On Monday 14 December 2015 c2c introduced a new weekday timetable between Fenchurch Street and Shoeburyness. By the next day they had already made their first changes and those changes have continued, with the latest having been made on Monday 18 January. So what went wrong?

The answer, of course, is complex. Indeed it is not even clear that anything fundamentally went wrong as such. Here we explore the background and decisions which led to such a changeable situation.

The route – historically

As railways go the London, Tilbury and Southend (LTS), currently managed by National Express subsidiary c2c Rail, is pretty simple. In the late 20th century it would perhaps have been best described as a line from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness via Laindon and a loop between Barking and Pitsea, serving Dagenham and Tilbury. In the days of Tilbury Docks (when there was even a separate short branch to serve the docks’ steamboat traffic) the loop could be very busy indeed.

traditional route

How the London, Tilbury & Southend is more traditionally viewed.

In addition to the main line and the loop, there was a single track line from Upminster to Grays with a passing loop at the only intermediate station, Ockendon. A new station at Chafford Hundred was added in 1993 to serve a new housing estate under construction there. Three years earlier Lakeside shopping centre had opened a short distance away on the other side of the busy (and wide) A126, and so the station also had the potential to draw shoppers as well.

The route – today


The pedestrian bridge linking Lakeside shopping centre and Chafford Hundred station, courtesy Wikipedia

Although nothing physically has changed, the route and the timetable are seen very differently these days. In the year 2000 a substantial pedestrian bridge was built over the A126, linking Lakeside shopping centre and Chafford Hundred and station directly. In addition the decline of local industry (especially the Ford Motor Works) in the Dagenham area and the rapid expansion of Chafford Hundred as a dormitory town mean that the single track line has become part of the main route for trains from Fenchurch Street to Tilbury in preference to the route via Rainham. It provides a direct service between London and Lakeside, and Southend and Lakeside as well as a direct commuter service to London from Chafford Hundred and South Ockendon. Chafford Hundred station, with its single platform, is now the second busiest station on the Tilbury line.

c2c route map

Current c2c route diagram

Surprisingly, the single track section does not appear to lead to timekeeping problems but, undoubtedly, if the service overall were to be disrupted in a major way, the six kilometre single track section between Ockendon and the loop line to Grays would severely hinder service recovery, though there is at least the option of rerouteing the trains. The additional five kilometre single track stretch between Ockendon and Upminster certainly does not help.

Something that probably was not envisaged when the priorities were changed was the additional benefit of fewer trains being routed via Rainham, which led to fewer conflicts with the increasing number of freight trains serving London Gateway. It also very conveniently means fewer trains conflicting with any future London Overground service to Barking Riverside.

Identifying the problem

It is easy to give a short answer as to what caused the problems with the December 2015 timetable, but that doesn’t fully explain the issues. In an attempt to provide a more complete picture, we will very briefly look at the line’s growth.

An Outer Suburban and Essex Commuter Railway

Like many railways, the London, Tilbury and Southend started off with its predecessors gradually edging through the inner and outer London to the countryside beyond. The ultimate limit was the coast.

Barking platform 4

c2c down Upminster line at Barking platform 4. This has cross platform interchange with the eastbound District line.

Unlike many similar railways, the LTS was able to divest itself of many of its suburban stations and concentrate on more profitable long distance traffic. Sometimes this was simply due to lack of use. Other times it was with the assistance of the Luftwaffe, with bombed suburban stations never replaced – or, in one case at least, not replaced for a very long time. In both cases, these closures came about because the District Railway (subsequently the District line) ran trains on tracks parallel to the LTS main line for a considerable distance. The parallel District Railway meant that most passengers from stations served by both companies often already preferred to use the Underground and those that did not would not unduly suffer if forced to do so. This was good news for the LTS, who were ultimately limited in most places to two tracks – a situation not conducive to a mixing of suburban and long distance services.

Barking platforms 7 & 8

Platforms 7 & 8 at Barking for the lines to and from Grays

In time, the LTS also managed to divest itself of most of its branches, although some of them remained in place unused – something which later turned out to be very fortunate for the planners of the DLR.

The line quickly became established as offering a long distance commuter service with Southend-on-Sea being where many journeys began. Indeed, the seven outermost stations from Leigh-on-Sea to Shoeburyness were all located in the Southend-on-Sea urban area. According to Alan A Jackson’s seminal work, London’s Termini:

By 1909, seven full train loads were being brought into London from Southend in hours each morning with an average running time of fifty-nine minutes.

It was called the London, Tilbury and Southend for a reason

The name London, Tilbury and Southend was ultimately very suitable. Most of the significant traffic centred on the urban area of Southend, the busy docks at Tilbury and, of course, London.


Fenchurch Street

The classic facade of Fenchurch Street station nestling amongst the City buildings

Then as now, the LTS (or c2c), terminates in London at Fenchurch Street, the most intensively used London Terminal in terms of train departures per platform. Its five trains an hour from each of its four platforms marginally beats the usage per platform found at Charing Cross during normal (not Thameslink works amended) service.


With the decline of the steamboats and subsequent decline of the ocean liner and freight traffic, Tilbury is not now nearly as significant as it was. It is true that London Gateway has replaced Tilbury but c2c is exclusively a passenger railway and is only relevant to this article to the extent that freight reduces the number of passenger trains that can be run. With passenger services tending to be on a half-hourly cycle, a single freight path (whether used or not) an hour generally means the loss of two passenger paths per hour.


A suitable comparison with the Southend urban area could perhaps be Brighton & Hove, although distance-wise Southend is only slightly further out from London than Gatwick Airport. Like Brighton, it is important not to forget about traffic to Southend-on-Sea in the morning, a lot of it being school children and students. This traffic, welcome though it is, increases the complexity of deciding which services need to have the extra carriages.

Moving to a modern railway

In 1961 the line was electrified and at around the same time the few remaining calls to stations between Bromley (now Bromley-by-Bow) and Upminster, with the exception of Barking and Upminster themselves, were abandoned. The railway had only three intermediate stations (Stepney East being the third) on its main route out of London to what is now the limit of Greater London.

The main line Misery Line

Whilst the Northern line was often dubbed the Misery Line, the epithet was also given to the LTS in British Rail days. It was never a strategic line, easily forgotten by the BR Board at Marylebone, and almost exclusively run using second hand rolling stock not designed with the line in mind. Maintenance seemed to be done on the basis of simply stopping the line from falling apart, rather than trying to make the service attractive. Being largely a commuter service with little off-peak traffic it was never going attract enthusiastic investment at board level under the nationalised regime.

Stepney East and the coming of Docklands

Despite its 1960s rejuvenation as an electric long distance commuter railway, the LTS retained an anachronistic reminder of its inner suburban history in the form of Stepney East station. By the 1960s this become a station that British Rail’s managers would likely have been happier if it didn’t exist. It had few passengers and certainly didn’t have tender loving care lavished on it.

All this was to change with the revival of the Docklands and the coming of the Docklands Light Railway. The DLR was to have a separate adjoining station at Stepney East using the abandoned route that branched off just to the west of the station. The DLR platforms would be built on the site of former Stepney East platforms serving this branch.

One concession was made to Stepney East to cater for the new DLR station and that was a new entrance to make interchange slightly more convenient. On its own it didn’t really amount to that much as the stations were on a viaduct and a change from one to the other meant steps down to street level and steps back up again. Despite this, it did at least provide a relatively convenient way for LTS commuters to commute to the increasingly important Canary Wharf area.

What’s in a name?

Shortly before the arrival of the DLR at Stepney East the station name was changed to Limehouse. In reality, the change was long overdue as the station was never really in the heart of Stepney. Indeed explanations differ as to why it was called Stepney and then Stepney East. One reason given was that, when the the station opened, there already was a Limehouse station (it closed in 1926). Another possibility was that, as Limehouse was a particularly seedy and poverty-ridden part of London well known for its Chinese Opium dens, the railways, not for the first time, decided to call it by a geographically inaccurate name to reflect a more salubrious area – at the time Stepney was considered a much more desirable place to live.

Limehouse platforms

Modern day Limehouse station. Hardly the most welcoming of platforms.

Whatever the reason, it eventually proved a good move to rename the station to Limehouse. Today Limehouse is regarded as a more desirable place to live than Stepney – particularly if you wish to moor your yacht near your front door.

Late 20th Century Improvements

Prior to the redevelopment of Docklands the future of the LTS could, at best, be described as managed decline. The effect of the Docklands, or any other development, increasing passenger numbers had not been anticipated. Indeed the four track approach to Fenchurch Street had been largely reduced to two tracks largely because British Rail offered the other two to enable the DLR to reach the city on dedicated rail lines instead of street running. In hindsight, for London, it was a fortunate offer. Nevertheless, c2c probably wish that their predecessors had made sure those tracks were still available to them.

The late 20th century also saw rail privatisation. It is probably fair to say that the London Tilbury and Southend is one line (Chiltern is another) that has subsequently improved remarkably under privatisation. This would be partly down to senior managers focusing on the line rather than being distracted by other responsibilities and partly down to new purpose built rolling stock.

West Ham

West Ham station has a long and complex history. Here we concentrate on the southern pair of east-west platforms that served the LTS. These were bombed in 1940 and subsequently removed in 1941. In 1999 the Jubilee line came to West Ham and the LTS platforms were reinstated to enable c2c passengers to alight at West Ham in order to catch the Jubilee line, again with Canary Wharf being the main anticipated destination.

It was inevitable that, not only would passengers alight from the inward c2c service in the morning, but that others would join for the ten minute journey to Fenchurch Street with, at worst, one intermediate stop. Possibly more surprisingly, there is supposed to be a thriving flow of passengers using the line for the one stop between Barking and West Ham. Wittingly or unwittingly, c2c’s predecessor was starting to revive the line’s former role as a suburban railway.

In fact, initially, the c2c platforms at West Ham weren’t as used as much you might think because signalling restrictions limited the number of trains that could call there. Nevertheless it was a well used interchange and the introduction of the DLR in 2011 on the former North London line north-south route through the station only increased its popularity further.

The 2006 timetable

In December 2006 c2c attempted to introduce a revised timetable. The purpose was basically to squeeze more trains in by taking out any slack that there may have been in order to deal with a rising number of commuters. It quickly became apparent that the timetable wasn’t working with crowded trains and massive delays.

All this must have been quite a challenge for the new managing director at the time, Mark Hopwood. Seen as an aspiring railwayman who was going places, he had been promoted to run c2c only in April that year, when the development of the new timetable would already have been well under way. Once implemented it soon became clear that the new timetable would not work and calls to bring back the old timetable began. After two or three weeks, Hopwood did just that.

Normally resurrecting an old timetable is quite unthinkable, impractical and totally against perceived railway wisdom. It also set a dangerous precedent for future timetable reversions. Hopwood was fortunate that such a decision was possible as the LTS is relatively self-contained. It was still a brave move, but one which ultimately did him no harm. In 2008 he became Managing Director of First Great Western (now GWR) where he remains to this day.

Limehouse station Updated

Exit to DLR

Exiting the up platform at Limehouse to access the DLR eastbound platform

In 2008 authorisation was given for a scheme to enable c2c passengers alighting on the up platform at Limehouse to transfer to the eastbound DLR platform, by now three cars long, without having to go up and down stairs. This simple-sounding objective cost £1.9 million and is probably an indication of how important the ability to interchange at Limehouse had become. It also showed that c2c services to and from London could no longer be treated as only catering to commuters from Essex travelling to the terminus at Fenchurch Street.

Link to DLR

The other “Limehouse Link”. This is from the c2c up platform to DLR eastbound one past the ticket gates.

The 2015 conundrum

By 2015 c2c was becoming ever more popular with Essex commuters and services needed to be adjusted to reflect this. In general, this meant that in the morning some of the trains needed to start from further out of London than they currently did.

At the same time it was clear that there was a large, unmet demand for suburban traffic. In particular West Ham had links not only to Canary Wharf but also to Stratford via Jubilee and DLR. c2c would have liked to reroute some trains via Stratford to Liverpool Street, but that was clearly not possible in peak hours nor practical off-peak during the week. This has now been achieved with two trains per hour at weekends, however.

The alternative was to have all trains call at West Ham. With signalling now in place that makes this possible, it seemed the desirable thing to do. Because the railway is only two track it also made sense to have all trains call at Barking and Limehouse to avoid a mixture of stopping and fast trains on the busiest section. Stopping all trains at Upminster could also be justified on the basis of passenger numbers and this meant that all trains via Upminster would call there and all trains would call at Barking, West Ham and Limehouse on their way to Fenchurch Street in the morning. The arrangement would be reversed in the evening.

Franchise commitment

The additional stops provided in the London area were not really optional. One part of the franchise commitment was to reduce passenger overcrowding west of Barking. This approach, it must be noted, relies on the assumption that if you have more trains calling at the relevant stations you reduce overcrowding. This turned out to be a dangerous assumption and the effect of having more trains call at West Ham and Barking appears instead to have unleashed instead an enormous unmet demand.

The franchise commitment to reduce suburban overcrowding means that, even if they wanted to (which apparently they don’t) c2c do not really have the option of omitting suburban stops from too many trains. This, as we shall see, rather limits c2c options and resolving some of the problems recently encountered is not simply a matter of non-stopping trains at suburban stations as used to happen.

Regardless of problems that have occurred in practice, in principle, a big advantage in having an all stations arrangement for c2c services in the London suburban area is that it makes it so much simpler for passengers. The result was a train every three minutes in the peak and no need to worry about which train to catch if travelling to or from Fenchurch Street. It was bound to make the service much more popular – too popular as it turns out.

The conflict

Clearly, if the trains start from further out and they call at more suburban stops there are going to problems unless either you have a lot of existing spare capacity, which c2c didn’t have, or you increase capacity. A lot of timetable optimisation produced dividends but that wasn’t enough, so c2c also carried out the train operators’ favourite wheeze of refurbishing some of its rolling stock so that it had fewer seats and extra standing capacity. These they rather cheekily describe on a web page under the headline of New Trains.

c2c Metro Train

“New” metro train

The plan seemed logical. You run more trains and you get them to call them at inner suburban stations. They will be crowded for short journeys but long distance passengers should get a seat in the morning and not have to stand for too long in the evening. What could possibly go wrong?

Preparations and consultation

c2c didn’t undertake this timetable change lightly. In fact they claim they spent two years planning it. They ran a consultation which only 4.5% of passengers responded to. They also made tremendous efforts to explain why they felt it necessary to make the change. This included videos on their website, a “letter” from the Managing Director prior to the new timetable going live and heavy use of social media. It was recognised from the outset that not everything would run smoothly from day one and c2c were active both in trying to get this message across and in soliciting feedback.

Even before the timetable came into use some small changes were made to answer some criticisms. Running trains from Southend without stopping at all London suburban stations was going to be very problematic as would be the reverse in the evening, but nevertheless passengers from Southend wanted this retained. As a concession, in the morning the 06.48 from Shoeburyness would run fast from Benfleet to Fenchurch Street and the 07.18 would run fast from Chalkwell to West Ham and then fast to Fenchurch Street. A very token gesture was made in the evening by removing the Barking stop from the 16.58 and 19.28 departure from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness.

Laindon starters

In the past, trains had started at Laindon where, very conveniently, there were three platforms. This meant one could have a “suburban” service starting from there calling at West Horndon, Upminster, Barking, West Ham and Limehouse. In an ideal world though this service would start at the busy station of Basildon, one stop further on, but there are no suitable terminating facilities there. Despite only opening in 1974, Basildon station generates a lot of passenger traffic with almost 3 million passenger journeys per annum starting or finishing there.

Laindon Shorts

Laindon starters only serve a few stations

The problem for c2c is that once you stop all trains at all stations from Upminster to Fenchurch Street it doesn’t really make any sense to have trains starting from Laindon. Of course that is not going to go down well with the people of Laindon or West Horndon who have been used to a seat and plenty of space on the train – at least for part of the journey.

Laindon looking towards London

A considerable amount of infrastructure exists at Laindon to enable trains to be terminated there. The train is en route to London.

As a result of disquiet about the Laindon starters being removed, it was decided to retain two of them (at 06.33 and 07.05) in the December timetable and to ensure that Laindon had additional trains calling there to compensate for the loss of the starters.

Laindon Overview

An overview of Laindon station which is substantial in size but only as busy as an average London station

Modern Railways Article

As part of “getting the message across” the Managing Director of c2c was interviewed by Modern Railways and an article describing the proposed changes and the preparations that had been made for them appeared in the September 2015 edition. As well as issues discussed here there are comments on other considerations such as raising line speed, wi-fi and issues involved in running 12-car trains.

Day one issues and emotions

It was always going to be impossible to know for sure how passengers would react when their trains were retimed. Would they go for an earlier one? Or later? Would the improved suburban service attract new users from Day 1? To what extent would people vary their time of departure to catch a faster train?

There must have been a mixture of emotions on the day the timetable was put into service. Hope, anxiety and probably a feeling of “this has got to work, there is no plan B”. In the months leading up to the new timetable passenger numbers had continued to rise, meaning that the 2006 option of simply going back to the old timetable wasn’t really a long term option.

It has subsequently also become clear that c2c has been determined to hold its ground and take the consequences. It can often be very hard to get the message across that, just because something used to work, it doesn’t mean it can work in the future with the changed circumstances. This didn’t mean that changes couldn’t be made – just that a wholesale retreat was not something that could be contemplated.

No battleplan survives contact with the enemy

It very quickly became apparent on the first day that some trains were hopelessly overcrowded. This had the knock-on effect of long dwell times at critical stations. In the evening it also had the effect that at Fenchurch Street long distance (the term is used relatively on c2c) passengers couldn’t board their train because of short distance hoppers.

Something that assisted c2c enormously on that first day was not having to wait for anecdotal evidence or physically count passengers and collate the figures. With trains able to report their passenger load by weight it meant that on the first day the approximate loadings of every single train was known.

Changes for day two

By day two the first changes had been made. One exceptionally crowded 4-car train in the morning was extended to 8-cars. The only way this could be achieved was by taking a train off maintenance. Clearly this was not a viable long term solution.

A more surprising change was made in adding a stop at Upminster to the 07.10 departure from Fenchurch Street. The review of changes resulting from the feedback from day one claimed this was to alleviate the problem of local overcrowding of trains arriving at Southend at around 8.00 a.m.

Advice was also given as to which trains were particularly overcrowded and how passengers could catch an earlier or later train to avoid this. One of c2c’s concerns must have been that passengers would modify their behaviour during the week and if too much is changed too quickly then passengers would not be able to meaningfully try out different options.

Changes for Day four

By day three it was decided that from the following day c2c would omit some stops at Barking in the morning peak and at West Ham in the evening. It would appear that some discouragement was necessary to reduce the number of journeys made on c2c between these two stations. It was also announced that in future there would be a lot of switching around 4-car trains and 8-car trains (and the very occasional 12-car train) in the New Year to better match supply and demand.

A significant retreat

By the end of day four, three things had become clear.

  • There was nothing wrong with the timetable as far as operating it was concerned. Trains were already running to time to the minute.
  • The idea of calling all trains at West Ham and Barking in the peak direction was not going to work. It was fine in principle but some of the trains could not handle the number of passengers wishing to use them with passengers being left behind.
  • The fairly desperate shuffling of longer and shorter trains to provide a least worse option showed that there was a fundamental shortage of rolling stock.

In fact, everything pointed to the fact that the only real reason that the timetable didn’t work was because a lot of the trains weren’t long enough.

Revised timetable for January 4th 2016

With the ability to fairly accurately ascertain passenger loadings on a daily basis using train weight information, the revised timetable for January 4th 2016 saw the previously announced shuffling of 4-car and 8-car trains being implemented. In addition it saw modifications made to where trains started in the morning and new services added with existing ones removed to compensate. In particular Laindon saw new 08.02 and 08.32 starters. The station now had four trains in the morning peak that started from there.

Make it up as you go along

At some point, if you introduce a new timetable and then make lots of changes one tends to ask at what point you argue that the timetable was abandoned. It is probably fair to say that by January 4th that point had not been reached on c2c, and in any case it was only the peak period trains that were being altered.

One could regard the January 4th changes as an act of desperation. Alternatively one could see it as an exercise in creating the best timetable one could, given the constraints. Ultimately c2c is very lucky that its network has very little impact on anyone else and it is relatively free to tinker with the timetable.

A sign of the future for intensive timetables?

What is apparent is that now we have the combination of having the trains able to report passenger loading by weighing the contents of the carriages and also the existence of social media, meaning that timetable changes can be reported back to passengers very quickly, timetable tweaking can be done much more dynamically than could ever be done before.

As we try and squeeze more an more out of existing infrastructure this dynamic change to timetables shortly after introduction may become the norm and not the exception. Certainly Southern and SouthEastern passengers using London Bridge around early 2015 seemed to have had weekly minor timetable changes for months on end. This was combined with varying train lengths as the TOCs involved attempted to use the rolling stock they did have to best effect.

New trains to the rescue eventually

New c2c trains are planned for 2019 (a franchise commitment). This does not seem to be soon enough to sort out the problems they are experiencing today. c2c say they are leasing additional trains as an interim measure but have given no indication of when they will arrive.

The new trains originally planned only amount to 17 four-car units in 2019. These would be followed by a further 4 four-car units in 2022 and 4 more in 2024.

And finally? …

On January 18th yet more changes were made. These now were so substantial that one has to ask how much of the original peak hour timetable remains. There are a lot of Twitter comments indicating some people are very unhappy with the new timetable and one MP has decided he is “at war with c2c” based, it seems, on the fact that his postbag (presumably, in reality, his inbox) now gets substantial complaints about the timetable.

Proposed Morning timetable

Morning timetable as run on day one with all but two trains calling at Barking (second row)

Eventual Morning timetable

Morning timetable from January 18th 2016 with many calls at Barking omitted

As c2c’s Your questions answered explains:

Last autumn, we were carrying on average over 20,800 passengers out of Fenchurch Street each evening. Last week, that average was over 24,900 – up 20%. This growth is very real, and very unexpected. It has not been matched by the growth in the morning peak, which is why we have made more changes to our evening services this week.

Meanwhile the directors of c2c are adamant that the old timetable was not fit for purpose and they won’t go back to it. They also report a 20% surge of usage in passengers in the evening peak at Fenchurch Street in the past few months that they can’t fully explain and point this out as one reason why they can’t go back to the old timetable. Recognising that passengers have suffered, they have instigated a cash back scheme for those badly affected.

More carriages to the rescue soon?

It seems that the c2c directors have kept their cool and recognised that no timetable will overcome the fundamental problem – there are just not enough carriages on the trains and no timetable, old or new, is going to overcome that. Although they are coy about where new carriages are coming from, the money here in LR Towers is on them subleasing two 5-car 360s from Heathrow Connect.

Since rolling stock is tightly diagrammed and you can’t magic it out of nowhere, one presumes that passengers using Heathrow Connect will suffer to some extent as a result, but not nearly to the extent that those currently suffering on c2c will be relieved. One also has to query how much difference an extra 10 carriages can really make. Effectively, this means that the two most overcrowded peak trains that are not already 12-cars can be significantly strengthened by four cars, and two further trains get the equivalent of an extra carriage – but that is all.

A warning to all about elsewhere

A lot of people blame c2c and there is concern that they have caused this problem. In fact, c2c have probably done the all that they reasonably could have done. The bigger concern should perhaps be that they haven’t done anything wrong, at least nothing that was reasonably predictable, and that there is no easy solution. Maybe we have seen a tipping point where a railway simply cannot handle the number of passengers that wish to use it with the resources they currently have. With passenger numbers going up on services to London Bridge despite the disruption there, the bigger worry is whether c2c is simply going to be the first London commuter railway that cannot really handle all the passengers wishing to use it, but whose journeys is such that there is no realistic alternative.

Many thanks to Unravelled who made a special trip to take all the photographs (except the one of Chafford Hundred footbridge). His complete set of c2c photos for that day can be found within the London Reconnections photo pool here.

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There are 522 comments on this article
  1. Richard Smith says:

    Great article as ever. I think you need to add Tilbury Riverside to the ‘past view’ map at the top?

  2. IslandDweller says:

    Thanks for this, fascinating stuff.
    What is also worthy of mention is that C2C put focus on stuff that passengers care about. Trains are generally clean, and stations are manned for very long hours, and ticket gates are used (not locked open all day open).
    Compare and contrast with trains running similar distance on the other side of the Thames……

  3. 0775john says:

    Thank you. A very interesting article and a potentially worrying conclusion regarding the seemingly insatiable demand for travel around certain parts of London.
    Incidentally, in the paragraph under the photo of Upminster Station Platform 4 and in the second to last sentence, has a “not” been omitted between ‘would’ and ‘unduly’ ? [It had indeed. Fixed now. Malcolm]

  4. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – a couple of Thames News flashbacks about LT&S. Helps to show what things were like back in NSE days and the result of little sustained investment.

    Fenchurch St redevelopment –

    Sir Bob Reid being “told off” by Essex MPs over misery line issues –

    (warning – features MPs Teresa Gorman, David Amiss and Sir Bernard Braine)

  5. NLW says:

    Something that probably was not envisaged when the priorities were changed was the additional benefit of fewer trains being routed via Tilbury, which led to fewer conflicts with the increasing number of freight trains serving London Gateway. It also very conveniently means fewer trains conflicting with any future London Overground service to Barking Riverside.

    Should Tilbury read Rainham in this paragraph? I am having difficulty following the paragraph as written – apologies if I’m being dense….

    [ You are correct and thanks for pointing this out. I was thinking of the via the (old) Tilbury loop but in the newer arrangement it does not make sense to refer to it as it is not clear what is meant. I have corrected it to Rainham. PoP]

  6. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Nice article and good to get a bit more insight into what’s been happening. I was aware of some issues but you’ve summed them up. How unsurprising to see Mr Amiss is still as bonkers now as he was back in the 80s. “I will be at war” – how melodramatic and utterly unnecessary.

    I actually think it is admirable that C2C have been as pro-active as possible and have listened and changed things. They *are* fortunate that they can make timetable changes with relative ease. I’ve used the inner bits of C2C a few times in the last few years and always found the service to be punctual, often irritatingly so because you can’t hedge your bets on mad dash connections at Barking from the GOBLIN. C2C don’t run late and don’t hold the doors for “runners” so you end up with long waits if you misjudge things. Overall the trains are clean and reliable – no wonder the service is popular.

    The real story is the point at the end – growth and what do you do? What on earth will C2C be able to do once Barking Riverside is fully developed and the GOBLIN links in, Beam Park station is added on the Tilbury line and planned developments near Dagenham Dock happen? Even a tiny thing like the current plan to re-route the 145 bus to run nearer to the north side of Dagenham Dock station may cause C2C problems if people in Dagenham decide to pop down there for a faster train to the City because the bus suddenly makes it easier than at present. The new franchise for C2C is actually pretty brave and pro-active but recent events and known future developments would suggest to me that the planned rolling stock orders are nowhere near enough to cope with what is likely to happen.

    Imagine what would happen if the GOBLIN is extended under the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood? Most likely meltdown as people will be sucked into Barking as a travel node and all sorts of new travel patterns would emerge. I wonder if TfL are designing the Riverside extension to take 8 car trains? (and no rants about the suggested design of the Riverside station PLEASE).

    I also wonder if LR will be writing similar articles each time Crossrail opens another phase of through running? 😉 “And today on day 3 of Crossrail services TfL and MTR have had to rewrite the timetable again and add more trains to cope with demand”. “And here we are on the 12th January 2020, only 1 month into the full Crossrail operation, and TfL have today placed an emergency order for 90 extra carriages to lengthen all trains to 11 cars and have also ordered another 20 extra trains”. 🙂

  7. Ed says:

    That 20% increase in a matter of months? That’s massive, and very intriguing. Anyone who uses the line like to speculate on factors? It can’t all be because a few more stop at Barking, Upminster etc?

    I’m wondering if some big housing developments have completed?

    Plus, who is at fault for not ordering more stock before now? Good old DaFT again as c2c couldn’t be expected to as their franchise time ran down before it was renewed? It’s inexcusable really – 20% sudden rise or not it’s been known for many years how the population is rising quickly. And it will continue to do so. They’ll be 10 million people (up from 8.6m now) by 2030, though it’s looking possible it could come as soon as 2025 now. 1.4m more people in 10 years.

    Also, it does throw a spanner in the works when it comes to modelling predictions. Southern were caught out by it in 2015. Southeastern’s change in August may be the same.

  8. Ed says:

    Walthamstow Writer – “Imagine what would happen if the GOBLIN is extended under the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood? Most likely meltdown as people will be sucked into Barking as a travel node and all sorts of new travel patterns would emerge.”

    Maybe many moving to Barking Riverside would instead take a 5 minute trip south to Crossrail at Abbey Wood, and then it’d be 10 minutes to Canary Wharf and 15-20 to the City? That’s stop the hords meeting already busy trains arriving at Barking from the east.

  9. TUT says:

    Isn’t that photograph captioned “c2c down Upminster line at platform 4” Barking? It may not be, I don’t know the station well, but I do know that platform 4 at Upminster is a District line platform (the District has 3, 4 and 5 at Upminster)
    [Yes it is Barking. But it is the c2c down Upminster line at platform 4 (as opposed to the c2c down Rainham line at platform 7) at Barking. I had omitted to mention the location. Caption now fixed. PoP]

  10. Andrew Rodger says:

    TUT, you are correct. The first photo is platform 4 at Barking, not Upminster

  11. Philip says:

    (To mods, please feel free not to take this if you think it will divert the conversation)

    There are probably lessons for this regarding the debate on other posts about the desirability of the Bakerloo Line taking over various existing SE London suburban lines. If c2c have been surprised by the unexpected demand on services with a completely parallel tube line, it shows that quite a lot of passengers will prefer a limited-stop journey to a single central London terminus over an all-stations tube one, even if it means an extra connection. Especially since Fenchurch Street is the only London terminus with no dedicated underground station, and foot routes between the station entrances and Aldgate/Tower Hill are not especially direct or well signed.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Could the increase be due to the tube strikes?, there was an article in The Economist recently about travel patterns changing after strikes, because passengers are forced to use an an alternative, find the alternative quicker – and just carry on using it.

    I suspect the West Ham – Barking traffic is zone 1 avoiders using the Goblin to Barking, then West Ham, then Canary Wharf, Woolwich or wherever.

  13. Chris J says:

    Another excellent analysis. One of the big challenges in this kind of exercise is trying to predict how passengers will react to future timetable changes, and the difficulty of ‘nudging’ them through pricing – not that I am remotely in favour of abandoning turn up and go.

    A source at Chiltern tells me they had a very similar problem in October when the first stage of the Oxford route opened. All the modelling suggested that a fair proportion of the passengers railheading at Bicester North would switch to Bicester Village, which offered shorter journey times and less crowded trains. But it didn’t happen. The result was overcrowding on the Bicester North trains and chaos at Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross – not people you want to upset!

    Over the next few weeks there was some frantic rebalancing of train lengths and stopping patterns to cope, followed by a more substantive restructuring in the December timetable change.

  14. lmm says:

    @WW I think it’s premature to talk about ultimate capacity limits when the line still runs 4-car trains. Maybe eventually Barking and Upminster will need a Crossrail-like outer suburban service to central London for passengers who need something faster than the District without using up capacity to Southend. But we’re talking many decades away if I’m understanding the current situation correctly: what’s needed at the moment is simply enough rolling stock to run services that the infrastructure is more than capable of.

    @Philip The 20% figure is impressive but it’s only one side of the equation. I wonder what that is as a proportion of the number of people who were previously using the District Line for such routes, and whether they even noticed a dent.

  15. Ian Brooker says:

    “Being largely a commuter service with little off-peak traffic it was never going attract enthusiastic investment under the nationalised regime.”

    “The late 20th century also saw rail privatisation. It is probably fair to say that the London Tilbury and Southend is one line (Chiltern is another) that has subsequently improved remarkably under privatisation.”

    Unusual for LR to rewrite history to this extent! Are your contributors really too young to be aware of Total Route Modernisation on both routes – under BR?

  16. Altnabreac says:

    Excellent article.

    It does seem to show that ultimately the only solution is to increase capacity by running more 12 car trains. Hopefully someone in DfT can grasp the nettle and help the franchisee to source additional stock.

  17. Greg Tingey says:

    Before I read any of the subsequent comments.
    The “misery line” epithet came about because the original late-1950’s designed units were clapped out & replaced with “AM10’s” (?) from the ex-LNW lines, which were totally unsuitable, operationally, for the stop-start LTS route.
    IIRC several power-cars had to be locked OOU, because they got internal flashovers, which definitely alarmed the punters!
    Useful source: Peter Key’s series of books on the LTS
    And, no mention of the LTS’ two joint railways, the Tottenham & Forest Gate (joint with the Midland) & the Tottenham & Hampstead, which was GE/Mid joint, but the LTS had running-powers through to St Pancras – but GOBLIN is a separate thread, I think (?)

    This overloading/congestion is a n other reason for a Pitsea – GEML link (for freight) but I think that can also be parked for now….
    What this also means, is that my usual source for any timetable I need to use (A copy of the on-line GBTT, from NR) is utterly useless.
    I was not aware of the total recast of the via Grays services, either. A very different beast from the original.
    Worth remembering, of course that the direct Barking-Pitsea line is the later cut-off & that the original route was via Tilbury.

  18. Ian Brooker,

    Unusual for LR to rewrite history to this extent! Are your contributors really too young to be aware of Total Route Modernisation on both routes – under BR?

    If only I could reply yes. The sarcastic answer would be “and are you too young to remember what happened before Chris Green arrived?”

    Perhaps I should have spelt this out in more detail but the article was already getting very long (and longer by the week as the next set of changes came into effect) with no obvious place to split it.

    Total Route Modernisation is something that came about with Chris Green and before him I would argue it was exactly as I described it. But even Chris Green had his limitations and had to prioritise which part of Network South East he would tackle next. I would also argue that under privatisation LTS (and Chiltern especially) improved a lot even beyond what Chris Green had achieved. I am not a fan of privatisation but credit where credit is due.

  19. Specialtubes says:

    You’re quite right that there isn’t enough rolling stock on the c2c route, but there is no mention of the fact that there are now several four car trains in the peak hours so that “more trains” could be run (instead of one 8 car train, divide it into two and, hey presto, you now have two trains instead of one). Four car trains simply cannot cope in the peak and whoever came up with that idea needs a good talking too!
    As for the new timetable working well, that’s not exactly true either. Trains now crawl along between London and West Ham both ways especially in the evening peak with “congestion” regularly stated by c2c as the reason for late running.

  20. ngh says:

    Re Ed 02:49

    “That 20% increase in a matter of months? That’s massive, and very intriguing. Anyone who uses the line like to speculate on factors? It can’t all be because a few more stop at Barking, Upminster etc?”

    The 20% number related to average passengers leaving Fenchurch Street in the evening peak in the 2 weeks before the TT change and the same for the first 2 full working weeks in January so 20% growth in just WEEKS

    My guess would be District line users who have a better chance of getting on or getting a seat at Fenchurch Street in the evenings than on the District at Tower / Aldgate / Monument etc (Or equivalent H&C journeys).

    They also apparently had circa 10% growth overall in 2015 before the TT changes.

    New Stock – timing partially down to National Express’s bid they probably hoped removing 15 seats per car would tide them over till 2019 meaning more profit for NatEx and bigger premiums to DfT (HMT) hence making them more likely to win the bid…

    C2C assumed removing 1 seat = 2.5 extra standing. However they haven’t put the newer “multi hand” handholds on the seat backs hence they probably aren’t getting the maximum standing capacity they anticipated* (as the strap hangers are a little inaccessible for shorter people too) or the standing density seen on SWT or TSGN (*based on photos from aggrieved friends commutes who claim that they have the worst travelling conditions etc. I then send them my south of the river collection and they soon understand they are lucky… I would suggest that C2C tweet a few SWT vs C2C comparison photos etc.) C2C may be needing to think about further seat removal for vestibules a la SWT to increase standing space and dwell time issues.

    The transfer of 360s is likely to be timed to coincide with the arrivals of 387s on GWR services (ex Thameslink) on shuttles between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington in April to enable a capacity increase there. Though GWR/Heathrow may need to be careful with GWR adding some services rather than just replacing them with longer electric trains if Heathrow Connects are down to just 5 car.

  21. RichardH says:

    The first pic of Laindon is of a train TO London.
    [Indeed. My mistake. I had probably already changed it at around the time you spotted this. Unravelled, who took the photo, pointed this out to me. The dangers of me not visiting the site myself like I usually do – and I should have deduced it from the platform number visible. PoP]

    Interesting how you mention transferring the 360s from Heathrow Connect as a robbing Peter to pay Paul type manoeuvre. I get the impression that’s what’s happening to the traffic between Barking and West Ham and its split between c2c and District/H&C. In my little window of observation each day on my commute, in the mornings the District trains empty as everyone decants to a c2c train. As you say, people will happily stand squashed for 10 minutes to save 5 minutes. Not so pleasant for the good people of Laindon, Horndon and Upminster who’ve already all been standing for their entire journey. These short trippers won’t even forsake the standing crush for one of the now numerous Barking District starters coming empty from Upney sidings.
    In my less charitable moments I visualise routing some of the mainline trains through the Tilbury platform at Barking just to remove the cross-platform interchange!
    I hadn’t thought of the Goblin being used to circumnavigate Zone 1. If that’s true then 4 car EMUs on there will double the misery. I also predict now that Goblin will find 4 cars inadequate within a week.
    Ultimately the crowding will just get worse and worse. East London / SE Essex is set to become one huge conurbation, but with all the employment at just the London end. Five years after the last of the new stock has been delivered someone will be dusting off LTS’s 1911 plans for full quadrupling. . . .

  22. Ian Brooker says:


    “If only I could reply yes. The sarcastic answer would be “and are you too young to remember what happened before Chris Green arrived?””

    I see Chris Green as the ultimate achievement of the nationalised railway. And as I started working for BR on the Liverpool Street Division in 1981, I experienced quite a few years Before Chris – and was well aware of the Cinderella status of the LTS.

    Nonetheless, nationalised British Rail DID recognise the opportunity of the LTS. Nationalised British Rail made substantial investment in the line. It was exactly that investment that allowed LTS to be franchised out early on (lets not look too closely at that . . ) and provided the basis for its subsequent success.

  23. Leon says:

    I’m interested in this business of automatically weighing the passengers to count them. I’d never heard that this was done before. Is it a newly-introduced system? What rolling stock is it present on? Is it easy to retrofit? How exactly does it work? (Some sensor in the suspension would be my wild guess)

  24. Ian Brooker,

    For the most part a fair comment. I am not disputing Chris Green’s heroic achievements but before then it was dire (read Greg Tingey’s comment above). However Chris Green was not a member of the BR board and I believe he had to argue long and hard to make his case. I have amended the text to convey what I intended to mean and so it now reads “it was never going attract enthusiastic investment at board level under the nationalised regime” (not italicised in the original) which I hope will satisfy you.

  25. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Richard H – I do find it mildly intriguing that people are crushing into C2C rather than get a seat at Barking on empties emerging from the sidings. Obviously the District is slowish but the poor interchange at Tower Hill and the congestion there would be enough for me to be happy to sit on a District from Barking.

    I’m going to disagree with you slightly about GOBLIN 4 cars. I think it will take quite a number of months to get to the point where peak capacity is completely used up. The Barking Riverside extension will be the tipping point I think. C2C have certainly expressed concern about the ramifications on their services of an extra 4 tph heading down the Rainham line and also the impact at Barking station. C2C have a few million quid set aside to improve Barking but one wonders what that will actually do other than some cosmetic changes. I can’t see it adding meaningful extra capacity especially for entry / egress / interchange. Those stairs aren’t the best.

  26. Leon,

    Well established scientific principle that the electrical conductivity in a metal changes ever so slightly when deflected and electrical conductivity can be extremely accurately measured. I expect ngh can describe all this better.

    The principle is really well established and has been used for years to weigh full and empty coal wagons at power stations. I have always presumed it is what happens in digital scales.

    In the case of coal wagons (“hoppers”) the weighing was done by means of the rail. In one of his programmes about measuring Marcus du Sautoy stood on a rail and the weighing machine got his weight surprisingly close considering the thing was designed to weigh wagons weighing many tons.

    Apparently it is easy and cheap to fit to new rolling stock but practically impossible to retrofit. I think even Central line stock had this facility.

    In the past we have had completely fatuous arguments as to the value of this as regards its value compared to physically counting people. c2c is a classic case where it makes sense because:

    i) exact numbers don’t mater
    ii) it makes it easy to compare one train against another and the absolute values are irrelevant
    iii) you can consolidate the figures very quickly and can even use the information in real time
    iv) you can do it daily at little cost
    v) arguably, it is better to record weight than number of passengers if measuring a sense of overcrowdedness (e.g. fat people, suitcases, bikes)

  27. WatcherOnCrosswall says:

    The evening peak growth at Fenchurch Street is surely in part the result of a fast District Line having been created at such an increased frequency that even the walking time from Tower Hill to Fenchurch Street is worth it in generating a journey time saving.

    (Surely similar is true of the Met Line vs Chiltern; LM to H&W vs Bakerloo etc, SWT at Richmond/Wimbledon, FGW at Ealing Broadway?)

    Also suspect that with trains from Fenchurch Street being that much busier from the above, boarding at West Ham is less favourable and may risk a longer distance passenger being left behind in favour of a West Ham – Barking – Upminster passenger. As such, those who travel in to London making onward Jubilee Line connections at West Ham, are opting to travel back through Fenchurch Street in order to be more likely to get a seat or indeed get on at all.

    The sum of both is busy trains at Fenchurch Street with perceived overcrowding dropping off starkly once the c2c drops its passengers off at Barking and then Upminster.

    Some exceptions on the Rainham line where the standing down the aisles on the high density trains persists until Rainham and Purfleet with standing eliminated at Grays.

    In general, if you’re travelling in the Oyster Zones you’re standing – broadly for 20-30 minutes – beyond that a good chance of seats being available.

  28. Mr Beckton says:

    The most unprofessional aspect of all is that all this re-timetabling to handle much increased passenger numbers, which had been happening even before the additional 20% that has now been gained at Fenchurch Street compared to last year, was going to be handled in the new timetable with not a single extra carriage in the fleet. C2C got 74 new 4-car trains in the years to 2002, and that is exactly what they still have now, nothing more, nor are any additional ones even imminent. It is notable that when the LTS line was electrified way back in 1962, they ordered no less than 121 4-car trains for the service, train numbers 201 to 321, and although a few were generally loaned to the Liverpool Street lines, these ran the overall service for a generation at a time we are led to believe of lesser demand (of course, being an older generation they had more seats per unit as well).

    Doubtless all the additional passengers are paying appropriate fares, even shares of Oyster revenue, and thus C2C are getting much additional revenue without providing any additional trains for it.

    C2C have always been poor at vehicle provision, which I believe is due to them being locked in to a vehicle supply contract where they effectively pay by the vehicle by the mile run. All the upsides of railway marginal usage outside the peak period go out of the window with this sort of arrangement, which gives every management incentive to run the smallest formations. Friday late evenings in summer, well after the peak, can see minimalist 4-car services leaving Fenchurch Street packed out, to the extent that it’s pretty impossible to get on at West Ham, then they pass whole sidingfulls of units at the East Ham depot all parked to sun themselves until Monday morning.

  29. Twopenny Tube says:

    At some point, perhaps what is referred to as the “current” route diagram will see the Romford branch with an Overground roundel rather than the national rail symbol (as appears with the Gospel Oak line).

    On a relatively minor historical point, they did have brand new stock at the point of electrification, with some units, mainly used on the Tilbury route, including the rather unusual feature, for EMUs, of a full brake. I think these were rebuilt as “normal” passenger coaches after a few years, which might have helped to mitigate against further levels of misery. And, while on history, Tilbury Riverside was not just the end of a branch, it was an intermediate stop for many London – Southend/Shoeburyness trains (not sure what proportion) and they reversed there, a la Bourne End (and Colchester St Botolphs etc).

  30. Westcliff commuter says:

    “The 20% figure is impressive but it’s only one side of the equation. I wonder what that is as a proportion of the number of people who were previously using the District Line for such routes, and whether they even noticed a dent.”

    Judging by the photos on Twitter of very quiet District Line trains running alongside overcrowded peak c2c services, I’d say a pretty big dent!

    A very good and balanced article, what isn’t mentioned is that the new timetable has reduced frequency of services and number of carriages for passengers from south east Essex, with longer journeys because of the extra stops. Little wonder that those who pay the most to use c2c are so aggrieved.

  31. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – just to add that I believe C2C is fully gated and most (all?) stations have CCTV so there are additional sources of data to supplement the analysis using train weight data. Obviously no single source is “perfect” but combined they will certainly have helped C2C take a rounded, considered view of the train service performance. Staff feedback and observations plus social media reaction have helped too. In some ways there’s probably a bit of an industry first in what C2C have done given what past investment in the franchise can now facilitate.

  32. PM says:

    This is a salutary warning to the industry as a whole about the standard practice of shrugging shoulders at suppressed or unmet demand. People still think of rail in particular as public transport and therefore a public service, and failure to provide it as a dereliction of that service. It must be admitted that there is something intrinsically absurd in refusing to build or invest in something because people will want enthusiastically to use it. We all know where ‘predict and provide’ models get us in road-building, but with railways, at least the end user is directly charged for the munificence of the taxpayer. Imagine being one of those suburban commuters who long for nothing more than a quick hop into Fenchurch Street, and being told that actually, suburban traffic just isn’t a good idea, and there isn’t space for it. That’s one thing if there’s no alternative but billions in platform extensions, resignalling for more intensive service or four-tracking, (although I would argue that the general public’s understanding of such issues and the costs is extremely low) but if you’re standing on a platform long enough for a 12 car train, and you cannot squeeze on to the four-car train that shows up, that’s maddening. Even more so when that service is removed simply for being too popular. That is Kafkaesque.

  33. Caspar Lucas says:


    Passenger load weighing is rather old hat these days. Automatic passenger counting system suppliers plying their wares at Railtex, Innotrans, etc., in recent years offer infrared and optical systems with accuracy of 97+% for counting individual people passing through each doorway fitted with the appropriate equipment, taking account of direction of movement, bulky backpacks and so on.

  34. Snowy says:

    The lack of extra rolling stock has been identified in previous Network Rail RUS documents. If I remember correctly it was felt not to be finianically worthwhile because the carriages would only be used in the peaks.

    One of the ‘challenges’ of the LTS franchise has been justifying its rolling stock requirements ensuring that not too many carriages are sat idle during the inter peak period. I suspect the development of the shopping centres at Chafford & Stratford are improving off peak travel helping improve the business case for new rolling stock.

  35. AlisonW says:

    I too have used c2c on occasions and been very happy with them, but then I don’t use them in peak hours, which appears to be the major issue here. If one considers solely the traffic west of Upminster, pax can currently freely interchange between the two purveyors of rail transportation without financial cost (albeit there are different levels of comfort and journey time.)

    In the comparison with the Watford DC line, pax have to pay a premium to use the (faster, more frequent) mainline service. Is there scope for traffic management for c2c to have similar a ‘peak premium’ to reduce overcrowding until such time as they acquire sufficient longer stock?

    One thing you don’t mention (in an otherwise superb-as-always article) is whether there are any plans to double up the single track from Upminster in order to increase the service level to Lakeside from both directions. Having once used that particular service it was all too noticeable how long the wait for a service was.

  36. PM says:

    I take it the answer isn’t using large numbers of Diesel D-trains freshly converted from withdrawn district line D-stock trundling along the two-track fast lines at 60mph simply because there aren’t enough EMUs to be found for love nor money (JOKES).

  37. Terry says:

    The 20% increase at Fenchurch Street seems obvious to me. People who used to change from tube/DLR at Limehouse/West Ham now head for Fenchurch Street to stand a chance of a seat or even a chance to board at all. I change at West Ham, and if there was any reasonable route I could take to Fenchurch Street, I’d use it.

  38. Ian Brooker says:


    Thanks. I think its important not to fall into the “whole world was awful until privatisation came along” trap. Ownership, in my personal view, is irrelevant. What counts is good and well motivated management, backed by big pockets for investment.

  39. Timbeau says:

    The extra passengers must be coming from Emerson Park, newly arrived on the Tube map!

    Graham H has discussed at length the qualities of the managers operating LTS immediately prior to privatisation. (well, until a few hours before, anyway)

    I hadn’t seen the “1 seated passenger can be replaced by 2.5 standees”, but doubt it works in practice. Firstly, you are lucky if you get even one extra handhold for each seat lost. And secondly, the refurbishment almost always results in 3+2 seating being replaced by 2+2 seating with the seats slightly wider. Thus some of the extra space generated is in fact given to those lucky enough to still have a seat.

    This is a 450 in 3+2 format
    This is a 456 in 2+2 format
    Note the gap between the seats in the latter

    The nine additional Tilbury boat train units with the full brake vans, class AM8/2, nos 313-321, were part of an additional order built some years after the original LTS line’s AM2s. The order also included extra units similar to, and to supplement, the AM5s on the Lea Valley group of lines) They were always recognisable on the LTS becuase they had the later raked-back cab also used on classes AM4 and AM5, rather than Southern Region-style vertical cab windscreens of the AM2s.
    Four of the nine MLVs were converted to passenger-carrying, but with doors only to every other seating bay. The other five units were later converted to parcels units – doubtless selected because of the large van space.

  40. Timbeau says:

    “Is there scope for traffic management for c2c to have similar a ‘peak premium’”
    Difficult with cross platform interchanges, but it could be done at Fenchurch Street and probably Limehouse, where C2C’s barrier lines are independent of anything TfL does.

  41. MRail says:

    Regarding new trains Porterbrook has placed a speculative order for 20 class 387s which are about to enter production so some should be available by the Dec 16 timetable change.

    As for the HC 360s all (except perhaps the one unit allocated to the HEx internal shuttle) should be available within the next few years when CrossRail takes over. Before this the only way I can see any becoming free is if GWR does a deal with BAA to replace them with otherwise un-utilised 387s.

  42. ngh says:

    Re Leon / PoP /Caspar

    Passenger counting:

    All modern (all post privatisation EMUs?) have both axle load sensors and rotational speed sensors on each bearing. The load sensor technology strain gauge originally 1930 technology but much improved.

    These sensors are primarily used for Wheel slip protection and detecting wheel flats but if properly calibrated you can get a fairly accurate passenger /luggage load data as you already have the sensors and data.

    As Caspar has highlighted modern technologies with sensors above the doors are also being used, these can be seen retrofitted to older units too such as SWT’s 455s.

  43. Man of Kent says:

    I read a short article – I think it was in Passenger Transport – that suggested two Southern 377s were possibilities for short term loan to C2C. Presumably these could be freed up very quickly in the merry-go-round of units now that (at least one of) the GatEx 387s is in service.

  44. ngh says:

    Re MRail,

    The 387 can’t be used on Heathrow services because they don’t have ATP, hence it can’t be more than 2x 360s spared without cutting the number of services till Crossrail takes over in few years with 345s.

  45. Martin Smith says:

    @Timbeau – the seats aren’t slightly wider, they’re the (re-covered) old seats, so exactly the same width.

  46. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    The 3+2 to 2+2 job has been badly done by C2C as they are very short of handholds (they really have to be multi hand not single hand on NR Metro type services these days and not above the seat as that means arms over peoples heads). Realistically they need to talk to TSGN / Bombardier / Fainsa about the hand holds on the 377/6 /7 & 387s & 700s.

  47. Greg Tingey says:

    And, every so often, once a year or so, the operator gets real actual people to do a count, so as to re-calibrate against the weights measured.

  48. Jonathan Roberts says:

    A useful and salutary article about the volatility of travel demand changes with Oyster on shared / parallel routes. The consequences were capable of being anticipated, in my view, looking simply at station usage data between 2010 and 2014, let alone train loadweigh data. The trouble might be that c2c thought as a TOC, not as an integrated transport operator working across the urban divide. Thames Gateway is causing more urbanism within the near-London zone, so expect more of this in future years…

    I’ve sent a detailed table to LR mentors in the hope that this might cause some adjustments to what was written as a commentary. Short headlines are (for 2010 to 2014, combining NR/Underground/DLR station data, and with places like Stratford and Barking including other operators than just c2c): [of course there is some double-counting – consider the numbers as a summation of journey stages, not complete journeys]

    Essex origin stations via Basildon to West Horndon: 18.0 to 20.8m entry/exit, +15.1%
    Essex origin stations Stanford le Hope via Tilbury and Ockendon: 7.6 to 8.8m, +15.7%
    Upminster via Dagenham to Upney inclusive: 24.3 to 30.8m, +26.7%
    Purfleet via Rainham to Barking inclusive: 22.5 to 28.0m, +24.2%
    East Ham to Plaistow inclusive: 29.8 to 33.0m, +10.8%
    Bromley by Bow to Whitechapel inclusive (excl. Wcl ELL): 38.0 to 43.1m, +13.5%

    Major destination and en-route interchange stations >>
    Stratford stations + IoD (West India-Canary-Heron-South Quay) + West Ham I/c + Limehouse I/c: 140.0 to 216.3m, +54.8% of which…
    * Stratford stations: 54.6 to 109.6m, +100.8%
    * Isle of Dogs stations as above: 69.1 to 84.3m, +22.0%
    City boundary (Fenchurch St, Tower Hill, Aldgate East): 47.4 to 56.2m, +18.2%

    The location of greatest origin growth is in the Outer Oyster zones, and this continues fast. The change in destination volumes is also explicit. More jobs growth is forecast at Stratford and IoD. Just making a few timetable changes and ordering a few more c2c trains is not going to be enough to accommodate the continuing overall demand increases and changing demography.

    A possibly interesting Q arises whether the combination of Z2/3 at stations such as West Ham and Stratford might further stimulate use of c2c as a semi-fast District Line service (which is what the ‘unexpected’ change in demand appears to be).

    Lessons may need to be learnt here about Oyster users’ willingness to transfer between LU and NR services (and DLR) once NR service frequency reaches walk-on levels. Possibly, there will also be potential for greater swapping in future where parallel ‘semi-fast’ Crossrail and all-stations urban services overlap, with less user concern about extra interchange time penalties where the frequency sells itself.

  49. marckee says:

    @Ian Brooker & PoP

    This might sound strange, but one of the reasons why it became known as the ‘Misery Line’ is one of the reasons why it has fared better than most (all?) other lines after privatisation.

    LTS is less of a network and more of a line, albeit with a couple of loops running in parallel, plus it doesn’t really have to share track or stations with other operators. This simple and virtually ‘closed’ nature is very different to the other networks operating out of the other London termini and made the line ripe for testing out different signalling equipment. By the late 1980s it was being run with a huge variety of systems that caused all sorts of problems, which, combined with a general lack of investment, gained it the Misery Line moniker.

    Then, in the mid-90s the whole line was stripped out and upgraded, all in time for privatisation a month or two after the works were completed. It really couldn’t have been a more advantageous situation or the franchise for a private operator to step into – akin to a newly installed, simple line with comparatively few legacy issues. Had privatisation not occurred, the performance of, and customer satisfaction on the line would certainly have leapt up anyway.

    Over 20 years after privatisation, it’s still the case that the condition and configuration of the network is the main factor that determines how punctual and comfortable a TOC’s operations are, rather than their ability or competence as a company.

  50. 100andthirty says:

    Re Leon / PoP /Caspar / ngh
    Load sensing at it’s most basic is there to make sure that the traction and braking performance is pretty constant between tare and loaded. For air suspended vehicles, there is, at each bogie position, mounted on the vehicle body, a valve connected to a lever. At the end of this lever, there is a rod connecting it to the bogie. As the load increases, the car sinks on its suspension, moves the lever, opens the valve and admits higher pressure air to the air springs. Higher pressure thus equals higher load. A transducer (like an electronic scale) translates the pressure into an electrical signal. Once you have an electrical signal proportional to the load on each bogie it’s easy enough to sum these for the load on each train.

    The Infrared systems Caspar mentioned are much more sophisticated but have nothing to do with the suspension or brakes.

    The rotational speed sensors, apart from providing the signal to the speedometer, provide a signal to both the traction equipment and wheel slide protection (WSP – or ABS) systems. If the traction or WSP systems see markedly different speeds between axles or they see an acceleration or deceleration markedly different from what has been demanded, they will vary the tractive effort or braking effort to correct what will be wheelspin (traction) or wheel slide (braking) – way off topic, sorry awaiting the snip!)

  51. Timbeau says:

    “Then, in the mid-90s the whole line was stripped out and upgraded, all in time for privatisation a month or two after the works were completed.”
    That may be so, but at the time of privatisation the trains were a mixed bag of hand-me-downs of various ages and provenance, that were only a few years younger than the AM2s that had been built for the line at electrification 35 years before. It was the arrival of the 357s, post privatisation, which caught the travelling public’s attention.

    @Martin Smith
    “the seats aren’t slightly wider, they’re the (re-covered) old seats, so exactly the same width.”
    In the example I illustrated they can be seen to be “wider apart” (as I should have said, rather than simply “wider” – the actual seat cushions are the same design). From what you say C2C didn’t do this though.

  52. Anonymous says:

    A 387/2 started work on Thameslink this week for reasons that are not immediately apparent. Building on that, instead of replacing 442s on the GatEx as planned why not put some 387/2s on Thameslink for the moment and send as many 319s as they need to C2C as a stop gap?

  53. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Alison W – Any move to “price up” C2C within the zones will go down like a lead balloon given the route has had interavailable fares with LU for decades. This is not some Oyster come lately change – it goes way way back, probably to the days of the District Railway running to Southend. It would be madness and extremely difficult to enforce differentiated fares and would almost certainly not stop any fast short hopping between Upminster and West Ham which seems to be causing the problems. It is also worth stating that C2C also parallels the DLR so you’ve got fare issues there too.

    @ J Roberts – those numbers you quote are very interesting. Makes me wonder what the DfT does with them as well as bidders for franchises. I suspect you are completely correct that offering high frequency TOC services with simple stopping patterns opens the flood gates. I remember the intensive debate as to whether the C2C platforms at West Ham could even be built and what it meant to the design of the JLE station at West Ham. I don’t think LU was very enthused at the time and people were deeply sceptical about the viability of the investment that Prism Rail (I think it was their idea) were putting in despite the signalling constraints back then. Now look what we’ve got – a stream of people using it and a facility that’s probably too small now given the narrowness of the stairs up to the C2C platforms. Makes me wonder what the Farringdon interchange is going to be like after a year of Crossrail and completed Thameslink operation.

  54. 100andthirty says:

    Anonymous 16.41 Would a class 319 have the oomph to keep up with a class 357?

    More seriously, finding a suitable train in a hurry will be a right pain. Apart from the c2c class 357s, Heathrow Connect and class 360, all of the modern 25kV trains have gangway on the front, giving a restricted view forward compared with the class 357. Then there’s the challenge of training all the drivers and keeping them trained especially if a rag bag of trains were to turn up.

    Given the delays on GW electrification, it could be quite neat if some of the Thameslink class 387s destined for GWR went to c2c, to be replaced on GWR by the “speculative” Electrostars that Porterbrook have ordered. This would also give a breathing space to work out the medium term implications on c2c in particular and LTS in general of having let this genie out of the bottle. However I think this is the rolling stock equivalent of getting the crayons out

  55. Philip says:

    Surely people in London should have known this already given what notoriously happened with the RER Line A in Paris back in the 70s. (Planners expected that the central section of the line would simply be used by outer-suburban passengers to distribute themselves through the centre, and were surprised when it was instantly overloaded with short-distance passengers using it as a faster alternative to Metro Line 1 at the same fare.)

  56. @130

    “However I think this is the rolling stock equivalent of getting the crayons out”

    Playing with Dinky cars/train sets?? (not a judgement, just looking for the appropriate terminology)

  57. Timbeau says:

    “gangway on the front, giving a restricted view forward compared with the class 357. ”
    317s have gangways and have run on the line so, unless signals have been moved since then, sighting shouldn’t be a problem. Appreciate that stock knowledge might be an issue though.

    “A 387/2 started worked on Thameslink this week for reasons that are not immediately apparent.”

    Given its high profile, and previous problems (exploding class 73s, the long drawn out changeover to 460s) I would except a Big Bang changeover of GatEx , but not until the 387s are delivered and thoroughly run in. Meanwhile, they can be used to build up experience on other services and release 319s for their new home in the North

    What surprised me is that the 387/2s for Gatwick have pantographs, but they do – here’s one on test at Crewe

  58. Timbeau says:

    “What surprised me is that the 387/2s for Gatwick have pantographs”
    Perhaps I should elaborate – if a 387/2 is working through the Thameslink core it must be capable of taking power from the OHLE. But the 387/2s are intended to be dedicated to a Victoria-Gatwick shuttle, and none of that route has had OHLE in place for nearly ninety years!

  59. Melvyn says:

    @Anon please see item on Rail magazine site re class 387/2 being used on GTR which mentions they took the opportunity to use a class 387/2 as their drivers already drive the similar 387/1 and it allowed it to replace a class 319 .

  60. Graham H says:

    @Philip – you have too much faith in London planners’ collective memory. For one thing, after LT was replaced by LRT in 1984, there was virtually no central planning function left – for rail, the last two LT central planning staff were transferred to BR and LU respectively, after which LU was the legacy planning body, in effect. A serious break in the collective memory. For another thing, it’s only fairly recently, with the appearance of bodies like COMET/NOVA that metro systems have begun to swap info systematically. In NSE days, the joint meeting of DTp and NSE with RATP was regarded as a great innovation. So, alas, anything that RATP discovered in 1970 was likely to be invisible in the UK.

  61. Malcolm says:

    Graham says “ In NSE days, the joint of DTp and NSE to RATP was regarded as a great innovation.“. I fear the dreaded auto-correct has nobbled this sentence. Could you clarify what it means (or was intended to mean) please? (Even if I am wrong about the autocorrect and it’s my concept-grasping machine which is dysfunctional).

  62. Greg Tingey says:

    Excuse the snark, but should that not be: “Makes me wonder what the Farringdon interchange is going to be like after a week of Crossrail and completed Thameslink operation.” ??
    Because people will adapt to the new opportunities very quickly indeed, as this entire article is showing, in fact.

  63. Greg Tingey says:


  64. Melvyn says:

    @ Timbeau while class 387/2 is for currently DC only Gatwick Express services. The addition of AC gives TSGN the freedom to use these trains both through Thameslink at least until signalling ATO.

    And on the West London line services which uses dual voltage trains.

  65. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – the missing keyword is “visit” as in joint visit! Feel free to correct. [Done]. (One of the highlights was the entire metro system being greeted with “Good Morning, Mr Goldman” when a seniorUK colleague accidentally pressed a button on the PIS, and having to sit between the RATP DG and his chief planner at a lunch where both ate tete de veau served carefully set out as if at an autopsy).

  66. ngh says:

    Re Anon, Timbeau, Melvyn,

    387/2 (minus GX branding) usage on Thameslink is to cover for 387/1s receiving some modifications (software but what else?) which they are aiming to get done before the first batch transfer to GWR in April else there would be short formed services. Several have already got the new GX Branding.
    First Batch of 387s transferring to GWR for the Hayes & Harlington to Paddington shuttles will needs 4/5x 700s available or if the worst happens 387/2s to cover. The shuttle then presumably allows the release of 2x 360s to C2C.

    In the mean time the need to get lots of Southern Drivers trained up on 387s for the GatEx swap over with just over 1/3rd of the fleet delivered so far (387s similar but different to 377s).

  67. Alfie1014 says:

    An interesting article, (was thinking of penning something similar!). I start by saying I have history with the LTS, commuted on it for many years until a few years back and was BR’s Service Planning Manager for the route in the early 1990s, (during the nadir of the Misery Line days).

    The whole episode raises an number of timely issues; firstly how the ‘franchised’ railway manages demand and long term strategic planning in the TfL area where London’s priorities may not easily align with its own. The recent tension over service patterns on the Lea Valley route as discussed previously is another example. The strategic planning role that NSE in particular had I think is sorely missed in the current structure.

    Which leads on to how London’s economy is driving demand even faster than previously imagined. The rise in London house prices seems to be accelerating the push for commuters to travel from further out. The building of new housing in the “Thames Gateway’ and extension of Oyster beyond the GLA boundary to west Thurrock has the effect of making recent new residents to the area regarding the area as “Further Out(er) London, with many London housing associations and Boroughs buying up properties in towns such as Grays. One un-intended consequence of this I observed in the last few years before I finished commuting on the route were the numbers of youngsters ‘commuting’ into London schools in the peaks, presumably after their families had relocated out to Essex. I also wonder if c2c’s extensive publicity about the forthcoming changes may inadvertently made the route even more attractive to users to some extent?

    In hindsight the NX bid looks heroic in the context of only managing growth in the first years of the franchise by timetable tweaking and conversion of some sets to ‘metro’ layout, with new trains only coming on stream in 2019. Especially so when the CP4 HLOS (2009-2014) had an allocation 10 x 4 car extra vehicles for growth. The adjacent Greater Anglia franchise delivered an extra 38 x 4 car sets during the similar period.

    There also may be an element of inadequate scrutiny by DfT of the detail of bid, especially in regards to the operational delivery plan. More so in light of the aborted change in 2006 previously mentioned and a further attempt that was made and also aborted in 2010, both of which had been ‘modelled’ and claimed to be robust.

    One other issue that current management has to cope with is the ease of communication in the digital age, which has both positives (in getting information out to customers quickly), but conversely gives those very same users instantaneous access to provide feedback and complain. One MP on the route (it may have been David Amiss), stated he had over 2000 e-mails on the subject of the timetable change. In the past whilst that number may have considered writing to their MP, how many would have actually put pen to paper, (50-100-200)? The demands for speedy change in the digital era do not sit very comfortably with the traditional railway timetable process with tends to think in terms of months if not years. That said as c2c and GTR at London Bridge have demonstrated a degree of change is possible but constant tinkering can also be destabilising.

    What next? The arrival of the extra units will undoubtedly help, (my money is on an Electrostar derivative rather than the 360s, especially in light of delays to GW electrification, but time will tell) and perhaps the mystery operator of the Porterbrook 20 x 387s, allowing an introduction on new stock earlier than the contracted 2019 will be c2c? We shall see.

  68. Simon says:

    Hi, thanks for this article – I really enjoyed reading it. However some fundamental howlers – mainly, how you say it’s not C2Cs fault. What is plainly obvious to anyone travelling on the line is that the 20% increase is a direct result of so many trains now stopping at West Ham and Barking. To the average commuter the impact was literally overnight – old timetable was fine, new one was not!

    With regards to the comment on compensation, sadly c2c are only paying out to season ticket holders, they are refusing to pay any compensation to other passengers – despite the fact they have also suffered.

    In terms of the franchise agreement – it’s transpired that c2c had far more say in the additional stops – they offered these stops to increase income.

    You also mention the consultation conducted prior to the new tt – what you omit is that 88% of respondents rejected the new timetable saying it won’t work. C2c decided to ignore this.

    What’s concerning is that there seems to be no likely solution until 2019 – 3+ years away!!!

  69. Tony Collins says:

    Unfortunately c2c decided to try and mislead passengers with every excuse imaginable eg the Gov made us change the tt etc. The new tt was always going to lead to overcrowding and c2c were warned of this prior to its introduction. The old tt could have continued in place for a further six months and c2c could then have acquired the rolling stock it requires to make the new tt work (you didn’t mention the rolling stock their parent company sent to Germany in December). They have now destroyed their own reputation as they refused to listen and to tell the truth to their own passengers.

  70. AlisonW says:

    Interesting that we’re being told c2c/district passengers are happy to switch between lines as required for a faster journey (that 20% uplift) whereas on the South London / Wimbledon loop discussion we’re told that passengers won’t switch services.

    Shome mishtake shurely?

  71. Malcolm says:

    @Alison: apart from other differences in the situations, “MAY” and “MUST” are two different words. A new opportunity to change trains if you wish is entirely different from a new obligation to change trains on what had previously been a through journey.

  72. Steve L says:

    I think that Crossrail 1 coming to Farringdon is going to have a massive effect on Thameslink. In the morning peak, inbound passengers are only able to board at West Hampstead because a significant number of passengers alight there, many of whom are interchanging onto the Jubilee line to reach Canary Wharf. I expect that those passengers will switch to travelling via Farringdon and Crossrail 1, so you can imagine the additional loading on Thameslink services.

    Meanwhile, look back to when London Overground replaced 3-car class 313 units with 4-car class 378 units – the additional capacity was rapidly filled. Those units have just had 5th cars added. Look at passenger growth on the ELL. Look at the enhanced frequency on the NLL. The enhanced frequency on the GOBLIN rapidly filled up, and the new EMUs will be almost double the length of the DMUs that they will be replacing. The 7th cars and additional trains on the Jubilee line filled up within weeks. As has been said on here many times, “if you build it, they will come”.

    It seems to me that what we are seeing on C2C, in addition to overall population and workforce growth, is the extent to which poor frequency stifles demand, and that demand has now been unlocked.

  73. ngh says:

    Re Alfie 1014,

    As NX ordered Bombardier stock for their German franchise they took over in December the betting is probably mostly in that direction and easy to get some level of compatibility even if emergency only with the 357s.
    The 360s are a temporary sticking plaster.

    Re Simon,

    “In terms of the franchise agreement – it’s transpired that c2c had far more say in the additional stops – they offered these stops to increase income.”

    Bidders realise than you only stand a chance of winning the franchise bid if you increase revenue (also tends to be good for your own profit) hence if you want to win rather than waste upto £10m on a bid than doesn’t win you do stuff to increase revenue more than other bidders (while jumping through some other hoops that DfT set). Reducing overall rail subsidy is a DfT aim, C2C returns money to the government on a direct basis but still requires a net government subsidy via the Network rail grant. £29.5m extra revenue /pa is the magic number to get to break even from DfT point if view The TT change will probably bring in at least and extra £3m so still a long way to go…

    Full 12 car trains with more standing and higher off peak use all needed to bring the money in.

    Might one suggest that C2C users take a trip to P10 at Clapham Junction at 0745 Mon-Friday to see what the future of rail commuting looks like to realign their expectations. The TT change is just the first wake up call.

  74. peezedtee says:

    But you are not comparing like with like. Changing at Blackfriars is same-level only in the northbound direction. Southbound one has to go up and down a lot of stairs. Also, it may involve changing into a train that only runs every 15 minutes, a different matter from one every few minutes.

  75. ngh says:

    I suspect there will be a change of passengers back to using District /H&C when the S Stock is fully introduced along with the resignalling and the faster journey times they should bring and then with Crossrail opening and the interchange at Whitechapel.

    A solution might also involve more LU services east of Barking.

  76. Malcolm says:

    As a general abstract point, if a passenger is going to make a journey from A to B, then it is better all round (for the passenger and for the operator, as well as for the world in general) if they do it on a non-stop train rather than a stopping one, if both are available. They are occupying valuable infrastructure for less time, and leaving the stopping train for passengers joining or leaving at its intermediate stops.

    This rule will apply to Barking – West Ham, unless there is some special circumstance. Even if there is (like more space on a District train), it would still usually be better, if possible, to re-allocate trains so that the non-stop train is possible.

    Of course, this general principle may fail when it comes up against real world constraints.

  77. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ T Collins – Unfortunately c2c decided to try and mislead passengers with every excuse imaginable eg the Gov made us change the tt etc. The new tt was always going to lead to overcrowding and c2c were warned of this prior to its introduction.

    Can you say who told C2C and how they did it? The line’s user group or just passengers providing individual feedback / comments?

    @Ngh 2336 – You’re completely right that C2C users have MUCH worse to come. If they think it’s bad now give it a couple of years of house building and people moving to Outer London and then chuck in the GOBLIN to Barking Riverside. Deep joy.

  78. Thamesview76 says:

    A very interesting piece on a hot topic in South Essex.
    Yes, the service was great by c2c until the new timetable and I fully endorsed that too. For whatever reasons of carriage logistics, allocation and increased stops, the new timetable has caused huge problems and disquiet for longer distance commuters, leading to a large number of adverse comments owing to a drastic increase in overcrowding.
    The service revision was promoted in advance to “offer more seats to longer distance traveller”. Ironically where standing was an issue nearer London, since the changes, it is now common as far as Westcliff I gather. In other words, the key requirement has, in fact, been exacerbated rather than solved – which is a key reason why so many regular commuters are so angry about it all.
    In my case, the evening peak service between 17:00 and 19:00 to the key (and still key) commuter station of Leigh-on-Sea fell from 76 carriages to 56 on December 13 – a 25% reduction in service.
    The much-vaunted by c2c changes since have actually made this worse for Leigh commuters between those hours by further reducing the service still more to just 44 carriages (where 76 had been 8 weeks earlier) – a 41% reduction in capacity!
    Small wonder, set against a stated 19% increase in traffic, that there are issues – with an effective 60% loss of capacity to a key commuter station in just 2 months, where previously trains departed with just a few seats left.
    It’s also of note that Leigh-on-Sea has always been a call for 100% of trains – until December 13. Since then, many evening peak trains (7x 8-car trains in my 2-hour ‘slot’ mentioned) have had Leigh calls omitted for the first time. c2c suggests passengers will allocate themselves to ‘Leigh stopper’ trains in between: fair enough, but will passengers for other stations in between not get those trains to leave space for Leigh passengers?
    To add insult to injury, no less than 6 minuscule 4-car units now make ‘main line’ journeys between 18:10 and 18:50 to Leigh, almost in succession. Prior to the new timetable, 4-car sets never worked any ‘main line’ journeys.
    4-car sets have been becoming inadequate on Saturdays and Sundays and had largely been replaced by 8-car sets. And yet now, faced with steadily increase in traffic (apart from since the change with Fenchurch Street-Upminster stations’ passengers), such wholly inadequate trains are offered in the evening peak. Small wonder people are annoyed – and c2c’s regular response is “there’s nothing wrong with the new timetable” even when faced with a barrage of complaints and a tirade of anger on Twitter by usually happy commuters (and I used to be perfectly happy before myself).
    You suggest the service was primarily run by hand-me-down units until c2c’s leased Class 357s. This is misleading: from electrification in 1961 until replacement 30-odd years later, ‘Fenchurch Street units’ of class 302 operated the service. Only the temporarily replacing trains until the 357s have had ‘secondhand’ units.
    I hope it can regain its former good standing, because it’s now slid back, for many, to being the loathed ‘Misery Line’ (as it was termed when I was commuting) it had back in the 1980s.
    I compliment you on a most interesting and well-written piece on this line.
    I hope you can revisit this issue as necessary to highlight matters as you have done so well here.

  79. alan bluemountains says:

    Walthamstow Writer 05 Feb 0100 I refrain mostly from commenting from a distance how ever could not a not entirely satisfactory but expedient solution be trying to secure 10 4 car sets of Bomardier Electrostar 387(3) from Porterbrooks speculative order of 20 sets. Delivery of which comences late 2016, Porterbrook may be able to extend their order so 20 sets still available for say c-2-c

  80. alan bluemountains says:

    omitted ” further extensions of service”

  81. Greg Tingey says:

    The one thing that sticks out to me in this ongoing saga is:
    Failure of communication.
    Especially in/of feedback to c2c from the customers/punters/passengers & the former’s apparent ignoring of the latter.
    We’ve been here before, notably with the shall we say “difficulties” with the TfL takeover of the Chingford/Enfield/Cheshunt services & the err, rather obvious differences between public pronouncements by the operator & what the public sees & expresses.
    Not good PR, to say the least.

  82. Mr Beckton says:

    I’m sorry but I feel all those who are describing the issues as a planning oversight have got it wrong. I feel that C2C knew only too well what the impact would be – and how it will get them additional revenue diverted from the District in the way that Oyster etc fares are allocated in London. Out on the main line where there are competing operators, bending the timetable not for passenger convenience but to grab a further share of the way the revenue is allocated is known as an “Orcats Raid”, from the accounting system used to divide the revenue between multiple operators (“Operational Research Computerised Allocation of Tickets to Services”). Now Orcats itself is not used by TfL, but there is a similar approach, and as more passengers board C2C trains so they get more Oyster etc revenue.

    At the very least TfL should be demanding the Board Minutes of the C2C/National Express management to see what sort of discussions they were having about this revenue grab on District Line passengers, without additional costs, at the expense of the Essex commuters who are now squashed into corners of their trains

  83. ngh says:

    The problem isn’t the timetable but that they don’t have enough stock and rolling of on taking delivery of additional stock helps keep costs down.

    Re Greg et al.

    Remember it was a consultation not referendum, they can ignore it if they wish or need to (i.e. it is all about maximising what DfT get).

    Re Thamesview76,

    Yep the Leigh-on-Sea probably getting the rawest deal but that is probably due to C2C trying to compete with GA’s Southend services on speed by having fewer stops.

    Re Mr Beckton,

    “At the very least TfL should be demanding the Board Minutes of the C2C/National Express management to see what sort of discussions they were having about this revenue grab on District Line passengers, without additional costs, at the expense of the Essex commuters who are now squashed into corners of their trains”

    Why should TfL do anything? C2C are business and it is a perfectly logical business decision, the question is why it didn’t happen long ago.

    If the additional passengers are going from Barking to Fenchurch Street it isn’t an ORCATS raid as LU don’t operate to Fenchurch Street.

    Remember this is effectively all DfT designed and approved.

    “at the expense of the Essex commuters who are now squashed into corners of their trains” just like on most other London commuter railways.

  84. Mr Beckton,

    I don’t think you could fairly describe this as an Orcats Raid. An Orcats raid was basically doing something of no benefit to the travelling public (or any section of it) but was done simply to divert passengers onto your services. So a typical Orcats raid would involve running your service five minutes in front of your competitors when both ran a half-hourly service or deliberately missing a connection with a competitor because the following train was one of your own. As a starting point, for an Orcats raid, the purpose must be “primarily revenue extraction”.

    What c2c was offering was a 3 minute even interval service throughout the peak period. I don’t think any stretch of the imagination can call that an Orcats raid. The objective was probably to reduce overcrowding but may have included an element of giving suburban passengers a choice. The benefit to c2c may well be increased income at the expense of TfL but I doubt if even the DfT would approve that if it were the sole objective.

    One may question as to whether that choice should be offered if it meant longer distance traveller suffering – one of the purposes of the article was to raise this issue without trying to form an opinion as to whether it was right or wrong.

    I don’t think the revenue gain would be that attractive to an operator. I get the impression that that Chiltern Railways don’t value the additional custom they could get from passengers from Amersham and stations inward to Marylebone. The regulated fares at TfL prices mean they are happy to let TfL take the traffic.

  85. Mr Beckton says:

    I would disagree with the above. C2C are presenting this all as “what a surprise, nobody could have anticipated this”, which I seriously question.

    It is relevant to TfL because C2C have unilaterally diverted a proportion of TfL’s revenue from the District Line to themselves. Maybe they can then use (or be required to use) their “windfall” extra revenue (which according to them is unexpected and thus, ostensibly, not in their business plan) to reduce the fares for those who now have a worse service than before.

  86. Graham H says:

    @PoP – “was done simply to divert passengers onto your services” -not *passengers* but revenue. The classic form of an ORCATS raid was to add a stop which few,if any actually used but where the formula gave you a slice of the revenue. Indeed, one of the early fears of TOCs was that an open access operator would buy some cl1xx DMUs and trundle up and down not very reliably and attracting no custom but getting a slice of the revenue. DTp reassured them that no sane regulator would permit this, would they?

  87. Timbeau says:

    Not sure how Orcats apportions the revenue, but if the passengers are travelling between two stations both with a common barrier line, how can you tell which train is being used? Is it simply that revenue is apportioned according to the number of trains calling?

    Anyone aware of the history of franchising would be very cautious about anything to do with revenue sharing between LU and LTS! I think it remains the only route where a franchise was terminated before it had actually started!

  88. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – the ORCATS formula works on the basis of frequency and journey time (no mention of quality, which wasn’t measured at the time the formula was evolved) and has nothing to do with actual train usage. It’s a mere accounting device for use within a unified railway but, as usual, seized upon by the pantaloons masquerading as consultants and sold to Ministers as the answer as to how to handle revenue splits in a multioperator railway…

  89. Mr Beckton says:

    I think such diverted revenue gains from inner area passengers are very attractive to operators if they can be done without extra costs. C2C are not adding any extra capacity (they can’t, they don’t have any more trains in use) but have found a way to attract extra passengers and revenue.

    The same thing happened on the Paddington line. When first privatised, there were two franchises, a suburban one that reached as far as Oxford, and an Inter-City one to Bristol, Cardiff, etc, which reflected the previous service pattern. Once they got going the Inter-City one steadily stopped their expresses at more and more stops in the suburban operator’s area, particularly Reading and Didcot, and progressively turned it into an outer suburban operation which had Inter City extensions. The trains were reconfigured with notably more seats squashed in, and now operate with substantial standees in the peaks, including those travelling all the way to say Swansea but can’t get a seat until Didcot.

  90. Timbeau says:

    And likewise why operators are more keen to add trains to routes where they have competition than to add services on lines where they have a monopoly anyway over all or most of the route. (Example – London to York and beyond, competing with Grand Central, Hull Trains, and also with Cross Country north of Doncaster, but nothing to Harrogate) – or Virgin’s sudden epiphany to running services to Shrewsbury as W&SR started to erode their market share.

  91. Mr Beckton,

    All of this is open to interpretation. Equally, you could argue that operators were faced with a problem of a rise of suburban (or Home Counties) traffic but there was no realistic means of running extra trains into London. So the only really feasible solution is to stop some of the longer distance trains into London. This doesn’t work too badly in the morning with the longer distance passengers retaining their seat but, as you imply, longer distance passengers probably rightly expect a seat all the way if travelling to somewhere like Cardiff.

    HSTs, in particular, are more suited to long distance, limited stops services. There is a surprisingly high cost in stopping one once all factors are taken into account. I suspect the accountants wouldn’t be over-concerned if certain stops were omitted.

    You could also argue, as ngh implies, that operators don’t really want to do this (and would rather keep their premium market) but that DfT assessment criteria rather encourage it. The DfT, naturally, would like people to be able to use the trains, even if a little squashed, rather than be denied the “pleasure”.

    Finally, don’t think this is anything new. Outer urban stops in the morning peak for long distance trains for the benefit of commuters (not called that then) have been a feature of railway operation at least since Victorian times.

  92. timbeau,

    So nothing new there. Southern Region of British Rail were very open about prioritising investment on lines close to where there was about to be a new motorway into London opened.

  93. Graham H says:

    @PoP – I once asked my research colleagues to estimate the cost of stopping different types of train. In 1992, the cost of an HST call was £75 in wear and tear and fuel; a VEP was around £5 per 4 car. (The objective then was to look at the costs of serving particularly lightly used stations) For certain stretches of route – Eastbourne-Hastings-Ashford, I was looking at you – the service didn’t earn enough cash to pay for the cost of stopping…

    @Mr Beckton – I’m quite sure no one planned for the GWML to evolve that way; it was the result of a combination of London property prices and the effect of various dispersal programmes to Bath and Bristol. HSTs are especially useless as commuter rigs – manual end door entries, take about 10 miles to achieve top balancing speed, and so on. Heavy on fuel, too.

    Back on topic, apart from longer trains on the LTS, I assume there isn’t any more pathing capacity available into FST. Does anyone have the uptodate position?

  94. ngh says:

    One thought on the unprecedented passenger growth – I think there may be a precedent: The timetable change post electrification of the SWML to Bournemouth in 1967 which resulted in faster services and more stops which quickly resulted in growth of just under 20%. The growth being derived from a more frequent service at certain stations closer to London but not in London.

    This investment was to avoid losing passengers to the M3 and may be one of the examples PoP was thinking of in his last post…

  95. Greg Tingey says:

    Well, the ex-LTSR main line is a single pair of tracks from just W of Barking, once you are past the flyover, until you are only a very short distance outside FST.
    Looking at the aeriel view, I estimate buffer-stops to plain double track as about 1200 metres. My ancient “Quail” states: “Christian Street Jn. 61 chains ( = 1220 metres ), so there(!)
    So less than 800 metres from the front of a 12-car.
    How close together can you get trains on that double-track then, in either space or time terms?
    One every 3 minutes is 20 tph, not bad at all, really, especially since you have to get them to cross over each other’s approaching & departing paths in the station throat.

    Which brings us back to the only short-term solution being “everything 12-car” in the peaks, which …..

  96. Graham H,

    Back on topic, apart from longer trains on the LTS, I assume there isn’t any more pathing capacity available into FST. Does anyone have the up to date position?

    Nothing official but I am pretty sure that the answer would be that with ETCS and ATO and smart work at Fenchurch Street you could manage at least 24tph as opposed to 20tph currently. Of course, maximum frequency depends on train length – especially at terminals.

    Note that we are a long, long way from needing to worry about that. Very few trains are 12 car. As commented, a lot are still 4-car (or are now 4-car). Also, practically all the work has already been done for 12-car trains (except possibly for the Grays terminators) so there are sufficiently long platforms etc.

    Although there would be some controversial issues remaining, if they had sufficient stock then most of the problems would just go away and the remaining issues would call for a balanced judgement that would inevitably have winners and losers.

  97. ngh,

    Indeed, the M3 was one of the primary drivers of Southern improving services but I was thinking more of Sunningdale and Ascot. But, in general, I suspect the M3 focused management even more on South West division. This was, probably, not least because improvements could be made and the M3 came so far in close to the centre of London. They could, for the most part, ignore the threat of the M2, M23 and M20 as potential converts would still be thwarted by congestion within suburban London – even then.

  98. Malcolm says:

    In days gone by, if there was extra peak-hour demand, and trains were not maximum length, you just got some ancient carriages out of sidings where they had been kept for Summer Saturdays. The railways don’t seem to have Summer Saturdays any more.

  99. RichardH says:

    The franchise extension announcement in June 2014 mentioned a 20tph service to/from Upminster in the peaks, all stops to Fen St, from the Dec 2015 timetable onwards. Assuming 4 Rainham trains per hour too, that would make 24tph to Fen St. Maybe that was a miswording in the announcement because it is unachievable with the amount of stock, regardless of capacity at Fen St.

    Re turnround times, it seems to take 3 minutes from a train departing until the next arrival halts. The draw along the platform takes 80 seconds of that, with the 60m crawl from the last ECTS TPWS grid being interminable. The speed limit from the Leman St bridge inwards is 20mph – unnecessarily slow when half the trains are not using the scissors and are just going straight in or out. Departures also seem slow – there is ALWAYS braking for the Leman St signal even when it’s a platform 4 departure and there can’t possibly be anything ahead or any conflicts.
    On the plus side, when all is running well the next incoming train is rolling away from the Leman St signal as the outgoing train’s last coach clears the scissors.

  100. Graham H,

    The classic form of an ORCATS raid was to add a stop which few, if any, actually used but where the formula gave you a slice of the revenue

    Ah, yes. It is coming back to me. So my example was wrong. What I think I should have written was:

    So a typical Orcats raid would involve running your service five minutes behind that of your competitors when both ran a half-hourly service or making a pointless call at a junction station knowing that no useful connection could be made.

  101. Malcolm says:

    So more generally, an ORCATS raid is to arrange to get more income without actually benefitting any passengers. What C2C has done cannot be so described – as their timetable changes undoubtedly benefit some people, even though a case can be made that these benefits are (perhaps) outweighed by disbenefits to others.

    Even if not an ORCATS raid though, some changes might be described as gaming the system, if, because of the payments regime, the company is financially rewarded disproportionately more than the (hard to estimate) net benefit to all passengers.

  102. Fandroid says:

    @Mr Beckton. I started to use the HSTs from Reading to London in the peaks in the early 1990s. I can assure him that standing was normal even back then. The only place where you might have found a seat was in the smoking carriage!

    Great article and some amazingly well informed comments.

    My philosophical thoughts on this are that this is the inevitable result of ‘sweating the assets’ as we love to do in the UK, to the extent that it gets mighty painful to adjust anything once a line gets close to capacity. Also, are we seeing yet another consequence of decades of under-investment in housing, giving rise to serious over inflation of house prices which forces people into locating themselves further and further from their work?

  103. Graham H says:

    @PoP/Malcolm – 🙂

  104. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I should start by saying that I’m not up to date with how apportionment works these days but I am sceptical that C2C will be able to “game” a very long standing arrangement. I expect a lot of travel at peak times will be on Travelcards which has built in modal and operator reassessment processes. Anyone who reads the TfL financial commentaries will see fluctuations (up and down) as a result of changes to Travelcard apportionment settlement. I also suspect that PAYG is not a massive factor in peak hour travel and even then there may well be fixed percentages or averaging rather than allocating each individual fare. The only places where anything could come into play with any clarity are Limehouse and Fenchurch St and even then the overall fare may not be due to C2C if passengers continue by DLR or Tube as thousands clearly do. One unknown factor is how many C2C commuters are using C2C Smart smartcards which will be another factor in the data – if only to confirm detailed travel patterns and where people actually travel to and how.

    There may be some shift in revenue shares between C2C and LU in due time but given the timetable volatility it’s unlikely that the picture is clear at the moment. Oh and it certainly is NOT an ORCATS raid.

  105. RogerB says:

    If rolling stock is the problem I suppose it would be ridiculously old school to divide and join trains at Laindon, say, and run shorter formations on to Southend?

  106. Verulamius says:

    I wonder whether the ticket revenue allocation methodology has kept pace with the big data information arising from electronic tickets (oyster, smart cards, touch cards etc.). There will be actual information on modal shift on a per journey basis and thus less need for approximate allocations of travel card (or capped contactless cards) revenue.

  107. Malcolm says:

    @RogerB: I would like to think that they have thought of this, modelled it, and found that it would not help. The time taken to clear the train and do the un/coupling would quite possibly use up all the benefit. And certainly it provides a whole lot of extra things to go wrong.

  108. Ianno says:

    Greg Tingey: The Fenchurch St timetable works by splitting the 20tph approaching Fenchurch St in half at Christian St Junction. 10tph (every 6 minutes) go left into Platforms 1&2, 10tph (also every 6 minutes) go right into Platforms 3&4.

    A train departing a particular platform will pass the subsequent arrival into the same platform at Christian St in parallel over the junction in and out of the same side of the station.

    Therefore a train departing Platform 1 (say) – the most conflicting departure – will depart simultaneous to an arrival into Platforms 3 or 4. This is possible because the point of conflict is at Christian St junction, not at the platform end; the next arrival into Platform 3/4 not being for 6 further minutes. The intervening arrival will pass the departing service at Christian St junction (non-conflicting) and arrives into Platform 1 three minutes after the previous departure

    RichardH: Is the braking always experienced when departing Platform 4 (the least conflicting departure route) the effect of the rolling brake test on departure, perhaps?

  109. Pedantic of Purley says:

    RogerB, Malcolm,

    Splitting and joining trains nowadays is usually only done to combine trains from different branches because there aren’t the train paths to run them as separate trains. Or, possibly, to economise on drivers.

    Exceptionally it may be done to reduce unnecessary running of rolling stock at the lightly used end of the line (e.g. Hereford – Paddington often is a 3 car DMU with a further 3 cars added at Oxford – similarily Exeter, Salisbury, Waterloo). Or possibly even because the traction power available at the far end of the line is limited (Weymouth).

    The problem with c2c is capacity into London so it is hard to see what splitting a train would achieve compared to running a 4 car train to Laindon and another 4 car train to Southend – even if the carriages could be diagrammed optimally so as not to spend time hanging around for their next service.

    The advantage over two separate 4 car trains would be fewer driving hours involved but at the price of complexity and less efficient utilisation of carriages due to joining up and splitting them taking time. And using the carriages less efficiently than you could otherwise do so is the very thing you don’t want to do right now on c2c.

    In summary then, you want to optimise carriage use on c2c and splitting trains doesn’t do that. This is different from, say, Southern, which has branches and needs to optimise drivers and train paths more than it needs to optimise carriages so there it might be a good strategy.

  110. Timbeau says:

    “it may be done to reduce unnecessary running of rolling stock at the lightly used end of the line ”
    Isn’t that what was being proposed? Instead of running (say) one 8-car and one 12-car from Fenchurch St to Shoeburyness and back, the second train drops four cars at Laindon and the first train picks them up on the way back. On its way back, the second train picks up four cars dropped by the third train, etc. This is, after all how the Bournemouth/Weymouth line was worked for many years – there were more 8TC formations than there were 4REPs to work with them.
    Laindon’s layout, with a centre platform giving access to and from both the eastbound and west bound tracks at each end, looks ideal for such an arrangement as the extra unit can just sit on the centre road, out of the way of any through services, until the return working turns up. No shunting required.
    Whether the loadings east and west of Laindon justify dropping four cars there, and whether the time taken in coupling up counteracts any savings from better utilisation of rolling stock, I wouldn’t know But de-training would not be an issue. If anyone was in the wrong part of the train they would simply be left in the platform, not a siding, and could alight as soon as they realised their mistake.
    And since only the front eight carriages would be going beyond Laindon, it would help to distribute people along the length of the train at Fenchurch Street, instead of all cramming in the back.

  111. Malcolm says:

    PoP says “The problem with c2c is capacity into London so it is hard to see what splitting a train would achieve compared to running a 4 car train to Laindon and another 4 car train to Southend – even if …

    The main constraint is rolling stock, understood, but I was supposing that paths into Fenchurch Street are also a secondary constraint. I supposed that because of the discussion revealing the slick operation of Fenchurch Street. If splitting took no time and never went wrong, then it would be a good way of ensuring that the average train length at the London end is greater than the average length at the outer end.

    But of course it does take time, and it does sometimes fail – so that is why I think it is unlikely to help.

  112. Malcolm says:

    I could amplify my comment by pointing out that splitting and rejoining takes a fixed length of time, independent of the travel distances. The examples quoted of it working for thinning-out purposes, Weymouth and Hereford, are longer distances than Shoeburyness so the saving at these places might well have been enough to offset the splitting delay (even if Weymouth was for a different reason anyway).

    A further point would be to examine the exact meaning of “increasing capacity”. The capacity available on the C2C line is, in one sense, fixed, if no more stock can be provided. But timetable and diagram changes can nevertheless increase effective capacity, by moving it from times and places where it cannot be fully used (say between Shoeburyness and Southend) to times and places where every seat and standing-space contains a passenger.

  113. Pedantic of Purley says:


    That is how I was envisioning it. But, firstly, common sense and secondly, analysis, if common sense doesn’t work, should tell you straightaway that this cannot be more a more efficient use of rolling stock than separate trains.

    The reasoning goes like this. Imagine the most optimal way you can work the stock with splitting and combining. Now instead of splitting and combining imagine that the two portions that were to be split in fact run as separate trains. This cannot be less efficient in rolling stock use than you had previously and, in fact, is more so because you don’t have to waste time to combine and split trains. It is not as efficient in the use of drivers but that is a separate issue and is not a problem here. There may also be insufficient train paths to do this but, given the the number of 4 car trains running on c2c to the same destination, if paths were a problem you could create more by running fewer but longer trains to various destinations – which would not affect overall capacity but would affect frequency.

    So, it is logically absurd to suggest that splitting trains in the matter suggested could be more efficient in carriage use than the best solution that does not involve splitting trains.

  114. Timbeau says:

    The point about paths is noted – although it would not apply in the general case of a multi-branched system where your two 4-car trains can’t be combined to create a path because they serve different branches.

    Most efficient of all in stock usage, but hardly popular, would be to run a four car shuttle between Shoeburyness and, say Southend, an eight car shuttle between there and Laindon, and a twelve car shuttle between Laindon and F St. No splitting and dividing, no fresh air being carried about. Just lots of passengers having to chabnge trains a lot.
    A variant of this was attempted on the original cable hauled London & Blackwall, where a train left Minories with half a dozen coaches, one of which was “slipped” at each station and collected on the way back. How people travelled between intermediate stations is not clear.

  115. Anonymous says:

    I would say smartphone apps like Citymapper and Google Now have had an impact on rapid changes in passenger behaviour. They create a device that knows where you live, where you work, where you are right now, and also what the real time status of nearby buses and trains is.
    If you look at your app one morning and it says the quicker journey to work is going to be on the c2c rather than the District, you’re going to follow the advice, especially if you’re running late. Of course the apps don’t (yet!) know how heavily loaded the trains are.

  116. Pedantic of Purley says:


    A variant of this was attempted on the original cable hauled London & Blackwall, where a train left Minories with half a dozen coaches, one of which was “slipped” at each station and collected on the way back. How people travelled between intermediate stations is not clear.

    Au contraire. It is absolutely clear and every book that describes this explains how it was done. Simple. You were obliged to travel via one of the termini.

  117. Greg Tingey says:

    if they had sufficient stock then most of the problems would just go away
    Paging DfT, DfT to the Big Red Telephone, for a stock order …
    Or, as suggested are there really (really) short-term stcok availability “fixes” available?

  118. Hedgehog says:

    Re: short-distance passengers displacing long-distance ones.

    There is the same problem on the West London Line between Clapham Junction and Shepherd’s Bush. There are 8tph between those two stations, 4tph London Overground from platform 1 (at 0800, 0810, 0830 and 0845) that go all the way to Stratford, plus 4tph Southern from platforms 16 and 17. The 0814 and 0850 are shuttles to Shepherd’s Bush and leave from the notoriously inaccessible platform 17. From platform 16, the 0819 goes from Coulsdon Town to Watford Junction and the 0839 goes from South Croydon to Milton Keynes.

    The 2 long distance Southern trains are always chock full of people making a short journey, making think difficult for the people who really do need to get to Watford Junction and beyond.

    Having thought about this at length on my commuter, I propose reopening platform 0 at Clapham (formerly platform 1) and running a 4tph Overground shuttle to Shepherd’s Bush, before disappearing into a North Pole siding, and having an evenly spaced 12tph service during the peaks:
    0800 LO shuttle to SB
    0805 LO long to Stratford
    0810 Southern long to Watford/Milton Keynes
    0815 LO shuttle to SB etc.

    Don’t advertise the Southern train from platforms 1 and 2 as an alternative to the LO. Make announcements on platform 16 that passengers for stations to SB should get the shuttle 5 minutes later from platform 0. The shuttle would pull short-distance commuters from all trains, making things so much less awful.

    It would work similarly on the way back, the shuttle passing in front of a Stratford train to scoop up the passengers at Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington Olympia, etc.

    Of course, this requires infrastructure work at Clapham and some co-ordination between all parties.

  119. Anonymous says:

    the notoriously inaccessible platform 17
    Currently platform 17 can be reached by two sets of steps and a lift. The steps from the subway were completely rebuilt on a new alignment and the steps from the bridge were straightened and partially rebuilt when the platform was extended for 8 car trains in 2014.

    So I find it hard to agree that platform 17 remains “notoriously inaccessible”.

    Restoring platform 0, the so-called “banana arches” at Clapham was previously ruled out on the grounds of enormous cost; partly this is because the arches are in poor condition and could no longer support the weight of a train, partly it’s because significant signally infrastructure was installed onto the track alignment. Maybe it’ll happen one day, but it certainly isn’t a cheap n cheerful way of adding extra services to Shepherds Bush.

  120. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon – I wonder if the “inaccessible” remark was more to do with the curved platform and awkward stepping distances / step heights. The platform also looks fairly narrow so if crowded that won’t help matters. They are also factors in determining accessibility.

  121. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Just to concur with Walthamstow Writer, I agree that platform 17 is perfectly accessible from the rest of the station. However, the lift is well hidden both at overbridge and platform level. I know it is signposted but it is very easy to overlook if you don’t know it is there. The gap between platform and train is absolutely enormous and it is both a large gap in height and distance from platform edge to train. I certainly have relatives who I would not consider even expecting them to attempt it. I have seen people really struggling with their large suitcases. I think “notoriously inaccessible” is a fair description though perhaps clarification could have helped.

    Yes, strengthening the banana arches will be expensive but it is almost inevitable this will happen one day when London Overground try to increase train frequency to 6tph on both routes out of Clapham Junction.

    Perhaps any further specific comment on Clapham Junction could go on the Clapham Junction article.

  122. Timbeau says:

    “notoriously inaccessible” – can’t it still be notorious for inaccessibility even though such notoriety may no longer be justified?

    (L&B cable haulage) – it was never clear to me how this worked (even from Alan Jackson’s book) but having now read the Wikipedia entry I now understand rather more – and indeed no direct journey between intermediate stations was possible – as PoP says, you had to go via one or other of the termini.

  123. Al Daw says:

    Great article thanks.

    I note the RUS expected a 49% increase in demand 2013-43, this excluded the extra uplift from the timetable changes and was also, presumably, based on more modest house building targets that SE Essex Councils are proposing.

    I’m very concerned about the impact this will have on the railway and the prosperity of the area.

    As I understand it, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see more frequent peak time services on the line. However moving up to all 12 car services would help enormously, though we won’t ever be able to go longer than 12 cars.

    12 cars won’t stop the line being ultimately overwhelmed but they’d make a great impact

    Am I right in thinking that we’ll go up to 12 cars in 2019?

  124. Greg Tingey says:

    Am I right in thinking that we’ll go up to 12 cars in 2019?
    Only if someone produces the money for the rolling-stock & is given “permission” by DfT (I think)

  125. As clearly stated in the article (and originally reported in Modern Railways)

    New c2c trains are planned for 2019 (a franchise commitment)….The new trains originally planned only amount to 17 four-car units in 2019. These would be followed by a further 4 four-car units in 2022 and 4 more in 2024.

    The trains in the peak period are a mixture of 4, 8 and (very few) 12 car trains. I think it is reasonable to assume that more trains will be 12-car as a result but clearly they will take a decision nearer the time based on which services are in the most dire need of having their capacity enhanced – or, possibly, which ones are the worst PIXC (passengers in excess of capacity) offenders which, of course, is not necessarily the same thing.

  126. Jamea says:

    5trains/h/platform – Im sure Platform 10 at bank terminates more DLR trains that that per hour! – Although I obviously recognise that you were talking mainline trains.

  127. Timbeau says:

    The reversal of trains using a headshunt rather than across the throat also helps the DLR’s throughput. Even if you could use stepping back and other measures to make turnrounds more slick, there is a finite time it takes for a 12-car load of passengers to clear a platform. If trains start arriving before the platform has cleared from the last lot, you will sooner or later get to the point where the platform is so full that people cannot physically get off the next train to arrive.

  128. Malcolm says:

    What timbeau said, plus it obviously takes longer for a 12-car train to travel the length of the platform, even if its rate of acceleration/deceleration is the same. But Jamea probably realises all this; I read the comment as more of a challenge – are we sure that 5 tphpp is the best possible?

  129. Melvyn says:

    C2C are perfect when it coming to joining and splitting trains as can be seen at Southend Central where a 4 carriage train arrives and when another 4 carriage train arrives then passengers alight and by the time the train is empty the 2nd train’s doors are closed and crash bang wallop train becomes a singe 8 carriage train.

    The recent problems have arose because C2C is trying to use Fenchurch Street in a similar way to stations where a single platform is divided into A, B and C sections but with no markings. With the first 4 carriage train serving London station then Laindon followed by Westcliff thus missing out Basildon and more importantly Benfleet Stations. With these stations served by 4 carriage trains nearer main station entrance.

    However, this train also serves London Stations and thus fills with those going to West Ham, Barking who should really be on District and H&C trains (it would be interesting to know passenger usage on these lines since beginning of year ?) making it impossible for those going beyond London to get on what is a 4 carriage train let alone a seat!

    As for seats we have conversion to Metro stock with trains changed from 2+3 to 2+2 seating which even includes removing seats at end of train where drivers cab is creating 1+1 seating!

    Timetable changes also mean that for me if I miss the 10.01 train to London I now have to wait to about 10.20 when it used to be 10.12.

    In the past it was possible to board a train at Fenchurch Street which sometimes had Benfleet as 1st stop and be there in about 30 minutes.

    The only improvement was extension of Laindon stoppers to Leigh On Sea thus creating more seats which would otherwise be empty beyond Upminster and thus is basically all that was needed in the short term.

  130. Timbeau says:

    “are we sure that 5 tphpp is the best possible?”
    Is platform occupancy the limiting factor anyway? 5tphpp for four platforms is 20 tph – which as the line is double track means is a three minute interval. Tubes, with lower speeds, can run at higher frequencies, but at main line speeds three minutes between trains is not a lot.

  131. Malcolm says:

    Melvyn says “…fills with those going to West Ham, Barking who should really be on District and H&C trains

    I would like to get away from the notion of “should”. Those passengers are behaving perfectly rationally by using the fastest train to their destination. If one of them were to say to himself “I will leave my space for a Benfleet traveller and go on the slow tube train instead”, that would be a completely pointless gesture, because the space would likely be filled with another, less altruistic, West Hammer.

    Where we are entitled to use words like “should” is when referring to the train planners. We can say, if we wish, that they should not be stopping the long distance trains at the inner stations. But that leaves people who are already at West Ham with a less satisfactory way to get to Benfleet.

    A former strategy, used at say Watford Junction, is to say that down trains are calling at the inner station “to pick up only”, and up trains “set down only”. This has other snags, though, including being quite difficult to police.

  132. Anonymous says:

    If cross rail were a little more proactive than just running slow trains to Shenfield perhaps cross rail to Barking and on to Southend or Grays would help. Commuters from the far reaches of c2c would have the choice of West Ham / FST for City / Canary Wharf or CR to the West End thus creating space for short hoppers between Barking and FST. Or would that just fill up CR with non-Londoners which is not want Boris wants. Not sure how many people want to travel from South Essex to Heathrow or Reading but direct CR trains would be better than driving around the M25 or having to change trains at West Ham and Stratford. Surely 12-car trains from c2c lands to central London are a better use of the Eastern end of Goblin than the current / proposed service. Barking Riverside trains could go to FST to use up the new capacity surely a better destination than Gospel Oak

  133. Melvyn says:

    @ Malcolm I agree I should have worded it better given this situation has arisen because C2C and DFT (given they agreed to this change )which converted C2C route out of Fenchurch Street from a largely long distance service with provision to pick up / set down passengers at interchange stations into an express District Line .

    However, to do this they have split previously 8 carriage trains which stopped at some London stations into two 4 carriage trains which naturally fill up with short distance passengers without provision of extra capacity beyond removing seats on some trains .

    As for talk about longer trains well given present timetable relies on both 4 carriage trains being in the same platform at Fenchurch Street Station at the same time it would mean extending Fenchurch Street to take 16 carriages for same timetable to work as now !

    Perhaps the time is coming to look again at the way the DLR reduced platform capacity into Fenchurch Street by taking one of its approach tracks and divert the DLR underground just after Limehouse Station with possibly replacement of Tower Gateway with a underground DLR station beneath Tower Hill Station . Whether Bank trains would also serve this station is debatable .

    Malcolm mentioned how some take advantage of quicker journey well last week having failed to be able to even get on a 4 carriage C2C train I used a S7 District Line train to Upminster that was full of empty seats and got a seat at Upminster when others alighted.

    Use of C2C trains as express is not new as passengers have often got off at Upminster and board empty trains back towards London but at least these trains in rush hours have normally been 8 carriages .

    As for 12 carriage trains these have normally only been used at rush hours for only a couple of trips in / out and then I believe stored away for rest of the day . Ironically they often left Fenchurch Street Station and sometimes did not stop to Laindon or even Benfleet. Whether the stock used to form these trains should be used more to form more 8 carriage trains between rush hours is worth consideration.

    It goes to show how easy it is to ruin what was considered one of the best operated TOC !

  134. Hedgehog says:

    I do wonder if being honest with the passengers would work, telling them that short-hopping passengers are displacing those who want to travel all the way to Benfleet. There is the altruistic aspect but there must be a lot of passengers who are simply ignorant of the situation.

    Alternatively, run a shuttle service to Upminster a few minutes before a long-distance service to pull all the short-hoppers onto that. It’s a shame that the Upminster sidings aren’t useful for this.

  135. Graham H says:

    @Melvyn – as I recall, it was not the appearance of DLR that reduced capacity into FST, but the last resignalling (c1986? ), before which there were at least 25 tph. Putting Tower Gateway below ground would be fiendishly expensive at that point (and surely not worthwhile), even if technically feasible, given that the approach from Limehouse is 20+ feet up in the air and you would need to go down at least as far again below ground, all within a very short distance. (Not to mention the numbers of streets that would be severed by any ramp, and the probable demolition of the Royal Mint building. Likely cost much the same as the Bank extension… Why is that that the DLR cannot be seen for what it is – a cheap substitute for doing a proper job in the first place; keep chucking good money at it to put another patch on it will soon have cost as much as doing that proper job and still won’t have achieved a happy result.

    @Anonymous – I’m not sure why running what would necessarily be at best 5 car trains from GOBLIN into FST would be the best use of paths. The beau ideal is to fill as many paths as possible with 12 car trains.

  136. Malcolm says:

    Hedgehog wonders if being honest with the passengers would work. I would suggest probably not. To be able to let these Benfleeters on, you wouldn’t just need to convince some of the short-hoppers (who probably don’t think of it as a particularly short hop, particularly if they are going to Barking or Upminster, which are a long slog on the tube). You’d have to convince all of them (or almost all, at any rate) to stay off the fast train home. It’s the Tragedy of the Commons, with the common resource being a fast train home.

  137. Alfie1014 says:

    I too don’t believe that this was ever an ‘Orcats Raid’ as such, revenue apportionment in the Travelcard area was always different to that applicable to the wider national network outside the London area. It may however result some revenue benefit but I imagine the angst, (and subsequent additional cost), caused by the timetable change will more than outweigh this!

    The pre-1995 signalling (a mixture of LNER and BR(ER) permitted a maximum of 23 trains per hour into/out of Fenchurch St, a figure that was timetabled in the 1980 and early 1990s. The resignalling which was planned in the austerity years at the end of BR in the 1990s prior to privatisation was somewhat lacking. I was amazed after moving on to pastures new (employment wise) to see that many of the signals between Barking and Fenchurch Street were being installed as 3 aspect heads whereas those they replaced were 4 aspect! Subsequent improvements have upped the capability and reduced the headways to around the 20 t/p/h but this is still less than the previous signalling could accommodate. Also the signallers in the old Fenchurch Street box had an amazing ability to keep things running even in the most adverse conditions minimsing delay, a knack the ARS in Upminster IECC seems to lack at times.

    Additional trains are undoubtedly the solution and thankfully over the coming months and years there should be a surfit of AC EMUs around, though in the very short term it seems this will be limited to two extra units being sourced for introduction later this spring.

  138. Graham H says:

    @Alfie1014 -thank you for that -my memory of the detail at FST getting a bit faded with age,,, There was talk in the’90s about re-opening the extra platform on the north side,but I understood that, even if technically possible, it couldn’t accommodate much more tha a 4 car.

    A propos the Travelcard split, it was-and presumably still is – pretty crude : 60:40 to L(R)T in zones 1-3, 40:60 outside. The dilution effect of this would seriously discourage any “ORCATS” raid (not that it prevented LTS management having a go in 1994…)

  139. Greg Tingey says:

    Anonymous may have raised, unintentionally, an interesting point….
    After CR1 opens through Pudding Mill … will c2c see fewer passengers, because there will be a single cross-platform interchange @either Shenfield or Stratford from Southend to ( Central London ) ??
    I wonder ….

  140. RichardH says:

    I can’t see many people switching to the GE line just for Crossrail. It’ll still be £10 a week dearer and involve an awkward change at Stratford. More interesting will be how LTS passengers change their habits – usual mode to the West End now is either via Tower Hill or walk to Bank for the Central. How many will go West Ham-Stratford-Crossrail (other options are available, but much slower).

  141. Edmonton 'Eadcase says:

    Graham H – when Melvyn suggested putting Tower Gateway underground, I presume he was not suggesting an extra pair of portals be built, but was referring to the fact that the Bank extension was deliberately built with a straight level stretch in the vicinity of Tower Hill station to facilitate subsequent building of platforms there and closure of the surface DLR route to Tower Gateway.

    While that may or may not have merit from the DLR’s point of view, I don’t see it having any impact on the problem in hand… it’s not as if the stretch from Royal Mint Street to Tower Gateway is the only two-track section on the c2c line!

    Melvyn – running Crossrail trains to Barking in the peak is almost certainly a non-starter, unless a flying junction was built at Forest Gate, and I don’t see the BCR stacking up for that. If they’d built a curve from West Ham to Pudding Mill Lane over what looks on Google to be one massive building site, then the c2c trains could have joined the surface line to Liverpool Street immediately after the Crossrail trains leave it, but I suspect the land to do that may have been subsequently built on, and the BCR for a tunnel there is unlikely to add up either.

  142. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: A propos the Travelcard split, it was-and presumably still is – pretty crude : 60:40 to L(R)T in zones 1-3, 40:60 outside

    The Travelcard Agreement has been FoI’d here – since 1995 there has been a different split for each TOC and each ticket type – in 1995 this was 28:72 LT:LTS for outboundary One Day Travelcards and 20:80 for weekly and longer Travelcards – perhaps the difference is from an assumption that peak commuters are making fewer and shorter journeys beyond Fenchurch St per day than off-peak leisure travellers?

    There is provision for a rolling quarterly survey to update these apportionment factors (ie unlike ORCATS they are meant to be based on actual measured usage and not a model of how passengers are assumed to behave), so in principle if there is a major switch from the Tube to c2c, they could expect to have their share (already one of the highest of the TOCs) increase.

    @Alfie1014: The pre-1995 signalling (a mixture of LNER and BR(ER) permitted a maximum of 23 trains per hour into/out of Fenchurch St, a figure that was timetabled in the 1980 and early 1990s

    As well as the reduction in headways you mention, presumably the switch from slam-door to sliding door stock and the introduction of TPWS approach control, making trains slower into terminal platforms, has reduced capacity by slowing down operations into Fenchurch Street. (And before gets too nostalgic for the good old days of passengers jumping off moving trains as they hurtled into the platform, remember what happened at Cannon Street).

    As others have said, a railway running 4-car trains on 12-car infrastructure at peak times needs more trains, not more track or signals.

  143. Timbeau says:

    @Ian J
    “And before gets too nostalgic for the good old days of passengers jumping off moving trains as they hurtled into the platform, remember what happened at Cannon Street”

    Non sequitur. I assume you are referring to the 1991 accident. The people injured there were not those who had already alighted before the train hit the buffers.

  144. Toby says:

    In peak periods with the necessary demand what are the reasons why you wouldn’t ideally run the longest trains the platforms (including SDO) on the route can handle?

    The distance from Fenchurch to Tower Hill looks to be similar than from South Kensington platforms to the northern most exit of that station by the Science Museum. Was such a tunnel, going under pavement and road I presume, ever talked about?

    When (I understand it to be in the 2050 plan) Tower Gateway is closed and Tower Hill DLR is opened would the mainline get any of the space back, as it’s in a similar position to some sidings outside other station?

  145. timbeau says:

    “The distance from Fenchurch to Tower Hill looks to be similar than from South Kensington platforms to the northern most exit of that station by the Science Museum”
    Far less: South Ken to the Science Museum is about 400 metres. Tower Hill to the concourse at Fenchurch Street is about half that, and to the entrance on Coopers Row less than 100m. (less than the length of the link span at Waterloo!)
    (Tower Hill station is just behind the scissor lift in the background to this photo)
    https:[email protected],-0.077344,3a,15y,160.52h,91.05t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1suChULBftsOM6x0wqgKGe6g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

  146. Graham H says:

    @IanJ – thank you for the update on the Travelcard split – not something I have had to negotiate in recent years. I’m slightly surprised that the TOCs tolerate a frequent review and bespoke tailoring for the split, given the way they fight like cats to protect themselves against such risks as Oyster – perhaps they were presented with a fait accompli.

    It was approach control according to the line’s operators at the time that increased the headway. Without it, they claimed they could have run 25 tph, although I have yet to find a timetable that offered that. (Amusingly, in 1922, there were no more than 8 LTS peak trains per hour, plus a couple of GE runs to Ilford).

  147. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    Possibly – how many had got out at over at 10mph though? Certainly there were many doors already open on impact with many killed or injured as having the doors closed was rather vital for the overall structural integrity especially on the cars with the oldest recycled underframes.
    Interior fittings including the luggage rack design caused many minor injuries.

  148. timbeau says:

    “how many had got out at over at 10mph though?” Not many, but those riding the running boards would have been thrown clear on impact and would in any case have been braced for the transition.

    ” having the doors closed was rather vital for the overall structural integrity”

    Indeed, it the accident report did remark that the structural integrity of the superstructure was compromised by the open doors (eight or ten on each car).

    ” especially on the cars with the oldest recycled underframes.”
    The ex-SR underframes – on average about sixty years old – were if anything far too robust as they cut into the younger (c 40 year old) superstructures mounted on them. However, the report did remark that these superstructures, although built in the 1950s contemporary with the four BR-type cars leading the train, were built to the older SR-type design (presumably to be compatible with the recycled underframes) and proved to be not as robust as the later BR-type superstructure of the leading unit.
    (The cars suffering the worst damage were the middle two (5th and 6th) of the 10-car train)

    The accident report said that standing passengers with inadequate grab rails were more likely to be injured – interesting in view of the tendency to reduce seating capacity on each generation of trains, but actually a bit of a red herring as many seated passengers would have stood up anyway ready for the race to the barrier. In any case, the highest concentration of standees would have been at the front of the train, not in the middle two cars which sustained the most damage.

  149. Malcolm says:

    Toby says “In peak periods with the necessary demand what are the reasons why you wouldn’t ideally run the longest trains the platforms (including SDO) on the route can handle?

    It depends what you mean by “ideally”. If you have enough rolling stock, and nowhere else pressing for it, then you presumably would. But I don’t think anyone here suggested otherwise. The underlying issue here seems to be insufficient stock for the existing demand, and efforts to make the best use of it (and/or to reduce the demand).

  150. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm & Toby,

    I think Toby might be referring to a situation similar to Charing Cross where increasing the length of the units to all 12 car will reduce the number of services that can be run by 1tph (from 29 to 28) due to the time taken to clear junctions. However the overall capacity will increase, but a 1tph reduction might cause issues with service patterns.

    Some of the issues with increasing frequency will be down to the perennial issue of NR using 30 second timetabling intervals (unlike LU) and Thameslink style ATO might solve a few of those issues however resignalling probably isn’t due till 2035-40 ish.

  151. MickH says:

    Excellent article. Thanks.
    c2c appears to have lost the plot by trying to make these changes before extra carriages were available. They also mislead the travelling public in their assertion that new trains were not available before 2019. Setting aside their new plan to lease stock from another TOC in the short term, ROSCO Porterbrook has ordered ‘on spec’ trains from the same family as c2c’s class 357. These are supposedly available from late 2016 so c2c could easily have coordinated their changes to match.
    They also seem to lack any imagination when it comes to best use of the existing stock. As mentioned by Hedgehog, it would make better use of stock if some trains started/finished at Upminster. This would mean that half empty trains wouldn’t need to go as far as Laindon before reversing and allow carriages to be re-used in the same peak period. These could then assume the inner suburban service allowing limited stop outer suburban services. No extra infrastructure would be required as trains can reverse on the start of the Ockendon Branch – a practice already used by engineering movements from Upminster Tamper siding.
    Once new stock is available the problems should be somewhat alleviated but of more major concern is the long term situation. The draft Anglia Route Study published November 2014 shows that by 2043 there will be no free space at all. Despite this there are no plans on the table to increase capacity. Now is the time to be discussing ideas such as extra capacity at Fenchurch Street, connections to Crossrail to divert services through Canary Wharf etc etc.

  152. 3078260061 says:

    Graham H @
    In 1922 there were trains between Fenchurch Street and Blackwall as well as the LTS line and Ilford, although thy wouldn’t have put the tph up into the 20s.

  153. RichardH says:

    In fact the LTS only had reserved use of one platform, plus shared use of a second. L&B were running to Blackwall and GE to Woolwich via Bow Road and to Loughton.
    Just as well the NLR built Broad St, as they used to come into Fen St too.
    At least in 1922 (and in fact, from 1905) the fast train from Southend took 50 minutes.

  154. Graham H says:

    Yes – 3 tph in the peak direction peak, that is for the main line – the old L&B being intended for traffic *from* the City during the working day). And of course, in those days, there was that extra platform.

  155. Anonymous says:

    I live in C2C / District land.

    Fact is, C2C is faster than the district line to Barking/Upminster, and people will naturally flock to the faster train, especially at rush hour. The cross-platform interchange at BKG was made to encourage a mass exodus from District to C2C.

    As Walthamstow Writer has said, regeneration, gentrification and house-building will overwhelm C2C very quickly:

    – Up to 5000 more people will be crammed into Barking Town Centre
    – There is a consultation to route the 145 bus to Dagenham Dock station, which could bring people who would otherwise couldn’t reach there
    – New housing built on ex-industrial land from Dagenham Dock to Rainham, will swamp that branch line
    – New station in Beam Park, surrounded by new housing
    – Barking Riverside (20,000+ new inhabitants) and its GOBLIN extension. I’d expect most of them to change to C2C at Barking.
    – Thurrock plans to expand Purfleet, plus regenerate Grays town centre

    It seems like the Tilbury loop line in particular will take a lot of growth. Luckily, C2C *should* have new trains by 2019, to cope with the growth.

  156. MickH says:

    @ anonymous you’re absolutely correct of course. As a fellow c2c/district resident I follow developments with interest and think there should be concerted planning by TOCS and DfT to ensure capacity is there. It is sad to see so many comments from passengers from outside London expressing the opinion that London passengers shouldn’t be using THEIR trains when what is needed is a service for the benefit of all.
    I wonder how will plans to devolve inner suburban services to Tfl will affect the situation

  157. Anonymous says:


    To be honest, I understand why the “Barking-to-West Ham” crush is annoying, but i’m sure most people agree that for journeys to Central London (i.e Fenchurch) its understandable to use C2C.

    Of course, it would be unacceptable to force people on the slower tube if a faster alternative is available, just because some people don’t like it.

    As for devolution plans – its very unlikely that TFL will ever control C2C. – If C2C customers don’t like the “metro” carriages, they will hate TFL’s sideways seating which maximises standing, at the expense of comfort. And I have to say I agree – I hate the seats in the Tube and Overground.

    – TFL usually justify taking over railway routes with things like “all stations fully staffed” and “clean and modern trains” etc. They can’t do that here, because C2C already tick those boxes.

    – Most C2C services go quite far outside the TFL area. Even those that do run mostly in the Zones, such as the Grays terminators, are integrated with services that run to Southend and Shoeburyness.

    – Brand image, despite their problems. I’m not sure about Havering, but here in B&D, C2C has a better reputation than TFL and/or the district line.

  158. MickH says:

    @ anonymous
    I’m an old git no longer commuting but until a few years ago travelled from upminster in peak periods. A seat was guaranteed on Laindon starters which arrived almost empty and left almost full.
    A return trip from Laindon takes about 90 minutes so at best only one set could be reused in the peak. A return from upminster is only 60 minutes so several extra services could be run releasing carriages for beefing up other services. Sadly c2c prefer to transport empty seats.
    Regarding tfl I too detest the longitudinal seat but that isn’t necessarily going to be the case – crossrail isn’t getting it AFAIK.
    From upminster virtually no one uses lul services – why would anyone want to spend 45 minutes instead of 25 to get to the city. We would certainly benefit from tfl investment at station tho. Considering that it generates 1/8 of all c2c passengers the quality of the station environment is appalling.

  159. MikeP says:

    @MickH – Now is the time to be discussing ideas such as … connections to Crossrail to divert services through Canary Wharf

    How ? By reversing at Whitechapel ? Building a new curve under Limehouse ? I don’t see either of those happening even in the wildest of crayonista dreams.

  160. Anonymous says:

    In the new Crossrail trains, there will be certain sections with longitudinal seating. TFL doesn’t want you to know, but there will be a large decrease in seats available for commuters between Ilford and Shenfield. And slightly longer journeys.

    Most stations on the C2C network are quite ugly. They look like failed 1960s experiments. Unfortunately for Upminster, the current investment is on Barking station, which is presently like a warzone.

    I’m guessing they could run a few peak Upminster shuttles, but are there reversing facilities? I’m not sure how the people of Thurrock, Basildon and Southend would react.

    And yes, same here. I live near Becontree, but only use the District Line to Barking, then change for C2C. 35 minutes on the tube is too much when you live this far out.

  161. Ian J says:

    @ngh: resignalling probably isn’t due till 2035-40 ish

    @MickH: by 2043 there will be no free space at all

    So long as the resignalling adds capacity then it sounds like it will arrive just in time. If you were compiling a list of London’s looming transport capacity crises, LTS wouldn’t make the top 10 (assuming c2c lease some more trains).

  162. MickH says:

    @ Mike
    Curve West of West Ham then into tunnel. Plenty of land south of c2c alignment but would need early protection of the route.

  163. MickH says:

    @ anonymous
    By reversing on the Ockendon branch as my earlier comment.
    Not being top ten doesn’t justify ignoring it. Most other capacity issues are already being addressed or at least discussed eg Thameslink, Crossrail 2 & 3. Funding is obviously a problem but it should at least be acknowledged and discussed.

  164. Anonymous says:


    Okay I see.

    Isn’t there an additional bay platform next to Platform 1 at UPM? “Platform 1A” I believe its called.

    Could this bay platform be converted to a “through” platform, with some crossovers installed. There could be 3 through-platforms for C2C at Upminster, with the middle one used to turn around peak services – like what happens in Laindon and Leigh.

  165. MickH says:

    @ anonymous
    It wouldn’t be practical to use the bay as the (listed) station building is in the way and no way to connect with the main up line beyond. Better to take platform 3 from lul and exchange it for platform 6. Added advantage of through Romford to Grays route.

  166. MickH says:

    …. but totally OTT of course. If any infrastructure was considered just a turn back siding next to the Ockendon branch would suffice

  167. Graham H says:

    @MickH – a plan for CR3 doesn’t exist and isn’t even being discussed except as a shorthand way in these columns for saying a fix is needed for transport in SE London – and there, there are no quick fixes of any sort available. CR1 is hardly any solution to the LTS corridor’s needs, even with fancy new infrastructure, as it will be full of trains full of people pdq. Everyone is a victim these days…

    More generally, and standing back from the microdebate for a moment, one way of looking at the problem is a that there is a failure here by planners (this may be calumny on my part – they may not have been involved at all…) to draw a sensible distinction between short and medium distance traffic. If you insist on putting in extra stops at Barking or West Ham, then short distance passengers will use the service as per the complaint; far better run nonstop from Upminster.

  168. ngh says:

    Re Ian J and Mick H,

    Top 10 etc. It worse than that realistically only 4 of a top 10 actually being looked at seriously at the moment, the rest are “desk study”.

    All the NR planning work to 2043 is finding some places on each route where growth (their assumptions are less than recent reality) can’t be met using easy solutions (longer train /platforms, resignalling etc) so LTS isn’t unique.
    Mostly thing are at the stage 1 – acknowledging that there may be potential problem.

    Re Graham H,

    But people see nice a CR station at Canary Wharf with only 12tph through it that is why they go crayonistic (after all the station are the expensive bit!). They of course forget that 12tph Z1 to Canary may be found to be deficient fairly early on so it may end up as upto 18tph (with 30tph in the Core) at which point it is rather less empty but still has room for few more…

  169. timbeau says:

    West Ham – Canary Wharf – XR2 is a big bulge – and C2C is already full of people heading for the City, who would not be pleased at such a long detour and/or losing some of their trains to FST.
    C2C already has connections at West Ham and Limehouse for the Isle of Dogs

  170. timbeau says:

    Sorry, meant XR1 of course – I was mentally comparing it with the Balham Bulge on XR2

  171. Graham H says:

    @ngh -not to mention the clamour that will arise for more on the Shenfield branch and the demands to extend from Abbey Wood to somewhere further east.

    Not that I would underestimate the future demand from the Thamesside corridor – plans for doing anything (and the extension of GOBLIN is trivial in this context) were conspicuous by their absence from the 2050 document. What I would question is whether LTS can usefully be part of the solution. By all means fill it up in a way that benefits the most people, but then you will enter crayon territory.

  172. ngh says:

    Re Graham H,

    CR1 Shenfield Branch – not much room to add services unless you start diverting some of the Liverpool Street CR terminators hence why lengthening from 9 to 11 car might make more sense to add capacity as the first stage?

    “By all means fill it up in a way that benefits the most people, but then you will enter crayon territory.” Indeed much Crayoning required in 20 years time.

  173. MickH says:

    I was thinking of a connection in the direction of Abbey Wood and services complementing those to Fenchurch St. CR1 plans max 15 tph on the AW branch while max 30 tph on the core, so there’s spare for 15 tph on the AW branch.
    I wasn’t saying this was the only solution, just that some discussions should be taking place. From concept to completion could take up to 30 years depending on the extent of any solution.
    @Graham H
    Although not “planned” CR3 is definitely being thought about to the extent that it is supported by both Boris and Ken

  174. Graham H says:

    Who is Ken?

    @MickH – – yes, we should certainly be planning ahead now ( I would say that, wouldn’t I?) but there’s precious little of that going on. CR2 and the Bakerloo seem to have exhausted thinking for the next few decades. Come back and see us after 2050…

    @ngh – indeed. Incidentally, and just for wry amusement, in NSE days, when CR1 didn’t go to Abbey Wood or the Wharf, I briefly pondered the scope for and cost of adding an LTS branch into (under) the Wharf. A little further thought suggested that with the need for overrun tunnels, the cost of going on to North Kent was relatively low, so enabling us to run, say, Dartford- Tilbury. Fortunately (or not) my crayons were privatised.

  175. MickH says:

    @Graham H
    I assume you’re a planner then 🙂
    You mention the GOBLIN extension. Once in place this will unlock major extension of the Barkuing Riverside development. Where will the new resident want to travel to? Not Gospel Oak that’s for sure! They’ll just change at Barking, mainly to c2c. So if someone doesn’t get their brain into gear PDQ there’s going to be some major transport issues whether or not c2c is seen as top 10!
    There was a time when the transport was in place first and development followed. Now there seems to be an accepted lag the other way.
    You’ve not heard of Ken Livingston then!

  176. ngh says:

    Re Mick H,

    The highest level person to use the phrase “CR3” is now the commissioner in discussions addressing future SE-NW capacity issues* and why Haykerloo is not the answer to everything, neither former mayors nor candidates have mentioned it. *(3years and 4 months after I first used “CR3” on LR for the same issues) I’ll find the post again at some point…

  177. MickH says:

    CR3 was in Boris’s long term proposals back in 2014

  178. MickH,

    There was only one single reference to Crossrail 3 in the Transport Supporting Paper and that was buried in the appendix. Given that its primary purpose was to serve the Thames Estuary Airport, I think we can treat that with a very liberal dose of salty seawater.

    Things have moved on since.

  179. Graham H says:

    @MickH – Sorry to write ironically (those who do so on this site are cursed with being taken literally) – I know who Ken is (was, in relation to London) – I might have asked “Who is Boris”? – he is nearly a “was” by now. BTW I agree with you about GOBLIN simply dumping a lot of interchange traffic onto something already overcrowded (even if it can cope itself – I am puzzled by those who see GOBLIN extensions as the panacea to travel in either N or S Thamesside: even in their wildest dreams, the line cannot deliver more than 1km length of trains /hour, when something much much beefier – say, 5km length of trains/hour is eventually going to be needed for onward travel)

  180. ngh says:

    Re Mick H,

    but the Boris Island CR3 (“east-west” from the article you link to) wasn’t really a crossrail but an airport express with virtually no stations and it is not the same CR3 (SE-NW) as everyone else (inc commissioner) talks about which would involve stopping services similar to CR1&2 and may or may not follow some elements of routes thought out in the 1944-46 London plans.
    The Boris Island “CR3” is as dead as the airport at the moment but hadn’t been finally killed off when that report was written.

    I suspect the most the area might get is a Stratford – West Ham – Canary Wharf – New Cross /Lewisham type cheap Crossrail scheme as it ticks so many capacity relief boxes in one go, a C2C scheme would probably struggle on it own unless there were other branches in East London outside the C2C area.

  181. timbeau says:

    “From Upminster virtually no one uses lul services ”
    Of course not, but wherever you terminate the stopping service, the fast service has to call there too to provide connections (cf Orpington, Wembley Park, Shenfield, Reading) For obvious reasons you can’t simply terminate the District Line at Upminster Bridge!
    Whatever the Upminster-Barking-West Ham C2C passengers are doing to C2C loadings, it does at least make more space for people from Upminster Bridge, Hornchurch, Elm Park etc.

    From Upminster, using C2C rather than District is a useful timesaving even if your ultimate destination is on the District Line. I doubt the same is true for the shorter hop from Barking to West Ham and marginal to Fenchurch Street/Tower Hill.

    Not all Barking Thamesiders will switch to C2C at Barking. Some will take the Underground (not worth the extra change at West Ham or the Fenchurch Street/Tower Hill/Aldgate complex if your destination is further west – Westminster or Kings Cross for example – remember that you might actually get a seat at Barking on the H&C!). Others may find the Wanstead Park/Forest Gate connection useful for Crossrail. (Or even, if the Goblin services get extended further west, the Old Oak Common connection – although the popular acronym might be less appropriate and a new name might be needed – depending on western terminus Oak Bark, Rich king, Clap-Bark (with a sealion logo perhaps? ).

  182. Anonymous says:


    I agree the “Barking-to-West Ham crush” is extreme and only has marginal time savings. But if you are going all the way to Fenchurch Street, you do save over 10 mins. Plus the District doesn’t go to Limehouse …

    As for Hornchurch, Elm Park, Dagenham East, Becontree etc are you aware how many change on to C2C? If there is a faster alternative, they will cram themselves onto it. (No doubt Barking Riversiders will do it too).

    Remove C2C from Barking, and there will be lots of tears …

  183. timbeau says:

    “As for Hornchurch, Elm Park, Dagenham East, Becontree etc are you aware how many change on to C2C?”
    I can imagine – but I was answering a comment that “From Upminster virtually no one uses lul services ” Whether or not that is true, no-one joins C2C services at Hornchurch!

    Just because very few people join LUL trains at Upminster doesn’t mean they are not useful.

  184. Malcolm says:

    Inbound short travel on C2C should not be a problem, it seems to me. If the train is already full of longer-distance passengers at Barking or West Ham, then short-hoppers will not be able to get on. (Though I suppose they could hold the train up by trying).

    But outbound is harder, because to avoid empty spaces further out, there should be enough short-hoppers to West Ham getting on at Fenchurch Street to provide some space for some of the Wharfies to replace them. But not too many, and not too few.

  185. Malcolm says:

    Graham says “ even in their wildest dreams, the line cannot deliver more than 1km length of trains /hour

    That is a neat unit, when you get your head round it. And more useful than trains/hour.

    But maybe passengers/hour would be even better, as it would generalise to tube trains, loco-hauled trains, all-standing or all-seated trains, loco-hauled, narrow gauge, fleets of taxis, travolators or even triple-decker Picadillies.

  186. Anonymous says:

    I sort of get your point.

    Very few people travel between Fenchurch and West Ham. The vast majority of people using WEH are using it to access the Jubilee line. Its not really a big point of origin for C2C.

  187. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – a deliberately neutral measure as to how you fill the pipe!

  188. Greg Tingey says:

    Remove C2C from Barking, and there will be lots of tears …
    Much worse than that.
    The numbers transferring to the GOBLIN in the morning & off it in the evening (at Barking) are utterly ridiculous for a 2-car-diesel unit …
    Can’t be done.
    Where/how those people are going to travel between July this year & March 2017 is an, err…”Interesting” question.

  189. Mark Townend says:

    @MickH 9 February 2016 at 00:37

    “It wouldn’t be practical to use the bay as the (listed) station building is in the way and no way to connect with the main up line beyond. Better to take platform 3 from lul and exchange it for platform 6. Added advantage of through Romford to Grays route.”

    At Upminster, better to leave the Romford line as a shuttle using a new short bay to the west of Station Road. Interchange could be via a new pedestrian crossing over the road with ‘shared spaces’ traffic calming treatment or light controlled signalling. A more expensive option might be a pedestrian tunnel under the road tied in with #6 access from the concourse and gate line. Then LU would shuffle over taking over #6 and relinquishing #3, with National Rail re-routing the Down Main through #3 to create a multifunctional centre platform using #2. The centre platfrom could be used for turnbacks and as a right turning lane for Down trains to Ockenden where they could wait for the single line without delaying following down trains via West Hornden.

    9 February 2016 at 00:42
    “…. but totally OTT of course. If any infrastructure was considered just a turn back siding next to the Ockendon branch would suffice”

    Link the turnback siding back to the single line at the Ockenden end just short of the first bridge and you’d have an extended holding line for Down train to await the single line clear of the platforms.

    At Ockenden the loop platform has a very tight 15MPH turnout at the Upminster end which must surely constrain acceleration of Up trains starting away with modern stock when passing movements are made in the peak, especially full length 12 car services. The overlap for the Up platform starter looks far too short to be clear for the run in speed of 40MPH so I reckonn an up train arriving locks out a simultaneous down arrival until the up train has stopped. That fits with working times which show the up train always arriving before the Down. Some loop extension and turnout upgrade work could make the the loop a little more flexible and able to cope with slight running time variations more resiliently. Note off peak service do not pass at Ockenden routinely today.

    At Grays the bay for terminating services is on the wrong side now. There is room on the Up side for a new bay platform or two at the London end, so terminating trains via Dagenham would no longer have to cross the Ockenden trains. The three line section between the station and West Thurrock Junction might be better designed in conjunction with the new up side bays to allow Up Ockenden trains to wait for the single line if necessary on the middle line, clear of the other passing traffic such as freight in both directions.

    Measures like these could help make the single line even more resilient, perhaps enough to allow a more frequent level of service to operate over longer hours.

  190. RichardH says:

    I think there’s a lot of doubling back to Upminster from Upminster Bridge and Hornchurch LUL passengers.

    Re additional journey time to Tower Hill from Barking compared to c2c to Fen St, more than 10 minutes I think. The last time c2c went belly up and we were detrained at Barking I was at Tower Hill 17 minutes later than Fen St arrival would have been.

    I had my crayons out 18 months ago when the 24tph metro from Upminster was first mooted. Handing back to c2c the southern-most Underground platform seemed the gold-plated solution. Ideally I’d give the Romford shuttle to LUL – having 2 potential platforms for it at Upminster could allow an increase in frequency, maybe desirable for a Crossrail interchange for c2c-ers, with some hope of a seat in from Romford. I know, how does an S7 fit into Emerson Park!

    The easy option is a siding alongside the Ockendon branch. There used to be one, but it was ripped up in the 1994 resignalling and the IECC encroaches on part of the double width. What else is that building used for? I thought the signalling was transferring to Romford ROC in the very near future, so the potential space could come free.

  191. Anonymous says:

    @Greg Tingey

    Yes, the next few years are going to be tough. The GOBLIN is a niche route, but one which works well for many, and fills up fast.

    Though with full electrification and the Riverside extension, most people understand that things will be better in the long term. End result will be 4 coach trains on that route – much needed capacity.


    There is.

    Hornchurch and Upminster Bridge users back-track via Upminster on C2C.
    From Upney, Becontree, Dagenham Heathway and Dagenham East, its quicker to cross platform at Barking.

    That leaves Elm Park as a mystery … does anyone know whether Elm Parkers prefer BKG or UPM for C2C? I know its not “important”, but I am quite curious.

  192. Anonymous says:

    I suppose if you had two platforms at both ends, and of course an extra train, a 20 minute frequency Rompminster is just about possible. But would it be worth it?
    Arguably by the time you’ve paid for another train and driver (both of which would get a 20 minute layover for every 10 mins of activity) plus two new platforms and all the extra trackwork and signalling to make it work, it feels to me like a passing loop at Emerson Park and thus a 15 minute frequency would still give you the best BCR, however expensive that might be.
    I’m also sceptical of the idea that many c2cers are going to be keen to ride up to Romford to join a predominantly all-stations Crossrail.

  193. Malcolm says:

    @anonymous: a fortiori, a 20 minute service would actually need a total of three drivers and trains, one laying over at each end while the third runs. But all highly hypothetical, as you say, since (among other problems) the demand is not there.

  194. Nameless says:

    If you are going to use trainkm/h I presume that it should be calculated net of cabs and connecting gangways. This would avoid distortions arising from the number of cars in any given multiple unit.

  195. Anonymous says:

    Yes of course, it would actually need three, didn’t think that one through! So technically possible but very unlikely to be the best option if a frequency improvement ever became justifiable.

  196. Mark Townend says:

    @RichardH, 9 February 2016 at 22:24
    “The easy option is a siding alongside the Ockendon branch. There used to be one, but it was ripped up in the 1994 resignalling and the IECC encroaches on part of the double width. What else is that building used for? I thought the signalling was transferring to Romford ROC in the very near future, so the potential space could come free.”

    The electronic interlockings (originally classic SSI but may have been upgraded since to modern equivalents) are in the IECC building along with a shedload of telecommunications and datalink gadgetry that will remain connected to all the external equipment following control migration, and technicians are based there alongside the operators. I don’t know in this case but it is technically possible the interlockings could remain at Upminster as well to be remote controlled from the new ROC. That solution has been adopted elsewhere and can simplify the changeover process enormously, as well as permit easier handover of control of the LTS workstations to another ROC in an emergency.

    I’d say you could squeeze another track in there at a pinch but it may have to swing over into the green space in the junction V on a partly new alignment. If a turnback siding is what we’re aiming for though, there would be much less conflict if it was built as a centre siding facility between the Up and Down West Horndon lines spread apart to the east of the station. With a siding alongside the Ockendon branch, trains entering it would have to cross the Up Main, not the case with a centre siding.

  197. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: a deliberately neutral measure as to how you fill the pipe!

    On the other had some trains are wider than others – so how about hectares of floor space per hour :)?

  198. Greg Tingey says:

    Not so sure. In the AM peak, westbound GOBLIN trains are at 300% loading – yes, over 180 people in a 60-seat coach.
    So, 4-car units will be full & standing from day one, without any traffic increase.
    So, I am unconvinced about “better in the future”, for understandable reasons.

  199. timbeau says:

    “Hornchurch and Upminster Bridge users back-track via Upminster on C2C.”
    And quite legitimate as all three stations are in the same zone (as is Elm Park)

  200. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    But the 172s are 23m (nearly 24m) coaches and you can get over 190passengers on 20m coaches so I’m not sure they are quite full yet 😉

    Floor space is now usually rated at 4passengers/m^2 with upto 6/m^2 viewed as ok

    so 180pax/car is only 109% @4/m^2 or 89% @6/m^2

  201. Graham H says:

    @IanJ _ could be although the mix of seats and their arrangement within that floorspace varies so much. Useable floor space is, I very much agree, a much better metric that the old PIXC calculation when it comes to individual vehicles/sets. I pressed hard for that change both within the Department and the Board but because it was a change it was heavily resisted.

  202. Greg Tingey says:

    I was measuring PiXC – i.e. total number of standees.
    Believe me, I don’t think you could have got more than a couple more people in there ……..

  203. Anonymous says:


    Its nothing to do with Zones, more to do with expected journey time.

    From Elm Park I have a feeling its quicker via BKG rather than UPM, but I’m unsure which route they prefer.

  204. timbeau says:

    I appreciate it’s journey time which makes people double back, but they wouldn’t be allowed to do it (although it would be difficult to stop them) if they had to go out of zone to do it. You could be in trouble if you tried doubling back from Harold Wood via Shenfield if you only had a Zone 1-6 travelcard, or Shortlands to Bromley South (or Norwood Junction to East Croydon) with a Zone 1-4 one, or Neasden to Wembley park with a Zone 1-3 card

  205. Anonymous says:


    Okay, I see what you mean now (Zone Travelcards). Although if you are using PAYG, they couldn’t stop you if you have enough money.

    Interestingly, I have heard conflicting information as to whether Brentwood users can backtrack via Shenfield.

    Some say its not allowed, others say there are special provisions to compensate for Brentwood’s loss of fast trains.

  206. Malcolm says:

    I think a PAYG user, at least if inspected on the second part of an out-of-zone double back, can be fined for not having touched out and in-again at the doubling back point. And some people (not all) prefer to pay the correct amount regardless of whether they are going to be inspected.

  207. ngh says:

    Re Greg,


    A few DfT definitions from their rail stats glossary:

    Passengers in excess of capacity (PiXC):
    The number of standard class passengers on a service that are in excess of the standard class capacity. It is the difference between the standard class critical load and the standard class capacity, or zero if the critical load is within the capacity.

    Critical load point:
    The station where the standard class passenger load on a service is highest on arrival at (AM peak) or on departure from (PM peak) a city. Critical load points can vary from service to service, but will usually be at the same location for services on the same route.

    Standard class capacity
    Includes the number of standard class seats on the service and may include a standing allowance. No allowance for standing is made on a service when the time between stations before (AM) or after (PM) the critical load point is more than 20 minutes, but it is allowed when it is 20 minutes or less.

    Note the section in bold.
    On NR metro type services the standing allowance used to typically be 2 passengers/m^2 but has gone to 4PAX/m^2 (with LU for comparison using even higher numbers).

  208. Graham H says:

    @Greg – and the consequence of that is the absurd insertion of additional seats in the 450s just by the corridor connexions, just so as to “earn” additional standing capacity (when in fact, of course, it has precisely the opposite effect).

  209. Ronnie MB says:

    Re Brentwood: there does appear to be a positive easement in the National Routeing Guide that covers that specific situation:

    Customers travelling from Brentwood to Stratford (London) or beyond may double back via Shenfield. They may not leave the station. This easement applies in both directions.

    (I have specified positive easement because I am always amused by the fact that there are negative easements that Orwellianly restrict journeys that would otherwise be permitted!)

  210. Twopenny Tube says:

    “Measures to improve the working of the ‘Tilbury’ section of LMSR are being considered. Among the new facilities proposed is the running of further trains to Broad Street instead of Fenchurch Street, for which purpose certain platforms at Broad Street will be lengthened.”
    Railway Magazine January 1928 p.81

  211. Timbeau says:

    How would a Tilbury line train get to Broad Street?

  212. Malcolm says:

    via Old Ford, Homerton and the east curve at Dalston Junction?

  213. Man of Kent says:

    In the absence of having a Bradshaw to hand, probably by joining the NLR Poplar line (i.e. today’s DLR) at Bow. There was an east to north curve linking it with the LT&S route.

  214. Graham H says:

    Malcolm, you’re only encouraging them…

  215. Fandroid says:

    Via the site of the first railway murder! (2014 LR quiz refers). Now mostly lost beneath the East Cross route.

  216. Anonymously says:

    On a related note, if this article is accurate, then I expect c2c (as well as the adjacent District line) to get a lot busier in the next few years, since the surrounding area has some of the lowest property prices in London where there is a Tube station in close proximity:

    As for GOBLIN/Barking interchange becoming ridiculously busy once Barking Riverside is open, I am surprised that the plans to extend the DLR through here to Dagenham Dock haven’t been resurrected (using developer cash for funding) to ease the pressure this will create. Or is that far too sensible to contemplate doing? 😉

    Now excuse me while I go property hunting around Barking and Dagenham…..

  217. Anonymously says:


    ‘There was a time when the transport was in place first and development followed. Now there seems to be an accepted lag the other way.’

    The problem with the transport-first-then-property approach is that by the time your transport mode has opened, subsequent changes in the economic climate or planning policy might have scuppered the construction of any accompanying housing, leaving you with a pricey white elephant. Cf the eastern extremity of the Central line (particularly the now closed Ongar branch), which runs mainly through open countryside. Had the war and subsequent creation of the Green Belt not intervened, it would now be surrounded by housing!

    The best approach is to build property and transport access *at the same time*, so that both are open and available for use as close together in time as possible. AIUI, this is what is happening with the Battersea PS/NLE project, and I expect will happen in future with the OKR/BLE project. Pricey, but doable and (arguably) less financially risky to boot.

  218. Anonymously says:

    @Graham H…..If any Metric Martyrs catch sight of your proposed measure, I sure they’ll come after you with their pitchforks and force you to change it to miles length of train per hour! 😜

  219. Graham H says:

    @Anonymously – if not ells/hour. (And total measure of individual line capacity to be the result of multiplying ells/hour by useable floor space measured in hides)

  220. Anonymously,

    I am surprised that the plans to extend the DLR through here to Dagenham Dock haven’t been resurrected … Or is that far too sensible to contemplate doing?

    Personally, I think this is dead and the quicker all accept that it is dead and buried the better. It has the first obvious problem that there isn’t really anywhere useful for the DLR trains to go if they are to introduce a new service. And you could divert trains on the Beckton branch but that would raise howls of protest.

    To me it had shades of Crystal Palace tram extension – seemed like a good idea at the time but subsequent expected growth on the existing system limits opportunities for new branches. I could also mention extending the Bakerloo too far or the Metropolitan lines desire to tack a new Stanmore branch onto their existing network in the 1920s (only really properly resolved in the 1970s).

    Also there is the issue that (for good reasons) the DLR is a bit out of favour with TfL at the moment now they have found it has already really got close to its capacity limit in many places. Increasing capacity on London Overground, the alternative, may be expensive but it is generally doable.

  221. timbeau says:

    More useful if the loadings on the Riverside branch are more than a 4-car unit can take, and to reduce the throngs expected to change at Barking, would be to continue what the District/LTS started all those years ago and use LU to provide the local service on both LTS branches from Barking. Probably by an extension of the H&C to either Barking Riverside. It shouldn’t overload the H&C, as the users would be people who would otherwise change to it at Barking anyway.

    LO could then run the service to Grays, which is a longer distance and less suited to S7 stock – and would also require re-electrification for S7s to use it. Grays would also still have its direct services to Fenchurch Street (via Upminster)

  222. Anonymous says:


    No!!! Are you crazy?

    S7 stock is not ideal for suburban journeys … but then Overground trains are just as bad with their sideways seating.

    You are just punishing the users of Dagenham Dock, Rainham and Purfleet, and future Beam Parkers. This is a line which will experience rapid growth, and better served by a C2C service to Fenchurch Street.

    C2C-ers are already mad at the “metro” carriages (with the middle seat removed from the set of 3). Imagine what they would say if LO took over?

  223. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous – however, there are no spare paths into FST, so a service cannot be provided by c2c that way.

  224. timbeau says:

    “S7 stock is not ideal for suburban journeys ”
    Barking Riverside is no further out than Dagenham East – are you saying S7 stock is not suited to that either?

    “Overground trains are just as bad with their sideways seating. ”

    Are the Aventras to have this? Remember they will be used on the Chingford and Enfield lines as well as the Goblin. But I accept that depriving Rainham and Purfleet etc of their Fenchurch Street service might be a step too far.

  225. Greg Tingey says:

    Is the approaching (reached?) capacity limit the only reason DLR is not “in favour” with TfL presently, or are there other hidden reasons swimming around, below the surface?

    No, IIRC we are told we will be spared the indignity of the awful all-longitudinal seating in our new “Chenford” units

  226. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Greg Tingey,

    No idea, but, given the capacity limit is reached, it is a bit irrelevant.

    I can’t see any appetite for a DLR clone elsewhere. The only real advantage of the DLR nowadays is its ability to take tight curves but London Overground north of Shoreditch High Street shows what can be achieved on conventional rail by appropriate canting and maintaining the track in good order and alignment. Anyway, if you are not careful, tight curves are a long term liability due to wear and tear (and noise) and the need to modify the bogies – which leads to a less good ride on straight track.

  227. I suspect we are reaching a “Lewisham moment”. You can argue all you like about which service runs which branch into Barking from the east but it will probably be the ability to make the onward journey to the passenger’s chosen destination once west of Barking that matters (without making someone else’s journey impossible further down the line).

    For what it is worth, I still think that, after Crossrail 3, they will have to consider somehow splitting Crossrail 1 (losing either the Shenfield or Abbey Wood branch) Bakerloo/Fleet line style, so that they can get add a separate Crossrail branch or two from Barking – take your pick. This presumes though that somehow freight issue through Barking can be got around.

  228. quinlet says:

    it seems quite curious that the general view to converting a bit of c2c to District Line is pooh-poohed on this thread as providing a worse service which the passengers will object to, but on another, the conversion of the Hayes branch to the Bakerloo is soon as a positive move which the passengers would support.

  229. timbeau says:


    I don’t think everyone on the Hayes branch thinks it’s a good idea. they like their fast trans to Cannon Street.

    Anyway, the District Line, unlike the Bakerloo, has proper grown-up sized trains. (Pity about the lack of seats though)

  230. Harjinder Singh says:

    On Paddington – Southall Hayes via Ealing Broadway
    Both GWR and Heathrow Connect trains leaving Paddington in the evening rush are well used, but I mostly manage to get a seat.

    From Ealing Broadway the trains get very full, uncomfortably so, and after Southall & Hayes there are usually a few spare seats. Most of the passengers joining at Ealing Broadway come off the Central Line, some of the District.

    Heathrow Connect trains are usually lightly used after Hayes, due to the fact that Oyster and Freedom Pass cannot be used on that section. This silly systems theatens to continue after Crossrail comes into play. I thought even BAA could work out that collecting small fares of many is better than collecting big fares of few.

    All this is to show that the patterns that we see between C2C and the District line do not apply to all suburban rail services and the underground.

  231. Anonymous says:

    @quinlet 11 February 2016 at 15:48

    Because in South London the tube is seen as miles better than NR for various reasons (frequency, speed, reliability), whereas those factors count less north of the river (Especially on c2c, which is both faster than the tube and about as reliable as the tube).

  232. Malcolm says:


    The two notions are not comparable.

    The Haykerloo scheme has been widely publicised, studied, considered and argued about over a period of years, possibly decades. It has been the subject of at least one article on LR, studies by TfL, and much press publicity. Comments here about it are likely to be informed by all that.

    Whereas the idea of running District Line trains to somewhere currently only served by c2c is, as far as I know, a notion put forward in this forum within the last few days. Any comments on it here are likely to be individual’s own responses, not informed by any kind of study. Which does not invalidate them, of course, but makes comparisons with Haykerloo reactions quite meaningless.

  233. Anonymous says:

    Does the Hammersmith & City offer any options for extension East of Barking? Thinking particularly about the Barking – Dagenham – Grays section of the loop line, it doesn’t seem too outrageous when DLR extensions to Dagenham have been canvassed in the past. It could free up 4 peak paths on the ‘main’ route whilst providing a more frequent service to the loop which could otherwise not be accommodated at Fenchurch Street.

    [Minor edit so as to not alarm anyone. LBM]

  234. RichardH says:

    Putting Barking-Grays in the hands of LUL would just add to the number of people swapping onto c2c at Barking.

  235. Anonymous says:


    “Barking Riverside is no further out than Dagenham East – are you saying S7 stock is not suited to that either?”

    Honestly, yes. Thats a 35-40 minute journey (that’s a longer journey time than Chelmsford, Stevenage or Basildon to put things into perspective). So many stops.

    Why do you think the District line empties on to the C2C at Barking in the morning? This is one of the main issues raised in the article.

    Oh, its funny you mention Dagenham East in particular. Guess what LBBD council wants? (link below)

    Of course, given the current timetable problems, this one is going to be very difficult.

  236. Anonymous says:

    “Does the Hammersmith & City offer any options for extension East of Barking? Thinking particularly about the Barking – Dagenham – Grays section of the loop line”

    This is a terrible idea. I agree with RichardH – this will lead to more people crushing on to C2C at Barking.

  237. Timbeau says:

    “this will lead to more people crushing on to C2C at Barking.”
    No: if you leave things as they are they will still be using C2C west of Barking. The difference is that those who currently switch from C2C to the Underground at Barking would not have to change, and those who currently do not change from C2C would either have to do so (or some may prefer to stay on board if they are only going to West Ham)

  238. Malcolm says:

    All the discussion about how best to serve places east of Barking seems to be missing something. At present, every station east of Barking has a direct service to central London. (OK, in the case of Upminster, and a few other places, it is not used much for the full journey, but it is still there).

    But the Goblin extension to Riverside will not give the new station such a facility (unless you consider Gospel Oak to be central London). Realistically, people from some stations east of Barking are going to be obliged to change at Barking for a fast train to London. The discussion should really be about which passengers should do this, and how to get them to Barking. The paths exist to get them from Barking to Fenchurch Street, since more of the trains can be 12-car (stock permitting).

    Naturally, no-one with a through fast London service wants to lose it, and maybe they don’t have to. But, as 12-car trains may not be justified to everywhere east of Barking (and to some places are not possible), then there may yet be more Barking interchange. Whether from an S7 train or any other is up for grabs.

  239. Anonymous says:


    The number of people who change from Tube to C2C at Barking is greater than the other way round.

    Your idea for the tube to takeover the loop line would inconvenience more people than it will benefit.

  240. Timbeau says:

    How about the original suggestion of Riverside being served by the Tube instead of the Goblin?

  241. Anonymous says:


    For Barking Riverside, if if had to be a choice of H&C or GOBLIN, then i’d go with H&C, simply because it leads to Central London rather than Gospel Oak.

    I’d still expect many people to change to the C2C for speed, but not as extreme a problem as GOBLIN (which is a niche route after all).

  242. Mark Townend says:

    If you want an alternative central London destination for the Grays line, how about another eastern branch for Crossrail, via Forest Gate. I like the idea of H&C to Barking Riverside but I’m struggling to see an easy way to rearrange the junctions neccessary for that at Barking. Extending the Overground Gospel Oak line is much easier by contrast, as you just go over the existing flyover like the freights instead of turning left into the bay.

  243. Anonymous says:

    @Mark Townend

    Crossrail’s capacity will probably be entirely used by the existing network.

    C2C have played with the idea of operating more services to Stratford & Liverpool Street once Crossrail starts, but TFL have questioned whether this is viable.

    Could it be a solution?

  244. Malcolm says:

    Increase in staff costs. Another factor which I feel is important is the fading (though not complete disappearance) of the notion of working class. I suspect (though I do not have the figures) that in BR days, a wages clerk would would be paid more than an engine driver, one being a “white collar” job. Probably not the case today, and quite right too.

  245. Mark Townend says:


    The flat junction and double track through Forest Gate and Stratford would be a limiting factor, but presumably the Shenfield line will host see only about half of the total Crossrail core service, so assuming a similar capacity could be made available on each of it’s branches that must leave at least some paths available diverging at Stratford into Liverpool Street on the old Electrics. Crossrail must release some terminal platform capacity at Liverpool Street itself.

  246. RichardH says:

    @ Mark Townsend

    How to get the H&C onto the Tilbury loop? Assuming they’d use the current Tilbury platforms, then:
    Eastbound – branch left before the Goblin line comes in from the left and dive under the Goblin tracks to join the down Goblin line. Hopefully HS1 is not in the way there.
    Westbound – drop off the Goblin flyover between the down main and up District. Would be steep but a descent. There’s a spare bridge span there over the Roding.

    Crayons back in box now.

  247. ngh says:

    Re Mark and Anonymous,

    NR, DfT and TfL already have plans for using up all the capacity without involving anything C2C wise.

    Remember there are still the Crossrail services that won’t go in the tunnel at Pudding Mill Lane but will terminate at Liverpool Street and some of the slow GEML platforms going over to the fasts (so more services can be run) and the loss of 1 platform for lengthening reasons.

  248. ngh,

    Indeed. I do find it a bit puzzling to understand why people don’t realise that any future capacity released will have almost certainly have already been reassigned for some other purpose long ago and proponents of various schemes cannot simply point to future release of capacity and presume it would be available for their pet project. If they can produce a better case for its use then that is different. This presumption is just one of the traps that BML2 falls into.

    In the case of Liverpool Street there may be a bit of extra capacity in future beyond that already spoken for once Bow Junction is sorted out but I think that is not now due until around 2023. It should be obvious that there is no future identified spare capacity at Liverpool Street otherwise Enfield Council could have simply proposed a Meridian Water – Liverpool Street shuttle service thus making an application for Judicial Review completely unnecessary.

    In a similar manner what really matters is maximising capacity into the only two termini serving East London (Liverpool St and Fenchurch St). There is a bit of an opportunity to divert from one to the other so it doesn’t matter too much which terminus and approach is upgraded (or alternative route created). If people want to ponder over how the branches east of Barking are best served then that is fine but it is not addressing the core problem.

  249. Graham H says:

    @PoP -indeed, as early as 1990 we in NSE identified the long term problem on the eastern side of the capital as being lack of terminal capacity. The very high cost of tackling that, coupled with the desirability of getting (in those days) the national rail network into Canary Wharf as the next major commuter market was what triggered the thoughts mentioned earlier about a branch off the LTS via the Wharf and back into N Kent*. Maybe even cheaper than buying back a slice of Broadgate.

    *My restless Faeber and Castells draw attention to a Kentish leg via Lewisham to Bromley/Hayes in place of some of the Thamesside routeings that seemed desirable a generation ago,but I have severely chastised them and told them to concentrate on mapping the local ditches as part of our Localism drainage project. Pure mischief on their part.

  250. MickH says:

    Not sure that our planners really appreciate the scale of the problem. From posts it’s clear that LR people have some inclination. Barking Riverside will grow to 10800 homes once the railway is in place. Chafford Hundred in comparison has half the number. Annual usage of the station is 2 million. So we might expect 4 million from BR mostly transferring at Barking wouldn’t you say. There’s no way the system will cope without major infrastructure investment between Barking and the City. Doesn’t matter that it’s not considered top 10 priority. Planners need to stop hiding their heads in the sand.

  251. THC says:

    Mick, without wanting to detract from the overall argument you raise, you appear not to factor in Lakeside footfall (substantial) into your Chafford Hundred extrapolation. So the 4m pax pa you cite as a possible for Barking Riverside – or about 11,000 each day – is likely to be a little on the high side, no? Especially when you consider that, as average household size in London in 2011 was 2.4, a QADA points to a Barking Riverside population of somewhere in the vicinity of 30,000 souls when complete.


  252. MickH says:

    @ THC
    Yes, Lakeside is a factor which did occur to me but there are possibly more relevant factors the other way. Chafford Hundred is in area where the car is the main means of transport where as Barking Riverside can be expected to be more reliant on public transport. Also Chafford Hundred residents are split in there work between Essex and London whereas Barking Riverside will be almost exclusively London.
    Clearly only my amateur suppositions – but a serious indication of what might happen.

  253. Jonathan says:

    While this has been the case for a number of years it is interesting to note that fares on c2c are generally £3-5 cheaper one way than their nearest greater anglia counterpart – compare Laindon vs Billericay, Pitsea vs Wickford, Southend V vs Southend C. Plus the c2c trains are cleaner, newer and faster! With the endless engineering works on Greater Anglia passengers are quickly realising on a Saturday it is cheaper on the c2c route and I wonder whether that is having a small impact for those who drive to the station.

  254. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Just spent hours catching up on all the posts here. One of the most intriguing things was that linked LBBD report. It said B&D has the highest birth rate in the country which must surely be giving someone nightmares as to what the area’s demands will be in 15-20 years time (assuming no great movement of families out of the area). And that’s before more people move in, more housing is developed / densified and more business development takes place.

    The other striking things from the range of comments are

    1. Ngh believing the GOBLIN may not be fully overcrowded yet. 😉
    2. The need for something urgent to be done to improve capacity at Barking Station and to support future growth in patronage.
    3. That C2C probably need to go back to DfT and rejig their franchise plans and cost phasings to bring forward new rolling stock arrivals. I’m not talking about short term hires here – it’s about the new trains they intend to get. They need them much earlier than planned. I assume the extra costs and their phasing are a key element of the franchise’s costings.
    4. Greg’s belief that the GOBLIN 4 car trains will be full from day one. 🙂
    5. That people still haven’t accepted that the idea of nice 2+2 transverse seating on London commuter trains is going rapidly out of fashion. We are heading for Tokyo style crush loading so wave goodbye to comfy trains unless we are going to adopt Japanese rigour in operational planning and execution and asset investment to get much higher capacity out of what we have. Even then comfy trains will be gone in 15-20 years time.
    6. Given the apparent “lack of demand” for District services east of Barkng because everyone wants a fast train I wonder what capability LU are buying in the new signalling system and whether it will ever be sensible to run a very intensive service east of Barking.
    7. NgH’s remark that Network Rail are still planning and working to 30 second intervals for train operations. While I am sure a lot has to happen “behind the scenes” to facilitate a move to smaller intervals that strikes me as a really positive thing to do. Will Crossrail work to smaller intervals following investment in new and upgraded assets and systems? If not why not?
    8. While I know there are constraints I can certainly see some benefits in running extra trains through Rainham to Grays (be they GOBLIN or H&C). IIU Timbeau correctly he proposed adding these on top of C2C’s existing service. That could be truly revolutionary – half hourly off peak service at Rainham and only x20 in the peaks is shockingly poor given the area is hardly devoid of people. And yes I have used trains from there. It’s a bit ridiculous that the service on HS1 is more frequent – you can hear it whizzing past while you wait for your white C2C charger to arrive.
    9. I have no instant cure for C2C’s current or future woes.

  255. Anonymous says:

    In the end I think c2c will have no option but to cut more Barking calls, and probably a few more Upminster calls. A less frequent service at these stations will push a few people, disappointed, back onto the District line and free up space for the longer distance crowd. It’ll be done gradually to avoid too much of an outcry. A service more like 4tph at Barking and Upminster will probably be enough to make the District line more attractive for many journeys whilst retaining a basic turn-up-and-go frequency.

  256. Anonymously says:

    So why wasn’t a H&C extension to Barking Riverside considered instead of GOBLIN? Was it purely due to cost/BCR reasons?

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the DLR extension really could have helped (if only to reduce the inevitable pressure on the GOBLIN by giving passengers a choice of two alternative routes into London). But I accept PoPs explanations as to why this proposal is as dead as a dodo.

    Methinks TfL are going to deeply regret this once the extension is open and they see what happens at Barking as everyone decamps off the GOBLIN trains onto c2c/LU……

  257. Greg Tingey says:

    I note the “smileys” on your points 1 & 4
    I am now out-of-date, but I have personally seen the peak loadings on GOBLIN.
    If people are prepared, right now, to have & force themselves into 300+% loading on a 2-car train, then I think you can guarantee 150% loadings on 4-car trains, don’t you?
    [Minor snip. PoP]

    as everyone decamps off the GOBLIN trains onto c2c/LU……
    Are you sure about that?
    The Goblin trains are already at 150-200% loading when they leave Barking, err, um …

  258. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    1. Just rebutting Greg’s claim that is was at 300% capacity rather than circa 100% in reality

    5. Some of the C2c users can’t let go of of 3+2 let alone 2+2…

    3. I think the original plan (partly due to the bid requirements) was that there would be 2 options C2C rolling stock either:
    a) added to and retain existing stock or
    b) completely replaced
    depending on what ROSCOs and manufacturers could offer.

    If you add the new stock early it would effectively push towards a) due to the leases on the existing stock which may or may not have been C2C’s plan.

  259. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    If 1 person is standing it does not mean the loading is more than 100%….

    The lowest current (DfT/TfL/ other TOC metro service) definition of 100% would be circa 60 people standing on a Goblin car (2pax/m^2) or the new standard being around 120 people standing /car (4pax/m^2)

    300% based on standard definitions could be 360-540pax/car which I would like to see (Along with some officials from Guinness World records)

  260. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg / Ngh – I was trying to be a little bit humorous about the GOBLIN crowding. I know it’s bad – I travelled on a PM peak train out of Barking a few months ago and saw it arrive. It was almost like those comedy sketches where there is an impossible number of people getting off a vehicle. I have no doubt trains will be busy but I will be surprised if 4 car trains are as badly crowded as 2 car DMUs straight away.

    Of course it is not politically “acceptable” to suggest people won’t get a seat which is why the fiction that “improvements” will provide one are bare faced lies. There are going to be a lot of people disappointed with the new Thameslink trains for example. That project was long touted as the solution to overcrowding whereas all it will do is encourage even more crowding. People may hate the TfL style layout but the imperative surely is for people to be able to travel? I know this is one of the “things” but we need some honesty about the rising demand for travel means for rolling stock design and comfort levels.

  261. RichardH says:


    ‘5. Some of the C2c users can’t let go of of 3+2 let alone 2+2…’

    I suppose this is because, as per your earlier quote :

    Standard class capacity
    Includes the number of standard class seats on the service and may include a standing allowance. No allowance for standing is made on a service when the time between stations before (AM) or after (PM) the critical load point is more than 20 minutes, but it is allowed when it is 20 minutes or less.

    Only Barking, West Ham and Limehouse are within 20 mins of Fenchurch St. How the people of Upminster must laugh at the idea that the rules say they should get a seat. None did on my carriage this morning, and today is a quiet day (half term).

    Having a second large destination point makes it all more complicated. Upminster, West Horndon, Dagenham Dock and Rainham are all usually within 20 mins of West Ham so in theory can be expected to stand. ‘Are you going to Fenchurch St? After you then . . .’

  262. Pedantic of Purley says:

    How the people of Upminster must laugh at the idea that the rules say they should get a seat.

    But surely, if Limehouse is within 20 minutes of Upminster and Limehouse is the critical load point then the rules say there is no requirement to provide you with a seat? I can’t imagine many people will get on at Limehouse in the morning but plenty will get off. You don’t actually need many – only more than get on – to make it the critical load point. So Limehouse is the critical load point and it makes sense (to c2c) to stop all trains that call at Upminster there because it prevents a breach of the max 20 minutes standing rule.

    I think you are confusing “shouldn’t be expected to stand for more than twenty minutes up to the critical load point” rule and the PIXC rule. The Passengers in eXcess of Capacity rule says you shouldn’t have more standing passengers than the rolling stock can comfortably accommodate. This, as I understand it, applies regardless of length of journey on where the train stops. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have standing passengers.

  263. timbeau says:

    @Richard H
    “Having a second large destination point makes it all more complicated. Upminster, West Horndon, Dagenham Dock and Rainham are all usually within 20 mins of West Ham so in theory can be expected to stand. ‘Are you going to Fenchurch St? After you then . . .’”
    If your Dagenham Dock-FSt passenger gets a seat at West Ham vacated by someone baling out there, they didn’t have to stand for more than twenty minutes and don’t count as Pixcies. However, if West Ham is anything like Wimbledon in that regard, you have to be very quick, and very pushy!

    “as everyone decamps off the GOBLIN trains onto c2c/LU……
    Are you sure about that?”
    Maybe not everyone, but I would expect that for the Barking Riversiders it will mainly act as a feeder to the radial routes at Barking (C2C and District). However busy the trains will be both east and west of Barking, only a minority would NOT be changing there – with all that implies for dwell times and thus punctuality.

  264. MickH says:

    Regarding passengers who might use lul instead of c2c, what improvement in journey times if any is expected once all D stock is gone and new signalling in place?
    Even a few minutes might influence those travelling back to Upminster to catch c2c services. Does anyone know?

  265. ngh says:

    Re Richard H,

    The wording actually has slightly different meaning to what you think…

    Ignore the critical load point part which causes confusion and should probably be in brackets as it just defines the peak flow direction which is important for Thameslink etc. which then gives the clearer:
    No allowance for standing is made on a service when the time between stations* is more than 20 minutes, but it is allowed when it is 20 minutes or less.
    *(before (AM) or after (PM) the critical load point)

    Hence the importance to C2C of adding the Barking, West Ham, Upminister stops as all gaps are then less than 20 minutes which is the key-thing (else Limehouse to Laindon could cause problems by being more, West Ham – Laindon is also an issue) so you can reduce seating and have much more standing.
    Laindon – Chalkwell as max non stop gap is also needed for the 20min rule…

  266. Patrickov says:

    If more trains for c2c can cope with all the future demands then skip this comment. If not, TfL should seriously research on feasibility of passing loop and allow the District to operate some semi-fast. That is, all stations from Upminster to Barking, then West Ham, Mile End, Whitechapel and Tower Hill before resuming all stations in the City. Leave the H&C to sweep up local folks.

  267. Patrickov,

    Perhaps this would a good time to summarise some of the basic points, most of which I think are relatively uncontroversial:

    i) The immediate problem could be solved simply by more rolling stock – no need for grandiose schemes although the people of Southend-on-Sea may be a unhappy with any rolling stock solution that means their journey taking slightly longer.

    ii) Various proposed developments suggest that in the medium term it may not simply be a case of getting enough rolling stock because of those planned developments (e.g. Beam Park).

    iii) The main problem for the future is getting capacity into central London (Liverpool St, Fenchurch St, 50% of Crossrail 1, District and Hammersmith & City trains).

    iv) One can argue about which branch east of Barking should in future be run by what service and whether it is fast, slow, has additional passing loops or whatever but that doesn’t address the issue of capacity into London as described in iii).

    v) Even though it does not solve iii) there may be a case for taking the Grays-Barking service away from c2c to relieve pressure on Fenchurch Street. These trains have to go somewhere though. Losing this route would reduce flexibility for c2c at times of disruption. Other proposals may have some merit for other reasons (e.g. reduced journey time, fewer changes).

    vi) If demand continues to outstrip supply, in the very long term some kind of Crossrail proposal may assist whether it is a completely new East-West Crossrail or at least separating the eastern Crossrail 1 branches with each assigned to its own Crossrail route.

    vii) Any solution has to take freight issues into account.

  268. Anonymous says:


    Given TfL’s adversion to running fast trains on the sub-surface railway (as demonstrated by the off peak service implemented on the Met in 2011 which removed off peak fast services to Amersham) it seems unlikely they would spend serious amounts of money to implement it where the infrastructure to allow it to happen where it doesn’t currently exist.

  269. Graham H says:

    @PoP – congratulations on summarising what has been a somewhat emotively charged discussion!

  270. timbeau says:

    “No allowance for standing is made on a service when the time between stations* is more than 20 minutes, but it is allowed when it is 20 minutes or less.”

    So it is irrelevant whether anyone actually gets on or off – as long as the train has no leg longer than twenty minutes, standing isn’t seen as an issue.

    If a train runs non-stop to Barking from FSt, anyone going to Barking must realise that if they don’t get a seat immediately they will be standing for the entire distance, whereas if they take a stopping service, every call is a potential opportunity to grab a seat from an alighting passenger.

  271. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    Indeed and the big jackpot with this nationally would be sorting the fast platforms at Clapham Jn as Woking – Clapham Jn is just under the magic number (as are next big stops too: Woking – Basingstoke – Winchester, the stops beyond are always sub 20mins anyway).

  272. Patrickov says:


    I am most grateful for your insightful and, as I had commented in person, professional summary.

    If the capacity into the City is the main problem, then the only viable very-long-term solution is to develop commerce and industry of the Thames Estuary better, even more so than it is now, such that the population in between can have more choice on their commute, leisure, etc. (Which means exaggerated schemes like Boris Island can be agreeable if we take this into account)

    Apart from that, I dare to say “Semi-fasting” District is probably the simplest and most practical medium-to-long-term solution.

    The main reason is that it does not require much additional capacity — even for the ones into the City — apart from the District needing to overtake H&C somewhere between Tower Hill (or can be as close as Whitechapel) and Barking. Even if tunneling or widening is needed, doing it on the District definitely costs less than building a third Crossrail. The service pattern after that is rather off the mark so I’m not going into detail, but expect every District train to go to at least Barking.

    No doubt “Semi-fasting” District attracts folks east of Barking to calmly stay on instead of hopping on to c2c. This may even reduce the proportion of changing passengers at FST / Barking / etc., which may conserve train dwell times, improving efficiency.

    And of course, this plan does not interfere freight traffic, unlike anything dealing with National Rail.

    @Anonymous 14:31

    The District is a different case from the Met. The most obvious difference is, of course, the line all the way to Upminster is still within Greater London, while the section of the Met most upset by TfL isn’t. IMHO “Semi-fasting” District is an agreement with the Met 2011 mentality instead of a deviation.

    Besides, the Met is already semi-fast with whatever service it’s providing now. I think we all know who’s the real all-stoppers there 😉

  273. timbeau says:

    ““Semi-fasting” District is probably the simplest and most practical medium-to-long-term solution”
    If I’ve understood your previous comments “TfL should seriously research on feasibility of passing loop ………. all stations from Upminster to Barking, then West Ham, Mile End, Whitechapel and Tower Hill ” we are talking serious digging to be able to add passing loops at Bow Road and Aldgate East!
    And I can’t see”the District needing to overtake H&C somewhere between Tower Hill (or can be as close as Whitechapel) and Barking” being met by a simple loop – just travel between Finchley Road and Wembley park and imagine how tricky that would be to operate if the Met could only overtake the Jub when the latter is in a station!
    You would almost certainly need a complete double track route at main line (S stock) gauge all the way from Barking to Tower Hill. And fitting in a grade separated junction at Tower Hill would be a challenge, to say the least.

    I suspect the only reason the idea of extending Tower Hill terminators further east is not as notorious a notion as similar proposals for the Met to burrow beyond Aldgate is because it is less often suggested, and that is probably only because the services that terminate at Aldgate have their own colour on the map whereas those which terminate at Tower Hill do not!

    Further out, you are really suggesting a three tier service, a bit like the Jub/Met/Chiltern. Either way you need two extra tracks. In which case it matters little whether the middle tier is provided by C2C or District. They still need somewhere to go in the City.

  274. Patrickov,

    Hey ho, here we go again. The problem here with fast District trains is pretty much the same as at Barking and Lewisham – getting distracted by sideshows and not focusing on capacity.

    Let’s work on the basis of the post SSR resignalling which we are now suppose to call the Four Lines Modernisation. Your capacity is determined by Aldgate triangle. This should allow 32tph through Aldgate East as shown in this diagram.

    Now you can play around to your hearts content and introduce fast District trains, semi-fast District trains, extend the Hammersmith and City to Southend and a host of other things but you still have the fundamental problem that you are limited to 32tph through Aldgate East.

    If you wanted to do something that actually achieved something, capacitywise, then I would suggest the best bet is to make the Hammersmith & City line S8 rather than S7 stock. That would be very expensive with challenges at Baker Street, Edgware Road and Hammersmith (station and sidings) and probably also at other places. Unlike running fast trains though, it actually addresses the fundamental problem of increasing capacity.

  275. timbeau says:

    “doing it on the District definitely costs less than building a third Crossrail”

    I doubt that, certainly on a per mile basis. Any new tunnel would have to comply with modern standards, whether an extension to an existing line or a new one.

    And any tunnel would have to have the same diameter either way.

    (Unless you are planning continental-gauge double-deckers for your hypothetical XR3?)

  276. timbeau says:

    “And fitting in a grade separated junction at Tower Hill would be a challenge, to say the least.”

    Well, you could avoid it – by scrapping the Circle Line. If you’ve got four tracks east of Aldgate East, you can send all trains from the north side (existing H&C and Circle – and Met!) on two of them and all trains from the south side (District & Circle) on the other two. That’s still a long tunnel (and/or viaduct) you’ve got to build between Aldgate East and Barking. Not to mention a complete subterranean rebuild of Mile End, Whitechapel, and Aldgate East (needed for interchange as both Aldgate station and the direct route from Liv St to Tower Hill have gone),

  277. Greg Tingey says:

    ngh & everybody
    OK so 124 people standing in a coach with 60 seats is ONLY 200% loading – it was deeply, deeply unpleasant, let me tell you.
    If this is deemed “acceptable” then something has gone badly wrong – OK?

    v) Err, the flexibility & usefulness of the Ockenden loop is such that it should be double-tracked for as much as is reasonably possible of its length
    vii) Freight, yes, well … I’m afraid the putative Pitsea – GEML crayon-link is going to be necessary, & probably sooner than many people think.

  278. Greg,

    Err, the flexibility & usefulness of the Ockenden loop is such that it should be double-tracked for as much as is reasonably possible of its length


    I concede it would be a good idea to aid recovery in times of disruption or, if desired, to re-route more trains that way (can’t see Laindon, Basildon etc being too happy about that). But it wouldn’t increase overall capacity and would cost a lot of money and for what? I suspect that money could be better used elsewhere.

    I suspect the more critical thing is to break the long single track section by having two platforms at Chafford Hundred but I have no idea how practical that would be or how much it would cost.

  279. MickH says:

    Regret extra platform at CH is least likely option as some fool built the existing platform in the middle of the trackbed. There’s consequently no space for another platform.
    In fact the branch was built with doubling in mind. Overbridges are double width and underbridges have double abutments although single spans.
    Originally the line was double for several hundred yards at both ends.

  280. MickH says:

    …and hopefully the planned link roads to the lower Thames crossing will also be built with doubling allowed for.

  281. Hedgehog says:

    What’s wrong with Fenchurch – Upminster shuttles, calling only at Limehouse, West Ham and Barking, before making a speedy turn-around at Upminster? It’ll be difficult to co-ordinate but it’ll have the effect of increasing capacity where it’s needed most – on the track nearest London.

  282. Patrickov says:

    @Pop , @timbeau et al.

    Per mile basis, timbeau is right. I mainly aimed for less mileage, as any XR3 probably has to plough through more expensive places *on top of* wherever any possible District widening would have to deal with. I admit that doing something right inside Tower Hill station (making its alignment somewhat comparable to Gloucester Road at least) is the furthest west I think necessary, and it would have removed some of the Aldgate conflict.

    I admit that I didn’t aim to increase capacity further into the city because I didn’t realize enough that Tower Hill terminators might be serving as a (partial) continuation of c2c trains. If we need even more capacity then what I had said would be little more than reducing unnecessary interchanges and squeezing things out, though Central could have helped in that scenario had XR2 been built to Epping.

  283. Ian J says:

    @PoP: If you wanted to do something that actually achieved something, capacitywise, then I would suggest the best bet is to make the Hammersmith & City line S8 rather than S7 stock

    Or swap the 8tph Hammersmith and City to Barking with 8tph of the 16 tph Metropolitan Line Aldgate terminators? Then you avoid having to extend platforms at Baker St, Edgware Rd, etc. (at the cost of making the Metropolitan Line even longer).

  284. Anonymous says:

    @PoP @Patrickov
    I understand that capacity into Central London is an issue, but I understood there to be another issue highlighted in this discussion – that of interlopers between Barking and Upminster choosing c2c rather than the District line because it’s a sensible thing for them to do (the tragedy of the commons etc) and this phenomenon resulting in empty trains at the East end of the District.

    I believe @Patrickov’s initial suggestion may have originated from the assumption that this might result in unused/underused capacity all the way into Central London on the District, and that if you could find a way to speed up the District journey from Upminster to Tower Hill you could tempt some of the interlopers back from c2c?

    Now, I don’t know if this assumption is true or not, but one could argue that even if it isn’t, more District capacity might nonetheless be available via the SSR/”4 lines” resignalling and/or the Tower Hill terminators.

    I know this is all a bit tenuous, but if we were to work hypothetically with the assumptions that:
    – The District/H&C might have unused/underused capacity West of Bromley-BB, either on the existing service or following the upgrade.
    – c2c is only constrained by platforms at FST and could otherwise run tighter headways, assuming the same stops are made by all services.
    – Grade separation at Barking between District and c2c pretty much exists already and could be achieved by adding some crossovers in the right places
    – Grade separation West of Bromley-BB is achievable (bye-bye allotments!) and not too costly
    – The signalling systems can deal with it
    – We ignore the very real problem of traction power!

    …then it would be possible to run District services “fast” on the c2c tracks between Barking and Bow Road with just a stop at West Ham, leaving the H&C to pick up the service at the intermediate stations, thus speeding up the journey time for folks at the Upminster end and tempting interlopers back from c2c.

    In the end, I think there are too many issues for this to be feasible, but I reckon it might be more the kind of hypothetical solution and reasoning @Patrickov was getting at?

  285. Patrickov says:

    @Anonymous 01:45

    Very grateful for your support.

    Meanwhile, I tend to keep c2c independent of the District, just like it is now, however mad it might be. Otherwise I might have unnecessarily complicated matters.

    What I meant is that even something as radical as building another pair of tracks all the way from Tower Hill to Barking is still cheaper than a wholesome XR3, which probably would have to dig from Marylebone on top of what I said.

    PoP and others probably wanted to point out that what I said would help little (if any) of boosting capacity into the City and West End, because the District is already handling everything from the East.

  286. MiaM says:

    Most things worth saying has already been said.

    Would be possible at all to add more tracks to the C2C alignment west of Barking? It looks like there are tiny strips of railway land and ordinary roads nearby the existing tracks. If that would be possible then a connection to the SSR could take over the H&C and Met services. By taking over theese services and not the District services it would be a bit easier to build some kind of interchange between the lines. In this secnario the Circle line might be replaced by more H&C and District services.

    With (in the near future post resignalling) 32TPH both northwest and southwest of Aldgate and more track capacity east of Barking than west of Barking this seems like something that would give a good CBR.

    Capacity-wise the DLR takes far fewer passengers per hour than a fully utilized SSR. Therefore it might be acceptable to terminate the DLR at Limehouse in the peak hours (and share tracks with a new SSR express section off-peak) and use the existing DLR tracks for a new SSR express line.

    P.S. are there any capacity left on the District and H&C between Barking and the Aldgate area? If so a quick fix could be to skip some stations in the peak travel direction in the peak hours. Passengers wanting to travel from/to theese stations in the peak would have to double up. An inconvenience for them but they might not get any longer journey times. The point of doing this would be to get more passengers to use the SSR instead of C2C.

    In the long term one thing that the society on a higher level could change is to somehow spread out the peak hours more. The railways have far more capacity than is used under all operating hours and we also have a socieaty with work hours made to fit morning people which not only is a waste of infrastructure capacity but also a waste of human capital with all evening/night people not performing as best as they could if they were allowed to work later. But sadly this is politics far above transportation.

  287. Ian J says:

    @MiaM: Capacity-wise the DLR takes far fewer passengers per hour than a fully utilized SSR

    Really? Stated capacity of an S7 train is 865 people, a three-car DLR is 284 x 3 = 852. There are currently 20 tph between Bank/Tower Gateway and points east. So you would have to run at least 20 tph on the new express line just to break even (and more if it were possible to reduce headways or increase capacity of trains on the DLR). Which would mean that you were spending a lot of money to get only a few trains per hour extra total capacity.

    The point of doing this would be to get more passengers to use the SSR instead of C2C

    The easier way of getting more passengers to use the SSR instead of C2C would be to stop fewer C2C trains at the SSR stations.

  288. 100andthirty says:

    IanJ regarding stated capacities, the S7 trains are some 30m longer than 3 car DLR sets. S7 sets are also a little wider. Therefore it is inevitable that the capacity of the LU train is significantly higher. I imagine that DLR and LU have counted standees based on different standee density. The figure I have available for S7 is 1035 passengers, all seats taken and 5 passengers per square metre.

  289. Milton Clevedon says:

    There are some logistical issues here which are at least simple to grasp:
    * The Thames Gateway zone is growing in population, many of whom want to access Central London, Canary Wharf or Stratford. So travelling pressures are going to get worse not better.
    * Trying to make services unattractive to use (fewer stops, literally as a ‘stop gap’) won’t prevent these pressures building up so is not a long term solution.
    * Because of railway geography, c2c manages to miss the latter two destinations, so do the District and H&C lines, as will an extended Goblin to Barking Riverside.
    * DLR and Jubilee however do serve both Canary and Stratford, so that the pressure falls on those lines as well as c2c, with West Ham a critical interchange.

    In the quest to define railway schemes that might actually address the problem, perhaps a combination of elements focused on passengers’ destinations might get closer to a solution:
    * for Stratford, a 6 tph Goblin (that’s probably the limit of line capacity) and a quality interchange, marketed as such, between Forest Gate Crossrail and Wanstead Park. That’s another 1,000-1,200 passengers per hour capacity on top of 4 tph, more if 5-car trains. This could at least relieve some pressures at West Ham.
    * for Canary, a DLR Barking extension with a direct Barking-Canary service subject to adequate line capacity south of Poplar. 5,000 passengers per hour, anyone? Larger relief at West Ham/Limehouse, also better orbital access via Barking.
    * for the City, is the DLR viaduct at Tower Gateway strong enough (or could be strengthened) to take the weight of c2c trains? If so, build that Tower Hill DLR station, and re-use TG as a fifth Fenchurch Street platform for a 4 tph Grays or Barking Riverside-City shuttle. 7,200 passengers per hour if Crossrail-length 11-car trains. c2c operating capability would need to rise to 24 tph.

    Cumulatively some or all of this would be much lower cost than any Crossrail X, and probably put off a long way the day that’s needed.

  290. Greg Tingey says:

    A lot of the solum S of Ockenden is easily convertible to double – except where the railway goes over a river & an M-way style road, so probably not, though the loop at Ockendon could be extended S by a mile, I guess – but it might not be financially worth it.
    As for Chafford Hundred HERE is a very close-up aerial view – zoom out for a bigger picture, or move S to see how far it is to the double-track link from Grays, which used to extend much further N than at present.
    It looks doable from these pictures & that might be worth it, in the long term, aince you could then increase services over that branch.
    But, as we all have seem to have agreed, what “c2c” really needs is more units – right now.

  291. Greg Tingey says:

    Mick H
    That can be remedied, though you’d have to close the station whilst you demolished the platform … ( Shades of the Preston Park “error” )
    Didn’t Chiltern do exactly that, somewhere, so there is precedent… (?)

  292. Greg Tingey says:

    I note your suggestion of 5-cars on the Goblin.
    I’m actually wondering which will come first, a train every 10 minutes ( 6tph) or 5-car sets, because one or the other is going to be wanted, pretty quickly.
    Which is cheaper in the short term – I suspect 5-car sets, because you then “only” have to order extra intermediate carriages & this has already been done for the NLL units, so a known problem & probably cheaper than ordering another, say 4 complete sets.

  293. Milton Clevedon says:

    Possibly so. 5-car might also be do-able with SDO, so few platform lengthenings required. However, overall capacity would be higher with a more frequent service. The problem with higher frequency is managing the freight train pathing, and the turnround time and junction occupation time at Gospel Oak in and out of the bay platform – I think that is the main limitation on permissible frequency.

  294. Moosealot says:

    @Milton Clevedon
    Problem with 5-car Goblin is the bay platform at GO. 4 cars looks eminently doable, pretty much a case of moving the buffer stops back a few feet and the existing platform will take it. Extending the bay to the West any more than that would not be possible because the junction gets in the way, and to the East the bay joins the main track immediately before a bridge so cannot be extended that way. A 5th car would block the main line (handily, both Google and Apple maps both show a 2-car DMU in the bay platform for scale).

    Not an insurmountable problem to build an additional single-track viaduct to the side of the existing bridge, but significantly more expensive and disruptive than ‘just’ ordering some slightly longer trains.

  295. Milton Clevedon says:

    Thanks for that. Looks like GO is the bottleneck then for both options, 5-car or 6 tph. Think TfL has explored 5 tph with 4-cars as one possibility, though interchange timings at GO are then variable.

  296. MickH says:

    @ Greg Tingey
    You may have misinterpreted the aerial picture. The station is beside an old chalk quarry in which the shopping centre was built. You can make out in the shot the fence line west of the railway. Immediately beyond is a 50 foot vertical cliff!
    Regarding river bridges (I suppose you mean the Stifford viaduct over the Mardyke) and Motorway bridges these are all built for double track. Bar the installation of a few additional spans over roads & footpaths all that’s needed is skewing of the existing track, rewiring and signalling….
    except for CH station.
    Some years ago was told by a relative who then worked for one of the rail freight companies that NR (or maybe RT at the time) seriously considering doubling but were shocked when they found how CH station was positioned and duly abandoned the idea.
    Of course full doubling is not necessary. It could be done in stages. The most important objective should be to allow down trains to access at Upminster before delayed up trains clear the branch. At present they block the main line.
    Responding to earlier comments the IECC doesn’t block the route but some movement of external cabinets might be needed. Otherwise a single lead junction would be ok.

  297. RichardH says:

    I didn’t think Barking could cope with 6tph Goblin trains either, 10 minutes being insufficient to get from the signal protecting the crossover, into the platform, turn round and get back out and the route cleared.

  298. ngh says:

    Re Richard H,

    The Barking Riverside extension probably solves any 6tph turn around issues at the eastern end of Goblin…

  299. RichardH says:

    The requirement for more capacity on Goblin’s new trains will come years before the first sod is turned on the Riverside extension.

  300. Moogal says:

    P.S. are there any capacity left on the District and H&C between Barking and the Aldgate area? If so a quick fix could be to skip some stations in the peak travel direction in the peak hours.

    Not really – the intensity of the service means that any trains skipping stations would just end up held at red signals behind the stoppers. Even as it is, it’s not uncommon for westbound trains to block back from Aldgate East in the morning peak. And the trains are hardly empty west of West Ham.

  301. Walthamstow Writer says:

    It is just worth restating that TfL have contract options to increase the order for Class 710 EMUs. On the basis that the Riverside extension is going ahead into the TWAO phase there is a reasonable assumption that TfL will order more trains for the extended service. Beyond that the next stated assumption for the GOBLIN is to go to 5 tph. As has been said elsewhere the TfL preference is usually to go for increased frequency. I assume that TfL and Network Rail have been clever enough in their design for the electrified GOBLIN to ease out all the speed restrictions, raise line speed where they can and to make running along the line much smoother. Electric traction should be also help raise capacity. Having rewatched the project video it looks like last knackered bridges near Lea Valley reservoirs will be replaced during the blockade plus several towards the Wanstead / Woodgrange Park end of the line. Given the limited blockade affecting the west end of the line I assume nothing radical is being done at Gospel Oak.

    PoP – thanks for your earlier summary of the issues. Brings some clarity as to next steps for C2C.

    I think the one thing I disagree with you on is the Dagenham Dock DLR line. I understand all the reasoning you have put forward and acknowledge there are real issues. However if you get the planned scale of redevelopment at Barking Riverside, Creekmouth and elsewhere then buses and the GOBLIN extension will not cope. Furthermore neither will C2C, West Ham Station or the Jubilee Line if we assume, probably rightly, that Canary Wharf and Stratford will be a big draw for jobs as well as Zone 1. If the GOBLIN ever does go under the Thames then dumping all the cross river flow at Barking doesn’t work either. The station will gridlock with the passenger numbers never mind train movements. Having another distributor line running E-W at Barking Riverside could take a decent bit of pressure off Barking. Having the option for C2C passengers to change at Dagenham Dock to reach Docklands would also provide some relief at Barking and West Ham.

    I am really not convinced that the envisaged scale of development on the entire “Riverside” land mass can be supported by one rail link into Barking. Something else is needed but if TfL now have a “closed mind” to the DLR as you suggest then we are going to end up with a right old mess in about 10 years time (which is no time at all in transport planning terms). If only a certain person hadn’t been such a “bleep” in cancelling the DLR TWAO work thus also stalling housing development for nearly a decade. So utterly short sighted. The area would have lots more houses in it and the DLR line would have been open for about 3 years by now.

  302. MiaM says:

    @IanJ, @100andthirty: and S8 is even longer. However stealing the line from the DLR was just a suggestion, skip that part.

    It would be good to see what the CBR ratio would be if comparing a future crossrail tunnel with adding a second eastern leg to the SSR. A new crossrail could have far longer train and thus more capacity but a new leg on the SSR would onlye need to go to the Aldgate area and the existing SSR could handle 32TPH right away. In this comparision there needs to be a third alternative which is adding a new SSR leg but also increase platform length on the existing stations.

    (Also if a new leg takes over the H&C and the Met and the District is left alone on todays leg east of Aldgate then you could perhaps up the frequency on the District as the only flat junction left is the southwest corner of the circle line and that flat junction could be replaced with a shuttle between High Street Kensington and Gloucester Road (with a station remodelling) or even skipping that part and let the passengers change at Earls Court).

    @Moogal: I were thinking about letting all trains skip the same less used stations. Passengers from theese stations would then need to travel one or two stations in the wrong direction to change to a train in the direction they want to go to.

    It’s not a good solution but it could at least be better than the suggestion of skipping stations on C2C. Remember that this should only be done in the peaks.

    P.S. am I missing something about SSR usage? How much usage is there on the Circle lines eastern partn in the peaks? My suggestion would (probably) remove the eastern part of the circle in the peak hours.

  303. Mark Townend says:

    @Pop, @Greg
    As I noted before, At Ockendon the loop platform has a very tight 15MPH turnout at the Upminster end which must surely constrain acceleration of Up trains starting away when passing movements are made in the peak, especially full length 12 car services. The overlap for the Up platform starter looks far too short to be clear for the run in speed of 40MPH so I surmise an Up train arriving locks out a simultaneous Down arrival until the Up train has timed to a stop. That’s supported by working times which always show the up train always arriving 2 minutes before the Down. Some loop extension and turnout upgrade work could make the the loop a little more flexible and able to cope with slight running time variations more resiliently. Note the regular off peak 30 min interval service is not planned to pass routinely at Ockendon today, with trains meeting at Upminster and Grays, but a few additional trains are slotted in during the peak using the Ockendon loop, which suggests a 15 minute service might be possible at other times.

    Moving on to Chafford Hundred (your bing maps link didn’t work Greg). There is a surprisingly long single platform there at just under 300m long. A thought would be to extend that even further at the Grays ends (demolishing the unused overbridge just off the platform end) and and run a second track all the way in in from the Grays direction to a mid platform turnout, thus creating a ‘Penryn style’ layout able to accomodate a full 12-car train at either end but without any need for additional access bridges etc. A Down train could pull in to the Grays end and an Up train would pass around it on the parallel line and stop at the Ockendon end. See here for an animation of a Penryn style loop in action. In the case of Chafford Hundred the line off the left would be double track to Grays so the 1st arrival would not have to wait for the 2nd to clear the single line before departing. At Penryn (Cornwall, Falmouth line) the two usable parts of the platfrom are around 80m apart either side of the turnout in the middle, so for Chafford Hundred there would need to be about 560m total length of platfrom with the new turnout about adjacent to the station building.

    Earlier I also noted that At Grays the bay for terminating services is on the wrong side now. There is room on the Up side for a new bay platform or two at the London end, so terminating trains via Dagenham would no longer have to cross the Ockendon trains. The three line section between the station and West Thurrock Junction might be better designed in conjunction with the new up side bay(s) to allow Up Ockendon trains to wait for the single line if necessary on the middle line, clear of the other passing traffic such as freight in both directions.

  304. Graham H says:

    @Mark Townend – the current rules don’t permit the installation of new points mid-platform. (This was one of the options considered for Bricket Wood to enable a loop to be installed there, but rejected on the grounds stated).

  305. Greg Tingey says:

    I assume nothing radical is being done at Gospel Oak. Unfortunately, you are correct – because it is “too difficult” ( meaning fairly expensive but not the main reason this time ) the absurd arrangement there is being left.
    The blockade would have been a perfect time to do this …
    Extend the S-side terminating platform & track across & put a platform on the N side, without encroaching on the sacred “HH” (Could be done) & make centre-track reversible for freights.
    Almost certainly too late now.

    The worst bridge is the one over the original Lea – as seen in my article on “E of Enfield & N of Stratford” – my photo showed a Stanier 8-F lumbering over it & I don’t think said bridge has been altered since, apart from rusting a bit (!) The next one, over the canal is in marginally better condition – but both will go, IIRC

  306. Greg Tingey says:

    am I missing something about SSR usage? How much usage is there on the Circle lines eastern parts in the peaks?
    Eastbound peak H&C/Circle trains are wedged, even with S6 stock
    Even at 09.00, going “against the flow”, heading round that corner, as I’ve had to do once or twice recently, there’s a fair loading

  307. Greg Tingey says:

    Graham H
    Then “fiddle it”!
    Make two platforms, & have a shallow “U” between them, with a metre or so gap to where the track is & a fence along the outer edge of the gap.
    Points at platform – what platform?
    Alternatively, get a special exemption/permission.

  308. Graham H says:

    @Greg T – exactly what I suggested as an alternative for Bricket Wood! Alas, there wasn’t room on the formation for that.

  309. Alfie1014 says:

    Whilst I’ve been away on my ‘hols’ it appears that has been plenty of discussion on the subject and plenty of ‘Crayoning’, that said in the short term the only soloution is more or more likely longer trains. On another site the suggestion that the short term solution 2 x 5 car 360/2s from Heathrow Connect is no longer a ‘goer’. Not surprising given that these trains would be non-standard in almost every respect. So little chance of additional stock in the very short term though rumours are that Bombardier may able to bring forward the Porterbrook speculative order for c2c use. Though these would still not be available until late this year. Some other Electrostar derivative in the very short term then from a certain ‘southern’ TOC?

    On the subject of re-modelling, when evaluating the options for the LTS re-signalling in the early 90s some of the suggestions on here were considered. However a major re-modelling of Grays for example was ruled out on cost grounds and we had to fight hard to retain the third line from West Thurrock Junction as the original scheme removed it! That said I was sucessful in retaining full parallel moves in the throat at Fenchurch Street, double tracking of the Barking East Junct to allow parallel moves off of the flyover to the main line via Upminster and the provision of a new turn back at Stanford-le-Hope which ultimately saved 4 units in the peak.

  310. MickH says:

    Regarding to 90s re-signalling, I always thought it odd that money was spent inserting new crossovers at Dagenham East which are rarely used but not on extra crossovers at Upminster to give more flexibility when there are delays on the Ockendon branch.
    Maybe you know the history?

  311. ngh says:

    Re Alfie1014,

    360s – I’ve heard the same from reputable sources.
    With TSGN apparently trying to run at 96% stock utilisation and often (most days including today) not having enough stock possibly unlikely… The fall out from TSGN passengers would be very damaging and go straight to MPs inboxes.
    TSGN also have to worry about changing over to new stock with a complicated cascade pattern while keeping service reliability high.

  312. Mark Townend says:

    @Greg, @Graham – The original modern example of the long split platform, Penryn in Cornwall, has an unusable section with no coping stones in the middle as suggested – I measured it on Google Earth to be about 80m between the usable parts of the platform. The reason I understand is to allow for vehicle end-throw on the turnout curve, which means a platfrom alongside the turnout itself would be too far away for latest specification stepping distance. That’s not to say a modern train with an adaptable SDO couldn’t straddle such a section as long as the technology allowed doors adjacent to the gap to be disabled.

  313. Graham H says:

    @Mark Townend – the endthrow problem was my understanding also. The split platform has other “attractions”- it avoids the need to deal with PRMTIS grandfather rights on the existing platform…. (which is why the cost of putting in the doubleplatform loop at Bricket Wood approached £25m)

  314. Mark Townend says:

    @Graham – It’s an enormous sum for a simple station. Perhaps they should get a second opinion on whether a ‘Penryn’ would fit at Bricket Wood. It was formerly a short double track section through the station with side platforms for both, and I think the road overbridge nearby remains a double track span. Getting back to topic or more generally split platforms, if a long train is to stop over the gap, it need not be so large, only needing to cover the extent physically affected by the overswing, where the stepping distance would be excessive. With the vanilla Penryn arrangement, it is important the first train clears the turnout junction to enable the second to run past it through the turnout whilst it is loading, signalling is arranged so nothing can ever stop legitimately and load in that much longer ‘foul zone ‘ and there’s thus no need to fully finish the platform edge right through in that area. Thought I’d mention this because I realised Penryn’s 80m gap could swallow an entire four car unit of 20m stock so it would be highly undesirable to isolate that extent of even a full twelve car trains’ doors, especially right in the middle of the train. To actually accommodate the overswing alone, a length of set back copers would not likely exceed one car length which might be more acceptable for SDO. Another solution could be trains with moving stepboards that could accomodate varying edge to rail distances, as proposed for UK HS2 classic compatibles, and used today by Japanese Mini Shinkansen trains to reach the dedicated line platforms as well as the gauge converted former narrow gauge routes these trains extend high speed service to. These routes’ legacy platfroms and structures impose a more limited clearance profile for which the trains are designed.

  315. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Or you could just build the passing loop at somewhere other than a station.

    Or am I missing something?

  316. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    Or simply go for the Sutton Loop solution at Wimbledon (2 tracks everywhere apart from Wimbledon station where there is only 1 track/platform as has already been suggested by at least 3 people. (cheap simple and provides most of the benefit)

  317. Mark Townend says:

    It all depends on what kind of service you’re planning to operate. 1/2 hourly just fits nicely with trains meeting at Grays and Upminster. Ockendon would only get used in the off peak for a late running train to keep moving in the right direction normally, In a peak hour every other interval in the peak direction is filled with an additional train that passes one of the regular ones at Ockendon. The peak extras don’t seem to interfere much with the regular 30 min pattern and occur midway between the regular trains at an approximate 15 minute cycle. So it might be possible to double the off peak service merely using existing facilities but I’d say that would have no contingency for any late running, so dealing with perturbation could be difficult and would automatically pass delay over to the other direction at whatever time it occurred. Even during daytime off peak such perturbation could have a greater probability of passing any delay into the following peak with all kinds of knock on problems across the c2c network. To help mitigate any greater risk of a more frequent service some measures might be considered such as the Ockenden loop improvement I suggested or the right turn lane ideas at Grays and Upminster. I don’t really see much help in any more double track on the line unless service was to be upped to 10 minute interval or less. The loops and mainline connections are in the perfect positions for the current 15/30 minute intervals, so the split platform at Chafford Hundred wouldn’t really help much except for recovery to allow an Up to leave Grays and trundle round the curve whilst a late running Down has yet to clear the single line. In general, unless they take place at long dynamic loops over many kilometers, timed passes at loops away from stations are more risky performance-wise than at stations. A microdelay of a few minutes can be managed better and absorbed to an extent at a station with passengers less anxious about a moderately extended wait than an unexpected stop between stations (they are also physically safer and always feel much better treated if a delay develops into a more significant incident and they have to be detrained subsequently – note this is intrinsically more likely on a single line). An unplanned wait at a non station loop also involves an extra stop and start which will add to journey time and could affect single line occupancy, passing delay on . . . again.

  318. Mark Townend says:

    @ngh, 17 February 2016 at 15:59
    “Or simply go for the Sutton Loop solution at Wimbledon (2 tracks everywhere apart from Wimbledon station where there is only 1 track/platform”

    Yes that works fairly well too with current frequency. For Chafford Hundred A nice long dynamic loop at Ockendon might give sufficient resilience to operate a day long 15 minute interval service reliably, but I expect no more than that.

  319. RichardH says:

    The Ockendon line gets used quite frequently in the late evenings when there’s work on the mainline between Barking and Upminster. The routine is for mainline trains to go to Grays, reverse and go to Upminster, then reverse again back on course. Not a speedy endeavour but does avoid bustitution. Westbound trains do it in reverse too so timing is critical to get that crossover right at Ockendon. Last time I did it in January it added about 50 mins to the journey.
    Obviously people going to Pitsea or beyond are better off getting a normal Southend via Stanford train Tilbury loop train, but oddly few seem to realise that!

  320. Anonymous says:


    If only a certain person hadn’t been such a “bleep” in cancelling the DLR TWAO work thus also stalling housing development for nearly a decade. So utterly short sighted.

    But we did get a really heavily used cable car and a really cheap new model of bus with the money instead…… oh wait…..

    [Anonymous. Cheap sarcastic comments are easy to make and most people desist or use sparingly for effect. Also the comment could have been made with less of a personalised attack. Future comments of this nature will be deleted. PoP]

  321. Greg Tingey says:

    Re. Double track everywhere except at $_NAMED_STATION
    Everyone is also to be reminded of Ware, on the Hertford E branch ….
    So, for the Ockendon loop, “simply” put in a km or two of plain track – which is cheaper, anyway, & leave Chafford Hundred as it is. (?)

  322. MickH says:

    BBC Essex radio just confirmed that negotiations to borrow trains have indeed broken down so it’s back to the drawing board

  323. ngh says:

    C2C have said to a local newspaper:

    “Disappointingly the other train operator [Heathrow Connect] has had to withdraw from our agreement in principle to supply some additional carriages.

    “We are in active discussions with industry partners including the Department for Transport on other options for providing extra carriages to reflect the increased demand on the c2c route.”

  324. Greg Tingey says:

    Well that shows that c2c are all too aware of the problem & are looking for a temporary fix … now how long before DfT graciously allow them to order new rolling stock, I wonder?

  325. Mike says:

    You are spot on that the problem here is that there is not enough rolling stock for the new timetable. Running 4 car trains at peak time, which was never done in the old timetable, means that these are dangerously overcrowded in the main. The obvious answer is to make these trains 8 or 12 car, but the new promised rolling stock which is compulsory under the franchise agreement won’t arrive until late 2019 at the earliest, indeed has not been ordered yet.

    I am old enough to remember that travelling on LTS used to be unpleasant in the extreme. In contrast teh privatised C2C was, once the new stock and signalling was installed, extremely good up to mid December 2015 when the management have totally destroyed it as a commuter service. They say they cannot revert to the previous timetable, and that the old timetable did not work, but that is demonstrably not true for the people that are their core customers, who are commuters from Southend, Basildon and Thurrock. If they insist on being a “fast tube” service then possibly they are right, but this should not be their core aim.

    The management now seem to be burying their heads and hoping that the new timetable beds down and settles in somehow. It isn’t happening, and won’t until they find a lot of new rolling stock from somewhere. The lease of extra carriages from another company, rumoured to be Heathrow Express, has now fallen through and we are looking at three and a half years before we see anything purpose built arriving.

    TBH heads should roll at National Express. It has been a PR disaster.

  326. Malcolm says:

    Mike: your evidently heartfelt comment reflects a lot of what is said in the article and elsewhere. But your view that passengers from Southend, Basildon and Thurrock should be prioritised over shorter-distance travellers is not necessarily universally accepted. The usual principle adopted for such conflicts is to try to spread the misery evenly. It would be a matter of judgment as to whether this has actually happened, but longer-distance passengers ought not to be favoured just because they were in the past.

  327. ngh says:

    “for the people that arethought they were their core customers,”

    They have a lot of new customers now which shows the old TT wasn’t working and not all employment is centred around Fenchurch Street or Canary Wharf via Limehouse. C2C isn’t the only operator where longer distance commuters are in for slight shock. Interchange is now viewed as a key characteristic of transport systems.

    The reason for new stock being proposed for 2019 is that C2C wanted to make sure they didn’t run into issues with manufacturers having full order books (Thameslink, Crossrail and also Hitachi with IEP and Scotrail) and so not bid or charge be a higher price in Bombardiers case to guarantee compatibility/interoperability.

    Porterbrook / Bombardier with 387s now apparently on the agenda. The question is do C2C feel like they are being held to ransom so they they won’t get good deal as there is no choice? So do they go for a short term only deal or sign up for the long term?

  328. alan bluemountains says:

    I think obtaining extra rolling stock from porterbrook is probably the quickest and best quick with fix with 387 deliveries to commence in October of this year, with delivery of 80 carriages completed by June 2017. If other TOC are actually approaching porterbrook it may be possible to say order another say 32 carriages ( or more ) subject to bombardier having capacity. While 4 8car trains would not increase total capacity by a huge amount, if timetable not changed that releases 4 4car trains which in turn could be used to make 4 existing 4 car services up to 8 car which should provide relief by Christmas. As to costings I would not want to see gouging a but modest premium would not undue, as a possibility of hanging onto excess rolling stock would involve a financial cost, and a reward for reading market and taking a calculated financial risk is not unwarranted. If usage continues to grow earlier purchase ( than 2019 delivery ) of additional rolling stock would be needed.

  329. Mike says:

    Malcolm/ngh, I recognise that what you are saying is the principal of how C2C are now constructing the timetable, however the commuters at Upminster and in to London have choices (tube) whereas most of those further out are a captive audience. These people also pay a lot of money to commute and feel betrayed to be honest. Journey times have gone up, overcrowding has gone up, reliability has gone down, and this has all been achieved in a matter of days. Well done C2C.

    What used to happen on the main line, at my travel time at least, was they ran three main patterns of trains (with a few variations on individual services). Southend stations then fast to London, Southend stations to Laindon then fast to London and Laindon starters, all stations. Anyone wanting to go to the TFL stations from further out had the option of changing at Laindon onto a starter and people at the now forgotten halt of West Horndon also got a chance of a seat as did Upminster travellers. All trains at peak were minimum 8 and often 12 cars.

    What C2C did in the timetable change was move the Laindon starters out to Leigh and stop all trains at Barking and West Ham, meaning travellers beyond Pitsea had no chance of a seat pretty much, travel times from Southend increased significantly and TFL “hoppers” crammed onto already packed trains at Barking to save time into West Ham and London. At the same time, to create “more trains” they chopped the existing 12 and 8 car trains up into smaller units. TBH most 4 car trains at peak now are beyond foul to travel on, if you can get on them at all. There have been many reported incidents of people passing out and it is impossible for disabled, infirm or pregnant passengers to get a seat.

    The solution to the overcrowding, if C2C are insisting on running the new timetable, is extra rolling stock. This is coming they say, but not until the end of 2019 at the earliest. The loan of stock that has fallen through may happen still, but will be no more than a sticking plaster on the problem until significant numbers of new carriages arrive.

    Currently C2C are chasing the problem with constant TT adjustments, altering the number of carriages on the worst effected services means robbing Peter to pay Paul with someone else getting a shorter train as a result. They have reinstated a couple of Laindon starters, but these no longer stop all stations so West Horndon passengers are still abandoned. the list goes on and on, and I haven’t even got to the issues on the loop I am aware of but have not personally experienced.

    Julian Drury, the MD of C2C, has given up any semblance of trying to talk to his customers and tensions are rising week on week. This was the best regarded commuter service in the UK until December the 15th 2015, and its all gone to pot in a matter of weeks. Great effort!

  330. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I too recognise the heartfelt sincerity. We know that this is hugely controversial. We wouldn’t have bothered with an article that would have basically said “c2c timetable changes. A bit of an improvement but not everyone happy”.

    I am not trying to defend c2c. I am in no position to say what is right or wrong. The only thing I will say in some defence of c2c is very often changes are made and a group of people, may be a substantial group, are worse off. Furthermore, from their experience they cannot see any advantage whatsoever of the change. So for example, many passengers via Laindon are not aware of the situation at Chafford Hundred or on the Grays trains. Also it is very easy to forget the need to provide a service for local people going to Southend in the morning.

    As an outsider, the way I see it is that they are running all the trains they can get hold of and performing a delicate balancing act of trying to accommodate the greatest need – and not the loudest need. This is complicated by a franchise commitment that one could argue about whether it should have been made and where the pressure to make it came from. My own point of view (easy and flippant to say) is that we have a squabble over pieces of the cake when clearly the real issue is that not enough cake was supplied. Even if the cake may have been big enough in the past, it isn’t now.

  331. timbeau says:

    “They have reinstated a couple of Laindon starters, but these no longer stop all stations ”
    This is curious, but not unique. SWT have done something similar – introduced a couple of limited-stop Raynes Park starters when what would seem to have been a better solution would be to run these all-stations and run a Dorking service limited-stop from Raynes Park. This would still give Raynes Park-Waterloo passengers a chance of getting on a train, but would also allow passengers from Raynes Park to the backwaters at Clapham Junction and Vauxhall a chance too. As it is, the longer distance trains get even more crowded as people for CJ and Vx have to let the Raynes Park starter go.

  332. Mike says:

    Pedantic, I recognise that other parts of the line may have had issues previously that I wasn’t aware of necessarily, however having now tuned in to sites where passengers are now sharing experiences since the changes, I don’t believe anyone outside of the TFL area is seeing any significant improvements and many are finding their journeys to and from London are much worse now. Certainly there are a lot of complaints about lack of space on the “Metro” services on the loop for instance.

    As for people travelling to Southend in the mornings, my son used to commute to Chalkwell for school on a daily basis and this was never an issue as far as I am aware.

    The core issue here is that C2C put the new timetable cart before the additional rolling stock horse. It is likely to be THREE AND A HALF YEARS before any new rolling stock arrives on the C2C line barring the much talked about (and recently fallen through) loan of a few carriages.

  333. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    Raynes Park starters – The logic (as it appears equally counter intuitive to both of us) as explained to me by someone at SWT was they to have low dwell times to make the timetable work, actually being as full as all the other services is problem so they need to ensure they wouldn’t be…

    Re PoP,
    “My own point of view (easy and flippant to say) is that we have a squabble over pieces of the cake when clearly the real issue is that not enough cake was supplied. Even if the cake may have been big enough in the past, it isn’t now.”

    Agreed. C2C should be taking the flack for 2 issues on the stock/cake though:
    a) Planning on waiting till 2019 when most of the train builders will be less busy so they could get a better deal
    b) Not sorting the standing space properly in the metro 357s i.e. no proper grab handles is something they could sort.

    But all commuters are effectively going on a diet at some point in the future whether they know about yet or not. TSGN users are generally well aware of what is coming with the 700s. And there are SWT, SN and SET users who are advocating the removal of the remaining 3+2 to 2+2 to increase standing so I suspect C2C users might be slightly behind the curve compared to other TOC users.

    Re Mike,

    I suspect C2C would still be in number 1/2 position after the changes compared to all the other London commuter TOCs, their reliability is that much better. A week spent commuting on another TOC and virtually all C2C users would be glad with what they have.
    SET spent almost 8 weeks iteratively adjusting train lengths after the London Bridge changes on 12/1/15 so this isn’t unusual.
    The solution to the problems is indeed lots of extra stock.

  334. timbeau says:

    “I suspect C2C would still be in number 1/2 position after the changes compared to all the other London commuter TOCs, their reliability is that much better. ”

    Reliability/punctuality is always trumpeted as paramount, partly I suspect because it is easy to measure. But as ever, performance-related targets result in target-related performance. What use is a right-time arrival to the passenger who was left behind because the train was too full to get on, or skipped his stop, or was started further down the line because it was stopped short on the outward run?

    Typical example given by Alan Williams in this months Modern Railways. Late running Manchester- Newcastle train skips all stops from York to Newcastle, thereby further delaying all passengers for intermediate stops, whether already on the train or waiting for it at York. And of course, Newcastle is the one destination it serves that has plenty of alternatives from York. (If it was necessary to get it back across the Pennines to Manchester sooner, to fill a gap in that direction, it could have made its normal stops but turn round at Darlington or Durham (where passengers who had joined north of York wouldn’t have to wait too long for a connection for Newcastle), rather than dump passengers for North Yorkshire’s county town in the lurch.)

  335. Mike,

    I understand your frustration but I feel like saying: “three and a half years, you’ve had it lucky mate …” On the Hayes line we have been waiting two and a half-decades to see our first 12-car train planned around 1989 and for which most of the infrastructure has been ready for at least twenty years. Apart from the carriages not appearing when they were due to, the non appearance means that standards get changed in the meantime so that more work has to be done before the longer trains are introduced. I am not hopeful that we will see these trains any time in the next few years.

    I won’t quote ngh but the sentiment given was along the lines of that users of c2c are starting to experience what we have had to put up with for many years south of the river. It doesn’t make it right of course but it is a case of empathise rather than sympathise.

  336. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    Be very afraid by part of the new LOROL contract then where TfL retain a 10% slice of delay payments from NR to incentive the operator to actively reduce knock on delays…
    (Reactionary delay being circa 3x primary delay on the NR sussex routes i.e. ELL)

    I suspect that TfL are thinking more drivers but in reality skip stopping is probably the more likely to occur than at the moment with the new regime too?

    Re PoP,

    I think “welcome to the club” best defines it! C2C users shock horror = normal for elsewhere.

  337. Mike says:

    Sad that the reaction to C2C screwing up a working and perfectly servicable railway is “welcome to my world”. This reminds me of education policy, bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator rather than seeking to improve all to the best standards.

    Ah well.

    Have a great weekend 😉

  338. Al Daw says:

    Interested in the effects of this on delivering housing growth. This helps deliver (I think the buzzword is ‘unlock) the massive potential around Barking and elsewhere in London.

    At the same time it significantly restricts the potential of non-Metropolitan Essex to grow. Basildon is currently consulting on a very high growth Local Plan, but it’s hard to see that as sustainable now.

  339. Greg Tingey says:

    Al Daw
    A Bigger Basildon?
    The horror of it!
    Even worse than the thought of a “Greater Basingstoke”

  340. 100andthirty says:

    I had been holding off making comment as I have never used this line so I thought I had nothing to add. However……………

    1) Mike highlighted the service that used to run before the new timetable which sounds like the classic service pattern to manage journey times for the various destinations put simply as 1) Fast to/from near the suburban terminus, 2) fast to/from slightly further in than the suburban terminus and 3) all stations to/from a suitable reversing point for a service taking about 50 mins. This service pattern can be seen on most of the “simple” routes out of London. Assuming a 2 track railway with no passing places and working from the suburban end, a good timetable would be 1, followed by 2, 3 sets off from its terminus immediately after 2, and then the pattern can repeat so that 1) sets off after a decent interval so it doesn’t catch up the previous 3) before it reaches London. (Much easier to describe on a diagram). This helps everyone get reasonable journey times but doesn’t make the best use of capacity

    2) All sorts of minor crayonista proposals have been made, but in reality, if this railway is to accommodate the likely increased demand, there needs to be a root and branch review of the likely traffic flows, and then what Infrastructure as well as rolling stock and opersting changes might be needed to accommodate the growth. I was shocked when I read that the main service is operated over a single track (with passing places?) This clearly needs to be fixed notwithstanding the significant challenges with securing the land. It is “easy” to make all the trains 12 car, then a section by section railway systems team should examine what needs to be done to increase trains per hour. It is not rocket science, just the application of the sort of work that PoP has described that has been done on the BML. They will identify some serious bottlenecks, some of which have been described here, but the issue is how much money people are prepared to commit to solving the capacity challenge.

  341. Anonymous says:


    Its the Ockendon/Chafford branch which is single track between Upminster and Grays, with a passing loop at Ockendon Station.

    Pretty much everything else is double track.

  342. Malcolm says:

    100andThirty says “This [single track section] clearly needs to be fixed“.

    Talk about applying a generic solution! It seems to have been demonstrated above that doubling this section is not a priority, in the particular circumstances of the line. Of course this is only a (well-informed) opinion, and the “section by section railway systems team” might determine otherwise, but it does seem ironic that you mention the “clear need to fix” before you come to the “systems team”.

    The issue is indeed money, and it does seem that sufficient money for anything more radical than all peak trains becoming 12 car is going to be hard to find (indeed even that limited aspiration is far from certain to be achieved in a reasonable time).

  343. Graham H says:

    @100andthirty – I don’t believe that railways employ “systems teams” (except possibly in relation to IT) as such – more likely a planner assisted by timetablers, infrastructure engineers and costing chaps, seconded in depending on the stage reached.

  344. Malcolm says:

    Anonymous at 10:32 indicates exactly which “branch” is single track.

    Exactly as spelt out in the article which we are commenting on. But PoP also makes it clear that, although this section may have been planned, and built, as a branch, it has pretty much become part of the de facto main line now, which makes 130’s observations rather more pertinent.

  345. 100andthirty says:

    Graham H “I don’t believe that railways employ “systems teams” (except possibly in relation to IT) as such ……..”

    And therein is the root of many problems. LU does employ systems teams an it’s their work that has led to detailed consideration of all the aspects of the Victoria, Northern, Jubilee and SSR upgrades to deliver the performance that is being delivered or planned.

    Infrastructure engineers and timetable planners to not deliver improvements on their own. Vital ingredients are missing, not least rolling stock and operators.

  346. Graham H says:

    @100andthirty – and yet another advantage of the dis-integrated railway. [Sorry for the irony, which seems to attract so much criticism from some readers here!].

  347. 100andthirty says:

    Malcolm 10:42.

    Yes I agree I pointed to the solution before mentioning the analysis process. Generally the community can point to the issue and solution where it’s blindingly obvious. Here the single track might not be a constraint now, but will be as service intensity is increased as, inevitably, it must. The contraints at Fenchurch Street must be addressed too. Both the single track and the terminus are big technical challenges, but solutions can, no doubt, be found by clever engineers.

    Enough,though, because I am repeating what many others have said or inferred

  348. Graham H says:

    @100andthirty- “The contraints at Fenchurch Street must be addressed too. Both the single track and the terminus are big technical challenges, but solutions can, no doubt, be found by clever engineers.” Sometimes there aren’t actually any engineering solutions at all and even more often,nothing can be done at any acceptable price, so “no doubt” is frankly wrong. “Maybe” would be more realistic.

  349. 100andthirty says:

    Graham H…..I’ll settle for “maybe”.

  350. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H – and as LU has found in the past and continues to find there is not an evergreen money tree and even the “best” technical, engineering and operational solution is not affordable. There are compromises including “struggling along with no great improvement over what we have now even if we replace the aged assets”. In other words no increase in capability but you will probably get a reliability improvement. The lastest papers on “World Class Capacity” show this clearly.

  351. MickH says:

    Everyone seems to agree on the need for more carriages but their efficient use is just as important. I come back to my earlier comment on having some Upminster starters. Having virtually empty stock running from Laindon to Upminster is a real waste of the limited stock when the same train could be used twice from Upminster and allow the Upminster stop to be omitted from other trains.

  352. Mark Townend says:

    The Porterbrook speculative order of 80 class 387 cars seems to be a good solution here and with GWML electrification delays keeping diesel Turbos in the London area for a few more years than originally planned, these could be supplemented by the new electric units intended for that route (also 387s) as they’re gradually released from GTR by the Siemens class 700 fleet being delivered. Later batches of 387s, or a new order from a different manufacturer entirely (Hitachi AT200 based units after the Scotrail class 385 deliveries?) (notionally pencilled in for C2C) would then go to GWR.

  353. Mark Townend says:

    @MickH, 28 February 2016 at 09:16
    “I come back to my earlier comment on having some Upminster starters. Having virtually empty stock running from Laindon to Upminster is a real waste of the limited stock when the same train could be used twice from Upminster and allow the Upminster stop to be omitted from other trains.”

    A reversing facility would be required clearly, and there are options for this. Either a third NR platform could be provided (most efficient for stock utilisation but big changes required to the LU side of the station layout to make space) or a reversing siding built to the east. The third NR platform need not be such a big job if it was accepted that LU could operate with only two platforms at Upminster, which would have the benefit of not requiring the Romford branch to be relocated to a new bay to the west of the station bridge. With the pressure off LU services and more people choosing C2C it might be possible to reduce District Line frequency marginally, allowing all the trains to reverse in the depot reception roads.

  354. ngh says:

    Re Mark T,

    I would be surprised if anything much changed with GWR stock plan apart from the plans getting delayed slightly e.g. 365 cascade from TSGN and delivery of new GWR 387/3 (the Porterbrook order is already timed for delivery ahead of the new (non ex TSGN units) GWR 387s). The pacers could be retired later than planned but still before the deadline and Northern could still get the cascaded stock as planned if there is a little creativity (GWR have done 5 car HST test runs recently), the Italian IEP add on order (Hitachi’s new ex-Ansaldo factory – what could possibly go wrong???) will help release more HSTs earlier.

    The Porterbrook 387 order (and an option for the same again) is about the right size to replace 90s +Mk3s on the Liverpool Street – Norwich route depending on what other stock is cascaded in (e.g. more 321s/322s ex lease from TSGN and Northern and possibly some 317s ex TSGN /LO – they would get to pick and chose which 317s). The franchise tender scoring now tends to have “bonus” points for more fleet commonality which 387s (effectively 379s) and more 321/322s and 317s both completed refurbed (aircon and new traction motors and controllers)

    Re MickH,

    But as noted above the Upminister stop is needs to ensure the gap between stops is <20minutes to allow standing as part of planned train capacity all the way to Southend…


    “No allowance for standing is made on a service when the time between stations is more than 20 minutes, but it is allowed when it is 20 minutes or less.”

    Hence the importance to C2C of adding the Barking, West Ham, Upminister stops as all gaps are then less than 20 minutes which is the key-thing (else Limehouse to Laindon could cause problems by being more, West Ham – Laindon is also an issue) so you can reduce seating and have much more standing.
    Laindon – Chalkwell as max non stop gap is also needed for the 20min rule…

    Southern /Thameslink effectively do the same 20 min trick now (and will post 2018) on all except 2tph from Brighton to Victoria and London Bridge for comparison! So unless you you get on Gatwick Express from Brighton to London standing is perfectly permissible all the way (and does happen now on some services)

  355. MickH says:

    @ Mark Townsend
    but a turnback facility already exists. It’s called the Ockendon branch. The 15 minute interval between consecutive down services in the am peak is plenty, especially if a spare driver is in the rear cab. The branch is routinely used for turnback moves from the tamper siding so the precedent is set.

  356. Ian J says:

    @ngh: But as noted above the Upminister stop is needs to ensure the gap between stops is <20minutes to allow standing as part of planned train capacity all the way to Southend…

    A great example of how, over time, metrics introduced to measure performance against a goal become a goal in themselves.

  357. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    Called “Perverse incentives” – now well-known
    ( The NHS has fallen victim to many of same – as an aside only, please! )

  358. timbeau says:

    “The operation was a success, but the patient died” sits alongside “the branch train made a right time arrival, by not waiting for the connection at the junction”. (being empty also helps the dwell times at the intermediate stations of course)

    Not to mention mathematical geniuses of politicians of all colours who insist that Something Must Be Done when told that 50% of pupils, hospitals, trains, or whatever they have been entrusted with, have “below average” performance!

  359. Old Buccaneer says:

    @ Timbeau I’m just going to say median or mean? (Not that policymakers can be relied on to know the difference).

    @Ian J: I think it is also an example of how badly we need active monitoring of service quality, by people with the power to order change.

  360. timbeau says:

    Point taken: you can skew the distribution from normal to achieve it.
    There are also performance measures which can be spun both ways – an increase in drug seizures / speeding tickets/ fare dodgers caught is a Good Thing (we’re catching more offenders) but a decrease is also a Good Thing (there’s less of it going on). Unless you’re an opposition politician of course, in which case you spin it the other way.

  361. BrizCommuter says:

    Despite a bit of foaming on potential solutions to the issue, the main solution (though not solvable for a few years) is simply ordering enough rolling stock. Given the mean train length in the peaks is around 8-cars, then by moving to all 12-car services would allow for a huge 50% capacity increase. That should provide enough capacity for C2C/Express District for many years to come. The only extra infrastructure required would be a bit of extra track on the Ockendon loop and extending Grays bay platform.

  362. timbeau says:

    @Briz Commuter
    That word “simply” again!

    Given that the Class 357 design is now twenty years old, any extra rolling stock will be to a different design and result in a mixed fleet, which means
    – more training for staff – maintenance as well as drivers,
    – two stocks of spares,
    – compatibility issues
    – operational problems if you can’t couple the old and new types together either in service or for a “push-out” in the event of a breakdown.

    And I doubt that infrastructure costs would be as limited as you suggest. 50% extra rolling stock requires 50% more depot space. And a power upgrade may be needed if you are running 50% more tons of rolling stock around (The crisis on the former Southern Region when it was realised that the power supply couldn’t cope with the extra load required by the power-hungry Desiros and Electrostars rapidly entering service, and disputes over who should pay for the extra megawattage to be installed – not to mention the need to eke out the old slam-door stock for as long as possible – may not have etched itself as deeply on memories north of the River!)

  363. Pedantic of Purley says:


    The one thing c2c is not short of is depot space – or at least siding space. There are the massive MoD sidings at Shoeburyness which c2c can use. OK, not ideally situated possibly, but it shouldn’t be depot space that holds them back.

  364. timbeau says:


    “C2C is not short of depot space – or at least siding space”

    An important distinction. There is only limited scope for inspection, maintenance and cleaning in a siding.

  365. Alfie1014 says:


    Depot capacity is probably not a major issue either; Tony Smith the former depot manager at East Ham in the 2000s was quoted as saying that the shed at the depot, built in the 1960s for electrification and a fleet size of 122 high maintainence units has 10 x 12 car roads and 1 x 8 car, however he claimed the full 357 fleet of 72 units could be maintained with just one or two of these. The other 8 or so are only mostly used for between the peaks cleaning. That said he commented that an under-cover shed would be useful at Shoeburyness for light maintenance and minor repairs though.

  366. Anonymous says:

    “VICTORY is in sight for campaigners fighting to get c2c to revert to its old timetable after the Government scrapped controversial stops at east London stations.

    The National Express-owned rail operator launched its new timetable on Sunday, December 13 in a bid to cope with an increase in passenger numbers.

    Part of the franchise agreement with the Department for Transport was a clause saying 95 per cent of trains had to stop at east London stations Barking, West Ham and Limehouse, an idea c2c originally proposed.

    The Minister for Railways, Claire Perry, has now agreed to waive the clause.

    It comes after months of complaints of over-crowded trains and slower journeys from fed-up commuters.

    The news came to light in a letter from James Duddridge, Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East, to a constituent.

    He said: “This is the first positive step towards reversing the changes we are all so unhappy about.

    “As I have said before, this matter remains firmly on my radar and I will continue to work towards changing these wholly unpopular and unwanted changes to our timetable.

    “On a broader issue, I think we should be asking for all trains from Shoebury to be under an hour.”

    c2c have yet to announce what the decision will mean to commuters, but it could lead to faster trains between south Essex and London Fenchurch Street, a particular benefit in the evening rush hour as east London passengers will not crowd trains bypassing those stops.

    A spokeswoman for c2c said: “We’ve been having positive conversations with the Department for Transport and we look forward to making an announcement once these talks are concluded.”

    Mr Duddridge’s letter was sent to Richard Tanner, 59, who commuted daily from Southend East to London Fenchurch Street.

    He said: “Ultimately it’s down to what c2c do with this now.
    Share article

    “I have used the line for many years and it has never been this bad.

    “Having spoken to a few people the only ones I can see that the current timetable is good for is those wanting a quick journey between Barking and West Ham – hopefully this means that will change.” “

  367. Graham H says:

    As usual, uninformed speculation from local press and grandstanding politicians. The inevitable caveat of “beware what you ask for…”

  368. Anonymous says:

    that is a bit harsh – seems to me like the paper has broken some interesting news affecting their readers

    obviously how this ends up is currently speculation but fact of DfT agreeing to amend franchise spec sounds like hard news rather than speculation?

  369. ngh says:

    Re Anon,

    I agree with Graham’s last sentence!

    Waiving the 95% clause – would this be temporary till the new stock has arrived or just a reduction to a smaller %…
    All the other commitments still presumably remain…

    Reverting to the old timetable is not implied by waiving that clause and there would be lots of opposition if they did try to go back to the old TT.

    The only way C2C is going to take in the money needed to pay DfT the agreed amounts is by carrying significantly more passengers.

  370. RichardH says:

    @ ngh
    ‘The only way C2C is going to take in the money needed to pay DfT the agreed amounts is by carrying significantly more passengers.’

    Was it ever established in the previous posts how c2c can demonstrate they are carrying more passengers between Barking and West Ham? Oyster records will just shown where they entered and left, not whose trains they used.

  371. Anonymous says:

    One of the comments to the press articles quotes an email from C2C as per below.

    Anyone know if they are making any progress hiring in extra units, and which units they have in mind?

    “We are working on our plans now with DfT and will probably make two sets of changes: firstly some short – term changes for the national rail May Timetable date, secondly changes for the introduction of extra rolling stock later this year. We have not yet completed the negotiations for the latter; we are working full time on this right now.”

  372. ngh says:

    Re Anon,

    Having just read the franchise agreement

    This is from the bidder suggested rather than core section

    55.1 The Franchisee shall use all reasonable endeavours to:
    (a) by 31 December 2015, operate a ‘metro-style’ three – minute interval peak service between Barking and Fenchurch Street stations for all Passenger Services arriving at Fenchurch Street between 08:00 and 08:59, Monday to Friday and departing Fenchurch Street between 17:00 and 17:59, Monday to Friday; and
    (b) ensure that between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016 (inclusive), 95 per cent. of Passenger Services call at Barking, West Ham and Limehouse stations. As at 31 December 2016, the Franchisee will review the success of the service and modify it as required to accommodate demand.

    So DfT have just used the reasonable endeavours clause wording and possibly moved the 31/12/16 review date forwards.

    The DfT minimum train frequencies specified elsewhere look like still applying so 25% at those 3 stations seems the minimum:

    Other bits that will cause issues reverting to the previous TT include:
    “adjust dwell times on the Route to better reflect Target Passenger Demand;”
    “deliver a minimum capacity of 38,650 passengers into London terminals during Morning Peak (measured as total seats plus allowable standing capacity).”

    In relation to another earlier comment the franchise also includes upgrading the space at the “MOD” Shoeburyness sidings

  373. Graham H says:

    @anonymous – harsh, yes! (There was that one nugget of fact in the article, but a bit of research by the hack would have showed the restrictive clause beforehand). My last sentence had in mind the subsequent point made by ngh; going back to the last timetable may not be practical and wishing for faster trains is – actually – what some of them have got now and maybe won’t in the future if an attempt is made to satisfy the latest round of complainants. I wouldn’t expect a local MP to understand the niceties of timetable planning, however – to mention the Wimbledon loop would be simply obscene at this stage…

    As to the rolling stock problem, the April “Modern railways” has some news about the negotiations, which I won’t clog up this thread by copying in extenso, but the headline is that c2c are struggling to find spare sets anywhere – delaying the removal of the 442s from Gatex and triggering a small cascade of new stock temporarily seems to be their thinking this week.

  374. ngh says:

    Re Graham and Anon,

    The right time running penalties would also preclude reverting…


    (Roll out of the GatEx 387/2s has already started)

    Porterbrook (ROSCO inc some of the C2C 357s) have an order for 20x 387 (and an option for 20x more) with no public specified home to go to.

    The first 20 for Porterbrook are apparently due to be manufactured after the current GatEx 387/2 run which completes in June. GWR were delighted to be able to delay delivery of their 8x 387/3s (Porterbrook are the ROSCO) which would otherwise have followed on.

    C2C are required to get another 17 units in 3 tranches: 9 (2019), 4 (2022) and 4 (2024) so I suspect Porterbrook may have wanted C2C to take all 20 now which would have cost a bit more (and sooner) than they had planned when bidding hence haggling (and lots of additional modelling by C2C). If they take all 20 and most are delivered H2 2016 then expect C2C to find lots more passengers to pay for it!

  375. Graham H says:

    @ngh – thanks – now stand back and watch the millstones of reality crush the politicians between their wish to be universally loved, and the requirement (at least for Ministers) not to dis the system.

  376. alan bluemountains says:

    ngh I dont think finding extra passengers in itself would be a problem but if c2c has to take all 20 units from Porterbrook finding enough to cover the cost of 20 units may be a stretch in the short term but bear in mind it would be June 2017 before all units manufactured and leasing charges for the full quantity due. I cant see any other option to increase rolling stock fleet significantly and quickly. An additional 10 cars or so from Heathrow Connect, which now seems off the table, would be non standard and only a marginal easing of the problem. I am sure Poterbrook sees itself as being in the box seat on any negotiations. I presume that there is adequate electrical supply to cover increased fleet demand and that this would not be a further delaying factor.

  377. Greg Tingey says:

    ngh / Graham H / everyone
    Ah, the wonderful privatised railway, with private companies competing & operating freely, just like the TOC’s … until something like this happens.
    When suddenly, as seen in the highlight noted by ngh 12.49, 23/03/16, the curtain is twitched aside & it’s all down to Ministerial diktat.
    “Oops” seems appropriate at this point.

  378. Graham H says:

    @alanbluemountains – like you, I can’t see how c2c will suddenly generate additional revenues of what would have to be around £40-60m pa to cover the extra leasing and maintenance costs, given that (a) their revenue base is only around £150m and (b) they will already have made some assumptions about revenue growth in their initial bid. Another 25-35% in the space of a year or two is beyond belief….

  379. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H 1025 – The financial conundrum you (and Alan) highlight no doubt explains why an answer has not emerged quickly. In effect this debacle over the timetable and meeting the DfT’s requirements will probably cause the franchise’s finances to unravel over several years *if* the answer is to take on more rolling stock. If DfT allows an effective rewrite of the franchise finances and T&Cs then one wonders what the other bidders for C2C will be left thinking.

    The new Modern Railways has an article about the C2C timetable issues and a table of patronage increases. Some of the numbers are very high and one wonders what the DfT’s forecasts were in the tender documentation. Looking at the NR Anglia route study it has some forecast growth numbers and, by way of a loose comparison, it forecasts an 18% increase on WAML between 2013 and 2023. In a Twitter session this week TfL were asked what increase they’d seen on the West Anglia lines since their takeover – around 25% was the response. Now I am clearly NOT comparing like with like, before anyone takes me to task, and there may well be all sorts of nuances in the data but I can’t really believe that the rest of WAML will see some form of *decrease* to meet the NR forecast. We also have the comments from J Roberts about under estimating usage on the West Anglia suburban services. I wonder when or if we get some acknowledgement from the DfT that their forecasting models need a review. I also note, for clarity, that TfL’s Railplan has been used alongside other tools for the Anglia Route Study so is there some sort of question mark about that too?

  380. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I am just amazed that no-one has commented on the copious references to Essex Thameside – as Network Rail call the c2c route – in the Anglia Route Study which was published on Thursday.

    Not surprisingly, most of the copious references refer to the fact that all that is needed to solve any issues is extending the length of the trains although a passing reference was made to increasing passenger capacity at Fenchurch St.

    Note that train lengthening is always a favourite of Network Rail as, usually, it does not involve a lot of signalling changes and a major cost is the trains – which of course is not Network Rail’s problem.

    A classic couple of paragraphs are as follows

    Anticipated passenger growth on Essex Thameside to both 2023 and 2043 can be met through further train lengthening of services to 12 carriages, although improved signalling headways will be required to achieve any increase in service frequency on this route.

    Should realised growth in demand out-perform our forecasts for the medium term, the strategy will still cater to this speedier passenger increase, but may require earlier implementation.

    Also on page 116 they give a BCR of 2.88 for lengthening the outer services but only a BCR of 1.68 for lengthening the inner services. So, according to Network Rail, the inners may be crowded but a good case for solving that problem isn’t there.

  381. alan bluemountains says:

    Graham H I didn’t realise how small the revenue base is for c2c it may explain why the commitment for new rolling stock was 17 4 car units in 2019 and smaller increase of 4 units in 2022 and 2024. On reflection the increase of 17 units is a sizeable increase in one hit and implies a foreseen missmatch between demand and capacity but a financial constraint in the financial modeling of what was affordable. Given that demand, even if for more local commuting, is significantly ahead of what was forecast the revenue must be up some what on that forecast and perhaps 20 units could be used and costs covered by 2019. If that is the case then the full 20 units from Porterbrook would only be delivered, and full leasing charges accured, from June 2017. That means that the extra costs would be from June 2017 to end of 2019, at the worst, from when an extra 17 units were planned and financially modeled.

  382. Graham H says:

    @alan bluemountains -you are right, I should have also said that the financial hole is a short term one (presumably) -about two years – on the other hand the hole is a cost of £80-120m for which no allowance was made in the bid numbers. Those numbers aren’t, so far asI’m aware, in the public domain, but by way of illustration as to how tight NatEx are likely to be, they are reported to have paid £300m for the privilege of running it, whereas the next nearest bid was £140m. Margins are not at all likely to leave much room to find £100m extra – up front, too! (The frontloading is doubly unhelpful because it makesit that much more difficult to offset £100m extra now with £100m saved at the end of the franchise, such being the power of discounting).

  383. ngh says:

    Re Alan blue mountains,

    The original plan was just 9 units in 2019 not 17 which is the total for the 3 tranches… 9 +4 + 4 = 17

    9 units sounds a bit less extreme given the size of C2C. But it does allow their predicted growth rate to be calculated. ..

    Re POP
    Any significant changes from the draft Anglia report?

    Does it include the current status of Barking Riverside?

    Carrying on from the other day: The franchise requirement to serve Beam Park if / when it opens would also mean shredding the old TT too.

  384. alan bluemountains says:

    Graham H. I am the first to say I know nothing about the ins and outs of leasing rolling stock but the figures you quote appear high to me – £130 million – would seem to be the top purchase price for 20 units (£3 million per car) your estimated cost for leasing cleaning and maintenance is about £100 million and yes this is at the start and not budgeted for but surely payable in installments over the approximately two or so years and some extra revenue coming in above that budgeted. Certainly there will be a big hole in the finances at the start, particularly as they seem to have paid quite a premium for the franchise. Re ngh. You may be right about smaller quantities of rolling stock scheduled for 2017 as I do agree that it seems a lot however I was taking the figures and timing POP used in the article.

  385. Graham H says:

    @alan bluemountains – the actual cash purchase price of new suburban stock is – and has been now for a generation! – about £1m a car on average; it’s the maintenance and financing charges that bump it up. In terms of DCF appraisal for business case purposes, the staging of any arrivals/payments over a couple of years makes , unfortunately, only a small difference. And the extra revenue is needed at once and on a scale to match the increased costs. That doesn’t seem likely on either count. Not even TfL’s takeover of existing services, accompanied by much trumpeted improvements has managed to secure what looks like a 35-50% jump in revenue* in a single year – and c2c is offering so much less than LOROLisation. (Once we get to the other side of the hole, as it were, the problem goes away, of course, but the financial damage has probably already been done in the form of an unplanned loss carried forward).

    *Amongst other things, where would they put all the extra punters?

  386. ngh says:

    Re Alan and Graham H

    The price paid for other 387s by Porterbrook would equate to £107.6m for 20 units

  387. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – I did have a skim read of the C2C related pages in the Anglia Route Study. I also looked at those business case numbers. I was somewhat puzzled by the poorer b/c ratio for improving the “inner” services given that’s where the growth is now. My overall sense, though, was of disbelief about the numbers and the apparent “relaxed” stance as to how you deal with growth. It is also noteworthy that route has several “congested” stations or parts of stations that require attention – Barking, West Ham, Limehouse and part of Fenchurch St (all on that troublesome “inner” section too). There are also 4 other C2C stations in the “smaller intervention” category for station capacity issues so no growth issue there is there? 😉 😉

    @ Ngh – I would say the report is up to date with Barking Riverside. It is assumed it will be happening in 2020 and there are multiple references to the scheme and its possible impacts. There is also discussion about “nodal sidings” at Rippleside to allow better marshalling of freights so they can proceed on to the GOBLIN effectively. There are also references to further signalling upgrades being needed on the GOBLIN *if* more passenger / freight trains have to run. There are also issues about more “holding sidings” for freight at Gospel Oak and Kensal Rise and also removing the “double block” signalling constraint at Hampstead Heath tunnel. I assume the latter is a safety issue because there are references to “trains not stopping in the tunnel section” – anyone know what the issue is or was that resulted in the “double block”.

  388. Graham H says:

    @ngh – thanks for that number – a bit higher than I would have guessed, but there has been a tendency for unit prices to rise over the last few years. On the question of why are full leasing costs so high, I would cite the various bids for the new TLK stock, where the annual cost of maintaining the lease (and the stock!) was between 35 and 40% of the plain vanilla cost of just buying the units. (And for alan’s benefit, that didn’t include cleaning, overnight exams, and energy!) [Running trains is reminiscent of Edward Heath’s remark about ocean racing being like tearing up banknotes whilst having a cold shower].

  389. Al Daw says:

    East London Councils and Essex CC have commissioned a study which proposes a potential eastern branch of CR2 linking into C2C.

    Lots of issues and questions

  390. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Al Daw – “The government has historically failed to fund infrastructure in East London” says Sir Robin Wales. Yes it has completely failed to upgrade the Central Line, the Victoria Line, buy new trains for the District / C&H lines, fund Crossrail, build and then upgrade and possible upgrade again the Jubilee Line, expand the DLR’s capacity and add extensions and, of course, it has spent nothing on the Overground and is completely failing to electrify the Barking – Gospel Oak line. There are some other things you can add to that list if you wanted. What planet is that man on? Where else has such a vast amount of money been spent?

    By all means point out that rising population and planned developments create the need for more transport capacity but let’s not go stupid in setting out a completely false historical background. If I was in the DfT or HMT I’d yawn and tell Sir Robin to “go away”.

    I can see some merit in an alignment from Hackney to, say, Grays, but I am sceptical that CR2 could ever provide sufficient frequency on two very busy branches. I can’t see a split service of 12 tph per branch being remotely sufficient after a few years and even if you could reliably get it to 15 tph per branch that would likely become overwhelmed within 10 years. There are also very significant issues about how you run that sort of frequency down the Rainham branch even if you turned some trains at Barking and some at Rainham. There would still be problems with level crossings near Grays. With CR2 not serving the City at all you would still have an overstretched C2C service just as West Anglia services into the City will remain overstretched if CR2 is built.

  391. Anonymous says:

    Thurrock should look at SE Metro. Even though the Thameslink upgrade should reduce delays to stoppers through London Bridge, it will not produce any extra services for SE London. Even the Catford Loop is still a miserable 2tph at the end of it.

  392. timbeau says:

    removing the “double block” signalling constraint at Hampstead Heath tunnel. I assume the latter is a safety issue because there are references to “trains not stopping in the tunnel section” – anyone know what the issue is or was that resulted in the “double block”.
    Could it be diesel fumes in the tunnel? Either not wanting to create a lot of them if a diesel train has to stand, and restart, in the tunnel, or not exposing people (drivers and passengers) in stationary trains to fumes left behind by previous trains. Will cease to be a problem post-Goblin electrification if all freight trains through the tunnel are electric.

  393. Malcolm says:

    timbeau says “… if all freight trains through the tunnel are electric”

    They may be, but I suspect only if diesel-hauled ones are explicitly banned. Freight haulage, I have heard, is often diesel even when most or all of the route is electrified, due to loco-availability or “last-mile” issues.

  394. timbeau says:

    “Freight haulage, I have heard, is often diesel even when most or all of the route is electrified, due to loco-availability or “last-mile” issues.”

    These should come in handy then

  395. Graham H says:

    @WW – indeed, given that CR2 doesn’t serve the West End either (nor the Wharf),one wonders what on earth the use is of a branch to Grays, other than a political one).

  396. alan bluemountains says:

    Graham H. I am shocked somewhat that leasing costs equate to the cost of buying a new carriage every 3 years particulary with the interest componet being historically low and say 30 years of life for the asset. If franchises eventually extend to 10 or 12 year lengths it may be worth doing an excercise in whether its better to buy and not lease.

  397. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    “CR2 doesn’t serve the West End ”

    Isn’t Tottenham Court Road in the West End?

  398. Graham H says:

    @alan bluemountains -yes,be shocked. ROSCOs are a licence to print the stuff. That’s the way the system was fixed at the time of privatisation. Typically, TOCs earn 7% on rail franchises, bus operators 12-15%, but ROSCOs 20%. The reason why TOCs are reluctant to buy their own kit is their short tenure; banks are suspicious that the stock won’t be automatically transferred to the next franchisee, even though you and Iknow that there is little liquidity in the rolling stock market.

  399. Graham H says:

    @timbeau -not in most people’s books. Just look at the station entry and exit figures.

  400. timbeau says:

    @ GH “not in most people’s books”

    Really? TCR station is at the junction of the biggest West End shopping street and Charing Cross Road, just up the road from Leicester Square and Covent Garden, and on the “West End” branch of the Northern Line.

    See also

    Not sure what station entry and exit figures have to do with it.

  401. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I do find arguing about whether Tottenham Court Road station is in the West End or not tiresome and silly. It is one of those pointless debates (like arguing if a lot of places are “in London”) that has no definitive answer. Your comment has a pythonesque feel of creating an argument for the sake of an argument.

    I am not arguing one way or another but trying to show that it is not clear cut.

    There is no formal definition of what constitutes the West End. A reasonable case could be made for a necessary (but not sufficient) condition to be that it lies within the City of Westminster. The “west end” of Oxford Street is generally taken to be definitely in and anything in the City of London definitely out.

    The main area of debate is whether parts of the borough of Camden are in the West End. As part of the east side of Charing Cross Road is in the Borough of Camden one can see that at the very least it is nudging closely to what is generally considered to be the West End. Only one current entrance of Tottenham Court Road tube station is in the City of Westminster. The would suggest that the station is hardly at the heart of the West End – more likely literally borderline.

    Using a reference on the Camden Council website hardly supports your case and, I would argue, fatally weakens it. Camden clearly have an agenda to have parts of the borough considered to be in “the West End”. Equally, I am pretty sure that the City of Westminster have no desire to “dilute the brand” and would not agree with Camden as to what constitutes the West End. The fact that you resorted to a Camden Council document to justify your argument suggests that less controversial references were not available. It’s a bit like using documents from the Railway Conversion League to back up the idea of Waterloo station being closed for rail traffic.

    Graham clearly was making the point that he believed that most people would not regard Tottenham Court Road station is in the West End. “Not in most people’s books” is what he said. It is a perfectly reasonable statement that may or may not be true.

  402. Pedantic of Purley says:

    timbeau, Graham H,

    Of course, if one was arguing about whether the future Tottenham Court Road station entrance in Shaftesbury Avenue will be in the West End one might get different opinions.

  403. timbeau says:

    Without wishing to prolong the argument (to continue the Python reference, I wasn’t expecting the full half-hour) I found many definitions of the West End, the majority extending at least as far east as TCR. (Even the dreadful neologism of “Midtown” doesn’t claim to go any further west)
    TCR may be in the LB Camden, but the names of London Boroughs can be misleading: Camden proper does not include the St Giles area, in the same way that most people understand the difference between West Kilburn and Westminster)

    But the point I was trying to make was that, whether or not CR2 serves the West End or contrives to thread a path between it and the City, I don’t understand its relevance to the comment “one wonders what on earth the use is of a branch to Grays”. TCR may be in No Mans Land, but it is hardly an Empty Quarter.

  404. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – have you ever been to TCR? It’s 12 minute hike to the nearest department store (and the rest of them are even further along Oxford St); 15 minutes to the nearest flagship store in Regent Street (the rest being even further away along Regent St and Bond Street); the nearest theatre is at Cambridge Circus, a 10 minute walk away, with the rest even further off . The area has its pleasant small shops and restaurants but very much on the fringe of the main shopping/entertainment/employment zone. Of course, the area attracts some traffic in the same way as other stations around the periphery of the core West End, but if TCR is West end, then so is Baker street or Russell Square

    My point was simply that CR2 misses the largest traffic objective and offering it as the West End is very much like saying the “Northern Circle” version of CR1 also served the West End.

  405. Anonymous says:

    Not seeking to prolong this rather nebulous argument, but the nearest theatre to TCR is undoubtedly The Dominion, which is closer to ten metres away than ten minutes.

    [Would anyone who henceforth thinks of further factlets relevant to this matter kindly broadcast them in some other way than posting here. (e.g. writing them in Japanese and then burning the paper). Malcolm]

  406. Graham H says:

    That’ll be rice paper, then, so we could eat our own words perhaps?

  407. Mikey C says:

    C2C to lease 24 additional carriages from later this year, presumably 6 * 4 car 387s, which should help things considerably, and a significant improvement from earlier proposals!

  408. ngh says:

    Re Mikey C,
    Given the photo of a 387 in the article and Porterbrook having ordered 387s as 4 car units that is what you would expect…

    Note the lease is only for 3 years till 2019:

    The new carriages we have announced today will be leased for three years, until 2019. From 2019, they will be replaced by the existing plans we have for 68 new carriages on the route. We have now started the formal procurement process for the first trains in this new fleet, and we hope to appoint a manufacturer this summer.

    Which suggests they have an agreement in principle for something else already.

    Also note no major TT changes or reversion to the old TT:

    In the meantime, we are also making alterations to the current timetable from Sunday 15 May. You can read a full list of the alterations here. Some evening services are being combined, to provide longer trains and reduce the number of four-carriage services at peak times. We are changing the stopping pattern of a number of other services, to relieve the existing overcrowding on some trains. While this will reduce the total number of peak-time services at Barking for example, there is still a significant increase in the total number of peak services at the station over the past six months.

    The reduction in Barking stops is a net 5 (7 current stoppers won’t, 2 additional trains will stop) in the am 3hr peak.

  409. Greg Tingey says:

    That was remarkably quick work!
    Do we think the DfT expedited that, to get both “c2c” & themselves off the hook?

  410. Malcolm says:

    Greg: maybe, but does it matter?

  411. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – seems it was all the work of local MPs depending on which local Essex newspaper you read. They all seem to taking credit for it. Perhaps they are also moonlighting at Bombardier’s factory to personally construct the new trains? Let’s get real here – if it wasn’t for the speculative build of class 387s C2C (and whoever else wants to jump on the bandwagon) would have been “stuck” for several years before anything substantive could have been done to try to meet what is a pretty exceptional set of circumstances (given the rapidity of growth). I bet the DfT won’t be singing the praises of Porterbrook Leasing even though it is their initiative (and risk) to have the trains built.

  412. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes it does, because the “political” control of the railways, at any level, matters.

    Your last sentence makes me wonder if Vivarail’s C-train will ever (be allowed to) see actual service?

  413. timbeau says:

    “Vivarail’s C-train ”
    It was a D-train last time I looked. Has it been promoted?

  414. Greg Tingey says:

    Fault between Chair & Keyboard …..

  415. Mikey C says:

    Yes, rail leasing companies may not be very popular, due to the impression that they’ve been making excessive profits out of rail privatisation, but Porterbrook deserve praise for being proactive here, with their order for extra 387s.

  416. Nameless says:

    For a moment there I thought you wrote that the fault was between chair and key, thereby alluding to a load of political bull****. Bullhead that is.

  417. ngh says:

    ORR passenger data for FY 15-16 is out:

    Comparing Q4 FY 15-16 (approx Jan – March post timetable changes) vs Q4 FY 14-15 (pre timetable changes)

    Train Km +10.6%
    Passenger km +7.0%
    Passenger numbers +9.0%

    So a slight skew in the increase in passengers towards new passengers travelling shorter distances (but nothing on the scale of skew that GTR is seeing: Train km -0.5%, Passenger km +3.8% & passenger numbers +6.2%. GTR growth last year was 47% of total number of C2C passengers.)

  418. Graham H says:

    @ngh – are pkms still a figure derived from ticket sales? If so, then that number requires a lot of poking to validate it against other changes in eg the mix of ticket types.

  419. ngh says:

    Re Graham H,

    Yes, but it matches observations from regular users about what what they saw happening. Plenty of the extra will be oyster usage so reasonable accuracy.

  420. Old Buccaneer says:

    ngh re ORR stats:
    A couple of derived numbers:
    Q4 15/16
    rpk* = 14.55p
    Or per mile** 23.3p

    London and South East:
    Or per mile 25.2p
    * rpk: revenue per passenger kilometre
    ** mile taken as (8÷5) km.

  421. @Old Buck

    Thanks for the acronyms!

    Methinks pkm is passenger KMs?

    ATOC is Association of Train Operating Companies.

  422. Old Buccaneer says:

    @LBM you’re welcome. Graham H’s pkm are undoubtedly passenger kilometres.

    The document ngh linked to shows passenger train kilometres (ptkm)as well as passenger kilometres and the authors very properly disclose their sources.

    They also note a change in method in relation to ptkm. As usual, care is needed in using & interpreting data before & after the change as they* may not be properly comparable.

    ATOC is what you said; more here:
    Note in particular the role of the Rail Delivery Group (né 2011).

    * pedantry alert: the singular of data is datum, as in ‘chart datum’ for navigational charts. & while I’m on the subject, the plural of anecdote is *not* data!

  423. Malcolm says:

    Further pedantry: the relationship between “datum” and “data” is historical, and does not correspond to the way the words are generally used nowadays. “Data” can be used with a singular verb (like milk) or a plural verb (like widgets). The choice is usually made by whichever sounds or reads better.

  424. Graham H says:

    @ngh – I’m surprised at you…

  425. ngh says:

    Re Graham H,


    C2C is probably the simplest franchise (largely a commuter one) and the ORR data matches what the TOC themselves said about passenger growth due to the TT change. (C2C used number to a lower level of accuracy)

    For other bigger more complicated franchises I would be more sceptical about the accuracy of ORR data.

    How the extra passengers translate into extra revenue (or not) is another matter entirely.

  426. Old Buccaneer says:

    @Malcolm re pedantry: which pronoun do you recommend in my post above? There was clearly plenty of datums in the report what I linked to*.

    I wish I’d never started this!
    *teasing, obvs

  427. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm (aka Humpty Dumpty) – well, no, the relationship between datum and data is linguistic, surely? Next, we’ll be hearing that that neologistic participle “ov” – as in I couldn’t ov done it – is also correct.

    @OB – you know we all have difficulty with the irony settings on our filters on this site.

  428. Malcolm says:

    Graham: Yes, the relationship between datum and data is properly the subject of linguistics. I would argue historical linguistics, but other views may well exist. And one day the word “ov” may become widely accepted (my preferred alternative to “correct”), but I’m pretty sure that hasn’t happened yet. But this is not a linguistic forum, sorry that I ventured into such realms, which would be better discussed elsewhere.

  429. @Graham H et al

    “you know we all have difficulty with the irony settings on our filters on this site.”

    We Mods take no responsibility for adjusting the irony settings on this site, which remain hitherto the responsibility of the individual commentator…

  430. Old Buccaneer says:

    Malcolm, Graham:Data/datum: I suspect it’s an instance of taking over both words from Latin. And then failing to teach the vast majority properly. I don’t think it’s a linguistic problem stricto sensu .

    ‘ov’: your totes rite*

    Filters & settings: I try to be as helpful as I can.

    * I refer the reader to my previous

  431. Old Buccaneer says:

    LBM allow me to introduce you to the splendid acronym PICNIC: problem in chair, not in computer.

    The settings for irony filters are set in the chair, I believe. Hence it behoves commentators (‘input clerks’) to continue to take responsibility for flagging their input appropriately, as hitherto.

  432. @OB

    Brilliant, hadn’t heard PICNIC before.

    Point of pedantry – isn’t it “behooves”? That’s that way we were brought up to spell and say it in Canada. Unless it’s an Americanism.

  433. Old Buccaneer says:

    LBM: “You say potato and I say potato, You say tomato and I say tomato, Potato, potato, Tomato, tomato, Let’s call the whole thing off!” (G & I Gershwin, 1937)
    *puzzled face*
    I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with this relationship!

    I hope Malcolm will be along in a minute to clarify this important question of linguistics. If not, you can look it up here*.

    I do not wish to be drawn on the question of US-Canadian relations, which is wildly off topic.

    We now return you to the travails of the London Tilbury and Southend railway.

    *tl;dr: we’re both right.

  434. peezedtee says:

    @LBM I have only ever seen “behooves” in American texts. In British English we write “behoves”.

  435. Timbeau says:

    I had understood standard British English to be spelled “behove”, pronounced to rhyme with “move”. Not come across the double-O spelling, which I suspect of being one of Noah Webster’s reforms like “color”, gray”, defense” and “traveler”

  436. Nameless says:

    Usually pronounced to rhyme with Hove. If the term usual can be applied to this word.
    (Like Webster’s Dictionary we’re Morocco bound)

  437. Nameless says:

    And then a Moderator hove into view.

  438. Malcolm says:

    … and posted a “get relevant” comment in another topic which was also showing signs of deviance. Which I will not repeat here…

  439. Old Buccaneer says:

    We now have the minutes of the March C2C Passenger Panel here:

    but the minutes of 4 May won’t be available till after the July meeting.

    Panel members asking for the January minutes to be amended to show that the meeting was “acrimonious” pretty much sets the tone. The meat on the timetable issues is in item 4.

  440. alan bluemountains says:

    In six months time c2c will have all the leased carriages available, a new or revised timetable in operation. It will be interesting to see if the publicity of extra capacity will release suppressed demand and lead to excessively high passsenger loadings once again.

  441. Greg Tingey says:

    A trial run for Corssrail+GWML electrification Reading-Padders, you mean?

  442. RichardB says:

    Can anyone explain why this particular page c2c etc now appears as light on dark (I.e. White text on a black background). I have checked my options and reconfirmed my preference for dark on light which seems to apply to all the other pages I have viewed except this one which remains resolutely light on dark. I should add I have often followed this page in the past and it always previously showed dark on light hence my query.

  443. @RichardB

    Just to report that this article appears as the normal black text on white background for me. LBM

  444. RichardB says:

    @ LBM thanks the same is now true when I view this page. It has reverted to the standard dark on light. Odd though.

  445. Al Daw says:

    New carriages in by the end of the year it seems

    Not sure how much capacity this will introduce, I get the impression the report rehashes deliberately confusing spin from C2C.

  446. ngh says:

    Re Al Daw,

    Identical spec to the 387s in use on Thameslink and Gatwick Express at the moment (And GWR inner routes from 5/9/2016 with production of GWR units initially taking priority over C2C units hence the end of year)

    6x 4 car units which will probably run in service as 3x8car (if all maintenance can be done at the weekend) or more probably 1x8car and 1×12 car thus allowing a few other services to be strengthened with 357 units. They have plenty of standing space including far better hand holds etc than the C2C metro spec 357s.

  447. timbeau says:

    Can they work in multiple with 357s? (they are both Electrostars)

    “more probably 1x8car and 1×12 car ”

    Why not 2x 12-car?

  448. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    Not at all as they have different couplings (Tightlock vs Dellner)

    why not 2x 12 car what are the chances of all 6 being in service (an average of 5.4 -5.6 units in service would be normal so realistically 5 available and maybe 6 on a few days.

  449. Timbeau says:


    Even if they can’t work on multiple, surely it would have been prudent to fit the same couplers to allow a push out of one type by the other? Isn’t that why Southern changed the couplers on its 171s (to become 172s), so they could couple to a 377 in emergency?

  450. Ian J says:

    @timbeau: I think that these trains weren’t specified by C2C but speculatively ordered by Porterbrook, so C2C have to accept whatever Porterbrook chose (and compatibility with the other 387s is good for the long term value of the fleet).

  451. Greg Tingey says:

    This coupler nonsense needs sorting (yesterday)
    How ever did we get into this mess?
    [ Yes, I know, privatisation & no co-ordination, not even a Railway Clearing House ]

    Even in the short-term, how much is this lack of compatibility costing – & not just on “c2c” ???

  452. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    The current standard is Dellner* (supplied by Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi, Siemens) and no sign of any need to change to anything new so it will be around for awhile. The 357s were already amongst the last of the tightlock fitted stock and I would suspect will get changed to Dellner if the 357s are retained when the leases expire (there is the question of additional stock or complete replacement at C2C which is yet to be resolved, hence if retained expect conversion to Dellner)

    The computer systems are completely different on 357 and 387s so they still wouldn’t be able operate in service together but could for emergency towing purposes.

    * Made in Derbyshire

  453. John Elliott says:

    We got into this mess long before privatisation — BR introduced trains with Dellners (the original 4PEPs), Tightlocks (when the PEPs went into production, because they were cheaper) and BSI couplers (Pacers and Sprinters).

  454. timbeau says:

    “The 357s were already amongst the last of the Tightlock fitted stock ”
    Although being fairly isolated there is perhaps less incentive to change. Adapting them to be compatible with the temporary presence of half a dozen 387s would be the tail wagging the dog.

    @John Elliott
    “We got into this mess long before privatisation ”

    And 4EPBs couldn’t couple to 4SUBs

    But such incompatibility is an inevitable price of progress. the alternative is for all our trains to still have screw couplings, simple (not automatic!) vacuum brakes, and steam heating.

  455. John Elliott says:

    4EPBs couldn’t run in multiple with 4SUBs, but one would have been able to tow the other — drop the buckeye head on the EPB and both would have had compatible screw couplings and air brakes.

  456. timbeau says:

    “compatible ………….. air brakes.”

    Could an EPB (electro-pneumatic brake) controller operate a straight Westinghouse air brake? Or indeed vice versa?

  457. alan bluemountains says:

    Even running 5 387 sets as an 8 car and a 12 car service allows 5 other services to be augmented with 4 357 cars to 8 car or 12 car services, given the situation I don’t think the coupling incompatability is a major problem just getting the extra rolling stock early is a godsend for c2c (although an expensive one), Graham H I am still staggered by the likely costs of this excercise. As I pondered earlier if this (expensive) expansion of rolling stock will be swamped by suppresseddemand in January 2017. I presume that while more may be available from Porterbrook the money probably is not there to finance more rolling stock.

  458. John Elliott says:

    Yes — the braking system in EPBs could be used as a straight Westinghouse brake. Wikipedia says:

    The trains had Westinghouse brake equipment and had an electric control system, activating the compressed air brakes on each coach. In normal operation, the driver used the EP system exclusively but it was not fail-safe. If the electrical system failed, the driver merely had to move the brake valve to a further position and the same valve operated the fail-safe Westinghouse system on the train. This was only done in case of failure or emergency.

    Some multiple units, like the 4CIG, had a separate switch beside the brake controller to switch the braking system between ‘Auto air’ and ‘EP brake’.

  459. AlisonW says:

    For someone (like, um, me!) who doesn’t know what all these different coupler systems look like / do, may I point people at 🙂

  460. Greg Tingey says:

    John Elliott
    You make the important point that, in an emergency, the EPB/SUB incompatibility could be got around, as could the Westinghouse/AP problem.
    But Dellner won’t fit AT ALL to Tightlock, etc ….
    Which is what I was driving at, & probably not saying too clearly

  461. 100andthirty says:

    With modern trains, it’s often not the type of coupler that is the barrier to compatibility. It is possible that trains from the same supplier will connect and can control each other – but not guaranteed unless someone demands it. For example, perhaps all Electrostars could work together if they all had the same couplers. It is unlikely that trains from different suppliers will be able to control each other as there are no interface specifications for compatibility between all the train systems. For a rather worrying hypothetical example, the coupler pin to apply the brakes on one type might control the heaters on the other type. The modern electronic control systems are supplier specific and just do not interface. Mechanical coupling is possible using adaptors. These are heavy and difficult to handle, but do work.

    The SUB-EPB incompatibility was a generational issue. At some point Southern had to embrace a more modern electrical system. The SUBs were the last of the old. The EPBs were the first of the new. It’s probably fair to say that the EBP era lasted too long – to the last of the VEPs in the ’70s. However the compatibility was great – the best I ever saw, all being properly controlled, was a 4-VEP, a 4-TC and a class 33 locomotive all being controlled from the VEP. This was achieved because there was a guiding mind in authority, but did come at the expense of progress.

  462. ngh says:

    Re 130,

    Indeed but there is at least some compatibility for key bits see:
    (Also the next step for those looking beyond Alison Wikipedia reference)
    It also has all the standard wiring connections remember the coupling is Dellner to Dellner and they have a recommended wiring pattern)

    So for example SWT 450(Siemens) and 458 (Alstom) can now couple for emergency towing purposes after the 458 rebuild and change of couplers.

    Re Greg,

    SE’s 375 (build overlap with later 357 batches) were originally Tightlock but were converted to Dellner.

    SE, Greater Anglia, LM, TSGN and SWT all have emergency Tightlock-Dellner adapters with most carrying one on board

    NR’s Cl57 rescue loco can couple to all London Area EMUs with either Tightlock or Dellner.

  463. timbeau says:

    A 33-TC-VEP-VEP was a twice-daily working out of Waterloo in the mid-eighties: the train divided at Basingstoke for Salisbury and Eastleigh (no prizes for working out which portion went where!) I never such a formation with the electric leading, although I see no reason why it wouldn’t work (a TC-33 formation was of course standard fare on the Weymouth line, and also the “Kenny Belle” (the stock for the Salisbury portion of one of the aforementioned mixed-formation trains worked up from Clapham Junction every evening after operating the two Kensington trips)

    Class 73s were even more versatile, among their other talents was the ability to act as adapters between EP and vacuum braking (so you could run e.g TC- 73- vacuum braked trailing load). Difficult to think of a reason for doing it though!

  464. Pedantic of Purley says:

    And this interworking of diesel and electric units produced one of my favourite moments when working for British Rail.

    I had trudged to work in the snow which had fallen heavily overnight and was working at Beckenham Junction ticket office. There had been no trains so far that morning but this was a long time ago and information was generally sparse so past performance was no guarantee of future performance. We had just got a call on the latest situation.

    We then had the inevitable irate passenger demanding to know when the next train was going to arrive. One booking clerk replied. “The have put a spare diesel locomotive in front of the electric unit and it will be here within five minutes”. The clerk had an unfortunate nasal tone which made everything he said sound sarcastic though it was not intended that way. The intending passenger was clearly annoyed with the response.

    A few moments afterwards an 8-car EPB turned up hauled by a class 33.

  465. John Elliott says:

    There’s even a buckeye-to-Dellner adaptor. Here it is in use, allowing a 1957 DEMU to tow an Electrostar. I don’t think it would have been able to apply the Electrostar’s brakes, though.

    (The Southern DEMUs had the same cable connectors as EPB-style electrics, but used different pin assignments, so couldn’t work in multiple with them).

  466. ngh says:

    Re John Elliot,

    Note the air pipe connection in the photos of your second link for the brakes…

  467. John Elliott says:

    That looks as if it’s connected to the main reservoir pipe (yellow) rather than the brake pipe (red). Which as I understand it means that the Electrostar would have working brakes, but someone would have to be aboard it to control them.

  468. 100andthirty says:

    John Elliott

    An Electrostar doesn’t have a brake pipe!

  469. 100andthirty says:

    ngh…..depending on your point of view the RSSB document either helps or just proves the point that all this is a (self snipped) muddle.

  470. John Elliott says:

    100andthirty @ 17:55: I meant that it isn’t connected to the brake pipe on the Hastings DEMU. And with no electrical connection and no brake pipe, I can’t see any way for the DEMU to be controlling the Electrostar’s brakes.

  471. Graham Feakins says:

    @John Elliott – I don’t think the DEMU was controlling any brakes on the Electrostar. It was I believe unbraked because one bogie was mounted on a skate, apart from any other damage incurred. The two power cars of the DEMU would have been sufficient to provide the required braking power at the low speeds concerned. I stand to be corrected, especially as that begs the question as to why an air pipe was connected.

  472. Graham Feakins says:

    P.S. I think I have just answered my own question. The air pipe was connected to charge the air reservoirs on the Electrostar to hold the brakes *off*. Is that correct?

  473. 100andthirty says:

    Graham Feakins. ……almost certainly to hold off the spring applied parking brakes which have to be air released. Also a second person on the Electrostar would be able to apply the brake in an emergency.

  474. GT says:

    Excuse me for coming late to this article, but as a regular commuter from Grays to Fenchurch Street for the last 29 years, I thought that I would add a couple of points.

    One upgrade that was missed out on the article was the lengthening of platforms on the stations on the Tilbury loop to allow for 12 coach trains to stop at stations. This happened 3-4 years ago, but since then no 12 coach service has been run on the loop!

    When the new timetable originally came in last December, I did a quick calculation that in a 2 hour period in the evening rush (from 16.45 to 18.45), the old timetable ran 13 8 coach trains to Grays. The new timetable ran 14 trains, which were a mixture of 4 and 8 coaches, with the majority being only 4 coaches. That meant that there were many fewer coaches, and hence seats, for commuters in that 2 hour period and that this has increased the numbers standing for all of their journey, which does not strike me as value for money. I am fortunate in that I can let a full train go and catch another 10 minutes later which will have seats available, many of my fellow commuters are not. For instance, the 18.07 Fenchurch Street to Pitsea, via Rainham, always leaves Fenchurch Street with people standing in each of the four carriages, and seats do not become available until Rainham.

    The question relating to the new carriages is how will they be deployed? Will they go solely to the Southend and Basildon services, or will we see some of these coaches on the loop?

  475. John Elliott says:

    On the topic of coupler incompatibility, the new ATOC “Key Train Requirements” document does mention an aspiration for standardised emergency coupling:

    To facilitate rescue of stranded trains an “emergency – limited functionality” mode of communication between the stranded and rescue train should be considered. As a minimum this would provide:
    * Emergency brake
    * Full service brake application
    * Traction Control
    * Door Control and Interlock
    * Crew to Crew Communication
    * Public Address
    * Passenger Communication Emergency Alarm

  476. ngh says:

    Re John Elliot,

    That sounds like a spec for Dellners all round, the issue of course is then the software on the trains!

  477. Malcolm says:

    John Elliott: That’s interesting, but just what a train could achieve in such a circumstance would depend on rather more than which wires are connected to which wires. If the reason for the failure is, for example, a fault in the service brake, which cannot be operated from either of the faulty train’s own cabs, then it strikes me as unlikely that it could be operated from another train through such a link.

    (I am writing with very little knowledge here, meaning that I could be talking complete nonsense – if so I hope someone will say so).

  478. Anonymous says:

    Its a start, let’s hope it leads on something useful.
    As stated Dellner is probably the way to go …

    Greg Tingey … typing from a tablet my computer is dead

  479. ngh says:

    The first 3 items listed tend to be the same for all Dellner electrical connection boxes (and the air connection in the mechanical part of the coupler) but with potential software issues on trains. The last 4 items can vary quite bit especially as PA standards have evolved (e.g. 377/1-/5 not compatible with 377/6 &/7 or 387s)

  480. alanbluemountains says:

    Any info as to when in October the first 387s are to be added to timetable, I can’t find anything on the net.

  481. AVR2 says:

    Many thanks for this very interesting article. I used the LTS between Upminster and Fenchurch Street every weekday between 1994 and 2005, and I had no idea of the problems that now exist.

    I always had a good experience with the line – the long-overdue resignalling was pretty much complete by the time I started using it, so I missed out on the worst of the “Misery Line” era, and I nearly always got a seat in both directions. Strange to think the service is now seriously overcrowded at times.

  482. alanbluemountains says:

    Does anyone know if the 20% increase in pm peak passenger traffic from Fenchurch Street station experienced by c2c at the start of this year is still being experienced. I do wonder if the 24 extra carriages to be in service by end of December this year may induce further passenger demand by early next year, time will tell. The contract for the additional 17 4 car trains from 2019 which must be close to being initiated would probably need to be increased to cover return ex lease of the 6 Porterbrook 4 car 387 and possibly an option for extra trains would be prudent if passenger demand grows at greater than estimated by 2019.

  483. ngh says:

    The first C2C 387 (387301) has been delivered to Bletchley for testing.
    Delivery to C2C by mid month highly probable given previous units.

  484. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Alanbluemountains – I wonder if the DfT would really want a further increase on this franchise. The short term lease costs of the 387s can no doubt be funded somehow and probably don’t cause too many headaches in terms of sidings and depots. The extra 17 trains were part of the franchise commitment and will have costs and funding associated with them. If you go beyond this then you may start to upset the modelled franchise costs and revenues and may even trigger unexpected infrastructure change costs.

    I’ve not looked to see if the commuters of South Essex are still “revolting” but I suspect they will never be happy as long as “Londoners” (spit) are invading *their* trains and depriving them of a seat. I suspect they’d only be happy if trains didn’t stop at Limehouse, West Ham and Barking other than to allow certified Essex residents to board or alight as appropriate. In short the usual old nonsense of not liking change to their long cherished commuting arrangements. My view has long been “tough” – the world changes and they’ve had a very good deal for a long while and they have a good franchise operator (despite what they may think) and an expansionist franchise. It would have all too easy to have not funded any demonstrable capacity increase and just left things as they were and pocketed the premium payments. They are in a far better position than the users of other franchises we could mention (but won’t)!

  485. alanbluemountains says:

    WW. The 17 trains due in 2019 seemed like a big jump in capacity at one time. Then followed by 4 more trains in 2022 and 2024 so there was an expectation of increased passenger flows. Possibly the business plan was to run a tight financial ship until 2019 but signifcant increases in loadings at the start have thrown the plan out.

  486. alanbluemountains says:

    ngh 04 oct. I can’t find any thing on net about when the first 4 or 8 cars of 387 class are to be introduced into service on c2c , they can’t be far off. do you have any info.

  487. ngh says:

    First unit delivered to C2C on Monday for driver and maintenance staff training, looking like in service mid November, the ultimate aim is to run the 6 units as 2x 12car sets Monday-Friday in the peaks only with all in service by the end of the year.

  488. timbeau says:

    Classes 387 and 357 are both part of the Electrostar family (which also includes classes 375-379 inclusive). Can they operate in multiple if required, or will the 387s always be “cats that walk by themselves”? (Kipling)

  489. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    The newer electrostars 379s, 377/6 & /7 and 387 can’t work with the older ones (they have a new generation computer systems from the Aventras (that runs on an operating system less than 20+ years old!)). Towing a dead unit /train is possible but the PA systems are incompatible so they can’t run in service with passengers.
    So the 6 units at C2C have to work with themselves alone hence not running during the day or late evenings or weekends to ensure a much maintenance can be done then to get 2x 12 car out in the peaks.

    The December C2C timetable change has been delayed till January when all 6 units will have been in service already.

  490. ngh says:

    C2C and ASLEF are apparently very close to reaching agreement on 12car DOO on C2C services which is needed if they want to run the new timetable and use the new 387s shortly.

  491. ngh says:

    Today is first day of 387s in service on C2C with an 8 car service in the peak this morning.

    Still no 12car DOO (or rather sign-off) yet as the final infrastructure works haven’t been finished yet.

  492. Del_tic says:

    @ngh IIRC the first 375/377s ran on Windows 95 when they first went into service.

  493. Melvyn says:

    C2C have brought into service at least one of its new trains .

    I was at Southend Central tonight at 16.30 when one of the new trains entered the station going towards London but unfortunately for me it continued through the station without stopping .

    However, I spotted the new train a few minutes later at Leigh-On-Sea Station waiting to form a service from there to Fenchurch Street so perhaps my luck will change when I am returning from London .

    The feature that stands out is the blue seats the train has .

  494. ngh says:

    Re Melvyn,

    As noted in my comment on the 14th this is the second week they are in service with the first 4 of 6 units all having run. The last 2 units are still doing test runs pre delivery. Yesterday was the first day of 12car running with the 387s, as last week the services had just been 8car.
    Currently they are only running 1 train in the peaks so very difficult to catch it without lots of effort!

  495. Londoner in Scotland says:

    National Express has announced sale of the c2c franchise to Trenitalia, subject to DfT approval. Another franchise in the public sector!

  496. ngh says:

    Re Londoner in Scotland,

    A good time to buy sterling denominated assets and poor time to sell them so National Express must have been desperate to off load.
    Trenitalia have a DfT franchise bidding passport but haven’t actually bid for anything yet so there should be major issues. NX effectively leaving the UK rail industry as they lost lots of franchise bids after bidding sensible but not aggressively enough to win.

    Note the prominent use of East London and South Essex in the press release will upset the latter who think it is just a service for them!

  497. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – “mamma mia zese Essex people expect trains to run on time and just for them!!” “Luigi, what have we taken on here?”
    “Ah no worries, we just run trains when we feel like it in Italy. They’ll soon get used to our new “relaxed” services”.
    🙂 🙂

  498. Melvyn says:

    Following the recent announcement that TFL are not getting more of the rail network it seems that anyone in the world can buy into services that operate in London than the Mayor elected by Londoners !

    It seems Khan and the Chancellor will be attending an event in Davos, Switzerland so perhaps Khan could put this point to him ..?

    I spotted a item on a quick search of C2C that a local ukip representative in Essex is not happy at this news.

    National Express only recently begun a new C2C franchise which begs the question as to whether this type of sale should be allowed in first few years of a new franchise?

    Ah well as a user of C2C trains as long as trains don’t start running Latte and they bring their weather with them I’ll give them a punt ….

  499. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Melvyn – the passenger rail operation is centred on private businesses running contracted services. Subject to the usual safeguards private businesses can be bought and sold. That’s what the structure allows – in fact it has to for a franchise structure to function. We have precisely the same issue across the “public sector” and we will see all sorts of national and international businesses buying into (and quitting) the provision of health services, refuse collection, road repairs, running prisons, administering the benefits system (continue ad nauseam). We’ve been going down this path for nigh on 40 years. It’s a bit rich for any politician (esp on the right) to be getting upset about it now. 😉

    The more relevant question, for me anyway, is why National Express is quitting. I know what the press release says but they always gloss over the real reasons. There are strategic, financial and risk issues sitting behind this decision.

  500. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    I’m hearing TrenItalia apparently bought the UK NX operation for the management and franchise bidding teams and got a practice franchise thrown in given the main interest is apparently long distance franchises. They shouldn’t have issues raising the bonds for DfT at least.

    And for NX higher returns available elsewhere Europe and America.

  501. Greg Tingey says:

    And, yet again we cannot have nationalised train operation in this country … unless it’s someone else’s nationalised railway.
    This is insanity ( And, IIRC, built-in insanity, because of the wording of Major’s Act? )

  502. 100andthirty says:

    Ngh… I thought the bidding teams were virtually all hired consultants formed into teams for whatever bid is planned.

  503. Graham H says:

    @130 – not at all – depends on the bidder. Stagecoach, for example, has a permanent core bid team which is supplemented by secondees from within the business plus a small number of external consultants. Others, noteably DSB andNS tended to employ mostly consultants;these were usually the new entrants to themarket who were unsure they could use a permanent team. In fact, the use of consultants by bidders has tended to be limited to a handful of highly specific technical tasks such as running Railsys or financial models – to the great frustration of the consultancy industry who hoped to sell them turnkey advisory teams.

  504. Alan Griffiths says:

    Walthamstow Writer 12 January 2017 at 00:12

    “businesses buying into (and quitting) the provision of health services2

    such as Boots buying Dollond and Aitchison a few years ago. That was followed by clsing the branch in The Mall in Walthamstow E17and moving it to within the big Boots in Stratford City E20.

  505. ngh says:

    Re 130,

    DfT tend to have lots of consultants to ponder lots of options when drawing up the bid and writing the specification, then usually a second set of consultants to draw up a dummy bid (with permutations) which is also used to benchmark actual bids. Rest as per Graham H…
    Trenitalia will also need proof of running franchises so C2C will be an ideal case study to include in their CV when bidding.

    Worth noting Abellio entered UK market by taking over the Anglia franchise when NX were stripped of it in a hurry (The same NX who decided not replace the expired wheel lathe in Norwich giving AGA grief for years till the new proper franchise started recently and they hired in the one LU used to hire in for the Piccadilly line).

  506. timbeau says:

    “the one LU used to hire in for the Piccadilly line”
    Given that line’s recent woes, it would have been very useful if they could have hired it again this year.

  507. ngh says:

    Re Timbeau,

    It would be very interesting to know if not being able to hire in the wheel lathe was on LU Risk Register and if so where in the pecking order…

    Mind you DfT awarding Abellio more than 12-18 months short term franchise awards or extensions would have been considered a rare possibility at one time so it may not have crossed minds…

  508. Eddie says:

    “DfT tend to have lots of consultants to ponder lots of options when drawing up the bid and writing the specification, then usually a second set of consultants to draw up a dummy bid (with permutations) which is also used to benchmark actual bids.”

    Sounds like a nice earner for consultants and DfT overseeing it. No wonder they fight against devolution of services to London.

  509. ngh says:

    Re Eddie,

    The same consultants do the same for TfL just the scope of work is smaller. Potential devolution just created lots of extra work too!
    Devolution would created more work over time.

  510. timbeau says:

    Somehow, from reports of trains travelling long distances to visit wheel lathes, I had imagined them as permanent fixtures rather than something that could be moved from one site to another as the term “hired in” would suggest.

    How big/portable are they?

  511. ngh says:

    Re timbeau,

    Most are permanent as it is more expensive and less productive (slow machining rates an lowe overall productivity) to use mobile units. The mobile units require the unit to be jacked up and the lathe moved underneath on the rails where as normally wheel lathes are in a big pit in the ground and the unit moved after each axle or bogie (lots of dual axle lathes so both axles on a bogie can be done at the same time).

    The long distance travel is usually due to there being ones that aren’t 100% utilised at another TOC, or 2 TOCs effectively having a sharing arrangement or the TOC’s lathe being at the other end of the Country! (At £5-10m each depending on spec. it can make a lot of sense to travel).

    Mobile units:

  512. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    @Melvyn: If they offered Latte’s then perhaps they’d also cappuccino or espresso?

    Could we see a return to on-train catering? If so they get my vote!

  513. Greg Tingey says:

    It would appear that this problem is ongoing, with unhappy punters along the estuary.
    I realise that, until they get all their new rolling-stock, whatever solution is arrived at is going to be a bit of a bodge, but there appears to be a minor PR fail here?
    Any more useful information on this one?

  514. ngh says:

    Re Greg,

    There will also be unhappy punters after the future new trains arrive as it doesn’t get everything to full 12 car length given where the passenger growth is and where they want to commute to (not just mostly Fenchurch Street as 15 years ago).

    The timetable changes just shift the unhappyness.

    C2C face a big challenges in the lucrative Southend market from Greater Anglia in the next few years market:
    From the GA side:
    – New Bombardier Aventra stock on Greater Anglia with journey time reduction vs 321s (2020) **Agreed 1+year post C2C winning bid**
    – Stratford and Liverpool Street Crossrail connections (mainly 2019)
    – Improved Shenfield track layout with higher reliability and journey time improvements (2017) **Not sure C2C twigged this Crossrail side effect**
    An on their (C2C) side:
    – Extra passengers at Barking with Goblin electrification and extension 2018 onwards while maintaining the West Ham and Limehouse stops for the Canary Wharf market from the long distances.

    If C2C try to compete they will still lose market share in Southend area and there will be even more unhappy punters at the intermediate stations if they try to cut those stops to get competitive on time with GA to the London termini.

  515. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Ngh – can you please arrange to have large signs posted at all C2C stations telling their punters the truth that they will never, ever have their desired “perfect commuting journey”? 😉 Any commuters who revolt against this truth should be sent away for re-education. I know it’s unpalatable but someone, somewhere needs to start stating some blunt facts about what has happened, will happen and is likely to happen to travel patterns along the C2C route. These unrealistic expectations need managing and quickly.

  516. Al Daw says:

    @NGH at 24 Feb,
    Thanks for that post, very interesting. I commute on the Southend Vic branch, occasionally C2C.
    I’m not sure how much of a challenge GA will pose to C2C as:
    Both lines are at capacity and judging by NR predictions, demand will grow enormously. Potential capacity increases on both lines limited.

    C2C much cheaper and with nicer air-conditioned trains.

    Is the Shenfield track layout change confirmed as providing shorter journey times? – I understood it might potentially save a minute.

    Is there a website with GA’s franchise commitments on? Been unable to find one.


  517. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Al Daw – these links give an overview of the main improvements. The biggest change is full fleet replacement which is one of the key elements of delivering large scale revenue and patronage increases assumed in the plan.

  518. Al Daw says:

    Thanks WW

  519. Alfie1014 says:

    @ ngh Al Daw – As the former Service Planning Mamager for BR LTS(c2c) in the early 90s I agree with Al Daw that I don’t believe that there’s as much fluidity between the routes as many think. Yes there will be some, especially those that live between the two routes that have the opportunity to chose, but my belief is that the main drivers are cost; the c2c route is considerably cheaper for day tickets than the GA route, (less so in respect of seasons), availability and cost of car parking, or access to bus routes to stations and onward access from the terminals at the London end. As a result I don’t believe there are lots of passengers driving from Canvey to Rayliegh or Canewdon and Hullbridge to Leigh on Sea.

    The improvements on GA will help improve the image of the route, new trains (though very high density) and some modest journey time improvements (not least as the Aventras will I so I understand have all cars motored!), but if the fare differential remains the same or similar than that will continue to be most important factor for many passengers.

  520. Graham H says:

    I strongly support Alfie’s analysis -from the “other side of the fence” as it were, GE, as was, didn’t plan on the basis that there would be any significant switching and were keen to maintain the fares differential. Nor was NSE HQ troubled by the prospect of competition – maybe the Southend traffic was significantly contestible, but,again, the fares differential was important and limiting. GE fares were driven by the big picture of the services all the way out into the Essex and Suffolk countryside; Southend was seen as just another branch.

  521. timbeau says:

    Why would NSE HQ be worried about competition between LTS and GE lines? NSE operated both.

  522. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – Whilst it was true that so long as NSE existed and privatisation was not on the table, all the money went into the same pot, we neither wished our subsidiaries to engage in competition, nor to take actions which reduced their individual revenue base and certainly wished them to avoid actions which might have reduced their collective income.

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