Monday, 14 September 2009

Overground Expansion

September seems another big expansion of the London Overground (LO) as it takes over stations on route to Croydon ahead of next years running of services on the East London Railway (ELR). The following stations will be taken over on the 20th September;
  • New Cross Gate
  • Brockley
  • Honor Oak Park
  • Forest Hill
  • Sydenham
  • Crystal Palace
  • Penge West
  • Anerley
  • Norwood Junction
  • West Croydon

This will lead to a re branding of the stations ahead of the East London Rail services expected to start serving these stations in Spring next year. It remains to be seen if the first services using Oyster at these stations will be Southern's or London Overground's.

This comes along with the news that Imperial Wharf station is to open of the 27th of this month. The new station which has been in the planning stage for years is the second completely new station opened since TfL took control of the Overground network and also the second new station on the West London Line.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

377/5 update

Slowly and surely the 377/5 are being delivered by Bombarider. Current First Capital Connect have now 12th units meaning we are now half way through the delivery programme and the current final unit, the 23rd is due mid november. 377506 made its passenger debut today, working along side 10 other Electrostars. So far the units have come into service as such

377501 - 24th March
377504 - 28th March
377502 - 30th April
377507 - 11th May
377508 - 18th May
377505 - 29th May
377509 - 27th July
377510 - 30th July
377511 - 5th August
377512 - 18th August
377513 - 1st September
377506 - 2nd September

377506 on the return leg of its first jounery in passenger service.

377504 showing off the livery of the 377/5's thats now been applied to 377501/502/504/505/507/508/510/511

Currently units 377516 and 377520 are still on comissioning test and both due at FCC's Cauldwell depot by the first week of October. No moves from Bombardiers Derby workshop where the 377/5 are being built to Southern's Selhurst depot are booked at the moment meaning there will be a gap after 377520 is delivered, but units 377503/514/515/517/518/519/521/522/523 are still due to leave Derby. The quickest a 377/5 was comissioned was three weeks with unit 377505. During the testing, normally done at night, the units have been to many distant places that they won't visit for a few more years including Tonbridge, Milton Keynes and Littlehampton.

Blackfriars Update - 2nd September 2009

Just a quick update with some pictures of Blackfriars. Over the bank holiday wekend the passenger bridge linking platforms 4 and 5 was lifted into place. as you can see from the following pictures, work has progressed rather well.

New Passenger Bridge at BlackfriarsNew Passenger Bridge at Blackfriars
New Passenger Bridge at BlackfriarsNew Passenger Bridge at Blackfriars
New Passenger Bridge at BlackfriarsNew Passenger Bridge at Blackfriars
New Passenger Bridge at Blackfriars

Not in the pictures is the new front entrance to the station which is completed. It will open along side the new station control room in around two weeks time.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Blackfriars - Platform 5 Changes

This weekend saw major changes being implemented on the northbound platform 5 at Blackfriars this weekend. As part of the on going works the platform is being extended to the south. This was necessary because of the closure of the link bridge over the District/Circle Line below to the main exit. This now means the main way onto the platform is from the newer St Paul's Walk. The subway between platform 5 and 4 is still open for the movement but will be closing soon once the new link bridge is complete (currently due for a months time).

Blackfriars Platform 5 Works
This is the link bridge not long after closing for the last time. This bridge actually spans the District and Circle Line below, now encased.

Blackfriars Platform 5 Works
This is the signal waiting to be assembled

This massive block is lifted onto the platform onto some concrete to hold it steady.

Note the the route indicator is currently unattached. This was added to the signal once I'd left. The route indicator is needed because of the points just south of City Thameslink allowing trains in either direction to change tracks.

Blackfriars Platform 5 Works
This is the platform extnesion on the south end of the platform 5.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

New Central Line platform at Stratford Update

Here's some new images of the new platform 4a at Stratford for the Central Line. The platform is being build as part of the upgrade of Stratford station to handle the Olympic crowds and the extra traffic as the station is now one of the biggest interchanges outside Zone 1 in London.

New Central Line Platform 4a

The Jubilee Line building is in the background here looking towards Canary Wharf.

New Central Line Platform 4a

In the background here is the supports for the new bridge over the railway into Stratford City development and the Olympic Park.

New Central Line Platform 4a

You can see in this image the new station extension building in the background to this shot.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Seems the first 378 in passenger service will be tomorrow with the following services booked to be 378 trips;

0650 Clapham Junction – Stratford
0809 Stratford – Richmond
0922 Richmond – Stratford
1037 Stratford – Richmond
1157 Richmond – Stratford
1307 Stratford – Richmond
1427 Richmond – Stratford
1537 Stratford – Richmond
1736 Richmond – Willesden Junction
1827 Willesden Junction – Richmond

This follows on from last weeks debut of the first of new Victoria Line trains (09TS). The usual terms apply as it may change last minute but hopefully the first 378 run for us passengers will happen and give the Overground's clearest sign of improvement yet.

First Capital Connect is still getting a slow trickle of new 377/5 units from Bombardier with its 7th unit, 377509, coming into service on Monday 27th July. The 8th unit, 377510, is due at Bedford tomorrow (29th July) in exchanged from Southern's 377206, One of five 377/2's that FCC are still borrowing. 377511 is nearly completed commissioning runs and will be delivered on Tuesday (4th August). The 11th unit will be 377506 and is expected to get to Selhurst on Friday (31st July). Once this unit comes into passenger service of Southern's borrowed 377/2 will have been returned and FCC can then look forward to lengthening service and delivering on the original promises of KO0.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

New Victoria Line Trains in Passenger Service at Last

As announced yesterday, the new 09TS (Tube Stock) trains for London Underground's Victoria Line made their first appearance late last night. The unit began its career on a 23:55 service from Seven Sisters to Brixton. This is likely to be a semi regular thing with three paths from next weeks timetable change so if your catching one of the last Victoria Line trains home keep an eye out for the unit.

Currently London Underground only have two of the 09TS units but only one (train 2) is equipped for passenger service. The first unit, train 1, is still half fitted with testing equipment. No further deliveries of 09TS are expected for the moment but a slow ramping up at Bombardier's Derby works is expected as the new fleet replaces the original Victoria Line trains dating from the 60's

The Victoria Line Upgrade or VLU is designed to give the Line its first real boost since it opened in stages from September 1968 to March 1969 with the Victoria to Brixton section opening in July 1971. The VLU will provide an 19% increase in capacity and 16% reduction in traveling times. This is achieve in part by faster running and extra space on the new fleet taking advantage of the slightly larger tunnels on the Victoria Line than other Tube lines. In peak currently LU runs 27tph (Trains Per Hour) on the Line and this will increase to 33tph once the upgrade is complete. A new signaling system is also being installed with the current one removed once all the current 67TS trains are withdrawn from service.

The VLU is supposed to be finished in early 2012 but all the overruns (including the fact the first new 09TS train is 8 months late going into passenger service) it is now the target to complete the upgrade just before the Olympics so the Line can handle the increase in traffic.

Click here for images of the first passenger run from Bowroaduk.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Bombardier Debuts This Week?

After months and months of delays it looks like two new Bombardier trains will be coming into service this week.

As previous posted, the delayed 378 introduction is some seven months late. After last weeks official press launch and the selling of commissioned units to the new ROSCO, they can at last be put into service.

Also of note is the first 09 Tube Stock (09TS)for the Victoria Line has been penciled in for a passenger run as early as today (Tuesday) in the off peak hours. These Bombardier trains, based on the Electrostar platform, are even more late than the 378s. The first one in passenger service was due in November, some 8 months late.

Hopefully at least one of these two will come into service and finally help deliver TfL promise of better transport. Both fleets are designed to tackle overcrowding on their respective lines by having more space, running quicker and in the case of the 378, be longer to accommodate growth.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

National Express is striped of East Coast

Today National Express announced that they stop providing financial support to there lost making East Coast arm triggering the Government to remove the franchise from their control and for the year, run as a publicly owned company. This follows on from my previous story here.

National Express also runs two other franchises in NX East Anglia & c2c. East Anglia runs all the services out of Liverpool Street and c2c is an successful operation from Fenchurch Street to South Essex. Both are heavy commuter routes into London in the peak

More worrying signs that the DfT were prepared to strip National Express of all its franchises as in the words of Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis “The Government believes it may have grounds to terminate these franchises, and we are exploring all options in the light of the Group’s statement this morning.”

In the statement he also added “A company which had defaulted in the way National Express now intends would not have pre-qualifed for any previous franchises let by the Department. I note that the parent groups of previous franchise failures are no longer in the UK rail business. It is simply unacceptable to reap the benefits of contracts when times are good, only to walk away from them when times become more challenging. “

On their website tonight is a paragraph in the trading statement not updated for todays events but clearly showing that National Express has walked away from East Coast but not the rail industry, “In the event that the Secretary of State for Transport ('Secretary of State') reassumes control of the franchise, National Express would work with the DfT to ensure an orderly handover and ensure that passengers, services and employees are unaffected. The Group does not expect that such circumstances would result in cross default of the Group's other rail franchises.”

If the DfT decides to try and strip National Express of all its franchises, then there will be a fight. In the case of c2c, it may be better to leave the franchise as it is and allow it to develop an improve an already good service. As for East Anglia, NX have recently order 30 class 379 Electrostars and 17 class 321 EMU to increase train length and cope with passenger demand.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

378 Spotted

Just a small update, an 378 unit reached Watford Junction in daylight hours and the units ramp up again in driver training following the recent problems with the Electrostar fleets.

Hopefully in the autum this will be a much more common sight.

Thanks to my friend Steve at Watford for the shot.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

FCC release statement over the recent 377/5 issue

First Capital Connect (FCC) have released a statement concerning the withdrawal of its new 377/5 Electrostars. It seems that during routine inspect of 377502 in the early hours of Friday morning an issue was discovered with the units power transmission system. This axle end earth return brushes and the bearing which return current to the running rails were found to be faulty. After discovering this unit 377505 was inspect (this was the latest Electrostar to have been delivered) and finding this to have the same fault FCC took the precaution of withdrawing all six Electrostars from service.

FCC found out about this problem early enough for it not to have presented any safety issue but did leave it short of units which it found frustrating to say the least. Bombardier has been busy working on the problem and is now carrying out the remedial work to the currently delivered units. All future 377/5 to be delivered (the 8th unit is due next) will have a modified bearing to solve this problem from returning.

The 377/5 have been a sore point between FCC and Bombardier for months now and in the past this has split out in the public when the former MD of FCC publicly attacked Bombardier for its failure leaving FCC short of trains which lead to a massive inter TOC, DfT, NR and freight alliance to allow stock moves and trained staff to operate different services using different trains. Thankfully this is now winding down with 3 377/2 returned to Southern from FCC and the 4th due shortly. All 3 375 Southern borrowed from Southeastern have returned and the 350/1 from London Midland are returning shortly. FCC did announce that the Electrostar will return at the daily rate of 2 per day starting today. However so far 3 377/5 have returned to duty, the three units being 377504, 377507 and 377508.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Return of the Electrostars & NR PAYG Oyster

No sooner had I put up my last post about the current state of the Electrostars and a major issue crops up with the 377/5 for FCC. As of Thursday evening all six units were withdrawn from service due to safety concerns. After a week of no information, FCC, on its regular web chat with interested parties the actually reason for the withdrawal

We stood down the 6 377/5 units last Friday due to a problem with the earth return brushes which was found on unit 377 502 on routine maintenance. We then examined 377 505 and found a similar problem. We therefore stopped the fleet for examination and rectification. There are 14 sets of return brushes on class 377/5 and not more than 30% have been found defective on any unit. However we do not want these to deteriorate further and the situation to go unchecked so the manufacturer, Bombardier, have been working on a solution. This solution has started to be introduced today and we expect to have trains back in service at the rate of two per day.

This was added to a different question -

As a precaution, we have had to stand down from service all 6 of our new and recently-delivered Class 377/5 Electrostars after discovering an issue with the power transmission system during a routine inspection. This relates to earth return brushes at the axle ends.

We welcome the manufacturer's commitment to fix the fault and will return the trains to service as soon as possible - hopefully starting Thursday and completing Monday.

And on the case of the doors at St Pancras International -

We are aware of the problems, which are caused by technical comms issues with the beacon at St Pancras and the receiver on the trains. We are running more test trains to understand why the problem continues to occur, and Network Rails engineers have been supported by our engineers to understand what is causing the interference to the signal between track and train.

It is the removal of the interference (which we are working to establish what is causing it) which will solve the problems.

Frustratingly the interference did not manifest when FCC/NR/Southern were testing last year!

On the case of PAYG Oyster on national Rail, FCC stated that currently implementation is likely to be late 2009 or even early 2010. There is still on going discussion with TfL and the DfT on resolving it and introducing it on all FCC services.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Electrostar Update

FCC's 7th Electrostar, unit 377509, sits in the cleaning sheds at Selhurst Depot on the 2nd June 2009 shortly after delivery.

With the recent problems of Bombardier I thought it would prove useful to update the current status of the Electrostars for both FCC (377/5) and London Overground (378).


The original plan was for most of the 377/5 dual voltage units to be ready for the Thameslink Programme (TLP) Key Output Zero (KO0), as we know this didn't happen and the massive timetable change went ahead and only on the second day did the first passenger run of a 377/5 happen on the 24th March 2009. So far six units have been delivered with the 7th, 377509 currently at Selhurst on commissioning runs. 377510 was reported on the test track at Bombardier's Derby center last week.

The units have so far been in service as such

377501 – 24/03/09
377504 – 30/03/09
377502 – 29/04/09
377507 – 08/05/09
377508 – 18/05/09
377505 – 29/05/09

The current expected date for all 23 377/5 is now December 2009, some 7 months late.


The 378 fleet for London Overground has suffered worse. Originally it was hoped that the first would be in passenger service in December 2008. This was soon to be disappointed as the only 378 delivered in 2008 was 378001 which was only fitted out for test running. The first 378 ready for passenger service was 378005. This was followed by 378007 and the latest unit is 378015 which left Derby today (4th May). The latest updated estimate of a 378 in passenger service is 29th June. This is now some seven months late.

Units 378002/006/009/011/013/014/016 have all been seen completed externally at Derby.

Hopefully as the year progresses more Electrostars will delivered which will help relief overcrowding on FCC's Thameslink routes and provide the best proof of the upgrade to the London Overground is really happening and from next year provide lengthen trains and increased frequencies.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Southeastern to run HS services this month

Southeastern have officially announced they are to run a preview High Speed service. This follows on from the story I blogged about here.

The service will begin on the 29th June and uses Ashford International, Ebbsfleet and St Pancras stations. Journey times are 37 minutes from Ashford to St Pancras and just 17 minutes from Ebbsfleet. The official timetable can be accessed here.


Using the HS service from Ashford gets an extra £4.40 single (£26.60) and £8.10 return (£48.70). Weekly ticket cause an extra £18.90 at £113.40.

Ebbsfleet prices are £12.20 single, £24.30 return and £82.30 for a weekly ticket to St Pancras

Northbound Services

Ashford sees trains leave at 06:48, 07:13 calling at Ebbsfleet and a direct train to St Pancras at 07:48.

Ebbsfleet sees trains at 07:08, 07:33 then gets a clock face departures at 05 and 35 minutes past the hour until 11:05 when HS1 track inspection happens. The service restarts at 13:05 and continues to the final HS train north at 18:35.

Southbound Services

There are trains leaving St Pancras to Ebbsfleet again on a clock face timetable at 07 & 37 departures starting at 07:37. Services are suspended after the 11:07 until the 13:07. The last three trains leaving at 17:37, 18:37 and 19:26 all continue to Ashford International.

The Southeastern page on this story can be accessed here.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Shoreditch High Street - UPDATE

After weeks of waiting I finally got a reply from TfL over why all of a sudden Shoreditch High Street has been re-branded from a Zone 2 to Zone 1 stations. The following is what TfL told me;

“Thank you for your email.
Yes, I can confirm that the Secretary of State (Department for Transport) has set out a condition that Shoreditch be a Zone 1 station as part of the funding deal that’s been agreed.
As with most of these type of agreements, they are complicated and involved and I'm not in a position to provide further details of the reasoning behind the decision.”

So although the price of using the East London Railway will bring in extra money, the addition cost means that the full extension gets built and built quickly. Now its just a case of seeing if TfL can get the cash for the Surrey Canal Road station.

The original story can be found here.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

378 Passenger debut set

A new date has been given out for the first of TfL Overground class 378 Electrostar to be I passenger service. The first unit is now planned to take its first paying passengers on the Monday 15th June, just over three weeks away. This is some six months later than originally planned. This is due to the lack of parts that have also affected the 378s cousins, the 377/5 for FCC. This is good news for the users of the Overground as the current class 313 are looking very worn in their Sliverlink livery.

So far Bombardier have delivered 378005 and 378007 with 378001 having gone back to Derby to be fitted out for customer use as it was only a shell used for line testing. This compares badly with the 377/5 as six have now made it out of Bombardier's works with five already in service.

Hopefully more units will soon follow and allow for the complete change of the Overground fleet from what it is today. The units will, however, be returning to Derby next year for carriage lengthening as all the trains will end up four cars compared to the initial delivery of three car units. So the fleet is still yet to be completely finished for awhile after passenger service.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Great Northern Timetable changes

After three years of planning First Capital Connect are introducing the biggest timetable change on its Great Northern (GN) route for 15 years. With the addition of five trains to the FCC GN fleet and regular 12 car trains, FCC will introduce an extra 5,000 seats during the peak period.

The work to introduced this timetable has progressed with both Network Rail and stakeholders being involved throughout. The improvements are know in FCC speak as 'Seats For You', although during the consultation period it was know as the Cambridge & Peterborough Capacity study. By gaining five class 321 from London Midland and using them on the Peterborough route, this in turn frees some class 365 Networkers to increase many 8 car trains to 12 cars on the Cambridge route. For example the 07:15 and 07:45 Cambridge to London Kings Cross are listed by the Government as some of the most crowded trains in the UK. The new service allows these trains to be increased from 8 to 12 cars.

Peterborough route also sees improvements with 06:54 and 07:14 departures from Peterborough callings at Huntingdon and St Neots in the morning peak with 12 car trains. An additional 12 car train runs north from Kings Cross at 17:40.

There are off peak improvements and the Sunday 14:56 Ely to Kings Cross doubles from 4 to 8 car service. There are various other additional off peak trains in the new timetable.

To achieve this Network Rail has increased platform lengths at Cambridge and Royston to allow 12 car trains to call there. Upgrading the power was also needed with £1.6m spent to allowed the lengthen and additional trains to run.

In a few years futher changes will be made as part of the Thameslink Programme with new 12 car trains and an entirely new fleet for both the Great Northern and Thameslink sides of FCC and with the running of trains from the GN side through the Thameslink Core.

Thameslink Update

Due to the slow but regular introduction now being seen by Thameslink customers of the class 377/5 Electrostars more changes to the timetable have been made. As it stands units 377501/502/504/507 have being delivered to FCC. Unit 377508 went into service this morning 13 days after being delivered for testing with 377505 on test at the moment.

A summary of some issues are below

  • 17:06 Sutton to St Albans reduced to 4 cars
  • 17:40 Sutton to St Albans increased to 8 cars
  • 17:05 Sevenoaks to Bedford will run two minutes earlier and take up the 'Crowd Buster' path meaning it loses stops at West Hampstead, Elstree & Borehamwood, Radlett, Leagrave and Filtwick.
  • 18:16 'Crowd Buster' will be reduced to four cars and take the 17:05 path meaning it picks all all the stations lost to the Sevenoaks service above. Once enough 377/5 have arrived the 'Crowd Buster' will start from Elephant & Castle.

Friday, 15 May 2009

First Crossrail station begins construction

Work has begun on the new station at Canary Wharf as part of Crossrail today. The new station is the first part of the project to be built and is expected to be among the first to open in 2017 with the Stratford branch following on a few months later. The huge new station is being built in the dock to the north of Canary Wharf, next to the West India Quay station of the DLR. The station will have a covered walkway to the Canary Wharf development. The retail development above the station will have 100,000 square foot of retail space with a park on the roof top of the building.

This is the official press release from Canary Wharf group

Construction of Crossrail begins as foundations laid for new Canary Wharf station

Mayor and Prime Minister joined by UK business leaders as Europe’s largest construction project gets underway

Crossrail, London’s first new major railway in a generation, reached a landmark moment today as the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister Gordon Brown marked the start of construction of Crossrail at a breakfast briefing with UK business leaders.

The Mayor was then joined by Transport Minister Andrew Adonis, London’s Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy, Crossrail Chairman Douglas Oakervee and Canary Wharf Group Chief Executive George Iacobescu to launch the first of nearly three hundred 18.5 metre tall steel piles that will form the basis of the new station. The new station will be built in North Dock between Canary Wharf and North Quay and when complete will be one of the largest on the Crossrail network.

The renamed Canary Wharf station will be the first Crossrail station to be constructed, and includes plans for 100,000 square feet of retail space and a roof-top park. Crossrail services will begin operating from 2017 cutting journey times across London allowing travel from Canary Wharf to Liverpool Street in 7 minutes, Paddington in 17 minutes and Heathrow in 44 minutes.

The formal start of construction signals the intensification of work on Crossrail and follows the confirmation of major funding agreements with BAA, Canary Wharf Group and the Corporation of London, the appointments of the new Chief Executive and Chairman of Crossrail and the appointment of the main contractors who will oversee the overall project delivery including design, tunnelling and construction.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said: “Many people said it would never be built, but today we are celebrating a defining moment for London as Crossrail’s construction gets underway.

“Crossrail will not only mean faster journey times across the capital and beyond, it will also bring a massive economic boost to the city, creating thousands of jobs and adding at least £20 billion to our economy.

“Investment into important projects like Crossrail, the largest construction project in Europe, is vital to create and protect jobs as well as supporting businesses, so that we can grow our way out of recession and ensure a strong future for London and the country as a whole.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “The years of hesitation, irresolution and vacillation are over, the shovels have tasted earth and the construction of a railway that is crucial to the economic prosperity of this great city has begun.

“This amazing project will create and support thousands of jobs, relieve congestion and provide a high speed link between east and west of London. When the first of Crossrail’s chariots glide smoothly along its lines in 2017 it will change the face of transport in London and the South East forever.”

Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and will employ some 14,000 people at its peak, providing a crucial boost to London and the UK’s economy. Another 7,000 jobs will be supported indirectly through project support services through items such as manufacturing equipment.

The vast majority of these jobs will be undertaken by people in London and the UK, particularly those living in boroughs along the Crossrail route which are some of the most deprived in the UK, and creating a lasting skills legacy for London. As a beginning, a Crossrail Tunnelling Academy will open in Newham in spring 2010 to train some 1,000 people up to 2015, providing the skills necessary for work in a variety of tunnelling roles.

Crossrail will run for 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west through 21.5km of new twin bore tunnels through central London and on to Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Woolwich, Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east. The new railway will bring 1.5 million people within 60 minutes’ commute of London’s major business districts with over 200 million passengers expected to use the railway in its first year of operation.

Canary Wharf Group Chief Executive George Iacobescu said: “Today London starts work on one of the great civil engineering projects in its history. Canary Wharf Group is proud to be playing its part, not just by helping to fund the project, but by taking on the responsibility of building the Canary Wharf Crossrail station as well. It’s true that times are hard right now but Canary Wharf still expects to see growth return long before Crossrail is completed. Today we have 93,000 people working here. In the future it is expected that this will more than double. So this project is not just about anticipating future transport demand it is also about London catching up with the demand which is already there.”

London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy said: “Crossrail will deliver a huge capacity boost as part of a multi billion pound investment to improve and expand the capital’s transport network. When it is completed in 2017, the new railway will play a key role in relieving congestion on the Tube and extending access to key retail and business centres to passengers from all over London and across the South of England.

“Alongside Crossrail we remain strongly committed to upgrading the Underground, and other major projects that will deliver better services for our passengers between now and 2017, including the extension of the DLR network, the East and North London Lines and London Overground. All are vital for London’s economy.”

Crossrail Chairman Douglas Oakervee said: “The priority for Crossrail is to deliver this project on time and within budget. Following approval of the Crossrail Act last summer, the project has made significant progress with funding and governance agreements finalised and the appointment of the contractors for the key Programme Partner and Project Delivery Partner contracts. Today marks the beginning of the next stage.”

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Beckton is getting three car services from 2011

An agreement for the Beckton branch of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to get three car services has been signed. Costing £18.2m the deal will see the following seven stations extended;

Royal Victoria
Custom House for Excel
Prince Regent
Beckton Park
Gallions Reach

The money is coming form the following sources

£10.8m from the Olympic Delivery Authority
£2m from London Development Agency
£5.4m from the Housing and Communities Agency

The work will mean that by the Olympics, all the DLR services will be three car which will give the DLR trains the same capacity as a Circle Line train, give the network a huge boost to cope with the ever climbing passenger numbers. The first three car trains will be running on the Bank – Lewisham service from early next year.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

National Express East Coast

After months of rumors do one of the rail franchises handing the keys back to one or more franchise, one has finally collapsed and has done a deal with the government. National Express East Coast franchise have has previous issues when GNER had to hand the franchise back due to its parent companies inability to guarantee premium payments. Two years ago National Express (NX) won the rights and begin running the services between London and Scotland along the East Coast, but the company has had negative press over its plans to cut jobs and services such as buffet cars in its trains due to struggling with its cost.

The deal for National Express to run the service as a management contract now means that NX can try to raise £400m to help stabilize the situation for its 3,100 staff and 17m annual passengers.

The full deal is yet to be settled with the agreement only at the outline stage but both commuters and staff will be worried about what the future is going to bring. It seems National Express's other franchises will be left alone which will come to relief of various groups. One of National Express's best franchise is c2c which has transformed the old LTS rail line and now is a by word for reliable and timely services.

This isn't the first time a franchisee has lost a franchise as Connex was stripped of its railway contracts which lead to the SRA (strategic Rail Authority) doing a management contact. With Southeastern this lead to improvements to the service before its was re let.

I leave you with the words of the DfT on the situation:
“All train-operating companies have regular meetings with the DfT and as a company we never talk about in public what we discuss in private,”
“As we have made clear on numerous occasions we do not renegotiate franchises.”
The original article is here

Rail deal sparks £400m cash call

Friday, 1 May 2009

Crossrail Safeguarded to Reading

The full Crossrail scheme was always supposed to get to Reading rather than Maidenhead but the link was pulled to reduce the costs as the business case wasn't as solid that far out of London. Also cut was the the Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet International link which would have provided a second link to the HS1 services that will be running by Southeastern by the time Crossrail opens, enabling people from south east London to access Eurostar service without going into Central London.

Along with the electrification of the Great Western Main Line (GWML) this could provide Reading with links to Central and East London as well as Essex and Kent with one train and not using the Underground. However the safeguarding now means that if the funds can be raised in the future it will be easier for Crossrail/TfL to achieve this.

The full DfT press statement is below

New Crossrail route safeguarded

The Government today safeguarded a potential Crossrail route from Maidenhead to Reading.
Whilst there is no current commitment to extend Crossrail out to Reading, safeguarding provides additional protection against future developments on the route.
Transport Minister Andrew Adonis said:
"Our current priority is to get on with the delivery of the Crossrail Project as it is currently planned, but safeguarding would provide additional protection against developments impacting on future operational requirements.
"Safeguarding will also allow the line to be electrified in the future and for Crossrail to be extended if a case can be made to do so."

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Shoreditch High Street

As have been reported it has now been announced that the new station at Shoreditch High Street has been confirmed as a Zone 1 station. Rumor has been abound that the station was going to be put into Zone 1. I recently contacted TfL press office to ask about this and was give the following information;

“Thank you for your feedback form.
Shoreditch High Street is a new station on the extended East London line and I can confirm that for fares purposes the station will be classed as a Zone 1 station.”

This means that using the line, as was initially though, as away to divert traffic away from the crowded lines in Zone 1 to provide relief on the Underground is now less of an incentive. The old Shoreditch station on the East London Line was in Zone 2 and it was thought that the whole line from Highbury & Islington to Brockley/New Cross should be inside Zone 2.

In fact the 2010 Tube map that TfL released in November 2006 showed the entire Overground network include the second phase of the East London Line Extension (ELLX) to Clapham Junction. This clearly showed that to travel from Clapham Junction all the way round to Highbury & Islington would have kept you in Zone 2, therefore giving you a cheap ticket to cross London without using Zone 1.

As well as increasing fares for TfL to gain there is also the fact this simplifies Oyster usage as the system doesn't have to work out which way you went as now a cross London journey using the ELLX means a Zone 1 trip.

The re-zoning of Shoreditch High Street also means there is potential now for the system to charge wrong for journeys made with Oyster as Clapham Junction to Highbury & Islington is still possible using only Zone 2 if you go via Willesden Junction and use the West London and North London Lines. Whether or not there is enough of an incentive to do this when you could use a single train remains to be seen.

What has been said about the zoning of this station is that it was a condition laid down my the DfT for funding of the ELLX phase 2 from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction, which if true could be a good reason why TfL accepted it to allow the South London Lines adding to the Overground network. So in the end there is worthwhile benefits to this.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Midland Mainline Chaos

Last night northbound commuters and travelers were greeted by chaos just before 9pm due to a train fire with an East Midlands Trains (EMT) heading for London St Pancras. The service was the 1928 Nottingham to St Pancras service when shortly before 2100 reports came in that the rear power car was smoking and flames were seen. The train came to a halt just south of Leagrave station at 2057 when all railway lines in the area were blocked as a safety measure. Just after this came reports that the OverHead Line Equipment (OHLE) power was lost between Sanridge and Sundon trapping four FCC services.

The local Fire Brigade arrived on scene around 9pm and managed to put the fire out within 20mins. The train was finally moved to Luton station at 2210 after the Fire Brigade deemed it safe. However the railway lines weren't handed back until 2230 and the 2030 St Pancras to Nottingham service was allowed through under slow speeds to assess the damage. The driver reported that the contact wire on the OHLE was down meaning repairs were necessary.

The four trapped trains in the area were evacuated around midnight with one EMT train being used to pick up passengers off two stranded FCC services. Meanwhile arrangements were being made for buses replace all trains between Bedford and St Albans with approximately 40 buses being involved at its height.

The lines were open again for trains (on the slow lines) by 0230 and a full service between St Albans and Leagrave was possible at 0300 after Network Rail fixed the OHLE. But due to the several hours of cancellations the morning peak was one of delays southbound but FCC managed to run an almost full service. Both FCC and EMT are now running a full service although Friday will see EMT hit by industrial strike affecting services.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Transport News Bites - 14th April

Just a few minor updates that don't actually need a full story. But worthwhile reading I think.

December 2009 the AC being installed on both platforms at City Thameslink will go live and all traction change will take place there instead of Farringdon. This is because of Smithfield sidings being the place to store failed trains now Moorgate branch is gone.

Three 377/2 will return to Thameslink in 2011 as part of Key Output One for a 12 car train service. This is likely to be run as a fast to Bedford as all core station will be able to accommodate a 12 car Electrostar as well as Luton and Bedford. Although is seems some works is needed at St Pancras International.

TfL is to claim damages against Bombardier for the delays in delivering London Overground's new fleet of Class 378s.

Reports are that during 2011 the Sevenoaks service will return to Southeastern with First Capital Connect running a new Tonbridge via Bromley South, Orpington, Sevenoaks and Hildenborough service. First Capital Connect will also run a service from London Bridge to Dartford calling at St Johns and then split with all station services via both Lewisham/Welling and Sidcup/Crayford lines. Maps have already been given out to developers in the City although it carries the disclaimer “This map shows a indicative route network. The 2011 Thameslink train service is subject to further evaluation and consultation by the DfT, including an assessment of the levels of train service at and through London Bridge during the construction phase of the station”.

London Overground's new platforms at Stratford have officially opened today. The new high level platforms closure is to allow for conversion to DLR as part of its Stratford International extension.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon has been discussing getting Crossrail proposal back to Ebbsfleet for interchange with Eurostar and Southeastern's High Speed services as part of the overall Crossrail project. It has been stated that Reading is much more likely due to the electrification of the Great Western main line will improve the business case for Reading.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Blackfriars Shield

Easter weekendEaster weekend

As part of the engineering work over the Easter period a shield was installed around the sub surface tracks of the District/Circle lines at Blackfriars was lifted into place. This shield is to protect the tracks and allow running as both the Underground and First Capital Connect stations during the 30 month rebuild that's costing £350m as part of getting ready for Key Output One (KO1) which should be in place in time for the 2012 Olympics. Once finished both parts of the Tube station will have escalators and lifts allowing step free access to the four Network Rail platforms and the two Underground ones.

For more images of the station as its being rebuild see here.

Monday, 6 April 2009



The first of First Capital Connect's five class 321 EMU stands at Hornsey depot.

As part of the Great Northern 'seats for you' project to increase capacity with additional trains, five 4 car 321 units are being delivered to FCC. So far the first two have arrived from London Midland and the next three due shortly. Before they go into service two of the units will have an internal refreshment and three will carry the FCC external colours. Unlike the 377/5's (for the moment) being introduced the units will also have logo on the sides. This is all due by the May timetable change with the following three units refurbished and final two externally completed later this year.

FCC have also taken on 23 staff from Bombarbier who are now hard at work doing the heavy maintenance on the companies 365 EMU 'Networkers'. This will strength FCC's internal resources especially at the companies major depot doing all the heavy maintenance.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

NXEA gets Electrostars

As reported last month, National Express East Anglia (NXEA) have officially announced that they are getting Electrostar to increase capacity on their routes. The new for car units will be used mainly on the Stansted Express route from London Liverpool Street. These will then display Class 321 EMU's to increase train length across the NXEA network. Longer trains will operate on routes from Norwich, Ipswich, Clacton, Colchester, Chelmsford and Southend to London with two 'Metro' services from Gidea Park to Liverpool Street on the Great Eastern routes. On the West Anglia routes longer trains will be provided on the West Anglia routes from London to Cambridge, Bishops Stortford, Harlow, Cheshunt, Enfield and Chingford. Stansted Airport Limited is also going to lengthen the platforms at Stansted Airport station to cope with longer trains with Network Rail doing other station and infrastructure works.

The trains were orders with the view that the peak would see 10,600 passengers arrive at Liverpool Street with a seating capacity of 10,913 in the three peak hours from 7am until 10am. The peak hour from 8am to 9am sees 4,900 commuters arrive with 3,229 seats on offer. NXEA is going to publish more details this month about how it is going to address this issue and the changes the new trains will bring. NXEA is looking at changing services on the Suffolk line (this runs from Lowestoft and Peterborough to Ipswich) that will require a change to the Service Level Commitment (SLC) in the NXEA franchise which is going to be consulting the affected stakeholders.

The full Bombardier press release

Bombardier Wins a 188 Million Euro Order from National Express in the UK for the Supply and Maintenance of 120 ELECTROSTAR Vehicles

April 2, 2009 — Berlin

The Award-winning ELECTROSTAR Train, One of the Most Successful EMU's in the UK Market, Enables Even More People to Travel in Comfort and in an Environmentally-friendly Manner

Bombardier Transportation has signed an order with Lloyds TSB and London Eastern Railways, a subsidiary of National Express, for 30 four-car BOMBARDIER ELECTROSTAR Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) trains plus a three year maintenance agreement. The order value is approximately 188 million euros ($249 million US, £173 million). The new EMUs will operate on the Stansted Express services between Stansted Airport and London city. The award of the contract is part of the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) campaign to ease over-crowding on the rail network in the south of England.

The new ELECTROSTAR trains are designed for service speeds of up to 160 km/h and are equipped with large luggage racks, saloon air conditioning, comprehensive CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) coverage for greater passenger security, and a WiFi system to enhance the level of passenger communication and information to and from the trains. The units will also feature the renowned and sophisticated BOMBARDIER MITRAC propulsion and controls system to recover and feed back energy while breaking.

All 120 coaches will be delivered between March and June 2011. The new ELECTROSTAR fleet will replace the older Class 317 fleet. Bombardier will maintain the fleet using the operator’s Maintenance Depot at Ilford.

Commenting on the order, Colin Walton, Chairman and Chief Country Representative, Bombardier Transportation UK, said: "We are extremely pleased that our ELECTROSTAR trains have been chosen to welcome visitors arriving into the UK via Stansted Airport. The award-winning ELECTROSTAR is the ideal EMU choice for UK customers, a product with a proven pedigree of high reliability, low maintenance requirements and all round train performance. This order further helps cement our successful, long-term relationship with our customer, National Express.”

Bombardier’s Derby site will be responsible for the vehicle manufacture, project management, engineering and testing.

The award winning ELECTROSTAR train is a well proven product with over 1,600 cars already in service with three UK operators, c2c, Southeastern and Southern. ELECTROSTAR units were also ordered in 2006 by Transport for London for the ’London Overground’ services. The new Gautrain railway in South Africa will also operate ELECTROSTAR trains.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

395 early introduction?

Now Southeastern actually has services running into St Pancras and beyond (working jointly with First Capital Connect with some services even announced and displayed at St Pancras as South Eastern Trains), it seems thats Southeastern are planning on introducing some limited 395 services in the May 2009 timetable change. These are classed as taster to help with full introduction come the December's timetable changes. the service is planned to be a St Pancras - Stratford International - Ebbsfleet International shuttle service that will run inbetween existing Eurostar services running around every 3omins. Southeastern are also looking into doing peak hour trains from Ashford International into St Pancras as well.

Southeastern have recruited some of the staff needed for their high speed (HS) services and they expect to have all HS staff trained and ready by November this year. St Pancras and Starford staff will operate as one with a joint rota where as Ebbsfleet is being treated seperately.

The HS services are still under wraps as to timings but with nine months to go interest is begining to build as the new 395 140MPH EMU's start daylight testing and the final push in the media starts. I am looking forward to trying out these services as they will likely cut a cross London jounery for me and save me upto two hours when visiting my family in East Kent. However with pricing still to be announced, how popluar these services are actually going to be is still to remain.

377/5 delays and its impact

377501 at Brighton

New Electrostar unit 377501 sits at Brighton after running a Thameslink fast service from Bedford. The unit returned shortly after on a slow service back to London.

Now that the first part of the Thameslink programme has been in effect for nearly a week, I thought it was time to look back at how the week has been - and to take a look at Bombarbier and how its problems have spread into the wider rail network. As well all know the original plan was for 12 377/5 to be in service with First Capital Connect by now as part of the Thameslink Programme Key Output Zero (known as KO0). This was because of the shutting of Moorgate branch along with Blackfriars bays means peak Southeastern services from Ashford and Medway town along with the Sevenoaks service all needed to be run by dual voltage stock. The original delivery dates for the units when they were originally ordered by Southern were for 12 units in late 2008 and 11 more by May 2009.

The delays have been caused by supplier problem of equipment to Bombardier before it fits out the trains. Due to the credit crunch many of Bombardier's suppliers have faced issues getting credit to allow them to make parts to sell onwards. On of these companies, Time 24 ended up being acquired by Bombardier to ensure its supply lines were maintained. In Time 24's case, they supplied control and panel wiring inside the units and the cabs. other suppliers have been paid in advance to ensure that they produce the goods for the 377/5 before going bankrupt.

On Christmas Eve 2008, Bombardier, FCC and DfT sat down for a serious discussion as they told FCC that the 377/5 weren't going to be ready and the bad news was that only five 377/5 were going to be finished in time. This would mean that either FCC/DfT find additional stock elsewhere or the whole Thameslink Programme would have to be put back for perhaps years. Add to the fact that all Thameslink trains need to be capable of transferring from AC to DC or DC to AC power supplies at Farringdon and this left no spare units for FCC to obtain. Now as the 377/5 are a newer version of the 377/2 it was natural that borrowing a few from Southern would be likely, especially as limited numbers of the 377/2's where currently with FCC for driver testing ahead of the 377/5 deliveries. In the end eight 377/2 where lent to FCC (units 201, 202, 203, 204, 206, 207 208 & 213). This lead to five dual voltage 350/1 being lend from London Midland to Southern to work the Milton Keynes to East Croydon service as well as SouthEastern making some 375's available to Southern. Also two four car 317 came from FCC's Great Northern route to provide up to one extra train in the peak flow each day. This train is know as the "Crowd Buster".

Now from a total of five units expected to be ready by March 22 (KO0 day one) around end of 2008, the nearer it got the deadline the less units. In the end only two units, 501 and 504 have been seen outside Bombarbier's Derby production centre. The first 377, unit 501 was delivered in the early hours of January 31st with the second unit following behind a few weeks later. 377501 suffered some major issues when introduced with the computer shutting down and rebooting the train every 250 miles. This was overcome in the end by a new software update. 501 make its first daytime running on test on the 14th February, to much excitement. During test running both 501 and 504 ended up at Milton Keynes with 504 on the country (i.e. side away from London) end. Then a week before the deadline both units were taken back to Bombarbier for another new problem, a structural issue with the underfloor equipment rafts beams. Both units were returned to Selhurst before the deadline although either were used on the March 23rd first day. 377501 however, was used for driver training. Come Tuesday 24th March 2009, 377501 came into public service running with 377208 for large parts of the day. I myself managed to ride on the unit when it was running for its first journey on its own from City Thameslink to Brighton and back again. For anyone interested the images and videos are here.

The deal for the 377/2 is a time limited one and seeing as the 350/1's have had a few operating issues, I'm sure Southern will be looking forward to having its Electrostars back. Southern is providing the 377/2 as follows

8 units up to 25th April
7 units up to May 2nd
6 units up to May 16th
3 units up to June 13th

Also once FCC get four 377/5 delivered they must then return a 377/2 to Southern before getting a 377/5. So hopefully this will kick in by May allowing the return of the 377/2 or otherwise services may have to be cut as the 377/2 borrowed fleet reduces.

Now attention is is turning back towards Bombardier now the first unit is in service. So far 504 has not been tested on Thameslink route yet but was at Selhurst this week as confirmed by drivers there. As for units 502, 503 and 505-523, no information has been made public yet but rumours are around 3-5 377/5 completed bodies currently sat in Derby await parts yet delivered. Modern Railways April 09 issue suggests that issues with ill fitting panelling and trims are one of many causes. This is something I myself picked up on when riding on 377501. See here and here for what I found on-board the unit. This seemed to be the norm on the unit but I can't remember seeing either on Southeastern's 375's or Southern's 377's. It also seems that London Overground's fleet of brand new 378 Electrostar units are also delayed but these are even further behind with the first expected in passenger service in May 2009. Now Bombarbier have stated they expect the first passenger suitable 378 (unit 378005) to be delivered in May. This means July is now likely date for the first passenger service runs. TfL/LO do currently have the the seat less 378001 for testing and driver training but that been the only unit for six months now.

Bombarbier is also building 39 Class 172 Turbostars for London Overground (8 172/0 two car units), Chiltern Railways (4 172/1 two car units) and London Midland (12 172/2 two car and 15 172/3 three car, these will look like Electrostars due to end gangway for customer moments in joined up units). These units are due to start in passenger service during 2009 and one of production lines currently working on the Electrostars is due to switch to these once they are completed.

Now the long term issue. Bombarbier have been know to have delays in their trains before now but never on this scale although to be fair to them, the current money situation is also very different. Bombardier are currently bidding on three massive orders. The 97 trains for London Underground Piccadilly Line, 1,400 cars for Thameslink (worth around £2bn) and 1,000 for Crossrail. Two of these are for TfL who are currently very unhappy with Bombarbier's failures so far where as FCC may bulk at the idea of Bombarbier supply it that many trains when it failed to deliver 23. Now its up to Bombarbier to prove that it can pull itself back and deliver all 23 377/5 by summer as it has promised along with all the 378's including the one for the extended East London Line so testing of that line can start in winter 09/10.

Monday, 23 March 2009

377 News

377501 was on test today although the unit isn't expected to come into public service until later on this week.

Unit 377504 will be the first in passanger service from Tuesday 24th March 2009 running the following trains

0210 Bedford - St Pancras International
0358 St Pancras International - Bedford
0540 Bedford - Brighton
0816 Brighton - Bedford
1410 Bedford - Brighton
1709 Brighton - London Bridge
1842 London Bridge - Brighton
2007 Brighton - Bedford

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Goodbye Moorgate

This is the final passanger train leaving Moorgate for the last time. The 8 car unit was formed of 319364 and 319365, the two Thameslink programme branded 319 trains. Now work can begin on the track at Farringon, although the branch will not be pulled up till December 09 but it will shortly be degrade to empty stock movements only shortly.

The bays at Blackfriars are also now shut after the final 2112 service to Sevenoaks departed last night.

On good news 377501 is on test today before going back to FCC next week hopefully.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Southern 377's start working on Thameslink


The first unit in service 377207 formed 2T27 bedford (09:24) to Brighton (11:59) which due to a fault at Farringdon ran fast from East Croydon to Brighton.

Finally after a long period of testing and training the first Southern 377 unit ran a passanger service over the Thameslink metals prior to full services from monday. Although the inital jounery was marred by a 25min delay changing power at Farringdon, the introduction went smoothly with a service being provide. Inside the first class FCC head have been attached to the Southern seating but still feel very werid to be in, especially at stations like City Thameslink. They service also saw staff from FCC, Network Rail and Bombarbier aboard to ensure a pretty smooth running jounery. This wasn't always the case but as with any first time there are always problems.

The service ran

Bedford (0924) 0929, Bedford South Junction (0926) 0930, Filtwick (0937) 0938, Harlington (0937) 0943, Leagrave (0942) 0948, Luton (0948 ) 0951, Luton Airport Parkway (0950) no time recorded, Harpenden (0956) 0959, St Albans (1004) 1005, passing through not calling at - Hendon (1014) 1016, West Hampstead (1016) 1018, Carlton Road Junction (1018 ) 1019, Kentish Town (1019) 1021, St Pancras International (1024) 1030, Farringdon (1029) a. 1034 d. 1051, City Thameslink (1032) 1055, Blackfriars (1035) 1059, London Bridge (1042) 1107, Bricklayers Arms Junction (1045) 1111, Sydenham (1050) 1115, Norwood Junction (1052) 1117, Windmill bridge Junction (1053) 1119, East Croydon (1055) 1125, Purley (1059) 1128, Stoats nest Junction (1100) 1130, Earlswood (1105) 1134, Gatwick Airport (1111) no info, Three Bridges (1115) no info, Balcombe Tunnel junction (1118 ) no info, Haywards Heath (1127) no info, Keymer Junction (1131) no info, Preston Park (1143) no info, Brighton (1149) 1259.

This is the unit on its return jounery to Bedford although the side displays showed St Albans.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Thameslink Programme - Key Output Zero


Pictures are of FCC unit 377501 (the first of 23 Electrostars to be deliveried) departing platform four at Blackfriars. The unit was returning to Selhurst before going onto Derby the following day.

As the Thameslink programme is now under way the first major step of the programme is about to begin and is going to have massive affect on the customers using the Thameslink route and also SouthEastern's customers on the services that currently terimate in Blackfriars.

The Thameslink Programme was broken down into three output phases. The first, Key Output Zero hits on the 23rd March. This will see the bays at Blackfriars horded off and the station rebuilt while serving trains. Moorgate will lose its Thameslink branch and Barbican will lose mainline trains and become a London Underground station only. Sevenoaks services will be extended northways with all but 5 services going as far as Kentish Town with some peak working going even futher. The current SouthEastern trains to (AM peak) and from (PM peak) Blackfriars will be extended as far as Bedford.

To achieve this First Capital Connect (FCC) are gaining additional stock to run all these extra services. Now this is where the problems arise. Due to massive problems Bombarbier have had with some suppliers being out of business. This has also affected the London Overground 378s. Because of the fact that now building work has started and the Thameslink Programme can not be put back any futher, a train cascade is now taking place to ensure that FCC can cope with the demands of a Key Output Zero (KO0) timetable. FCC will now recieve eight 377/2 Electrostar (which are actually the same as the 377/5 FCC are waiting to be deliveried). This would mean that Southern are multiple units short. To this end they are getting some 375 Electrostars from SouthEastern, Dual Voltage 350/1s from London Midland and using some 442 EMUs to cover their services.

The bad news is this is now enough units to cover everything so the following services are going to be DC only Networkers services instead of going futher north. All will terimate at City Thameslink.

AM Peak
0740 Sevenoaks to (Kentish Town) City Thameslink
*8 car 319 now 6 car Networker (465 + 466)
0752 Sevenoaks to (Luton) City Thameslink
*8 car 319 now 8 car Networker (465 x2)

PM Peak
1650 (Luton) City Thameslink to Sevenoaks
* 8 car 319 now 8 car Networker (465 x2)
1808 (Kentish Town) City Thameslink to Sevenoaks
* 8 car 319 now 8 car Networker (465 + 466 x2)
1906 Sevenoaks to (Kentish Town) City Thameslink
* 8 car 319 now 8 car Networker (465 x2)

Ther is also an extra train that will start at Farringdon. This is because the unit will be formed of two 4 car 317 units that are AC only so are unable to work south of Farringdon. The units will run the following service

1816 Farringdon to Bedford
St Pancras International 1820, St Albans 1842, Harpenden 1848, Luton Airport Parkway 1854, Luton 1857, Harlington 1905 and arrive at Bedford 1920

The joint SouthEastern/FCC services will including the following as well as the Sevenoaks services. These will use 4 or 8 car 319 trains to achieve this

AM Peak
2 trains from Orpington via Catford
2 trains from Orpington via Herne Hill
2 trains from Bromley South via Catford
1 train from Beckenham Junction via Herne Hill
1 train from Kent House via Herne Hill

PM Peak
1 train to Orpington via Catford
2 trains to Beckenham Junction via Herne Hill

Long distance services will be as follows

AM Peak
0609 Bearstead to Bedford via Maidstone East
0623 Ashford International to Bedford via Maidstone East
0729 Rochester to bedford

PM Peak
1622 Bedford to Gillingham via Herne Hill
1646 Bedford to Bedford via Maidstone East
1700 Bedford to Gillingham via Herne Hill

So the Fleet for FCC Thameslink come KO0 will be as follows

317 x2 (borrowed from FCC Great Northern route)
319 x86 (the whole 319 fleet)
377/2 x8 (Borrowed from Southern)
377/5 x2 (with a futher 21 to be deliveried during 2009)

This leaves a total of 10 peak trains that are four car units which are as follows

AM Peak
0629 Luton to Sevenoaks
0816 Brighton to Bedford

PM Peak
1507 Brighton to Bedford
1534 Sevenoaks to Bedford
1537 Brighton to Bedford
1544 Luton to Sutton
1613 St Albans to Wimbledon
1711 London Bridge to Brighton
1740 Sutton to St Albans
1757 Wimbledon to Luton
1842 London Bridge to Brighton

Once all 23 377/5 Electrostars are deliveried all AM peak services will be of 8 car units and only six 4 car services in the PM peak. Although there is more than planned 4 car services the capacity remains silmar to the planned KO0 timetable.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Moorgate Closure

The end is coming for the short branch from Farringdon to Moorgate for First Capital Connect's Thameslink route. To make way for the new 12 car platforms at Farringdon the two station link will be cut off from the end of peak traffic on the 2oth March 2009.

Current passanger trains are as follows

Morning arrivals

0659 from Bedford
0723 from Luton
0735 from Luton
0743 from Bedford
0751 from Bedford
0755 from Luton
0819 from Luton
0823 from St Albans
0839 from Bedford
0847 from Bedford
0855 from Luton
0911 from Luton
0941 from St Albans

Evening Departures

1635 to Bedford
1710 to Bedford
1720 to St Albans
1724 to Bedford
1744 to Bedford
1804 to Luton
1816 to Bedford
1828 to Bedford
1840 to Bedford
1906 to Bedford

Come the morning of the 23rd March anyone wanting to get to Barbican and Moorgate will have to change at Frringdon for the Underground. As part of a deal any season ticket for two years after the closure is vaild to Moorgate on the Underground at "no extra cost". After this time I assume that you will need a Zone 1 travelcard to get to Moorgate from stations on the Thameslink route.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

377501 At Bedford Depot

377501 At Bedford

377501 At Bedford

Well the first of First Capital Connect's 377/5 4 car units was finally deliveried on friday and has made it safely to Bedford as the images above show. Currently only 377504 is the other completed until and is still under going testing on the Brighton main Line at night. It seems with the deadline of the 22nd March for the new timetable a major rolling stock movement is about to begin that will see 350/1 Desiro's working the Southern service between Milton Keynes and East Croydon recently reported on. This would free up some of Southern's 377/2 units for FCC to use on its Thameslink route while Bombarbier get the other 21 377/5 built and working.

Goodbye Blackfriars


The first major thing to happen in the Thameslink programme has started. The closure of Blackfriars Tube station until late 2011 to rebuild a modern step free station providing greater interchange with First Capitial Connect's new 12 car station.

Customers must now use either Temple or Mansion House to get on the Circle or District Lines. Personally I prefer Temple as spring is coming a nice walk along the Thames is a great way to start the week!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Circle Line To Be Broken This Year?

I've recently heard that plans to spilt the Circle Line have been brought forward to December 2009. This has been reported by the Rail Professional February 2009 issue. They have said that London Underground have confirmed this . The plan to create a straighter Circle Line is not new as it had problems since it was first introduced as without ending at any point the line suffers from lateness as they can't recover a train. The issue with terimating trains from Notting Hill at Edgware Road means that both Circle Line and Edgware Road District Lines trains would terimate in the four platform station as well as Hammersmith & City and Circle Line trains to Kings Cross going through. This would mean the reduction of District trains which is proving very unpopluar. also chaging using narrow staircases and footbridge at Edgware Road in large numbers could be a safely hazard. The image above shows what the Circle Line would look like on the Tube map (along side the Northern Line spilt and Crossrail 2).

One good piece of news is London Underground will provide an fall back timetable allowing the change back to the current set up if its deemed unworkable with review dates after 3, 6 and 12 months after the change over. Extra staff at Edgware Road is expect as well.

Hopefully we'll have an offical statement from London Underground on this.

Monday, 23 February 2009

TLP Month

Thameslink Hard Hat

March 2009 might as well be called Thameslink Programme (TLP) month from all the changes happening with the staged introduction of Key Output Zero (KO0). This basically is when the Moorgate branch closes and trains from Sevenoaks are (re)added into the Thameslink network due to lack of terminating bays at Blackfriars come the end of the month. The key dates are different to the 'official' dates but I have used the actually changes rather than the basic timetable changes as weekend services as you know is non existence at the moment.

27th Febuary 2009

The final time you'll be able to use Blackfriars Tube station until late (IE nov/dec) 2011. This is due to Network Rail (NR) rebuilding the whole station to provide a proper interchange with the Thameslink station and will have step free access. Please not that although they say it closes on the 2nd Febuary there is engineering work that weekend meaning you can't access the station on the 28th Febuary/1st March.

20th March 2009

This is the final day of services into Moorgate from the north Thameslink route before closure to allow Farringdon's platforms to be extended over the branch's junction to cope with the 12 car trains coming from 2012. The final service should be the 1906 to Bedford calling at Farringdon, St Pancras International, St Albans, Harpenden, Luton, Leagrave and Bedford arriving at 2012.

23rd March 2009

Customer living on the Sevenoaks to Blackfriars via Catford line will come under the Thameslink/First Capital Network with all trains running through the Central London Core to at least as far as Kentish Town. The service will be run by 4 car 319s and in the peaks will be extended to as far as Bedford. The current services from Beckenham Junction, Gillingham, Rochester and Ashford International into Blackfrairs will also be a joint effort with First Capital Connect and SouthEastern. The trains are due to be run by dual voltage 377/5 and are planned to be 8 units if enough 377/5's are delivered for this date.

As you can see the next month sees a lot of changes to both First Capital Connect services as well as SouthEastern services from late March. This is all part of providing more seats for customers using these services. There is still a danger that these keys dates are not meet. As of writing we are a 4 weeks away from the latest date and yet we have only had two 377/5's delivered with the first 377501 expected to be in service this week according to the latest dates. The second unit 377504 was delivered last week and has under gone some testing, neither have been on the Thameslink Core as of yet. Something that will have to change very soon. Work on the bridge at Farringdon is also behind but Network rail is stepping up efforts there and beginning to make real effort to meet the deadline. If enough 377's and the bridge at Farringdon isn't ready in time then the whole programme could slip. There is only a few months 'spare' in the time scale before the Olympics hit in 2012. Hopefully FCC, DfT, SouthEastern, NR and Bombardier will have all the problems solved or minimised by the time KO0 kicks in.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Meet the Morgan Line

This posting is rather a change for us and slightly different from what this blog might normally run, as its about a proposed line rather than anything that is being built or is part of TfL's offical plans. To this end, this is definitely more of a "What If..." discusion than actual reporting. An opportunity to think less about the money or politics and more about an for helping transport Londoners around in an ideal situation.

So I would like to introduce to you to the Morgan Line. The line would run from North West London to south West London providing a brand new link and servicing areas of London that have been historically lacking a Tube or Tube-like service. Various concept images and even some basic designs for the trains that would run this service can be found on my flickr account here.

The Basics

The idea actually is based on Crossrail's idea of linking seperate suburban rail routes into London via a tunnelled section. The core of the route is Crossrail 2, aka the Hackney-Chelsea Line, from Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction. The Line seems ripe for development and could futher reduce overcrowding in the areas it passes through.

Chingford seems a good fit as it lies in an almost straight line from Dalston Junction and is a busy urban rail route into London Liverpool Street. The line is crowded in the peaks and even though it connects to the Victoria Line at Walthamstow, it still needs relief or a greater service. something that can't easily be provided with the current Liverpool Street terminus and the trackwork past St James' Street.

At the southern end of the line, Strawberry Hill might prove a good fit because of the depot, as well as the Overground links at Richmond. It also allows better capcity for dealing with rugby events at Twickenham which current services struggle with. It would also help relieve Waterloo by taking some services away from the mainline station, allowing for some extra services on the metro routes.

The core of the route, as indicated, is the Hackney-Chelsea Line/Crossrail 2 which is designed to relieve the Victoria Line as well as the Northern. Relief would be felt at Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Victoria and Clapham Junction mainline stations.

Why The Morgan?

The Line is named after someone who nearly got his own Tube network. John Pierpont Morgan was a financier back 100 years ago at the height of the Tube boom -arguably the greatest US fanancier of his day. Like the more famous Yerkes (with whom Morgan shared a willingness to play dirty), he worked towards building his own network in London of tube railways. The network he proposed contained three lines,
  • PC&NELR (Piccadilly and City & North East London Railway) from Hammersmith to Chase Side, Southgate via Cannon Street and Sloane Street
  • C&NESER (City & North East Suburban Railway) From Waltham Abbey to Monument via Walthamstow and Hackney
  • LUER (London United Electric Railway) from Marble Arch to Clapham Junction via Sloane Street
The Morgan group fell apart due to infighting, which destroyed any chance of the lines being built. Impressively that infighting was largely the work of Yerkes - Morgan's plans for the PC&NELR depended in part on the efforts of another company, LUT, who would be responsible for the line between Hammersmith and Hyde Park. In order to scupper his opponent's plans, Yerkes promptly bought a controlling interest in LUT preventing Morgan from being able to guarantee completion of his line. Without this crucial linchpin, Morgan's plans soon fell behind Yerkes'.

Had Morgan got his his way, the Piccadilly would have originally run from Hammersmith to Tottenham and the Victoria Line wouldn't probably not have been needed, apart from extending the Piccadilly to Walthamstow. The Jubilee was originally planned to relieve the Fleet Street corridor and may not have got the funding. Its more likely that the LUER line would have taken over the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo to relieve that line.

The network would be very different to what we know today, with a West London Tube line and - had Morgan fulfilled his promises to Parliament - all night tube services.

More on the 'Tube Wars' of 100 years ago can be found in London's Lost Tube Schemes.