In the past we have resisted the temptation to write too much about the Bermondsey Diveunder as work had not really started in earnest and it was very hard to visualise what was planned. With demolition now well and truly underway it is time to rectify this and look at this absolutely vital part of the Thameslink Programme.


BDU annotated
Revised Legend

For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the area we start with an annotated picture taken fairly recently from the Network Rail helicopter looking roughly south east. The most easily identifiable landmark is The Den, home of Millwall Football Club. Just to the left of that and slightly further away in the top centre is the Combined Heat and Power plant where much of London’s rubbish gets burned. To the left of that is London Overground’s Silwood sidings. There appear to be a number of trains parked there but what is probably being seen is the concrete track base on which they are stabled.

Disappearing off the centre top is the the Brighton Main Line from London Bridge towards East Croydon. New Cross Gate is top centre. It cannot be made out, but the annotation of the bridge taking the London Overground over the Brighton Main Line is clearly marked. The line through South Bermondsey is to the right with South Bermondsey station present in the picture but extremely difficult to pick out at this scale.

The Cannon Street Lines are the leftmost tracks (marked in Southeastern purple) near the top of the picture. They separate at North Kent East Junction with route to the left going to Deptford and Greenwich and the route to the right going to New Cross. Like New Cross Gate, the location of the station can be identified by the annotation of the London Overground route.

The site of works on the diveunder itself can be seen alongside the Charing Cross (blue) line at the bottom of the picture. Not so obvious is the extent of it. It occupies roughly a third of the height of the picture.

Carto Metro is surprisingly up-to-date and it clearly shows the former and current track layout depicted on the photo. As always those who want a close up view can find a full set of photos by Unravelled in his Bermondsey Diveunder set.


We have said this all before but it is probably worth repeating. A major objective of the Thameslink Programme is to provide a service through the Thameslink central core to and from London Bridge. To do this two pieces of infrastructure are absolutely vital. One is the new viaduct at Borough Market, which provides for an additional two tracks at this otherwise critical pinchpoint. The other is a grade-separated crossing between New Cross/New Cross Gate and London Bridge station that enables trains from the South East to reach Charing Cross without conflicting with trains from the Brighton Line going to Blackfriars and beyond. This grade-separated structure has become known as the Bermondsey Diveunder.

It is of course also true that a lot of work needs to be done at London Bridge station as part of the Thameslink Programme, but the extent of the work involved here is partly due to a conscious decision to take advantage of the intended works and comprehensively redevelop the station at the same time. As the station, especially the notorious old platform 6, was becoming quite unfit for purpose, a rebuild of some kind would have probably happened whether the Thameslink Programme went ahead or not.

Although, in financial terms, the grade separation is a small part of the overall project, it is nevertheless a vital part of the grand plan. It is also probably the most disruptive element of the entire programme.

The problems at London Bridge at the start of the year are well known. Although the cause is generally accepted to be a combination of timetabling issues and and various other factors, especially signalling problems, the fundamental reason for the disruption and current restrictive service on the Brighton Main Line into London Bridge is the limited number of tracks now available between New Cross Gate and London Bridge. This in turn is caused by the need to take tracks out of service in order to build the necessary grade separation.

Making the grade (separation)

The scheme selected for the grade separation was certainly not the same as original proposed. Grade separation schemes are difficult to add to an existing railway and all the more so in urban areas where acquiring additional land can be fraught with problems. Particular issues in the Bermondsey area were that the railway was already on a high viaduct and the restricted amount of space available due to nearby industrial units. A factor that created many changes was the proposed reopening of the former railway between Surrey Quays and Queens Road Peckham – now a reality as part of London Overground. One major consequence of this was that this reopened railway determined the easternmost location at which Charing Cross bound trains from New Cross could start to descend to go underneath the Thameslink tracks.

Bermondsey DiveUnder

The classic Network Rail view of the Diveunder.

The reason for choosing the Charing Cross tracks as the ones that dived under was probably because it was the simplest option. There wouldn’t be any point work or junctions on a gradient – which is what you would have probably got if it were the Thameslink tracks that dived under. The Charing Cross tracks were also going to be much less complicated than those on the Brighton Line. They are just a simple pair of tracks going through New Cross and, in essence, in the future it will remain double track all the way to just short of London Bridge where each track will split into two tracks to serve an island platform. So the up line will split to serve platforms 8 and 9 at London Bridge and the down lines serving platforms 6 and 7 at London Bridge will converge just to the east of that station.

Existing and Proposed

Before and after looking towards the south-east – superficially not much difference

In simple terms, the scheme is one where the existing Charing Cross tracks dive under two tracks reallocated to the new dedicated Thameslink service. Most tracks would, in two dimensions, be in roughly the same location as before the scheme started. A slight realignment of the routes involved would enable the two critical routes (Thameslink and Charing Cross services) to switch over from one side to the other. It would be the vertical height that would be the significant change.

In the early days, when the scheme was proposed, much emphasis was made of the benefits of “reusing” a line to the former Bricklayers Arms Yard (BAY). In practice, as is so often the case with old disused structures, it actually made more sense to demolish what was there and rebuild it to modern standards whilst one had the chance. In any case it turned out that the rebuilt line to Bricklayers Arms was not really a vital component of the scheme in the final plan.

It’s getting there that is the hard bit

The considerable disadvantage of the plan to build the Bermondsey Diveunder was one could not dramatically alter track levels whilst they were still in use. Nor could one realistically build the massive concrete box which was the heart of the structure and continue to have trains running through a massive worksite. It was clear that the number of tracks available for trains was going to have to be considerably restricted whilst work was going on.

On the SouthEastern side the three tracks to and from Cannon Street have been temporarily reduced to two at the location of the future diveunder. There is now, as there will be in the future, just one up and one down Charing Cross track – not a problem provided things don’t go wrong.

There is more of a problem on the Brighton Line during construction as there is, for a short distance, just one up and one down line where there used to be two of each. At New Cross Gate and continuing all the way to Three Bridges there are two up and two down lines (or more) and fast and slow trains on these now have to share tracks just north of New Cross Gate station. The only small relief is that the 8tph London Overground service which uses the slow lines from the south has already diverted onto the East London Line before the two track section is reached.

Construction of the ramp

The first major sign of construction was the replacement of the descending brick viaduct of the former line that led to Bricklayers Arms freight depot with a modern concrete ramp. Although the original line to Bricklayers Arms was double track, the replacement ramp is only intended for a single track. Because this was a disused line, work commenced long before the main work was started and is already practically complete. However, despite being the first of four “diveunder” trackbeds to be completed, it will actually be the last of the four to be brought into operation.

Spur to Cannon St Lines

The ramp is practically complete as far as construction goes.

When trying to work out what is planned and where, the already constructed ramp is very useful because it gives us our first point of reference. This ramp will support the track that comes off the Charing Cross down line and proceeds to join the Cannon Street reversible line in the down direction in the New Cross area by crossing the Cannon Street up line on the flat. The picture below shows where the spur line will join the main route. At this location the track from the ramp (behind the photographer) will continue in the foreground to join the current right most track of the four shown. Although there will be a junction with a set of points here, the other route would not be in normal use as it branches off the Thameslink down line just prior to reaching the diveunder. Therefore any train using the ramp could expect a clear run and should not be halted on the ramp.

Spur joining main line

Where the spur ramp joins the main route. Looking eastwards towards New Cross.

One could reasonably ask what the point of a track joining the Charing Cross down line to the Cannon Street down line is. After all, a great deal of fuss was made about making all Greenwich services go to Cannon Street to avoid conflict yet here Network Rail seem to be unnecessarily introducing it. The answer can be found when considering those trains that will in future depart from Charing Cross to go to Lewisham platform 4 and onward to Blackheath. If they come up the ramp and continue to New Cross then they only have to cross the Cannon Street up line. However if they stay on the Charing Cross down line then they have to cross the Charing Cross up line to get on to the Tanners Hill flydown and then negotiate the complex junction just west of Lewisham station to get to platform 4 at Lewisham. This is particularly desirable when the train involved is a 12-car as a 12-car down train halted at the top of Tanners Hill flydown will foul the main line and effectively bring all Charing Cross services to a halt.

The diving Charing Cross Lines

Moving on to our second point of reference we now consider the Charing Cross up and down lines. The Charing Cross lines are the “fast” lines from Hither Green. The tracks from Tanners Hill flydown join these tracks just to the west of St Johns. As they approach the diveunder from the east, the 2D future location of the Charing Cross tracks is same as the southernmost two tracks before work started. At present, beyond New Cross towards London, the two remaining Charing Cross tracks are diverted to occupy adjacent lines. This means that the pair of tracks that will eventually use the diveunder are currently unused.

In construction terms, what has now happened is that the approach from New Cross to the diveunder used by the future Charing Cross tracks has had the top of the viaduct demolished. The structural base of the arches formerly supporting the viaduct have only been cut down to a suitable height for re-use. Because of the unusual properties of cement these bases are probably now even stronger than when they were built and there is no point in completely demolishing a sound structure that can be reused.

The photo below, taken by ngh, shows the stepping down of the base structures of the original foundations of the viaduct when looking towards New Cross.

ngh view of CX lines from ramp

The Charing Cross lines that will eventually drop down to go under the Thameslink ones. Looking South East with the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant in the background.

The following picture, taken by Unravelled from the other direction, also shows how the height of the walls of the former arches are gradually being reduced in preparation for rebuilding the Charing Cross Lines. Note the proximity of the previously described ramp. These will be side-by-side once they reach the diveunder itself.

Charing Cross Lines looking the other way

Charing Cross lines looking towards London Bridge from the path by the East London Line

This pair of Charing Cross tracks will emerge from the western end of the diveunder to line up with the former Charing Cross up line and the former Charing Cross up platform loop. These former up lines will then become a continuation of the two-track Charing Cross up and down lines.

Last but not least

We have now identified three of the four tracks that will be “downstairs” in the diveunder. The final one to the left (south) of the Charing Cross pair of tracks simply takes trains from London Bridge terminating platforms to the slow down line at New Cross Gate and utilises the diveunder to do this by going underneath the Thameslink tracks (which effectively become the fast lines to East Croydon). The trackbed for this line should be ready by summer 2016 in order to allow six months for track and signalling to be installed and tested. In January 2017 this should then become the first section of grade separated track to be brought into use and finally provide some much needed relief for the lines out of London Bridge low level platforms. By then there will at last be three tracks all the way from London Bridge to New Cross Gate whereas currently there are only two just north of New Cross Gate.

January 2017 with extra line in use

The Brighton Line tracks as they are planned to be at January 2017

The Thameslink Line from the south

Next we need to look at the Thameslink Line to and from New Cross Gate. These will be the centre two tracks at New Cross Gate (ignoring the easternmost track which is London Overground only). Now, as stated before, everything will be roughly on the same alignment as previously. Although the Thameslink Line will be on almost the same alignment as previous tracks (not called Thameslink then), it is going to have to approach the top of the diveunder from a slightly different angle to cross it obliquely and come out aligned to the new Thameslink tracks. These will replace the former lines 4 and 5 out of London Bridge – both lines having previously been down Charing Cross lines.

Bolina Bridge being demolished

Bolina Bridge being demolished

Because the Thameslink Line from New Cross Gate needs to approach the diveunder construction at a slightly different angle, the entire embankment needs to be shifted. Given the current state of knowledge about constructing embankments and that known at the time of construction, it makes sense to demolish and rebuild the entire embankment whilst one has the opportunity. Hardcore is being crushed and reused on site to avoid unnecessary transhipment of spoil. Demolition started at the beginning of June 2015 and has been remarkably rapid. This demolition has included the bridge over Bolina Road which will also be rebuilt. Bolina Road is currently closed but will be reinstated at the end of the works.

Recycling Viaduct

Recycling a viaduct for reuse

Once beyond the concrete structure housing the diveunder, these two Thameslink tracks will continue to a new island platform at London Bridge with the north face being platform 4 and serving the Thameslink down line, and the south face being platform 5 and serving the Thameslink up line.

Clearing Rotherhithe New Road

It was previously stated that the Charing Cross tracks approaching the diveunder from the south east could not start to dive until they had cleared the East London Line. To the west of the diveunder there is a further complication in that they have to regain existing rail height prior to reaching Rotherhithe New Road. In fact it is worse than that because you really want to regain height a few arches prior to the road to ensure equal forces on the bridge abutments on either side. In this particular case there is an added complexity in that the final three arches are the location of the historical former Southwark Park station which has been described in detail by IanVisits.

Work so far

The work at the site has been going on for a long time but was limited in scope until tracks started being taken out of use. Even then work that could be carried out was limited. On the SouthEastern side it was not the adjacent tracks (5 and 6) to the site that were initially taken out of use but lines 3 and 4. Lines 3 and 4 were then relaid and resignalled for future temporary use. Only then could lines 5 and 6 be removed and 3 and 4 brought back into service. This resignalling of lines 3 and 4 was made more complicated because trains are now running along them in the opposite direction to the way they were used to be before. As a further twist the signalling system was fooled into thinking that the the current (temporary) lines were actually 5 and 6 which meant that they were correctly recognised as the Charing Cross Up and Down lines.


Site of diveunder looking east towards New Cross

Whilst for a long time not much going on was visible and demolition only starting in earnest at the start of June, work was being carried out including constructing the concrete side walls adjacent to the diveunder box. This may not be a major construction task but it is an essential prerequisite to avoid a sheer drop from the existing trackbed once the site for the diveunder is cleared.

Wall of Diveunder box

Wall of diveunder box. Some of it is below tracked level

Since June demolition has commenced and proceeded at a rapid pace. The start of piling and construction of the diveunder box itself is imminent and will continue for the next year. By then the first trackbed using the diveunder to be brought into use will be ready – that of the down slow on the Brighton side from the London Bridge terminating platforms which uses the diveunder to emerge on the correct side of the future Thameslink Line. There are six months in the programme for tracklaying, signalling and testing. That line should open at the start of January 2017 and be the first significant bit of infrastructure to come into use since the current timetable restrictions were introduced. As Thameslink will continue to be diverted at that time its full benefit will not be realised, but it will mean a minimum of three tracks available all the way from London Bridge terminating platforms to New Cross Gate.

Later in 2017 the Charing Cross tracks will be diverted to their new permanent route using the diveunder. This then effectively frees the rest of the Southeastern part of the site for work to install the final layout on the Southeastern side during 2018. At the same time work will be continuing to get ready for use the new Thameslink route via London Bridge which will have its own dedicated tracks.


The start of 2018 will be notable as Thameslink services will be reinstated via London Bridge courtesy of the Bermondsey Diveunder. What is more, there will no longer be peak hour restrictions due to the elimination of the need to share platforms and tracks with Charing Cross trains. This will not be the end of the project. During 2018 the service through the centre of Thameslink will be increased in stages to provide the 24tph through the core by the time of the annual timetable change in December.

Track Layout

Track layouts before and after

Will it be worth it?

In a sense the question “will it be worth it?” is irrelevant, because it is going to happen and we are well beyond the point of no return. In one sense the Bermondsey Diveunder won’t achieve much on completion because the number of trains going to London Bridge is scarcely altered. In another sense it is a lot of gain for a relatively little pain because the number of trains going from London Bridge to Blackfriars, Farringdon and St Pancras in peak hours increase from 1 to 16. It is true fewer will go via Elephant & Castle but via London Bridge is where the demand is anyway. In financial terms it is a bargain given how much would have had needed to be spent anyway on this heavily used and fairly worn out part of our national railway. In time the benefits, which will be around for many years to come, will eclipse the three years of reduced and less reliable services and people will wonder why this wasn’t done sooner – but that is another story.

Dog need a drink

Scene outside Bermondsey Diveunder worksite entrance. Nothing to do with the Dog End at the nearby Den.

Our thanks for our hosts at Network Rail for making a site visit possible. Also ngh for the annotated photo and other helpful support.

jump to the end
There are 925 comments on this article
  1. Edgepedia says:

    Thanks! Some possible typos:

    “whom want a close up can find a fell set of photos” -> surely “who want a close up can find a full set of photos”?

    “Its getting there that is the hard bit” -> “It’s getting there that is the hard bit”

    ” and proceeds to joined the Cannon Street reversible ” -> “and proceeds to join the Cannon Street reversible ”

    [Fixed, thanks. LBM]

  2. Walthamstow Writer says:

    One small typo – “relayed” should be “relaid” in the “Work so far” section.
    [Thanks. Homophones always catch me out PoP]

    Thanks for the article. Despite having looked at umpteen drawings and photos I have struggled to get my head round this part of the Thameslink works. I think I now understand what is being done and why and in what sequence so the article is a definite success on that score.

    I know the decision has been taken not to run Kent lines into Thameslink services but am I right in thinking the final layout allows trains to run between Charing Cross and Thameslink routes?

    [Yes. We specifically asked this question. PoP]

  3. Steven Taylor says:

    Brilliant article. Thanks.

    Just a couple of corrections. On Overview I am reasonable certain that a former railway line is shown that never existed. This is by the Surrey Canal Road symbol. The line is between the reopened London Overground formation and the Queens Road South Bermondsey line.

    A bit pedantic. But the spur to New Cross Gate commenced immediately South of Surrey Canal Road, and not north. Although I appreciate this is about the Bermondsey Diveunder.

  4. Pedantic of Charlton says:

    In the first section, the link to Unravelled’s photos doesn’t work: you’ve got <a ref… in the source code, where it should be <a href…

    [Fixed that as well. Clearly an off-day PoP]

  5. ngh says:

    Re Steven Taylor,

    The SLL overground reopened on a slightly different alignment as housing had been built on the original alignment by the possible Surrey Canal Road station hence the original alignment in yellow.
    (There wouldn’t have been space for the original Den with the current alignment)

  6. Steven Taylor,

    Well looking at Greg’s favourite diagram (this one) it does seem to have existed – or have I misunderstood?

  7. Steven Taylor says:

    The line marked `70` chains` is the Overground line. Basically next to the South Bermondsey Queens Road Peckham line on the map.
    If you look at the Clearing House map, from Old Kent Road junction there are 4 ultimate routes. The Overview is showing 5.
    I am sorry but I disagree. I walked the line many times in the 80s, 90s, up to 2011. The footbridge over Surrey Canal Road was on the footings of the original 1869 built (but opened 1871 owing to Ministry refusal to authorise opening). These same footings were going to be restored in one rebuilding scenario for the new line. They even increased the gradient to 1 in 30, to obviate moving utilities – it is the same route.

    If you go to NLS maps, there are large scale maps for 1892 is and 1940.

  8. Steven Taylor says:

    This link from London connections shows the old route, which was followed by the footpath I mentioned, with no instructions.

  9. Greg Tingey says:

    The Charing Cross lines are the “fast” lines from Hither Green.
    Well, not as slow as the others.
    “Fast” is NOT a word that should be used in conjuction with any of these services, actually.
    [Subject for another day snipped. LBM]

  10. flierfy says:

    Does anyone knows anything about the gradients and the loading gauge, that were applied to this short new ‘under-diving’ section?

  11. Anomnibus says:

    [From the Dept. of Too Much Information.]

    @Greg Tingey:

    It really is a “fast” line. Speed is relative.

    In fairness, the South Eastern Main Line between St. Johns and Tunbridge* was a cut-off of the original tortuous route via Redhill, so it was inherently a lot faster just by dint of its very existence. At the time of construction, the line had no connection whatsoever with Lewisham; St. Johns was opened as an interchange station and originally had three island platforms. The link allowing trains from Lewisham’s Mid-Kent platforms to access the route via Hither Green wasn’t built until the 1920s, along with the link to Nunhead. Prior to that, those platforms only served trains via Catford Bridge. Unlike Croydon, Lewisham’s rise as an interchange hub is entirely a 20th century innovation.

    With water surrounding the county of Kent on three sides, the SER had no illusions of running record-breaking express services like their northern and western peers. Freight and network coverage were their primary concern. Speed was not. The maximum line speed on the SER’s network wasn’t raised to 75 mph. until the very early 1900s, by which time, the SER had merged with the LC&DR.

    *(the modern spelling of “Tonbridge” appeared in the 1870s, a decade after the cut-off line was opened.)

    [From the department of That’s Enough Digression]

    Before we get carried away into any more Kent Rail History, can we please restrict further comments to the Bermondsey Diveunder. Malcolm

  12. Anomnibus says:


    It’ll be the same gauge as that used for Crossrail, and any other new railway infrastructure. I.e. it’ll allow space for overhead electrification should that be desirable at some point in the (probably distant) future.

    In theory, you could even run continental-style double-decker trains through it, but they’d have a devil of a time getting under some of the bridges further south and east without having their tops peeled off like a banana.

  13. Ed says:

    Thanks for this. Great article – the whole thing is a bit clearer now.

    One thing that isn’t clear is what direct benefits SE passengers gain? Am I right that Cannon Street will be able to take less trains per hour in the peak (about 1 or 2) and Charing Cross has 2 or 3 less slots in the peak? Surely that means cuts in services?

    In past years there was mention of Dartford having a couple of trains per hour via Blackfriars but that’s long gone. Then more longer distance Kent routes but again there now seems no change from current services in future plans.

    So does SE London and Kent lose out, directly at least? Indirectly of course there are many more trains to change onto at London Bridge, but if there’s less SE trains going to London Bridge, heading to the other terminals in the first place, that will cause problems in coming years and decades.

    Or will some CHX or CST trains be diverted to Blackfriars making up for the loss?

  14. timbeau says:

    Although the biggest benefit will be to Thameslink, and there will be some loss of through journeys (particularly for Greenwich-line passengers, who will have no trains to CX), I don’t see why there should be any reduction in the total number of services to either CS or CX on the South Eastern. SE capacity should indeed benefit from a reduction of conflicts with TL services, and in particular the provision of separate platforms for TL and CX services (a total of six 4 and 5 for TL, 6-9 for CX), instead of the present three (4-6) shared between both services.

  15. Malcolm says:

    @Ed says “.. there are many more trains to change onto [from SE trains] at London Bridge”

    Yes, but via a somewhat criticised arrangement of shiny new stairs, lifts, passages, concourses and whatnot, rather than the simple excitement of staying (at least sometimes) on the same platform and getting on the next train.

  16. Briantist (post-operative...) says:

    Thanks for the article PoP: the closest to successfilly explaining how to untangle a ball of wool I can imagine!

    Question about the last diagram:

    On the upper before section, where is the leftmost pink line going?

  17. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Ed, timbeau,

    In the short term there is expected to be some slight loss of capacity to Cannon Street in the morning peak. The evening peak is not an issue because (unusually) SouthEastern makes no attempt to run the same frequency. It has a 22 minute cycle in the evening peak which runs the same number of trains as a 20 minute cycle in the morning peak.

    The potential loss of capacity at Cannon St in the morning peak is because it will be impractical to get the empties back to the depot (or anywhere that will have them) via the “Met” curve – the third side of the Borough Market triangle.

    It is quite possible that in future the capacity to Cannon St, if reduced, will be reinstated to pre-Thameslink Programme levels or even enhanced. The current best hope is that ERTMS will provide the desired boost in capacity.

    On the Charing Cross side the capacity is expected to go down very slightly from 29 to 28tph but, as I understand it, this is not due to Thameslink but either to introduce more robustness or to take into account the expected extra length of some of the trains which means they take longer to clear junctions.

    So, to eventually get to answer Ed’s question, in a sense SouthEastern passengers do not directly benefit but they do get a better London Bridge station and a chance to change there to Thameslink. You have to also bear in mind that the situation at platform 6, as was, was really becoming untenable so SouthEastern passengers on the Charing Cross side should greatly benefit as far as timekeeping and reliability goes.

    As far as capacity into London Bridge goes, the Thameslink Programme really does not do anything for Southeastern passengers and they are possibly marginally worse off. In a sense there is no jam tomorrow.

    It is not much better for Southern passenger as far as capacity into London Bridge goes on completion of the Thameslink Programme as a result of the programme. There will be longer trains but that didn’t need the Thameslink Programme to provide that. However they at least do benefit from trains going beyond London Bridge. Furthermore the potential for further capacity improvements will then exist whereas there was no real potential before the start of the programme.

    Also bear in mind the whole area needed resignalling and an awful lot of track replacement so a lot of the work would have been necessary anyway.

  18. Briantist,

    I suspect the diagram is not 100% accurate in the Blackfriars area in the “before” scenario.

    That leftmost pink line goes to the current siding just short of Blackfriars station. That is where the Cannon St empties go to in the morning before dispersing elsewhere via Elephant & Castle. The process is currently done in reverse in the evening but that is through convenience rather than necessity.

    Once the dedicated Thameslink Lines are in place sending the Cannon Street empties to Blackfriars siding will no longer happen. Apart from wanting to keep the Thameslink tracks clear of other trains, the siding will disappear in order to be incorporated into the Thameslink Route. Note there are three green tracks just south of Blackfriars in the “after” diagram. One reason for the change in layout just south of Blackfriars is to ensure that a train that leaves Blackfriars southbound but is delayed crossing the up line (due in part to the daft scenario of running the Wimbledon Loop trains through the Thameslink core) does not block a following southbound train heading for London Bridge.

  19. Greg Tingey says:

    If I may be permitted … getting to Broadstairs, the same distance from a London Terminus as Peterborough, takes 100 minutes, as opposed to well under 60 – and that is using the so-called “high-speed” service.
    The relevance of this to the current discussion is the (political) perception of railways as transport, both in Kent & in SE London, & the equal perception that the whole of the railways of Britain are like that.

    Also bear in mind the whole area needed resignalling
    Not least because (repeat) the 1970’s box outside LBG was (is) tending to fall off the viaduct into the road below ….

    [We haven’t even got to 20 comments and the usual suspects have already derailed comments to regurgitate their well-worn favourite themes that seem to appear in countless threads. Can we have some semblance of sticking to the topic in hand – otherwise the deletions will be merciless. PoP]

  20. Lost in Middlesex says:

    Thanks you for another great article. I made one of my rare excursions to South East London last week, and wondered what was going on East of London Bridge. Now I know!

  21. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – am I correct in recalling that post 2018 there may well be a need for a further series of improvement works on the South Eastern lines east of Bermondsey? IIRC there was a past reference to the tracks, bridges and signalling all being somewhat “tired” and needing a programme of investment to get them to the required modern asset standard. I know nothing is committed yet because of the general swirl of uncertainty enveloping NR’s plans.

  22. Purley Dweller says:

    I came past on Saturday for the first time in a few weeks and I was struck by how much more obvious the work was. The Charing Cross dive under is really becoming obvious now. I was wondering why the embankment had disappeared and the change in alignment makes sense. I hadn’t really appreciated that from the past maps and diagrams.

  23. timbeau says:

    No comparison
    Peterborough has a population of 184,000 and is on the way to lots of other places. Broadstairs has a population of 24,000 and is on the way to nowhere.

    The Bermondsey Diveunder, and indeed the whole complex network in the area, is the result of the London & Greenwich persuading several larger companies to use its route into central London, thereby making use of what was, to begin with, an underutilised resource. The original London & Croydon station was built to the north of the L&G’s. As demand built up, and traffic conflicts increased, the need to avoid conflicts led to a pragmatic decision for the companies to swap stations.
    The need for the diveunder itself (to get back on topic) was because of a more recent (1980s) attempt to maximise use of an underused asset (the Thameslink core), which again has now come back to bite the railways as usage has increased to the point where the crossing movements were a nuisance. The diveunder will, effectively, allow some Croydon line services and some South Eastern services to swap back again, with trains to Charing Cross passing (roughly) through the site of the old L&G terminus and trains from Croydon (towards Blackfriars) (again roughly) through the site of the L&C terminus. (The station has been extended further north and south since the 1860s, and Southern terminating services and SER Cannon Street services will continue to use these parts).
    Liverpool Street is another example of two main lines sharing a terminus and having competing claims to the approaches – although in this case the two companies (the N&E and the ECR) merged 150 years ago, the legacy remains in the oft-rehearsed claims of the rival factions for any extra capacity on Bethnal Green bank.
    The large number of flying junctions on the SWML and, to a lesser extent, the BML, are also the result of the multi-tentacled nature of these routes.

    In the north and west, the huge fanning out of lines close to the termini simply doesn’t happen. Long-distance demand on each line necessitated each company having its own dedicated terminus – if not from opening, then very soon after. Nearly all surviving branches have been handed over to London Transport (e.g High Barnet), reduced to shuttles (e.g the Abbey Flyer, Windsor Central) or closed altogether (LNWR to Stanmore, GWR to Staines and Uxbridge).
    Thus, quite small towns in Kent, such as Broadstairs, have frequent direct (but not very fast) train services to Charing Cross (and St Pancras HS, and Victoria…….).
    Conversely, as all trains from Kings Cross go through Peterborough (or Cambridge), those cities get a frequent, direct AND fast service to London. But if you’re not on the main line, you’re lucky to get a train service at all (vide St Ives, Devizes, Brackley). And the relative simplicity of the northern routes also explains why nothing as complex as the diveunder has been needed north of the Thames. Indeed, in order to balance the service, the planners have had to be quite selective about what goes through the core from the south (Wimbledon!), whilst the suburban operations of two quite separate main lines (GN and MML) have had to be combined in the north!

    [I will let this comment stay as for the most part it is on topic and relevant PoP]

  24. Sykobee says:

    Watching the demolition work has been one of the few saving graces of being stuck on the train into/out of London Bridge (aka “Southern stopping for you all to admire Millwall’s stadium”) recently.

    The rate has been astonishing.

    I was wondering why they had left the stumps on that viaduct – good to know it’s being reused, as is the demolished material (those are some big rubble crushers).

    I wonder how many new breweries will open up in these new arches, once the site is cleaned up and made accessible…

  25. ngh says:

    Re Pedantic of Purley 2 August 2015 at 23:50 et al.

    A reminder of several other big benefits for SE passengers at London Bridge:

    AM peak goes from 18tph pre works to 28tph post works Charing Cross services stopping at London Bridge. Thus removing the need to go for a Cannon Street service rather than a Charing Cross service on some routes if you you wanted to get off at LBG.

    Dwell time for Charing Cross Services can be much longer without effecting running to time.

    Journey times and delays should be much reduced as there will be much less stop-crawl-stop-crawl etc on the approaches. Already noticeable post January on Charing Cross services.

    Frequent peak services to the western edge of the City which is quite a trek on foot or many changes slow on public transport at the moment.

  26. John B says:

    To play Devil’s advocate, what if the Southeastern Mainline services were sent through the Snow Hill tunnel, and all trains through New Cross Gate either terminated at London Bridge or Charing Cross. You’d still need the Borough viaduct and London Bridge rebuild, but no diveunder. Brighton-Bedford could still occur through Elephant and Castle, London Bridge-Brighton could change at Croydon, but you gain lots of Bedford-Dover routes, which would be very beneficial for freight during the night

  27. John B,

    You could probably do some of what you suggest but imagine the outcry. Who would benefit? You would have lots of people who would lose out and have their lives disrupted permanently and be very vocal about it. South Eastern passengers would lose their direct trains to the West End whereas Southern passengers already have Victoria as an alternative so would gain less with a new (or reinstated) service to Charing Cross.

    What would be the point? The Bermondsey Diveunder costs about £100 million. A lot of money but not in relation to a £6.5 billion scheme. It only amounts to the cost of around 6 trains. It is true there is a lot of disruption but that won’t last forever. The worst should be over by January 2017 when they get that vital extra track in operation.

    To answer the last point, I am pretty sure freight is banned through the Thameslink core. Remember that passenger trains run all night – or practically all night. Kind of ironic since the line was built for freight but there you go.

  28. ngh says:

    Re flierfy 2 August 2015 at 21:40

    “Does anyone knows anything about the gradients and the loading gauge, that were applied to this short new ‘under-diving’ section?”

    Gradient max 1:30 (so not as bad as City Thameslink) with no junctions immediately adjacent that will normally see significant use there shouldn’t be much need to stop in the vicinity so it shouldn’t be an issue.

    Loading gauge: GB+ or GC with plenty of room for overhead electrification which is the standard approach for new structures.

  29. timbeau says:

    @John B
    Possibly, although Croydon – Blackfriars via Tulse Hill is veeery slow, as current users are finding and you might find grade separation elsewhere, such as Herne Hill, would have been needed. (Remember that “Thameslink 2000” was initiated in 1991, when it was envisaged that Eurostar, then itself still three years in the future, would be passing through HH several time an hour).

    I’m not really sure the Thameslink core is suitable for heavy freight any more – the gradients, particularly southbound up to Blackfriars, are even fiercer than they were when freight last used the tunnels.

  30. ngh says:

    Re John B,

    Good luck getting a container train trough the core, the tunnels will end up squarer and the containers more rounded…

    The gradients are also now more severe around the City Thameslink / Holborn Viaduct area than when it was last used for freight.

    The Diveunder will also help sort out swapping from the paired by direction to paired by use issue on the Sussex Lines (in the same way the Wimbledon flyover does on the SWML) which always cause lots of issues on the approaches (and reduction of capacity) at London Bridge –this is the key bit that is always forgotten about the dive under.
    Doing what you suggest would still require a single track flyover or diveunder to sort this issue for the Down Sussex Slow to make it work properly.

  31. ngh says:

    Re PoP

    The reason for choosing the Charing Cross tracks as the ones that dived under was probably because it was the simplest option.

    And for construction purposes:
    Least disruptive

    A useful combination

  32. timbeau says:

    “The SLL overground reopened on a slightly different alignment as housing had been built on the original alignment by the possible Surrey Canal Road station hence the original alignment in yellow.”
    Not according to all the old maps I can find – use the “transparency” slider to compare 1913 with 2013

    “costs about £100 million. ……………It is true there is a lot of disruption”

    BCR for road schemes includes the cost of disruption to road users whilst the work is going on (when typically things get worse before they get better) Not sure the disruption to rail users has been costed in the same way. Perhaps it would be if the passengers were given cheaper fares for the duration, instead of being told that fare increases are necessary to pay for these improvements up front – surely it should be the future passengers who should pay? Only in a captive market can you get customers of your existing substandard product to pay your investment costs for the new shiny improved version.

  33. DJL says:

    What is the reason for demolishing (and changing height of) the existing chx tracks rather than widening the (formerly) disused line to Brick Layers Arms and having this pass under the existing chx lines to rise up the other side (in pretty much the same place the new chx tracks will rise up anyway)?

  34. lrloiterer says:

    “The number of trains parked there and the presence of only a solitary train elsewhere suggests this was taken very early in the morning.”

    A minor point, but judging by the length of the shadows, I would guess that this photograph was taken close to noon.

  35. Stuart says:

    There is a good 1874/75 map here of the original rail alignments, which is consistent with the much referred-to railway map.

  36. timbeau says:

    “judging by the length of the shadows, I would guess that this photograph was taken close to noon.”
    It is unusual for shadows to point NW at noon. I would estimate the time as about 9am GMT, or 8am BST – and given the number of trains visible, probably a Sunday.

    “What is the reason for demolishing (and changing height of) the existing chx tracks rather than widening the (formerly) disused line to Brick Layers Arms and having this pass under the existing chx lines to rise up the other side ”

    For the reason given in the article:
    “In the early days, when the scheme was proposed, much emphasis was made of the benefits of “reusing” a line to the former Bricklayers Arms Yard (BAY). In practice, as is so often the case with old disused structures, it actually made more sense to demolish what was there and rebuild it to modern standards whilst one had the chance. ”

    So the “footprint” of the old ramp has been used, minimising land take, but a new structure has replaced the one built in 1843, and disused (and therefore not maintained) since 1981. Can you imagine the disruption that would be caused if, shortly after it came into use in 2018, the diveunder had to be closed again because the intensive pounding of nearly a train every minute (28tph each way) revealed undiscovered structural weaknesses in the 175 year old structure?

  37. Southern Heights says:

    @ngh: I’m glad to hear it’s GC grade, I assume it is the same for CrossRail? I believe GC gauge is double decker capable as well as allowing for High Cubes on standard mainland* container wagons?

    * The definition of “mainland” may vary for some readers…

  38. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    I’ll redo the illustrated photo but the old ELL embankment was demolished and rebuilt further away from the newer replacement housing in Lovelinch Close (just not as much as shown on the picture). This was covered in extensive detail on the excellent contractor’s website for the ELLX project which has now unfortunately disappeared.

    They ran into some issues when trying to build the new embankment alignment further into Bridgehouse Meadows (and away from the housing) as they discovered that the old speedway/dog track “New Cross stadium” built on the site hadn’t been “properly” demolished and there wasn’t much soil covering the buried asbestos from the former stadium under the Meadows.

  39. ngh says:

    Re DJL and Timbeau,

    There is a possible follow up article in the offing which will potentially cover a lot of the engineering aspects in more detail…

    The Charing Cross “fast” line viaduct where the piers that are getting (partially) reused came into service in 1902 compared with the 1830s and 1840s vintage viaduct that see far less reuse or modification. This also separately links into why the TL tracks go over the top, history is very important in the choices made.

  40. DJL says:

    @timbeau, perhaps I wasn’t clear what I meant.
    I was suggesting that the formerly disused line could have been widened slightly (maybe after demolishing and rebuilding, maybe not – either way not relevant to the question).

    From the pictures in the article it looks as though the bridge carrying the chx lines over the bay branch is wide enough to take the 2 tracks required by the dive-under and there is certainly sufficient land between the 2 viaducts.
    Once the new tracks had been built the old chx viaduct could have been demolished and (some of) the land released.

    With this approach the chx viaduct could have remained in use during construction of the chx low-level tracks thus reducing disruption to SouthEastern services.

    I must be missing something though?

  41. ngh says:

    Re DJL,

    Lots – it would have to have been 3 tracks wide and would have caused a lot more issues as the viaduct isn’t wide enough going over Surrey Canal (Road) or the New Cross ELL branch…

  42. Pedantic of Purley says:


    To amplify ngh’s comments …

    If you want to do what I think you want to do you would only have four tracks at the top of the ramp as that is all you have space for – and it is what is there currently. That would mean you would no longer have three Cannon St tracks all the way from New Cross (inclusive) to London Bridge (inclusive). It would mean that at North Kent East junction the main line would only be two track which would lead to permanent loss of flexibility. This is what happens now but it is only temporary and normal service will be restored in 2018. So loss of flexibility (and probably capacity).

    On the Charing Cross side you would no longer have an independent line available for trains to transfer from the Charing Cross down to Cannon St down. As explained in article, this would force all trains departing from Charing Cross to the Blackheath Line to go via Tanners Hill flydown which would lead to more conflicting movements. What I forgot to mention in the article (now rectified!) is that this is particularly important if you have 12-car train as in the down direction a 12-car train held at the top of the Tanners Hill flydown would foul the Charing Cross line to and from Hither Green.

  43. timbeau says:

    “plenty of room for overhead electrification which is the standard approach for new structures”
    I would be interested to know when this standard was established. e.g would a new overbridge built in 1965 (for example carrying a motorway over a non-electrified railway) be expected to comply? What about 1935?

  44. timbeau,

    Regarding day and time of photo, that would then suggest a Sunday with Network Rail engineering works on the London Overground route in order to explain why so many trains were at Silwood sidings.

  45. Ed says:

    Thanks for the replies regarding the effects on Southeastern. I had forgotten about more trains stopping at London bridge, as I mainly use the metro routes or semi-fasts to Medway, which all tended to stop there anyway. I guess long distance routes benefit more from that change, which is not where all the growth is occurring.

    Any cut in capacity for Metro and Medway routes will then be compensated by more 12-car trains I presume (whenever that happens) and a hope Crossrail will take up the slack, and possibly HS1 for those in the outer Medway area.

  46. timbeau says:

    Unless I am seeing ghosts, there are actually two trains visible, (other than the ones in Silwood sidings) – one just to the left of the sidings, on the New Cross/NXG branch near the junction with the Peckham line, and the other on the Brighton line where it passes over the Overground route towards Peckham.

  47. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    I should have added the word “current” standard…
    I think the magic number is 5.7m above rail height which is also another reason why the New Cross Bricklayers Arms viaduct (1849*) wasn’t reused as it was to low to clear the ELL Clapham branch at the right height so would have need raising up.

    *the 1843/4 Bricklayers branch reference in one of the comments above is the date of the New Cross Gate Bricklayers Branch (next to the New Den as that is how the SER got to Kent via Croydon etc till they made peace with the London and Greenwich Railway a little later.

  48. timbeau,

    I never spotted that train on the East London Line. Text duly corrected!

  49. APB says:

    Freight would certainly never be permitted over the core through the Snow Hill tunnel so the diveunder has certainly been designed for purely passenger traffic : leave aside clearances through the Victorian tunnels on the Widened Lines you have the issue of two different electrification systems , steep gradients and HSE would have something to say about train crews being subjected to diesel exhaust in confined spaces. Incidentally , Crossrail, with modern 25Kv electrification , modern clearances, etc, etc, is not going to permit freight through their tunnels either, only on the surface sections.

  50. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    “What I forgot to mention in the article (now rectified!) is that this is particularly important if you have 12-car train as in the down direction a 12-car train held at the top of the Tanners Hill flydown would foul the Charing Cross line to and from Hither Green.”

    And that train (or even a shorter one) will probably have been crawling to a slow halt if approaching the red so the time blocking the junction will be even longer. One of the key philosophies of the diveunder and London Bridge has been that where possible junctions should be negotiated at speed to maximise capacity and this is reflect back on the track layout, signalling and structures if possible.
    In this case 4 normal length signalling sections vs a very short one on the Tanner Hill flydown which make it much easier to regulate down services to Blackheath or ECS to Grove Park etc.

  51. APB,

    Incidentally , Crossrail, with modern 25Kv electrification , modern clearances, etc, etc, is not going to permit freight through their tunnels either, only on the surface sections.

    Using the Crossrail tunnels for freight would basically be madness. It would also be incompatible with step-free access from platform to train at the central London stations and mean the platform edge doors (PED) would have to be set back thus making them inherently dangerous with the possibility of people being trapped between PEDs and train.

    It is not a case of freight being permitted by Crossrail on the surface sections. They have no say in the matter. It is not their tracks (except to Abbey Wood) and the Office of Road and Rail is the final arbiter. I am sure Crossrail would love to ban freight from just east of Stratford where it uses the future Crossrail lines for a short distance to get to the North London Line from the London Gateway port.

  52. ngh says:

    Re PoP and Timbeau,

    The Photo – there are 0 trains in Silwood sidings – it is all concrete in the ultra high res version…
    The NR Helicopter usually seems to do Tuesday or Wednesday lunchtimes and the number of trains would be right for that especially as they have clear run.

  53. ngh,

    Hey ho. Another correction. I have also removed any speculation as to what time the picture was taken.

  54. Paul says:

    Getting back to the proposal above to have used the former Bricklayers Arms ramp, even if widened, and gauge cleared, the alignment of the skewed under-bridges is designed to aim the tracks towards Bricklayers Arms (unsurprisingly).

    So to get those 3 Charing Cross lines (and the Southern down line) back round onto the right direction you’d need either a gradually curved formation with probably more ground level demolition, or a complex rebuild of the skew bridges to provided a far more acute crossing angle – which would have presumably closed the route anyway.

  55. ngh says:

    Re Paul,

    You generally want to keep the curves as gentle as possible to get the 50-60mph line speed, gradient isn’t a big issue, curvature is so it would have needed both items you suggest. The light industrial park isn’t NR property and would have been needed so would have pushed up costs.

  56. Tim says:

    Recent planning application documents DC/14/89533 for the Quietway 1 Millwall link reveal a pretty exact version of the new track layout:

    Re Silwood sidings – I often see single trains pulling in & going out at various times of day, esp after the morning peak.

  57. timbeau says:

    “leave aside clearances through the Victorian tunnels on the Widened Lines you have the issue of two different electrification systems , ………and HSE would have something to say about train crews being subjected to diesel exhaust in confined spaces. ”

    Is there any reason in principle why a class 92 electric couldn’t work through? Or even a class 73, using diesel beyond Farringdon – after all, diesels (and steam!) probably have grandfather rights over the Widened Lines, although not through the present alignment of City Thameslink.

  58. Malcolm says:

    @timbeau: I suspect it depends on what you mean by a “reason in principle”. But it is clearly not going to happen as a regular occurrence. And anyway, we only got onto freight because of a suggestion about the possible influence of freight workings on possible radical alteration to Thameslink destinations. And such alterations are pretty certainly not going to happen anyway for many other reasons, some already touched on. Which indicates to me that we have already strayed much too far from Bermondsey.

  59. IanKR says:

    Ref your paragraph:
    “The answer can be found when considering those trains that will in future depart from Charing Cross to go to Lewisham platform 4 and onward to Blackheath. If they come up the ramp and continue to New Cross then they only have to cross the Cannon Street up line. However if they stay on the Charing Cross down line then they have to cross the Charing Cross up line to get on to the Tanners Hill flydown and then negotiate the complex junction just west of Lewisham station to get to platform 4 at Lewisham. This is particularly desirable when the train involved is a 12-car as a 12-car down train halted at the top of Tanners Hill flydown will foul the main line and effectively bring all Charing Cross services to a halt.”
    Are you saying that *all* down trains from CHX via Blackheath will use this “CST Down route” (for want of a better shorthand), as they mostly did before January this year, rather than use the Tanners Hill Flydown (as they all do since Jan)? Or is this just to provide route flexibility, particularly for longer trains that risk fouling the up line from Hither Green if they are held at the top of the THF, as PoP says?

  60. timbeau says:

    @Ian KR
    Probably for flexibility, but any trains booked to call at St Johns (and maybe New Cross*) would have to go that way. THF is of course the optimum route for any Hayes, Sidcup and Orpington services calling at Lewisham.

    Is there a similar facility for up Blackheath/CX trains?

  61. Ig says:

    Could anyone who understands these things better than me, explain to what extent the potential overall benefits of the Thameslink programme are wasted by what @PoP describes in his comment as: “…the daft scenario of running the Wimbledon Loop trains through the Thameslink core”, which relates to this earlier article:

  62. RayK says:

    Re ‘one of the main side walls for the diveunder box was being cast.’
    I am extremely sceptical of this statement. I would have expected such a wall to be visible in one or other of Unravelled’s photo’s. Instead all I see are arches which were previously hidden by recently demolished viaduct. The photograph appears to show the top edges of precast retaining segments. The perspective of the the photograph (Looking North East over trackbed ) suggests that these are the walls of the Northern ramp that will take the Thameslink lines up to the box.

  63. timbeau says:

    As I understand it, there are two problems. The first is that, as the terminal platforms at Blackfriars are now on the west side, fewer capacity-limiting crossing movements happen on the approaches if trains using the western pair of tracks through the Elephant go to and from those platforms and trains using the eastern pair go through the core. But because of the layout at Loughborough Junction, it is the Wimbledon trains which use the western pair and the Catford line trains which use the eastern pair. It is to resolve a similar conflict at London Bridge that the Bermondsey diveunder.
    The second problem is that the Wimbledon line is a loop. This means there is no capacity for layover time at a terminus: whatever “clockface” time you choose for a southbound dictates the time for the corresponding northbound service. So everything else has to be timed around that constraint (with the added complication of the single track section at Wimbledon) which will have knock-on effects all over southern England – and indeed beyond: a constraint through the Thameslink core will affect timings over the Welwyn viaduct, and thus the ECML Anglo-Scottish timetable!

  64. ngh says:

    Re Ian KR and Timbeau,

    via Tanners Hill Flydown or not – Around half CHX down Lewisham services will go each way obviously it make sense for the all the Blackheath services going to P4 at Lewisham but for the P2 services it depends on what other moves are taking place whether it works effectively or not.

    One of the main factors will be timing the move from track 5 (the one on the ramp) to line 1 platform B (or possibly line 2 platform C) at New Cross, the ideal point is at the same time as an Up Greenwich – Cannon Street service which means a parallel non-conflicting move at North Kent East Jn, this will be especially important if the service level to Cannon Street in the future were to increase again.

  65. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    It a parapet and spandrel wall (with saddle beam too in other places just not this spot) i.e. it goes down to the brick arch.
    Everything in front of it will be demolished (very shortly). The Diveunder boxes will be built in front of the wall where the traffic cones are.

    The walls are in-situ cast not pre cast.

    More detail in a follow up article when I get a bit of time…

  66. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau and IG

    To add to what Timbeau has said.
    It also potentially limits capacity (*and the ability to add extra services in some cases where there will/might be extra terminal capacity at some point) on other shared routes especially where there are conflicting moves for example:
    Victoria – Herne Hill & beyond (SE)*
    Victoria – Mitcham Jn (SN)
    London Bridge – Streatham and beyond – both routes (SN)*
    London Bridge – Wimbledon (SN)*
    Victoria – Lewisham (SE)*

    And potentially other routes where it indirectly effects the timing opportunities for example restoring the London Bridge – Palace – Norwood Jn – East Croydon service or optimising Victoria Southeastern capacity as it causes issues splitting the fast services between Herne Hill and Nunhead routes to optimise capacity.

    If the loop services run late it could delay 20-30 others easily so they are mostly likely to take the cancellation hit when things go wrong.

    Loop services are also 8 car this lead to 5 less 12car units and 5 more 8 car units being ordered and the number of TL services through London Bridge dropping from 18tph to 16tph in the peak so 8 cars less per hour through the core in each direction.

  67. timbeau says:


    Which of the four tracks through the diveunder is track 5? There will actually be three ramps – the one shown in the first picture for the crossing movement from the down CX to down CS, then the double track one for the CX main lines, and lastly, but the first to open, the diveunder for the down slow Forest Hill (New Cross Gate) line.

  68. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau

    oops should read Platform B (or possibly C)
    [Original comment amended. It is slightly confusing because it is line 1 but platform C and line 2 but platform B at New Cross PoP]

    Track 5 (aka Southwark Reversible?) – the most northerly one shown in the first picture that has already been constructed

  69. Mark Townend says:

    Great article and illustrations gents. Thanks for keeping us up all to date. Regarding freight compatibility of the Thameslink core, most goods traffic using both this route and the similarly challenging East London Line in the past were short haul inter-yard transfer trips using small locomotives. They were all very short and comparatively lightweight trains by modern standards.

  70. Briantist (post-operative...) says:

    Useful link to second part of Tanners Hill Flydown part II

    As there’s no link from part I.

  71. RayK says:

    Thanks ngh. I hadn’t considered the possibility of resting one side of the box on existing viaduct. It make sense as this will reduce the cost and the time needed. Are we really talking about two boxes with a shared central wall? It may help us to describe what’s happening as ‘North Box’ or ‘South Box’.

  72. Sykobee says:

    ngh: “Everything in front of it will be demolished (very shortly)”

    Mostly demolished now, judging from what I could see this morning.

  73. DJL says:

    I’m still slightly confused.
    Judging by Google satellite view (possibly not the most accurate source) there appears to be plenty of space for the disused ramp to have been widened to 3 or maybe even 4 tracks. There is limited space at the top of the ramp (after leveling off) but this is where the tracks would merge onto current alignments anyway.
    At the bottom it is only necessary to get 2 tracks through the gap during construction. The other tracks could be added later once the existing viaduct had been demolished.

    Demolishing the viaduct with an operational railway passing underneath could have been a challenge but Issues like that have likely come up and been dealt with previously.

    The temporary alignment is probably not ideal with an odd kink in it but having it would have enabled all lanes to stay open during all phases of construction.

    Having said all that – it sounds like the simplification of the approaches to London Bridge may actually have improved the service? (Although how much of that is down to a slightly reduced service?)

  74. ngh says:

    Re DJL,

    One of the philosophies of the entire Thameslink Programme has been to minimise temporary track and signalling works. i.e. use the final track layout during the period of the works where possible.

    Having more tracks open during the works on the SE side doesn’t particularly make sense as the real capacity issues are at / through London Bridge so you might just as well match the capacity there (not doing so could actually make performance worse).

    Simplification does indeed look like it is working though in the eyes of the passeneger it may only be seen to work in 2018 when all SE services stop at London Bridge

  75. Walthamstow Writer,

    To get back to further work on SouthEastern after the Thameslink Programme. In general I cannot remember this being said but it makes sense that there will be a backlog of work. The signalling will be similarly life-expired (50 years old) and operation of it is due to be transferred to Three Bridges.

    I do know that in particular the crossover junction at Lewisham will need replacement. I suspect this would have been done by now if it wasn’t for the Thameslink Programme. I suspect this needs a Christmas-New Year slot and the Thameslink Programme has taken those (except for this Christmas but there is a big points renewal at Purley this Christmas – not a route clash but sucks up manpower).

    General points:

    Regarding using using the ramp and crossing to the Cannon Street lines. Timbeau mentioned serving New Cross and St Johns but that would probably only ever happen during engineering works. Apart from anything else, there would normally be no easy conflict-free way of New Cross and St Johns being served by trains to Charing Cross.

    To re-iterate ngh’s point we were told that roughly half the trains serving Lewisham would go that way. It just adds a bit of flexibility and potentially reduces a bit of conflict.

    On the Blackfriars and Wimbledon Loop issue, I was thinking specifically of a southbound Thameslink train to London Bridge immediately following a southbound Wimbledon Loop train. If the latter is scheduled to cross to the western pair of tracks immediately south of Blackfriars then it has the potential to be held up crossing the up Thameslink line from Elephant & Castle and blocking movement of the following train. There was a really good track diagram of the proposed change just south of Blackfriars somewhere that showed the work planned but I cannot currently find it.

    I realise I made a slight mistake in the original text and suggested that there would be no junction at the top of the ramp. I can see that I must be wrong. There will be a junction where track 4 and track 5 (from the ramp) merge. However at this location track 4 connects the Thameslink down with the line from the ramp. This would not normally be used so trains using the ramp would not normally encounter a red signal at the top of the ramp and so would be unlikely to be stopped on it.

  76. JimS says:

    The most pleasant way of travelling from Carshalton to London outside the peaks is certainly via Thameslink. Even four-car sets can be lightly loaded. The problem is that you then have a half-empty train occupying a path through the core which could be occupied by a far busier train from Brighton. A bit like Greenford branch trains at Paddington, due to be dealt with shortly.
    The situation in the peaks is different of course – packed trains albeit only north of Streatham.

  77. DJL says:


    I wasn’t aware of thatphilosophy.
    What you say makes sense, thanks.

  78. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    “I suspect this needs a Christmas-New Year slot and the Thameslink Programme has taken those (except for this Christmas but ”

    There is a 10 day blockade for Thameslink @ London Bridge this Christmas on the Charing Cross side as the Charing Cross lines will be routed through P7,8,9 and new Borough Market Viaduct after Christmas, the track from Tracks 4&5 (current CHX route) recovered.

    This will keep them busy even before Purley comes into it and they will also want to keep Cannon Street & Victoria (& extra Blackfriars?) services running so no opportunity yet again.

    However Aug ’16 (6 day Blockade), possibly Easter ’17 or Xmas ’17 (10 day Blockade look like possibilities) as no CST services can run.

    Or Just take the hit and run the Hayes and via Hither Green Lewisham Services on the avoiding lines instead of through Lewisham for a week and run CST – Blackheath via Slade Green services (i.e. more of the loop services just the long way round)

  79. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Oops. Forgot about that one. I think when I was thinking that there was no blockade this year I must have subconsciously be thinking of August.

  80. PeterR says:

    Another great article, many thanks, and lots of interesting comments too.

    Going back to the comments about the peak hour capacity of terminals, and specifically of Cannot Street, whilst I can understand the desire to keep the Thameslink tracks clear of other trains, wouldn’t bringing Southwark sidings back for ‘between peak hour’ use provide a tad more capacity? Only a handful of movements would be needed. Or is it that full-length trains could be accommodated?

  81. Mark Townend says:


    Was it this diagram you were looking for?

    Found in article:

    As I understand it the idea is to reuse the carriage reception and train road sidings as an outer ‘third lane’ for southbound London Bridge trains (sidings currently used by the infamous Cannon Street empties to reverse). Thus an Elephant and Castle bound train can use the existing Down Snow Hill/Holborn Fast as a ‘right turn filter lane’, pausing as necessary whilst the London Bridge services weave around it. As there are fewer E&Cs than LBs there should rarely be two E&Cs following each other, so one of those waiting in the middle for a LB northbound to cross shouldn’t affect following traffic at all, usually. In the rare event that two southbound E&Cs do turn up together, the route setting robot might then regulate the northbound LBs to make sure at least the first southbound E&C gets priority across the junction to avoid core block-backs. Clearly a little pathing time added to the southbound E&C segment will be required to cater for the realtime uncertainty of stopping and ensure punctual running south thereof. I suspect there may only be room for an 8-car rather than a full-length 12-car in the ‘right turn lane’, but if so, that will be OK for the Wimbledon loop service and the 8-car limit will likely become a routine restriction for anything else from the core that runs via E&C under normal operations.

  82. timbeau says:

    “I do know that in particular the crossover junction at Lewisham will need replacement. ”
    It had a problem recently when failure of a rail meant that crossing movements were not possible, (effectively resulting in it being four plain-line racks, and all trains from Hayes/Sidcup/Orpington having to use the flydown or go to Nunhead, and all Blackheath trains going to New Cross.

    “Regarding using using the ramp and crossing to the Cannon Street lines. Timbeau mentioned serving New Cross and St Johns but that would probably only ever happen during engineering works.”
    Crossing a CX train to the up CSt lines at the top of the ramp will. however, result in the train running through the platforms at those stations, and potentially being held up by anything ahead of it which is scheduled to stop. The signallers will have to balance that against the conflicts at the bottom of Tanners Hill and the crossovers at Lewisham.

    Looking at the Tanners Hill area on Google Earth, it seems there is some extra unused width in the formation between the bottom of the flydown and the Lucas Street tunnels. Could this not have been used to make the flydown long enough to “loop” twelve cars clear of the CX main line? If it becomes a problem in the future, could such a change be made? (The bridge carrying Friendly Street would need altering, but the 3 ton weight limit and “weak bridge” signs apparent on GSV suggest that NR are not entirely happy about its condition anyway).

  83. Southern Heights says:

    @timbeau: When the big crossover at Lewisham failed recently it only affected the Blackheath line, preventing them from accessing the fly down and Nunhead line.

  84. Theban says:

    It seems a strange decision to allocate 4 platforms to CX services but only 2 to Thameslink given that Thameslink up services will need to interleave with services on the E&C route. Or were platforms at LB decided before it was decided that Wimbledon Loop services would run through Thameslink Core?

  85. RayK says:

    Re PoP
    ‘no junction at the top of the ramp.’
    I used the Google Earth Ruler and the junction, assuming it will be located in the same position as the old one, is over 300 m beyond the top of the ramp. I don’t know if that counts as being at the top or not. The Layout Sketches (Complex Project procedure – LB, Page 25) show the nearest signal gantry for the down direction to be West of the Dive Under boxes. If that is still valid (They are copyrighted 2012) there is nothing to stop a train near the junction.

  86. Sad Fat Dad says:


    28 trains an hour on the Charing Cross lines
    16 trains an hour on the TL lines

    Hence the number of platforms.

  87. ngh says:

    Re Theban,

    28tph to Charing Cross
    16tph to Blackfriars

    1 Platform can’t handle 28tph so you need 2 it is that simple!
    The working limit on the old P6 was 18tph especially if there are lots of passengers alighting and joining which was made worse by the other 10/11 tph to CHX in the peak not stopping)
    Wimbledon Loop decision potentially makes it easier at London Bridge as it went down from 18 to 16tph so more potential dwell time.

    Interleaving the 2 sets of services won’t be a big problem – the maths of it were discussed on another articles comments. A 12 car will clear the points and crossing at 20mph in just over 30s.
    Given it is ATO and the signalling sections very short the headways will be incredibly low.
    The conflicting move (Up from LBG, Down to E&C) is mitigated against as Mark T has explained. You would expect the service to run LBG, LBG, E&C etc.

    24tph is on average train every 2m30s but it is likely that they won’t run at those interval at London Bridge it would make lots of sense if some (half-ish?) of the 2nd up services from LBG ran a bit more more than 2m30s behind the first as it would give much more flexibility to operate the southbound E&C services

  88. Edgepedia says:


    Charing Cross trains going into London have four platforms at Waterloo East and those leaving London have possible routes on the fast and slow lines. With dwell times at London Bridge during the peaks being perhaps longer than a minute, four platforms allows one train to arrive just as another is about to leave. I guess the timetable will be arranged in such a way as to alternate platforms as much as possible.

    According to this map during the peak two thirds of trains from Blackfriars will go to London Bridge; but there are only two platforms at Blackfriars and two lines to East Croydon, the next stop going south.

    I believe there will be space on the tracks for train heading to Blackfriars to clear the platforms and wait for a Elephant & Castle train to pass ahead.

  89. timbeau says:

    @Southern heights
    “When the big crossover at Lewisham failed recently it only affected the Blackheath line, preventing them from accessing the fly down and Nunhead line.”
    Indeed so, but that meant all Blackheath trains had to run though St Johns. In order to make space for them, some Sidcup trains that would normally have gone to CSt were sent to Victoria, or down the flydown, in the paths the Blackheath trains couldn’t use.

  90. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Mark Townend,

    No not that diagram. I am fairly sure it was a Network Rail document. It just showed the track diagram for Blackfriars station and just south of it.


    Clearly your are referring to this document. Yes a train going down the diveunder and coming up on the ramp will be stopped well short of the junction if a signal gantry is needed but, as I tried to explain, that really doesn’t matter because it will rarely happen. In any case I can’t see why they can’t just have a lamp-on-a-stick signal at the top of the ramp although I didn’t see any base for one. For the other merging track (track 4 – I can’t read its title) there will be suitably located signal gantry.

    From standing at the top of the ramp and taking the photo I am pretty sure the tracks will have to merge not far beyond that point as there is only space for four tracks a short distance ahead.


    Yes caught behind another train is always a risk when switching to the Cannon St down. Remember though there are not that many trains using or going through New Cross on the Cannon St lines because a lot of them would have turned off at North Kent East junction to go via Deptford.

    You could also make a case arguing that each train that makes this move effectively uses up two train paths – one on the Charing Cross lines and on on the Cannon Street lines. Of course that doesn’t matter as long as that isn’t the critical factor (probably platform occupation at London Bridge and the throat at Cannon Street is more of a constraint). And, since train paths have to be broadly matched in each direction you have also effectively used up two train paths in the up direction.

    Sad to say, I have spent quite a lot of time around Friendly Street when writing about Tanners Hill flydown and St Johns. I came to roughly the same conclusion that you did. Friendly Street road overbridge could do with replacement, both widening and lengthening and getting rid of at least some of the intermediate supporting walls. The part of Thornville Street visible on that photo could be replaced by a supporting viaduct enabling the railway formation to be widened at that eastern end of Lucas Street tunnels. Whether that would be enough to hold a 12-car train in the down direction on Tanners Hill flydown or not I do not know. And whether it would be worth the cost and disruption is also another matter.

  91. I found the Blackfriars diagram I wanted. Or at least I found one that is good enough and similar. It was on page 22 of the document I linked to.

    I have extracted the relevant diagram which can be found here.

    The 20mph crossovers in red are the late addition to cater for the last-minute politically-motivated bonkers arrangement to continue send Wimbledon loop trains through the Thameslink core after 2018. Because a southbound train being held at this crossover waiting for clearance to cross the northbound track to Blackfriars platform 2 would potentially prevent a subsequent train destined for London Bridge to pass, the sidings have been converted to a spur line by addition of the 25mph crossover. Obviously this means the former siding carriage reception road is no longer available for use to park empty coaching stock from Cannon Street.

    Hope that makes some kind of sense.

  92. Malcolm says:

    @PoP if that diagram is accurate, then there is something wrong with your explanation. The position of the leftmost red 20 crossover appears to be too far north to let a London Bridge-bound train escape from behind a bonkers train held unable to use the said red crossover.

  93. Malcolm says:

    PoP says “ but, as I tried to explain, that really doesn’t matter because it will rarely happen

    I don’t understand this. If a train can restart without problems on the gradient in question, then there is no issue to worry about, and the presence or absence of a signal there has no bearing on the choice of gradient. Whereas if there are difficulties with restarting, then it “rarely happening” is little consolation, as Mr Sodde will ensure that the difficulties do arise on one such rare event.

  94. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm,

    It looks to me like the extra crossings have has been designed to allow a southbound Wimbledon Loop service (from P1) to cross immediately to the western pair of tracks immediately after a northbound service has passed and is stationary in P2. It is possible that is is one of the easiest places to do and East – West swap between Blackfriars and Loughborough Jn. That way the southbound service only has one potential conflicting move rather than 2 along that stretch.

    The knock on effect is probably a reduction in the number services that could use the terminating platforms.

  95. Pedantic of Purley says:


    The diagram is not to scale and the bonkers trains will only be 8 carriages long.

    A train can be brought to a halt on a gradient but it is not desirable. A train stopping on a gradient and restarting tends to take longer than the same thing happening on the flat. The gradient of the ramp is steep but not exceptional. Similar to Tanners Hill flydown I guess. A train must be able to restart from anywhere whether the cause of it stopping was a signal or not.


    The two terminating platforms could probably only handle around 8tph anyway. I would hope that this paltry amount would not be reduced further by the 4tph that ought never to be going through the central core and need to access the western pair of tracks south of Blackfriars.

  96. Mark Townend says:

    @PoP, @Malcolm

    I think the southbound loopers along with any other 8 car trains heading to E&C will wait usually on the Down Snow Hill at gantry 9. They can then proceed over the junction onto the Down Holborn Fast and cross over to the Down Holborn Slow at the next set of right-hand crossovers, Southwark Bridge Junction, closer to E&C and off stage left as far as this diagram is concerned. The red crossovers have probably been provided as an alternative contingency arrangement and I think they may have a specific part to play in various scenarios where trains from the north are reversed due to failure to take power on DC at changeover. In that case such a train, whether 8 or 12-car would be routed towards London Bridge onto the Down Snow Hill which would act as a form of centre reversing siding (thus OHLE will have to be provided for a distance along this line). The driver would change ends and set back to the northbound platform, all the while remaining on AC power, via the trailing crossover between gantries 9 & 10, labeled VS6056 on the diagram and using additional shunt signals not shown. The red crossovers will continue to allow following E&C trains to cross over to the Down Holborn Slow clear of the train whilst it is in the ‘reversing facility’ then stay there or swap back to the Fast immediately after the Junction, which is clearly blocked for the normal movement by the reversing train.

  97. Malcolm says:

    @PoP, @Mark

    The diagram is not to scale, and does not show shunt signals. But if it shows all the running signals, then there is no signal in a position where a southbound bonkers train (whether 8 carriages or any other non-negative length) can wait for a path across the northbound tracks on the red crossovers, while letting a LBG train pass behind it.

    Mark’s explanation does make some kind of sense, but it seems odd to me that these red crossovers would have been added for such a presumably rare role.

    But either way, it seems to me that the reason for taking over the erstwhile carriage siding and making it a running line, whatever it is, is unrelated to the red crossovers.

  98. timbeau says:


    I’m not sure the down Snow Hill lines would be long enough to reverse a twelve-car train in, nor have I seen or heard of any suggestion OHLE is to be installed through Blackfriars station and down the ramp.

    By the way, surely the trains we have been discussing are not so much “bonkers” as “loopy”?

  99. Paul says:

    You’re right Timbeau, the operation of the dual electrified section is described online in a Network Change notice somewhere, and the reversionary modes on failure to changeover don’t involve any use of AC south of City Thameslink.

  100. Mark Townend says:

    @Malcolm, @PoP

    I think it’s a probability/consequence issue. Without the AC centre reversing functionality on the Down Snow Hill all trains which had already arrived and then failed the power changeover would have to reverse in platform 1, which naturally would be more time consuming, and whilst it is possible for following Down trains to use the north end scissors to bypass via the bi-di Up line, clearly there’s not going to be much path-space between up trains in normal service for this and all the passengers already waiting would have to change platforms at short notice. With the facility but without the additional red crossovers, the reversal would also have to take place in the platform if the following train was for E&C or else the E&C train would have to wait in the platform for the reversal to be complete south of the station, or the E&C would have to be diverted to London Bridge. Perm any of the above for significant delay and inconveience. I don’t think the issue is where the E&C routed trains go ultimately, just how they are dealt with under various scenarios. Clearly whatever happens departures from the terminal platforms will have to be regulated to fit in with trains leaving and joining the core, as the priority must alway be to keep the core unblocked and flowing in both directions.

  101. Malcolm says:

    @Mark I am unclear whether this reversing facility is something you personally consider desirable, or a definite NR plan for which you have evidence.

  102. An Engineer says:

    There are various comments about the gauge the new structures are being built too – a blind guess but is (part ?) of the work funded by the EU and do they insist that the work is built to a European gauge ?

    In terms of the comments on the gauge for Crossrail above I understand the PEDs have been declared temporary structures and therefore might have to be removed if an interoperable train wants to use the central tunnels. Can anyone confirm if this is correct ?

  103. timbeau says:

    “Without the AC centre reversing functionality on the Down Snow Hill all trains which had already arrived and then failed the power changeover would have to reverse in platform 1,”
    Any train that fails the ac-to-dc power changeover will have a job getting up the hill to Blackfriars in the first place, as the OHLE ends at City TL – which is why there is a crossover there.
    This is what happens if you try to run on ac into Blackfriars.

    (The wires used to end at Farringdon, with any trains failing to lower the panto (or ac-only trains, such as 317s) being sent to Moorgate – the wires were extended to City when that ceased to be possible). Trains failing to raise the panto have always been able to reverse at Farringdon.

  104. Silent Lurker says:

    Surely the reason the carriage siding can’t be used for ECS from Cannon St is not that it is needed as an extra track for dealing with E&C bound trains through the core, but that fitting an ECS from Cannon St through Metropolitan Junction between 16tph Thameslink trains would be difficult. You either need to cross the Down twice or occupy it for the time it takes to reach the third track.

  105. Mark Townend says:

    @Malcolm, 4 August 2015 at 19:26

    OK I have no evidence, but I know when I worked on scheme plans and specs for the project as a consultant many years ago (late 1990s!) it was definitely considered and the track layout was specified to include it. The proposed final layout has not changed in any significant way since then as far as I can see although it’s certainly possible the extended AC electrification requirement may have been dropped since then. That may have been justified by a train manufacturer’s claimed reliability of it’s traction switching operations, in which case as long as that stands up in practice it’s all fine and rational. There is definitely standage for a 12-car to reverse if necessary between crossover VS6056 and the junction turnout connecting the Down Snow Hill to the adjacent carriage reception (to become the new Down Snow Hill Spur).

    So something that has been proposed seriously in the past, may no longer form part of the project, but might also be able to provided in future as mitigation if the traction changeover on the new trains doesn’t perform as reliably as expected!

  106. Edgepedia says:

    An Engineer

    Railways in Europe are currently covered by the The Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011, and number of Technical Specifications for Interoperability have been published. British railways were built to a different gauge than those on the continent, derogation with National Technical Rules is possible, and on the island of Great Britain railway gauges are covered by GE/RT8073. See this RSSB document for more information.

    I haven’t heard anything about your second point but looking around it seems that these regulations exclude Metros. To me the inclusion of PEDs is a strong argument that the tunnelled section is a Metro; this list of exclusions includes sections of the East London Railway. In any case, from what I’ve heard it will be unlikely that there will be any spare paths, and in the unlikely event of an interested party negotiations could take a long time. (When are DB going to start running trains to London, again?)

  107. Mark Townend says:

    @Silent Lurker, 4 August 2015 at 19:50
    Clearly that conflict with the expanded Thameslink service is also a factor.

    @timbeau, 4 August 2015 at 19:42
    OK fair enough so the changeover takes place today at City Thameslink in both directions and is intended to remain there. If thats correct thanks for the clarification. Certainly when I worked on the project, admittedly fairly briefly and peripherally (and about 17 years ago!), the thinking was dual system between Blackfriars and City with the facility as I described. Apologies for any confusion.

  108. Malcolm says:

    Perhaps it’s time to move back to Bermondsey?

  109. Sad Fat Dad says:

    The Down Snow Hill spur is there to get London Bridge trains out of the way as quickly as possible from a following E&C bound train. The turnout is 25mph, which is slightly quicker than the 20mph turnout at Blackfriars Jn. This means the headway following a 12 car train routed to London Bridge that way will be a few seconds shorter than if it was routed via Blackfriars Jn. And with headways planned at 150seconds, every single one counts.

    The yet to be installed crossovers were always planned and are not a consequence of the Wimbledon services decision. They are there to enable a parallel move between ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ lines, which as the timetable is predicated on parallel moves at Blackfriars Jn is rather handy. It also has the very important by product of enabling a 2 track railway for the longest possible distance between Loughborough Jn and Blackfriars, which is an absolute requirement for the maintenance teams. Blackfriars junction itself, particularly the crossing, will be taking a hammering.

  110. James Forbes says:


    The southbound ac-dc changeover point is at Farringdon. If a southbound service cannot changeover it will reverse back along the Up Moorgate to the Clerkenwell crossovers and then from there to the depot on the Down Moorgate.
    The northbound dc-ac changeover point used to be at Farringdon but is now at City Thameslink. If a northbound service cannot take ac it can either carry on into Smithfield sidings (if a 8 car) or reverse back along the Up Snow Hill to the crossovers south of City Thameslink onto the Down Snow Hill. Now, back to the dive under…

    [A reminder that, on Thameslink, “up” means towards Farringdon, and “down” means away from Farringdon. Malcolm]

  111. Mark Townend says:

    @Sad Fat Dad, 4 August 2015 at 20:25
    “The yet to be installed crossovers were always planned and are not a consequence of the Wimbledon services decision. They are there to enable a parallel move between ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ lines”

    That makes a lot of sense. In normal operations a southbound E&C train (loopy or otherwise) can cross over to the Down Holborn Slow in parallel with the opposite northbound movement, or it can move forward into the ‘right turn lane’ to clear platfrom 1 if the route is temporarily unavailable across the Up Snow Hill, then get to the Slow before E&C at Southwark Bridge Junction.

    @Malcolm. 4 August 2015 at 20:24
    Indeed! This document includes some diagrams: The Blackfriars one that PoP found and some illustrating the track arrangements at London Bridge and Bermondsey!
    I seem to recall we may have had some discussion here about the meaning of the green coloured infrastructure shown in these. To be clear It is not ‘recovered’ as in the formal signal scheme plan standard, but also new just as the red but specially identified as ‘TOC requirement’ (presumably arising in consultation).

  112. Paul says:

    James at 20:43

    It is perhaps better to say that the ‘normal’ southbound changeover point is at Farringdon. As you are probably aware the wires extend to the south end of City T/L, and a further option for an AC > DC failure is to run through to City on AC and then reverse back north from there.

    Likewise as you say the normal northbound changeover is at City, with Farringdon reversal as one of a number of options for failed DC>AC changeover.

    So in both directions there is an option to go forward by one more station. I have heard it said though, that operationally the preferred option southbound would be to go to City anyway, because that station is far better able to cope with a trainload of passengers who have just been turfed off onto the platform…

  113. dvd says:

    Great article and comments. I pass the diveunder site on my daily commute and it has been fascinating to watch its progress.

    Just one comment on the benefits of the enhanced Thameslink service which is often overlooked. It will provide much needed relief to the Bank branch of the Northern line for those bound for Kings Cross St Pancras. Squeezing on to the tube at London Bridge can be quite a challenge and – notwithstanding the lack of cross platform interchange on the new platforms 4 and 5 – this will make onward journeys much easier.

  114. Sad Fat Dad says:

    We’re off topic (sorry PoP), but the reason a failed southbound changeover is sent on to City TL to reverse is not because of passenger handling, but simply because the relevant trailing crossover is between Farringdon and City TL. Indeed that crossover was put there specifically for that purpose (being the best place to boot).

  115. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Sad Fat Dad,

    Your explanation for the reason for converting the carriage reception road to the Down Snow Hill Spur makes more sense and is clearly correct. Whatever the reason it meant that there would no longer be a carriage reception road available.

    The yet to be installed crossovers were always planned

    I would hesitate to disagree with you over anything but earlier in that document on page 20 it states

    Please note that the revised proposal for the layout at Blackfriars is shown on the “Blackfriars – KO2 Final Layout” suggesting that they weren’t.

    and are not a consequence of the Wimbledon services decision. They are there to enable a parallel move between ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ lines, which as the timetable is predicated on parallel moves at Blackfriars Jn is rather handy.

    But this doesn’t make sense at all to me. As far as I can see there wouldn’t be any moves between the (badly named) fast and slow lines if you didn’t have the Wimbledon Loop trains going through the core. What have I not understood?

  116. dvd 21:48

    Indeed – and one I omitted. One of the real benefits of the Thameslink programme will be relief of the Bank branch of the Northern Line. We have covered the subject about the benefits of Thameslink many times. What is clear is that the claimed benefits have changed over time. By the time the National Audit Office looked at Thameslink the objective of the Thameslink programme was:

    “reducing overcrowding on commuter services north and south of London and on London Underground”

    However, as Graham H (aka Lord Dawlish) and others will testify, this was never really an objective from the outset and the relief of the Bank branch of the Northern Line – a major benefit – almost seems to be a serendipitous overlooked consequence of it.

  117. Graham Feakins says:

    Was the Bank branch of the Northern Line noticeably relieved, before all this work started, by the through Thameslink services serving King’s Cross/St. Pancras from London Bridge?

  118. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Graham F,

    Almost certainly not because the service to London Bridge was 4tph (1tph in the peak) and sat around for ages at various places so wasn’t fast. You were nearly always better off getting the Northern Line unless you were already on a Thameslink train.

    After work is completed there will be somewhere around 12tph (16tph in the peak) so you will be much better off waiting for a Thameslink train if travelling between London Bridge and King’s Cross St Pancras. It also ought to be much quicker.

  119. Sad Fat Dad says:

    PoP – re the parallel moves.

    Ah, but there were going to be moves ‘fast’ to ‘slow’, even without the Wimbledon loop. In that sample timetable, not all the 6 tph via E&C went towards Denmark Hill, a couple per hour had to go via Herne Hill and thence via Beckenham Jn.

    Secondly, during maintenance of Blackfriars Jn, which is going to be somewhat more frequent than today.

    And thirdly, adding in those two crossovers enables the removal of Southwark Bridge Jn, a very difficult to maintain (and difficult, thus expensive to replace), set of junctions. But that’s another story, with the last chapter not written.

  120. John B says:

    I always find Thameslink trundles through the centre, with mysterious stops for 3-4 minutes at a time, so the Northern line felt faster.

    Will the 2018 version be much slicker, is there any indication for how much the KX-LBG journey time might be reduced?

  121. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Location of Southwark Bridge Junction in case anyone is interested.

  122. RayK says:

    John B
    ‘Will the 2018 version be much slicker?’
    There will be many red faces if it isn’t.

    What makes ‘Southwark Bridge Jn, a very difficult to maintain (and difficult, thus expensive to replace), set of junctions.’? Perhaps I should be asking ‘What will make the new crossovers easier to maintain?’

    And back to Bermondsey.
    What Carto Metro does not show is that tracks through (Should that be over) Southwark Park Station have been slewed so that they now go over the foundations of at least one former platform. This enables the new ThamesLink lines to swing over the Dive Under box at a better angle.

  123. RayK says:

    ‘From standing at the top of the ramp and taking the photo I am pretty sure the tracks will have to merge not far beyond that point as there is only space for four tracks a short distance ahead.’
    I have realised that I was once again assuming. I had thought that the new bit was all of the ramp but, of course, the ramp already exists beyond that.

  124. PeterR says:

    Re PoP’s “After work is completed there will be somewhere around 12tph (16tph in the peak) so you will be much better off waiting for a Thameslink train if travelling between London Bridge and King’s Cross St Pancras. It also ought to be much quicker.”

    But until TfL’s Tube maps includes Thameslink, the full potential will not be realised –and many visitors will be unaware of this link

  125. timbeau says:

    @James forbes
    Up Snow Hill to the crossovers south of City Thameslink onto the Down Snow Hill.

    [A reminder that, on Thameslink, “up” means towards Farringdon, and “down” means away from Farringdon. Malcolm]

    “Up Snow Hill” and “Down Snow Hill” . Snow Hill seems an odd name for that spur, although I can see the logic if you looking at it from the London Bridge end. And it’s not the most confusing example – who would expect to find the “Ludgate Lines” , “Watford North Junction”, “Bromley Junction” or “Loughton Junction”

  126. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    What makes ‘Southwark Bridge Jn, a very difficult to maintain (and difficult, thus expensive to replace), set of junctions.’? Perhaps I should be asking ‘What will make the new crossovers easier to maintain?’

    Southwark Bridge Jn – A custom rather than standard arrangement – It is on a curve on a narrow viaduct between 2 sets of bridges so the points and crossings are curved and because of the restricted length between the 2 bridges and the points aren’t individual components but not far off 1 giant unit (Not as bad as Lewisham but…)

    And Bermondsey or simply that the width of the new viaducts aren’t wider than the old ones overall…

  127. timbeau says:

    @Peter R
    “better off waiting for a Thameslink train if travelling between London Bridge and King’s Cross St Pancras. It also ought to be much quicker”

    Depends of course on what you are connecting with at KX/StP. If it’s HS1 (unlikely if you’ve come from London Bridge!) Thameslink would be a good idea – if it’s another Underground line, forget it.

    Anyway, don’t tell everyone about Thameslink – it’s south London’s “secret passage” to the main line stations to the north (and my only hope of catching the Edinburgh train tomorrow morning!)

  128. ngh says:

    Re Peter R,

    And those that do know will probably be quite happy about the others (Visitors) not knowing!

    It will be interesting to see what if anything happens to the map when the Bank Station rebuild closures happen.

  129. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    Anyway, don’t tell everyone about Thameslink – it’s south London’s “secret passage” to the main line stations to the north (and my only hope of catching the Edinburgh train tomorrow morning!)

    As a former regular in coach M on the early one I always used the train to VIC then the Victoria line as it was actually much quicker than Thameslink.

    Thameslink was always my fall back plan (as its reliability and timekeeping at that point in the day could sometimes be a lottery) but it is obviously the only choice tomorrow!

  130. JA says:

    @Peter R, I doubt anyone wants a repeat of the ‘Tube Map debate’, but, Thameslink was shown on the tube map in the 1990s between Kentish Town and London Bridge/E&C. Someone may know what caused it to be removed, but it certainly wouldn’t have made good sense to show it on the map with the previously mentioned 1tph peak service via London Bridge. Perhaps, when train frequencies increase in 2018, the core will make a return to the map.

  131. Sad Fat Dad says:

    @ngh 1029. You saved me a job. The points at Southwark Bridge Junction are consequently amongst the least reliable in the whole of the south east.

    Interestingly the least reliable track circuit in the south east happens to be denoted “NGH” but I assume that’s coincidence.

    But we are way off topic. Demolition at Bermondsey continues today…

  132. RayK says:

    Thanks to Tim (3 August 2015 at 18:05) for the link to the Lewisham planning application which shows a large portion of the Dive Under area in detail. The drawing is :-
    If it’s current, as always, it shows us, much more accurately than on anything else I’ve seen, just where the Box(es) must go. It also seems to confirm my suspicion that the there will not be a new bridge over the ELL ext’n for the Down Sussex Slow as has been shown on every other representation that I have seen.

  133. RayK says:

    SFD ‘Demolition at Bermondsey continues today…’
    As mentioned somewhere above the main Western Ramp will extend almost to Rotherhithe New Road. As that is about 200 m beyond the most easterly building on Jarrow Road there is still a considerable amount of demolition to be done.

  134. Phil says:

    Re the gradient of Snow Hill not being exceptional – I remember well the snowy winter of 1991 waiting for a Thameslink train attempting to climb up to Blackfriars from City Thameslink. It had several attempts to go up, wheelspinning and all, and ended up actually sliding back down. Eventually it was decided to give the train a longer run up and finally made it up the slope to Blackfriars. Unfortunately it subsequently broke down at Denmark Hill due to too deep snow!

  135. Mark Townend says:

    @RayK, 5 August 2015 at 09:43

    I can see that Southwark Bridge Jn must be awkward to access high up on limited clearance viaduct between two bridges. Also I think it contains switched diamond crossings which are notoriously unreliable and maintenance intensive.

    Just south of Blackfriars. the new double junction as shown is useful if trains are timed to pass there, as if a northbound E&C on the slow is using the junction to enter the station clearly by definition there is a parallel path for a southbound available as there can’t be a northbound entering from LB at the same time. However if in realtime that sychronisation is not acheived for any reason, the ‘back-up’ of the southbound E&C being able to use the ‘right turn lane’ functionality will be useful for keeing the southbound core flowing as otherwise the E&C will have to wait in platform 1, which will block any following traffic. Thus, if the train in question must use the Down Holborn Slow platfrom at E&C, then it will need to switch to that line at Southwark Bridge Junction. That junction might be simplified to only cater for the southbound movement from fast to slow, and perhaps with modern track geometry a ladder arrangement could substitute for the switched diamond. In that case all northbound merges heading for the core would have to take place immediately to the south of Blackfriars station which would reduce the capability for trains on the up slow to wait outside that station for one of the terminal platfroms without also delaying following trains heading for the core (and the northbound would also block the exit from the terminal roads whilst making the move into platfrom 2 incidentally), so that suggests for ultimate flexibility Southwark Bridge junction should really be retained with current functionality as a right hand double parallel crossover or ladder, although for reliability the switched diamond arrangement really should be removed, if possible.

  136. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    It also seems to confirm my suspicion that the there will not be a new bridge over the ELL ext’n for the Down Sussex Slow as has been shown on every other representation that I have seen.

    but the title illustration on this article shows the use of the existing bridge…

    The only impression of a new bridge would come from bad renderings for example in the “before and after” in the article.

    I had always assumed it would be the existing alignment over the ELL (Clapham Branch) for the Down Sussex Slow as it is very obvious from all the work done so far (including the realignment of the Sussex spur lines closer to the New Den last year) that the existing bridge would be used.

  137. timbeau says:

    “the link to the Lewisham planning application ”
    doesn’t seem to work

  138. Pedantic of Purley says:


    The links are correct but the site seems to topple over now and then.

  139. RayK says:

    @ngh Thanks for your explanation of the Southwark Bridge Jn problems. It sounds ‘orible’.

    ‘bad renderings ‘???
    The Existing and Proposed are photo’s of physical models. I guess that these were produced very early on for a specific purpose and, physical modelling being an expensive business, that exercise was not repeated so the photo’s have often been reused when convenient. I have clearly allowed my recollection of these models to colour what I have seen elsewhere. I should have checked.

    @Mark Thanks for all the details. I can see the advisability of replacing Southwark Bridge Jn with something simpler rather than just scrubbing the whole lot.

  140. DJL says:

    That diagram from Lewisham’s website is actually really helpful.

    I can also see now that the alignment of the bridge on the existing viaduct is somewhat less than ideal for the implementation of my plan above. Certainly it could have been squeezed through but the amount of weaving required would have been substantial.

    Also, It’s now clear to me that the location of the diveunder is very slightly further to the Northwest than I thought.

  141. timbeau says:

    That is interesting, and not just for the incidental detail of the diveunder layout. The main purpose of the application is the SUSTRANS cycle path that uses the route of the LBSCR’s connection to Bricklayers Arms.

  142. RayK says:

    @Timbeau at 10:26
    I think you could add ‘Southwark Bridge Jn’ to your list of oddments. The Bridge is, currently, called Borough Bridge because it crosses the Road of that name. At the same time it also crosses the A300 which meanders down to Southwark Bridge. I wonder if the original Junction was a road junction.

  143. timbeau says:

    The railway junction (actually a mere double crossover) is between two bridges: the more southerly carries the line across Newington Causeway (the A3): the more northerly – hic In think is the one you mean – carries the line across the junction of Southwark Bridge Road (A300) and Borough Road (A3202). The junction itself is nearer Southwark Bridge Road than to Borough Road, because of the angle the line runs at relative to the two roads.

  144. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Timebeau has pretty much made my point which was about the extended distances at KX / St Pancras between Thameslink and any tube line. Even the slog through London Bridge to reach the Northern Line is marginally preferable to the hike at KX. The only thing that the future Thameslink will ease is the introduction of interchange at Finsbury Park which will be handy if you want the Picc or Vic Lines. The other key factor will be the speed at which Thameslink trains cross the centre in future. Recognising that there are some short distances between stations the trains will still need to make decent progress if there is to be any transfer away from the tube.

    I once foolishly decided to stay on a peak Thameslink train from Burgess Hill all the way to Kings Cross. I think I’d concluded root canal treatment with minimal anaesthetic was preferable to that train journey. When faced with the same prospect I bailed at East Croydon and took a fast train to Victoria as the slog there on to a crammed Vic Line train was preferable. I hope future Thameslink is a heck of a lot faster than old Thameslink. The other issue it faces will be unflattering comparisons with Crossrail which I expect will be very quick but has the massive advantage of new infrastructure designed to allow quick journeys and efficient dwell times.

    I’ll just add that with all the debate about junctions etc and even the “loopy trains” the longstanding fog in my brain about what Thameslink may or may not be doing and why is finally clearing so thanks to everyone who’s commented.

  145. straphan says:


    From what I understand the ‘completed’ Thameslink timetable features:

    – 1 minute dwells at each station across the core (1:30 at London Bridge)
    – (performance time) margins at the entrance and exit of the core to ensure timely presentation of trains at the core.

    The Northern line takes 11 minutes from London Bridge to King’s Cross. New Thameslink faster than the Northern line? Hmmm – it’ll be close…

  146. GTR Driver says:

    My experience of the core has also been that trains through London Bridge are torturous due to the picking their way through the various conflicts and bit of single line on the spur up to Blackfriars – the ones through Elephant seem less so. Hopefully the work that is being done coupled with the automatic operation will produce the desired result. The increased frequency should make a difference too – and it will come up in journey planners which should draw people in. Personally if the times work I’ve always preferred to use Thameslink if it allows me to avoid the tube.

  147. timbeau says:

    In terms of distance there is surprisingly little in it between London Bridge and KXSP, but the Northern Line has four intermediate stops in 5.03km (figure from CULG) and Thameslink only three (in a similar distance: no accurate figure to hand, but it looks similar to the distance from StP to E&C, see below, which is about 5.5km)

    Between E&C and KXSP the difference is rather better (six stops v three), and the tube has a longer route 6.55km (according to CULG) ,whereas TL is 3.5 miles – about 5.5km – according to the GBTT.

  148. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Straphan – are those rush hour dwell times or throughout the day? I can sort of understand why in the peaks you need dwell times like that for busy 12 car trains. I’m still left scratching my head slightly because the cl700s are supposed to have wide doors and wide standback areas which should help reduce dwell times. However if the door open and close cycle times (incl beeps) is not superfast then perhaps 60 secs is all you can expect. Still seems a bit lax compared to what LU works to and it has vast crowds, narrow platforms etc to deal with. Much of Thameslink in Z1 will be to better standards than LU has to cope with.

    As you say the overall journey time will probably not be better than the Northern Line. It then all falls down to speed and convenience of interchange and headways on the tube and a person’s final destination.

  149. quinlet says:

    It’s certainly true that the interchange between Thameslink and the underground at KX is tediously long and inconvenient. But the centre of activity at both Kings Cross and (especially) St Pancras has shifted from the Euston Road to the Northern End of the King’s Cross concourse/northern St Pancras concourse. In that sense, the tube stations are now in the wrong place. Connecting from East Midland trains, South Eastern and even Eurostar at St Pancras is far easier to Thameslink than to the Underground. Even at Kings cross it is as easy to connect from the suburban platforms to Thameslink as it is to get down to the Underground. Only Inter-City arrivals at King’s Cross are now distinctly closer to the Underground.

  150. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Quinlet – naturally enough I was looking at things from my own perspective and the connecting time between Thameslink and the Vic Line at KXStP is tedious to say the least and downright offputting at worst. The link to F Park may well be useful in future even though interchange at FP is not brilliant either but is less time consuming than at KX. I agree the land around Kings Cross is causing some shift in where people wish to go but the tube is still the busiest mode in the area and longer interchange times are not hugely helpful in making public transport the most effective travel choice. It may well end up causing people to make sub optimal choices about where they do change modes and cause pressure in locations not best able to handle it.

  151. timbeau says:

    Thameslink to Circle is easier at Farringdon – Kentish Town for the Northern? Possibly even West Hampstead (and Wembley Park) for the Met.

  152. MikeP says:

    @straphan The ETCS/ETO goal is 45 second dwell time (wheels stop to wheels start) and 75 second platform reoccupation (wheels start to next train wheels stop) – see 28′ 20″ into this presentation (which I’ve linked to before). There’s a detailed timing diagram on the next slide around 25″ further on.

  153. Sad Fat Dad says:

    But *planned* dwell times are 60 seconds in the core, 90 seconds at London Bridge.

  154. AlisonW says:

    The diveunder may, indeed, improve Thameslink services heading north, but re “travelling between London Bridge and King’s Cross St Pancras” forget it. Given the TL station is now to the East of St P and you have to walk through that station to cross the road to walk through the new KX station before you can reach those platforms (unlike the ‘good old days’ of KXTL station) you may as well stick to the tube option.

    Depending on how you get to LB in the first place, of course.

  155. Mark Townend says:

    @AlisonW, 6 August 2015 at 00:21
    . . . walk through the new KX station before you can reach those platforms (unlike the ‘good old days’ of KXTL station) you may as well stick to the tube option.
    Depending on how you get to LB in the first place, of course.

    Depends what you’re doing at KX-ST.P. Walking from the old Thameslink station to the tubes was a short underground route admittedly (The Pentonville road entrance is still an entrance to the Underground station), but getting to the KX main line platforms or St. P was more difficult, requiring an exit to street level and crossing at least three roads, all rather busier than Pancras Rd with its nice modern pedestrian friendly crossing near the German Gymnasium.

    Relative attractiveness of interchange at London Bridge will also depend on whether you’re already on a Thameslink train, of which there will clearly be a lot more after the final service pattern is up and running.

    My memories of Thameslink of old conjure up fairly long gaps between trains and interminable dwells at Blackfriars. I’m certain the new Thameslink will be a completely different experience.

  156. timbeau says:

    @Alison W
    “Depending on how you get to LB in the first place, of course.”
    and, as Mark says, how you are travelling from KXStP. Thameslink is very handy if you’re going to Derby, for example! (or indeed Ashford, but that would be silly if you’ve come from London Bridge)
    Indeed, as the trek from the Northern Line to the main KX concourse seems to take you halfway to the Thameslink station anyway – (I’m sure there is a short cut but I have not managed to work it out yet) – there is probably little to choose between them in that respect.

  157. ngh says:

    And the trek to Northern Line at LBG won’t be that short either especially as SE passengers will have a longer walk in the future.

  158. Del_tic says:

    I have been lead to believe that line speeds between Blackfriars and St Pancras will remain unchanged after Thameslink 2000 is completed, so unless the dwell times are reduced the trains there will be no reduce in journey time.

  159. timbeau says:

    I have never seen line speed as particularly slow on Thameslink – it’s the waiting around, both between trains and dwell times, which seem to take so long.

  160. ngh says:

    Re Del_tic,
    but if you look a the IET lecture video posted above by Mike P at circa 14mins in there is a nice graph showing they never get near lines speed on average as it is always stop-go which is what ATO is designed to smooth out.

  161. Quinlet says:

    “Thameslink is very handy if you’re going to Derby, for example! (or indeed Ashford, but that would be silly if you’ve come from London Bridge)”
    This would have been true for Ashford until January this year, while London bridge to Ashford via St Pancras was both slower and less comfortable than by direct train, as well as being more expensive.
    However, since January’s timetable changes during the peak it is, at least, quicker to travel from London bridge to Ashford via St Pancras during the peak – albeit still more expensive.

  162. Stuart says:

    Even if journey time between LBG and KX are similar on Northern line and TL, as a general rule my impression is accessing platforms at Underground stations takes far longer than mainline stations. But then the issue is service frequency for turn-up-and-go. If new TL is really running 24 tph with some resilience, I would think it should win for many. But not sure many passengers appreciate the miles they walk and minutes they spend doing it around the tube

  163. RayK says:

    ngh 5 August 2015 at 11:41
    Thanks for pointing out ‘ the realignment of the Sussex spur lines closer to the New Den last year’
    I was unaware of this particular work. It is shown in the bottom R.H. corner of the Sustrans planning app’n drawing. Had I noticed this before I would have understood that there was no need for an additional bridge.

  164. Steve L says:

    Thameslink from King’s Cross St Pancras to London Bridge will have air conditioning. The Northern line doesn’t.

  165. Southern Heights says:

    @ngh: And an even longer walk out to Borough High Street if you have heavy luggage….

  166. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Looking at the proposed service pattern for Thameslink is there a reason why there are no services from the Elephant and Castle corridor to the Great Northern corridor? The GN only gets services from the Brighton Main Line.

  167. ngh says:

    Re Steve L

    And you can also stand up straight as well on TL!

    Apparently the passenger flow between Blackfriars and St Pancras / Farringdon has increased significantly since the rebuild of both Blackfriars stations (NR and District and Circle).

    Not sure how well the Air Con will work in the tunnels but at least the train will be appropriately cooled before and after the core so the short period through the core should be ok.

  168. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    I suspect (short) platform lengths on the Bedford route mean the stoppers all need to be 8 car so best to pair them up with via E&C services (as platform lenght issue) which already operate those routes? i.e don’t break existing service patterns so the new GN services end up with a mix of available via LBG destinations (new or additional services).

    However if the Wimbledon loop services had terminated at Blackfriars it could probably have been different…

  169. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Walthamstow Writer,

    The question could be looked at in two ways.

    Q. Is there are reason why most trains go down the Brighton Line?
    A Yes, because that where the demand is, the objective is about serving London Bridge, in any case you have to because now there are fewer terminating platforms at London Bridge you have no choice.

    Q. Is there any reason that the trains that do come from Elephant & Castle all to the Bedford Line and not the Great Northern corridor?
    A. I would imagine this is primarily because the through services via Elephant & Castle already exist. Gratuitiously changing the route is bound to cause protests. Once bitten and all that.

    Initially it might appear to make sense to do things differently because of the 8-car and 12-car issue but I suspect whichever way you do it you have a problem. For example platforms to Tattenham Corner are currently only 8 cars as I believe they are on the way to Cambridge.

  170. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Apparently the passenger flow between Blackfriars and St Pancras / Farringdon has increased significantly since the rebuild of both Blackfriars stations (NR and District and Circle).

    I wonder how much difference replacing King’s Cross Thameslink with St Pancras Thameslink made?

    I never thought I would be reading someone referring to “the ‘good old days’ of KXTL station”. It must have been most off-putting for most people.

    Something people are not taking into account is the many Eurostar travellers (with luggage) who will use St Pancras Thameslink if at all possible.

  171. Mark Townend says:

    @Stuart, 6 August 2015 at 13:01
    . . . not sure many passengers appreciate the miles they walk and minutes they spend doing it around the tube.

    As long as it’s easy, unimpeded and weather protected most interchanging passengers will happily walk a fair distance for a frequent and reliable ongoing connection, particularly commuters’ who know the passages well and seem to ‘hover’ through on autopilot, earbuds in . . .

    The beauty of a good walking interchange, whether entirely pedestrian or assisted by moving walkway, is the combination of an utterly reliable journey time with on demand service frequency. Compared to an additional interchange onto another line or a dedicated shuttle, a reliable 7 minute walk will be more attractive to most passengers than say a up to a 3 minute wait (sometimes more) for 3 minute journey, all accompanied by a 2 minute walk anyway at each end. Whilst most passengers will be willing and able to walk, in a major modern interchange hub complex where long distance trains depart, these types of longer distance pedestrian links should really be supplemented by additional mobility measures such as customer trolleys, manned golf carts, even automated mule-pods, for the less abled, aged and infirm and those with much luggage (less of a problem at airports where large items are checked in beforehand).

  172. Fandroid says:

    As long as the upgraded Thameslink performs as planned through the core, I can foresee greater and greater use between KX and Blackfriars. Since the opening of the South Bank entrance at the latter I have used it as my preferred relaxed route from KX to Waterloo. Word of mouth and journey planners should gently push more and more people into using the Thameslink core. Those burdened with bags/pushchairs seem to gradually find the routes with lifts available too. I now find that the lifts at KX underground station are in constant use. Step-free National Rail routes are something that TfL should seriously consider when redrawing the Underground map. After all, busy trains on the deep Tube lines are really not the places for big bags and pushchairs.

  173. Stuart says:

    @ Mark Townend
    Your comments are all probably correct. It just amuses me when I hear of visitors to London walking further to get down to a tube platform at Station A, interchange train somewhere, and then return to the surface at Station B walking almost as far from Station A to Station B directly

    I am not very familiar with KX-SP, but accessing mainline Platforms from many streets around London Bridge today is far quicker than getting down to the Northern Line (or Jubilee for that matter), and I suspect will also be after the rebuild is complete

  174. timbeau says:

    @Mark T
    “Compared to an additional interchange onto another line or a dedicated shuttle, a reliable 7 minute walk will be more attractive to most passengers than say a up to a 3 minute wait (sometimes more) for 3 minute journey, all accompanied by a 2 minute walk anyway at each end. ”
    It has often occurred to me that there is a place on the Underground where this could work. There is a certain place just the other side of London Bridge from the station of that name where there are two 75m long travelators leading to a tunnel 2500metres long. At its operating speed of 5.5m/s it would take about seven and a half minutes to get to the other end of that tunnel – comparable with the journey-time (3.5 minutes) plus service interval (3 minutes) of the existing arrangement.

    Come to that – how much would it cost to install a travelator between Holborn and Temple, using the old Aldwych-branch tunnels?

  175. Sad Fat Dad says:


    That’s some travelator travelling at over 12mph. (Did you mean 5 feet per second?)

  176. timbeau says:

    That is the figure quoted in Wikipedia (I know, I know) for the original Travolators
    “The normal operating speed was 18 feet per second (5.5 m/s)” I was able to find corroboration for all the other figures, but not that one. Anyone have a better answer?

  177. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau – I’ve looked at the Schindler, OTIS and Kone websites. They all sell travelators and escalators. Schindler don’t advertise an operating speed for their travelators but OTIS and Kone give speeds of 0.5m/sec, 0.65m/sec and 0.75m/sec for their products. This is for flat / shallow rise travelators. These speeds are rather more modest than that quoted on Wiki which must be moderately terrifying to experience – especially at the end of the travelator. 🙂

  178. Pedantic of Purley says:


    That figure of 18 feet a second clearly isn’t plausible. Imagine what 18 feet is then imagine moving from one end to another in one second then imagine trying to step on something travelling at that speed. 5.5m/s is around 20kph or 12mph.

    The one at Monparnasse, Paris is the only one I have ever used where stationary on the moving walkway was faster than a brisk walk on the static part of the passageway. Typical brisk walking speed is 4mph and more usually 2-2½mph. The Monparnasse “trottoir roulant” when formerly running at its fastest speed in public was apparently 9 km/h. Nowadays you can beat it by walking fast but it is a very long brisk walk.

    See good BBC article on the subject here.

  179. timbeau

    Try this link which quotes a much more plausible 180 feet a minute for the original travelator at Bank. That is 3 feet a second – a sixth of the claimed speed on Wikipedia.

  180. timbeau says:

    Ok, so at 0.75m/s it would take 3400 seconds = nearly an hour.

    But bearing in mind that most people walk along travelators, a 0.75m/s (1.7mph) boost to a typical walking speed of about 3 mph means you effectively shorten the tunnel by more than a third – thus it becomes a twenty minute walk instead of thirty.

    Specialised ones have operated at significantly higher speeds, usually with clever means to accelerate and decelerate the passengers – although none as fast as 12mph.

  181. timbeau says:

    yours crossed with mine: 3 fps is about 0.9m/s or 2mph, about 20% faster than the figure I used, giving about 37 minutes end to end time or, if walking along it at 3mph, about 19 minutes.

  182. RayK says:

    It would appear that both figures have the decimal point in the wrong place as 1.8 Feet/sec. approximates to 0.55 m/s. A most reasonable pace.

  183. timbeau says:

    “both figures have the decimal point in the wrong place ”
    Or more likely, one was misplaced, and then the incorrect figure used for the conversion

  184. Bearded Spotter says:

    I very much appreciated the explanation of the civils in Bermondsey. I used to be able to do WWR LBG in the rush hour with a seat. So (if I may) I will offer two observations on the (increasingly off topic, IMNSHO) thread above.
    1 “journey planner” apps (including, eg, Citymapper) increasingly drive otherwise uninformed travellers;
    2 the top tip from the blessed Geoff Marshall is to use the Vic when possible to cross the Thames.

    FWIW I completely agree that Wimbledon loopers should terminate at Blackfriars.

    PS what about southbound from, eg, Cambridge to Dover?

  185. Malcolm says:

    Stuart says “… visitors to London walking further to get…”

    Going by tube is nicely signposted. But visitors making to-us-pointless-seeming tube journeys may become rarer with smartphone walking apps being more widespread.

    Metres in tube interchange tunnels definitely are perceived as shorter than above-ground metres though. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen it suggested that the walk between, say, Euston and St Pancras would be made so much shorter if a double-ended crossrail-2 station were to be built between the two!

  186. Malcolm says:

    @timbeau : which Wikipedia article are you quoting from here? Neither the “moving walkway” one or the “Bank and Monument stations” article seems to have any such (mis)information, and neither have they any recent corrections.

  187. timbeau says:

    The “Waterloo & City Line” article has a paragraph on the travolator.

  188. Malcolm says:

    @timbeau: Thanks. I have removed the offending sentence from the article. Sorry that I forced you to utter an LR-unmentionable phrase!

  189. timbeau says:

    Let’s look at the travolator question from the other way, and work out how fast it would have to travel to beat someone in the two extreme cases where they
    (a) have the doors close in their face and have to wait for the next train *
    (b) just make it in as the doors close **
    * and remain in ignorance of their cheating boyfriend’s infidelity
    ** and get home in time to catch him in flagrante
    (doesn’t that always happen on the W&C?)

    OK – assumptions:
    a. you walk along the travolator at 3mph (4.8kph, or 1.33 m/sec)
    b. tunnel is 2500metres long
    c. journey-time by train is 3.5 minutes
    d. service interval is 3 minutes

    So, in situation “a” you need to travel 2500metres in 6.5 minutes, which is 6.4 m/s, of which you contribute 1.33, so the travolator would need to travel at 5m/s or 12mph
    In situation “b” you need to travel 2500 metres in 3.5 minutes, which is 11.9 m/s, thereby requiring a travolator speed of 10.6m/s which is 24mph!
    All right, extending the travolator further west along the railway tunnel is an even sillier idea than the many people who have suggested extending the railway.

    Back to the diveunder, and not before time, I do think there was a missed opportunity to use the Bricklayers Arms branch to extend the Bakerloo Line up on to the viaduct, reducing the cost of an extension.

  190. Graham Feakins says:

    This Pathé clip from 1960 of the Bank Travolator quotes 60 yards/minute, which is 180 feet/min or 3 feet/sec.. Obviously, the opening journey for the dignitaries was at a more graceful rate to avoid a pile-up of officials at the bottom.

    It certainly seemed swift to me when I used it in the early years.

  191. Thank your Graham F. Seems like the sort of event our Lord Dawlish would have attended(!), much later in his career…

  192. Ian J says:

    @PoP: The Monparnasse “trottoir roulant” when formerly running at its fastest speed in public was apparently 9 km/h.

    I once used it when it was in its high speed mode, and nearly fell over. Rather than just stepping onto the belt at the end like on a normal travelator, you were accelerated by a series of very small rollers (like upside-down skateboard wheels) in the floor, until you reached the full speed, at which point you were deposited onto the 9 km/h (originally 11km/h) belt. The same thing happened in reverse at the other end. The mistake I made was to try to keep walking at the end instead of standing still on the rollers, and not holding the handrail* – it was an alarming sensation, like trying to stand on a giant roller. The travelator’s Wikipedia page shows it in a later stage of its life when RATP seem to have had to employ two people and some barriers to instruct users before they got on. One to file alongside Finsbury Park’s spiral escalator in the “great ideas that don’t quite work” category.

    * I have no recollection of how the handrail worked but it must have been quite ingenious to keep pace with the acceleration.

    Back onto Bermondsey, the presentation already linked to upthread has an interesting 3D drawing of the diveunder structure on p. 68, including the depth of the piles that support everything.

  193. Malcolm says:

    @Ian: Sounds fun. But as you say, back to Bermondsey. Any further mention of trottoirs roulants, the Drain, or cheating boyfriends will be severely frowned on, and quite possibly deleted without notice.

  194. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Back to the diveunder, and not before time, I do think there was a missed opportunity to use the Bricklayers Arms branch to extend the Bakerloo Line up on to the viaduct, reducing the cost of an extension.

    But what people keep forgetting is that these lines are Full Up before they get to central London however many times the point gets repeated. You already will have 28tph, hopefully mainly 12 car trains, on the two track Charing Cross lines. These 28tph have to go through a junction at St Johns (where the Tanners Hill flydown is). Alternatively they have to somehow get on the Cannon St lines side but that involves conflicting movements.

    The distance to Elephant & Castle is over 2 miles – not huge but not trivial either.

    You are also back to the problem of replacing potential 12-car trains with little New Tube for London trains. Whereas a more frequent service may counteract that, it kills potential for future improvement. Plus the issue of needing to segregate big railway and little railway. The Bakerloo north of Queen’s Park relies on grandfather rights to mix different size stock. Also the Bakerloo will be full up by the time it gets Elephant & Castle.

    I can think of all sorts of other potential issues but that will do for the start.

  195. RayK says:

    @Malcolm: ‘Thanks. I have removed the offending sentence from the article.’
    This seems a harsh sentence for the minor offence of a misplaced decimal point.

    [Possible reply self-snipped! Malcolm]

  196. Saintsman says:

    I remain curious. In peak with 16tph coming down the BML into Thameslink core

    1) At what point will the residual southern fast lines services join the slow line services to enter the London Bridge Bays?
    2) What is the intended peak frequency on the southern fast lines into London Bridge north of say Brockley?
    3) Any confirmation of what residual fast line services (post 2018) will terminate in the bays?

  197. ngh says:

    Re Saintsman,

    1. Bricklayers Arms Junction

    Up services turn off on to northern most line on the sussex spur route (the one temporarily used for down services at the moment) – the up sussex slow.

    Down Services use the Down Sussex slow then join the fast under the Up ELL over bridge

    If the Down Sussex slow is out of use the Down services use the current down route (Up services would use Bermondsey Reversible (middle line) or Up Bermondsey Spur (southern line) so just like it “works” at the moment including the Sussex loop shuffles

    If the Up Sussex Slow is out of action the Bermondsey Reversible (middle line) or Up Bermondsey Spur (southern line).

    The preference will be to get all via NXG (slow or fast) terminating services using the Up Sussex Slow so there are no conflicting moves at South Bermondsey Jn with the via South Bermondsey services.

    2. 16tph Thameslink
    2tph Southern Uckfield (DMU)
    +2tph Southern ???

    So 20 tph

    Assuming via NXG slows 8tph (limited by 8tph possibly 10tph in the future Overground services), via SBM 8tph so 4tph overall form the fasts to terminate.

    I think 20tph is probably the limit due to Windmill Bridge Jn and East Croydon (and possibly other issues in Surrey and Sussex) so if they gets sorted in CP6 a few more tph could be added.

    3. Uckfields – 2tph + 2tph from ???

  198. Pedantic of Purley says:


    1) In the up direction just before the diveunder is reached, I would imagine.
    In the down direction they will go through (under) the diveunder on the fourth track with the slows in order to cross the Thameslink up line. They will switch to the Thameslink down line (more accurately the Down Sussex Fast) just before New Cross Gate. Page 93 on the usual Thameslink Presentation slides gives a better idea.

    2) I believe it is 20tph in the peak. One (not the only) issue of running more trains is that they have to be sequenced at East Croydon and, if you are paths optimising at East Croydon to maximise capacity there, you can’t always find a suitable slot at East Croydon. If Windmill Bridge Junction and East Croydon were rebuilt other paths may be usable. One problem with going above 24tph is that Thameslink works on a 2½ minutes spacing between trains so, effectively there are 24 available slots per hour. And Network Rail always plays cautious and want to keep at least a couple unused for recovery of service purposes.

    3) The 2tph Uckfield trains definitely. The 2tph peak hour fast trains via West Croydon (originating at Epsom or beyond) probably.

  199. Paul says:

    Surely 12 tph of Southern services through New Cross Gate will have been transferred to Thameslink destinations to give the 16 tph service with the 4 tph Brighton – Bedford.

    That must be a majority of the complete current SN service through NXG?

    Crossovers from down slow (ex low level station) to down fast will presumably take place on the junction just north of NXG, in the case of the up direction there are slow and fast lines towards the low level, with the up fast splitting into the Thameslink and low level directions at the same place.

  200. timbeau says:

    If the answer to your Question 3 is zero – and I have not seen any evidence that it is, or is not – then question 1 doesn’t arise. But looking at the presentation linked by Ian J, it is not clear that any fast services will terminate at LB. (Remember that the terminal platforms have to manage all trains from the Peckham Rye direction, as unlike the Forest Hill line these cannot readily access the core.)
    Slide 39 gives a total of “Southern” services at London Bridge after all this is over as 20tph (down from 30) plus 18 “FCC” (i.e core) . This reduction from thirty to twenty would be consistent with the original three pairs of tracks feeding the terminal section (Forest Hill fast and slow, and South London (Peckham)) being reduced to two (Forest Hill slow and South London, with all fast line trains routed through the core.
    Slide 47 would seem to confirm this, showing the fast lines in green, dedicated to through services, and the slow lines in red, dedicated to terminating services.

    Slide 5 shows all existing services passing through East Croydon as going to the core – even the “Cat/Tat” will once again pass over Borough Market Junction, in deference to its SER legacy!

    Slide 41 shows that it will be possible, if needs must, for a train on the fast line to reach the terminal platforms is the fast to slow crossover immediately before the fast crosses the diveunder at Bricklayers Arms Junction – directly over the ELL line to Peckham. There is a reversible crossover immediately to the east which would allow a departing train to access the fast line, but in practice I imagine they would be more likely to use the down slow to down fast crossing shown under the New Cross Gate flyover, to avoid crossing the up “core” route on the flat. Indeed, Slide 93 shows these movements

  201. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    Beware of the reuse of old material in newer presentations 18tph is pre loop decision not 16tph. The presentation diagrams will also often have been simplified.

    The slide on p93 is correct for normal operation.

    The Sussex slows have spare capacity west of New Cross Gate as there aren’t the LO services (which took some of the paths of former Southern terminating services.) and this will be used for the residual fast terminating services.

    So both sets of via NXG lines have reduced terminating capacity vs the 30tph.
    The 3–>2 analogy approximately holds but both fast and slow via NXG lines will have reduced terminating services not just the fasts vs the pre 2009 service level.

  202. timbeau says:

    (Double post as addressing different issues)
    “Back to the diveunder, and not before time, I do think there was a missed opportunity to use the Bricklayers Arms branch to extend the Bakerloo Line up on to the viaduct, reducing the cost of an extension.But what people keep forgetting is that these lines are Full Up
    ……The distance to Elephant & Castle is over 2 miles ”

    I think you’ve misunderstood – Elephant & Castle to Bricklayers Arms is barely half a mile – just about right for burrowing to the surface. The old formation would have been used to get to the North Kent Junction area, where tunnelling can resume to Lewisham or wherever (possibly using the Fleet Line test tunnels at New Cross and/or taking over the trackbed of the NX branch of the ELL. Much of the trackbed of the Bricklayers Arms branch has been built on now, which is why I said it was a lost opportunity.

    As an aside, although I was not suggesting mixed working, the Cannon Street lines cannot be completely full east of North Kent Junction, with three tracks west of NKJ becoming two double track lines, through Deptford and St Johns respectively.

  203. fulljames says:

    There are also Eastbourne – London Bridge services in the peaks which I don’t think are being Thameslinkised, are these going to continue?

    (My commute so of interest!)

  204. timbeau,

    I had misunderstood. I didn’t realise your missed opportunity referred to a long time in the past. But the ramp to Bricklayers Arms would have taken you onto the Charing Cross lines (from 1976 onwards) so you would still have had to somehow come up on the Cannon Street lines. Before then, if they couldn’t even get an extension to Camberwell so unfavourable was the the post-war climate, I really cannot see any appetite or perceived need for a scheme of this nature.

    I don’t think it is an easy proposition to surface with the railway built on a viaduct and lots of roads and railways running through the viaduct arches (admittedly one of the railways wasn’t there then).

    There is not a lot of spare capacity on the Cannon St lines through St Johns at present. 16tph, which is what I think it is, sounds like a lot but with 7-8tph stopping at St Johns the spare capacity is there but rather limited. That’s before you factor in any Charing Cross down trains switching to the Cannon St down lines at the first opportunity.


    I am not sure but, if my memory serves me correctly, they will run to Victoria. Don’t rely on what I said and the 2018 timetable isn’t completely finalised as far as I am aware.

  205. Edgepedia says:

    Fast London Bridge services after 2018 – The Sussex area route study table 3.12 lists the currently proposed peak hour services, with Southern (Class 377) having one from the West Coastway via Hove, two (Class 171) from Uckfield and one from Chichester/Bognor via Horsham. There’s a shoulder peak train from Eastbourne for fulljames.

    Can the Class 171 run into Victoria?

  206. unravelled says:

    I added a few new photos of the works last night. Among other things they show the new concrete viaduct edge walls now exposed by demolition of the arches.

    Regarding the models of the diveunder shown in the poster, I think the same ones are illustrated in “New railways for London 2”, published in 1998.

  207. timbeau says:

    “Can the Class 171 run into Victoria?”
    the East Sussex diesels used to do so, even after the raft was built above the platforms, although I think they were confined to certain platforms where there was fume extraction equipment.
    Whether that equipment is still there, and in the right position for class 171 exhausts (which are on every vehicle, not just every third one!) , is an interesting question.

  208. Anomnibus says:


    A Tube extension would have intermediate stations on the way. Even if the housing on the disused Bricklayers Arms section hadn’t been built, that area is not on either of the preferred routes: via the Old Kent Road, or the ‘classic’ route via Camberwell and Peckham.

    You also need quite a bit of land just to assemble the TBMs and feed them with concrete slabs while disposing of the spoil. Look at the TBM sites on Crossrail for an idea of what’s involved, and note that both Royal Oak and Plumstead portals have temporary factories for the tunnel linings, as well as heavy rail branch lines to remove spoil and bring in supplies.

    All the above represents part of the minimum start-up costs for such line extensions. Shaving a few hundred yards off a tunnel won’t change that cost. The only comparable cost on such projects is underground stations, which cost an absolute mint to build. Deleting one of those can easily shave a couple of hundred million off the price tag.

    [All fair commentary on timbeau’s BA regret. But let’s all not proceed any further in this topic with putative Bakerloo extensions, please. Malcolm]

  209. ngh says:

    Re fulljames & PoP,

    The 2018 timetable proposal for mainline east in the consultation was:

    – London Victoria to Hastings and Ore via Lewes and Eastbourne
    – London Victoria to Eastbourne via Lewes

    But detail about the peak are scarce plenty on the off peak though. Lots of stopping patterns being adjusted.

  210. I am pretty sure Class 171 have run into Victoria during engineering works in the past few years.

  211. timbeau says:

    @Malcolm 0804
    “trottoir roulant”
    But Thameslink makes such a good one – jump on the back of a 12-car at City TL, walk through the train as it climbs the bank, jump off the front at Blackfriars.
    240m walking to cover four times that distance. Door to door from the Viaduct Tavern to the Founders Arms in six minutes. And out of the weather too!

  212. Saintsman says:

    Thank you all 🙂

    If I’ve understood correctly
    6 bays at London Bridge would serve
    4tph Southern residual fasts in peak + an Eastbourne in the shoulder
    Up to 8pth via South Bermondsey depending how Queen Road Peckham is planned for LO (+other restrictions) [6tph current including the SB terminator)
    4 to 8tph Southern slows – depending on LO into Thames tunnel which could be 8-10tph in peak
    So at most 20tph but probably less
    If memory serves 5 bay platforms will be 12-car in length with 1 initially restricted to 10-car.

    What’s the intended function of the two Sussex slow loops to the south east of the drivedown?

  213. straphan says:

    I do believe there will be one train in each peak running from London Bridge to Eastbourne and Seaford – at least that was the case last time I checked the proposed timetable.

  214. As a result of Unravelled’s photos I can see I misunderstood the depth of the diveunder walls already cast which are indeed resting on the existing structure. I have modified the text of the article accordingly.

  215. Anonymously says:

    @timbeau/PoP….Actually, certain politicos in the 1980s were advocating a Bakerloo line extension using the alignment of the Bricklayer’s Arms branch, before it was built over (apologies Malcolm for continuing with this topic, but this interesting news clip shows that timbeau wasn’t just talking nonsense):

    In relation to TLK, at one stage I remember there were proposals for services from the SEML (Ashford/Tonbridge/Sevenoaks/Orpington) to use the core route via London Bridge…..were these also a casualty of the Wimbledon loop trains being kept? From a purely selfish point of view, direct trains between Orpington and Cambridge would have made my life a lot easier! Oh well, I guess a change at London Bridge won’t be too much to bear (and certainly better, as others have already alluded to here, than using the Northern Line!).

  216. ngh says:

    Re Saintsman,

    Largely correct as I understand it.
    I think the plan is to add an extra 2tph via South Bermondsey possibly to Wimbledon? the original plan in the RUS was to terminate at Norwood Junction via Palace but that would have needed lots of expensive resignalling just before the whole area (Windmill Bridge Jn, East Croydon etc) needed resignalling any way. So assume 8tph

    Sussex Slows:
    4tph Overground -West Croydon (as at the moment)
    4tph Overground – Crystal Palace (as at the moment)
    + possibly 2 new extra Overground – Crystal Palace (PIXC busters peak only)

    Southern 6tph currently (am peak) but that has been cut back at various stages. There look to be 3 vacant slots in the up direction before timings are adjusted but there is no space at LBG at the moment!

    Slow Loops (long term):
    Up – ECS while waiting for a platform in the evening peak.
    Down – first available space to take a unit out of service if needed or short term ECS space in the am peak (might be needed if trying to maximise capacity on the slows.

    Short term – Up loop (as down doesn’t exist yet) as long term but also for some slow services to pull in and wait while a fast passes so the Up slow platform at NXG doesn’t get blocked. This might also happen long term to merge the terminating services from the fasts.

  217. timbeau says:

    “news clip shows that timbeau wasn’t just talking nonsense”
    Maybe a subliminal memory of that was what made me think of it. The dateline is Tuesday 16th June, which could put it in 1982 (the site was sold in 1981), but the presence of Harriet Harman suggests a later date, as she did not become the local MP until a by-election later that year so 1987, or possibly 1992, is more likely.

    “disused Bricklayers Arms ………..area is not on either of the preferred routes: via the Old Kent Road, or the ‘classic’ route via Camberwell and Peckham.”
    On the contrary, the proposed site for “OKR1” is very close to Bricklayers Arms.

  218. Anonymously says:

    @timbeau….according to the SE1 website forum (which is where I came across it), it was filmed in 1988.

  219. GTR Driver says:

    London Bridge-Uckfield is still going to terminate at London Bridge, this runs up the fast from Norwood Junction. The peak only Eastbourne trains aren’t going to Thameslink as far as I can see – in fact I believe some of them may still be 442s post 2018 though I welcome someone with more knowledge confirming this.

  220. Anonymous says:

    Regarding Uckfield trains into Victoria

    When the station was rebuilt fume extraction equipment was installed along some platforms BUT only in positions that matched exhaust emissions from the power car of the southern DEMUs, (which unlike other diesels used a single, large above floor diesel engine & generator combo mounted inside one coach with electric propulsion to move the unit along).

    The new 171 DMU units have totally different exhaust arrangements to the DEMUs which are completely incompatible with the fume extraction equipment at Victoria. While the equipment concerned could be replaced it would be an expensive process to do so for what amounts to a tiny number of trains – that in time would hopefully be displaced by some form of electrification in the long term. As 171s are bared from the central side of Victoria (and that stands regardless of engineering works by the way).

    Therefore the simpler and most cost effective solution was to reroute Uckfield trains to terminate at London Bridge where the old train shed / new setup with platform canopies and no over site development means there was / is no issue with exhaust fumes.

    Finally to round off the situation, if London Bridge is unavailable for any reason the alternative option is to terminate at East Croydon, with the option of entering Selhurst depot or using the “Perturbation siding ” (formerly the south end access to the lifted down side sidings at Norwood Junction) to get out of the way before the units return working. Passengers will be instructed to change over to the fast line platforms for Thameslink or fast Victoria services.

  221. Anonymous says:

    Re the 442

    There is a desire to get rid of them as soon as possible – particularly as their old technology is contributing to some of the unreliability of some if the signalling at London Bridge (and further afield too if truth be told). Recently pictures were released of the new Gatwick Express stock (class 387 EMUs) under construction at Derby. Given this (and number of units in the order) the 442s will be gone from the BML fairly soon – certainly they won’t be around in 2018.

  222. timbeau says:

    “according to the SE1 website forum (which is where I came across it), it was filmed in 1988”
    I should have gone to Specsavers: dateline actually says Thursday, which could indeed make it 1988 – so a new and keen constituency MP!

    “When the station was rebuilt fume extraction equipment was installed along some platforms BUT only in positions that matched exhaust emissions from the power car of the southern DEMUs.”
    Were the DEMUs always the same way round? Or was there extraction equipment in position for whichever end of the units each power car happened to be?

  223. Robert Butlin says:

    There were extractor fans at coaches 1,3,4 and 6. All worked well until near the end when some units became two coach only, making an extractor needed at coaches 2 and/or 5 as well. Not common, but Victoria fumed a good deal in such cases.

    Also extractor fans were on platforms 18 and 19 only. I do have vague memories of an Uckfiled set not in these platforms on the odd occasion, which also did not help the atmosphere.

  224. Anonymous says:

    The fume extraction kit at Victoria was done in such a way that it didn’t matter which way round the unit was – both ends were covered so to speak. Provision was made for both a single 3 car unit or two units in multiple, but nothing longer.

    The extractors resemble smoke hoods (as used to be fitted to steam locomotive sheds) as the DEMU exhaust emits from the centre of the roof line.

    The other factor to remember is that the 171 DMU body is longer (around 23m) than the 20m Mk1 DEMU and the exhaust pipes on a 171 come out mid train (not at the ends)

  225. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anonymous – 7 August at 21:04 – “The new 171 DMU units have totally different exhaust arrangements to the DEMUs which are completely incompatible with the fume extraction equipment at Victoria…. As 171s are barred from the central side of Victoria…”

    I’m not sure that last sentence is correct. According to Network Rail’s Sussex 2014 Timetable Planning Rules, for the Central side at Victoria, it states: “Use of Platforms: Diesel unit services and whenever possible diesel hauled trains must only use Platform 18 and 19.”

  226. RayK says:

    Can someone enlighten me as to what and where (with some precision) this is
    It appears to be foundations for equipment with the stairs and platform at the rear for access. Perhaps it looks familiar to somebody.

  227. Greg Tingey says:

    Anonymous & others.
    Where will the 442’s go then?
    Old tech or not, they are useful people-carriers, especially on longer routes.
    Back to Waterloo?
    Don’t think you could fit them for 25kV without great expense, though.

  228. unravelled says:

    RayK, the arch (no 62?) is one of those on Silwood St, near the junction with Eugenia Rd. A general view can be seen on Google streetview. There are several cables dangling from the viaduct above, and what appears to be some standard lineside trunking installed at the far side, so I assume it will be used for some form of control electronics. I’ve taken other pictures earlier, but am not sure if they were uploaded to flickr. Incidentally the plywood back wall can be seen from the other side in some of the most recent demoliton pictures.

  229. timbeau says:

    They have been proposed for the Transpennine route
    presumably in push-pull mode. (remember that although the units are only about 25 years old, the traction equipment is twenty years older, having been recovered from the 4REPs)

  230. RayK says:

    @PoP 7 August at 15:20
    ‘I have modified the text of the article.’
    If I am not mistaken you have concluded that the already constructed walls are not the box walls. If this is indeed so I had expected this title of the picture to change.
    ‘Wall of diveunder box. Most of it is below tracked level.’
    Whilst you have revised the text below the picture the text above still says ‘ . . . one of the main side walls for the diveunder box was being cast.’.
    Having looked at the photographs I now think that the walls that they show are there initially to retain the existing trackbed. Something similar has been done at LBG where they have demolished arches close to tracks.
    Looking at the Structures rendering on Page 68 of ‘the usual Thameslink Presentation slides’ I wonder if the walls we can now see are the same as those to the right (North?) of SS402. If so, then they will end up retaining forces from the opposite direction from now. This would also explain why they are so substantial. It also makes sense to make one construction to do two jobs.

    [I have reworded it. Please see if that is satisfactory. PoP]

  231. RayK says:

    Unravelled. Thanks for the location identity etc.. In Google Street view (dated April 2015) the concrete base walls are just visible. There is however no sign of the metal steps and platform. Looking down the road shows us that the arches are numbered like houses so this one is 64. I can now identify the arch from the other end/side and see that the demolition is of complete viaduct width as the edge showing is brickwork rather than fill.

  232. Anonymously says:

    @timbeau……what loco is going to be doing the pushing/pulling? In effect the 442 will become MkIII coaches (albeit with plug doors)!

    I travelled past the Bermondsey dive-under construction site today…..very impressive to see a site I’ve known from childhood behind numerous train windows transform before my eyes!

  233. James Forbes says:


    Looks like the arch is being prepared for a Relocatable Equipment Building (REB) – there are several of these housing signalling equipment in arches on the low level.

  234. JimS says:

    On fume extraction at Victoria, you could of course smell a DEMU anywhere in the station! Class 171s obviously have far cleaner visible exhaust, though I am unsure about the extent of reduction invisible pollutants. I presume that someone has worked out that extractors are still required?

  235. timbeau says:

    The Transpennine bid invitation does not specify the motive power for the 442s in push pull mode.
    I would guess that the 442s, like the 4REPs from which their electrical bits came, were compatible with other EP-fitted stock, classes 41x, 42x, 43x, and classes 33/1 and 73. In theory, then they could be powered off the “juice” as they are by a class 33/1 or 73 loco.
    However, only three class 33s are still licenced for main line use, and none of them are the push-pull fitted 33/1 subclass.
    As for class 73, in original condition they can only muster 600hp in diesel mode. A number are being converted with bigger engines but it is unclear whether they will still be EP-compatible: apart from the 442s there is now no call for this capability.

    More likely is that, along with removal of the traction equipment, the electrical equipment would be modified to work as normal mark 3 hauled stock, in which case they can work with quite a number of modern types – classes 67, 68 and 90 all have regular push-pull turns with Arriva Trains Wale, Scotrail, Chiltern, and Anglia.

  236. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – at least one bidder for TLK/Southern considered the 442/cl 67 combo for Uckfield, for which it was quite an attractive business proposition apparently, so why not TPE?

  237. Fandroid says:

    Concerning the discussion about the future for class 442, I have often sat in other Mk3-based units with button-operated doors, such as the diesel 158s and 159s and thought what lovely loco-hauled coaches they would make, free from all that underfloor roaring.

  238. David C S Bartlett says:

    Re.Southwark Park Station. The tone of both PoP article, and the link to the Ian visit seem to suggest some attempt at preservation – without actually spelling it out.
    Observing it yesterday, the north side has some architectural features – all bricked up openings and tinned up doors actually carefully painted with latest graffiti removed.
    On the south side the facade remains very rough with with much interior (but not I think preservation), work continuing. Maybe there’s a use for what must be a gigantic space.
    I see no descriptive sign at all of the heritage nature of this site. Contrast this with nearby Spa Road which has Egyptian columns picked out in the underpass’ coloured illumination and descriptive boards aplenty.

  239. timbeau says:

    The narrow vestibule-end doors make for quiet travel and more seats, but at the expense of long dwell times, making the 442s unsuitable for services with frequent stops like the Uckfield line, unless there are only a handful of people using each stop. (Look at a crush-loaded 153 unloading to see the problem). Even on Gatwick Express, the time taken boarding and alighting with bulky luggage through the narrow doors makes them unwieldy. (the swing doors on the loco-hauled variant are much wider)
    Original design swing door (note the position of the four hinges “round the corner”)
    Chiltern plug door
    Class 442 plug door

    @Fandroid – the only mark 3-based dmus are the 150s (and the prototype 210 demus) . The 158s and 159s have very little in common with a Mark 3 -indeed Class 158s were the first British essay in recent times in building dmus from aluminium.

    [I have let this comment through with reservations though I may be subsequently overruled.

    We seem to be going off-course again. I did a search of all comments that contained “442” and an amazing number were by timbeau. If timbeau, or anyone else, wants to write an article on the 442s, seeing as they attract so much comment, then that might be a good idea. Otherwise I think we need to avoid introducing a discussion on 442s to an amazingly diverse number of topics. PoP]

  240. timbeau says:

    In my defence m’lud, I didn’t raise the question on this thread (that was GTR Driver @ 1844) but was answering queries by others. But it does seem that this thread is more prone than most to drift: maybe that reflects the wide ramifications of this project, far away from SE16

  241. Pedantic of Purley says:


    To be a bit more sympathetic, I think both the Thameslink Programme and Crossrail have all sorts of insidious consequences that do mean that a lot of topics can have some plausible relevance. In fact the team that are sorting out the diveunder are also responsible for upgrading the bridges which means higher line speeds which means, ahem, acceleration of less well performing rolling stock becomes more critical. I am just concerned we are repeating the same old arguments.

  242. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @PoP, timbeau: Surely an article on the 442’s should concentrate on how they could be used both for the BML2 and the Bakerloo extension to Lewes via the Bluebell? 😉

  243. Graham H says:

    @Southern heights – some readers may have thought you had just come out as an extendador…

  244. Malcolm says:

    timbeau says “it does seem that this thread is more prone than most to drift”.

    Maybe so. Or maybe all threads are roughly equally prone to drift, but because it is moderator policy to strive more valiantly against drift in the newest threads, the drifting (and its being striven-against) is currently more obvious in this one.

  245. zin92 says:

    You talk about the ramp being used by “those trains that will in future depart from Charing Cross to go to Lewisham platform 4 and onward to Blackheath”.

    Isn’t the ramp also the means by which trains will get from Lewisham platform 3 to London Charing Cross? As per slide 41 of the following presentation, the ramp is reversible and any other route will cause conflicts.


  246. Pedantic of Purley says:


    That move would be perfectly possible as the line up the ramp is, in fact, reversible.

    But there would be little point in doing so. Running it bi-directionally in normal use would reduce capacity and add complexity. Besides there is little point. If an up train is at Lewisham going to Charing Cross it can use the Tanners Hill flydown without conflict at Lewisham Junction if coming from platform 1. If coming from platform 3 then there is going to be some conflict anyway so one might as well use the flydown and get it onto the up Charing Cross line as soon as possible.

    It is in the down direction (away from London) that the route via the ramp is really useful. I suspect the up direction is just for planned engineering works and emergency use.

  247. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @PoP: but is that only because the rest of the lines are not reversible? It has been explained to me in the past, that treating a double track line as being two single tracks (with the appropriate signalling and points) in fact gives greater capacity than a simpler up/down arrangememt…

    @Lord Dawlish: this was only to illustrate the ridiculity of the many proposals involving the 442’s. My only crayonista idea is entirely not relevant to this thread, however it involves New Cross Gate to Stratford via a certain well known location and destined via a (currently) closed staion to somewhere North East.

  248. Malcolm says:

    @SHLR There may be particular circumstances where “treating a double track line as being two single tracks … gives greater capacity than a simpler up/down arrangememt…“, but I cannot imagine this being true as a general rule.

    Although I suppose you could consider pedestrian behaviour on a pavement wide enough for two people as a sort of demonstrator of the idea; on such a pavement people do not stick to a single stream when there happens to be no-one coming the other way. Is that what you had in mind?

    But this model, plus your mention of “appropriate … points” tends to suggest that any extra capacity would come at a probably unaffordable cost in reliability, due to the need for many more sets of points.

  249. zin92 says:

    @PoP: I think that you’re right for trains from Lewisham Platform 3 to Charing Cross.

    But what would happen for Thameslink trains travelling from Lewisham Platform 3 to Blackfriars please? As far I can see, they couldn’t be routed via the Tanners Hill flydown.


  250. Edgepedia says:

    zin92, the current proposals do NOT include any Thameslink trains travelling via Lewisham.

  251. zin92 says:

    @Edgepedia: Ah, slide 5 of the deck that I linked to in an earlier post says otherwise but I’m sure that your link is more up-to-date. Thanks

  252. Southern Heights (Light Railway)a says:

    @Malcolm: both the Dutch and Belgian railways normally signal lines as two singles and leave plenty of crossovers between tracks. Having travelled aplenty in both countries it is not unusual to have encountered both a modified timetable for single line working during maintenance and having overtaken a delayed local service in an IR train.

    @zin92: You’re very unlikely to ever see a Thameslink train in Lewisham.. Down Greg, timbeau, ngh!

  253. timbeau says:

    Looking at the layout, (pag 40) it will allow trains for Lewisham to get to Blackfriars – whether they go via St Johns or Tanners Hill (or indeed Nunhead!), even from Platform 9 at London Bridge if necessary. The reversible line through the diveunder would be less disruptive though.

  254. Pedantic of Purley says:


    A perpetual problem with Thameslink details has been a proliferation of out-of-date slides in many presentations that give the false impression of where routes are currently planned. There are lots of presentations about, purporting to be recent, that show trains to SouthEastern destinations – notably Dartford – via London Bridge despite that idea being dropped years ago.

    It is not just Thameslink. Always be extremely wary of slides in a presentation as quite often they are out of date. For example, go to a Crossrail presentation and there will probably be at least one slide showing Maidenhead as the planned western terminus.

    Thameslink to Southeastern via London Bridge is a seriously bad idea as things currently stand because the only way you can get paths is to take them away from existing services to Charing Cross and Cannon St.

  255. ngh says:

    The SE via LBG Thameslink services would have been via New Cross, (St Johns), Lewisham, Blackheath… on the slow lines to make best use of the limited spare capacity on the slow lines which would then presumably have allowed some of the existing paths to be freed up so potentially more capacity on the Greenwich route to Cannon Street or services through Hither Green on the fasts to Charing Cross.

    However TL2000 became TL2018 and HS1 and Crossrail have created far more alternative capacity for SE services. The final nail in the coffin will have been the confirmation that all of crossrail would get built as planned after the review early in the last Parliament – it then went very quiet on the SE via LBG Thameslink services.

    The last I heard the Thameslink Service pattern will be:
    (a picture is worth 350 words in this case…)

    2tph of the following:

    via LBG

    MML – BML All normally 12 Car
    – Bedford to Brighton
    – Bedford to Three Bridges
    – Bedford to East Grinstead (Peak Only)
    – Bedford to Littlehampton (Peak Only & Only runs in peak flow direction between Littlehampton and Three Bridges; West Hampstead and Bedford)

    ECML – BML
    – Peterborough to Horsham (12 car)
    – Cambridge to Brighton (12 car)
    – Cambridge to Tattenham Corner (8 car)
    – Welwyn Garden City to Caterham (Peak Only, 8 car & Only runs in peak flow direction between Welwyn Garden City and Finsbury Park)

    via E&C – All 8 Car

    MML – Kent
    – Luton/St Albans to Sevenoaks (Kent services start St Albans and terminate at Luton in AM peak and reverse in in evening peak.)
    – Luton/St Albans to Maidstone East (Peak Only & Kent services start St Albans and terminate at Luton in AM peak and reverse in in evening peak.)

    MML – Wimbledon Loop
    – Luton/St Albans to Sutton via Mitcham (Wimbledon Loop services start Luton and terminate at St Albans in AM peak and reverse in the evening peak. )
    – Luton/St Albans to Sutton via Wimbledon (Wimbledon Loop services start Luton and terminate at St Albans in AM peak and reverse in the evening peak. )

  256. Robert Butlin says:

    Are the Caterham/Tattenham Corner services expected to stop at South Croydon and Purley Oaks?

  257. straphan says:

    Indeed, it is standard practice for railways in most European countries to install their own version of SIMBIDS* on two-track routes for use during disruption or – sometimes – for planned moves. This also allows longer engineering works to take place on one track while keeping the other open.

    *SIMBIDS – SIMplified BI-Directional Signalling – installed e.g. on the Brighton Main Line.

  258. timbeau says:

    The service pattern is horrendously complicated, with no less than twelve different services (including the four peak only ones) and, as none of them are self contained, having the potential to disrupt everything from Gatwick Express to the Flying Scotsman. Compare with the simplicity of Crossrail, with only two branches at each end, and largely self-contained.

    Long term, expect to see it simplified to something like Cambridge/Brighton, Bedford/Maidstone, and Blackfriars/Wimbledon – all on higher frequencies – with the other destinations feeding in to Kings Cross and London Bridge. (There is a precedent – the original Thameslink lost its Guildford and Sevenoaks services after a few years).

  259. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    Could potentially effect about 40% of services in the UK if there are problems.

    The service simplification you are thinking off is very unlikely to happen on its own because you would then have to find lots of extra stock, lengthen lots of platforms and find lots of terminus capacity & paths for replacement services for all the Branch services that mostly take over existing Southern (or SE) services e.g. East Grinstead, Tattenham Corner, Caterham, Horsham, Littlehampton so 10 tph to find space for.

    Given the possibility of splitting Southern from the TSGN area after all the work changing anything could be quite difficult.

  260. timbeau says:

    I would guess that the simplification I had in mind would be, for example, running a frequent Cambridge – Brighton service through the core (replacing both the fast and slow services on those routes), leaving space at Kings Cross and Victoria/ London Bridge for the displaced Peterborough, Cat/Tat, East Grinstead, Horsham etc services.

  261. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    Unfortunately I can’t see that working as the Cambridge slows are 8 car due to platform lenght and there aren’t any additional paths on the southern ECML so the space at King’s Cross isn’t usable (but is very useful in case of disruption) and 8 car Brighton doesn’t make sense capacity wise.

    As soon as you look at practicalities you realise what they have decided is very sensible.

  262. Pseudonymous says:

    @ngh: Verily, I was surprised enough as it implies Great Northern have either surrendered the existing 2tph Cambridge – King’s Cross fasts to Thameslink, reducing the soon-to-be-2tph King’s Lynn extension to a shuttle, or found another 2tph through Welwyn to run those as extra services.

  263. straphan says:

    @Pseudonymous: what ‘surrender’ are you speaking of? It is all one franchise…

    The fast Cambridge services (non-stop London to Cambridge, then on to King’s Lynn) will continue to operate out of King’s Cross, as the capacity constraints around Ely and on the single line to King’s Lynn would pose too much of a performance risk for Thameslink.

    @timbeau: The ‘final’ Thameslink timetable essentially combines existing service groups that currently terminate at London Bridge/King’s Cross and adds a few peak extras on top. The point of this was to provide a cross-London service to as many destinations as reasonably possible. As ngh said, ‘simplifying’ that would require you to find a lot of capacity not just at London termini, but also on their approaches – not running trains from Horsham or Peterborough through the Core means you would still need to find paths for them alongside the Thameslink trains into London Bridge and King’s Cross. While the actual Southern portion of the station at London Bridge will be fairly empty outside the peaks, there is no spare capacity from East Croydon to get more trains to London Bridge alongside the Thameslink trains.

  264. Pseudonymous says:

    So where does the 2tph Brighton-Cambridge come from in ngh’s list above? You can’t both be right.

    If you were, you’d have 2tph 8-car slow services redirected from KGX down the Thameslink core, 2tph new 12-car semi/fast services the Thameslink core, and the current 2tph Cambridge/King’s Lynn fasts still going into KGX. This is 6tph through Welwyn, up from the existing 4.

  265. T33 says:

    What makes it even more complex, is that the Bedford – Three Bridges and Peterborough to Horsham Services will in effect make up the Redhill Route (Purley/Coulsdon/Merstham/Redhill/Horley) trains that currently ply from London Bridge roughly every 15 minutes off peak will become because of the timings North of London an 8 minute / 22 minute gap which is not really as useful and definitely not turn up and go.

    [NB – timings based on original proposals for Thameslink timetable being introduced in December on the BML – still being consulted on so hopefully will change]

  266. Paul says:

    Pseudonymous 12:28

    The DfT’s interactive map here:

    does show 6 tph from Cambridge through Welwyn in the off-peak. You need to mouse over ‘Cambridge’ for the text description to pop up.

  267. RayK says:

    In this Picture from Unravelled’s collection
    We can see that there are vertical walls running lengthwise along the viaduct over the arches between the fill. Was this done for strength or were the viaducts added track by track?

  268. Southern Heights says:

    @RayK: I think that was the point where Kent Fast/CHX lines diverged onto their own viaduct…

  269. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Straphan / Ngh – two things strike me from your comments about the timetable structure. It may well be carefully crafted but it must be highly vulnerable to dislocation if train deliveries go astray, depots / sidings aren’t ready or something else in the giant jigsaw of project stages goes wrong. It seems you can only run today’s set up or the future Thameslink one with not a lot of room for change because you knock out services on whole areas of the network. I understand the Thameslink timetable will become the governing factor for the ECML timetable all the way to Edinburgh and beyond. That strikes me as completely ridiculous even if I understand the “reasoning” behind it.

    Secondly this overly complex pattern of multiple half hourly services is likely to be stuffed full of annoying compromises and daft joint headways. I see T33 has already highlighted one such example. While I understand your remarks about capacity limitations it just seems that billions of pounds of expenditure will simply move us from today’s inflexibility to another, slightly more frequent form of inflexibility in the future. I assume there will be a decent frequency across the core but I doubt I’ll be terribly interested if the headway at Finsbury Park is something daft like 7 then 23 minutes. It seems that the Thameslink service structure will be the antithesis of what City Hall / TfL are now thinking about for national rail services.

    Service recovery will be a real task for the service controllers if the future Thameslink service collapses due to asset failures or other incidents.

  270. straphan says:

    – The current ‘Cambridge Flyer’ (KGX – non-stop to Cambridge, then King’s Lynn) will have the same routeing, but following the doubling of Ely North Junction this service will be 2tph to King’s Lynn

    – The ‘semi-fast’ KGX to Cambridge (first stop Hitchin or Stevenage – from memory) gets combined with what is currently the 2tph London Bridge – Brighton

    – The service that currently runs from KGX to Letchworth (first stop Welwyn GC, then Welwyn North and all <> stations to Letchworth) gets extended to Cambridge (all stations from Welwyn GC) and is combined with what is currently the 2tph London Bridge – Tattenham Corner service (runs fast London Bridge to Norwood Jn).

    @WW: Rest assured, with 8tph in the peak, the frequency at Finsbury Park will be somewhat more even. In general, you are right, though. Ops Control will really need to up its game with regard to service recovery. To help them, Thameslink trains generally have more generous turnround times (15 minutes is not uncommon) at the ‘country end’ termini to absorb delays.

    The headways – believe or not – aren’t that bad. Off-peak there is an even 15-minute frequency across the MML, decent (if not entirely even) headways on the BML, with a slightly worse picture on ECML.

    With regard to the ‘fixing’ of the ECML timetable, it is hardly the Thameslink Programme’s fault that the ICEC and TSGN bids were submitted independently of each other and as a result trains ended up on top of each other. It is also very hard to blame Thameslink for not doing anything about Welwyn Viaduct for generations.

  271. Greg Tingey says:

    … not doing anything about Welwyn Viaduct for generations.
    It’s not so much the viaduct, ast the couple of miles north of there, through Welwyn N & the two tunnels that is the problem.
    Quadrupling from immediately N of the viaduct through to where it goes back to “4” before Knebworth would do a great deal.

  272. RayK says:

    @Greg Tingey
    ‘It’s not so much the viaduct, as the couple of miles north of there, through Welwyn N & the two tunnels that is the problem.’
    Well its both really. It seem to me that the only answer that is likely to satisfy most people is to bypass both by going down with the fast lines. It will cost: but then so will any solution. Plain tunnel with no station shouldn’t be too terrible though I don’t know what the geology is like.

  273. Graham H says:

    @RayK- NR were quoting the need for a 10 mile tunnel to EC bidders last year, but then they were also quoting a silly cost. It’s not obvious to me, at least, why a Welwyn avoiding tunnel needs to be so long – perhaps half the cited length? If so, the cost for a twin bore plain line tunnel 5 m long should be about £ 1bn +the cost of some connecting/slewing work. Gain – maybe 4-6 fast paths/hour? That’s probably too far off thread now…

    [This has been responded to by RayK, more appropriately in East Coast Mainline Routes and Branches. To go that comment click (or tap) here. Any more comments on Welwyn here will get deleted. PoP]

  274. timbeau says:

    Maybe my Cambridge/Brighton suggestion was not the most appropriate.
    What’s best for long distance use is quite different from what is needed for a metro operation – no-one would expect to put up with class 378 seating arrangements on a London to Manchester service, any more than a Pendolino would be able to keep time on the Overground. The class 700s, like the S stock, and the 345s are compromised as a result of trying to be jacks of all trades.
    Too late now, but if a connection had been put in at West Hampstead, some (or even all!) Met services could have run through the Thameslink core (still serving Kings Cross and Farringdon, of course) and out to suitable suburban destinations in the SE, allowing space for Edgware Road terminators to continue through Baker Street, and letting longer distance Brighton/Cambridge/Peterborough services continue to serve termini where they don’t have to be formed of metro-type stock and passengers can have a better environment to wait for their trains.

    Can anyone explain to me why Kings Lynn needs 2tph to London? Even with 4-car units, that’s enough to evacuate the entire town in less than a week. You don’t have to look far to find larger places with fewer than two trains a day.

  275. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – and yet, whenever I go to KL off-peak,those 4 car sets are about 50-75% full – maybe the Lynnites love to travel? {Again, with apologies for thread drift – the strategic point is, surely, that there isn’t a happy pairing of termini that deals with either (a) substantial end-to-end flows, and (b) resolves the metro versus RER problem. Given the relatively short stretch that forms the TLK core, it’s possible, I suppose that you could tackle it with a mixture of fasts that performed a metro function solely between KX and LBR and stopping services that perform the metro function to a radius of not more than, say,15-20 miles out. We are nearly there with what is on offer but not quite. Too late to do anything about the stock,however.

    CR2 critics will notice that, by contrast, its central metro core is much longer and so forces everything to perform a metro function regardless of what it does further out.

  276. Kingstoncommuter says:

    “Too late to do anything about the stock,however.”
    But in say 10-15 years (at a guess) the seating layout could be changed when the stock comes up for refurbishment.

    “CR2 critics will notice that, by contrast, its central metro core is much longer and so forces everything to perform a metro function regardless of what it does further out.”
    Does this matter though as the plans are for it to be a suburban service only going slightly outside Greater London?

    “letting longer distance Brighton/Cambridge/Peterborough services continue to serve termini”
    Although the fastest trains to these destinations will continue to serve termini at Victoria and King’s Cross.

  277. Graham H says:

    @kingstoncommuter – there would certainly be such a window of opportunity but I fear that the clamour will be about loss of seats if there is any change – do not expect a rational response! As to CR2, already the Syren songs can be heard in favour Woking and Guildford and Stansted, and Cambridge and Reading will surely join the chorus ere long despite CR1 and TLK.

  278. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Kingston Commuter / Graham H – the class 700s won’t have been paid for in 15 years time as they’re under a PFI deal aren’t they? I can imagine doing something to the trains seating / capacity will trigger all sorts of contractual nightmares – assuming there is some contractual reference to such. Even something like the “spare space in the train” software would need altering if you have different seating / standee space. “Kerching” if your name is Siemens. 🙂

  279. Graham H says:

    @WW – yes, it is a PFI deal and, yes, I dare say change would come at a cost, as usual. As with the IEP, we are stuck with yesterday’s “good idea” for a generation or two…

  280. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Lord Dawlish: considering the amount of diesel stock on the ECML now (having just recently ventured to check to see if Hadrians wall is intact), I’m afraid that if the willingness/political will isn’t there to electrify lots of branches (Hull, Harrogate, you name it), then this remains the best (we have a spare bathtub) solution….

    Sad, but very true, unfortunately the politicians [I’ll pre-snip here shall I?]……..

  281. Sad Fat Dad says:

    @timbeau. Your question “can anyone explain to me why King’s Lynn needs 2tph to London” would benefit with the supplementary “instead of 1tph at 8 cars?”

  282. Graham H says:

    @SHLR – Lord Dawlish writes: “Is this in relation to that parallel thread, recently come alive again, about ECML?” If so, then non-electrification doesn’t matter – even in the future there will be plenty of diesel sets available to fill fast paths – if required. It’s just that they won’t be as comfortable as HSTs… (don’t you just love that underfloor thrum?)

  283. Greg Tingey says:

    don’t you just love that underfloor thrum?

  284. Graham H says:

    @Greg T – nor me. (A little while ago,I did some work for the Palace on improving the cost-effectiveness of the Royal Train(s) and the discussion with courtiers led inevitably to the possible use of non-specific rolling stock. All those present quickly agreed that we could hardly have “The Royal DMU” for the reasons you imply….)

  285. Kingstoncommuter says:

    @Graham H
    “It’s just that they won’t be as comfortable as HSTs…”
    As someone from a younger generation with next to no memory of British Rail, I am confused as to why HSTs have always been so popular (maybe because I have only ever been on those run be FGW). And is the underfloor thrum exclusively a DMU thing or just any multiple unit because I don’t think I’ve ever really noticed it?

  286. timbeau says:

    @Kingston Commuter
    You do notice a bit more motor whine in the power car of an emu, (and the odd circuit breaker going off) but this is not really comparable with sitting on top of several hundred horsepower of diesel engine, as you are in any modern dmu, from Pacers to Voyagers, and even, I believe, the hybrid IEPs) .

    1st generation dmus also had underfloor engines, but usually had at least one trailer car. The Southern demus and Class 210 prototypes had similar issues, although the engine was next to the passenger accommodation in the power car, but again the majority of passengers were in unpowered vehicles. The HST is the only British dmu to have no passengers in the power cars.

    The Queen travels to Sandringham on class 365 emus. But of course the Royal Train often goes “off the juice”. Converting one of the under-used class 325 Royal Mail units might be possible, as they are designed for both electric modes and also for diesel loco haulage. (And they already have EIIR emblazoned on them!)

  287. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – and HM used to use the 317s a while back, although the men in blue thought that it was too great a security risk for her to travel in an open saloon, so a specially manufactured car “end” was installed halfway down the carriage… Quite what the punters thought when they entered a coach which seemed to have contracted in size suddenly, when viewed from the interior, is not recorded.

    The mixed-mode IEPs will, alas, have distributed underfloor diesel traction. [I once asked Chris Green why he had gone for distributed underfloor power on the Voyagers, instead of, say, a single power car; his reply was that he didn’t trust a set with only one power car not to fail in traffic, whereas multi-engined sets could at least limp home – a serious indictment of UK diesel reliability…]

    @Kingston commuter – just try, on your own franchise, a 159 to Woking (or even Clapham) and compare the noise with that on a 450/444. I don’t think the love of HSTs has much to do with a nostalgia for things BR – for the passenger, they remain the quietest and smoothest ride available with diesel traction (but, yes, GW seating is awful in second class – quite liked the refurbed first class cars, tho’)

  288. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    ” for the passenger, [HSTs] remain the quietest and smoothest ride available with diesel traction”

    They also have more space, not having the pinched-in sides of a Pendolino or Mark 4 (or indeed a Voyager) required for tilt clearance. (It is unlikely now that the Mark 4s will ever have tilt fitted)

  289. Pedantic of Purley says:

    but, yes, GW seating is awful in second class – quite liked the refurbed first class cars, tho

    I have a theory that those who travel in first class will always refer to standard class as second class even though it hasn’t been called that for many years!

  290. timbeau says:

    My grandmother always referred to it as Third Class, even thirty years after it was renamed.

  291. Mark Townend says:

    @Graham H, 17 August 2015 at 12:05
    “The mixed-mode IEPs will, alas, have distributed underfloor diesel traction”
    Not for every car though. The driving end vehicles of all variants are unpowered like the South Eastern 395s.

    “GW seating is awful in second class – quite liked the refurbed first class cars, tho’”
    Standard is comfy I find, but one’s view is severely restricted by the high backs. The biggest practical disadvantage is you can’t see where any vacant seats are without actually walking through the car. With the original IC seating, a quick overview from the end door could appraise the situation instantly, although the odd small person might escape detection!

  292. A couple of pertinent comments by Captain Deltic about Welwyn and the East Coast Mainline have been combined and moved here.

    I couldn’t change the the name of the commenter without a lot of fuss – WordPress isn’t very friendly when it comes to moving comments so they are there under my name.

    A couple of other comments about the East Coast Mainline and HSTs got trashed. OK, they weren’t actually on the subject of Welwyn but I decided retrospectively that when I said any more comments posted about Welwyn here would be trashed I really meant Welwyn and anywhere north of it.

  293. Anonymously says:

    @straphan/Pseudonymous……IIRC, the Cambridge semi-fasts stop at Finsbury Park, Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth, Royston and Cambridge. All can accept 12-car trains, I think, so making these into Cambridge-Brighton services through the TL core shouldn’t be a problem.

    @timbeau/Sad Fat Dad……passengers on the Fen Line have been clamouring for 2tph to King’s Lynn for years! This has to wait for the Ely North Junction upgrade (rationalised I think at the time of electrification in the early 90s), which is due to happen under the new franchise by 2018. As I’ve said before in another thread, there isn’t enough juice for anything more than 4-car trains north of Ely, so 8-car trains are currently a no-no (and in any case, 2 tph with four cars beats 1 tph with eight cars hands down).

    @ Kingston Commuter/Graham H….too bloody right about FGW HST standard class! When I made a return trip from Reading to Truro some years ago, I paid extra for First Class rather than suffer the cramped conditions for a four hour journey! As for underfloor diesel traction, this weekend I visited the Epping Ongar Railway (well recommended to all here) and travelled in a Class 205 DEMU in the passenger car without the engine……I was shocked by how quiet and smooth it was, compared to the underfloor rumbling I’m otherwise used to on today’s stock!

    @ er, Everyone?…..Back on topic, does anyone know the answer to my earlier question about proposed SEML trains through Orpington using the TL core, and whether these were sacrificed for the Wimbledon loop trains? I’m not imagining this……I distinctly remember reading about these proposed services (originating from Ashford, I think) on the Railtrack TL2000 website (yes it was that long ago!), and being excited at the thought of direct trains between Orpington and Cambridge (where I was studying at the time). Fifteen years later, and I’m still waiting….

  294. timbeau says:

    “passengers on the Fen Line have been clamouring for 2tph to King’s Lynn for years! ”

    Doubtless they have – just as the city on the other side of the fens has been clamouring for more than one train a day (or rather a night), or the north of England has been clamouring for faster transpennine services, or the Wimbledon Loop have been clamouring for a better service than 2tph, or my local station has been clamouring to be re-zoned, or (to get back on topic) SE commuters have been clamouring for 12-car trains………………

    Why, of all those claims, should Kings Lynn be the only one to actually get what it asks for? Are there really 24 times as many people wanting to travel to Kings Lynn as there are to Lincoln?

  295. Sad Fat Dad says:

    @Anonymously. The power is sorted, and 8 car trains do run up there now, albeit they can’t call at some of the stations due to platform lengths. But when the 377s move there, with SDO….

  296. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – history and operational constraints are the explanation, I suspect. It was easy operationally for NSE to serve KL and the management was keen, whereas Lincoln was at the end of a Regional service and was technically difficult to provide with a through service. And so it has continued ever since. Nor has DfT been interested in improving matters – the Lincoln through service was punted at bidders very much as an optional extra.

  297. WAGN says:


    Cambridge semi-fasts mostly also call at Baldock, which is currently just 8-car length. I presume the locals would be most unhappy to have stops added throughout Hertfordshire just because the semi-fasts are being run by 12-car units. There’s a road bridge right at the London end of the platforms, but IIRC there is plenty of space at the country end for extension.

  298. Anonymously says:

    @WAGN….Oops, my mistake. I’d completely forgotten about Baldock (probably because I can’t remember the last time I was on a train that actually stopped there!). So either, as you said, they will have to extend the platforms, or the semi-fasts no longer stop there (which I’m guessing wouldn’t be hugely popular with the locals).

    @Sad Fat Dad…..I was just going by what I read from the Fen Users’ Line Association (who have a noticeboard all to themselves at Cambridge station) about the power constraints, and also I had never noticed any train with more than four cars travel north of Ely. Is there enough juice though for two trains per hour with eight cars using the line simultaneously, or only for one train (i.e. in the peaks in one direction)?

    @timbeau…I sympathise with your envy of KL’s train service. In addition to what Graham H says, may I additionally point out (1) the substantial commuter traffic from KL/Ely and elsewhere along the line to London (otherwise why does AGA run peak-hour services to/from Liverpool Street?); and (2) the benefit of having a passengers’ association for the line to lobby for better services. If you care so much about Lincoln’s neglect, might I suggest you establish a ‘Lincoln/London Link’ association to campaign for more direct services? 😉

  299. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Anonymously: No services from Orpington to the core, remember that in the peak (07:14-09:09 as it was before January) no mainline services stop in Orpington as SE are too scared of attracting too many customers and clutter up the aisles, which could upset “Angry from Tunbridge Wells”…

    Never seen anything to indicate that would change…

  300. Anonymously says:

    @Southern Heights…..what about off-peak?

  301. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – finding a path for a start

  302. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights


    Re Anomously,

    Yes there were SEML Orpington services in TL 2000, with no mention after 2008 so they effectively got killed by HS1’s Javelin???

    There were 6 tph Orpington:

    2tph Tunbridge Wells via SEML fast from Orpington – LBG
    2tph Paddock Wood via SEML fast from Orpington – LBG
    2tph Orpington all stops via Catford Loop

    The other 4 tph Catford Loop services survive from that vintage survive
    2 Maidstone East via E&C and Catford Loop
    2 Sevenoaks via E&C and Catford Loop

    At that point it was 18tph via LBG, 6tph via E&C.
    Many issue will have caused change for example the Uckfields swapping from Victoria to LBG and the 4tph stopping TL services to East Croydon being squeezed out bu London Overground possibly reducing 2tph and the even older Littlehampton proposal had disappeared from has since re-emerged and appears in 2018 so that has soaked up the other 2tph.

    The 2tph Orpington stopping TL will have been killed by the Wimbledon loop. But the Vic – Orpington via Herne Hill did gain 2tph and I’m sure there were a couple of other tweaks too.

    The Dartford Services have also been in and out of the plans over the years usually as an either / or with the 4tph SEML services.

    The 2 track section South of Orpington is bit of nightmare so the planned TL services are routed via Swanley which also probably reduces potential conflicts at Chislehurst.

  303. Anonymously says:

    Lol….we’d better stop talking about this before the moderators have a fit!

    [snip. And I have already had that fit. Anything related to Newark, Lincoln etc. has been deleted. If it had been posted on the article on the East Coast Main Line I would have let it stay – though other moderators may have been harsher. PoP]

    @ngh…So Orpington’s proposed TL stopping services got displaced by Wimbleloop? I knew it! 🙁 I fondly remember travelling by TL from Orpington into Central London as a child when it was first introduced, and was disappointed when these services were withdrawn (leaving just a handful of peak services so that TL trains could be stabled in the sidings there). Mind you, those stoppers would probably have gone to the MML rather than the ECML. Did the proposed services have any specific northern destinations in mind?

    I doubt that HS1 services had anything to do with the disappearance of the planned SEML TL services…..if they terminated at Tun Wells and Paddock Wood, as you suggest, they would go nowhere near the lines served by SE Highspeed. So these jwere sacrificed as the required paths through London Bridge/Blackfriars (through the Bermondsey dive-under….hey-ho, we’re back on topic!) got used up by other services?

  304. ngh says:

    Re Anonymously,

    …but if you divert some passengers from beyond Ashford on to the HS1 services you can then add more stops to the non HS1 services or re-jig service patterns (hence the complaints about slowing down existing SE services by adding more stops at the time HS1 was introduced and forcing passengers onto HS1.)

    The Orpington stopper would have been 8 car, SEML services 12 car which might give a clue as to possible destinations and stopping patterns.

  305. Graham Feakins says:

    @ngh – “But the Vic – Orpington via Herne Hill did gain 2tph” – That was nothing to do with TL per se but simply because paths were released when Eurostar transferred from Waterloo to St. Pancras.

    @Anonymously – “I fondly remember travelling by TL from Orpington into Central London as a child when it was first introduced” – But they took the Catford Loop route and not via Herne Hill, didn’t they? I think that they ‘became’ today’s Sevenoaks services.

  306. ngh says:

    Re Graham,

    but an equivalent Thameslink service would have needed Eurostar to go to St Pancras as well???

    The original via Orpingtons got diverted via Bat and Ball to Sevenoaks instead relatively early in TL history.

  307. Graham Feakins says:

    @ngh – “but an equivalent Thameslink service would have needed Eurostar to go to St Pancras as well???” – I don’t understand this comment.

    The Vic. – Orpington services were long crying out to be increased from 2tph to 4tph, which indeed they were during at least the peaks in pre-Eurostar days but partly compensated since and until the end of Eurostar on the third rail by stopping domestic fast trains at Beckenham Junction and Herne Hill.

  308. Anonymously says:

    @Graham Freakins/ngh….yes, they took the Catford Loop. When TL started, I think the Catford Loop had services both to Orpington (terminating there) and to Sevenoaks via Swanley. The Orpington terminators were then briefly extended to Sevenoaks down the main line, before they were withdrawn (around 1991/2?), leaving just the Sevenoaks via Swanley TL services until they too were withdrawn (along with Guildford services) in 1994. Only the Brighton and Wimbleloop services survived this cull, with Sevenoaks (and peak-hour Orpington) services via the Catford loop morphing into South Eastern services terminating at Blackfriars/City Thameslink. I’m guessing that TL was so successful, that a decision was made to concentrate services along these lines since they were the busiest (with the added advantage of making the TL franchise more attractive to bidders) until TL2000 could be implemented to allow more services through the core.

  309. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anonymously at 03:27 – I haven’t been called that since my school days (smile).

  310. ngh says:

    Re Anonymously,

    See SFD’s comment from one of the other threads today on the effect of HS1 on existing SE services

    “and the fast services from beyond Ashford have been replaced by not-as-fast services from Tunbridge Wells.”

  311. ngh says:

    Re Anonynously,

    PS The Guildford services were effectively scuppered by LO services on the slow lines so they couldn’t get a path through Windmill Bridge Jn to West Croydon & beyond so have ended up as one of the CAT or TAT services instead.

  312. Southern Heights says:

    From where I see it, after the introduction of HS1 services the following changes were made:

    CHX – Ashford daytime services (calling at Petts Wood, Orpington, Sevenoaks, Hildenborough, then all stops, to Ashford) were canned.
    CHX – Tunbridge Wells services introduced (not calling at Petts Wood so they got a worse service)
    CHX – Ashford (and beyond) no longer call at Orpington except for 18:40 and after 21:00 or so

    So HS1 has been a real bummer for people in Petts Wood and those living between Tonbridge and Ashford, why?

  313. Pedantic of Purley says:

    So HS1 has been a real bummer for people in Petts Wood and those living between Tonbridge and Ashford, why?

    In the case of Petts Wood I think they were just historically lucky they had this fast service. I can think of no reason why Petts Wood should be singled out for a fast service from a station that logically should have, at best, a semi-fast service and a metro all-stations service would not be unreasonable.

    It may well be that if HS1 domestic services never happened they would have got rid of the Petts Wood stop anyway. It seems it was a complete anachronism and one could well imagine it going if it prevented longer distance passengers boarding their train in the evening. Operationally it doesn’t seem to bright a thing to do as you have to block the fast line through Petts Wood whilst passengers board or alight so each stop at Petts Wood probably required two train paths.

    Those between Tonbridge and Ashford still have a half-hourly service which seems quite reasonable to me. If they once had better I would suggest that it was just fortunate that trains were travelling on that line anyway so might as well stop there. They certainly weren’t run with a primary aim of serving these stations.

    The five stations involved are not exactly busy and Pluckley is very quiet indeed. About the same passenger numbers as some of the quietest stations in London. Besides, you could argue they are actually better off as not only do they have a half-hourly service to Charing Cross, they also have the option of catching a train to Ashford and then getting an even faster train to St Pancras.

  314. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Petts Wood saw a doubling of service to Victoria. The Charing Cross stoppers to Ashford were simply merged with the Charing Cross fasts beyond Ashford. So no one missed out unless you want a fast train from Ashford and beyond to London Bridge / Charing Cross. But then most people seem to prefer the whizzy blue trains to StPancras.

  315. timbeau says:

    “The Guildford services were effectively scuppered by LO ”
    The Guildford services had disappeared before privatisation, more than fifteen years before LO existed. They were first cut back to Croydon, and then diverted round the loop.

  316. Phil says:

    @Southern Heights

    Also, beyond Ashford HS1 uses existing domestic lines and similar on the route through Faversham until it hits Ebbsfleet. Probably like the crossrail dilemma of extending onto SE lines, the timetable could be hit/tarnished, if SE trains get in the way. So, with a view to keeping HS1 trains on time, existing SE services have been padded to allow for waiting to let HS1 trains through at certain points. Given this then extends the overall journey time of the existing services from the far reaches of Kent you can understand why stops nearer London may have suffered. I doubt Petts Wood though was directly as a result of HS1 however.

  317. RayK says:

    RE this Unravelled photo.
    Can I see vertical coloured lines on these remainders of pillars?
    It’ll be interesting to see what they have in mind.
    They are moving steadily towards Rotherhythe New Road.

  318. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Lord Dawlish: I should have made it clear that the CHX to ashford service was interpeak only in daylight… That not withstanding the service may have had something to do with the development of Petts Wood, the Eastern, earlier part of the development, was a “luxury” development of the type we’re all familiar with, of individual houses, set out in large plots. I suspect the developer may have paid the Southern back in 1928 to build the station on the proviso that there was a fast service to London Bridge.

    This might have been inherited and left as is… However at the same time as HS1 domestic services started, the SE service from LBG to Tunbridge Wells service via Redhill transferred from SE to Southern and was cut back to Tonbridge. The rolling stock used to run this service disappeared (as did the same rolling stock running the Tonbridge/Paddock Wood – Strood service). So perhaps this canned more due to insufficient rolling stock?

    In any case the poor burghers of Petts Wood have been saddled with a cut of 2tph fast to go shopping in the West-End, as have the people of Kent (outside of Tunbridge Wells).

    @SFD: but those are on the slow lines, so no paths were gained… I also wouldn’t call a cut from 4tph, to 2tph not missing out!

    @Phil: These trains terminated at Ashford, so they wouldn’t have blocked HS1 services unless platform capacity was inadequate, which is ridiculous as the station was massively rebuilt as part of HS1…

  319. Anonymously says:

    @Southern Heights….Another consequence is fewer useful direct fast trains to the Kent Coast from Orpington (although you’re still ok if you’re going to London or down the Tun Wells/Hastings line). I had hoped this might have been maintained or even improved after the Eurostars were removed…oh well. The services to Ashford were useful for getting the Eurostar without backtracking into London (and their extensions to the coast in years past for getting to the seaside at Ramsgate/Margate), but then again Ebbsfleet International is not too far a drive away…..

  320. John B says:

    While the diverse Victoria/Blackfriars trains from Orpington are useful in rush hour for planned commutes, the alternate pattern off-peak always seemed a pain, as it it stopped turn up and go. Switching to all Victoria made more sense, as from Orpington itself a LBG change for Blackfriars allowed you to use the fasts.

    As I recall the semi-fasts including Petts Wood gave a clumsy spacing at Orpington. Once they got the tunnel south of TW sorted and got a consistent 15min gap, it was much better.

  321. John B says:

    @Anonymously, a same platform change at Sevenoaks for Ashford never seemed too much a bother, and 4 tph to BMS gave good access to the quicker route to Ramsgate along the north coast.

  322. quinlet says:

    South Eastern service planning for stations east of Ashford has suffered particularly from South Eastern’s conscious desire to force as much traffic as possible onto HS1 and services to St Pancras. Services to Charing Cross, particularly off-peak, have become slower with extra stops added and lengthy waits at Ashford. Prior to HS1, fast services between Charing Cross and Canterbury regularly made the journey in little more than an hour and a half, now it’s more like an hour and three quarters. More recent changes have meant there are no longer any off-peak conventional services between Dover and Ramsgate, making a trip to Charing Cross (often far more convenient than St Pancras) slower and harder still. This was also exacerbated, in the first few years after the opening of the HS1 services, with the South Eastern journey planner refusing even to accept that there were through services from east of Ashford to Charing Cross and insisting that all passengers for Charing Cross, Waterloo East or London bridge had to change at Ashford and St Pancras and then take the underground. All of which was, of course, a nice little earner.

  323. Graham H says:

    @quinlet – nice little earner it may be, but the origin of trying to force the use of HS1 goes back to DfT. The business case for HS1 didn’t stack up without the revenues from the commuter traffic, and my colleague – who’d better remain nameless – at Sir Alexander Gibb, where we both worked at the time, was duly instructed by the client (SET acting on behalf of DfT) to write a timetable that ensured that thehigh speed services were both much more attractive than the classic services and therefore capable of bearing a premium fare.

  324. Ed says:

    Probably. In London and with Crossrail, I can see all the Southeastern semi-fasts from Medway becoming all stoppers. With population growth on the Thames Gateway it may be necessary anyway, but it would further encourage people onto HS1, and also Crossrail instead of using the semi-fast trains from Medway via the three Dartford lines. Add an extra few stops, some more padding, and then hope more go onto alternatives?

  325. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Whatever the situation may have been in the past, I don’t think there is currently any need to “encourage” passengers to use HS1. There appears to be sufficiently healthy willing usage and I wonder how long it will be before they start to provide an incentive to return to the route via London Bridge for those who only use it because the route into Charing Cross is slower than it need be.

    Remember there are no spare trains and Hitachi will probably want a decent size order before building more – as would anyone else coming in with a rival offering.

  326. ngh says:

    Re PoP

    Hitachi now have factory in the UK (opening in 2 weeks time) and will be churning out 26m versions of the 395.

    They have the core order for GWML and ECML, the follow on order for GWML for the far south west (and extra options) and First Hull Trains has just issued a tender for bi-modes for their ECML services.

    They will also be churning out EMUs for scotrail.

    I’m therefore not sure a small number of identical or compatible units would be an issue.

    They would also need lots of stock to run more CHX services at 12 car and the power supplies around Tunbridge sorting if they haven’t already been.

    It would be interesting to know what the relatively costs of running a 6car vs a 12 car 395 on HS1.
    The cost of path may be quite high compared to the NR pricing model so running a longer service may make more sense on HS1.
    When I did a back of the envelope calc on SE HS1 access costs, the costs looked to be just under an order of magnitude higher than the NR equivalent, but the pricing models may be very different.

  327. Greg Tingey says:

    There’s another problem with the “success” of the HS1 medium-speed trains Ashford/Ebbsfleet – St P.
    The same problem as is already beginning to affect the Midland main line services.
    A ridiculously limited platform capacity at that terminus.
    And, as previously discussed, nowhere obvious to extend it sideways. either, if only because of where the approach tracks would have to be.

  328. Comments mentioning HS2 have been trashed. HS1 is just about acceptable.

  329. Melvyn says:

    @ Greg T Capacity at MML platforms at St Pancras International could be released if the Corby service once electrification has been completed were to be transferred to Thameslink . Something that may occur during next MML franchise leaving St Pancras to the long distance MML services.

    The pause in electrification makes one wish the plan to insert additional carriage with pantograph in Meridians had gone ahead as they could have then run to Bedford in electric mode and this could be extended as overhead moves north. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider this option?

  330. Pedantic of Purley says:


    And how would that help with limitations on platforms for HS1 which are at the other side of the station from the MML platforms? Furthermore the Midland Main Line could use any spare platform capacity itself.

    The distance from Bedford to Corby is roughly the same as St Pancras to Luton – not trivial and probably not a fun journey in 100mph rolling stock with limited seating. And to save Graham H the trouble, why not take the argument a bit further and extend Thameslink to Leicester or do the job properly and extend it to Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield?

  331. timbeau says:

    “The distance from Bedford to Corby is roughly the same as St Pancras to Luton – not trivial and probably not a fun journey in 100mph rolling stock with limited seating”
    A more relevant comparison is that StP to Corby is a similar distance to KX to Peterborough, on which local services would be operated by the same class 700s. End-to-end passengers would have the option of using the fast services to Kettering to catch up with the local there.
    But I fear that, as with other cunning plans to make use of spare capacity, (such as extending Brighton services through the Thameslink core, which seemed such an easy and cheap option in 1988, but is now causing the most tremendous upheaval on the London Bridge approaches) it is much easier to add a new service than to take it away again, and Corbyites would kick up a fuss if their nice hourly Meridian to London were replaced by a stopping service, or a connection at Kettering, simply because St Pancras is now much busier than when HS1 was first planned.

  332. Dan says:

    More fun than a three journey on a TPE from Manchester to Edinburgh!

  333. Pedantic of Purley says:


    A more relevant comparison is that StP to Corby is a similar distance to KX to Peterborough

    Except that Peterborough will still have fast direct trains to London as an alternative whereas my understanding is the Melvyn expects Corby passengers to stay on the Thameslink train. Unless of course they change at Kettering for a fast Midland Main Line train – in which case you have achieved nothing that you couldn’t achieve by simply running a shuttle between Kettering and Corby instead.

    I can’t imagine many people catching Thameslink from Peterborough to London. I can only imagine the reason the trains will go beyond Huntingdon is to cater for people travelling to Peterborough from North London to catch an High Speed train to the north (and vice versa). As far as I am aware there is no comparable scenario on the Midland Main Line north of Bedford.

    The clear suggestion was that extended Thameslink Trains replaced Midland Main Line trains to Corby. I can’t see this being viable and in any case is only 1 train an hour so really isn’t going to help much to help resolve the problem identified as I think all services on HS1 are at least half-hourly.

  334. Sample timings:

    King’s Cross – Peterborough non-stop: 45 mins
    King’s Cross – Peterborough Great Northern
    (which will be replaced by Thameslink one presumes): 1 hr 18 mins

    St Pancras – Bedford fast to Corby stopping at Luton: 35 mins
    St Pancras – Bedford (Thameslink): 1 hr 01 mins
    Bedford-Corby: 34 mins
    St Pancras – Corby
    (stopping at Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering): 1 hr 10 min

  335. timbeau says:

    “I can’t imagine many people catching Thameslink from Peterborough to London.”
    They may if it’s cheaper – see comments on LM’s Crewe service. Some people may also appreciate the through service if their destination is, say Gatwick Airport

    “I can only imagine the reason the trains will go beyond Huntingdon is to cater for people travelling to Peterborough from North London to catch a High Speed train to the north (and vice versa)”. Other reasons: turning back at Huntingdon would probably cost a few ECML paths, and anyway people from Sandy, Biggleswade and Huntingdon might want to go to Peterborough itself.

    GN services currently get as far as Peterborough (and Spaldingers and Stamfordians have suggested their Corby-like extension off the ECML, but let’s not re-rehearse those arguments) so it would be perverse to suddenly truncate them at Huntingdon

  336. timbeau,

    Yes, but all pretty irrelevant to the original point that just because Thameslink will go to Peterborough it doesn’t mean it makes sense to go to Corby just because it is roughly the same distance. And I did say “can’t imagine many people” to take into account various scenarios including those you suggested. One additional group who would probably would do so are those who have a Network Card as it is only on the stoppers that they would get their discount (I think).

    I wasn’t suggesting that trains should be terminated at Huntingdon. They don’t currently do so and there is no reason to suggest any reason why anything would change to make this a sensible option in the future. If stopping trains terminated at Huntingdon then there would be no direct service between Peterborough and Huntingdon which I am sure would be considered unacceptable. Again, no similarity or comparison with the Corby situation.

  337. straphan says:

    I think we should revive the great plans of joining the Great Central Railway and the Metropolitan Railway – and start operating trains from Manchester to Dover via Baker Street and Moorgate as was once planned…

    On a more serious note, there would be absolutely no benefit of extending Thameslink to Corby. Even though the transfer from the high to the low level platforms at St Pancras is quite lengthy, it is still much shorter than the additional time passengers would have to spend on a Thameslink train running all stations to St Albans.

    As Peterborough station is operated by East Coast, TSGN is indeed able to offer cheaper season tickets for its trains only. However, Bedford is operated by TSGN itself, and East Midlands Trains does not therefore offer cheaper season tickets. Same applies between Milton Keynes Central (operated by London Midland) and Euston.

  338. timbeau says:

    “I wasn’t suggesting that trains should be terminated at Huntingdon. They don’t currently do so”

    I was responding to your comment that “I can only imagine the reason the trains will go beyond Huntingdon is ” – they will surely do so after the core opens for all the reasons they currently do so?

  339. Jan says:

    I’m a bit late to the party, but I’ve noticed some people have been referring to this set of track diagrams: (page 40)

    Even though the presentation claims this to be the “Agreed Final Layout”, I think they’ve actually picked the wrong diagram. If you compare it to this one) (page 24), you’ll notice that the former is missing all the green bits identified in the latter as “TOC requirement”. Looking at recent aerial pictures, I can see one “TOC requirement” crossover on the approach to the London Bridge bay platforms and another one at Spa Road Junction, so I believe the track diagrams from the second document are actually the more current ones.

    [Minor mods to get links to work. PoP]

  340. Anonymously says:

    @timbeau/PoP….Let’s not forget that the Corby service didn’t even exist before 2009, whereas the GN semi-fast service to Peterborough has been there for as long as anyone can remember (probably since electrification in the 1970s?). Therefore, a TSGN takeover all the way to Peterborough operationally operationally is far more straightforward than a TSGN takeover to Corby.

    If the Corby reopening had been delayed for whatever reason, and was then incorporated (along with electrification as far as there) into the Thameslink Programme, then that might have been a suitable opportunity to run those services as TSGN from the start. Now though I suspect it would be far less straightforward, for all the reasons that timbeau and straphan have outlined.

    @straphan….One ought to be grateful that some of the more megalomaniac aspirations of Sir Edward Watkins never came to fruition ;).

  341. Jan says:

    @straphan: I’m a bit confused about your description of the current outer suburban GN service pattern.
    To my knowledge, the current off-peak service pattern is this:
    – 2 tph KX fast to Cambridge, 1 tph continuing to King’s Lynn
    – 2 tph semi-fast (Finsbury Park, Stevenage, then all stations to Peterborough, respectively continuing semi-fast to Cambridge, i.e. Hitchin, LGC, Baldock, Royston), running 30 minutes apart and
    – 2 tph slow (Finsbury Park, Potters Bar, Hatfield, WGC and then all stations) to Cambridge/Peterborough, again both trains running 30 minutes apart

    With Thameslink, we get:
    – 2 tph fast to Cambridge and King’s Lynn (still out of King’s Cross)
    – 2 tph slow to Cambridge (running through from Tattenham Corner)
    – 2 tph semi-fast to Cambridge (running through from Brighton)
    – 2 tph semi-fast to Peterborough (running through from Horsham)

    So one way to view it is that the current Peterborough service gets diverted to Cambridge, doubling the frequency for both slow and semi-fast service there, and then an additional 2 tph of semi-fast trains are introduced to take over the Peterborough services.

  342. RayK says:

    @Jan, Yesterday at 23:48
    I think you’re spot in with your comment about the Layout sketches.
    The IF 14 presentation uses the drawings that the author had handy and which at Version J are clearly dated 15th December 2010. The Complex Projects Procedure Notice – London Bridge describes itself on Page 2, at Version 2 dated 28th May 2012, as a formal document.
    There are multiple caveats on page 20 where it states that ‘Sketches issued with this CPP are not to be treated as formal scheme plans, are in draft format and subject to change during the development process.’ And also ‘The London Bridge layout sketches (figures 4 and 5) provided represent the latest development of the London Bridge layout and address a number of the issues which arose in previous versions.’ and ‘All layouts are subject to change as the scheme is further progressed.’
    Whilst none of this prevents us from taking them as the intended reality, we do need to remain aware that there may be some minor differences between the sketches and what is finally done on the ground.

  343. Purley Dweller says:

    @Jan That looks right to me. The Letchworth trains referred to are from Moorgate via Hertford and will keep running. So yes the east coast routes get an extra 2 trains an hour. (Not to mention the delights of being able to go direct to Purley from either route!)

  344. ML says:

    I think the Letchworth trains (from Moorgate via Hertford) will in a sense keep running but will be truncated at Stevenage (at least partly to make room for the additional 2 tph to Peterborough (or 1 to each of Paterborough and Cambridge depending how you look at it).

    There are additional peak only trains, including GN from Peterborough to Kings Cross, which will continue to run to Kings Cross (not transfer to Thameslink). Reading between the lines of the arguments about the various current ECML LDHS applications, GTR intend to apply to operate these extra Peterborough to Kings Cross trains all day if they can get track access (and the NR capacity modelling seems to assume this). Which may be relevant to the Corby discussion above.

  345. Anonymously says:

    @ML….Will there be enough capacity at Stevenage to terminate trains in the slow platforns without blocking other through trains using those platforms? Also, if some of the Moorfields sets still require stabling using the sidings at Letchworth, will that mean limited Letchworth – Moorgate via Hertford services continue at the beginning and end of the day?

  346. Alan Griffiths says:

    timbeau 20 August 2015 at 14:53

    “I can’t imagine many people catching Thameslink from Peterborough to London.”
    They may if it’s cheaper –”

    and they’re not in a hurry. On Saturday, I’m catching the 10:52 from Edinburgh Waverley to London Euston; by a very long way the cheapest London train from Edinburgh on the day.

  347. Paul says:

    Anonymously @ 13:01

    Stevenage is getting an additional turn back platform sometime in the next couple of years, specifically to deal with your potential issue.

  348. lmm says:

    @timbeau The reason trains will continue to run to Peterborough is indeed the same reason they currently do. But part of that reason is that Peterborough is served by onward high-speed services to more distant places. Without those it wouldn’t merit such an intense service – either now or post 2018.

  349. Jim SE23 says:

    Thanks for this informative piece (and the whole site). I stumbled upon it as we sat waiting by the diveunder on the way to LB, wondering what they were building.

    As an Honor Oak Park commuter, I was curious whether all this untangling of tracks will mean we get trains stopping at HOP continuing beyond LBG? Or is that just pure fantasy?

  350. GTR Driver says:

    Afraid it’s a fantasy Jim. The purpose of the project is to boost capacity and make the service more robust by untangling various bottlenecks. Crossing stoppers from the slow line on to the Thameslink line would just introduce a new bottleneck. Mind you, if your train comes from the Wimbledon Loop that’s still allowed(!)

  351. timbeau says:


    Stopping services from London Bridge towards Honor Oak will benefit from the diveunder though, as they will use it to pass under the Thameslink services heading to and from the fast tracks through HOP, instead of having to wait their turn to cross on the flat.

  352. Jim SE23 says:

    I thought that was probably the case. Thanks for the replies.

  353. Paul says:

    Of course some of the original iterations of the service pattern did allow for stoppers from the Sydenham corridor to the Thameslink core, the March 2008 South London RUS (route utilisation study) included a 4tph stopping service (out of the 18 total) which would have started 2 each at East Croydon and Norwood Junction.

    But even then they were covering their backs with a degree of pessimism:

    The Thameslink stopping service via
    Sydenham (which is included in 9.4.3
    above) appears to be highly desirable from
    a passenger demand perspective. Although
    the new infrastructure in the New Cross
    Gate area has not been specified with this
    service in mind, the track layout would still
    permit it to operate – albeit at the expense of
    an increased number of conflicting crossing
    moves between fast and slow lines. Although
    this is not believed to be a significant hurdle
    at the time of writing, further timetabling work
    will need to be undertaken to ensure the
    operational robustness of this proposal.”

  354. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Network rail are being very open about what’s happening at London Bridge this weekend.

  355. Malcolm says:

    SHLR: I could quibble with your use of the word “open”, as it seems to hint that earlier such announcements have been more secretive. I think warnings of such line closures have always been complete.

    And yet, reading the announcement, I think I can see what may be behind your adjective. In addition to listing the closures, there is a clear, simple, yet accurate (AFAIK) explanation of why. And it’s particularly gratifying to see the word “slew” (a) used, (b) spelled correctly, and (c) explained clearly.

  356. RayK says:

    Thanks to unravelled, and to others who take photographs, for keeping informed those of us who cannot readily use mk 1 eyeball on all that is happening.
    Unravelled’s video from 27th August of the dive under area :- I found particularly helpful. These are the main things that caught my eye in multiple viewings. Note that the video timing counts down from 2.10.
    Between 1.31 and 1.15 – Levelling and compaction has been taking place to the South of Bolina Road.
    0.57 – a large hole has been dug (Perhaps for foundations).
    Between 1.00 and 0.43 – Zigzag concrete edging. This probably continues to the concrete raft between 0.31 and 0.20 as we get a glimpse of handrail in between.
    0.22 – Extent of demolition as of 27th Aug. This is five industrial unit widths from Rotherhythe New Road.
    0.13 – A fence; to the left of which the surface is clear of equipment, etc.. This is two industrial unit widths from Rotherhythe New Road. I wonder if this is the intended extent of demolition. (Perhaps plus an arch for safety.)
    The constrictions on movement between Jarrow Road and the intended Thameslink tracks seem, understandably, to have slowed the demolition somewhat.

  357. MikeP says:

    @SHLR – and even more impressively, what they describe exactly matches the difference between Stage 2: Part 1 and Stage 2: Part 2 on the infamous InfraRail presentation 🙂 Including the new Ewer Street crossover.

  358. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Malcolm: They are normally much more reticent about they are upto over a blockade. Of course now I won’t be able to play “Spot the difference” tomorrow!

    Oh the joys of commuting… 😉

  359. timbeau says:

    @ Mike P
    “Stage 2: Part 1 and Stage 2: Part 2 on the infamous InfraRail presentation ”

    Slides 85 and 86, to save everyone else having to look for it. I assume the Ewer Street crossovers are the chain dotted ones to the west of the station, which will come into their own in the next stage (2a) when trains from Charing Cross are diverted over the new bridge on the south side of the formation.

  360. RayK says:

    Thank you Timbeau. Now that I have realised that the chain dotted lines represent (major) work taking place I can see how the new Borough bridge and viaduct being in use frees the old lines for remodelling. Also the single lead off to Blackfriars can be doubled at the same time as shown at stage 2a on slide 87.
    Southern Heights. I’m sure you will still be able to play “Spot the difference” tomorrow. You may just have to be sharper at identifying differences. I look forward to hearing what you see.

  361. RayK says:

    I’ve just spotted that Google Earth has ‘new’ satellite images dated 6th April. The dismantling of the first of the two bridges over the Brickmakers Arms branch had just begun. Along with Unravelled’s video this is a great help in seeing the context for those of us who can’t just pop along and see for ourselves.
    I can now see that the width of viaduct being demolished North of there is greater than I had realised. This is another reason, in addition to the space restrictions, for the work to take longer in that area.

  362. RayK says:

    I’ve just realised that the Google imagery is dated the American way so is actually 4th June.

  363. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    Western extent of demolition – Yes the first fence is the western limit – 3 Arches from Rotherhithe New Road. The 3 arches are the Southwark Park Station “building” and are much more heavily built that most of the piers / arches.
    Demolition is only planned to reach there around New Year as the focus imminently shifts to both demolition and construction. However demolition has been going very well so they are ahead of schedule by 4-6 weeks on most areas of demolition.

    Also worth noting in the video:
    42-35s – Original London and Greenwich Arches removed (piers remain for reuse)

    56s – The Earl Sewer (aka Bolina Road above ground if you ever wondered why it followed an interesting path!) is open to the daylight for the first time in circa 150 years. It is the former Kent – Surrey and now Southwark – Lewisham Boundary. Work on (the missing i.e. not in presentations) structure 407 the drainage for the site is going on there.

    Picking up on the Warehouse article* and soil mechanics a good view of a poorly consolidated and not well draining embankment (London and Croydon Railway 1839) can be seen in between the piles of rubble and spoil from 1m36s to 1m08 – that embankment isn’t going to be reused…
    (Small landslip are visible in this embankment in some of Unravelled’s older photos, 2014 and before)


  364. Ed says:

    A big weekend of work. Hopefully the very heavy rain didn’t disrupt it

  365. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Very little sign of work late tonight (Monday) whilst there was quite a bit of activity early in the morning. So impressions are that three days allowed them to comfortably do the work. The Charing Cross Up and Down lines are now adjacent to the Cannon St Up and Down lines giving a large work area for building the diveunder.

  366. Ed says:

    Cheers for the update. Nice to hear it’s all going smoothly.

  367. RayK says:

    Re ngh,
    Western extent of demolition. – Looking at :-
    Are you counting the bricked up arch as zero or one? If one then the temporary stairs are adjacent to the brick pillar beyond arch three and the fence is between that and the second brick pillar. Both arches are visible on google street view. I can’t tell how many arches are between the pillars but the second pillar is about central to the third industrial unit so there could be two.
    I would have wxpected an eagerness to start on SS401, the Western Ramp, ASAP as this is required to carry the first track to dive under.
    The Earl Sewer. – So that’s where SS407 went. Yes I’d wondered mildly about Bolina Road. Had I thought about it I would have put it down as an old country lane wandering between fields. As the hole at 56s is way West of Bolina Road I wonder if that means that they are tapping into a tributary sewer rather than the Earl itself. Or is this just ‘starter for ten’ work. I can visualise multiple accesses for such an elongated site.
    Re Pop,
    ‘The Charing Cross Up and Down lines are now adjacent to the Cannon St Up and Down lines giving a large work area for building the diveunder.’
    I wonder about the need of more area for the diveunder work as the earlier slew was to the West of Southwark Park Road. My understanding is that the primary reason for the the recent slew is to enable track renewal between there and the station. Maybe the area will be used for stockpiling materials.

  368. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    The first arch as #1 including the painted over tiles and windows from the former station. The demolition stops at the set of separated double piers (that stick out into Jarrow Road) a few metres east of the temporary stairs. A good solid place to stop as the arches to the East of the double pier were original pre 1850 where as the arches to the west were partially rebuilt circa 1900 as part of building Southwark Park station.

  369. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    I think piling for the current phase is now done at London Bridge. I saw a truck leaving this afternoon with parts of a piling drill.

  370. Paul says:

    A Network Rail time-lapse has appeared here:

    Includes shots of the Ewer St crossovers mentioned in earlier posts.

  371. RayK says:

    Re ngh,
    I wonder if I have understood you correctly? Are you saying that the two piers were part of the rebuild for Southwark Park station and will also remain after the current rebuild: Or is one of the piers to go?

  372. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    (oops the danger of a simplified quick response on LR without checking the plans!)

    There is a hidden micro arch between the 2 piers that is the 4th arch.

    The 5 southern (Ex L&GR (later SER) 1836 and L&CR (later LBSCR) 1839) most tracks have the original brick arches over them at the former station site which have been modified in places whereas the 4 Cannon Street tracks were all modified from brick arch for the Station construction (which served tracks 1-4 the SER slow lines that now serve Cannon Street only) and have steel beams and decking but the 4 southern most tracks need to start descending at that point leaving the 5 northern most tracks running level. i.e. Tracks 1-4 Steel, tracks 5-9 brick but tracks 1-5 level and 6-9 descend…

    On the 4 southern most tracks 6-9 but not 5, the current 3rd “large” arch and 4th “micro” arch will be replaced by 2 equally sized “medium” arches. The eastern pier already has cut lines marked on it and this will get used for the new 4th and 5th arches. The piling and ground slab work has been going on under the 3rd arch for a replacement pier to the west of the existing one to support the new 3rd and 4th arches. The most Western part of Structure # 401.

    The track 5 will retain the existing arches but the infill between tracks 5/6 has been excavated (from there to the the main dive under box – structure #403) and a new reinforced concrete spandrel wall has been cast down to the apex of the arches along with a new concrete beam structure to tie the track 5 arches it into the viaducts to the north that were constructed later. Structure #402 for all the spandrel wall and saddle beam tie-in work of which this is part.

  373. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Paul – thanks for the time lapse link. Always nice to see those although not quite convinced by the piano musical background. It would be good if NR could put some clear captions / text to explain the activities being done – some are obvious like removing the track but others aren’t to the layperson. I know they have to tamp the track and install signalling equipment (towards the end of the clip) but not everyone will. If the NR press office are reading another aspect worth explaining at some point would be the logistics of getting the ballast trains loaded and scheduled to site, how the points are made and delivered to site etc. Would help people understand the massive range of supporting logistics and organisation that is needed to make these works go smoothly. If part of the aim is to inform and also to gain support for these works then seeing the “supporting cast” (so to speak) would be good.

  374. ngh says:

    Re Ray K

    PS, The image in the article
    “Site of diveunder looking east towards New Cross” (which was taken from the scaffolding steps) shows the trench for the new spandel (/ parapet) wall between tracks 5&6 being dug and the photo below
    a section of finished wall further east.

  375. timbeau says:

    “The 5 southern (Ex L&GR (later SER) 1836 and L&CR (later LBSCR) 1839) most tracks have the original brick arches over them at the former station site which have been modified in places whereas the 4 Cannon Street tracks were all modified from brick arch for the Station construction”

    Two things I understand from that which I didn’t know before
    1. the original L&GR tracks are in the middle of the formation, which was widened first on the south for the L&CR, and later on the north.
    2. Southwark Park station was built after all these tracks had been built.

    This seems odd, because the site of Spa Road, which was definitely part of the original L&GR, is only visible at track level on the northernmost (latest) tracks.

    Or have I not understood

  376. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    1. Correct (& twice to the North)

    2. there is even more history to that!!!

    3. The wrong Spa Road…

    I really much get on and write the article…

    East of Rotherhithe New Road tracks to the north of the original L&GR (1836) – 2 track) were added by SER in 1849-50 (to 3 track aligning with SER opening to New Cross etc. L&GR swapped to right hand running at this point so middle track was the down line) and again in 1900-1902 (modern 4 wide track – this is used by all the Charing Cross and Cannon Street Services till Aug 2016). And to the South by L&CR in 1839 with 3 tracks. To the east recently ex- fast/Charing Cross lines were added on separate viaduct circa 1902 and then used the former L&GR tracks to the West including through Southwark Park Station. The 1902 works gave 6+ tracks from North Kent East Junction to London Bridge.

    West of Rotherhithe New Road 2 tracks were added to the North in 1902 all the way to Joiner Street at London Bridge Station and the existing tracks all shuffled north.

    Hence Southwark Park done at the same time as all the other 1902 works so some old tracks and some new at that point in time and not as disruptive as it might look!

    L&GR and SER did a track swaping arrangement in 1840 and the Greenwich line kept moving North over time…

    B. The remains of Spa Road is Spa Road mark 3b not the original which was demolished when SER + L&CR and L&GR did the track swap in 1840.
    Spa Road mark 2 1840-67 which was replaced when more tracks were added in 1867.
    Spa Road mark 3a 1867-1902
    Spa Road mark 3b 1902-1915 – extension of the 1867 station which is still visible to coincide with the addition of 2 track to the north of the alignment in 1902 * this is what you can see*

    In this photo the mark 3 station can be seen with the additional 1902 viaduct furthest away (3rd set of doors) and the 1867 station the first 2 sets of doors. (4 sets of viaducts in total visible)

  377. Southern Heights says:

    I wonder if this morning’s signal failure at New Cross was anything to do with the works over the weekend?

  378. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Southern Heights: No, unrelated.

  379. timbeau says:


    I hadn’t realised Spa Road had undergone such movement!

    As for the multiple extra tracks, if I’ve got my head round it, the original L&G tracks are now the sixth and seventh tracks counting from the north which, when this is all over, will be the Charing Cross lines (except where they go through the diveunder). Is that right?

  380. ngh says:

    Re TImbeau,

    L&G – At which point? assuming between West of Corbetts Lane Junction and East of Rotherhithe New Road / Blue Anchor Jn (12 tracks):

    If so L&G are the 5th and 6th so the future Up Thameslink and Southwark Reversible line (A 2nd Down Charing Cross line but to New Cross platforms as mentioned in the article or Up Kent Thameslink that isn’t happening).
    7-9 Were L&CR (LBSCR) built but the often matched the L&G viaduct as it was built less than 5 years later.

    There was also plenty of room at the Eastern end of Southwark Park Station site because it had been the site of the earlier Commercial Dock station and the viaduct was already wider (very little info on Commercial Dock Station but it looks like it was a single platform island between the then tracks 1&2 now circa 2&3 based on the OS map shortly after closure)

  381. timbeau says:

    Now I’m confused – but if I’ve read you correctly, between London Bridge and Rotherhithe New Road from north to south we have
    – six tracks added in 1900/02,
    – then the one track added in 1849/50
    – then the original L&G pair,
    – then the L&CR three tracks from 1839.
    (with the South London Line joining further west)

    these twelve now become
    – three Cannon Street
    – two Thameslink
    – Southwark reversible (this and the adjacent TL track being the original L&G)
    – two CX
    – two Forest Hill to terminus
    – two SLL
    (*when left-hand running!)

    east of RNRd and the diveunder
    – four tracks added in 1900/02,
    – then the one track added in 1849/50,
    – then the original L&G pair,
    – then the two CX tracks inserted in 1902
    – then the L&CR three tracks from 1839

    these now become
    – three CSt
    – Southwark reversible
    – two CX
    – down Forest Hill slow (this and the adjacent CX track being the original L&G)
    – two Thameslink
    – one up Forest Hill to terminus
    – two SLL

  382. Southern Heights says:

    @SFD: I thought it was a bit far from the work site. But the coincidence about it being straight after major works would lead quite readily to that conclusion.

    At least I was lucky and only had a 10 minute delay….

  383. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    West of Spa Road 11 tracks (pre works 6 SE +5 Southern)
    East of Spa Road (ignoring SLL but including Bermondsey Spur tracks) 12 Tracks (6 SE + 6 Southern)
    East of Corbett’s Lane Jn (ignoring SLL but including Bermondsey Spur tracks) formerly 12 tracks, future 12/13 tracks (6/7 SE + 6 Southern)

    East of Corbett’s Lane Jn – 4 separate alignments:
    Track 1 1902 SECR
    Track 2 1850 SER (“swapped” with L&GR)
    Track 3+4 1839 L&GR (later shared and swapped with SER 1850)

    Track 5+6 1902 SECR (completely separate viaduct – Charing Cross/Fast lines)

    Tracks 7-9- L&C (LBSCR) 1839 (with some shared SER use)

    Tracks 10-12 LBSCR 1866 (Bermondsey Spur)

    Between Spa Road Jn and Corbett’s Lane – 2 separate alignments:

    Track 1-3 1901 SECR (but just 2 tracks added west of Spa Road where the alignment drops to 11 tracks)
    Track 4 1850 SER (“swapped” with L&GR)
    Track 5+6 1839 L&GR (later SER services via New Cross on the Slow Lines and after new 1902 fast lines viaduct to New Cross
    Tracks 7-9- L&C (LBSCR) 1839 and shared SER used

    Tracks 10-12 LBSCR 1866 (Bermondsey Spur)

  384. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau

    Future use:
    West Of Corbett’s Lane:
    1-3 Cannon Street (all 1901 track till spa Road Jn)
    4-5 Thameslink
    6-8 Charing Cross (inc 6 Southwark Reversible)
    9-11 or 9-12 London Bridge Terminating (11 west of Spa Road, 12 east)

    East of Corbett’s Lane Jn to Surrey Canal Jn 13 tracks*
    1-4 Cannon Street (including 4 Down TL – Kent Slow link)
    5-6 Thameslink
    7-9 Charing Cross
    10-13 London Bridge Terminating

    *East Of Surrey Canal Jn 12 tracks as 4&7 merge after the dive under

  385. timbeau says:

    So leaving London Bridge, reading from left to right, we have the Cannon street tracks as the two 1902 tracks and the 1850 track. The L&G tracks are Nos 4 and 5 – the future Thameslink tracks (previously CX).

    Charing Cross also had one of the original Croydon tracks, and will in future have all three – tracks 6-8, No 6 being the Southwark reversible) leaving terminators with just the three additional 1866 Brighton tracks 9-11.

    At Spa Road, where the extra SECR tracks built in 1902 on the north side increase from two to three, everything shuffles over, so that Southern terminators get a fourth track (currently six) . The L&G tracks are now 5 and 6 – the up Thameslink and down Southwark reversible.

    At Corbetts Lane the 1902 widening switches from three tracks on the north side (1 to 3) to one on the north (track 1) and two on the south (5 and 6). The 1850 track, which is No 4 west of Corbetts lane, becomes No 2. The L&G becomes tracks 3 and 4 (up CSt and down Thameslink).
    At the diveunder there are, briefly, 13 tracks, (there now being a fourth CSt track). Tracks 4-12 consequently become 5-13. It is not clear at this point which two tracks are the original L&G, presumably 3 and 4.
    Tracks 7 to 10 then dive under tracks 5 and 6 and track 7 joins track 4 to get back to twelve tracks again, in the order 1-4, 8-10, 5,6, 11-13.
    Tracks 1-4, 8, 9 are SE lines, with 2 and 4 reversible and some sorting out at North Kent Junction needed to end up with two to Greenwich and four to New Cross. The L&G tracks are No 3 and 4 at this point, but are slewed to become 1 and 2 by the time North Kent Junction is reached and the main line peels off the original Greenwich line.
    Tracks 10, 5,6,11 are for Forest Hill, and 12/13 for South Bermondsey.

    Is that right?
    Is that more or less right?

  386. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    What happens between near London Bridge Station is yet another layer of complexity because of assets swap and rebuilds over time. The L&G tracks and platforms were where the former P7&8 and out into the forecourt including the northern part of the bus station (there is detailed comment on this else where in one of the Articles.)

    The rest more or less right.

    “Tracks 10, 5,6,11 are for Forest Hill, and 12/13 for South Bermondsey.”

    As stated above I left the SLL out of the so 12/13 are Forest Hill too as there are 3 tracks on the Bermondsey spur.

  387. timbeau says:

    I hadn’t dared venture as far as the station itself!

  388. Coxy says:

    Re ngh
    I had a lovely outing recently with my daughter walking “under the arches” from London bridge to Deptford. A fascinating day looking at the wonderful brickwork of the arches and trying to deduce the order of construction and why there are 11 tracks east and 12 west of Spa Road. (I am retired …). One thing seemed consistent from the ‘joins’: there were initially three two-track viaducts from LB to Corbett’s Lane, the centre one being the original Greenwich line. Perhaps you were referring to the usage rather than order of construction. Do you have a theory of why the tracks reduce at Spa Road? The northern extension, where girders are exposed, seems to provide room for 3 tracks, allowing for the removed parapet.

  389. Coxy says:

    Re Coxy:
    That’s 12 east and 11 west of Spa Road. (I’m ok with left, right, north and south …)

  390. timbeau says:

    “why there are 11 tracks east and 12 west of Spa Road”
    I would guess that shortage of space was the reason – even in 1902 land was expensive that close to the City.

    “One thing seemed consistent from the ‘joins’: there were initially three two-track viaducts from LB to Corbett’s Lane, the centre one being the original Greenwich line.”
    From ngh’s account, east of Spa Road the viaducts were all three-track:
    from north to south
    SECR 1902
    L&G 1836* (originally two, widened on the north side to three in 1850)
    L&C 1839
    LBSCR 1866

    *ngh says 1839, which is clearly wrong as the line opened in 1836

    Wikipedia’s article
    describes all the viaducts as double track, which clearly does not add up

    Look at St James Road, which has two metal three track bridges flanking a central six- track-wide brick tunnel
    https:[email protected],-0.065542,3a,75y,153.94h,94.7t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sOZlv35REgjPYWv-DhX_b3Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  391. Slugabed says:

    Apropos the incremental development of the viaduct,I have noted,on a number of underbridges,buried deep within the structure,are some rather nice Doric columns…which bit of the viaduct’s development do they represent?
    I’d post a picture but I’m afraid my lap-top and Google Streetview are refusing to play nicely.

  392. ngh says:

    Re Coxy and Timbeau,

    I avoided saying anything about West of Spa Road deliberately as that gets even more complicated and almost an article in it own right. ANd not much about West of Rotherhithe New Road either:

    Closer to LBG the lines were originally paired & some of it has been rebuilt my main focus of comments has been East of Rotherhithe New Road and relevant to the dive under…

    [Re Timbeau
    Yes I meant 1836 rather than 39]

    3. main issues:
    1. LBSCR and SER* line sharing on the Croydon lines meant fewer lines were needed on the approaches especially as some of the good traffic was going to Bricklayers
    *SER reached Kent exclusively via Croydon, Redhill, Tonbridge route till the via New Cross route opened in 1850s.

    2. Lack of land to the north than SER could use in 1902

    3. Collapse in SLL traffic especially post war that allowed lines to be swapped to SE use over time so ending up at 7:4 (SE:SN) just before the current works.

    After 1845 L&G ceased running services (run by SER on their behalf) and just became an infrastructure company, leasing it assets to SER or tolling LBSCR and later SER tolling LBSCR. L&G was finally wound up in 1923! (one of the reasons the old P7&8 at LBG ended up in no mans land…)

    From North to South the pairs nearer LBG to Blue Anchor (West of Rotherhithe New Road):
    SER 1850 for Greenwich and SER via New Cross.
    L&G 1839 for L&G use in lieu of the original to the south.
    L&G 1836 swapped to L&C use via a toll per passenger fee in 1839 ( and sub tolled to SER and L&B)

    West of Rotherhithe New Road 2 tracks were added in 1850 but only 1 east.

    So 1850 (to 1866/7)
    Use of lines North to South:

    Up Greenwich (right hand running)
    Down Greenwich and North Kent
    Up North Kent
    Down LBSCR & SER via Croydon
    UP LBSCR & SER via Croydon

    In 1866 LBSCR added 3 extra to the South to coincide with the opening of the South London Lines to give 9.

    Then in 1902 SECR added to the North 2 tracks LBG – Spa Road, 3 tracks Spa Road to Corbetts Lane, 1 track Lane to North Kent East Jn. and 2 Tracks to the South of the existing from Corbetts Lane to North Kent East Jn. i.e. 5 tracks LBG to Spa Road for SECR services and 6 Spa Road to North Kent East Jn.

    There was a paired by direction paired by use type reorganisation at Spa Road
    West Of Spa Road the SECR lines:

    Down 1
    Down 2
    Down 3
    Up 1
    UP 2

    Down Main (via Croydon) & shared with LBCSR
    Up Main (via Croydon) & shared with LBCSR
    Local (via Croydon) & shared with LBCSR

    East of Spa Road:

    Down 1
    Down 2
    Up 3
    Up 2
    Down 3 Fast Lines (Charing Cross)
    Up 1 Fast Lines (Charing Cross)

    Down Main (via Croydon) & shared with LBCSR
    Up Main (via Croydon) & shared with LBCSR
    Up Local (via Croydon) & shared with LBCSR

    With another messy situation at Metropolitan Jn just west of LBG to do the Charing Cross -vs- Cannon Street split.

  393. ngh says:

    Re Slugabed,

    These ones at Spa Road:
    https:[email protected],-0.069045,3a,75y,130.62h,80.76t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sUl_M99VSR8iEW72NiUYPcw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    (looking west)

    [Also similar at Abbey Road]
    They are the original 3 pairs of tracks referred to in the post above:

    From North to South the pairs nearer LBG to Blue Anchor (West of Rotherhithe New Road):
    SER 1850 for Greenwich and SER via New Cross.
    L&G 1839 for L&G use in lieu of the original to the south.
    L&G 1836 swapped to L&C use via a toll per passenger fee in 1839 ( and sub tolled to SER and L&B)

    The 1836 part on the left in the image is the oldest railway bridge in London and the oldest railway bridge still in use and Grade 2 listed. You can see the 3 pairs of brick arches built at different times on google earth image). The 1866 LBSCR SLL 3 track bridge is on the far left and the 3 track 1902 bridge to the right.

    The original 3 set of viaducts tracks aren’t actually wide enough for 6 track of modern rolling stock (1900 onwards) they now only actually carry 5 tracks on them West of Rotherhithe New Road as the 1902 works effectively built circa 2.75 widths new track to the North which explains the room to leave a gap (where the current and future Signal gantry supports are) between the 3 Cannon Street lines and the others to the south. Tanner Street – Southwark Park Road Bridge are all 3 tracks added in 1902 with the loss of an existing track in places.

  394. timbeau says:

    “SER reached Kent exclusively via Croydon, Redhill, Tonbridge route till the via New Cross route opened in 1850s”
    That is the North Kent line, via Blackheath of course, which was connected to the L&G at North Kent Junction in 1849. Trains to Tonbridge and beyond continued to run via Redhill until the mountain route (St Johns to Tonbridge via Sevenoaks) was built in 1868.

  395. Anonymously says:

    ‘Mountain route’….lol! I know that it passes through the North Downs (via some lengthy tunnels), as well as over a huge embankment crossing Orpington (passing very near my childhood home), but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a mountainous route 😉. Perhaps the ‘Tonbridge direct line’?

  396. Slugabed says:

    ngh….Thanks for that,makes a lot of sense.

  397. Coxy says:

    Thanks – rolling stock ‘expansion’ would explain the restriction west of Spa road – but they must have done something slightly different to the east!
    However, I am pretty sure the centre of the three two track arches is the original. It is the widest everywhere I could find it, presumably the others only needed to allow for a single parapet. Also the style of the outer piers are similar (with through passages) where the centre pier has only a small (now usually filled) opening every other pier (right up to Deptford.) Further, it is documented that land was purchased sufficient for widening on both sides and was initially used as a footpath seen in the picture in:

  398. ngh says:

    Re Coxy,

    Alan Jackson’s London Termini and some of the other sources all suggest expansion to the North and I haven’t see anything to contradict that.
    East of Rotherhithe New Road It wouldn’t have been a problem. The picture is probably somewhere near the modern SELCHP so the 2 track SER – Bricklayers viaduct would have been added on the left and the 1850 single track addition to the right. It doesn’t look like there is room to add double tracks to either side though in that image.

    East of Spa Road there was Spa Road Station and Commercial Dock Station where widening had already taken place. East of Rotherhithe New Road the 1902 viaduct is very wide for single track viaduct almost 2 track widths. So that is where the room came from there (The are 1.5 track widths of steel bridge deck over Surrey Canal (Road) on the 1902 addition.

  399. RayK says:

    ‘Alan Jackson’s London Termini and some of the other sources all suggest expansion to the North and I haven’t see anything to contradict that.’
    Do you mean that you have not seen anything in print or on the ground?
    A survey sounds like something a group of interested local(ish) people could undertake. Now where could such a group be found? Surveying multiple arches and discussing the results somewhere convenient could take quite a while though.

  400. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: Commercial Dock Station? I know of Southwark Park station, but not the other one…

    @RayK: The Angel on Bermondsey Wall East could be a nice place to have the discussion…

  401. Slugabed says:

    Southern Heights (Light Railway)
    That sounds like a splendid idea.

  402. RayK says:

    Southern Heights
    Commercial Dock Station preceded Southwark Park station in almost the same location. It existed 1856 to 1867. Southwark Park was open 1902 to 1915. Detail are available on Wikipedia.
    The Angel sounds nice. You would have a walk in excess of half a kilometre to check on anything that arose in discussion. (If there was anything left to discuss by the time you got there.) Perhaps the nearest place would suffice for each visit. Carefully documented photographs would be needed also, in addition to the written record. Just to be clear, I mean pictures and records of the viaducts, not the hostelries.

  403. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights & Ray K,

    Commercial Dock was single island platform at the eastern end of the later Southwark Park site in a convenient gap that was left there between the twin 1836 L&G viaduct and the single track 1850 SER viaduct to the North. The east end of the platform was 100m west of Bolina road and the platform circa 75-80m long. The Corbett’s Lane Jn Signal box south of the twin tracks was level with the mid point of the platform.

    The island platform was between the 2 tracks that served Greenwich (and also New Cross in the down direction).

    The gap between the 2 viaducts for short distance might have helped justify the partial rebuild of the viaduct in that area in 1902 and building Southwark Park as lots of work was needed to get the extra track trough???

  404. Coxy says:

    On my trip underneath the arches I noticed another oddity apart from the lack of cross passages on the central of the three oldest viaducts. Where the L&G viaduct is ‘uncluttered’ approaching Deptford you can see the unusual coursing – unique, in my experience – of the arch bricks. I only observed this in that location and nowhere else (although I could not see everywhere due to the works.) See this, and note also the cross passage in one pier only.

    From ‘Analysis of Railways’ by Francis Whishaw, regarding the Greenwich line:
    … the arches of uniform span in this length, are 741 in number, each being 18 feet wide, and semicircular, and having piers, four bricks or three feet in thickness, which is just one sixth of the span; the arches are 18 inches in thickness consisting of 1 1/2 brick and a four-inch rim; …
    (This means the first three courses are bonded like a three brick thick wall.)
    The south wall on the 9 track viaduct from Spa Road Eastwards, if the original L&G, should show this pattern of construction. Have a look for yourself.
    The cross passage is significant:
    From ‘The Penny Magazine’ 9/1/1836:
    … A number of the arches have doorways, by which two or three arches may be converted into one house or warehouse, if required. …

    You will, therefore, not expect these on the road bridges, only on the ‘regular’ arches in just over half the cases. The middle viaduct, not the south, shows this pattern. As I mentioned before it is also significantly the widest of the three (as an extension only need allow for the two tracks).

    Also from the Penny Magazine:
    … There is a low parapet wall which runs along the footway, separating it from the fields and garden-grounds. … The path along one side of the arches was originally intended to be reserved for pedestrians, and the other to be used by carriages, but this arrangement is not decided upon. At present, the pathway is open to pedestrians for a toll of one penny each. …
    This is consistent with purchase of land for extension on both sides.

    These references can be checked (Google books) and all can be tested by eyeball.

    I rest my case, m’lud.


  405. Slugabed says:

    Interesting that,in the arches in the photo to which you linked,the brickwork is not helicoidal…presumably,as the L&G was such an early construction,this hadn’t become standard practice?

  406. ngh says:

    Re Slugabed,

    Quite a lot on interesting features possibly due to them understanding the limitations of lime mortar and trying to experiment in places to see if construction could be made quicker and easier.

    At the time of L&G construction and extensions Brunel and Stephenson were having disagreements on the structural role of lime mortar in the barrels of the arches so there were examples of stretcher, header and stretcher / header composite (as seen in that photo) designs around at the time on railways across the UK. The 1850 SER additions have a plain 4 brick stretcher ring for example (as do most of the 1860s LBSCR additions (some are 6)) The 1902 SER additions usually have longer arches with 6 brick stretcher barrels.

    Portland mortar only really being heavily used in London in the Bazalgette era.

    Re Coxy

    “The south wall on the 9 track viaduct from Spa Road Eastwards, if the original L&G, should show this pattern of construction. Have a look for yourself.”

    The south wall:
    East of Corbett’s lane has the distinctive original L&G 1.5 header + 1 stretcher barrel,
    West Corbett’s lane it has the 4 brick stretcher barrel (early L&C /SER additions)

    So some of the history book are indeed a bit erroneous…

  407. Coxy says:

    Isn’t ‘helicoidal’ applied only to skew arches? The arches in the photo are ‘square’. However, the 3+1 coursing is unique in my experience (there is also a 2+2 on the line) and I can only assume that it was not perpetuated because any advantage it offered was countered by the more fiddly construction.


  408. Slugabed says:

    I hope I wasn’t using a technical term without fully understanding its uses/limitations…in any case,most brick arches,whether skew or “square” have the courses spiralling around the intrados….I seem to recall reading somewhere that this distributes the forces more effectively,and hinders the formation and propagation of cracks…and that this was a discovery made during the construction of railways (ie canal structures,unless built late,do not have this feature).
    I’m happy to be corrected…

  409. theprinter says:

    re NGH at 1503

    Back when I used to work on the production of books, I did one for a local Bournemouth woman historian who insisted that the old Bournemouth East terminal station which became the Goods yard was the current Central station.

    In the end she had her way and now people pick-up these 50 year old histories and find them conflicting!

  410. Coxy says:

    You are correct – a ‘square’ arch is an arch with zero skew and the courses will meet the pier at 0 degrees, i.e. parallel, and the terminology still applies. Think of it as a three-brick-thick wall spiraling round the intrados instead of a single course.


  411. intrados The inner curve of an arch or vault. From Latin intra ‎(within) and French dos ‎(back). Plural is intradoses or intrados.

  412. Coxy says:

    I was always surprised some books you have read put the L&C extension on the north when south would make the union simpler as it was already authorized when the L&C was building. Perhaps the confusion was a result of the exchange of stations at a later date.
    Anyway, I’m sure your huge knowledge of the complexities of the viaducts and track usage will need no more than a tweak or two. I’ll be interested to see how it affects your assessment for the north side extension around Corbett’s Lane which should be a lot simpler.
    Do you know of any existing bridge arches like the L&G as I have seen none?

  413. Southern Heights says:

    Demolition at Rotherhithe New Road (LBG) end of the work site has now reached the final arch before the bridge, as in other places, the bottom end of the pillars has been retained…

  414. RayK says:

    @Southern Heights – Thanks for the update.
    @ngh – I really appreciate your detailed description of these arches; especially the current work. Perhaps my suggestion of a survey would be better replaced by a guided tour led by yourself. I consider that it would be really worthwhile making the extra effort needed to attend.
    Looking at Unravelled’s photo here:-
    It seems to me that there were low spandrel walls between the outer walls (perhaps to help retain the arch shape). Do you know if the new walls that have been constructed are on top of these walls or have new spandrels been made?

  415. Coxy says:

    If you take the next two pictures left from your link (and a few more beyond) you can see that the new walls rest on the original infill between the spandrels – except the start which is on the parapet spandrel.
    On the first pic left you see the first inner spandrel exposed where they have sliced a bit off the old L&G viaduct. (On the L&G the inner spandrels were under each rail, according to articles at the time.) On the next pic left they have removed the whole of the L&G viaduct showing the northern extension which did not require a parapet spandrel and the wall rests on the infil. The 1902 segmental arch extension can be seen beyond.
    It seems the quality of the original infill is such that it can support the wall.

  416. Graham Feakins says:

    Network Rail published this time lapse on 11 September of the dive under work in the Bermondsey area:

    “Railway viaducts that once carried trains to Charing Cross and central London have been razed in preparation for the construction of a massive new dive under on a site in South London.
    Network Rail and its contractors Skanska and demolition experts Armac, have been working in Bermondsey to create the space for the new junction, which will allow more trains to run into London Bridge.

    The former viaduct will be replaced with a dive under that will allow Charing Cross trains to pass beneath Thameslink services and pop up again on the other side, for a clear run into the capital. Where possible, the original structures have been retained and strengthened to continue to carry London’s oldest railway.”

  417. unravelled says:

    I’ve just added some more pictures of the Northern extent of the demolition, taken yesterday (12th September).

  418. Paul says:

    Does anyone know for sure if the intention is to have a standardised ‘architectural design’ to all the ramps that will be built onto the cut down brickwork?

    I’m thinking that if they are all built using the same basic methods as used on the former Bricklayers Arms ramp it will all look quite neat…

  419. ngh says:

    Re Paul,

    “standardised ‘architectural design’”
    Yes – most will be effectively identical to those on the finished ramp (same span as 1836-50 vintage piers) but the ones on the past / future Charing Cross lines east of the diveunder will have larger span to match those piers.

    Some of the construction detail (not visible) will be different due to the reuse of existing piers and lessons learnt from the construction of the finished ramp.

    Demolition is now about 3 months ahead of the original schedule.

  420. GTR Driver says:

    It’ll look neat until the vandals arrive anyway.

  421. RayK says:

    @Coxy ‘On the L&G the inner spandrels were under each rail, according to articles at the time.’
    Thanks for that little tit-bit. This picture of Unravelled’s :-
    shows this very well and also contrasts the later construction where the spandrels are much lower and spaced further apart. Clearly they had decided that individual rail support to that extent was unnecessary.
    I have also realised that the nice neat faces that we see are often a result of judicious use of saws like this one :-
    rather than the revelation of old workmanship. The saw marks are very clear on some of the photo’s.

  422. RayK says:

    Unravelled. Your stream of photo’s & video’s is of inestimable value.
    and its next door neighbour (both taken on 12th Sept) show us two things. The spandrel walls in the arches to the North of the original viaduct were somewhat roughly constructed: Apparently without mortar. The new concrete above these arches is already rising to form the beginning of the ramp to take the ThamesLink lines over the flyover. I at first thought that the pieces of wood were there to temporarily support the old brickwork. I have now realised that they are the remains of the formwork for the new concrete.

  423. RayK says:

    @ngh, ‘The Earl Sewer (aka Bolina Road above ground if you ever wondered why it followed an interesting path!)’
    We can see from Unravelled’s latest video that that hole is now being rapidly filled in. I see that the hole is in line with Skanska’s Gate 4 through Arch No. 72 on Silwood Street. Continuing the line of the archway South it meets Bolina Road where it passes under the footpath. I wonder if it’s a tributary of the Earl. As well as being used it will also need protecting from the Dive Under.

  424. Paul says:

    What I was wondering about ‘the hole’ was that it looked like they were digging down around so as to reveal a number of vertical shafts under surface manholes. So perhaps they were reinforcing or diverting something that will be hidden by the concrete works?

  425. RayK says:

    I have realised that they have been piling in the vicinity of Bolina Road since before 5th September. See Unravelled’s
    As, despite the pretty colours, I doubt they are there for decoration there are probably a fair number of piles already installed. These would, I expect, be for the abutments for the new Bolina Road bridges.
    I see from Unravelled’s latest video that they are starting preparations to cap the pillars that are being reused. I wonder how much will be new viaduct and how much ramped embankment. They have plenty of infill material available.

  426. BrettB says:

    Hi everyone,

    While commuting in from London Bridge this morning I noticed there was a Class 66 engineering train on the new LB viaduct to Charing X right overhead the main entrance to Plats 1-3. Does anyone know when the tracks will be changed over so that Charing X trains will use the new viaduct? They seem to be making good progress so I was wondering if it would happen well before August ’16?

  427. ngh says:

    Re Brett B,

    During the Blockade this Christmas / New Year as always planned.

    However as also planned there won’t be any pedestrian access to the platforms 7-9 till August ’16 (the concourse area wil still be a building site) so trains will continue to pass straight through the new platforms till then.

    Demolition on tracks 4&5 currently used by the Charing Cross services will start just after Christmas.

  428. ngh says:

    Re Brett B

    Photo of the track over the new Borough High Street Bridge:

    Note the use of wooden sleepers required because of the need for a check rail due to the curvature of the bend.

  429. Malcolm says:

    Good try, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a check rail unchaired, and that far from the running rail, on the wrong side of same, rusty, and on the outer rail of the bend!

  430. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm,

    They haven’t finished installing the track yet! Note the special chairs for the check rail on the inside of the bend, the inside running rail hasn’t been installed yet as it is easier to fit the check rail first (which is in position) then the running rail which looks like it is sitting on the sleepers adjacent to the outside running rail…

  431. Malcolm says:

    ngh: Well that’s me sorted. I had a feeling as I was typing my comment that I was probably going to be shown up as wrong in some way, so I really should have expressed it as a question. Thanks for your polite answer to a rather less polite challenge.

  432. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm,

    No problem, as usual I probably should have said more in the original comment!

    A bit more detail on the check rail chairs (inc. video)

  433. RayK says:

    Getting back to this thread:- From Unravelled’s latest uploads, it looks like they are progressing with the Thameslink arches at the West end of the Bermondsey site. I guess this sequence is necessary because access for the Thameslink arches would be difficult if the four track ramp were built first. So even though that ramp will be required first (for the Down Sussex Slow) it cannot yet be built. Work on the foundations around Bolina Road and on the Eastern ramps also appears to be progressing well with the pillars which are being reused having been capped.

  434. Southern Heights says:

    One wall of the new Bolina Road bridge is now partially standing (the central part), with the reinforcing for the two sides done as well.

    There is still a lot of piling work going on very close to tracks 1-4 (Southeastern), but can’t quite see what is being done…

  435. RayK says:

    Southern Heights
    Referring to slide 68 of the Thameslink Presentation :-
    There are three new bridges planned for Bolina Road.
    The first (SS404 on the slide) was completed some time ago.
    The structure that you refer to appears to be SS405 which will carry the Thameslink tracks over said road. Have they poured concrete yet? Unravelled’s most recent video showed a great tower of reinforcement.
    They appear to have completed all the piling South of Bolina Road as the rig was withdrawn quite soon after the second rig was introduced to the North.
    Again referring to slide 68, I suspect that the piling that is going on hidden from view is for the dive under box (SS403) but I could be wrong and it could be for SS402 which is the ramp up for the Thameslink tracks. It may be that the piers for the old arches are insufficient for this new ramp as it turns towards the South.

  436. RayK says:

    Typo – The structure that you refer to appears to be SS405 – should read SS406. SS405 is the third bridge – for the other three tracks which will be diving under.

  437. RayK says:

    @Southern Heights
    I think I was wrong to ask if they had poured concrete yet.
    From about 0.53 of this video of Unravelled’s which was uploaded on 14th Nov..
    we can see that the centre portion has the form work installed. If the centre is to be poured before the sides I suppose there is no way you can see from the train if it has been done or not.

  438. Southern Heights says:

    @RayK: Had a better look yesterday… The part of the Bolina Road bridge is for the TLK tracks (SS406), and it’s on the down side. Reinforcing for the two wings is already there.

    A large part of the slab for the three tracks ducking under is also in place, as are large numbers of piles at the LBG end.

    There also appears to be some work going on around the stumps of the old pillars, but only for some of them.

    As we were actually going at 60-70 mph (a rarity in that area at the moment), I didn’t get time to note down any more… I’m never too quick at 07:30….

  439. RayK says:

    @Southern Heights
    Pushing the line speed limits does nothing for anyone’s ability to observe at any time of day. Yet it seems perverse to wish for a slower journey.
    I expect there are several reasons for giving priority to some of the pillars before others. I can only guess at what those reasons may be. I expect one reason to be ease of access before doing other work.

  440. Southern Heights says:

    @RayK: I wasn’t wishing for a slower journey, merely lamenting the fact that they are very uncommon at the moment!

    There is also some work going on the old ramp. All the track has (finally) been lifted and it looks like some kind of sub-stratum is being put down. This might be to give better works access to the track in that area.

  441. RayK says:

    Southern Heights
    I did not, even for a moment, think that you wished for a slower journey. What I meant to convey was that *I* could not wish you a slower journey even though I wish you to be able to observe the works.
    I am somewhat puzzled by your reference to ‘the old ramp’. Where are you referring to?

  442. Paul says:

    I think the ‘old ramp’ means the very eastern extremity of the original Bricklayers Arms ramp, the newly built ramp has a much steeper gradient than the original and joins the Cannon St lines alongside the west end of the SELCHP plant.

    However the original ramp structure re-appears and is significantly lower at this point, and it extends further, still rising, and they have cleared the old tracks and ballast in the vicinity of a new road/railer access point, which is alongside the east end of the SELCHP plant.

  443. RayK says:

    Thanks Paul. Now you have described it I recall that there were much earlier postings relating to the height of the new ramp in relation to the old one where the new on ends.

  444. Southern Heights says:

    Hi Ray,

    I misunderstood!

    Yes, the “old ramp” was the access to the Bricklayers Arms goods yard. I should have made it clear, but was typing on my iPad which is not always conducive to typing long posts. As my fingers get sore after a while…

  445. MikeP says:

    Some track lives on, just visible between the RRV access point and the new ramp. I think it unlikely that it’ll be removed now as there are some lineside equipment cabinets there which, if not actually on top of one of the rails, are very close.

  446. Paul says:

    In this recent photo by David Harvey (unravelled), is that line of arch supports showing a slight gradient, rising from left to right? I think it has been pointed out previously that the Thameslink lines will rise slightly as they pass over the box section underpass?

  447. Southern Heights says:

    Hi Paul, it certainly looks like it from the work done on the curve for the Thameslink tracks so far, however, it could be a mirage as the only part visible so far is the point where the curve starts, so it could just be due to a small degree of camber that is introduced…

    Incidentally one side wall of the Bolina Road bridge is now complete and a part of the wall separating the two fast tracks and the down slow is also starting to appear.

  448. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Yes there is a slight rise; the arches have started to go in now.

  449. RayK says:

    Paul and Southern Heights
    The gradient now appearing in the photo pointed to by Paul is a continuation of that which is visible in :-
    and in several other of Unravelled’s earlier images. I wonder if we will be able to judge when the gradient levels off to cross the dive under box.

  450. RayK says:

    Can somebody tell us the approximate radius of the TL tracks as they turn towards the dive under. With that and the speed we can calculate the required superelevation for that section of track.
    Would the superelevation be applied to the civils in a situation like this or would it be dealt with entirely during ballasting? Or are there reasons (e.g. drainage) for doing the major part in the civils and the fine tuning with ballast?
    Would the difference between inner and outer tracks be ignored at 60 mph or averaged out?

  451. RayK says:

    When I saw Dave Harvey’s video (uploaded on Dec 11th) :-
    I saw that the only Piling rig in site/on site was on a low loader (Best seen at about 1.06). I jumped to the conclusion that piling had been completed and the last rig was being shipped off site. I was so wrong. (Dec 20th) and (Dec 31st) both show a rig in use. If the rig left the site it must have been booked for work elsewhere. Unless, for some reason, a different rig is required for the current work. It look like these rigs really earn their keep.
    I find it hard to keep up with what they are doing as something changes with each video or photo. In 30789 above, centred at about 1.22, a section of reinforced wall is being poured. In 70402, at 0.40 to 0.38, the shadow of reinforcement for another section of wall is visible.
    so the work is progressing in visible increments but it is necessary to look carefully to see what has happened.

  452. Southern Heights says:

    @RayK: Oh yes, piling is still very much under way… I saw the piling rig this morning. I suspect the ground in that area is actually quite boggy, as they seem to be driving a lot of them and very close together…

    The concreting of the original ramp for the Bricklayer’s Arms yard appear nearly complete, then are now working on a side barrier…

  453. Anomnibus says:

    @Southern Heights:

    Quite moist, yes, but there’s also a lot of Victorian stuff very close by, and they weren’t as advanced in their understanding of geology as we are today. The contractors will be trying to avoid movement in the ground near the viaducts.

  454. ngh says:

    Re southern Heights,

    There is a (small) covered river under Bolina Road hence the road’s unusual path and local soggy ground conditions.

  455. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Anomnibus: Please also take a look at “ngh”‘s comment 31 August @21:53…. A river runs through it is appropriate here!

  456. Anomnibus says:

    @Southern Heights (Light Railway):

    I assumed that was culverted through the area, rather than being left untouched in its original riverbed, but I may be wrong. That said, piling would be required anyway if we’re talking about masonry rather than the more modern reinforced concrete channel.

    Piling is standard for any non-trivial construction in this area though. The ground really is rather soft and damp.

  457. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Now that I can actually see again in the mornings, it’s starting to become obvious that the diveunder is also a diveover….

  458. Alan Griffiths says:

    Due for completion Spring 2017.

    Should improve reliability of some services several months before completion of works at London Bridge station and between the two.

  459. Paul says:

    Alan at 1434

    Presumably that’s a reference to the down Southern line under the Thameslink route? It’s still the only line of the 4 planned to be finished by then isn’t it?

  460. ngh says:

    Re alan griffiths,

    Due for completion by August 16, down sussex slow in use before the end of the year (27th December?), the rest in 2017.

  461. Alan Griffiths says:

    I’m not aware of all the details, Paul. I’d hoped the railway insiders on here might have further particulars to offer.
    If you are accurate, they may well not open 1 line until the one next to it is also ready, or only use it at peak times.

  462. Paul says:

    The down Sussex slow always came into use earlier than the other 3, on published plans, as ngh has now clarified though it seems although somewhat earlier than originally planned it will still be used in advance of the other 3 Southeastern lines.

  463. RayK says:

    In Rail issue 725 (June 26 2013) NR’s then project manager Greg Folliard is quoted as saying ‘The civil engineering work is mainly done between June 2015 and the end of June 2016. Then the railway systems people come in to install track and services.’ I thought there was a reference to the first train passing through the boxes in December bur that is clearly in some other article.

  464. That’s basically what we were told on our visit although the final handover was then a bit more fluid – between June and August. The railway people normally like six months to install tracks. Before anyone says that is a long time, remember it is not just the immediate diveunder bit and they will be working on a live railway with all the restrictions that imposes.

    We have it on good authority that the third “Sussex” line should open in December. This is the one that uses the diveunder to eventually join the down Sussex slow at New Cross Gate without having to cross either of the fast tracks that will be used by Thameslink. It would also provide a route for the few future fast trains out of London Bridge terminating platforms (e.g. to Uckfield) to get to the down fast at New Cross Gate without having to cross the Thameslink tracks on the level.

    This third line will provide a bit more leeway at London Bridge and possibly allow to odd extra train in during the peak as well. There is a feeling that once this line is open then the worst at London Bridge will be over as far as the terminating side of the station is concerned.

  465. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    I suspect you’ll find the only source is comments under this or one of the London Bridge articles from SFD.

  466. ngh says:

    Re POP,

    Except is is the 4th line apart from the short section at bricklayers arms junction…

    The ultimate limit on opening is that all the signalling people are tied up this August swapping the Cannon Street lines signalling over from London Bridge to 3 Bridges and comissioning some new equipment that side.
    The other lines through the dive up need a suitable blockade after the down sussex slow is in operation as the temporary down loop outside the station needs “removing” before the final Up Charing Cross layout can be sorted and signalling comissioned hence the 2 stage process.
    Again limited by availability of suitable signalling staff.

  467. GTR Driver says:

    ngh, I’m presuming you’re in the know on the project. Do you happen to know why the up signal protecting “that short section” has not been covered and marked with a white X to show it’s out of use instead of being left on show permanently at danger? It’s nearly given a few of us heart attacks after passing Bricklayers Arms Junction on a green because it appears to be on the Sussex Reversible!

  468. Sad Fat Dad says:

    The Down Sussex Slow (the fourth line) is planned to open to traffic after the Christmas possession this year. Can’t remember whether it is Dec 27th or 28th, but as the former is a public holiday, I suspect the latter.

    Went through the site (by train) today, and the first arches are being installed at the London end of the ramp down from the Charing Cross lines to the diveunder box.

  469. Sad Fat Dad says:

    GTR driver, technically that piece of line is in use, and a train could in theory be signalled up to that signal. Hence it has to be present and lit.

    There are some clever / unusual overlap arrangements there which required it to be in use from the remodelling last year.

  470. Pedantic of Purley says:


    At the worst location you currently only have two tracks on the Sussex lines. When the line through the diveunder is operational you will have three. So this gives you the third line which will somewhat ease the constrictions on the approach to London Bridge. I am not disputing that there are already three lines at this location.

  471. Sad Fat Dad says:

    The key point is that there effectively become four tracks through South Bermondsey Jn, albeit the new fourth track (Down Sussex Slow) and existing third track (Sussex Reversible) don’t go through that junction. So all traffic to /from New Cross Gate will be able to be kept on these lines out of the way of all traffic from Peckham Rye. This makes timetabling, indeed the whole operation, much easier.

  472. Graham Feakins says:

    I am trying to work out now when the trains that terminate at South Bermondsey might once again be restored through to London Bridge – can anyone suggest when?

  473. Sad Fat Dad says:

    @Graham Feakins. That depends on how brave GTR are. In theory there is nothing to stop them coming back through when the Down Sussex Slow opens, subject to some fairly major tweaking to the timetable / platforming arrangements, particularly the Peckham line services.

    However, given what happened last Christmas, if I were GTR I would exercise some caution, and perhaps introduce the base of the new TT first, then ease in the former South Bermondsey terminators.

    That’s my view of course, what GTR do is up to them.

  474. GTR Driver says:

    Thank you SFD. Is it my imagination or was there a longer stretch of track there until recently? I noticed today the buffers are in advance of the signal rather than behind it, though it was dark. I’m guessing it’s one of the “out of use” route indicators at Bricklayers Arms Junction that would lead us to those stops?

  475. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @PoP: Got a good look at the progress Saturday and yesterday. It’s very impressive. I can well believe now that it will be finished for Christmas.

    The arches (pre-cast concrete) for the fast/Charing Cross lines are being put it into position. Work on the lowest point is also coming along thick and fast.

    The retaining wall between the Sussex down slow and the Thameslink tracks is also moving fast. The slope up for the Thameslink tracks is now also clearly visible.

    Unfortunately it’s hard to see progress on the Western End of the Charing Cross slope…

  476. Anonymous why not. says:

    Tangentially related to this: it looks like all trains on the Greenwich line now stop at Deptford, even during the morning rush hour. Am I mistaken? Not easy to confirm this online. Is that part of the improvements as part of the Thameslink work or just part of the improved SE metro services?

  477. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    “Unfortunately it’s hard to see progress on the Western End of the Charing Cross slope…”

    That because there isn’t much too see!
    The last 2 arches adjacent to the box that raise the Thameslink tracks up to the top of the box level have yet to be completed and as well as the backfill of all the arches on that section (slightly behind original schedule) so when that is done more progress can be made on the lines that drop down at the west of the site. (Meant to start in Feb)
    Most of the work is ahead of the original schedule.

  478. Old Buccaneer says:

    @ Anonymous why not @ 12:48

    Real time trains is your friend. Go to the ‘detailed search’ option and look for Deptford trains stopping earlier at Greenwich for example. I found 10 between 0700 and 0900; 07 06 25 39 49 59; 08 09 19 29 39 47, all terminating Cannon Street. Rinse and repeat as required.

    Others are better placed than me to answer your second question on motivation. I think I have read, possibly on 853 blog, that never again will Greenwich have a direct service to London Charing Cross, at least under current plans. Hope that helps.

  479. Anonymous why not. says:

    @ Old Buccaneer

    Amazing tool! Thank you.

    From doing a quick review it looks like there are still some trains skipping Deptford, but I have the subjective feeling many more are stopping there now than used to last year. Interesting. Good news for Deptforders I guess!

  480. Anonymous why not. says:

    I have become more proficient with the tool. So… tomorrow between 6am and 10am there are only 3 trains skipping Deptford. Definitely an improvement compared to what I remember (you don’t seem to be able to query historical data).

  481. Old Buccaneer says:

    Anon YN: lets you go back 7 or forward 90 days. The clue is in the name. Please email the developer to express satisfaction; an app is available for a ridiculously small amount of money, too.

    Full disclosure: I have no connection with RTT except as a user.

  482. Old Buccaneer says:

    Update: RTT can’t currently support filtering services by previous or later calling points if they ran over a day ago.

  483. timbeau says:

    Sometoimes the old fashioned timetables are the best

    There appear to be three down trains and two up trains that call at Greenwich but not Deptford – these are the 0727, 1706 and 1830 ex Cannon Street, and the 0728 and 1751 from Greenwich to Cannon Street (all but one of these five are to/from the Medway area). I did also look for trains which run non-stop from London Bridge to Woolwich, (which might be expected to be routed via Greenwich rather than Lewisham) but didn’t spot any.

    “between 6am and 10am there are only 3 trains skipping Deptford.”
    Three? I could only find one in that time window.

  484. timbeau says:

    Sorry, two. I was looking at the wrong direction and then misread my handwriting -its 0751 not 1751. But the 0830 is a mystery. The tool shows an 0747 from Gravesend calling at Greenwich at 0830 but skipping all other stations between Charlton and London Bridge. GBTT shows an 0757 all-stations from Slade Green calling at Greenwich at 0827 and Deptford at 0829.

    There is an 0747 from Gravesend in the GBTT but it goes to St Pancras (arr 1055! I assume from the three-hour timing that there is a Sandwich break on the way, but maybe it’s not a big Deal and can be passeD over).

  485. RayK says:

    Looking at Unravelled’s most recent photographs (Uploaded 24th Jan.) using his video from 6th Jan :-
    We can see that the Thameslink Western Arches are awaiting the completion of a new pier/abutment which is currently rising from it’s pit.
    I observe that the distance between the ends of the demolished viaducts which will feed both the TLK and dive under tracks is equal to about seven of the industrial units; which in their turn are about two and a half arches wide. This means that they can place arches on at least nine of the dive under arches before they get near enough to interfere with the TLK arches. I don’t know if there are reasons for avoiding doing so; or for not casting the walls.

  486. Paul says:

    Does anyone know what goes on top of the precast arch sections, and under the ballast? Foamed concrete or maybe just normal concrete?

    I assume a similar brick appearance as on the rebuilt former ‘Bricklayers Arms’ ramp, at least where the face of the arches will be visible.

  487. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    Arches they have done the western most 2 of the 19 they could do the main focus is on the arches east of the box for the Charing Cross lines.
    Doing those Western ones blocks delivery access to the rest of the site hence the scheduling later in the build when there are fewer deliveries for the other parts of the site.

  488. ngh says:

    Re Paul,

    Yes, matching the new “former” Bricklayers arms ramp.
    Pre-cast concrete spandrel /parapet wall and deck sections (complete with decorative brick similar to the St Thomas’s Street station wall), back filled with crushed rubble and some concrete deck infill where needed in the centre of the viaducts and the joins of pre cast sections.

    This can be seen in the first site photo in the article above:

    The lighter coloured concrete is cast in situ and can be seen along the centre and the joins between the slightly darker pre-cast sections at the sides.

    I can dig out a few photos if you are really interested.

    Re Ray K,

    PS the current work on the eastern arches isn’t in Unravelled’s photos/videos

  489. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anonymous why not – If you want to search train timings back up to 100 days ago, then this site is also useful:

  490. RayK says:

    Thanks ngh. I hadn’t realised the importance of the access along Jarrow Road. Having looked at the other options I can see that they are very restricted in comparison. Bolina Road is tortuous and has the footpath bridge 516, which I think used to carry the Up Bricklayers Arms line. The access under bridge 508 has that height restriction as well as passing through a busy yard. Any access from Silwood Street passes under viaduct arches. All of which leave Jarrow Road as the only access suitable for frequent use by larger vehicles.
    I guess that deliveries are near constant which means they can’t have cranes, lorries, etc. standing in Jarrow Road itself.
    I now realise that I had assumed that the scaffolding was to enable the spandrel walls to be cast in situ. Pre-cast had not occurred to me. Also, now that you have pointed it out, I can see that the spandrel walls are brick faced.
    Whilst I wait eagerly for unravelled’s work in this area I realise that there are other areas and other *things* to be photographed and a life to be lived. His photography and other peoples observations work well together to give a fuller picture.

  491. Anonymous why not. says:

    Does anyone know what the work is that’s happening on the old disused spur from the Greenwich line to Bricklayer’s? They appear to be pouring some concrete…

  492. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    You’d struggle to get 2 HGVs passing each other down Jarrow Road.
    Stuff does go through the Retail Park (subject to limits) but due to the work going on not all of the site is accessible via each route, more is usually accessible from Jarrow Road and this will increase as time goes on.

    The last few months of the construction are mostly just finishing the bit along Jarrow Road.

  493. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Awn: That appears to be an access point. They have lifted the old track, removed the ballast and put a concrete surface on top. What they are doing now appears to be a kind of barrier top protect the original brick sides from trucks and other equipment….

    At some point I think we will see wooden sleepers appear between the tracks at that point (like the spot just North of Hither Green at Nightingale Grove).

  494. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Doh! They are already there….

  495. Anonymous why not. says:

    @Southern Heights (LR)

    Thank you.
    Sorry, I feel a bit dumb tonight. What kind of access point are we talking about here? And why would wooden sleepers be needed?
    I know there is a new-ish concrete ramp a bit farther down after the spur separates from the main line, so I presume cars and material could be brought up this way?
    Does anyone know if the rest of the spur (after said concrete ramp) is meant to be demolished or will just continue to sit here for storage and decoration?

    Many thanks –

  496. RayK says:

    AWN/SH, I’m having difficulty visualising where you are talking about. Can you give it coordinates, perhaps from Google Earth?

  497. Anonymous why not. says:


    0° 2’43.79″W


  498. RayK says:

    AWN, Ah! There. Thanks.

  499. timbeau says:

    “51°29’9.54″N, 0° 2’43.79″W

    At that level of precision, you can specify not only a particular sleeper, but which side of it! (1″arc is about 30m)

  500. Anonymous why not. says:

    I am still confused about the sleepers. Maybe I should go to sleep.

  501. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @AWN: If you look at Google Earth you can see the earlier part of the ramp in white(-ish) concrete. It (currently) ends just short of Landmann Way. Just a bit further along you can see a white-ish square. Look carefully at the tracks just there…

  502. RayK says:

    So what work is to be done in the area before 2018.
    a) plain track renewals on 1 and 2 – likely to be done in short possessions
    b) switches and crossings – no point in doing them early
    c) signalling – again likely to be done in short possessions
    So a) and c) are the most likely targets for the current activity unless there is good reason for doing b) now.

  503. Ed says:

    It’s not so much that more peak trains are stopping at Deptford etc at the moment, than paths have been cut due to London Bridge rebuilding. About 9/10 to 6 an hour in the peaks on the line. So semi-fasts have been cut. Perhaps there’s one more an hour at most.

    What’s interesting is what happens after 2018 when SE get back more paths. With LO takeover the question is whether they go back to being semi-fasts run by Southeastern, or all-stoppers by TfL. With the growth in passenger numbers and mass housebuilding at stations like Deptford, Maze Hill etc I’d imagine some of the newly regained paths will be all-stoppers.

  504. Dave says:

    Pics from BDU site visit some chap made recently…

  505. quinlet says:

    Fascinating pictures. It will be interesting to see how the interface between the old and new viaducts on the Charing Cross lines outside SELCHP is managed.

  506. Paul says:

    quinlet @ 0928

    There is a video on unravelled photo stream here that suggests the the transition will be from new brick spandrels with concrete parapets with a vertical join to old brick, (as also appears to be likely at the London end of the two new viaduct ramps). The last ‘old’ arch has been reinforced with mass concrete which is presumably bolted through the old brickwork pier. I think this has probably been done as a safety precaution as well as to provide a seating for the last of the segmented concrete arch structure. The end walls of the viaduct also appear to have been ‘squared off’.

    About 10 secs from the end.

  507. Walthamstow Writer says:

    They are good photos (as are Unravelled’s) although I confess I still find it very hard to relate the photos to the end result. I should really take a ride past on a train to get my bearings.

  508. Timbeau says:

    Can you suggest any reason unravelled’s pictures won’t open for me?

  509. Paul says:

    Afraid not Timbeau. I guess you could just try a google for his photo stream, it is currently the first item.

  510. quinlet says:

    Thanks for the link, very interesting. I had wondered if they might demolish some more of the old parapet to make a consistent whole. I hope they will at least take away the buddleia which grows profusely out of it. Some of the flickr pictures show this clearly.

  511. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Thameslink Programme January 2016 highlights.

    Really needs to be watched at quarter speed starting from 10 seconds in to be fully appreciated.

  512. Verulamius says:

    Consecration of the House?

  513. Greg Tingey says:

    Sounds like it, certainly

  514. RayK says:

    I keep seeing something fresh each time I look at Unravelled’s pictures.
    Can anybody confirm whether or not the new TLK arches are having the bottom of their V’s filled with concrete as appears to be the case?
    There appears also to be deep foundation work taking place just to the East of those arches. I guess that this is either for the Northern Box or for the transition between the arches and the box.
    I see that, on the Box wall which towers above everything else, the rebar turns both ways. This suggests to me that it is the central wall. This impression appears to be confirmed by this picture of Timneu’s
    which seems to show it as being in line with the centre of the Kent Fast ramp.
    I see from the same photo. that the same ramp is constructed of blockwork. Can anybody tell me why this has not yet been continued up to the vertical concrete end?

  515. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Hi RayK,

    Yes the work is going great guns, as ngh has said, they are weeks (months ?) ahead of schedule…

    What you can see in the picture you’ve linked to, on the left is the bottom of the ramp for the fasts. there is quite a lot of activity just beyond the end of it, where the lines are at the very lowest. I suspect this is foundation work for the lowest point.

    What is also becoming very visible are parts of the flyover for the TLK fast lines, especially the bridge over Bolina Road, on the NXG end.

    Viewing it from the side from a CHX bound train, it is still a bit confusing to work out exactly what’s what…. Especially at speed…

  516. ngh says:

    Re Ray K

    Arch V filling – bottom of the V filled with foam concrete
    See David pic here:

    East of the Box there are the new Bolina Road bridges then the ramp between the bridge and the arches beyond.
    The original plan had work on the Bolina Road bridges completing much earlier but it would probably have given lots of logistics grief hence sensible to replan.

    Box Wall – Yes centre wall but only at the Eastern end of the Box where there is track over the box, at the western end where there is no track over the box there isn’t a centre wall. Northern Box wall in progress at the moment.

    “Can anybody tell me why this has not yet been continued up to the vertical concrete end?” Probably because they started at the other (shallower) end as it would have been easier to make progress as the wall is shorter

  517. Ian J says:

    @ngh: thanks, that’s interesting. Just out of interest, how is foam concrete made? Is there a chemical added to make it foam or is it to do with the way it is pumped? I assume the point is that a foam structure is lighter while still being strong?

  518. ngh says:

    Re Ian J,

    1. Technically it isn’t concrete but everyone calls it that (technically a mortar)

    2. Two manufacture options:
    a) at batching plant – foaming chemical + compressed air to produce foam that is then mixed into the “concrete”.
    b) on site from the mixer – foaming chemical mixed with air /water is used to create a foam which is then mixed into the “concrete”.
    Also pulverised fly ash (from coal fired power stations) is used to reduce the density.
    A) is better than B) for quality

    3. Air content is usually 15-25% but typical density can be 35% lower due to PFA use in addition to foam. Strength can easily be 90% lower though – it is NOT high strength!

    4. It is thixotropic and behaves better than conventional concrete for pouring (once it starts flowing!)

  519. Greg Tingey says:

    I assume it is perfectly OK in straight compression?
    But I would imagine that it would not “like” a shearing load, though.

  520. Malcolm says:

    @Greg: I don’t think the phrase “perfectly OK” is part of a materials engineer’s vocabulary. Presumably the material will safely bear a compressive load up to some limit, the limit presumably less (maybe a lot less) than it is for “standard” concrete. It will presumably yield under a shear stress, as does ordinary concrete, but probably at a different value. I doubt if it is possible to say more without going into numbers.

    The value of the material, to go by what was said when it was first mentioned, is that it can be a good way of providing temporary support for other, proper-load-bearing, concrete, while the latter sets. Possibly cheaper to use than shuttering. The foam is then left in place after it has fulfilled this role, because that is cheaper than removing it.

    Or maybe I have misunderstood.

  521. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    Best imagined as low strength (e.g 50% strength of) breeze block.

    Scraping the very bottom level of OK in compression (90% less was for compressive compared to something like a domestic concrete door lintel with a bit of fine aggregate content)
    Slightly better than HDPE but worse than nylon.

    Shear – indeed. Also an ideal back filling material before you tunnel as it is so easily worked

  522. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm,

    Posts crossed. I was indeed trying to avoid numbers.

    Different purpose in this case as it is to fill the base (cicra bottom 1m) of the awkward V in-between the precast reinforced concrete arches to help evenly distribute the load (better than recycled aggregate from demolition rubble especially as it has fully settled by the next day – ideal for roadworks in London to reduce congestion) and also waterproof reducing the overall weight of the structure. There will be aggregate, precast and in-situ cast concrete further up the structure.

    For NR (and other similar bodies) voids in concrete structures need to be accessible for inspection so best to eliminate them…

  523. RayK says:

    Hi Southern Heights,
    ‘Especially at speed…’ Yes! Viewing from a moving train does have some disadvantages which counterbalance the advantages of personal eyeballing. There are several advantages to Unravelled’s videos; not the least of which are the ability to view repeatedly from different angles and the ability to pause. Pausing videos has enabled me to see that the foundations for the Northern side of the TLK bridge over Bolina Road are taking shape.
    Re ngh,
    Thanks for the info. about the foam concrete and the box centre wall.
    To add to others comments about the Foam concrete I would say that it fills awkward shaped cavities very well.
    If there is a section of the box without track over, what function could that portion of box serve? It seems to me that as the under diving tracks approach from the East there is plenty of room for them to be spaced apart and thus room for walls between them. The central section of the box is where both TLK tracks pass over and so a centre wall is needed. The Eastern section is where the TLK tracks approach from the South and here the box straddles just the Southern pair of diveunder tracks. At the Western end, as the TLK tracks cross over onto the old viaducts, there is insufficient space between the tracks for a centre wall so here the box stradlles all four tracks.
    When I asked “Can anybody tell me why this has not yet been continued up to the vertical concrete end?” I surmised that it might be that the vertical end had not yet matured sufficiently to be strong enough to have fill compacted against it. As neither the walls nor the fill have been put in place it seems very deliberate. I thought somebody might know the reason for this.

  524. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    “At the Western end, as the TLK tracks cross over onto the old viaducts, ”

    Available width isn’t an issue, there is virtually no track on the top of the box hence much lower loading so no need for a center wall there.
    West of the box the tracks under all run parallel but they don’t to the east where they fan out hence the 2 halves of the box at the Eastern end finishing at different points as an alternative to having no centre wall as the equivalent spans would be bigger. Also the TL tracks aren’t straight but curved.

  525. RayK says:

    Re ngh,
    ‘Available width isn’t an issue’
    It seems to me that it depends on where that width is best used. Just to support it’s own weight, a beam to span four tracks will be considerably heavier than one spanning two tracks. This in turn requires stronger supporting walls and foundations. There therefore has to be some reason for choosing to install the longer beam.
    As the shorter beam would require a support wall between the centre two tracks, instead of to the South of all four, I have wondered why this was not done. I conclude that there is insufficient space without moving the southernmost two tracks further South than currently planned. Perhaps the resulting extra cost would have been greater than the extra cost of the wider box which has been chosen.
    What we need, rather than our conjectures, is a presentation which includes the design considerations for the Bermondsey Diveunder box.

  526. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    Unfortunately you can’t post images in LR posts so you can’t see what I have open in front of me at the moment… 😉

    None of the images in the article above actually represent what is actually being built which is I think part of the problem causing confusion.

    At the west of the box it is 4 track, supported by the North and South Walls with 45degree taper at the western end.

    In the Centre West (very short section) is a 2 track south box supported by the South and Centre walls and a north box with deck that tapers away supported by the Centre and to lesser extent the North wall. Only the tapered section has 3 walls as otherwise you couldn’t do the taper. (There is not a 4 track section with 3 walls without a taper…)

    At the Centre East of the box it just covers 2 tracks supported by the centre and south wall. The 2 track box here widens out as it heads east as the Down Sussex slow and the Up Kent fast have to diverge.

    At the East a concrete slab is supported on the south wall and columns further south (no impact issues as no track underneath) that take the TL lines (Sussex Fast) to the Bolina Road Bridges.

    “It seems to me that it depends on where that width is best used. Just to support it’s own weight, a beam to span four tracks will be considerably heavier than one spanning two tracks.”

    No beams just a concrete deck. If it were beams it would be circa 30% more but a much smaller increase for a structural deck. (I don’t have the books on me for detailed calcs)

    “This in turn requires stronger supporting walls and foundations. There therefore has to be some reason for choosing to install the longer beam.”

    But the strength of the supporting walls etc is actually defined by impact resistance requirements [See Lewisham /St John crash] not any extra weight from the deck etc. in this case.

    “As the shorter beam would require a support wall between the centre two tracks, instead of to the South of all four, I have wondered why this was not done.”

    Because it would use more concrete and rebar than a slightly thicker deck given the crash requirements (a 4 track solution uses less material) and also 2 track makes maintenance harder when operational.

  527. ngh says:


    PS, the relative lengths of the 4 parts mentioned above:
    West 47%
    Centre West 16%
    Centre East 16%
    East 21%

  528. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: Fancy writing an article? 😉

  529. RayK says:

    Re ngh,
    Thank you for a very clear description of what is actually being built. It had not ocurred to me that impact resistance would impose greater requirements than the simpler needs arising from structural weight. Slab decks in place of beams explains a great deal too.
    You have also answered my unvoiced question about what happens to the TLK tracks between the box and their bridge over Bolina Road.
    Those percentages are also most helpful. Is it possible that you can tell us the overall length of the box and perhaps the approximate distance between the eastern end of the box and say the already constructed bridge over Bolina Road.

  530. RayK says:

    I realise that I have made at least one assumption in reading your description of the box.
    Where you say ‘At the west of the box it is 4 track, supported by the North and South Walls with 45degree taper at the western end.’ Is it the walls that have the 45 degree taper or the deck.
    Can you say how far West the four track box will extend. Will it continue as far as the substantial RC structure being built at the eastern end of the new western TLK arches?
    Your description has further helped me to understand what I am seeing in Unravelled’s latest video.
    Thanks again.

  531. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    Oops I should have been clearer and said deck tapered! The taper is in approximately NW-SE direction.

    “Can you say how far West the four track box will extend. Will it continue as far as the substantial RC structure being built at the eastern end of the new western TLK arches?”

    The North Wall start immediately adjacent to the new pre-cast TL track arches, the tapered deck starts about 10m east of this 1m04s (remaining) in the video and is full 4track width by the “step” in the existing viaduct has been cut back at 1m13s (remaining). The reinforcing for the north wall can be seen through the railings by looking at the video carefully between those two times note the gap between the existing structure and North Wall.

  532. Dave Cardboard says:

    Maybe the linked pic will help. It’s a mash up of a planning application that was submitted to soutwark/lewisham (I forget which) a couple of years ago and some “colouring in” of my own made around the middle of 2014. I don’t work on the project so I cannot attest to the accuracy of anything, but it seems to be largely in line with what NGH is describing.

    https:[email protected]/with/24880588953/

  533. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    If Unravelled has added any photo’s then you can see the shape of the structure emerging much more clearly now. Exactly where the lines are going is much more visible now.

  534. RayK says:

    Unravelled’s latest video was uploadeded yesterday.
    Both it and it’s predecessor show great progress all over the site.
    I don’t think we will see any more of the Western arches from the SE tracks as they will be hidden from view. It looks like all arch spandrels are to be concrete filled. Is there only one side wall to the Eastern TLK ramp? It looks as though it will be filled whereas I had earlier assumed it would be hollow.
    Way back in July 2013 in Rail issue 725, NR were quoted as saying that the civils would be ‘mainly done’ by the end of June 2016. It’s looking likely that they may finish with time to spare.

  535. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    If we are talking about the same wall then there only needs to be one on the north side of the the eastern TL tracks as the down Sussex slow has to rise up adjacent to TL tracks after having gone underneath them through the diveunder. If it were to be hollow then a lot of the former embankment (and other) material would have to be removed from the site (the aim was to minimise material removal and hence lorry movements). The former embankment has effectively got rebuilt slightly further north with a retaining wall (also cheaper than hollow!)
    With the exception of the actual dive under structure the bits that were embankment have been replaced with new embankment and bits that were bridge or viaduct replaced with new bridge / viaduct…

  536. timbeau says:

    I’m befuddled by that video – what am I looking at? It would help to know which track the view is being filmed from – I assumed the up fast CX line, but towards the end we seem to be going over another track – surely the span over the diveunder is not carrying traffic yet?

  537. Sad Fat Dad says:

    It is from the Up Charing Cross, looking to the left (South).

    It doesn’t go over another track, other than the ELL right at the start of the clip.

  538. timbeau says:

    I thought it was the up CX, but what is it we are passing over at 0:43? (the timer seems to be running backwards by the way)

  539. ngh says:

    Re timbeau

    43s in is Bolina Road

  540. timbeau says:

    Bolina Road is surely 43 seconds from the beginning – for me at least the timer is running backwards so I am talking about 43 seconds from the end (near where we pass a lime green digger), where the line is passing over some white boxlike structures on the skew.

  541. RayK says:

    The timer is indeed a countdown timer. Starting from the beginning:-
    1.43 Crossing ELL
    1.22 Vertical slab centre stage is where Arches for the Kent Fast lines change to a filled ramp. In the background they appear to be grading the old embankment material for reuse.
    1.09 The great white wall is what ngh has told us is the Northern support for the TLK Eastern embankment complete with the Eastern abutment for the TLK Bolina Bridge . The ramp for the Down Sussex Slow is in front of it.
    1.06 Bolina Road with the beginnings of the bridges to either side.
    0.57 Eastern ends of both the South and Central box walls.
    0.50 Western end of Central box wall.
    0.43 Close beneath us is the Northern box wall which was out of sight until it got quite high. Hidden behind this but more visible at
    0.41 is a long concrete slab which I suspect could be the box floor for the Down Sussex slow. It could also be for the Southern box wall.
    0.39 Interface between the TLK Western arches and the box.
    Apart from the bridges over ELL and Bolina Road we are on viaduct all the way.

  542. timbeau says:

    ………….and of course by the end of the footage, we are presumably on what will become the up Thameslink line but is still currently the up CX?

  543. RayK says:

    I think it will become the Down TLK as there will be three CST lines, the middle of which will be reversible.

  544. ngh says:

    Re Ray and Timbeau,

    There are 4 Cannon Street tracks (from North Kent East Jn) until 0.10
    The finished operating state is 1-3 CST as before the works and the 4th (the current temporary up Charing Cross) is the future link from the down Thameslink to Cannon Street lines.

    43s (from the end) this is where the tracks had to be realigned from the 1850s alignment where there were gaps between the tracks for the platforms at Commercial Dock Station (and then the later Southwark Park Station slightly further west circa 1900) necessitating the various viaduct structures being “tied” together to allow the realignment of the tracks both laterally and at different angles to the original structures to use all the available space on the viaduct.

    See this comment from August re saddle beams etc

  545. ngh says:

    NR’s February video for the diveunder and station works:

  546. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @Ngh – if only NR would put up the odd caption to briefly explain what’s happening and where. Some of the camera positions require a bit of guesswork as to what work you’re looking at and I have the benefit of having read tens of thousands of words about the works on LR. Unfortunately they don’t allow comments to be left under their videos on Youtube!

    On a slightly related matter some videos of the new cl700s popped up for viewing. Boy do they sound peculiar – like some sort of science fiction weapon (ray gun) – and they are huge in a single 12 car formation. They look most odd with no “mid break point” between units that we are so used to on long suburban trains.

  547. Graham Feakins says:

    @WW – Those Class 700’s sounding peculiar isn’t quite the term I’d use. Going by this short clip of one leaving Blackfriars:

    they are likely to send folk heading for their aspirin bottle at best and their local psychiatric institution at worst! Gosh.

  548. ngh says:

    Not as good as the Vienese Siemens units that miss the mains harmonic frequencies by playing Mozart, though they had an older design of traction motor and electronics and different gearing etc.

  549. RayK says:

    I tend to think that anything emitting that much noise is either malfunctioning or, at best, inefficient. Something must be vibrating to emit that sound. Perhaps they have tried to reduce it and this is the best they could do.

  550. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Doesn’t really sound to bad…. Remember that the 465’s also make some strange noises…

  551. Paul says:

    There’s no significant difference between the noise of that 700 and an existing 450/444 really. ISTM because it is a 12 car train doing a slow move over a crossover it is spending a lot of time in the initial stage of the various frequencies heard, but a train accelerating to a higher speed on straight track will pass that sound point quickly.

  552. timbeau says:

    What causes that weird noise that Siemens units make? (Both Desiros and, so it would appear from this video, the new ones). Sounds like something from Doctor Who.
    (The Networkers “going up through the gears” are quite different)

  553. Ian J says:

    While a YouTube video might give you an idea of what a train sounds like, it won’t tell you how loud it is (especially if the video camera has some kind of noise compensation system).

  554. RayK says:

    @ngh 16 March at 10:01
    Thanks for that cross reference to your earlier comment. I now understand both comments better.

  555. MikeP says:

    The noise has to be a mangetostrictive effect somewhere. Hard to credit anything else producing that sort of volume (and yes it does sound just like SWT Desiros to me). Knowing hardly anything more than nothing about the design of current traction packs, my money’s on the traction motors – maybe some harmonic of the variable-frequency drive.

    Alternatively, a transformer. I’m sure ngt will be along soon to enlighten us.

  556. ngh says:

    Desiro noises:

    Sounds similar but slightly different to the SWT Siemens desiro units.

    12 car units have 4 traction motors each on the 1st 3rd 4th 9th 10th and 12th cars. (50% powered axles)
    (8 car units have 4 traction motors each on the 1st 3rd 6th 8th cars.)
    Which explains the getting louder and quieter as the 12car train passes and also the train coasting at times as it can’t accelerate further till after the end of the video clip…

    The pitch of the “ray gun” noise is due to the switching speed of the IGBTs (though not necessarily the devices themselves) as they are turned on and off to create the variable frequency 3 phase AC for the asynchronous traction motors. (The switching speed (hence pitch of noises) of IGBTs is about 4 times that of GTOs hence Timbeau’s comment about the sound being very different from the original (non Hitachi’ed) networkers). Also throw in vector control, WSP, power factor correction and the microprocessor control doing lots of things to the IGBTs leading to the variation in high frequency noises! The switching occurs at far higher frequencies than the the frequencies used by the motors in order to create the desired waveforms for the traction current/potentials.

    The frequency of the traction current will go from 0Hz (at 0mph) to 72-79Hz (depending on wheel wear, assuming same gear ratio as previous desiros etc) at 100mph but the “ray gun” sounds are mostly at 2150-2700Hz* with some at 1100-1200Hz.
    * Which is about the max sensible IGBT switching frequency before the switching speed starts to impact max operating current / device…
    The next generation technology Silicon Carbide MOSFET can switch at far higher speeds with out starting to limit device current so should be very effective at scaring rodents rather than humans 😉

    Any traction current harmonic issues in that clip would be < 100Hz at that speed.

  557. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – I love the explanation even though I don’t understand all the frequency stuff at the end never having got the hang of physics all those decades ago at school. I could never get to grips with physics or chemistry. You have, though, confirmed what I had sussed about the location of the traction motors on the Cl700s.

    On a sort of related matter has the plan to use fixed formation 12 car class 700s had any impact on things like track design / signal sections (away from the core)? I know there have been issues about platform lengths and obviously sidings and depots have to be designed to cope. It’s probably a bit of a visual illusion on the video clips I’ve watched but they do look absolutely enormous (length wise) and I was just curious as to any related impacts.

  558. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    They are just over 2m shorter than a 12car 377 so the big issue is more 12 car formations. Track / Signalling section length the big one that comes to mind off core is Cottage Junction /Windmill Bridge Junction will need sorting in CP6 (discussed to death in Sussex articles).

  559. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: Your description makes perfect sense and it matches my initial thoughts. I guess the motors are static coil motors?

  560. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    Induction motor with the stator coils connected to the traction electronics and rotor coils act as simple inductors (similar to secondary stage of transformer) so no commutators or brushes required. The next generation of rolling stock will probably have permanent (rare earth) magnet rotors instead.

  561. Anomnibus says:

    The noise sounds suspiciously like a digital-analogue interface using fuzzy logic. My money’s on the microprocessor being at least partly responsible for the pitch shifting, though the source of the harmonics themselves is most likely the motors.

    [Off topic bit snipped. LBM]

  562. RayK says:

    @LBM ‘[Off topic bit snipped. LBM]’
    As this article is about the Bermondsey Diveunder that would be the branch off the branch off the main line. But then, just which main line should this particular off topic be chugging (or whining) along?
    We seem to have two issues.
    1 The origin of the frequencies.
    2 The origin of the sounds.
    As I suspect that the frequencies are a result of the design parameters I expect the likelihood of changing them is fairly remote.
    The origin of the sounds is something vibrating. This might be more amenable to alteration without bringing the system crashing down.

  563. 100andthirty says:


    In the same way that buses, cars, steam engines and diesel locomotives have their various characteristic sounds, Siemens EMUs have their characteristic warble. All three phase drives make a sound and each is different. I doubt that there will be any changes, and as it appears to work, why should there be?

  564. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    “As I suspect that the frequencies are a result of the design parameters I expect the likelihood of changing them is fairly remote.”

    As explained above: Effectively the maximum switching frequency* of the IGBTs before switching current /device starts to reduce (think of it as constant 0Hz till ~3KHz then exponential decay with increasing frequency) thus resulting in more IGBTs to switch the same current above 3KHz with bulkier, heavier and more expensive traction electronics.
    Also see above about SiC MOSFET allowing higher frequency switching (also higher efficiency)

    *which is all down to the underlying physics in the gate structure rather than any real design choices

    Re Anomnibus,

    Microprocessor is 100% responsible for the changing pitch just trying to explain without pictures /circuit diagrams etc. is non starter and an article in itself!

  565. ngh says:

    Back on topic…

    Unravelled has paid a timely visit in the sunshine with some new video from both sides:
    Looking south from an SE train to Charing Cross:

    Looking north from an Southern service from London Bridge:

    All the features mentioned in this post (3 offset walls and columns near the Bolina road bridge where there isn’t a collision resistance issue) are now visible:

  566. Purley Dweller says:

    Went past yesterday. I was impressed that you can now see the structures after so long being a demolition site.

  567. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – yes I enjoyed those videos when I saw them yesterday. I think I’m finally beginning to understand what’s going on. Nothing like physical evidence to help understanding. 😉

  568. RayK says:

    @Purley Dweller
    Despite the appearance it’s quite some time since it was just a demolition site (if you know what to look for or ask about) Demolition took about three months and the construction guys didn’t wait around for that to finish before they started in. Much they did initially was below ground and out of sight. (Or hidden by great heaps of materials.)
    By 27th August a great deal of compaction of fill material had been done between Bolina Road and the ‘new arches on old pillars’ for the Kent Fast lines.
    AS ngh explained upthread on 31st August at 21:53, they had begun digging and constructing drainage at that time.
    By 4th Sept they were piling next to Bolina Road.
    By Sept 12th they had almost completed demolition of the arches as far West as required.
    Assuming ngh was correct in stating that demolition was due for completion by new year they appear to have finished that about three months ahead of schedule. This does not automatically put the construction that far ahead but it must have been a great help to have had that many fewer other workers (and plant) to work round.

  569. ngh says:

    The April 2016 site video for the diveunder and London Bridge:

  570. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – thanks for that. Interesting that the new flyover is now being to emerge. Do I assume that everything is running to schedule for the big August switchover / opening?

  571. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    Switch overs are
    Christmas 2016 sussex down slow
    April 2017 charing cross lines
    Christmas 2017 thameslink lines

    So no rush!

  572. Timbeau says:

    The Thameslink Programme website says Charing Cross services will resume, and Cannon Street services cease, calling at London Bridge in august 2016. Has that date slipped? Or is it the diversion of CX services through the dive under which is taking place at Christmas?

  573. Timbeau says:

    Oops, Easter for services through the dive under.

  574. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – Sorry, I wasn’t clear. The August reference was to the works at London Bridge and opening half the new ticket hall and swapping the stopping arrangements for CX / Can St services.

  575. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Walthamstow Writer,

    August works happening as planned. What I didn’t realise until a few days ago is that there will be no trains to Cannon St (from anywhere) from Saturday 27th August until Friday 2nd September when they resume – but don’t stop at London Bridge.

    Others have told me this always was the plan but it hasn’t exactly been publicised until this week. See details on SouthEastern’s website.

  576. Timbeau says:


    It is not that long ago that Cannon Street was closed every weekend. Closing for a week including a bank holiday, when the remaining working days are usually quieter, seems very much the least worst time to do it.

  577. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    Sorry I though the question was about the diveunder!

    There is actually lots (not just the end of August) that will affect most or all station users journeys coming up so had been thinking about penning so thing properly.

    The first noticeable changes will be the arcade and escalators between the concourse and tube being taken out of use from the end of June so users will have to use other ways. (There was a trial to understand pedestrian flow the other week). Weekend engineering work will increase again before the August blockade which will be a bit of surprise to Southern users especially).

    Plenty of on going changes after September as there will be lots of more noticeable micro stage changes that will have effects on services and users.

    The classic mantra of only publicise the next change is being used.

    Re PoP,

    You’ve been lulled into false sense of security by there not being not big disruption last August which was/is unique for the project!

  578. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    Indeed except that means no service on the Greenwich line between Deptford – Westcombe Park for that week and very little via Abbey Wood and Blackheath.

    At least the Charing Cross services stopping at LBG get a soft launch on the BH Monday, far better than a working Tuesday.

  579. timbeau,

    I would agree entirely. My only issue is that I didn’t think it had been publicised. Cannon St not being open is not really an issue as it is only a short walk across the bridge from London Bridge and I do not consider it unreasonable to ask people to do that for three days.

    More of an issue is how busy the Charing Cross services (stopping at London Bridge) will be and three stations devoid of any rail service. At least at Greenwich travellers can travel against peak flow to Lewisham.

    It will also be interesting to see how long the Charing Cross trains will be on these three days.

  580. RayK says:

    Whilst there are interesting points in the NR video (ngh
    25 May at 17:29) I find it rather frustrating that it was so out of date by the time it was published. Unravelled’s most recent video (uploaded 5th May) beats the NR offering by being both more recent and available earlier.
    At the rate they have been working they will have progressed far beyond that by now.

  581. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    Indeed but it does offer a different perspective.
    Deck pouring on the main box deck has started though.

  582. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: There is a lot of track laying going on the Spa Road to Dive under area, am I right in thinking that as of the August blockade the tracks in use will be 4/5 for CST and 6/7 for CHX?

    This would allow them to replace the track/ballast for tracks 1 & 2, using track 3 for works trains? The slew required for the CST lines can’t be done in the Tower Bridge Road area, there are little signs up on the bridges saying “No Slew”…

    The actual final shape of the diveunder is really becoming clear now… Until the last week or so it resembled an odd collection of walls with little purpose… 😉

  583. RayK says:

    Re ngh, Yes! I can see that the Kent fast lines are diverging as they approach Bolina Road from the SE rather than seeming to converge as perspective demands.
    How long will it be before they can strike the supporting scaffolding after pouring the box deck?
    @SH(LR), The stage plans do not show tracks 1 & 2 out of use for relaying as any point. I think they will be done all in short possessions. Of course the plans could have been tweaked since they were drawn up (before 2013). Bear in mind that they will swap things round as little as possible. It will only be done when everyone agrees that there is a very clear advantage.

  584. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Did I see correctly that one of the new Thameslink units made a visit to London Bridge during April?

  585. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    Yes and Victoria SE side too for checking there aren’t any issues (diversionary purposes).

    LBG eastern approaches no change to CHX lines* in August just slewing the 2 CST lines next to the CHX ones where the current kink is just before the 3rd signal gantry (i.e. 11 track ones) out from the station. The CST lines go through the new P5+6 alignment. The Country (east) end of the P4+5 island is largely complete with just platform surfacing and finishing details on the canopy needed.

    *these can’t move till the terminating platforms down loop is removed after the Sussex down slow is brought into use at Christmas. The new CHX tracks on the eastern approaches come into use in April ’17 along with the route through the dive under. Getting them don at the moment is very much a case of keeping them well off the critical path as well as achieving an optimal utilisation of track equipment and staff.

    As Ray K says 1+2 will get done at weekends and during other blockades – the viaduct (and bridges) underneath are 50-65 years younger then the other ones and better designed and built and everything is in better condition too (also more recently worked on pre LBG rebuild). With tracks 3+4 out of use from April it will be very easy to work on 1+2 as the equipment and supplies can be left there while services are operating so the site (de-)mobilisation time is very low. the work required on 1+2 also lend itself to incremental step at weekends etc in similar way to the work on the western approaches has (/is) being done.

  586. timbeau says:

    “The CST lines go through the new P5+6 alignment. ”

    (although Southern Heights at 10:32 yesterday said P4/5)

    Whichever it is, this is presumably a temporary arrangement as I understood that in the final layout CSt trains will use P123, Thameslink P4/5, and CX Platforms 678 and 9.

  587. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    All temporary and it is 5+6 for CST as there won’t be a trackbed for 4 for while yet as it needs demolition of the in use old P3(+4) island first!

    In the interim CHX will just use P7/8/9 (as currently so no August changes on CHX lines) till August BH 2017 blockade when CST swaps from 5+6 to 1+2, the points to connect P6 to the CHX track will be added at this point. P3-5 get finished after Aug ’17.

    Correct on the final arrangement.

  588. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @timbeau: I was referring to the track arrangement in the Bermondsey area where (previously):

    1-3 = CST, 4 = Down CHX Slow, 5-6 Fast(-ish) CHX, 7 = Up bypass track.

    @ngh: In the Druid Street/Crucifix Lane area there are signs that track slewing is not allowed, I presume due to the bridge/overhang construction. So the actual slew will be west of it? That’s not a lot of room!

  589. ngh says:

    Re SH,

    Indeed, adjacent to the existing CHX line slew just west of Tower Bridge Road.

  590. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – just to make sure my poor old brain is following stuff. The most recent discussion about “1&2” and only weekend work being needed is referring to *tracks* 1 and 2 as they approach from the east? I am still correct in my thinking that *platforms* 1-3 at London Bridge itself all get demolished and the underneath is all rebuilt in the same style as the rest of LOB? Presumably the tracks 1,2 and 3 through the station area are removed and then reinstated. Sorry if I seem clueless but it is an immensely complex scheme when you don’t particularly understand how the station worked beforehand. 😉

  591. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    We have been swapping between station and approach tracks a bit too liberally, the danger of familarity.

    “1&2” at weekends is the tracks from just east of the station to near North Kent East Junction (west of New Cross).

    P1-3 get demolished in September (the old SER now station offices by platform 1 in Tooley Street get demolished imminently as does the footbridge link to the offices). After P6 is complete and they have got as much as they can done on P5 as they can for time being (country end of P4&5 completed, side wall of P5 over the concourse area) the track through 4&5 gets laid till the point east of the station where the “kink” will be and they joint the 1&2 tracks on the eastern approaches in the August blockade. On the western approaches the new platform 4&5 track will be plain line and join the existing CST lines at the point where the CST lines split into 3 again over Borough High Street

    All numbers in the 1302 comment are platforms.

    After August ’16 till Easter ’17 the Station construction (post demolition) focus is:

    Columns and deck for tracks 3+4 (piling already done),
    Piling, columns and deck for tracks 1 & 2
    Platform 1 complete in single phase
    Platform 2+3 island complete platform in single phase
    Platform 4 side wall over the concourse area
    Lay tracks 1 2 and 3

    Post Easter ’17
    In brief finish P3,4,5 and track modifications (extra points)

    [Ignores lots of signalling work which is largely unseen]

  592. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – many thanks for a nice concise explanation. 🙂

  593. RayK says:

    ngh 27 May at 11:22
    ‘The new CHX tracks on the eastern approaches come into use in April ’17 along with the route through the dive under.’
    This is some four months earlier than the staging diagrams from the IR14 presentation show. The down Sussex Slow is likewise four months ahead of those diagrams. Is this a matter of ‘beware of presentations’, has the program been further developed since the presentation or are parts of the programme this far ahead of schedule?

  594. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    Beware of summary especially when in presentations.

    There are about twice as many actual stages than shown in the presentation and lots of the later ones have been amalgamated especially where it involves the diveunder rather than just the station.

    Connecting all the new tracks requires quite a bit of signalling resource hence works taking place every big bank holiday some visible some invisible. Sometimes it is modification of the old system sometimes swapping to the new equipment and sometimes modifying the new equipment that has been previously installed. This August is the last time old equipment is modified.

    With the diveunder works for example the down sussex slow has to be in use before the down loop outside the station can be removed which then enables the final CHX track arrangement to be finished.
    Hence the focus at Christmas is SN terminating track signalling (modification to new) and next easter it is CHX track signalling (swapping to new).

    The old LBG signalling panel dividing lines are/were a mix of horizontal and vertical but the new set up is just horizontal division so each of the 4 destination groups is kept separate (Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Sussex fast/ TL, Sussex slow / SN).

  595. ngh,

    the new set up is just horizontal division so each of the 4 destination groups is kept separate (Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Sussex fast/ TL, Sussex slow / SN)

    Indeed. Once you can get rid of those pesky Greenwich – Charing Cross trains it makes a lot more sense to separate the Cannon St and Charing Cross flows and put them on separate panels in the signalbox/ROC.

    In retrospect and with the benefit of hindsight, it may have been a pity that in 1976 with London Bridge Resignalling they didn’t send all the Greenwich trains to Cannon St as done today and have the old London Bridge box organised with independent flows to the two termini. I know not everyone would have been happy with this but it would have made the former South Eastern Division of British Rail more reliable and easier to manage.

  596. ngh says:

    And the latest NR video covering the BH weekend work:

    Tracks laid on the eastern approaches to P5 & 6 to the slew point (see discussion above)

    Points added between track 6&7 just east of the platforms (not needed till 2017 but least work to add now)

    Points added between Lines 3+4 at the new Surrey Canal Jn (by SELCHP east of diveunder)

    Tracks 5+6 more track laying from the slew point east towards Blue Anchor Jn (doesn’t get in the way of anything else so ideal to do now when blockades for other reasons permit and keeps work well away from the critical path).

  597. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – methinks the Thameslink PR people are reading comments here. That’s impressively quick to get the video up in under 24 hours. Nice to see more of the flyover / dive unders becoming evident. And now a silly question – when they reballast and tamp track is someone tasked with making sure the running and conductor rails are clear of ballast so there are no point blade jams, risk of short circuits or trains encountering ballast?

  598. RayK says:

    Re WW ‘when they reballast and tamp track’ It looks from their recent track record (no pun intended) as though NR and their contractors have learned this particular record.
    @ngh And this latest NR video shows them working on the Western Dive Under arches where they are hidden in Unravelled’s videos. It is also interesting to observe that the TLK bridge over Bolina Road has been craned in and yet the dive under track bridges appear to be being prepared to be cast in situ. Am I interpreting this correctly?

  599. timbeau says:

    “In retrospect and with the benefit of hindsight, it may have been a pity that in 1976 with London Bridge Resignalling they didn’t send all the Greenwich trains to Cannon St as done today and have the old London Bridge box organised with independent flows to the two termini.”
    That would have required Cannon Street to be open (or Greenwich to be closed!) at weekends.

  600. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Not at all. Just terminate at London Bridge.

    Alternatively (not that there would be any need to do so) run out of service and terminate at and start from Cannon St.

  601. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @RayK: Correct on both counts…

  602. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Difficult to know exactly where to post this given the range of articles covering Thameslink services. It appears from various postings I’ve seen elsewhere that TSGN are proposing, subject to DfT agreement (and likely direction), a somewhat revised service structure for the post 2018 service. I have no more details than the list below and the fact it seems to have been in a briefing to staff. One wonders quite what is going on – especially with TL10!

    TL1 Bedford to Brighton via London Bridge
    TL2 Bedford to Gatwick via London Bridge
    TL3 Bedford to East Grinstead via London Bridge – Peak hours only
    TL4 Bedford to Littlehampton via London Bridge – Peak hours only
    TL5 Peterborough to Horsham via London Bridge
    TL6 Cambridge to Brighton via London Bridge (semi fast)
    TL7 Cambridge to Maidstone East – Mon-Sat (stopping north of route)
    TL8 Blackfriars to Sevenoaks via Elephant – Runs to from Welwyn during peak hours
    TL9 Kentish Town to Orpington via Elephant – Runs to/from Luton during peak hours
    TL10 Luton to Rainham via London Bridge
    TL11 St Albans to Sutton via Mitcham
    TL12 St Albans to Sutton via Wimbledon

    You’ll note the removal of the more local services serving some of the Croydon area branches. The inclusion of two more regular services on to South Eastern metals is particularly surprising and I wonder quite what that does to TfL aspirations and London Bridge train movements. Now I haven’t sat down with a post 2018 LOB track diagram but I thought the whole point of the rebuild was not to have quirky cross “division” train movements which TL10 surely implies? I assume some of this has come about from the development of the revised structure of the South Eastern franchise and the need to start the overall reletting process very soon.

  603. Ian J says:

    @WW: I thought the whole point of the rebuild was not to have quirky cross “division” train movements which TL10 surely implies

    My understanding is that the original intention was always to have some trains going through to Southeastern routes (Dartford, I think) via a (partly grade separated, partly flat) connection at Bermondsey – this is visible in the 2018 diagram above as the green lines branching off at Bermondsey from the main Thameslink route and merging into the purple Cannon St lines. As I understand it these connections are being built.

    These trains were then dropped in theory as part of the reshuffle following on from the decision to keep the Sutton loop through the core and consequent shift of trains from London Bridge to Elephant and Castle routes.

    The current rethink seems to be intended either to reduce the number of Thameslink trains through Windmill Bridge junction (see the Study in Sussex articles for why this is now the main bottleneck on the Brighton Main Line), or because 8/12-car fixed formation trains to these branches were overkill, or possibly with an eye to future transfer of Caterham and Tattenham services to TfL.

    But no doubt PoP understands all this much better than I do.

  604. ngh says:

    Re WW and Ian J,

    There will be full proposals coming out for start of a 3 month consultation for the late December 2016 and 2018 timetables in mid-July to mid-October but we hope to cover these in full sooner 😉 hence a number of us have held off commenting as there is a lot in the detail that affect SouthEastern and Southern metro services as the changes will potentially remove the ability to improve capacity from Southern metro services in the longer term (See Turning South London Orange) hence holding fire till we have more meaning full detail. The plans for Hastings direct to CST (see Sussex Part 3) for the next SE Franchise and Hayes (not Bakerloo extension beyond Lewisham – see latest Haykerloo Article) are also linked hence there probably isn’t just 1 home for comments and the need to pull everything together more. This is massive.

    [PS you might find the LBG rather than LOB track diagram more useful above ground ;-)]

    Anyway here is bit more detail:

    TL1 Bedford-London Bridge-Brighton
    TL2 Bedford-London Bridge-Gatwick [Calling at Redhill, Merstham, Coulsdon South, Purley, East Croydon, Norwood Junction and London Bridge]
    TL3 (Bedford-London Bridge-East Grinstead) Peak hours only
    TL4 (Bedford-London Bridge-Littlehampton) Peak hours only
    TL5 Peterborough-London Bridge-Horsham [Calling at all to Gatwick then Redhill, Purley, East Croydon and London Bridge]
    TL6 Cambridge North [semi fast]-London Bridge-Brighton
    TL7 {Cambridge [stopping]-London Bridge-Maidstone East} Mon-Sat [Calling at West Malling, Borough Green, Otford, Swanley then fast to London Bridge via SEML, return of an old CST service withdrawn circa a decade ago]
    TL8 (Welwyn -) Blackfriars-E&C-Sevenoaks () Peak hours only [Catford Loop]
    TL9 (Luton – Kentish Town-) Blackfriars -E&C-Orpington () Peak hours only [Catford Loop]
    TL10 Luton-London Bridge-Greenwich-Abbey Wood-Rainham [Semi fast on SE side]
    TL11 St Albans-E&C-Wimbledon via Sutton
    TL12 St Albans-E&C-Sutton via Wimbledon

    As an example of the need for detail see service TL 10:
    The Diveunder track layout was designed for SE Dartford via and stopping at New Cross so the routing via Greenwich has raised a few eyebrows not least on service reliability grounds! [I suspect Greg would refer to it as “Upney” (e.g. 1 stop beyond Barking)].

    Rainham – Luton GTR modelling for the demand *didn’t* take account that there will be a 12tph Crossrail service from Abbey Wood that will get to Farringdon quicker (and probably cheaper given the TL fares structure from South of the river etc.) that TfL have been marketing for quite few years already to more than cope with such demand! So lets see if it survives consultation…

    Some of the capacity is effectively a swap between SouthEastern and Southern services as some of the 8tph in the Blackfriars Bays that was all going to SouthEastern in 2018 will now go to Southern Metro Services instead so a proposed post 2018 SE service (TL9) has been swapped so the proposed peak only Wimbledon via Tulse Hill – London Bridge goes to Blackfriars Bays instead helping un do some of the collateral Wimbledon loop decision. TL7 was in the last proposals fast via Elephant and Castle so has allowed an SE post 2018 service to become TL one instead so 4tph stopping on the Catford Loop and with the same TOC.

    If the more the 2tph of the 8tph to the Blackfriars bays go to Southern then things get more interesting… 😉

  605. Ian J says:

    @ngh: thanks for the detail. It will be interesting to see how GTR/Network Rail try to communicate all that for consultation! I always feel that the South London rail network is like a bowl of spaghetti where pulling on one strand causes all the rest to move in unpredictable ways.

  606. Greg Tingey says:

    Possibly Upney – certainly the carriage-sidings to the E of Barking …
    What is Upney is the continuation of the Wim-loops N of Blackfriars.
    I think that sooner or later they will have to go, with the S London locals being mollified by a promise of a 4 tph reliable service, as opposed to a 2 tph unreliable one … (?)

  607. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    TL 8 is via Swanley or Orpington (all stations)? I would guess the former, but Southeastern display Sevoaks to CST as “Cannon Street via Chislehurst”, which is ambiguous too! So you never can tell…

  608. timbeau says:

    I assumed from WW’s post that TL10 would be via Bromley South. Is it even still possible for Greenwich line trains to get to Blackfriars?

    ” [I suspect Greg would refer to it as “Upney” (e.g. 1 stop beyond Barking)].”

    Rainham is actually two stops beyond Barking!

  609. Malcolm says:

    “Rainham is actually two stops beyond Barking!”

    Well, one of them is. I doubt me somewhat if Thameslink trains would ever get to that one, but I suppose reversing at New Cross then at Highbury and Islington could do the trick. To do it without reversing what about via West Brompton and Willesden Junction?

  610. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – sorry if I’ve let the “cat out of the bag”. I expected someone would know what was going on but it just seems like such a change to what we’ve spent many hundreds of posts discussing and me getting “told off” for “ignorant” remarks about Thameslink onto SE tracks! Thanks for the extra detail at this point in time and I look forward to seeing the consultation. Sounds like there are some pretty seismic changes being considered – “Southern” trains into Blackfriars bays ?? Oh and sorry for using non standard TLAs for station names 😉

  611. IslandDweller says:

    @timbeau. If the track diagram published in a recent Modern Railways is still correct, it will still be possible for Greenwich line trains to cross onto the TL tracks and thence to Blackfriars. However, there seems to be only one crossover opportunity to do this – and of course the whole point of building the diveunder was to remove these conflicting movements on the flat.
    I have friends living in Greenwich who are aggrieved about the loss of direct service into CharingX. If there is a timetable “window” to use these crossovers, I’m sure Greenwich residents would far prefer the restoration of a CharingX service rather than Blackfriars.

  612. Whoosh says:

    TL8 is via Swanley

    I was also surprised when revisions to the service were announced but Wimbledon/Sutton were still going through the core.

  613. Whoosh says:

    Sorry for the double-post.

    Traincrew depots for Thameslink to open at Luton, St Albans, Cricklewood, Gillingham, Orpington, Ashford, Three Bridges, Horsham.

    Brighton and Bedford will reduce in size.
    Blackfriars will close.

    On the GN, Kings Cross and Hitchin will reduce in size, and new traincrew depots will open at Finsbury Park, Hornsey, and Welwyn Garden City.

    It looks as though drivers will be working self-contained routes, which will probably improve reliability, but make the job have less variety.

  614. timbeau says:

    “I was also surprised when revisions to the service were announced but Wimbledon/Sutton were still going through the core.”
    Politics – Stephen Hammond may no longer be at the DpT, but don’t expect any change whilst he remains MP for Wimbledon.

    Thameslink to Rainham, Essex is easy – use the spur from Carlton Road Junction to Junction Road Junction. (That is why they are electrifying the Goblin, isn’t it?)

  615. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Whoosh – that seems an awful lot of expense and effort to create additional train crew depots and it seems bizarre to have them at Hornsey *and* F Park (I’m aware there’s a depot at the former). I’d also guess [1] these are “Thameslink” depots and are presumably additional to any existing “Southern” or “South Eastern” depots. Seems bonkers to be possibly duplicating Southern depots given it’s one franchise. Those in “SE Land” I can partially understand but, again, these seems stupid balkanisation even allowing for “franchise assets” “leases” and all the other palaver resulting from multiple TOCs. You’d have thought some cross franchise co-operation might not go amiss and could save money. They manage it between bus companies in London where some canteens, toilets and garage parking space is shared day to day.

    [1] important word here. I don’t know the facts about precise train crew depot locations so treat my comments appropriately before anyone “throws a wobbly”. 🙂

  616. JayKay says:

    @ngh “4tph stopping on the Catford Loop ”

    Is this confirmed (and when from)? Will be very popular locally if so!

  617. RayK says:

    IslandDweller, There is a world of difference between TLK crossing over the Cannon Street tracks to/from the Greenwich lines and CHX doing the same.
    TLK down trains would leave the Dn Sussex Fast just before the dive under and would have a nice level length of track to stand on whilst waiting to cross over the CST lines. In the up direction they would be able to ‘queue up’ on the Up Greenwich track waiting for permission to cross. Once they have crossed they would be routed onto the northernmost track under the dive under to access the TLK track at (I think) Blue Anchor.
    From Greenwich any CHX up train would follow the same route as would a TLK train *until* they emerge from the dive under when they would be required to cross the Down Kent Fast to access the Kent reversible.
    Any CHX down train heading for Greenwich would need to follow the same route as the up trains though the dive under and would need to wait on the up slope for the right of way to cross the CST lines. There is an alternative which would necessitate the down trains using platform six at LBG and, immediately on departure, crossing the TLK Up on the flat to access the TLK Down. I feel quite sure that both of these options would be classed as highly undesirable on a number of counts.
    Yes! The tracks are there. Its just that they are very much occupied with other traffic.

  618. RayK says:

    How many CHX trains are they intending to squirt across the CST lines to Greenwich and at what times of day?

  619. ngh says:

    1. As Orpington – Sevenoaks 2 track section is effectively full anything additional would have to be via Swanley

    2. The Wimbledon constituency probably won’t include the station due to boundary changes soon!

    3. As Ray K has pointed out Up Greenwich – CHX is non starter as trying to cross 28tph down CHX services with no possibility of parallel moves isn’t going to happen!

    4. The big theme will also be reducing conflict in the Selhurst -Croydon area so expect to see more segregation of services:
    (Redhill) – BML slows – ECR P4-6 – LBG via Norwood Jn
    Quarry (fast) lines – ECR P1-3 – Victoria via Selhurst
    In order to prevent the Selhurst – Cottage – Gloucester Road – Norwood Fork Junctions gridlock (including SN metro / LO services not doing conflicting things).
    so expect far more interchange in the future at ECR and Gatwick (needs some work at P6/7 to sort line speeds and points to enable all fasts to stop).

  620. ngh says:

    Re Ray K

    “How many CHX trains are they intending to squirt across the CST lines to Greenwich and at what times of day?”


  621. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Maybe the odd engineering train after midnight?

  622. Verulamius says:

    Is the segregation of services between East Croydon and Purley harking back towards the old SER and LBSC dual use of the lines?

  623. Greg Tingey says:

    So as to keep ECR working until that station & its approaches are rebuilt, I assume?

  624. RayK says:

    ngh, Tut, Tut. Rebellious fingers. I meant them to type:-
    “How many TLK trains are they intending to squirt across the CST lines to Greenwich and at what times of day?”

  625. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    2tph all day.
    With about 16tph via New Cross and 8tph via Greenwich overall, at least 1/3rd ECS in the counter peak direction, 3 or 4 tracks and 35-50mph turnout line speeds over points not that bad IF you can sort some parallel moves including Up Greenwich – TLK with down CST – Greenwich.

  626. Timbeau says:

    Wimbledon station may not be in that constituency any more, but what about the rest of the loop?

  627. Pedantic of Purley says:


    So as to keep ECR working until that station & its approaches are rebuilt, I assume?

    I think that is part of it. It is relatively easy to find out some of what is happening although it is not just a Thameslink thing. What is hard is to find out is why it is happening. Network Rail are very tight lipped. I suspect a TOC will happily give its worldview of what is going on but that doesn’t give us the full picture.

    It is also very hard to understand the full ramifications. There are obvious ones but a lot of stuff still has to filter out. For instance, the business case of potential enhancements of anything affected will have to be revised. I think we will need to know more before we can draw conclusions.

  628. AlisonW says:

    Well, seems I’m to lose my Kentish Town starters. And I didn’t even realise there is a Rainham other than the one in Essex!

  629. Sad Fat Dad says:

    Ray K – the ‘nice level length of track’ that a southbound TL train would have to wait on before crossing the entire morning peak into Cannon Street is approximately 30 metres longer than a 12 car Class 700. It is a reasonably safe assumption that the protecting signal at the exit of that section will be red for the Thameslink train more often than not. Therefore the driver will, quite properly, be driving cautiously up to the signal (no ATO at that point). I’ll leave you to work out the effect on the following TL train 150 seconds behind.

  630. Keith Knight says:

    If the suggested Luton-Rainham (Kent) service takes place via Greenwich, it will in many ways be reverting to the semi-fast Charing X- Gillingham service of 40 years ago (then after London Bridge first stop Woolwich A then Dartford then Gravesend then Strood and all stations to Gillingham. ) Possibly/probably this will replace the current CX-Gillingham via Lewisham & Blackheath as there is unlikely to be demand for the equivalent of 4tph on the LBg-Gillingham run. The proposed timetable from August only shows a very few direct trains between CSt and Gravesend/Gillingham. Extension from Gillingham to Rainham makes sense with housing development at Rainham and, of course, the recently completed 12 coach bay platform (Platform 0)

  631. Purley Dweller says:

    Looking at the Redhill line service Merstham and Coulsdon South seem to be losing out. Is this gtr sticking two fingers up to Chris Philp MP or has he finally convinced the dft to restore the trains from Coulsdon to Victoria.

  632. Man of Kent says:

    TL10 looks like a way of removing the last vestige of suburban service from South Eastern, assuming TfL gains control of all the other routes (Gravesend and westwards; Sevenoaks and northwards). That would leave SE running only longer distance and local trains in Kent and East Sussex, and Slade Green depot could be transferred in its entirety to the TfL concessionaire.
    TL7 would be restricted to 8 car class 700s, as the bay at Maidstone East cannot take 12 cars (indeed, I think the MDE line remains restricted to 8 cars throughout).

  633. ngh says:

    Re Man of Kent,

    As stated above, TL1-6 are 12 car and TL7-12 are 8 car

  634. John U.K. says:

    @AlisonW – 17 June 2016 at 21:16
    Well, seems I’m to lose my Kentish Town starters. And I didn’t even realise there is a Rainham other than the one in Essex!

    And with the current discussion of a Luton-Rainham (Kent) service do not forget that these trains will also pass over Luton Arches, the viaduct between Chatham and Gilllingham, situated in Luton, a suburb of Chatham!
    Thus possible to travel between Rainham and Luton without reaching Chatham station (tho’ impossible to alight at Luton)!

  635. Graham Feakins says:

    @JayKay – Re: 4tph stopping on the Catford Loop – Yes, this is what I understood from the GTR Stakeholders’ conference on the 15th and they will propose these through TL services:

    Maidstone East and Sevenoaks via Catford loop (2tph all day)
    Orpington via Catford loop (2tph all day thus providing Catford loop with 4tph).

    Note: I saw them as being through services but that seems to conflict with other comments suggesting that they will terminate at Blackfriars. Whichever, it’s a solution to the requests for 4tph on the Catford Loop at last, with connections at e.g. Denmark Hill for Victoria and LO.

    Also not I think brought out in the above comments is the proposal for 4tph around the Wimbledon loop itself (from where it starts at Streatham) by introducing a 2tph peak service in each direction from Blackfriars to London Bridge via Tulse Hill and Wimbledon/Sutton, in addition to the existing 2tph both ways on the loop to/from the TL core.

    I assume this would at least partly replace today’s in/out peak service between London Bridge and Wimbledon via Tulse Hill.

  636. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham F – Ngh’s extra detail on the service structure only shows one stopping TLink service via the Catford Loop. The Maidstone E service is shown as being fast through the London suburbs so who would be running the extra 2 tph to give the Catford loop the much requested 4 tph service (assuming it’s a genuine 4 tph and not something useless like a 5 then 25 interval)?

    @ Man of Kent – from my limited level of knowledge I’d agree that there seems to be something of a “tidying up” exercise to allow segregation of inner suburban from other SE services with any orphan services being found homes somewhere else. This avoids TfL’s tentacles stretching too far and people getting the wrong idea about things the DfT don’t want them to have (like Oyster at Gillingham and Rainham).

  637. Mike says:

    WW: see TL8 &TL9 for Catford Loop stoppers, I think.

  638. Graham Feakins says:

    @WW – There’s Maidstone East via Catford Loop 2tph regular all day + Orpington via Catford Loop 2tph all day making up the 4tph, both stopping services.

    Then there is the proposed peak Ashford – Maidstone East via Swanley to LBG and Blackfriars – I think that matches TL7.

  639. timbeau says:

    TL8 and TL9 Catford Loop services are both shown as peak hours only.

    @Graham F
    Those Catford Loop services start where. They are not listed as going through the core (TL1-12)
    Note the Maidstone via Swanley service (TL7) is shown as running via the SEML and London Bridge, not via Bromley South

  640. Mike says:

    Timbeau – if I’m reading the brackets right, it’s just the TL8/TL9 bits north of Blackfriars that are peak only.

    And a thought – wouldn’t it be good if these route numbers were used to inform the public about which trains went where!

  641. Greg Tingey says:

    Careful. You’ll be suggesting the reintroduction of headcodes next, thus informing the passengers – & we can’t have that.
    Even better might be the train displaying it’s TRN, but I can’t see that happening, more’s the pity.

  642. Malcolm says:

    Route numbers maybe, though there would be safety implications of passengers peering at an approaching train and pushing over the yellow line to do so. I know they used to happen, but that was before universal platform indicators.

    And before anyone says platform indicators can be wrong – they can indeed, as mentioned recently in the guard’s thread. But so can headcodes. The answer to information being occasionally wrong is not to repeat it elsewhere in a coded form, but to get it right.

    TRNs displayed on trains would be positively misleading at times of disruption when some trains are diverted to where they do not normally go.

  643. RayK says:

    SFD. ‘I’ll leave you to work out the effect on the following TL train 150 seconds behind.’
    Once upon a time the TLK 16 tph sequence through LBG was forecast to be 150, 150, 300 seconds. This suggests that at ten minute intervals there will be an extra 150 seconds breathing space. This sounds good in theory. What is it likely to be like in practice?

  644. Fandroid says:

    I have noted from my visits to Denmark Hill that Thameslink services are the only National Rail services I am aware of where route numbers are used positively on the route maps at the stations. I agree with Malcolm that displaying them on the front of trains could cause safety problems, but displaying them on the sides (if the indicators exist there) and on the platform indicators would help the irregular passenger deal with real complexity and help the regulars go even further into autopilot mode. These things work well for buses, why is it so alien for trains?

  645. Mike says:

    Malcolm: I’m sorry, but it’s beyond me why route number displays would be any more dangerous than destination displays – with near-universal platform indicators, who needs to peer? And as has been discussed many a time and oft, route numbers are used in many places (including some served by trains from London) – do they experience these issues?

    TRNs might be a different matter, though that doesn’t stop many (most?) other railways using their equivalents in passenger information.

  646. Malcolm says:

    Yes, my comment was a bit muddled, blending issues of whether route numbers should even exist as far as the public is concerned, with whether and how (if they do exist) they might be displayed on trains.

    The issue of whether they should exist (displayed, for example, in timetables) seems to be a no-brainer in a way, they cannot do any harm, and at least some passengers might find the services easier to understand and memorise – and those passengers who do not can simply ignore them. One downside does occur to me, that if the detail of which services stop where changes from timetable to timetable, some people could be misled (“I got on a number 12 last year and it stopped at St Johns, but this year it wooshed straight through”). But that should be handled by clear announcements when things do change.

    Buses have to use numbers, because currently not all stops have displays equivalent to those on railway platforms. But (at least in London) there is only one route 11, whereas train number 11 may exist on many different parts of the network. (This could be fixed by a London-wide scheme, though the resulting numbers would be quite, err, numerous).

  647. Mike says:

    Agreed, Malcolm – there will of course be issues, but starting with TL-prefixed numbers for Thameslink – where arguably the ability to differentiate one train from another will be more important than most other places, every train being well-nigh identical with short dwell times and there being a greater variety of services than your average through platform serves – displayed in all the usual trainy places, would be a good start in making the railway network more legible.

  648. ngh says:

    Re mike

    Correct 8+9 = Catford loop stoppers that are Blackfriars South only off peak.


    Remember that there are 8tph of paths and capacity at the terminating platforms via Elephant at Blackfriars for NON TL services (this is a GTR + SE plan) which make sense if 4tph are for peak extra use. It looks like they are:
    2 tph Blackfriars – Wimbledon
    2 tph Blackfriars – Orpington via Herne Hill
    2 tph Blackfriars – Maidstone via Catford loop fast (good for lack of conflicts)
    2 tph to ???

  649. 100andthirty says:


    At the risk of drifting off into another topic where there were more opinions that there were people offering them, route number for train routes into and out of London wouldn’t be more numerous than there are bus routes.

    Indeed a logical and consistent numbering system might be one of the means by which the spaghetti could be unravelled. Part of the problem with all the flat junctions is the many to two (or three) places. Eg, from X in the south east to both Victoria and London Bridge. Other fixes would include decent interchange facilities and, for the avoidance of doubt, places like East Croydon in its current state are not decent interchanges.

  650. Timbeau says:

    As Graham F says there would be 4tph each way on the Loop, I would guess the remaining 2tph are for Sutton.

    (Some very tight timetabling will be needed on Platform 9 at Wimbledon to cope with trains passing alternately over the single track every 450 seconds)

  651. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham F 0233 – Sorry to be incredibly dense but are the services you cite Thameslink ones or South Eastern ones? In the context of Thameslink I can only see one stopping service in the ngh list. The other is cited as fast so of no use to anyone wanting a better local service. If there’s an extra stopping South Eastern service on the Catford Loop then fair enough – I assume this would be a new or else redirected service.

  652. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: 2tph Orpington to Blackfriars via Herne Hill? What happens to the 4tph Orpington Victoria services? Does that mean 6 tph as far as Herne Hill or does it mean two of those are now diverted?

  653. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    Orpington – Blackfriars via Herne Hill was always a peak only service but now just run by Thameslink on a temporary and reduced basis since the start of the Blackfriars rebuild till 2018 with just a reduced 3 morning up and 2 down evening services. It used to be far better so just turning the clock back in reality the problem being SE has used the stock to lenghten others in the interim…

  654. AlisonW says:

    Mike: “with near-universal platform indicators, who needs to peer? ” is all very well if you are near / within legible range of such a display once you are on the platform. Many is the time, however, that I have been unable to make out the content of a display, and thus looking at the front of the train as it arrives into the platform is always going to be a required option.

  655. Mike says:

    Alison W: indeed, but there would be no *extra* peering required if a route number were displayed on the front of the train in addition to the mandatory destination.

  656. Timbeau says:

    Is it mandatory to display a destination on the front of a train. There are many that do not.

    In any case, a number is more concise and more informative than a destination. A display saying, for example, Waterloo , with no indication of route or stopping patternis, of little use – it is merely stating the obvious.

  657. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – no, not mandatory.

  658. quinlet says:

    but perfect if, for example, you are at Epsom wanting to make sure you get to Waterloo and not to Victoria. A number would certainly help in other cases.

  659. Greg Tingey says:

    Well, the LSWR & then the Southern & then BR(SR) managed for many years to display route-indicator headcodes. Certainly, at a minimum, 1915-70 if not longer.
    But now, the TOC’s invent all sorts of spurious lies (yes, lies) as to why this is impossible/a Bad Thing)
    What I want to know is why they are making these entirely false claims?

  660. ngh says:

    Re quinlet,

    Just get on red train not a green one!

  661. Mike says:

    Timbeau, GH: I was not correct with “mandatory” re front destination displays – but neither is the response “no, not mandatory”.

    The PRM-TSI at, applying to mainline trains built in 2010 onwards, says re external displays: Dynamic visual information
    (1) The final destination or route shall be displayed on the outside of the train on the platform side adjacent to at least one of the passenger access doors on a minimum of alternate vehicles of the train.
    (2) Where trains operate in a system, in which dynamic visual information is given on the station platform every 50 m or less, and destination or route information is also provided on the front of the train, it is not mandatory to provide information on the sides of vehicles.

    and the RVAR , applying to vehicles built in 1999-2009, says:

    11.—(1) The interior of a rail vehicle must be fitted with a public address system for audible and visual announcements.
    (2) Subject to sub-paragraph (4), if rail vehicles are hauled by one or more locomotives, the lead locomotive must be fitted with a public address system for visual announcements on its exterior, which includes a display fitted on its front, unless all the rail vehicles hauled have such a system with a display fitted on both sides of their exterior instead of on their front.
    (3) Subject to sub-paragraph (4), if a rail vehicle is not hauled by a locomotive, and is not a podcar, it must be fitted with a public address system for visual announcements on its exterior where it—
    (a) operates as a single vehicle, in which case the display must be fitted on its front;
    (b) is the lead vehicle of two or more coupled together which, including itself, do not all have displays on both sides of their exterior, in which case the display must be fitted on its front; or
    (c) is one of two or more coupled together, but is not the lead vehicle, and the lead vehicle does not have a display fitted on its front, in which case a display must be fitted on both sides of the exterior.

    In summary, what I think these say is that a front destination or route display is mandatory under TSI-PRM unless there are displays on both sides of alternate vehicles and on the platform every 50m; under RVAR, a front information display is mandatory unless there are displays on both sides of all vehicles, and also on single-vehicle non-loco-hauled trains.

    Which all confirms my original point that route number displays require no greater peering at the fronts of trains than destination displays do.

  662. timbeau says:

    “but perfect if, for example, you are at Epsom wanting to make sure you get to Waterloo and not to Victoria.”
    Not so good if you are at Guildford wanting to go to Woking rather than Cobham (or indeed get carried non-stop to Waterloo)

    “Well, the LSWR & then the Southern & then BR(SR) managed for many years to display route-indicator headcodes. Certainly, at a minimum, 1915-70 if not longer.”
    Certainly longer than that – LBSCR Crystal palace Stock carried headcodes from new in 1911, and 2-digit headcodes were used, with no other information, on all SR slam door stock right up to the end in 2005 (2010 on the Lymington branch)

    To this day SWT’s class 455 destination blinds (well, “via” blinds) include the route number
    (This photo must be quite recent, as the 455 is coupled to a 456, which only became part of SWT’s fleet last year)

  663. IslandDweller says:

    @ngh Looking at the colour of the train might work at Epsom, but assumes that the traveller understands the different franchises and colour schemes – which occasional users will not.
    In any case, use East Croydon as an example and you have no chance. GoViaThameslink often operate services for one brand (eg Southern brand) using trains painted in another brand scheme (eg Thameslink). They have even been known to use trains branded Express on services nominally operated by the Southern brand. How is the “ordinary” traveller supposed to unravel that?

  664. Tim says:


    Route numbers survived on SE as far as I remember until the bad old Connex days – I distinctly remember being on the ‘new’ networkers and seeing ’50/80/something’ to Orpington/Victoria on the displays between the carriages…

  665. Graham Feakins says:

    Here is a list of the Southern (Central Division) headcodes as were:

    Go back a page (from link at foot of page) to find the SE and SW ones.

  666. quinlet says:

    I think the list of head codes (thank you Graham) makes a strong point. If you were at East Croydon wanting to go to Brighton you would have to remember eleven different head codes, each of which would take you there, out of the somewhat larger number that would not. A simple headcode saying ‘Brighton’ is so much simpler and better.

  667. Malcolm says:

    quinlet says ” A simple headcode saying ‘Brighton’ is so much simpler and better”

    Indeed. But that is an extreme example. If you wanted Wivelsfield, the destination ‘Brighton’ would be of little use, but the (much shorter) list of headcodes would. Ideally one would have both.

  668. Timbeau says:

    It’s cleverer than that. At East Croydon any Brighton train had a headcode ending in a 4 or a 5, – the fastest trains having the lowest number (4). Thus both a 4 and a 44 would get you there eventually, but the 4 was preferable. And for Wivelsfield only a 44 would do)
    In the other direction, odd numbers were city trains and evens were west end. (The same convention was used on the south eastern division)

  669. Fandroid says:

    Quinlet does highlight the problem of only using headcodes on complex railway systems. The occasional traveller is going to be very confused. Actually, I’m sure it has happened to me when waiting for a bus in a strange city. I had memorised the number of the most frequent route, but then ignored the first one (another route) which turned up despite finding out later that it would have done the job.
    Destination names as well as route numbers will help, as well as good platform indicators. I am thoroughly used to those which show the first three trains. It’s disappointing to go to busy junctions like Crewe or Derby which only show the next train.

  670. Timbeau says:

    Just to clarify: the converse was true as well- at East Croydon, ANY train with a headcode ending in 4 or 5 would go to Brighton. It is clear that a lot of thought had gone into the choices, I suspect primarily for the ready recognition of trains by signalling staff. There was certainly more system to the headcode than the more-or-less random allocation of numbers to London bus routes. And people seem to cope with them.

  671. quinlet says:


    How about:
    44: Victoria – Three Bridges or Brighton
    45: London Bridge – Three bridges or Brighton
    74: Victoria – East Croydon or Coulsdon North (semi fast)
    75: London bridge- East Croydon or Coulsdon North (semi fast)
    85: London Bridge – Epsom or Effingham Junction via Brockley

    woe betide anyone who depended on a headcode ending in 4 or 5 definitely going to Brighton!

  672. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Quinlet – I am sure that people learnt the codes they needed to look out for. It’s little different to the bizarre sounding codes that are used on the RER in Paris. It took me only a couple of rides to learn which code I wanted when heading to my friend’s home in outer Paris where I was staying. It’s very effective and much easier than looking at what can be enormous route lists on the RER platform indicators given the complex service patterns on some lines like the “C” (which I was using).

    I am of the view that anyone using a route or line for the first time will face some level of uncertainty no matter if the service has a destination, a time, a number of some form or some other identity code. If I’m catching a suburban train in Leeds or Birmingham (or South London!) I always have to check / double check to be sure I’m on the right train to the right destination. Meanwhile on the tube or Overground I barely have to think about the line or destination because my knowledge level is so much higher. Try using the SBS buses in Singapore that only have route numbers and no destination showing or, sometimes, have the route number and a board showing both termini but no indication as to which one the bus is heading to! Couple that with a dreadful bus map / diagram and try getting around. Not easy.

  673. timbeau says:


    All right, it’s a bit more complicated, as Brighton trains all had numbers below 50, but as I said, the fastest trains to Brighton had the lowest numbers so East Croydon users would be unlikely to take a 44, even if it was going all the way to Brighton, let alone a 74 – especially if it is terminating at East Croydon! They would wait for a 14, 15, 24, 25, 34 or 35 (in order of preference). Or, if they were very lucky, a 4, but in the good old days most “4” s were non-stop London – Brighton and looked like this

    You couldn’t catch an 85 at East Croydon by mistake – not unless the signaller had already made a mistake in sending it there instead of West Croydon.

  674. quinlet says:

    but I still think this shows that a combination of head codes and destinations is the best outcome.

  675. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Head codes were used on the SE trains until the SouthEastern days….

  676. Anonymously says:

    Head-codes became redundant once newer trains had front/side destination indicators, and all stations (even the rural backwater ones) were equipped with next train indicators. I guess the latter is the reason why Networkers and Elctrostars continued to use headcodes with the destination until the mid-00s.

    We have had this discussion numerous times before (particularly with regards to the Overground!), but I stick to my view that decent station information using electronic displays is preferable to relying on a menagerie of letters/numbers for indicating which trains go where on an individual line (grouping lines by their operation, e.g. Dartford loop lines/Hayes line/Orpington and Sevenoaks line, on the other hand, is very sensible, and is analogous to what is in place on the Tube subsurface lines).

  677. Timbeau says:


    Next train indicators can fail – of the last five trains I have used, two were incorrectly advertised – and even when accurate a long list of intermediate calling points can take a long time to scroll through. As for destination displays, yhey give no information whatsoever about intermediate calling points but simply states the obvious (where else but Waterloo would an “up” train at Woking or Richmond be going?)

  678. ChrisMitch says:

    Agreed, Next Train indicators are not always particularly useful. The 3 line display is often displaying a public service announcement or vague details of scheduled weekend closures instead of the 2nd/3rd train, or an interminable sentance with a huge amount of irrelevant words about short platforms at some stations – something like
    “Please note that passengers for x should join the front 7 coaches and passengers for y should join the front 8 coaches as these stations have short platforms” – too many words for a scrolling display.

    Also, sometimes they just don’t work. At Streatham for instance the next southbound station could be 1 of 3, but last time I was there, neither the platform indicators or the trains themselves were any help determinimg which train to jump on – Wimbledon via Sutton, or Sutton via Wimbledon? The driver may or may not make an announcement either. Admittedly the trains are due to be replaced, but headcodes here could help…

  679. Anonymously says:

    @timbeau/ChrisMitch….I completely agree that the 3-line scrolling displays (as used on South Eastern) are ill suited for this purpose; they seem to have been copied and pasted wholesale from LUL type platform indicators (where they make much more sense) during the dark days of Connex. A much better solution would be LCD/LED type displays (as present at some stations e.g. Cambridge) which are large enough to list the stations called at with enough room for other information if needed. Another idea (as installed in Orpington and a few other major stations) is to list every major station on a display with the platform and time for the ‘Next Fastest Train To….’.

    Of course if the displays break down, or the service goes tits up (e.g. due to ‘passenger action’), then even the best designed system will struggle. But that really should be the exception, not the rule.

    Route codes are only useful if a passenger knows what they mean (which most non-regular users won’t!), and even then the same route code may not have the same stopping pattern for every service, or become meaningless if a service is diverted due to engineering works etc. For example, there are two services off-peak per hour to Hastings (one semi-fast; the other all stations from Sevenoaks onwards) but ISTR both using the same 22 headcode back in the days when these existed. Since only one of them might stop at the station you need, seeing the number 22 on the front of an approaching train isn’t going to help you without some additional information as well.

  680. Timbeau says:

    The lack of information about the second/third train is particularly annoying at somewhere like Wimbledon, where there are three different routes to Guildford. This, if the train in the platform is rammed, you might decide to wait for a following one if it is also going your way. But is it going via Epsom, Cobham or Woking?
    Particularly annoying as the three possible via points all have names short enough to fit after “Guildford via” on the dot matrix panel.
    Likewise, in the other direction, at somewhere like Surbiton, the stopping patterns of the 2nd and 3rd trains are important information as, depending on where you want to go, a non stop may be better than the all-stations in the platform, or it may be completely useless.

  681. ngh says:

    1. The current infoboards are particularly unsuited to use in south London given the nature of the routes and service pattern.

    2. The new Scotrail infoboards which are starting to be rolled out based on the Dutch ones seem to be very popular.

  682. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    To add to that, the board at Orpington at the top of the stairs on Platform 5 can be a pain to use if you’re in a hurry….

    It normally displays two pages, but the second page usually only displays one or two trains, which means you then have to wait 30 seconds or so for it to roll around back to page 1…

    @ngh: Do you have a link to a photo? I didn’t see them in Inverness last week….

  683. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @SHLR – this is all I can dig up on the web. Unfortunately the photo does not enlarge.

  684. ngh says:

    Re WW and SHLR,

    Yes those are the ones, they are apparently being rolled out when stations get some TLC and targeted at stations in the central belt with multiple destinations / more services first.

  685. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @WW, ngh: They do look very nice! At one point I was thinking you might have been referring to old ones.

    I always liked the noise they made when flicking from ones train to the next….

  686. Malcolm says:

    SHLR: I think the noise you refer to must be the inspiration for Douglas Adams’ “whooshing noise” of deadlines passing…

  687. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ SHLR – and being terribly nerdy and loving a puzzle I think that new display is at Saltcoats station on the Largs / Ardrossan line. 😉

  688. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @WW: Not somewhere I passed…. I think they are also at Haymarket…

    On a slightly different note, over the last few weekends the mainline through Chislehurst and Elmstead Woods has been closed (much to my annoyance as it meant going via Victoria)… This morning I happened to notice that a new set of crossovers has appeared between them going, at least, from the up fast to the up slow… They look like 50 mph points. Is it the intention to then:

    a) Start sorting out the Cannon Street trains as far out as that?
    b) Remove the very slow (20mph) points to the South East of Chislehurst?

    The speed restriction for the points in straight mode was reduced from 60 to 50 mph earlier this year, so I had been wondering when they were going to fix it…

  689. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Southern Heights,

    According to Network Rail it is simply to improve reliability.

  690. timbeau says:


    If only improving reliability were as simple as politicians (and franchise bidders) seem to think.

    Whether installing a new set of points improves overall reliability depends on whether their potential to fail is outweighed by factors such as suggested by Southern Heights. LU is apparently plain-lining some little-used crossovers for precisely that reason.

  691. KitGreen says:

    Apparently Chislehurst is between Sevenoaks and Orpington, according to the above Network Rail press release. Time for a new PR agency?

  692. Sad Fat Dad says:

    It’s not an agency, but one very busy chap!

  693. Fandroid says:

    There are new platform indicators at St Pancras Thameslink. (White on blue, as previously but with more information and different graphics).They are nothing like I have ever seen before in the UK. They do seem to be quite informative, but I don’t know whether the occasional traveller can easily understand them or not.

  694. Greg Tingey says:

    To borrow from another thread, do we know what the font is?

  695. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @PoP: Yes, I see now… They are specifically mentioning the country (south) end of the station which is where the speed restriction applies…

    @Kit: They could have done with proof reading it too, some of the sentences make no sense!

  696. RayK says:

    SH(LR)/Kit: If as SFD says ‘they’ are one lone busy chap then said chap has to proof read their own work if time is available. This is a technique doomed to failure at least to some extent. This is only one of many reasons that it is better to have a work partner.

  697. James Forbes says:

    Greg @ 09:02

    Open Sans

  698. MikeP says:

    Please don’t tell me this chap also contributed to the utterly crass joint NR/Southeastern to the latest NRPS results – summary “The passengers shouldn’t have voted like that, we’re doing fine really. No Fair.”

    Talk about treating your customers with utter contempt.

  699. Jon says:

    So with these changes, will anything cross over the newly replaced Stoats Nest crossover? Will all Redhill trains follow the slow lines until East Croydon?

  700. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    With some major errors and omissions.
    A fair chunk is a rehash of an older article covering work completed in 2014 (e.g. the majority of the other bridges)!

  701. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: Yes I noticed that too, in fact some of it I found very confusing without any kind of drawings or other visual references…

    It’s progressing fast though, stuff seems to change on a daily basis… I guess they are still ahead of schedule as they were after the completion of the demolition phase?

  702. ngh says:

    Re SH(LR),

    Behind on the original schedule as they would be on the final tidying up of the site now, but then again they didn’t need to finish on that schedule so not really an issues (Structures finished by end of June). With successful demolition ahead of schedule I suspect they realised there was an easier and cheaper way to phase things. The original deck pours were phased from west to east but they were done east – west and the lower level Bolina Road bridge decks went in far later.
    They only need to get the track and signalling installed and tested on 1 line before Christmas.

    The picture of the pre-cast square arches is for the replacement of the viaduct on the Bermondsey Spur just east of South Bermondsey Jn (SLL bridge visible in the background) where the tracks to Bricklayers Arms depot once ran (the retail park is hidden to the right).

  703. ngh says:

    July 2016 progress video for the diveunder and London Bridge:

    An improvement in terms of selective coverage of the most interesting bits from camera footage and a possible upgrade in camera quality.

    Note it is already slightly dated as the beams for tracks 3+4 over the concourse area have gone in since.

  704. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh- thanks for the video link. I do wish NR would cut the overly loud music on these clips.

    So crucial question – is everything on schedule at London Bridge for a fortnight’s time?

  705. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @WW: It would appear to be using my completely unscientific way of measuring. The number of people visibly working and the rate of change has slowed down over the last week…

  706. ngh says:

    Re WW and SH(LR)

    “Visibly working” Topside is effectively ready for the blockade, the concourse area hidden below is the bit that is probably bigger worry though it doesn’t need to be 100% finished.

  707. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    I noticed a signal on red this morning. It was on the new CST up line and so unconnected to the rest of the network…

  708. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – thanks. Obviously I’ve only seen little clips and photos of the concourse area but I have been wondering for a while if it was running a tad late. There is so much to finish, commission, test, clean and also to remove that these public areas always seem really hard to complete on time. As you say it doesn’t need to be completely perfect but it does need to work, be safe and demonstrably “not a building site” given all the hype for months about the step change. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

  709. Verulamius says:

    I enjoyed the July video. I thought that the music was by Berlioz but I did not recognise the piece.

  710. Bob_G says:

    Video best viewed at 1/4 speed with the sound off, in my experience !

  711. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    Beware that the photos and clips aren’t always recent (and sometimes repeated), quite often they seem to be taken on a sunny day then slowly drip fed out to maintain interest over an extended period (with the odd extras provided by engineers on site of interesting stuff to use).

    A recent example being tweeting photos of the foundations (as work in progress) for the columns for tracks 3+4 in the concourse area (columns seen being cast in the video) but the columns being more complete than shown in that video in reality…

    Hence progress is often better than it looks.

    The removal logistics would make good video!

  712. RayK says:

    ngh ‘. . . the beams for tracks 3+4 over the concourse area have gone in ‘
    I had not expected this. They must have taken a rather large bite out of the old platform 4 to enable this. Of course as that platform is out of use and the portion involved is/was where P3 andP4 were at their widest I can see how this has been possible. Thanks for the insight.

    Because of the camera location the video of the diveunder works supplements Unravelled’s videos nicely. (Do we know the reason for the change to Unravelled’s video format? Personally I much prefer his earlier videos to the last two. My main reason is that Flikr enables the enlargement of the earlier videos but it does not seem to work as well on the latest ones.)

  713. ngh says:

    Re Ray K,

    I’ll ask unravelled…

    3+4 beams: no additional demolition from what is seen in the video but effectively no gap between old and new so demolition from Tooley Street working into the site to take out the old 1-3. Having the track 3+4 deck in place creates a link route for construction purposes at track level between the East and West areas till the track 1+2 deck is built as well as allowing a pseudo continuous work effect of work on platform canopies to continue with P4 until track 1 & 2 deck is at track level!

    Expect to see fairly rapid progress after September as there is no point in not getting the civils done as quickly as sensible (e.g. continuous work rate rather than the cyclical one so far which also takes the pressure of all the other elements.

  714. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – I was including TV and other reports where people have been allowed into the concourse area to view progress and they’ve been more recent than NR’s videos. I don’t need to tell you how intricate and involved all the systems commissioning and testing and tweaking is on stations. That’s the bit that will be causing frayed nerves now alongside any last minute dashes to get finishes in and properly installed and getting all the dust and muck out of the lifts and escalators.

    I may even spoil myself by replicating an “unravelled” journey past the diveunder to see things for myself.

  715. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I see via another forum that there was a “test event” for the new London Bridge station concourse area. An attendee has kindly taken some snaps of the new station area.

    Obviously it’s very hard to judge via a photo how big things are so I can’t make my mind up if it’s enormous but doesn’t look it or is too small. Only a week to go and then I can see for myself. 😉

  716. Paul says:

    I think that because a number of the photos of the test event are looking towards the area under the terminating platforms, and these are somewhat lower than the through platforms, and there is a ticket office in the space, I think this will always appear less spacious. the ticket office location for instance seems to requires various ‘corners’ in the gate line; I expect the Tooley St end will look much more open, and definitely wider, in due course.

  717. Greg Tingey says:

    Does look as though swift last-minute platform-changes are going to be a thing of the past, given those escalator-heights/runs, doesn’t it?

  718. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    But the requirement to do that when the station is finished will be much reduced due to new track and platform layout and new signalling system.

    e.g. you want Charing Cross either P8/9 and you walk across the platform island to the first one (ditto CST with P2/3 island).

    Your train for X in Kent is from Charing Cross you go to P6/7 island so none of the up stairs down stairs swap of the old P4/5 pre work.

    The above dramatically reduces the amount of last minute changing.

    Blackfriars P5
    Down Thameslink P4

    So not much change there.

    The only real issues are:
    Evening peak P1/2 on different islands for services from CST.
    Routes where the train to your destination can come from different places.

  719. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: Routes where the train to your destination can come from different places.

    Which is no different to before the works and the old over-bridge wasn’t that brilliant either during a last minute change of platform…. But as you say, this will be pretty much limited to the from CST services in the evening peak….

  720. timbeau says:

    @Soutrhern Heights
    “this will be pretty much limited to the from CST services in the evening peak….”

    Many destinations will still be served from both CST (Platforms 1/2) and CX (platforms 6/7), and some other destinations will be served both from Platform 4 (Thameslink) and from the terminating platforms (10+). There is even talk of Greenwich line trains running from the Thameslink platforms.

  721. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    I think SH was referring to last minute platform swapping from a single origin (terminus) and the elimination of the old P4/5 issue…
    With the new signalling and TMS/ARS etc the information should be better far earlier unless there is a problem with previous train in platform.

  722. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @ngh: That is exactly what I was thinking of… It’s happened to me in the past, that switch from 5 to 4 via the over-bridge was a nightmare….

    The key problem was that the bridge was restricted in width so people hanging around waiting for a train in the rain would clog up the route for those switching. Hopefully the concourse will allow those “waiters” to disperse and so make it easier for everyone.

    That is of course until Network Rail decides to put a coffee/flower/news/burger/pasty stand in the way… 😉

  723. Rob says:

    re: Greg

    Couldn’t agree with you more- the height of the escalator runs will be a real pain when you get (say) an up CX train but need to cross platforms to catch up with a CST train from a different place – something I used to do a lot given the (relative) infrequency of CST trains in the morning peak on the Bexleyheath line.

    re ngh

    I find the concept of Thameslink trains serving the Greenwich line absurd given the amount of money that has been spent to remove conflicting train paths

  724. ngh says:

    Re Rob,

    “I find the concept of Thameslink trains serving the Greenwich line absurd given the amount of money that has been spent to remove conflicting train paths”

    I didn’t mention it (this time) but so do I especially as the ATO swap over point is effectively at the dive under. It really does have the potential to screw up lots of services and it also limits the potential to increase future CST services if ATO/ERMTS were to added on from 22tph to say 24tph…

    We’ll see what happens with the timetable consultation in September, hopefully the 2 month delay will have seen some sense given Southern’ timetabling record in the area. They seem to want to reduce services through Windmill Bridge Jn which then undermines the benefit of sorting out the Croydon…

  725. Anonymously says:

    @Rob/ngh….What is your source for these proposed Greenwich line Thameslink trains?

  726. ngh says:

    Re Anonymously

    “@Rob/ngh….What is your source for these proposed Greenwich line Thameslink trains?”


  727. Rob says:

    re: Anonymously

    Much discussion about the suggested Luton- Rainham via Greenwich service in the comments above from early June this year

  728. DVD says:

    I travel through LBG enroute to Charing Cross or Cannon Street most days (I work in St James Park opposite the former LT HQ so have the luxury of using either terminus). It’s been fascinating to watch the progress of the Diveunder construction and ancillary works.

    Although a resolution of the former P4/5 sprint will be welcome, don’t underestimate the impact of last minute platform changes on down CST services which will in future involve an escalator-assisted sprint.

    There’s another recent Rail Engineer article, although it seems mainly a rehash of things we already knew.

  729. DVD says:

    The aforementioned Rail Engineer article does include this :

    “Complementing the concourse will be an extension of the passenger information displays, which will use a destination-orientated style rather than showing actual train services. Thus, people wanting to travel must look for their destination station, which should then tell them the next suitable train and the platform number. Anyone who uses Manchester Piccadilly station will be accustomed to the concept.”

    I can’t get my head round whether this will make things simpler or more complex. I recall the Manchester Piccadilly one, but isn’t this accompanied by a more traditional type departure board as well ? (It’s been a few years since I was last in Manchester).

  730. KitGreen says:

    There was for many years a destination based display near the ticket office at LBG. I did not find it to be a problem but then my journeys would not suffer from the next train rather than fastest train issue. It is a useful display for anyone who just turns up knowing nothing except where they want to go, although that way of thinking is alien to me.

    LBG was not unique as CLJ has one at the (not quite) new entrance, as do several other large London stations.

  731. @DVD

    Manchester Piccadilly has only a somewhat central island with the board of stations and platform for next train. No traditional departure board as found in London. Only on each platform are the full list of stations served listed on the small display.

    Ideally large stations stations should have both types of display board, to account for fast trains. But smart phone apps likely give this information anyway.

  732. Man of Kent says:

    @DVD, @KitGreen

    There are 12 screens of A-Z destinations on the west end of the ticket office, which roughly faces the direction in which people walking through from the underground will arrive. They were covered up on Saturday, so not quite sure how they will work. But I seem to recall that old London Bridge had “next train to” screens on the footbridge at least, as well as the old-fashioned-when-it-was-installed A-Z listing on the South Eastern side, which included Rye.

    There are repeater indicators at the foot of each escalator, while the platform indicators on the through platforms also include a four-line section for “following trains”.

    Incidentally, the escalators are 22m long.

  733. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Yes, there are (at least until this weekend) next train to… boards by the P1-6 walkway.

    I don’t really like them very much, for a commuter a “next train on line X” board would be better. By the time I’ve scanned across to Orpington, I’ve started to nod off.

    To me a sign saying “Grove Park line” with platform and time would be the quickest way of getting the information across to me. If it scrolled the stops it would call at so much the better.

  734. ngh says:

    Re Southern Heights,

    It might work for your route/journey, except that doesn’t work on many routes out of London Bridge e.g. loop services avoiding Dartford or Southern /TL services where there are multiple routes with differences in journey times e.g. metro services e.g. on metro services (if they ever run…) services to West Norwood /Gipsy Hill /Crystal Palace, any West Croydon and beyond and a huge variety of Quarry vs Redhill route times for longer distance services. Also note stopping pattern variations and uneven service intervals, hence the chosen solution is the best for the vast majority of users…

    To show the next train to any given station (excluding CHX, WAE and CST) in traditional display board format e.g. 1 board per train given 2tph would need at least 51 boards which a non starter…

    GTR has at least 25+ “lines” in SE terms before stopping patterns come into play, it is far bigger and more complex network…

  735. John B says:

    On familiar journeys I want a few displays by destination, as I know a Hastings train will get me to Orpington. On unfamiliar journeys, many displays with “fastest train to X” is best. I feel overwhelmed at Victoria with the muddle of lines leaving there, and hate Stratford where it seems all destinations in deepest Essex so far from my local destination. Smartphones give me advance warning now, but we don’t want to assume that all passengers have them, or will be clogging up the tube exits to consult them

  736. timbeau says:

    @John B
    “On familiar journeys I want a few displays by destination, as I know a Hastings train will get me to Orpington.”
    The problem with that is that it over-emphasises the final destination. If you want to go to Orpington, a “HASTINGS” train calling at “Orpington” is better than an “ORPINGTON” train calling at every lamp post.

    Moreover, you need to look hard at the listing for a DARTFORD train to see whether it’s going via Greenwich, Bexleyheath or Sidcup, whereas if you actually want to go to Dartford you are better off ignoring all of them and taking a GILLINGHAM train.

  737. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @timbeau: The point is that for regular users (or even semi-regulars), the huge number of destinations that are on display is just way too slow… They will also know that Hastings line trains stop in Orpington and the Ashford line trains generally don’t…
    Having line based screens, in addition to the all destinations screens, will help those people move through much quicker.

    Yes the tangle that is Southern does make it harder but even there there are certain routes (remember headcodes?). And yes the varying stopping patterns make it worse, however there is still room for detailed information to be displayed on the platforms including all the lamp posts it stops at…

  738. Malcolm says:

    This discussion about format of displays omits to mention the issue of changing or non-stop. Ideally, for a given destination, you might be offered a “change at (e.g.)Tonbridge and also a change-free option which will get you there slightly later.

    And of course a train which is overtaken by another should not be mentioned at all – this bit normally works.

  739. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Malcolm: this bit normally works.

    However…. The xx:06 and xx:36 slow Sevenoaks services from CHX are always advertised as arriving at Orpington after the xx:15 and xx:45 services to Hastings….

    However, they normally arrive around the same time… By the time you’ve fought your way down the stairs and to the exit, then the difference is then one of airconditioning or not! 😉

  740. Fandroid says:

    I find the Manchester Piccadilly departures board to be really annoying. However, that is mainly because it is wrapped around a vertical cylinder and the various screens rotate and refresh just when you think you have found your train, but haven’t absorbed which platform! I doubt the LBG one will be so annoying. Waterloo manages with three massive displays of trains in order of departure time, complete with lists of stops. However, those are complemented by ‘next train to’ lists. If LBG’ s new concourse is so large, why isn’t the same policy being adopted? One massive difference is that for most trains, the regular traveller will be able to predict his/her platform, so the Waterloo-style last minute mass rush will mostly be avoided.

  741. timbeau says:

    Waterloo’s is a real mixture. Guildford services are shown as via Epsom, Woking or Cobham as appropriate at Waterloo, (of course at Waterloo, if you are going to Giuldford you want to take a Portsmouth train) but the route is not displeyd on the “next train” indicators at intermediate stops like Wimbledon where you have to wait for the stopping pattern to scroll through (and is not displayed at all for 2nd and 3rd trains, despite the fact that “Guildford via Xxxxxx” would fit on the one line displays. However, at Wimbledon via points are shown on the summary screens not only for the Guildford line, where it is important, but also for Woking “via Weybridge”, Shepperton “via Kingston” etc even though there is no other possible routing. And as each “via” line occupies a line on the screen (even though – see above – it doesn’t need to) , it reduces the number of trains that can be displayed.

    At least they have now removed the up Waterloo trains from the summary board, as they run every 4 minutes and used to take up 50% of the screen.

  742. DVD says:

    @Man of Kent

    Yes, you’re quite right, I had overlooked the “next train to” boards near the entrance to the Southeastern platforms and I do recall the similar boards on the old footbridge. I suppose given the choice between CHX and CST services (eventually) they have their benefits, although they may be superfluous for regular commuters. As long as they are logical. (National Rail’s planner for services after next week insists on including in the up services from Sidcup to CST those trains which are actually down services via the Crayford Loop, only becoming up services when they reach the Greenwich line. Totally illogical and did not happen before).

  743. quinlet says:

    How many passengers who are unfamiliar with the train service actually just turn up on spec without knowing if there is a train within a reasonable time to their destination? Regular travellers will know exactly which train they are aiming for and a destination based indicator is thoroughly difficult to use, especially if your journey involves a change when you have to think about your change point and not your destination. Irregular and occasional travellers, unfamiliar with the train system, will almost certainly have investigate possible trains before turning up at the station. If they need to change and destination based indicator will be a positive hindrance. Even if they don’t a time based indicator is far more accessible.

  744. ngh says:


    I suspect the right hand column of the displays will alternate between time and platform so they can get coffee etc. if they have a lot of time.
    The board will also work very well when there is disruption when traditional boards just fill with delayed or cancelled services so you can’t see actual departing ones! (see Jan ’15 at LBG)

    The system has been working very well at Leeds for at least 7 years and Leeds station has many similarities to LBG…

  745. Fandroid says:

    I agree that the Leeds departure board has never given me any trouble, but then my needs have always been simple. I only ever want to get to London!

  746. Fandroid says:

    More care could be taken with the use of information screens. A few years back they changed the main screens in Basingstoke’ s ticket hall to a list of ‘next trains to’. However, one whole part of the screen is now permanently dedicated to a security message. That to me is a total waste of a realtime display. That message could be given via a poster on a wall and the screen be used for a time-sequenced list of departures to supplement the alphabetical destination display.

  747. timbeau says:

    This happens on “next train” indicators too. Just when you really need to know how far away the second train is (because the first train is in the platform but rammed) the second train information is replaced by a message to mind your luggage, or tell you that a completely different line will be closed for maintenance next weekend.

    Almost as bad as the audio announcements telling you not to put your feet on the seats, when only half the passengers have managed to get any part of their anatomy onto a seat.

  748. moosealot says:

    Your TOC clearly haven’t worked out that if (shorter) passengers were to stand up on seats, more standees could be squeezed in!

  749. Walthamstow Writer says:

    For those who want a sneak peak before Monday then a “360 degree” view of several different parts of the revamped London Bridge are viewable via the link below.

    It seems to show a combined set of “by destination” and “by departure and stns served” information boards for use by passengers. I certainly got a better sense of space from viewing these images. Helps to piece together what I’ve seen from plans and lots of images / videos over the months.

  750. @WW

    Brilliant view. I’m very glad they have designed natural light to enter the Concourse. I wonder if they could’ve added mirrors to reflect more down to the lower level. Although these photos may not be doing the sunlight justice.

  751. ngh says:

    Re LBM,

    Mostly north-lights so not huge amounts of direct sunlight so it doesn’t get too warm in summer!

  752. Graham Feakins says:

    @WW and all – It would help even further if the “360 degree” view correctly identifies St. Thomas Street on the south side, instead mistaking it for “Tooley Street” where it appears in the views. Tooley Street is not shown because it’s on the opposite side of the station and access to/from it will not open yet.

  753. ngh says:

    Re Graham,

    “Tooley Street is not shown because it’s on the opposite side of the station and access to/from it will not open yet.”

    Except there will be an exit from the concourse to Tooley via Stainer street unpaid axis alignment from next week in the am peak.

  754. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham F – please “shoot” Network Rail not the hapless messenger. 😉