you propose at the traditional terminals on the Eastern District (and changing to existing tubes as well?)
    To the west south of the river, CR2 would provide some relief especially to Victoria and West End but capacity would needed on a southern alignment to the city and southern CR alignment for relief would probably need to provide alternative to W&C and Jubilee as well as extra east-west capacity.

  175. timbeau says:

    Although the technology could probably be developed to widen out existing tube tunnels, it is not really as simple as that – there are other tunnels, cables, sewers etc down there and would all need to be avoided. Moreover, the line would be unusable while the work was going on.

    @Graham F
    “the Patent Office was ‘sent’ to Newport, Gwent, much to the chagrin at the time of the P.O. Examiners (a senior grade) who had thought their career to be based in Holborn for ever and thus settled with their families in London’s suburbia.”
    Not only a senior grade, but a specialist one and therefore unable to get a level transfer to other parts of the Civil Service.
    Many who could afford to took early retirement or, if relatively junior and therefore lower down the payscale, jumped ship and became patent agents (gamekeeper turned poacher). The more cynical observers suggested that the consequent reduction in manpower, without having to pay any redundancy money, was by no means unwelcome to the powers that be, as the European Patent Office was beginning to take more of the work – yes: the UKPO had lost its monopoly on monopolies!

  176. straphan says:

    If I can add my spare change…

    There is one thing the British don’t seem to get about London. Yes, it is their capital, yes it is where the Queen normally sits, but it is also – or at least aspires to be – a world mega-city. Something comparable with New York, Hong Kong or Tokyo.

    Such cities will always attract immigration – both from within and outside the country and indeed rely on it for their success. Have you heard a New Yorker moan about too many migrants stuffing up the subway or LIRR? The key issue is how to cater for the growth.

    I think Paris or Tokyo are useful comparisons. Both have some geographical sectorisation of different economic activities (i.e. a financial district, shopping district, entertainment district), but none have really managed to disperse much economic activity outside their cores. The nature of the beast is such, that they probably won’t manage to anyway – people simply like to have things close by.

    Both Paris and Tokyo have managed to push their wider regional rail networks right into the city centres, beyond the rail terminals built when those cities were a fraction of the size they are today. Paris has 5 RER lines, 4 of which run through the centre. Tokyo has plenty regional services that tie into the metro lines at each end. London – by 2019 – will have only Thameslink and Crossrail, and half of the commentators above are already moaning about a lack of space for new tunnels. Do let me know what is easier and more sensible then – building a couple of miles of mainline tunnel under Zone 1, or finding the space for 5-10 additional platforms at both Victoria and Waterloo, along with the means to disperse the additional people arriving just short of their actual desired destination. And before the architectural crayonistas come out of the floorboards, let me give you a gentle hint: when my girlfriend’s company wanted to attach a few comms cables onto the walls at Victoria station, they were told they can’t even drill a few screws into the walls to attach some flimsy cable brackets because it is a listed building; and were told to use sellotape instead.

    I believe that running mainline services through central London – as with Paris and Tokyo – will lead to the following benefits being realised:
    – Reduction in end-to-end journey time;
    – People will have more flexibility in choosing where to live (more O-D pairs will be ‘commutable’);
    – Cross-London travel will be much faster with significant new flows established;
    – Capacity on the Tube will be released where it is under the most pressure – in Zone 1 on flows from major mainline termini;
    – Buildings in prime locations will be available for redevelopment once the need for stabling and shunting shedloads (excuse the pun) of carriages in central London is no longer there.

    I think we can have endless discussions about what termini the tunnels should connect together and what stations they should have between those termini – but I do think the case for building more of such links is overwhelming.

  177. Greg Tingey says:

    Stephen C
    The advantage in CR2 of going to Allly Pally is that it can really easily be extended, via Bowes Park (surface here) to Enfield / Hertford / Stevenage…

    “District relief”?
    How about the Bakerloo doing a Jubilee-loop-style route?
    Walworth (somewhere) Peckham Rye, Brockley, Lewisham, Maze Hill … x the river ?? ( LCA – Beckton – Barking ??? )

    Except in places like Ealing Broadway where the AM peak trains heading out to Slough/Maidenhead/Reading are almost as utterly wedged as the inbounds.

    Graham H
    Actually, the Whitehall Planners “Pearls” would work … IF said planners also allowed/encouraged widening & serious upgrading of the existing lines.
    However 6 tracks to Shenfield & 4 to Colchester, like 6 tracks to airport Jn or Slough, on the other side … would they just blanch at the up-front cost, no matter what the long-term benefit?
    [ The same mistake, incidentally that both the pre-grouping & Big $ companies made (excepting the Southern) with regard to electrification, because the first costs frightened them … ]

    Alison W
    I think ( I may be wrong) that the standard Geriatric’s pass is valid until 06.30. It then turns into a pumpkin until 09.30. ( ?? )

    where would your putative line past Victoria to past Fenchurh St “dive” at the S/W end? And the E and, come to that, given that the paths to/from Barking in the peaks is already full?

  178. Chris L says:

    @Greg Tingey

    Time has moved on.

    Southeastern services are running at frequent intervals with 10/12 car trains. They also operate in loops where Greenwich line trains return via Bexleyheath or Hither Green.

    Cramped Bakerloo trains would not be able to cope, particularly with speed restrictions at places like Piccadilly Circus.

    One other factor is that the bus park at Lewisham (Jubilee Line station space) has been sold for a shopping centre extension.

  179. Malcolm says:

    straphan says “The key issue is how to cater for the growth”. Probably, but we need to be sure where it’s coming from and at what rate. And we also need to be sure that “catering” is the right thing.. After all, for a long time, road traffic in London was growing, and we started trying to “cater”, and we nearly got motorway boxes and other horrors, except that we realised that it was just never going to work.

    I don’t think the same fate is going to befall crossrails. But we do need to be very sure, because building them is enormously expensive and disruptive. Worthwhile, probably. But not an enterprise to be undertaken lightly.

  180. Saifur R says:

    In Dublin and Glasgow they wish to create more Crossrails as both cities already have mainlines crossing the city. They are trying to do something similar to what Paris, Rome, Tokyo has. By freeing up terminals with the metros only doing the short journeys or going out where Crossrails lines cannot I.e Piccdilly Line to Heathrow Airport.

  181. ngh says:

    Re Greg Tingey 21 February 2014 at 11:39

    The way I see it is that any 11car crossrail unit based on numbers for the Bombardier 9 car 345 info so far would suggest 1850 passengers /train but a 7 car Bakerloo train is 730 pax. So at the same tph (and reverting to the original purpose of this thread but in form of Milton’s classic crossrail capacity question What comes first 24tph–> 30tph or 2 extra cars per train? The economic model cost of waiting leads to 30tph first…)
    That leads to any crossrail tunnel being able to carry 2.5x as many pax as a tube tunnel extension (you also stand a better chance of not having used up the additional capacity before you have had time to build it!) Which tends to Skew the analysis towards a bigger CR scheme as it can handle more branches and have greater geographical reach which help build support for projects.

    And actually looking at the title of the tread (virtually a first for a post on this article? 😉 )

    Assuming the 10% extra capacity is based on the currently proposed CR timetable (with circa 50% turn-back at Paddington) then there is considerable opportunity but turn that 10% in to a much bigger number…

    9 car (205m) cl 345 = 1500 passengers
    11car (250m) cl 345 = 1850 passengers

    9 car @ 24tph = 36,000 passengers / hour / direction
    9 car @ 30tph = 45,000 passengers / hour / direction
    11 car @ 24tph = 44,400 passengers / hour / direction
    11 car @ 30tph = 55,500 passengers / hour / direction

    9 car @ 24tph -> 9 car @ 30tph = +25%
    9 car @ 24tph -> 11car @ 24tph = +23%
    9 car @ 24tph -> 11car @ 30tph = +54%

    Initial order for 65 trains with option for 18 more (for fewer Paddington Terminators?)
    So if 18 more trains in use that is +27% more capacity [27,000 extra pax on those trains] though how much it would actually be is another matter if it is only west of Paddington???
    or if 11car on those trains as well is +34.2% 33,000 extra pax (assuming no more than 20tph West of Paddington? and higher core frequency being 10tph turn-back at Pad…)

    So best case [11car, 30tph, +18 extra units option taken up (with conservative assumptions on tph west of Paddington)] gives +88% extra capacity or CR1 being able to provide 18.8% extra capacity rather than just the 10% of total London capacity? As most of this would be by building more cars either as complete new units or lengthen others in service to a pre existing design it should be relatively quick in comparison to the decade of major CR construction work.

    This of course still leaves room for CR1 trains up the WCML and CR1 extension to Dartford / Gravesend (abbey Wood to Canary Wharf Section is expected to be only 50% utilised with 12tph 9car in the peak hour when opened so extension would be needed to actually use the capacity for example.

    Re Staphan.
    Paris as per one of my post above the 5th RER (E) will be across by the time CR1 / TL opens fully. E gap joining was approved in mid 2013 and work has started.

    Paddington turn-back copied from Line A on the RER when there wasn’t enough demand west of La Défense in the 1970s, they then added branches to the west so turn back no longer needed, now line E will be taking over one of those branches because of extra capacity required.
    In 2019 that would give La Défense 2 RERs, 2 metro, 1 Transilien about 1.5 to 2 lines ahead of Canary Wharf in capacity terms at the same point.

  182. straphan says:

    @Malcolm: I fully agree that the actual route of such tunnels needs to be scrutinised properly. What I am saying, though, is that the principle is right.

    Also, it’s true that Crossrail as a scheme is rather expensive, but bear in mind just how much new tunneling has been done for it. What I am suggesting is just connections between termini, which is largely what the RER is in Paris. A tunnel from – say – Waterloo to Liverpool Street (to take over West Anglia stoppers) or – again theoretically – from Victoria to Euston would be much cheaper to build than the current Paddington to Stratford and Abbey Wood with plenty of new stations along the way.

  183. Graham H says:

    @straphang – there’s not a great deal of demand to travel from one terminus to another across London. Most punters want to get to somewhere in the middle rather than the other side, and certainly not enough to justify the enormous cost (it’s not just, of course, about digging a tunnel from, say, Euston to Waterloo, it’s about linking that tunnel to the networks at either end – fiendishly expensive and disruptive). Don’t be misled by the very special circumstances of TLK, where the two termini to be linked already had a usable right of way, required no property take, and were very close together.

  184. ngh says:

    To put some cost to the +88%

    Convert 65units x 9car to 11car = £180-200m
    18 units option but with 11car =£275-300m

    Extra 9 car units for 30tph (as above post assumptions) £215-230m
    Extra 11car units for 30tph (as above post assumptions) £260-280m

    +£100m for more depot space

    = so take upper costs £880m for increase theoretical CR capacity by 88.45% so capacity upgrades by more trains/lengthening comes in at just 6% of the CR initial bill on a per pax capacity basis.

  185. RichardB says:

    I understand the attraction and need for further crossrail type lines but merely connecting the various termini with through routes is only part of the answer. The brutal truth is that the Underground or Tube network is effectively at capacity. I acknowledge some growth can be made through various tweaking but if passenger growth continues we need lines which will have sufficient stations in the central area to supplement the current network of stations on the Tube. You actually want to encourage people to avoid travelling on the historic network where possible but that is only feasible if a dense new network of stations and interchange stations is provided on the new lines and yes I know new stations are expensive but they are needed

    Merely building through routes for regional services which would for example permit travellers from Bournemouth to go Kings Lynn does not really address the problem of Londoners travelling to and from work. I also cannot understand the desire to rebore the existing Tube lines. Leaving aside the engineering challenge and the cost of such a programme you would have to accept closing one or more Tube lines for a period whilst the work takes place. Closing such lines for a couple of years whilst the stations are rebuilt is hardly going to help matters. Unless it is impossible to build new lines the focus has to be on new infrastructure which will augment the old.

  186. Graham H says:

    @RichardB – difficult to disagree – I won’t repeat at length my oft-mentioned need for new stations on the existing tube network, as many of the present ones are full – better still put them on new lines to spread the load. Look for the major accessibility gaps in the present network and also look at the mainline interchanges which are already overloaded (eg Victoria) and that gives some idea of where the stations and lines might go. I would reinforce that point about overloaded interchanges with main line services – there is no need to add to that problem by directing new lines under/through existing mainline termini.

  187. Long Branch Mike says:


    Yes I had missed your CR3 corridor, apologies. Obviously multiple strategic CR corridor concurrent analysis will have to be performed to ensure distributed grid coverage of the major nodes, lining up the best terminal pairs (if desired), and to consider the many different factors mentioned by the commentors above.

    Unfortunately at the present time CR2, CR3 … planning is strictly one line at a time with little regard to the future.

    Hopefully with CR1 and full Thameslink success, such CRx network planning will start in earnest, based on sound principles learnt from CR1 & TLK, and not on politicians’ crayonista line bending to serve favoured areas. We can hope that reason’ll prevail…

  188. straphan says:

    @Graham H and RichardB: I am not suggesting tunnels linking two termini without intermediate stations… Of course the bulk of people travelling in the peaks will be aiming to get to somewhere in Zone 1. All I am saying is that to facilitate their journeys and to keep them off the tube network where said network is most congested , you need not build huge lengths of tunnel – a simple connection from terminus to terminus will do.

    E.g. rather than building Crossrail 2, how about just a tunnel from somewhere near Waterloo (e.g. starting near Vauxhall) to the throat of Liverpool Street (and then continue onto West Anglia lines)? Or from Victoria to Euston? Each of these would have one or two stations under Zone 1, but would save plenty of people the need to use the tube over significant distances.

    The cross-London links created by these tunnels would be a side-benefit, but should not be sniffed at. How many people are now able to live north of London but work in Croydon or Gatwick Airport? Indeed, how many more people choose to travel from Gatwick or Luton now compared to the days before Thameslink?*

    *Before anyone puts their hands up: yes, I know the advent of cheap airlines had more to do with the popularity of these two airports than Thameslink. Still – would a south London ever consider flying out of Luton without it?

  189. ngh says:

    Re Graham H

    i.e. the ideal line would be something like linking lines into Victoria to lines into Euston but not actually have the CR line though Euston or Victoria themselves? i.e. The CR Tunnel is from some where north of Willesden Jn to south of Balham (but with plenty of options on the route in between???
    So several existing branches then into tunnel –> Balham – Clapham Junction – South Ken – Lancaster Gate – Paddington – Kensal Rise (keep H&F happy) – OOC – then WCML + DC lines?

  190. ngh says:

    Re LBM

    Exactly long term strategic plan needed not just ad hoc sequentially 1 by 1.

    Best pairs- is that cheapest i.e. shortest distances (TL) or the biggest scheme (CR1) that tackles the bigger harder issues?

    Re Graham / Straphan
    Key is not make sure a the stations are double ended – that could reduce pax walking distance by upto 600m a day I’m not sure the concept of the huge doubel end CR stations has full sunk in yet, certainly 1 CR station = 1 tube station.

    In terms of tube relief how about double ending 15-20 key stations that already aren’t?

    and my last post: opps, The H&F Kensal CR station proposal not Kensal Rise…

  191. straphan says:

    @ngh: I certainly ‘get’ the concept of double-ended stations. Hence my proposals only to have one or two in the central section.

    I fully appreciate that Crossrail’s Bond Street ‘other’ station exit will be near Oxford Circus, Farringdon’s near Barbican, and Liverpool Street’s near Moorgate.

  192. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Straphan, ngh

    Current design standards require a second exit from all new stations in case of emergency. Once the emergency exit is provided, it is not much more and it makes sense to add entry and gatelines as well.

    Given the larger passenger numbers carried by CR trains and the longer platforms, double ended stations add greatly to local station accessibility, especially if they connect to a nearby tube station, to spread the interchange load.

  193. Without wishing to bore people with the details and the actual bleedin’ obviousness of the max-flow min-cut theorem, you have to consider where the stranglehold on capacity is if capacity is what you are trying to solve.

    Logically there has to be a band around London that represent the most constricting scenario. Basically a loop for which there is less capacity for travelling from outside to inside than any other loop. Connecting main line termini only solves the capacity problem if the termini lie outside this band or they can result in generating more capacity at the point the band is crossed (because the capacity of the line was limited by the termini). Although people think of the termini as the ultimate restriction on capacity, it is often the case that the approach tracks are just as constricting. In the case of some termini they can actually handle more trains – it is just the case that one cannot get enough trains to (or from) it.

    What I believe you will find is that actually this imaginary band lies somewhere in zone 2. It is unlikely to be near the termini simply because it is practical to walk from London Termini to many locations so capacity is much higher than one might originally think.

    Thameslink does something to increase capacity though probably not as much as people would imagine and it does a lot to improve transport within Zone 1. This is because it isn’t really providing extra lines into London. Crossrail is doing a little bit from the west, a little bit from the Shenfield direction (but not actually that much). It is however doing a lot from Abbey Wood because you have 12tph of high capacity trains that are new. They are nor replacing anything, they are not enhancing an existing service. They provide pure additional capacity.

    Again like Thameslink, Crossrail will do a lot for travel within zone 1. In fact it will do a lot more because central London and zone 1 is wider east-west than it is north-south so it provides capacity for journeys that are not really practical by walking or by bus (e.g. Paddington to the city).

    Incidentally, I believe this imaginary band probably lies just south of Highbury & Islington so if the Victoria Line is full up here then clearly from a capacity issue there is no point in extending it northwards or directing other passenger flows on it. I know Milton Clevedon argues that there are situations where you deliberately create new journeys even though one knows that others will suffer further down the line. It is an attitude one can reasonably take but one must be under no illusion that such schemes do not solve capacity issues -though there may be other valid reasons for implementing them.

    Much as I think Crossrail 2 is an ugly scheme it does get one critical thing right. It extends the tunnels far enough out into the suburbs to provide pure additional capacity through this imaginary band. From the point of view of addressing capacity it is hard to fault Crossrail 2. It pretty well does all it can on this score.

  194. Chris says:

    @Straphan – the problem with simply connecting termini is that it does nothing to increase capacity *into* those termini; a major issue for the SWML in particular. By removing some of the inner-suburban services, more room is made available for longer distance services.

  195. Milton Clevedon says:

    Agree with this view of Crossrail 2. It may not offer the ‘Heineken Line’ solution within Zone 1, but it does cut across the max radial loading zone.

    In many cases, this is actually where the next major group of interchanges is, thus the max loading point on SW suburban is Earlsfield to Vauxhall, with Clapham Junction and Vauxhall interchanges.

    Ditto in other locations in the main lines: Ealing Broadway, Finsbury Park, Seven Sisters, Tottenham Hale, Stratford, West Ham etc. It will depend slightly on the net boarders from the high density inner suburbs – which of course are going to become higher density as London’s population grows further. Hence the potential need for easing the inner volumes with new lines starting in Zone 3 if not further out. OOC might alter the max loading point on GW/Crossrail, to east of OOC or even Paddington.

    In the case of Southern radials, that might allow various branches to be hooked onto new lines – Crossrail 2 is an example for the SW. There isn’t the same scale of branches north of the river, so there any new routes would need to carve out their own territory (Hertford Loop, Greater Anglia and c2c excepted). They still need also to interchange along the way, eg with orbitals and other radials, for connectivity.

  196. Graham H says:

    @ngh – double-ending is the only “easy” fix for those stations (many of those) which are close to capacity. We do need that programme of double-ending! Alas, the next constraint is the ability of escalators to move the punters up and down – a bank of escalators can shift 1800 people an hour, so a double ended station with 4 banks running in the peak direction can handle 7200 pax/hr. After that TINA to a new station… [Incidentally, that further implies that if the train service delivers too many passengers per train, improving frequencies will merely overload the stations. For example, a station with 40 (!) tph in both directions will overload the station if 100 people exit/enter from each train – no more than 5 or 6 per door…].

  197. straphan says:

    @Chris: What is the key capacity pinchpoint on the mainlines into termini then?
    – Signalling headways?
    – Lengthy station dwell times en route?
    – Lack of terminal platforms?
    – Conflicts at station throat?

    By tunneling across from one terminal to another you get rid of the last two. Without getting rid of the last two, there is not much point in tackling the first two.

    Crossrail will replace an 8 (or 10?)tph service on the Great Eastern and a 10tph service on the Great Western with 24tph through the core mainly because it gets rid of throat conflicts and platform issues. If you were, say, to connect the SWML slows with Greater Anglia, would it not be possible to then upgrade the signalling on these routes to something akin to ATO? That’s precisely what was done on the RER, where trains can run at up to 90 second intervals.

  198. Malcolm says:

    straphan, I think the answer to your question is that it depends on the terminal. For some it is platform occcupation in the terminal itself (e.g. Charing Cross), for some it is throat capacity, for some just track capacity, and for some it is dwell time at another station (e.g. Finsbury Park). But history being what it is, the original builders, and subsequent modifications, will have at least tried to balance these things, so that if one constraint is addressed, the next will not be far behind.

  199. Greg Tingey says:

    No Any “other” CR line to Liverpool St MUST go to join the “Wanglia” lines beyond Bethnal Grn – to avoid the 6-track bottleneck down Bethnal Grn bank.
    Sorry, but that will really inflate the costs, too.

  200. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm

    Spot on usually the “CR” solution involves tunnels going to PoP’s magic point just beyond where the last major bottleneck of the series is (there will be others 2-3 times the magnitude), so for CR2 Raynes Park – Wimbledon where it effectively widens from 4 to 6 track and use the existing grade separation.

    But in the another possible near by case at Balham a CR scheme would probably have to do the grade separation or joining to multiple branches as part of the scheme as the various flat junctions to the south of Balham act as the last bottle neck

  201. @Malcolm,

    Regarding limitations on capacity.

    For some it is platform occcupation in the terminal itself (e.g. Charing Cross)

    Actually at Charing Cross it is a pretty close run thing and not so clear cut. There is a two track section between London Bridge and Waterloo East which is probably just as restricting. The approaches don’t help – especially the long isolated single track over the bridge to platform 4.

    More 12 car trains are calculated to cause more of a problem. I think this is more down to the time taken to clear points in the station approach rather than the extra distance the driver has to walk to the end of the train. If that is the case then it suggests the terminal capacity is not actually the main problem.

    What the limited capacity at Charing Cross does do is totally mess up reliability and resilience. The trains cannot afford too much terminal layover time. This means that small delays on the inward journey are not absorbed and may be carried over to the outward journey. Also, unusually, trains do not return from whence they came which means a delay on any South Eastern route pretty much propagates to all routes before too long.

  202. Chris says:

    @Straphan – The lack of capacity is much more fundamental than that, hence Network Rail looking at a fifth track from as far out as Surbiton IIRC. I’d be surprised if Waterloo was a bottleneck once the forthcoming upgrade works brings the International platforms into full use and the suburban platforms have been extended.

  203. ngh says:

    Re Chris

    Waterloo is mainly about platform lengths not numbers – lengthening the low numbers will involve the loss of a few there, hence the need to shuffle everything over to the former Eurostar platforms with a small gain of 2 platforms overall.
    The current bottle neck on the fasts is track capacity Waterloo – Surbiton, CR2 partially solves that by removing trains from the slows inside Wimbledon so some of the fasts then use the slows for the last 5 miles into Waterloo so the 5th track is only needed Raynes Park – Surbiton not all the way.
    Hence PoP and myself repeating comments about approaches for several years…

  204. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Chris, ngh

    Regarding platform lengths at Waterloo. Not especially relevant but historically this has always been a problem. Alan A Jackson in his 1960s book London’s Termini points out the shortsightedness of the LSWR directors in the early 1900s who rebuilt Waterloo without long enough platforms. This was clearly down to the large cost due to the need to bridge major roads present at the country end of the station. However his point was that even then there were a lot of 12 coach trains in use (and with a steam engine in front) which led to awkward station operating.

    The other problem with Waterloo is is the complexity of the station throat combined with the lack of an alternative terminus, the fact that the station is busy throughout the week and the need to do engineering work on the track from time to time. The Sunday service on some routes into Waterloo is pretty awful on some lines. That is not due to lack of demand or willingness to provide the trains but because it is it is the only time available to do maintenance of the track. I believe the Sunday morning service has to be sufficiently reduced so that it can run with half the station closed if necessary just so that a decent inspection of the track can be made from time to time.

    The seven day railway hasn’t fully reached Waterloo although great strides in recent years on the neighbouring Brighton Line by providing a better service on Sundays, both in summer and winter (at the slight expense in a minor reduction in the overnight service).

    The need to do Sunday maintenance and the consequent poor frequencies was the SWT/NR alliance excuse for failing to provide a better service for the Jubilee Barge Pageant in 2012. This was not entirely convincing – not least because they didn’t even provide trains of the maximum length they could have done.

    I don’t really see any solution to this until Crossrail 2 comes along. Once that is open one could have a better Sunday service normally but be more brutal with engineering work closures whilst at the same time providing a more frequent Sunday (or weekend) service on Crossrail 2. But needless to say that is a long way off.

  205. Chris J says:

    Having just caught up on this fascinating debate, I wonder whether there are lessons that London can learn from Europe?

    Take a couple of examples from Paris. The main thrust of investment under the Grand Paris scheme is to develop orbital links between suburban centres, in order to spread development and relieve the overcrowded radial routes. Apart from the extension of Line 14 to create a proper N-S cross-city link and completion of RER E for relief in the E-W axis, the only expansion of existing routes is an eastward extension of Line 11, which is by far the quietest metro line.

    Lines 15, 16, 17 and 18 are all planned as orbital connections at middle and outer distance – all single deck, underground and fully-automated with short headways. In a London context, think Canary Wharf – Lewisham – Crystal Palace , Bromley – Croydon – Sutton – Epsom / Kingston – Feltham – Heathrow – Uxbridge / Ruislip – Harrow – Edgware – Finchley – Alexandra Palace – Tottenham – Walthamstow – Stratford – etc Could that provide the relief outside PoP’s band of constraints?

    There’s clearly a lot of scope for crayonistas, and picking the right route(s) would need a lot of research. But Grand Paris has also changed a lot in the planning. It started out as one ring and has ended up as several overlapping arcs. The aim is all about spreading development away from the overheated centre. With frequent services and relatively short journey times, it may be more attractive to go around than through the middle, even for 180 degree journeys.

    Regarding double-deckers, I know there are issues with loading gauge on the outer ends – at least on GEML, if less so for GWML, but half of the trains would be captive to Abbey Wood – OOC to start with. It all depends how you use them. Sydney is moving back to single-deck for the NorthWest Rail Link, but that’s more about automation and faster journeys. The classic NSW double-deck EMU is very slow to board and has sluggish acceleration, but that is not intrinsic to a double-deck design.

    I have long advocated that Crossrail should have looked at RER E as a model. Its dedicated EMUs were cleverly designed, with three doors per car for rapid boarding and alighting, lots of standing space downstairs for short-distance travellers and plenty of seats upstairs for longer journeys. They are also adequately powered to ensure rapid acceleration and braking. The stations have island platforms in each direction, so that alternate trains can use alternate faces, essentially decoupling the dwell times from the minimum headway through the two-track tunnels.

    As yet, RER E has never really achieved the volumes it was designed for, partly because of the constraints of the temporary terminus at Haussmann-St Lazare and the reduced catchment. But this is likely to change once the western connection is finished in 2020. This will also serve La Defense, which is Paris’s Canary Wharf, and should finally help to relieve RER A.

    But there again, should we actually be looking at an ever-expanding London, or try to rebalance the UK economy by encouraging agglomeration elsewhere, as HS2 envisages?

  206. RichardB says:

    @ Chris J I found your post very interesting and support the concept if building new lines as arcs but I still think we need through routes via the centre (and not just additional crossrail lines linking the termini) as well to spread the load on the historic Tube network but I have reservations concerning your final comment

    “But there again, should we actually be looking at an ever-expanding London, or try to rebalance the UK economy by encouraging agglomeration elsewhere, as HS2 envisages?”

    A number of contributors have suggested we should adopt policies which favour the regions or specifically other UK cities. In principle thus sounds fine but in reality these policies never work as envisaged. The truth is London is a very different animal compared with say Birmingham or Manchester. It is a world city indeed authorities consider New York and London are in a category of their own. It is also a mega city. Short of adopting some brutally destructive and cruel policies as per the Soviet Union or perhaps Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge all policies to reverse the flow into, and growth of, London are likely to fail. Historically the bulk of England’s population has focused in London and the south east. True there was a brief period during the industrial revolution when this briefly changed when the North West came to the fore as Manchester in the guise of Cottonopolis along with Liverpool led the Lancashire mill towns to grow their populations but this now looks like an historic aberration.

    In no way do I dismiss the regions or the other conurbations and I do believe they have been shortchanged over the years in terms of infrastructure investment but the simple truth is London is such a wealth creating machine that we have to go with the flow albeit finding ways to make its relentless growth more tolerable. This means massive investment in new lines as London needs effective transport and it also needs investment in housing. Unfortunately if we do not invest London will cease to be so effective but it does not follow that the other cities will therefore take up the slack.

  207. Lemmo says:

    “The main thrust of investment under the Grand Paris scheme is to develop orbital links between suburban centres, in order to spread development and relieve the overcrowded radial routes.”

    Thanks Chris J, I agree. London’s core is growing, but the rail services are yet to catch up. New rail services along orbital routes and investment in the strategic interchanges should be core the London’s strategic plan.

    And I still don’t see how you can design Crossrail 2 without a fairly clear idea how this sits alongside Crossrail 3 and other new routes such as orbitals.

    And there remains the thorny question: do you build new orbital freight routes to provide more capacity for passenger services on London’s orbitals? or do you build new orbital passenger routes and release capacity for freight growth on the existing orbitals.

  208. stimarco says:


    As someone once said, “No” is also a perfectly valid answer.

    There are only so many people you can transport by rail, road, air, etc. There are only so many tunnels you can build beneath a city. There are only so many roads and road vehicles you can provide for.

    We can push envelopes and apply new technologies to provide new solutions, but the notion that we can just keep building new Tube or Crossrail-style lines, or new motorways, or new trams, forever and ever, is simply not tenable.

    At some point, the GLA is going to have to learn to just say, “No!” Enough must eventually be enough, because most examples of unlimited, unrestricted, uncontrolled growth we know of in the natural world tend not to be a good thing: cancers, virulent diseases, and bacterial infections. Are these what every city must aspire to emulate?

    “Let’s just keep on building and growing forever” is not a long-term solution. It’s giving up. It’s an admission of failure, be it of ingenuity, or simply of imagination.

    This is one of the reasons behind some of my own, rather radical-seeming, suggestions in previous threads. The trick, I think, is to step back, look at the big picture, and ask oneself (with apologies to Mr. C. Wolmar): “What are cities for?

  209. Malcolm says:

    In reply to lemmo’s question, I think that a freight-only line in a built-up area is partly wasted, when it could be carrying passengers as well. The NLL is an example both ways: its mixture of freight and passengers causes some difficulties for both, but there is some synergy, so two mixed-use lines might be better than one passenger line and one freight line. Probably fairly academic, because we are unlikely to be building many new orbital lines anyway, because the surface is full up and tunnels are still very expensive.

  210. Malcolm says:

    I agree with stimarco about eventually saying no. Well said. But (and there’s bound to be a but) the point when London runs out of space to build new crossrails or whatever, is so far in the future (building speed being what it is) that we are at least a couple of generations away from it. And history shows that attempts to plan what might/should happen say 60 years into the future just about always turn out to be spectacularly wrong.

  211. Chris J says:

    @Lemmo It is interesting to note that several of the metro development plans for Chinese cities – arguably some of the fastest-growing urban areas in the world – begin with two cross-city (north-south and east-west) and a circle route before going on to fill in the diagonals.

    Many transport and land use planners have come to recognise that suburb to suburb links encourage polycentric development rather than excessive concentration in the core. Something that older cities in the west are still struggling to come to terms with.

  212. Steven Taylor says:

    Re discussion of constraints at Waterloo. I remember when Platforms 1 to 4 inclusive at Waterloo were shortened from 10 coaches to 8 and the general track layout was simplified.
    For example, 3 miles fromWaterloo, at Queenstown Road station, the switches connecting the Windsor Lines to the Main / Local Wimbledon lines are now just a single reversible line, which obviously is a severe constraint, negating parellel movements when lines are closed for track maintenance.
    Whilst there is an obvious monetary cost, I do wonder why some of this track rationalisation from the 1980s cannot be reversed.

  213. Greg Tingey says:

    I asked a question!
    Is the proposed “refurb/upgrade” of the low number platforms at Waterloo NOT expected to include a widening of the whole formation across Westminster Bridge Rd? (Yes / No ?? )
    And, if not, why not?
    Just having my post vanish does not answer the perfectly valid question – even if I did suggest that NOT doing so might be a waste of time & money.
    I’m getting tired of this pettyness.
    [The reason the question was never made visible to the wider world was the way it was originally worded in a way that only you seem to manage. In your original comment it was not “a perfectly valid question”. It was a sarcastic dig at a decision without any justification for it. “Open” questions are encouraged. I too am getting tired of the pettyness but at least I have the satisfaction of determining which of your comments other people can read which in some way makes up for it. I know they are spared reading what I have to endure reading. The solution to avoiding your comments only being read by the moderators and yourself is to phrase them in a reasonable manner, keep vaguely on topic and stop making unfounded prejudiced unjustified comments that are not in the spirit of London Reconnections. Only then will the disappearance of your comments stop. PoP]

    Now, then: Question – answer, please?

    Oh & Steven Taylor
    Thanks for that bit of information _ I certainly didn’t realise that retrogade step (or set of steps) had been done – presumably to save a few pence in the short term, similar to the Salisbury – Exeter singling (or one or two other places we could all name …)
    [Oh look Greg! I only have to get to the very next paragraph and I come across another of your sarcastic judgmental comments (“this retrograde step”) very similar to the previous one discussed only not quite as bad. You are so judgmental on just about every comment you make without knowing the facts behind it. Stick to open questions that do neither presume a particular outcome nor presume the decision was good or bad and you might stimulate debate and get helpful answers. Continue to word them in the way you do and you almost guarantee that your comment will be trashed by me. Remember, as John Bull has written to you before and stated: the more frequently you comment, the higher the standard we expect from you. We forgive new commenters for not entirely entering the spirit of this site. We do not forgive regular commenters so easily though of course understandably practically everyone strays off the rails occasionally. PoP]

    Chris J
    NOT a problem as far as Shenfield, because the original LNER/BR Shenfield units were “Out-of-Gauge” by a small amount at least – see G Feinnes for definitive reference. There is a small amount of extra “room” that far out, at least. Enough for DD stock? I doubt it, actually.

  214. Anonymous says:

    @Steven Taylor

    Interested to know if the the full length of platforms 1-4 was ever used? Presumably 10 car suburban trains have never before run on the SWML?

  215. Steven Taylor says:

    To the best of my knowledge (and I commuted into Waterloo from 1973 to 2013 in the morning) no. All suburban trains were 8 cars in the rush; SUBS were units of 4 cars. Very seldom short formation of 4 cars were run, but very rare in the rush.
    On Sundays, if the up/down main was closed, I guess the BIL stock may have been 10 cars on occasion and perhaps used these platforms, but this is pure speculation on my part.
    I believe that they were shortened as at the time patronage was declining and the switches were replaced with more standard ones.

  216. Steven Taylor says:

    Just to clarify, most suburban trains outside the rush were 4 cars.

  217. Malcolm says:

    Talk about train length brings us round to the original topic of questioning capacity. And ever since the flat-earther on the Marylebone thread claimed that a stream of coaches has the same capacity as a railway line, and seemed to approach proving his claim with numbers, I’ve been wondering why. I think it’s down to train lengths and dwell times.

    Anyway, I think I might want to somehow lobby for any future crossrails to make passive provision for 400m trains. Maybe not too passive; the platform tunnels would be 400m, but only fit out 200m, and any extra escalators or lifts would have to be included in the design, though not necessarily actually built.

    An alternative would be the RER-E scheme which somebody mentioned of double-platforming all the stations. That might work out cheaper, because when it comes to the moment when you want to implement the capacity increase, you don’t have to work out how to increase all the suburban platform lengths (and signal spacing and such).

  218. AlisonW says:

    400m trains? Could they have an onboard travelator then, or maybe a bus.

  219. Steven Taylor says:

    Re capacity. My local station is Clapham Junction, which by a margin of over 100%, is the busiest interchange station in the UK.
    Over the past couple of years, improvements have been made. A third entrance / exit (Brighton Yard) has been re-opened after closing in 1969. Replacement staircases have been installed on several platforms, and work in still in progress, namely additional staircase on Platform 9/10, etc.
    But in the `rush`, trains are often in the platforms for 1 to 2 minutes, restricting track capacity. Platform 11/12 is quite narrow, which restricts passenger flow. Obviously the old slam door stock, with all the attendent dangers, were much better for the quick egress/ingress of passengers from the train.
    10 coach commuter trains are now running on the Southern, which means, for example on Platform 15, you now have even more passengers per train descending the narrow staircase into the subway.
    You may be asking, what point is being made here. Well, here goes:
    The 25 million pounds etc recently spent on Clapham Junction has improved passenger flow to a degree; the re-opened Brighton Yard entrance works well. But without spending several hundred million on Clapham Junction, I cannot see any realistic hope of any further improvements to the station in the next decade or so as all the `easy` improvements have been done.
    During the morning/evening rush, the station struggles to cope with all the passengers.

  220. Graham H says:

    @Alison W – you mean like those Oz mile-long trains that carry motorbikes for the crew?

  221. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Having caught up with the flurry of comments I am broadly in agreement with those advocating a mix of new LU lines including outer area orbital links. Based on anecdotal observations and looking at growth on outer area bus services I would say that there are people making very long orbital journeys across London for work purposes. These journeys are inevitably slow and involve interchange between routes. Some bus routes are very heavily loaded for both long, medium and short distance journeys making it difficult for bus planners to allocate resources effectively to cover the demand.

    I attended the Transport Committee Bus Seminar last week and one observation made that I’d not heard before was that housing costs and benefit changes are forcing people out of Zones 1 and 2 where they may be relatively close to their workplaces to much further out. This is creating more pressure on transport links as poorer people tend to use buses as they cannot afford to use the tube or rail given the peak time fare premiums. As housing costs are unlikely to fall then this trend in longer travel patterns may cause yet more problems for transport planners. It may also result in more justification for higher capacity fixed links rather than buses but the planners have not caught up this potential phenomenon yet. The other side of the argument is that we need a much more careful consideration about the location and provision of affordable housing alongside plans for improving public transport facilities. In theory we could possibly avoid spending a fortune on transport links if we can ensure an effective spread of affordable housing across London so as to allow people to live much closer to their employment. Other development plans need similar consideration whether in “mega poles” like Old Oak Common or just in smaller areas like Tottenham Hale.

    Having been in some bits of London (Thamesmead, Edmonton) recently where there is still a lot of industry or commercial property I did wonder what on earth we’d do if it was all kicked out and turned into yet another “development area” with whizzy housing and shops. We keep seeing this insatiable demand to boot this smaller scale industry out which will again put pressure on transport links, both current and future.

  222. timbeau says:

    @Steven taylor
    ” I remember when Platforms 1 to 4 inclusive at Waterloo were shortened from 10 coaches to .”
    When was that then? As far as I was aware the low-end platforms are the same length they were when completed in 1910 as the first stage of the 1899-1922 enlargement and rebuilding programme. Certainly inner suburban services have been a maximum of eight cars ever since electrification in 1915.

  223. straphan says:

    To come back to the point about Paris: bear in mind that Paris has a slightly different ‘build’ compared to London. The city itself is probably as big as London Zones 1+2. If you include La Defense and Levallois-Perret (which are immediately adjoining Paris), then the vast majority of economic activity in the region takes place there, with only some ‘hotspots’ of jobs in the outlying communes. London on the other hand, whilst still centralised, is somewhat more dispersed when it comes to economic activity, and London’s answer to La Defense (or was it the other way round?) lies a good way off from the centre. Paris and the surrounding Ile-de-France region see the orbital lines as a way to revitalise the ghettoes that many Parisian suburbs have now become. London – whilst having its share of shady areas – has not reached that level of urban decay and social disenfranchisement that the inhabitants of the ‘banlieues’ have.

    Regarding the issue of drilling tunnels through Central London: I think I am approaching the issue from a different direction than most of those who replied to my comments. You have pointed out that a simple tunneled connection from one terminus to the other does not resolve bottlenecks on the mainline network (aside from the terminus throat). I accept that. However, I look at this as a solution to bottlenecks on the tube network, where the worst congestion stems from the fact, that form many commuters the distance from their rail terminal to work can only be bridged by the underground rather than any other mode. Furthermore, connections across London terminals will allow people a greater choice in where they want to settle down. Crossrail will make e.g. Maidenhead to Canary Wharf a reasonable commute – today you have to change at least twice (Paddington, Baker Street) and traverse across Central London standing up in a packed tube train. Thameslink already does the same for people living in suburbs to the North and South of the Thames. Future Crossrails will do the same for other areas around Greater London.

    Once we have provided the core with the connectivity it needs (note that Paris is looking at orbital metros and trams only after it has built four-and-a-half cross-city RER tunnels) it would make sense to look at orbital connections. Or indeed decentralisation. Compared to – say – Germany – the UK is probably needlessly centralised in terms of political and economic power. Then again, I would argue Germany mainly works as a decentralised state because it still has plenty of manufacturing. And that is something the UK – sadly – killed off in favour of the finance ‘industry’ a few decades back…

  224. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Agree entirely with practically all that you have written. But part of the reason Germany is so decentralised is down to history. This is all of the history of how Germany became a nation state, how the allies made sure that a reconstructed Germany was a decentralised Germany after World War II and the consequences of the cold war with the separate and very different East and West German states. I am sure you appreciate how different the physical structure and arrangement of the railways in France and Germany are. And indeed both are very different to Switzerland with its own unique way of working.

    Quite what we learn from this is something that has always eluded me other than to accept that there is more than one way of doing something.

  225. straphan says:

    @PoP: Naturally, Germany has always been decentralised to an extent, as has been Switzerland. But then again, in the 19th Century, the combined economic power of Manchester and Birmingham (never mind other cities that boomed during the industrial revolution like Leeds or Liverpool) probably exceeded that of London’s. Now I doubt their combined output would be half of London’s. Whilst I’m not a fan of propping up coal mines purely for the sake of employment generation, I don’t think industrial decline in the UK need have been so sudden or so vast. But I think that’s probably going too far off topic…

  226. Caspar Lucas says:

    This thread has run on since the discussions on double deck trains, but I thought it interesting that the diagrams on pages 55 and 56 of Network Rail’s 2007 document “Preliminary Evaluation of Double Deck and Extra Long Trains” suggest that an important aspect for consideration in relation to operation in Britain is the *lower* gauging requirements, i.e. the effect of our higher platforms. Not a problem if you can rebuild all platforms that they would use to, for example, lower continental standards, but that would mean the platforms would be unusable by any existing British trains, and the continental gauge double deck trains would be unable to use any standard British platforms.

  227. Greg Tingey says:

    Caspar Lucas
    And, across large sections of Germany, platforms are being raised to the “newer” (?) higher level.
    Last July, there was one island “out” at Köln Hbf, f’rinstance, & several other places, too.

  228. Fandroid says:

    I think straphan has a serious point. Several high capacity Crossrails all interlinking with each other at different places (ie not all at Tottenham Court Road) would enable large numbers of passengers to avoid much of the Tube system. It wouldn’t take many of these lines to speed up journeys and take a lot of pressure off the Tubes. I have a vague idea that a couple of countries not far east of here started doing this decades ago.

    As for the UK cities which in the 19th century accounted for much of the national GDP, don’t forget Glasgow!

  229. stimarco says:

    @Caspar Lucas:

    I currently live in Italy and they too have a policy of raising platform heights where possible. Double-decker trains don’t seem to have too many issues with these; I’ve seen both single- and double-decker trains on the line from Valle Aurelia (high level) to Viterbo via Cesano and that line was effectively rebuilt as an urban metro during the late ’90s, with all the new stations provided with high platforms. (Low platforms are still found further up the line, where the original stations are still in use.)

    However, the need for doors to be at a standard platform height is why double-decker trains look the way they do, with a long double-deck centre section bookended by large platform-level vestibules and doors, at the other side of which is a short single-deck section (usually also offset at a higher level) that leads to the end gangways. Lots of steps, though the low-level deck often has a ramp instead.

    A continental double-decker train would have its doors at roughly the same height as a British platform, so that aspect isn’t a problem. What is a problem is carriage length and curvature: Double-decker carriages are built as long as possible, to avoid ending up with a carriage that’s mostly vestibules and stairwells. For example, the TAF* rolling stock I see around here in Italy has carriages over 25 metres in length. That’s a good 2-3 metres longer than typical British trains, which makes curves an issue. A curved station platform would need to be cut back to allow double decker trains to use it as longer carriages will overhang the inside of a curve more than shorter carriages.

    Similarly, any tight curves in tunnels would also need to be surgically removed or reduced, or the new trains would get badly scraped. And, of course, you need to allow for trains to pass each other on curves too. This is why it’s not always easy to just swap one class of trains for another: the replacement units literally might not fit.

    (The reason for the low platforms on the continent – so I’m told by a local railwayman – was to make it easier to deal with rolling stock from different countries, which used to have slightly different standard loading gauges and profiles. This level of interoperability seen in continental Europe was never an issue in the UK, so the latter quickly standardised on higher platforms.)

    * [Note: Italian page, but the dimensions should be readily understood. The English version is very poorly translated.]

  230. Caspar Lucas says:


    I don’t know the detail of Cologne and others, although the ever-dangerous Wikipedia suggests that 760mm above rail level is the standard height in Germany, except for S-Bahns. British standard is 915mm, S-Bahns apparently 960mm – presumably to allow level boarding on single-deck stock. Of course, a critical point is the lateral position of the platform edge corner which is at this height – I would suspect it to be further out from the rails on the continent, but please correct me if I am wrong.

    My point was that the British lower sector structure gauge/standard platform imposes constraints on rolling stock design with a particular effect on double deck stock, i.e. the narrowing of the lower deck and resulting loss of capacity and/or passenger flow compared to what might be expected of a double-deck train. Discourse such as in this thread always focuses on roof lines and OHLE clearance, but rarely on this aspect.

    No doubt this is partly the reason why the so-called “4-DD” units were not double deck at all in any true sense of the term, as they did not have a lower floor that was lower than single-deck stock and hence could not physically have two distinct decks.

    There is no gauging problem at all if the new rolling stock and platforms are engineered for each other with no input from the outside world in the form of old rolling stock at new platforms, or new rolling stock at old platforms, and of course level boarding can always be achieved provided the platform is straight enough not to increase stepping distances too much (e.g. at some mainline stations in the USA and Russia, to cite two examples). But to what extent do these conditions apply on the GEML to Shenfield and GWML to Maidenhead (or beyond)?

  231. straphan says:

    @stimarco: Very good point about double-decker coach lengths. However, if what we are aiming for is something akin to what is running on the Parisian RER (have a look at this ugly bastard of an EMU here: then could we not have something with that kind of layout but 2/3 in length? That way we would have to deal mainly with height and not length/curvature.

    In terms of platform heights, I think it is a matter of philosophy more than anything else. The Austro-Hungarian empire assumed that platforms need not be much higher than the railhead – and so they are all across the former empire, except of course Austria itself (where the Germans brought in a rather more civilised point of view that one should enter the train, not climb aboard it…). This also made building stations that bit cheaper and to this day there are little halts in Romania and the former Yugoslavia, which are nothing more than a bit of levelled-off earth and a station sign along the tracks…

  232. Caspar Lucas says:


    The web seems to have even less on Italian platform heights than it does on German examples, but I would be pretty confident that the stock you link to would fail to comply with the British lower sector structure gauge (which can be found in the relevant Railway Group Standard which IS freely available on the web!).

  233. Chris says:

    @Timbeau – I too was surprised about the suburban platforms being shortened, but it does explain why the extra width of the viaduct. The following link shows the two island platforms extending much further beyond the canopy than they do at present –

  234. Daniel says:

    @ ngh

    >>Waterloo is mainly about platform lengths not numbers – lengthening the low numbers will involve the loss of a few there, hence the need to shuffle everything over to the former Eurostar platforms with a small gain of 2 platforms overall.<<

    Unless you are privy to something is that not public, is this still actually the case? Whilst a few years back it seemed they had settled on losing some platforms to gain longer ones, there have been quite a few things in the last year that seem to be indicating that they may have flip flopped back and that platforms 1-4 will be able to be extended without any permanent loss of platforms in the 'Main' station, obviously the only way to do this is to stump up the cash for actually tackling Westminster Bridge Road.

    The lack of any public plans means its all a bit guess-y!

  235. straphan says:

    @Daniel: to the best of my knowledge the option of extending the viaduct was considered, but given the extent of demolition (you’d have to knock down half of Lower Marsh to build a proper track layout…) it was decided that would be too expensive. It was since decided that Platforms 1-4 would be extended to 10-car without the need for an expansion of the viaduct. I am not certain how that will look in practice.

    The way the workflow is going to go – as far as I understand will be:
    – Re-open Waterloo Int’l
    – Shut Platforms 1-4
    – Re-open extended Platforms 1-4
    – Extend all remaining platforms to at least 10-12 car (I think there are still some that may be lacking but may be mistaken)
    – Use Waterloo Int’l for Windsor Lines services.

  236. Steven Taylor says:

    Re Waterloo Platform 1 to 4. I remember them being shortened.I commuted from Clapham Junction into these 4 platforms for about 40 years. You can still see the new cementation at the truncated ends.
    There is an excellent map in LSWR in the Twentieth Century by Faulkner & Williams, Page 19.
    The lengths in feet were:
    Platform 1 696
    Platform 2 695
    Platform 3 683
    Platform 4 685
    Platform 5 720
    Platform 6 720
    Platform 7 728 etc.
    The platforms 1 to 4 were completed in 1909.
    Trust this is helpful.

  237. Steven Taylor says:

    Re your comment QUOTE It was since decided that Platforms 1-4 would be extended to 10-car without the need for an expansion of the viaduct. I am not certain how that will look in practice.UNQUOTE
    As mentioned in my above post for Timbeau, Platforms 1 to 4 were originally about 10 cars long. The following web address shows a photo of said platforms before truncation in the 80s.

  238. mr_jrt says:

    I’m intrigued by this talk of shortening platforms…what was gained by doing so? Presumably that work didn’t come cheap, and even if you were running shorter trains, just not using the full length would seem to be dramatically cheaper than going to the effort to demolish the ends and alter the track work…

  239. Nathanael says:

    There’s no way around the need for more housing in Inner London. And that means taller buildings, more lot coverage, and more pedestrian space (less car space) on the streets.

    The last time London’s population was this large was the 1930s. What were the transportation plans then?

  240. Nathanael says:

    “400m trains? Could they have an onboard travelator then, or maybe a bus.”

    In the US, the longer intercity trains are this long. In Russia, some of them are longer. You start reaching the limit of passenger tolerance around 500 m.

  241. Kit Green says:

    The last time London’s population was this large was the 1930s. What were the transportation plans then?

    I expect that the population was far denser in the inner parts of London so many journeys were shorter or on foot. Types of work were different, for example did most dockers live very close to the docks?

  242. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Nathanael

    1) Needs were different. Many people lived a bus ride away from their place of work.

    2) Circumstances were also different. London was packed (rammed full in fact) if cheap, affordable (not very nice) housing in its innermost suburbs. Many people only left their immediate neighbourhoods only once a year for the annual week’s holiday.
    Places like Battersea, Wandsworth, Shepherds Bush, Acton, North Kensington Islington and the East End were where the “working classes” lived. Look where the old engine sheds and the bus garages were, and that’s where most people lived. Very few people actually ‘commuted’ from as far away as Uxbridge etc, by comparison, as a percentage of the total London workforce. I remember that as recently as 1965, some friends inherited a house from their deceased auntie, and because it was near Clapham Common, they were embarrassed to tell people where it was!

  243. Nathanael says:

    Malcolm wrote:

    ” But one approach would be to observe that the key transport constraints mostly depend on non-contraflow rush hour travel. To estimate demand on this, we should perhaps try to count inner-London workplaces rather than people or even workers. Indeed, if transport cannot cope, perhaps it is workplaces whose numbers should be constrained, though how to do this with a “business-friendly” (or indeed any other) government is quite hard to see.”

    This is insightful. One way to do it would be to require every developer building a workplace to build worker housing in the same place, and simultaneously — mixed-use as the *required* style of building, sort of the opposite of “Euclidean zoning”.

    Obviously many people would still commute, but if every building were half office / commerce and half residential, it would certainly reduce the “one way rush hour rush”. But is there a government radical enough to suggest this?

    I don’t know if there’s any government going to

  244. Steven Taylor says:

    Re shortening platforms. The instance at Waterloo reduced the need for complicated bespoke 3-way switches. (I think that is what they are called).
    My remembrance of the 80s, apropos British Rail, was one of retrenchment. The dramatic increase in passengers means some re-instatement, at a substantial cost.
    The current re-doubling of Swindon-Kemble comes to mind
    Yesterday, I came across some photos of Clapham Junction station on ``.
    The general decrepitude has to be seen to be believed. I had forgotten just how bad it was!

  245. Nathanael says:

    Thanks for the answers about the 1930s; this supports my suspicion that commuting is a problem which can’t be solved by transportation, but only by removing the need to commute: putting the homes and workplaces next to each other.

    I’ve followed this particular issue in a number of American cities. The problem only becomes acute in particularly high-population “world cities” — New York really has no alternative other than to put people closer to their work — but the solution (mixed-use neighborhoods, with housing cheek-to-jowl with jobs) helps in any city.

  246. stimarco says:


    Most Italian platform heights used to be barely above rail-head level, but the country’s nation-state past means that there were exceptions.

    I’ve been watching the upgrading of the Rome – Civita Castellana – Viterbo line, which has an unusual history that’s too complicated to explain here. It is also of the few railways serving Rome not to have been built by the state. (And it runs within a few hundred metres of my current home.)

    The line was originally entirely single track with passing loops and there’s a surprising amount of old newsreel footage showing its re-construction and opening, by a certain Mr. B. Mussolini, on t’Internet. It even has a number of websites dedicated to it, including this one, with lots of pics. (Note: the station list to the left is in alphabetical, not route, order. Lots of excellent photos, including some showing the line’s construction. There’s even a very early aerial photo from a dirigible on the Viterbo page. Some very early shots of what looks like an on-street tram show the line as-was, before its conversion and reconstruction as a standard gauge railway on its own right of way. None of it runs on street any more.)

    As you can see, all the stations were originally built with low platforms that are barely worthy of the name. What’s not quite so obvious is that a bunch of steps drops out when the doors open, even on the original rolling stock. The steps fold away when the doors close. (Example here. This is an unusual design thought to be due to the line’s origins as a tramway. The steps on most trains in Italy are basically just ladders.)

    As the steps stick out like a staircase and would foul the sides of the tunnels if left open, this has driven the design of the new, high platforms. You can see the results here. Note how the platform edge sticks way out from the platform proper: this allows the steps to drop open without hitting the platforms.

    On standard mainline stations, the typical solution has been to do this. In the foreground, you can see an original low-height platform. Behind, you can see platforms that have been raised by just slapping an additional layer on top.

    Of course, when you have stations that look this to convert, you can understand why the work is taking so long to do. Not one of the platforms you can see there is shorter than 10 coaches long. Most can take 18; some as many as 24. (This also explains why London is unlikely to ever have a single “Hauptbahnhof” station: you’d need to wipe out an entire borough to build it and its approaches.)

  247. Nathanael says:

    FWIW, you could have a much worse problem.

    In large parts of the US, the heavy job concentrations have moved into sprawled-out suburban “office parks” which can only be reached by private car, and which are laid out in such a way as to make it very difficult to serve them by rail, or even bus.

    Reconfiguring these…. things… to have housing near the jobs is exceptionally impractical. Although there are acres of parking which you could build housing on, there’s no facilities (no grocery stores, no entertainment), and so it’s a very unattractive place to move housing to.

    So when the commuter traffic starts generating congestion on the roads, nobody has any idea what to do to deal with the problem.

  248. stimarco says:

    Oops, sorry: my reply above was to Caspar Lucas’ post, not Straphan’s.


    That French RER double-decker would never cut the mustard in accessibility-happy London: note all the stairs. Any mobility-impaired passenger would be limited to hanging around the vestibule for their entire journey.

    I did use the predecessor of those trains on my way through France in 2010 and remembered them being bloody awful. Fine you had working legs, but not much fun if you were sat in a wheelchair. (I also seem to remember the older trains having just the one long double-decker section, though my memory isn’t what it used to be. And it used to be rubbish.) These replacements don’t seem to have improved matters much.

  249. Steven Taylor says:

    @Nathanael 20:16
    Re your comment about the need for more housing in Inner London. Taller buildings etc.
    This is being addressed in Wandsworth where many tall buildings are being erected, much to the chagrin of local conservation groups.
    However, the real problem is affordability. Whilst several schemes have to have affordable houses, it is debatable how affordable £280,000 flats really are.

  250. Nathanael says:

    @Steven Taylor 20:57

    Ah yes.

    In most cities, increasing the sheer volume of housing will eventually generate some affordability (once supply starts to outstrip demand), as people move into the older housing stock being left behind by the new flat-buyers.

    On the other hand, I read something about how London has a problem with extremely rich absentee owners, which is even worse than in New York City. If you’ve got this bizarre excess demand from nonresident superrich “home collectors”, who will never actually sell their previous home but just buy more, that can easily keep eating up new supply.

    I really don’t know what to do about stuff like that, other than to tax the money away from the superrich so that they don’t exist any more.

  251. stimarco says:


    The super rich tend to buy super-expensive houses that cost well north of a million or so pounds (or dollars). Rather than taxing them, I’d simply make it law that any homeowner who fails to live in their home for more than x% of the year forfeits their right to object to planning permission in the area.

    (This new apartment building is going to block your precious view of the Thames, you say? Wiping over a million quid off the value of your ‘property portfolio’, is it? Were you unaware that property values can go down as well as up? Oh no. What a shame. Me ‘eart fair bleeds for yer. Here, have a picture of the world’s smallest violin.)

    Seriously, why tax these people when you can milk them for all they’ve got instead? Surely that’s in keeping with the grand tradition of London’s tourist trade!

  252. Graham H says:

    @Nathaneal -Moving housing to the jobs is where we were at in the ’50s – the ring of New Towns round London was supposed to be self-contained but, alas, the efflux of time has destroyed that. Short of a Stalinist direction of labour, it is inevitable that people will seek jobs elsewhere but not, for a whole variety of reasons, move house. Run that process for several decades and the pattern of commuting becomes very diffuse and the catchment areas of previously self-contained nodes expands ever further. The problem may be exacerbated by the fact that up to quite a large size (well over 1m pop), for many specialist workers, those settlements are “one-horse towns” in the sense that for any given specialism, there is perhaps only one or at best two employers who need that specialism. Anyone wishing to better themselves may well have to move town. Only London, and just possibly Manchester and Leeds, can offer both the range and – vitally – depth of employment.

    Just to relate the point to your original question, I suspect that before the war, employment may have been less specialised with a much greater proportion of the labour force regarded as “general hands”* who could always find another factory job and relatively few employees with qualifications. Today, very much the opposite and the new armies of specialists require opportunities accordingly. Only cities which can offer those can be reasonably self-contained.

    *As recently as 1971, I recall mills in Bradford having notices outside stating bluntly “Hands wanted”. Unthinkable now.

  253. Castlebar 1 says:

    “You need hands” (Max Bygraves)

  254. JM says:

    @Graham H

    In reply to yours last Thursday @18:40, (Sorry not at tablet till now), I probably don’t always do a great job of explaining my rationale. Many suggestions I would make may dovetail into something else I’ve thought is a problem that obviously the person I’m engaging with wouldn’t have a clue I was thinking of would take me a while to explain. I could go into detail but probably future articles may be better place to expand more.

  255. Graham H says:

    @JM – Fair enough – look forward to future dialogue!

  256. ngh says:

    Re Steven Taylor / Staphan / Daniel

    I suspect the Waterloo 1-4 problem remains catering for the longer term desire for 12 x20m cars which the platforms have never been long enough to do.

    Current Waterloo platform lenghts:
    1-4 8 car

  257. ngh says:

    oops accidentally present “post comment” on previous post before finishing…

    Waterloo platform lengths (20m car length):
    1-4 8car
    5 10car
    6,7 11car
    8-16 12car
    17 10car?
    18 12car
    19 10car? (but easily longer)
    20-24 (ex international) equivalent to 16 car (@20m)

    If 12 car is the long term aim then P1-2 would probably have to go so the current P3-7 could become 12 car?
    Hence gain of 4 platforms P21-24 from international but lose 2 (P1,2) so net gain of 2. P20 has already been brought back into use but is only used during disruption at the moment.
    I suppose it depends how much they are willing to spend now rather than later?

  258. Ian J says:

    @Caspar Lucas (on double-deck trains): a critical point is the lateral position of the platform edge corner which is at this height

    I believe this is indeed the critical issue with double decker stock in the UK – it is not just that platforms are high, but that they are much closer to the rails in the UK. There are also many bridges with girders that come close in to the undersides of vehicles. So the width available to the lower deck of a double deck train would be quite restricted.

    As a general rule trains can serve either European gauge platforms (as on HS1 and HS2), or British gauge platforms, but not both (unless you have some kind of adjustable step system like on Eurostar, which isn’t really viable on a frequently stopping commuter train). European gauge trains can’t even pass British gauge platforms, which is why the HS1-HS2 link requires an expensive separate track through Camden.

    (Incidentally this also means that the much-repeated claim that the Great Central was built to Berne gauge can’t be literally true).

  259. Milton Clevedon says:

    The platform edge topic is a significant issue. RSSB (Rail Safety & Standards Board) are conducting a study into the implications. You COULD have a shared platform edge, but you would need gauntletted tracks with the outer pair being about 3 inches further away from the platform edge for GC loading-gauge trains to pass safely. Also, you should not assume that internal carriage heights would be the same – particularly for DD stock! That leads to other issues – do you have a moveable platform edge, or steps on the train? And how does that conform with DDA regulations? Etc…

  260. Steven Taylor says:

    Re extending Platforms 1 to 4 for 12 cars. I seem to remember there was once a plan to extend the bridge over Westminster Bridge Road and knock the adjacent pub down to join the up and down locals to the sidings. I cannot recollect now why this was proposed.
    If 12 car trains are considered for suburban lines, Vauxhall station would surely be costly to extend.

  261. straphan says:

    @Graham: You’re absolutely right – few centres in any given country will be large and diverse enough to have a large enough market for a particular skill. The days of having a job for life have truly gone, and it’s not exactly easy to uproot your spouse and kids just to get something better paid in a different city…

  262. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ straphan

    You are absolutely right too, but there is little point in moving house to nearer a new job if you have no job security. That is a thing we missed in earlier comments. The costs of moving are horrendous these days. It is a better and cheaper proposition just to pay the extra fares to commute. The job security enjoyed in the 50s has gone now.

  263. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    Incidentally this also means that the much-repeated claim that the Great Central was built to Berne gauge can’t be literally true
    Can’t it?
    You forget that pre-1923 the old companies’ loading gauges were very different.
    The GNR, GER, NER, GCR had quite large load-gauges (The GER’s problem was weak bridges) For the famous 1925 exchanges, the Gresley pacific had to go a very long way around (Via Sheffield, onto the GC & down to Banbury to get on the GW) because the ex-Midland links that existed on paper were not wide enough to permit 4474 ( Victor Wild ) & 4079 ( Pendennis Castle ) to pass.
    The NBR had a much more restricted gauge, though. Look at photos of the early Gresley pacifics & then the later models, with cut-down boiler mountings, etc.
    Or the difference between the LSWR load-gauge (Look at the massive machines that R Urie produced) and the gauge on the SECR.

    Steven Taylor
    I was unimpressed, shall we say, by the proposal to do away with two platforms @ Waterloo, because actually extending in a straight line over Waterloo Bridge Rd was regarded as “too difficult” (meaning “expensive) but was actually, IMNSHO a much better solution, especially from a long-term operating point of view.
    Logically (!) the “correct solution” there is a flyover somewhere about W London Jn , transferring the fasts to the NW side? Or, alternatively between Vauxhall & WAT (Is there room?) Um.
    Yes, extending the SE-side platforms at VXH would involve viaduct-widening & also be costly.

  264. ngh says:

    Re Castlebar

    Of which a fair chunk goes to HMRC as stamp duty in London and the South East. A nice bit of fiscal drag as the thresholds have never kept up with house price inflation in recent decades.

    They get more from each of a few London boroughs individually than they do for the whole of Scotland…
    (HMRC also do better in direct terms out of stamp duty than North Sea oil & gas)

  265. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ ngh EXACTLY

    And this is why people are prepared to do the “long distance commute”, (something unheard of 40+ years ago [except from Brighton and a very few other exceptions]), than move and pay “Stamp Duty” (=tax).

    Stamp Duty alone can be the best part of a year’s salary in this town (Arundel). It is why services need to cater need to cater for regular Newbury commuters whereas it used to be Slough, then Reading.

  266. ngh says:

    Re Castlebar

    Now if that Stamp duty was directed towards transport improvements at a regional (not local) level we could finance all the crossrail scheme upto CR6/7 (+HS2 inc a phase 3) and have in action by 2030. With the treasury getting reasonable portion back indirectly via tax/NI with reduced unemployment levels etc.

    But back in the real world…

  267. P Dan Tick says:

    Sorry Greg, but it’s the bridge over Westminster Bridge Road that needs to be widened at Waterloo.

  268. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes I knew it began with “W”, though!

  269. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ ngh 12:32

    You are exactly right again. Problem is that the bean counter’s job is only to count beans and give no thought to what actually generates more beans.

    If “……Stamp duty was directed towards transport improvements at a regional (not local) level…..” transport would improve, more people would move and thus more beans would be generated. I hear the Treasury now want an 8 to 1 return on expenditure. Perhaps that is where the problem is.

  270. ngh says:

    Re Castlebar,

    8 to 1 on flood defences and lot lower elsewhere quite often 1.something to 1 including in transport. Crossrail is 1.97:1 under DfT methodology or just over 2 on TfL methodology.

  271. straphan says:

    @ngh: Whereas in Germany the construction of a tram line requires a BCR of 1.33:1 to be eligible for federal grants (and most of the track must be on own right of way). This means that the benefits must equal costs plus shadow cost of raising taxes to pay for the scheme. I believe rules are similar for rail infrastructure projects – anyway lots of their projects in the East of the country were decided politically as part of the VDE programme (Verkehrsprojekt Deutsche Einheit – Transport Project for German Unity) and have no business case whatsoever (e.g. Leipzig-Halle-Nuremburg).

  272. Graham H says:

    @straphan – in the UK, the shadow cost of taxation is included in the TDR.

  273. Ian J says:

    @Greg T: You forget that pre-1923 the old companies’ loading gauges were very different

    But the platform edge position on the different companies can’t have been that different, otherwise there would have been massive gaps between the trains and the platform when through trains ran onto other companies’ lines. Berne gauge requires the full width to be available down to 430mm above rail height, whereas all the British rail loading gauges I have seen are narrower below platform height than above it.

  274. AlisonW says:

    Not quite 40 years ago, but back in 1978-9 one if my colleagues (office off Tottenham Court Rd) commuted daily from Swansea.

    I thought it crazy then and would still think so today.

  275. Paying Guest says:

    @ AlisonW/Castlebar – Early 80s in our directorate we had a bridge four commuting daily from Newport to Holborn BUT as servicemen they had their commute paid for them and it didn’t count as a taxable benefit!

  276. straphan says:

    In terms of extreme commuting, in my former job there was someone who commuted from Brockenhurst – albeit our office was walking distance from Waterloo so no additional pain of the few stops by tube.

    Perusing the National Rail website, you can find interesting season ticket offers (annual standard class prices quoted):
    – Grantham to London Terminals: £6,760 Hull Trains Only/£8,064 all operators
    – York to London Terminals: £13,212 all operators
    – Nottingham to London Terminals: £8,736 (not via Grantham)
    – Bristol Temple Meads to London Terminals: £7,548 (via Warminster and Salisbury only) / £10,744 via any permitted

    All these locations are under 2h by train from London terminals and since there are season tickets to these destinations this would mean someone must use them. With more flexible patterns of employment and working from home becoming widespread, employers don’t mind if people live in York and come into London – say – three days a week.

  277. @straphan,

    I don’t think Brockenhurst is at all exceptional. It is almost commuter belt. I believe that as you travel further towards Weymouth the numbers decrease but don’t go down to zero. They even had to modify the terms of the all-stations Britrail pass when people worked out it was cheaper to buy this than a regular season ticket from stations on the extreme west of the line.

    I have also heard of a commute from the Isle of Wight.

    As you go further out you need to commute for fewer days to justify your season ticket. I have once had a job in Darlington which involved spending time on secondment in York. Two return journeys a week was all it took then to justify a season ticket. I actually got it from King’s Cross to Newcastle as it hardly cost any more and meant that I could visit my then girlfriend in Newcastle at no extra cost. Life has slowed down a bit since then.

  278. RichardH says:

    I work with someone who commutes from Lincoln to the City. An awkward journey.

    Re loading gauges, when the prototype Deltic transferred from the WCML to the ECML it won an argument with the platform edge at Manors, but lost its cab footsteps to the platform at Darlington.

  279. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ straphan
    26 February 2014 at 09:47

    Salisbury was listed as a season ticket fare at least as far back as 1914, when it was £8 4s 0d for 3 months 3rd Class, £11 5s 0d for 1st Class. First train was the 7:34 due Waterloo 10:11, so a different sort of commuter, the next train was a breakfast car non-stop express at 9:31 due Waterloo 11:03, guess which was the more desirable train!

    Nowadays there are about 2,000 commuters from Salisbury towards London or intermediate stops, and at least the same from stations further west. First train is 5:15 due Waterloo 6:49, then twice an hour until the evening when it goes hourly. Last train from Waterloo to Salisbury on weekdays is 23:40 due Salisbury 01:10. All trains except the very last have catering trolleys.

    So it is perfectly possible to have a better lifestyle, living in a pleasant cathedral city 84 miles from London but with London your place of economic succour, and have full use of the West End/South Bank etc, compared to someone living at Chesham (25½ miles). There the first train is also 5:15, change Chalfont, no catering trolley, due Baker Street 6:14 (or Waterloo 6:24). Last trains from Baker Street 23:50 and 00:23 (Waterloo 23:38 and 00:10), due Chesham 00:46 and 01:19.

    Sounds as though Salisbury ought to be on Oyster!

  280. Littlejohn says:

    @PG. Long distance commuting was perhaps more common in the Forces than outside, but to put it into context there was usually a significant saving in not paying removal costs, disturbance allowance or providing a house at the new location.

  281. Paying Guest says:

    @ Littlejohn – Very true. Personally we always lived in married quarters or on the excess rent scheme until retirement. Sacrificed a lot financially, but had the many benefits of being close to work plus the social life when on a station tour.

  282. Littlejohn says:

    The saving I referred to was of course a saving to MoD.

    PG – I wonder if our paths crossed in a previous life. From comments on other threads we have sometimes worked in similar areas. JB – is there a facility for putting commenters in touch with each other?

  283. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I am a little wary of this because of privacy and data protection rules but send me an email to pedantic ‘at’ and I will forward it. I do occasionally do this. The recipient is of course under no obligation to reply and if they do not wish to respond we must then respect this and leave them alone.

  284. Chris says:

    On the issue of Berne gauge, while the GCR did have a relatively generous loading gauge for the time I don’t believe there’s any actual evidence it was built to accommodate European rolling stock – in fact the ‘Berne’ convention didn’t come about for another decade after the London Extension’s opening.

  285. Graham H says:

    BR HQ staff, with the advantage of free travel, used to clock up some pretty extreme daily commutes – Wem was probably the furthest in time terms. Several came daily from York – pleasant Georgian 5 bay house in Micklegate, 10 m walk from the station, and all that. Stagecoach franchise bid team (based in London) has at least one member who comes daily from the Isle of Wight, I am told.

    BTW, extreme commuting is nothing new – well before the LBSC opened, a commuter by stage coach from Brighton was noted (must have been at least 4 1/2 hours each way…)

  286. timbeau says:

    A former colleague commuted from Shanklin to Euston

    The forces often have long commutes when working in London because they are moved frequently and at short notice, often abroad or out at sea where the family cannot follow them, so they have a permanent family home somewhere not too far from any likely UK posting (between London and Portsmouth is a favourite for the Navy), commuting from there when they can and living in barracks (or on board) when not.
    To put the season ticket prices in context, I recently had reason to compare house prices in Lincoln and in Zone 6 – the difference in house prices is over 80 times the difference in the annual point to point season ticket prices: that means a couple could live in Lincoln and commute to London for their entire working lives, and still be better off than living in London.
    Mind you, they would each have spent four years of their lives on the train (or standing on the platform at Newark because the connection hasn’t been held again)

  287. Caspar Lucas says:

    Ian J 00.39,

    The counter-intuitive conclusion is that the application of double-decker trains in the UK is significantly, albeit not entirely, affected by the space that is (not) available *below* platform height.

    Incidentally, the lower sector structure gauge is defined in Railway Group Standard GC/RT5212 Appendix 1 and – as mentioned before – concept cross-sections of UK-compatible double-decker carriages showing its effect on the lower deck are shown on pages 55 and 56 of “Preliminary Evaluation of Double-Deck & Extra Long Train Operations”, both of which can be found online. The final page of the latter document assesses the capacity increases possible with these notional UK-gauge double-deck trains, and comes up with figures that are less than one might think.

    Hmm… makes me think of the double-deck concept dreamt up by a RAIL magazine contributor a maybe a year or two back, illustrated in Southern livery so supposedly for the Brighton main line. The top deck seating layout was 4+0 with a step up from the side corridor (which was lower than the seating area to give headroom under the roof curve)… er, dwell times?

    On the subject of UK v. continental gauging, I don’t think anyone has yet mentioned the Nene Valley Railway. If I recall correctly, it is possible to operate continental rolling stock on the NVR because the platform edges have been moved back from their “UK” positions and all British passenger stock operating on the line is fitted with extra-wide footsteps to bridge the gap. (Going completely off topic, the NVR seems to have no operational continental steam locomotives at present though – rather a pity given that the David Suchet Poirot episodes “The Mystery of the Blue Train” and “Murder on the Orient Express” were shot there with a ’50s BR Standard Five having to stand in for ’30s French/Turkish/Bulgarian/Yugoslavian locos!)

  288. Ian J says:

    @Caspar Lucas: Exactly – and not so counter-intuitive when you remember that the lower deck on many double deck trains overseas is below platform height (on systems with high platforms) and there are stairs down to get to the deck.

    As I understand it the UK-gauge Eurostars are only very slightly narrower at the widest point than a TGV, but much narrower at bogie level.

  289. Greg Tingey says:

    The other main difference in load-gauges is total height.
    So, an extra half-metre can make a big difference to the “roof” space for a DD unit or coach
    4.32 – 4.65 metres tall in various versions of UIC – the last is the German standard & new construction is all to that, IIRC
    4.1 metres max in GB
    The other problems here are the “top corners” – hence the “widening” for containers ….

  290. Theban says:

    Schemes like Crossrail are justified on the basis that they extend commuting distances and therefore the number of travelers suggesting that capacity will be used very quickly. The big schemes have their place.

    There’s no Tube station for the Royal Albert Hall and museum land although on a map it is an obvious gap. The need is met instead by the pedestrian tunnel from South Ken. It is covered and far faster than an above ground route crossing roads and dodging pedestrians coming in and out of shops. It is a pedestrian motorway.

    Central zone capacity could be improved by near ground pedestrian walkways, for instance running beneath Oxford St. Longer distances could have moving walkways. These could also relieve major intersections if within the barrier line e.g. link City Thameslink and St Paul’s Tube to encourage interchange there rather than Farringdon.

  291. timbeau says:

    ” The need is met instead by the pedestrian tunnel from South Ken. It is covered and far faster than an above ground route crossing roads and dodging pedestrians coming in and out of shops.”

    You’ve clearly not been along Exhibition Road for a while – it was part-pedestrianized a couple of years back. And there are no shops. The tunnel is useful when it’s raining, but of course it only goes as far as the Science Museum. For the RAH, High Street Ken or Knightsbridge are as close, and have buses, or you can walk across the park (traffic free) from Lancaster Gate.

  292. timbeau says:

    Hit send too quickly again

    City Thameslink can’t be far from the east end of the platforms at St Pauls, although there is quite a lot of subterranean stuff in the area, notably the cells at the Old Bailey

  293. Theban says:

    Yes it only goes part way. I actually think the part pedestrianisation makes things worse but that is a separate issue. The point remains it is a highly effective – and cost effective – way of extending the Tube.

    Bringing it up to date, something is also planned for HS2 between Euston and St Pancras.

    There are other possible examples of course. How about between Temple and Aldwych? Or something reusing the tramway tunnels on Kingsway? Or Euston Square and Euston?

  294. @Theban, timbeau

    link City Thameslink and St Paul’s Tube to encourage interchange there rather than Farringdon.

    I am afraid this is another of these ideas that gets suggested with monotonous regularity although fortunately not as often as joining the Waterloo & City and Northern City Line.

    It was looked into in great detail at the original Thameslink inquiry after there were (inevitably) loads of objections that any Thameslink scheme should include this. Because the issue had been raised, the proposers of the scheme went into great detail to explain why this was a non-starter. From memory it would have been a considerable engineering challenge and not a very convenient interchange anyway.

  295. Graham H says:

    @Theban – I don’t know so much about “extending” the Tube: walking distances at certain locations are already getting quite long – eg KXStP tube to St P domestic.

    Of the other locations you mention, Euston- Euston Square has been very recently discussed on this forum (there is a tiresome sewer under Melton Street which prevents this); the Kingsway tunnel is already in use for a road underpass for much of its length; Aldwych-Temple was considered by LT about 60 years ago, but I believe the case couldn’t be made – in any case, Aldwych isn’t going to reopen any time soon…

  296. timbeau says:

    “City Thameslink and St Paul’s Tube to encourage interchange there rather than Farringdon.
    …..not a very convenient interchange anyway”

    On the contrary, it would be a very useful interchange. A big contribution to overcrowding on the Central Line is the lack of interchange with routes to the south between the two Northern Line interchanges, resulting in someone at Chancery lane, for example, having to go two stops east or west before they can go south. Similarly, Thameslink from the south has poor connections to anywhere more central then the Circle Line, and the Central Line in particular, although Crossrail will go a long way to alleviating that problem.
    Agreed it would be a bit of an engineering challenge.

  297. Sorry timbeau I didn’t make myself clear.

    By “not a very convenient interchange anyway” I wasn’t referring to its usefulness. I would have written “not a very useful interchange anyway” if I was. I was referring to its convenience. It would be long and from what I can remember it would have had a awkward changes of direction in the passageways. I think it was thought to be a major challenge to install an escalator so would involve flights of steps. It would not have been a convenient interchange. I hold no opinion and make no pronouncement about how useful it would be if it could be constructed.

  298. Graham Feakins says:

    I rather like Theben’s suggestion as a principle but perhaps not over-doing it.

    To put that in perspective, until recently I visited Tokyo annually and used public transport intensively each day to visit clients (as well as cycling!) and the thing that struck me was the shear number of station exits, many albeit with very lengthy walkways in subway between platforms and some of the streets served by a station. Perhaps the extreme is Shinjuku Station, which consists of ten platforms that serve 20 tracks and 12 train routes. It has 200 exits!

  299. MikeP says:

    Just one comment about the S Ken subway. It gets very, very (very) boring if done daily. Especially for 6+ years (in 2 separate periods, admittedly). I tended to only use it as an umbrella substitute. I’ve yet to visit the area since Exhibition Road had its makeover, but I’m sure it makes the above-ground option even more preferable in the dry.

  300. Chris L says:

    The Aldwych/Temple link was examined less than 60 years ago – at the time when it was known the lifts were failing.

    Kingsway College offered to include the link when it was rebuilt.

    The slope is such that the lifts could have been withdrawn and a few steps would have been enough.

  301. Anon5 says:

    I found the Paris Metro to be the king of long underground interchanges often linked by stairs not escalators.

  302. Theban says:

    I am firmly with Graham Feakin on this and think PoP is overlooking things. The benefit isn’t exclusively those who will interchange to another line. Such connections can also remove passengers who would only travel one stop on a line which doesn’t just save capacity for travellers travelling longer distances but can also help with dwell times.

    Yes, there should also be entrances / exits along the passageway.
    I think the bigger truth is that any one such link can be criticised but a web of them could be cost effective in adding capacity.

  303. @Theban,

    I am a bit puzzled by your suggestion I am overlooking things. In fact I really am not particularly interested at all in the issue of a subway from Thameslink to St Pauls and hadn’t even commented on the wider purpose of subways. All I am doing is informing people the proposed connection was looked into in great detail and found to be impractical. Until someone provides evidence to the contrary I will assume that is true.

  304. ngh says:

    Re Theban /Pop

    Given the subtle reminders about the original name for St Pauls being Post Office on the current TfL radio ads may be alarm bells should start ringing given the GPO building is now BT Centre there might be a very large amount of critical cabling in the area???

    Many similarities to the Oxford Street subway / subsurface tram idea of just over a month ago.

    Agree it would be useful (as in I could have used it thrice in the last month if it existed) but then in 4 years time Thameslink service levels will be up 50% (+ longer trains) and Crossrail will be operational so Farringdon will provide the same kind of East-West interchange options and the northern entrance to City Thameslink will provide the local dispersal options as far as Holborn and Moorgate which aren’t to far walk with plenty of wide pavement.

    i.e. as Crossrail is happening the prospect of a City Thameslink – St Pauls subway is effectively dead.

    City Thameslink also seems to have better walking access than Blackfriars or Farringdon so it has potentially been assigned to keep that kind of role to take pressure of the other 2?

  305. The other Paul says:

    Let’s not forget the generous selection of sub-surface walkways and exits constructed around Charing Cross in the 1970s, complete with underground retail units, most of which is now chronically underused – and the tumbleweed had set in long before the Jubilee line platforms closed. The Old Street complex is better used, but only because people are forced through it. No-one likes it much do they? Piccadilly Circus is one of the busiest stations on the network, but take the underground exit route into the Trocadero complex and it immediately starts to feel like a ghost town. Quite possibly it’s the fault of poor design and layout in these cases, but fundamentally it seems to me that people aren’t drawn to using pedestrian subways in London if they can help it.

  306. Ian J says:

    @The Other Paul: the (now abandoned?) extensive system of subways around Blackfriars tube station comes to mind as well. These kind of underground retail complexes seem to work best in places where it is either oppressively hot and humid, or cold and snowy, for a good part of the year – in Montreal you can go from one end of town to the other without stepping outside.

  307. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Ian J – Yes, I should have added that my Tokyo pedestrian subway example includes air conditioning throughout because of the oppressive humidity at street level during significant parts of the year; for those unused to it, at least four fresh shirts a day are required to avoid embarrassing, sweaty sights. Similarly, all trains are fully air-conditioned. If not that, it’s the typhoon season where the subways also score and all this makes for popular retail outlets in most subways.

  308. Graham Feakins says:

    P.S. If you have an hour to spare to watch Shinjuku in action, then this Channel 5 documentary is available to 12 July 2014:

    One thing for certain is that you won’t complain ever again about trains being “rammed” over here!

  309. Walthamstow Writer says:

    A small aside which may have relevance to the discussions we’ve had recently about Crossrail. The TfL Finance and Policy Meeting has had a late paper submitted about Crossrail Enhancements. Regrettably all the detail is confidential (bah!) but it is interesting that this has emerged now and will presumably go the TfL Board in a couple of weeks.

    If I was to wildly speculate (what fun!) I’d suggest mobility impaired access at NR stations, bigger train fleet, Reading Extension implications, fit out of full platform lengths were on the agenda. I may, of course, be completely wrong and it might just be for public toilets at all stations (a regular London Assembly whinge). 🙂

  310. alan blue mountains aust. says:

    I would think filling out full platform lengths prior to Crossrails opening would be prudent it will be operationally inconvenient and more expensive to do around an operating system. I am also some what surprised, seeing the speculation that capacity may be filled quite quickly, that the rolling stock order did not have an option for further 130 carriages within say two years of completion of the nominal order to ensure capacity retained to produce identical carriages to enable early introduction of 11 car sets. Surely the extra expense in lengthening platforms could be actively promoted as not a cost overrun but provision for what is now seen as potentially higher initial useage than originally forecast for Crossrails early years

  311. Greg Tingey says:

    Well, “accepting” an extension to Reading could be fun, couldn’t it?

    a b m a
    Yes, well, that’s what this entire discussion is (was) about isn’t it?
    I am horribly afraid that we are heading into an “early DLR” scenario where, by CR1 standards, the “authorities” (meaning, principally HMT) are going to save a few pence.
    And will end-up regretting it, before 2020 is over, because the shiny new rail service is going to be rammed.
    Am I correct in assuming that any follow-on order for more carriages will be more expensive, unless specifically provided for in the initial documentation?

    The Budget is between now & that presentation to the TfL board, isn’t it?

  312. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    Not sure what Greg’s in moderation post will say but…

    Taz posted this comment in the other CR thread:

    “note that five of the 65 trains to be purchased under the Agreement are to
    enable provision of residual services on the Great Eastern line from
    Liverpool Street (high level) to Shenfield, that works would be required at
    Liverpool Street to accommodate those trains as Full Length Units, and that
    standalone authority for such works will be sought in due course in
    accordance with Standing Orders” from TfL Finance and Policy Committee
    minutes of 23 January 2014

    Sounds a bit less grand than some of you thoughts but answers a perennial question on Liverpool Street discussions. One assumes they would go for full 11car length while doing it to avoid having 2 sets of construction work???
    – Thus making eventual 11 car extension easier and removing the need for some residual 9 car units if it weren’t done?

  313. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – I only saw Taz’s post about L St after posting my comment above. I agree it might be as simple as dealing with L St but the paper is framed in the plural suggesting more than one issue is being considered. On the assumption that there is agreement then TfL / DfT sponsors will have to formally amend Crossrail’s deliverables and funding. As Mr Morgan and Mr Wolstenholme of Crossrail keep reminding us they only do what the sponsors tell them. We know there is a list of issues that require attention or that are “looming” in the background. It will be interesting to see what transpires after the next TfL Board meeting. I’d not be astonished to discover that a similar governance process was being followed in the DfT with a view to achieving a joint TfL / DfT agreed position so that Crossrail can be instructed and an announcement made in due course.

  314. Milton Clevedon says:

    Re Liverpool Street-Shenfield trains. I recollect that the Shenfield peak extras from Liverpool Street terminus were originally planned as 8-car trains rather than 10-car. So doesn’t the ‘full length’ project really relate to the new 9-car trains (=10-car x 20 metre equivalents)? I don’t think you can get all the E-line platforms at Liverpool Street up to 12-car x 20 metre (or 11 x 23m) without losing one or two platforms in total – which is a costly no-no at present for Liverpool Street though the bullet may eventually have to be faced after Crossrail is open.

  315. Greg Tingey says:

    Platforms 17 & 18 @ LST are a little bit shorter than the others on E-side.
    I assume that is the problem that is under consideration.

  316. Malcolm says:

    This issue of train lengths remains confusing. If I ruled the world, I would insist that for almost all purposes, the length in metres should be used, rather than the number of cars. Apart from the 20/23 metre mixup, this would also better accommodate trains with very little visible boundary between cars, and any future trains which could perhaps be talgo-style, or articulated in some other novel fashion. As ruler, I would also cause all the boards (12-car-trains stop here) to be replaced by (240 m trains stop here).

    Fortunately, I am not in charge, so this particular waste of money need never happen. Instead, presumably, drivers of 8x23m trains have to stop at the 10-car board, and so forth. For a while, at least, until the boards disappear along with the drivers?

  317. Fandroid says:

    I was on a 9-coach train the other day, a Class 450 leading a Class 444. First time I have seen it, let alone travelled on such a beast. When we add 26m coaches into the mix, the fun will really start!

  318. timbeau says:

    I’ve seen such mixtures occasionally.

    It will be interesting to see if a 458/0 + 458/5 pairing ever happens

  319. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – not in the least unusual, alas; indeed, a few years back it was even programmed in the evening shoulder-peak. Mind you, there are some more vile combinations albeit unprogrammed, such as an all-450HD rake on the Portsmouth fasts…

  320. Malcolm says:

    I find it rather gratifying that such improbable combinations are even possible. In the good old days, of course, a carriage was a carriage, a truck was a truck, and you could couple any amount of any of them together, to meet traffic needs. (Of course, there were generally a lot of spare ones lying around, because accountants hadn’t been invented either).

    I rather had the impression that modern stock was now so full of incompatible bits and pieces, that you couldn’t couple anything much to anything else, at least not without an emergency coupler, some string and sealing wax, a spare driver, a couple of parcels vans and a safety case. Glad to learn that maybe it’s not quite as bad as that.

  321. @Milton Clevedon,

    I think you have got it precisely correct. Years ago when I wrote about capacity on the GEML I never really fully understood why Crossrail would not free up as much capacity as one would think into Liverpool Street. Indeed, looking back on it, the article is really a load of waffle. However I have had this lack of capacity increase confirmed by Howard Smith in a talk he gave where he volunteered the information that 24tph Crossrail will not really do that much for capacity from the east.

    My suspicion, not being familiar with the area, is that you can start with 9-cars max to keep all the available platforms and only after Crossrail opens as far as Shenfield will it be realistic to reorganised Liverpool St so as to have longer but one few platforms on the eastern side. As with Cannon St in the 1980s there will be a small theoretical loss of capacity but if that capacity can not be realised and it leads to benefits elsewhere – notably running a homogeneous fleet of longer Crossrail trains – then it is still worth doing.

  322. timbeau says:

    As far as I am aware, of all the various types that SWT operate (159, 455, 444, 450, 458) only the two Desiro classes 444/450 can work in multiple. In addition, the green (ex-Southern) 456s sitting in Wimbledon depot since before Christmas are essentially 2-car 455s, but it seems SWT think they can’t work with the 455s until they’ve been re-painted red.

  323. ngh says:

    Re PoP

    The relatively immediate problem with LST arises because of the introduction of the crossrail rolling stock there first on terminating services so comparatively little could be introduced while there are still 3 platforms that only take 8x20m car (160m) and hence the existing stock only. Therefore large scale introduction of CR rolling stock could only happen with the first tunnelled section opening and Paddington – Shenfield services commencing (not in line with a lowest risk strategy? i.e. new stock and new tunnel at the same time).

    This raises the question – was there ever a plan (when CR was 10x20m) to introduce the initial batch of stock as 8 car then lengthen to 10 when the tunnelled section became available?

    With Bombardiers 9x23m solution this wouldn’t really work…

    Does this mean they might be going for a quick sticking plaster solution to get say 1 more platform to 205-210m without reducing the number of platforms to aid rolling stock introduction? And then worrying about proper LST platform lengthening as soon as the Paddington – Shenfield services start? (i.e. quite along time before Crossrail is fully operational so definitely not an add-on project after completion)

  324. Pedantic of Purley says:

    On the Crossrail website they have reported that Crossrail boosts London property supply, new research shows.

    This has loads of gushing positive comments about how Crossrail is encouraging development. It also has the obligatory accompanying report.

    An alternative way of looking at it is that this new development is eating into the capacity Crossrail was supposed to have provided to reduce existing problems. In other words nothing to feel too pleased about. So it is looking more and more likely that Crossrail is going to be full up within a few years after opening.

    Hey! On topic!

  325. timbeau says:

    @me and Malcolm
    Before WW2 all Southern Railway electric units were technically very similar and could work together. Then in 1951 they invented electro pneumatic brakes, but that was fine, because over the next 25 years all new SR units had EP brakes and could, and did, work in multiple with each other – although coupling a 3000hp 4REP tractor unit to anything other than a trailer unit was a good way of tripping all the circuit breakers in the area!
    With some wartime 4SUB units still in service in 1979, the SR then got the Class 508s, which could work with nothing else before or since, and the 455s which again could work with nothing else. Since then, every new type has been a cat that walks by itself, or at most with one other type (444/450, 455/456, 465/466, ).
    This is in marked contrast to modern diesel units, where I have observed all sorts of unlikely pairings – e.g 144+142, 142+150, 150+153, 153+170, 170+159.
    The ill-fated class 210 all-singing, all-dancing diesel electric prototype (only two built: project canned as far too expensive and Pacers ordered instead) was even designed to operate in multiple with class 317 straight electrics!

  326. Kit Green says:

    tripping all the circuit breakers

    In 1980 or so friend of a friend told me that he worked on the electrical traction supply for Southern Region. He claimed that his role during most morning peaks was to hold a length of wood against a row of circuit breakers to physically stop them tripping out. I think he said this was in the London Bridge area.

  327. Greg Tingey says:

    Correction, surely you meant: “So it is looking more and more likely that Crossrail is going to be full up within a few years months after opening.

    Kit Green
    I’ve heard the same story, from other ex “Southern” sources, as well …..

  328. @Greg,

    Correction, surely you meant: “So it is looking more and more likely that Crossrail is going to be full up within a few years months after opening.

    Time will tell. My gut feeling is that there will still be some outstanding traffic-generating redevelopment on opening and that will take some time to complete. But lets face it, we are both guessing and whether it fills up on day 1, in months or a few years doesn’t alter the fundamental problem that, if we are right, it ain’t entirely solving the problem it was to suppose to. Instead it is, at least partly, solving a different problem (providing infrastructure for new development) – instead of the one it was supposed to achieve. Trouble is, that is a problem that it itself created. I am not saying new development is wrong but we need to take that into account and get on with planning Crossrail 2, 3, Crossrail 1 relief etc.

  329. ngh says:

    For the Crayonisti or social engineering campaigners out there, a map of Z1-3 with dominant housing tenure type using census data done by someone I follow on twitter doing the rounds today.
    (The author isn’t me despite sharing 2 initials). click on the image to get a detailed version.

    In Crayonista world Green on the map = Less NIMBYs, orange /red =maximum NIMBY.

    In the real world it is interesting to note the correlation between rail infrastructure / stations / service levels and housing tenure type and the reliance south of the Thames on bus services in a lot of areas with a dominance social rented property.

  330. Graham H says:

    @ngh – thank you for telling us about this. There’s lots of interest here -the contrast between the owned outright half of the doughnut north of the river and the heavily mortgaged southern half is very striking. I noted also the pockets of wholly-owned property such as Islington. Given the location of the red areas and the likely value of the properties there, they will be markedly more wealthy than the mortgaged areas to the south; I’m just surprised that so much expensive property is owned outright and so little is mortgaged there. Put another way, the rich seem to have always owned their houses outright and not troubled with mortgages, the less well off don’t seem to have reached the paid off state at all.

  331. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Graham H

    “The rich shall inherit the earth”, and a share, if not all, of their parents’ property,

    We did a study. Those who have no chance of inheritance, and are forced to pay an increasing proportion of their income on rent, will find it increasingly less likely that they will ever be able to get on any property ladder – in fact it’s more of a greasy pole with most of the grease at the bottom.

    Again I could say SO much more, but it’s completely off topic.

    1) 40ish years ago, did people move to “New Ash Green” rather than somewhere near a station so they could get to work, by choice?
    2) Is the situation better today?

  332. Fandroid says:

    Interesting to see that Buckingham Palace is ‘Private Rented’ !

    I struggle with the idea that so much of South London is Social Housing. A lot, yes, but not that much surely!

  333. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Fandroid

    Trust lawyers can make Inheritance Tax a voluntary tax.

  334. ngh says:

    Re Graham H

    Another slightly different follow up map of all the GLA area:

    This time shaded according to relatively proportions rather than the dominant type.

    The orange areas in the first map seem to correlate fairly well with the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) data on debt by postcode sector (i.e. SW1 1) which was first published last December (and I think will be published every 6 months in the future?)
    (contains link to download data in spreadsheet)
    See Guardian summary:

    6 of the top 10 post code sectors for mortgage debt in the UK are in the orange area at the bottom left corner of that map (all those sectors have greater than £0.5bn)

  335. Fandroid says:

    I suspect that Buck House is an official ‘Palace’ ( as opposed to Sandringham which is privately owned by her Maj). It would just not do to list it as ‘Social Rented’ !

  336. ngh says:

    Re Fandroid
    The first map shows the most dominant type of tenure so I assume those on Housing Benefit might qualify as socially renting too?
    (Those illegally subletting from council tenants won’t fill the census into show they are privately renting! So the data might be slightly skewed in places)
    Buckingham Palace – all the staff who live on site presumable rent privately from HM so dominant tenure type is privately rented?

  337. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP / Greg – given Crossrail has a phased introduction it clearly will not be full on day one. We also have no idea yet about the service frequency that will be offered as the service builds up and how depot / siding space is utilised as services develop.

    My own guess is that it will take some time for travel patterns to adjust on a permanent basis as people will take time to evaluate what services are “relieved” by Crossrail and how fast / convenient Crossrail is vs the alternatives. For example will people change from the Central Line to Crossrail at Stratford for a faster and initially less crowded journey or will they sit on the Central Line? Will people take different buses to reach Crossrail in the Eastern suburbs rather than head in a different direction to the tube. The Ilford area with Ilford NR and Gants Hill tube is an example of the potential choices.

    The other significant issue is the effect of Farringdon as a tube / Crossrail / Thameslink interchange and if / how quickly journey patterns adjust as a result of that interchange plus Thameslink running through Finsbury Park. I know Sir Peter Hendy has said more than once that Crossrail will be full but there will be a lot of capacity to use and a lot of short – medium term variability as people adjust to the different transport network and spread of capacity and journey options. Peak time trains will be full pretty quickly but I’d expect TfL’s operator to adjust the service provision to cope in the initial 12-18 month period. I doubt there will be much timetable tweaking after 2020 *unless* something else happens to require it. One particular unknown is if / how Crossrail fits into the “Night Tube” concept and whether this is part introduced in 2018 or if TfL insist on the full post Dec 2019 service being in place before “Night Crossrail” services could start. Given the risks associated with signalling / control system integration for through services to the west of Paddington I’d surmise that people will have to wait until services are mature.

    I think there will be an initial phase of “development boost” as a result of Thameslink and Crossrail improvements and then about 5 years later there will be a big extra development boost. This gets us to about 2023/4. I think there will be some difficult development decisions in places like Whitechapel / Shadwell / Bethnal Green as well as in the Stratford – Ilford corridor. At present these areas are relatively “poor” and I can see the curse of house price increases / developer pressure / gentrification being visited on the masses of people who live in these areas. I don’t foresee a good outcome. This is all my own speculation – I’ve not read any particular reports or background.

  338. Graham H says:

    @WW – On past evidence (Victoria Line esp – see the map circulated by ngh), I would expect the main losers/gainers to be those living/wanting to live in nice flat fronted houses of the “third and fourth sort” – so for CrossRail, perhaps, Whitechapel, Woolwich (already happening), but not Stratford or places further east. Must have a riffle through the relevant Survey of London volumes. After the London Building Acts properties will come the early Victorian properties, and then ?

  339. Chris says:

    @Timbeau – that’s a little unfair regarding SWT and the 456 fleet, they are still in the process of training crew and unless something has changed they do plan to intially use some in their current condition while they finish the refurbs.

  340. timbeau says:

    Are the controls of a 456 so very different from a 455 then? And even if they are, there are ways round this if SWT wanted to – run a 456 between two 455s: or train the SWT crews whilst the units were still in service on Southern (with the Southern driver still on board for route knowledge, of course).

  341. Paul says:

    timbeau @ 6 March 2014

    458/0 + 458/5 is not possible, as part of the update changes the coupling to the Dellner/Scharfenberg design used generally on new EMUs. This is to allow a 458/5 to be rescued by a Desiro and vice versa, which has been reported as being tested in Wimbledon depot since delivery.

  342. Chris says:

    @Timbeau – There is more to operating a train safely than knowing which control does what, the differences between 456s and 455s are more than sufficient to justify a program of training for drivers and guards.

    As for training SWT staff while they were with Southern, I can’t think of a comparative example and it doesn’t really make sense when there will have be a period of familiarisation for guards (Southern operate them with DOO) and maintenance staff anyway.

    As for putting them in-between 455s, IIRC most of their initial use won’t be for 10-car trains but used in pairs to bolster the fleet of 4-car units and having units which can’t be driver is asking for trouble anyway.

  343. Taz says:

    “At peak time, the current plan is to run up to 16 services an hour to and from London and 12 services towards Shenfield in Essex” from Crossrail media release 24/3/14 about plans for Gidea Park station. So Gidea Park will be a terminating point for one train every quarter-hour in peaks. Not all those trains to and from London will use the new tunnels! Some will continue to reverse in the current terminus.

  344. Greg Tingey says:

    Currently, there are 7 [ Seven ] 08.00 – 09.00 arrivals @ Liverpool St departing Shenfield, PLUS another 7 from Gidea Park & one from Ilford.
    So, 15 inner-suburban arrivals over one pair of tracks in one hour, as opposed to the standard off-peak service of a train every 10 minutes, all-stations SNF – LST
    In other words, no significant change at all in the service pattern, except, of course for newer trains, with, presumably better acceleration & more standing room.

    The current peak pattern is that the SNF starters go all-stations to Ilford, Stratford, LST; & the GDP starters are mixed between all-stations, & going GDP all-stations to IFD, then SRA, LST.

  345. timbeau says:

    “In other words, no significant change at all in the service pattern, except, of course for newer trains,”
    …….and longer, I think? Although I recall the old LNER – design AM6s ran in nine car formations.

  346. CdBrux says:

    according to BBC London TV news ‘cedible sources’ say there will be an announcement tomorrow that Crossrail will be extended to Reading.

  347. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ CDBrux – given it was the TfL Board today which considered the mysterious “Crossrail Enhancements” paper then it is entirely plausible that a public announcement re Crossrail to Reading would follow. I assume the DfT have run their governance process slightly in advance of TfL to allow a co-ordinated announcement. The other aspect that “fits in” with all this is the DfT’s recent consultation launch about First Group being given another long term negotiated franchise term for Great Western. The intent is clearly to get all the Crossrail / electrification / Reading / IEP / whatever else upgrade work done with the existing franchisee and then a new competition when all the “risk” has been cleared out of the way. This, of course, assumes that all the new assets work as intended.

  348. Milton Clevedon says:


    If that is so tomorrow, coincidentally timed for the launch of Mayoral thoughts views on London infrastructure in 2050, it is not at all a remarkable coincidence there was a TfL Board meeting this morning at City Hall (preceded by a TfL Finance & Planning Committee meeting two weeks ago).

    Look at the references to Crossrail service enhancements which were on the TfL Board agenda – but only in detail in part 2 (not public).

    What was said in Part 1 public session this morning (Agenda Item 12), was that this was “A Sponsor change to enhance the Crossrail project”. Therefore subject to DfT concurrence (the other sponsor), there WILL be a change. The TfL Board approved the change during Part 1, without further discussion, whatever IT actually is…

  349. Milton Clevedon says:

    Current (ca. 20:50 Wednesday) media link:
    Within the coverage is an unwritten expectation that there will be fast Crossrail trains between Central London and Reading (otherwise you’ll still prefer to get an intercity between Reading and Paddington). I wouldn’t bet on that… However it will still be good for regional access along the Thames Valley.

  350. Snowy says:

    I think that’s a typo, a tunnel from Reading to Paddington is clearly wrong! Plus the WRatH plan isn’t supposed to be submitted until Sept 2015.

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