Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is the blogs first birthday! I personally can't believe what a year its been with the first image of the new DLR train on this blog to the special access of Woolwich Arsenal extension before it openned. Hopefully the next year will bring just as much information, with a lot of railway events to happen including

* New 378 fleet for the Overground comes into service
* Thameslink programme rebuilding of Blackfriars and Farringdon major buliding work (ie new entrances/exit at Blackfriars)
* 23 new 377 DV trains start on FCC on Thameslink and current SouthEastern services
* Tower Gateway re-opens
* The Victoria Line's new 09TS trains come into passanger service
* First of the new S stock starts testing
* New Overground Platforms at Stratford finally open
* New HS-DS 140mph trains start in passanger service with SouthEastern using the new class 395 trains
* PAYG Oyster on National Rail within zones 1-6

For anyone whose has been reading orignally the blog was of the offical Tube map with engineering works on for that day. News stories started coming in and in the end took over!. Thanks for everyone that reads this and I hope you all continue to enjoy whats coming over the next 12 months.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Access Tube Map

There is a new access tube map up on the TfL website. This is designed to combat the age old problem of people with access issuses getting on and using the Tube.

The basic system seems to be the three step between platform and train step with

* Green is 5cm and under
* Amber 51-12mm
* Red 12m1-323mm.

This is for how far you'd be expect to stretch if you are walking. For people who used wheelchairs or buggys there is a gap rating, agian based on three types.

* A is under 85mm
* B 86-180mm
* C being 181-253mm.

One bad point about the map is the fact there is so much text on the left hand side it distracts me never mind anyone with bad eye sight (one of the target groups). But I personally feel that this is a step in the right direction for LUL to take to address the needs of all users. They do however need to make sure free handout copies are always around for customers and have they on stations next to the standard map.

I hope tho with this new map the offical Tube is the removable of the wheelchair symbols which either help those with access problems nor help the general customer work out the network. Ie there is little difference between Bow Church and Westminster according to the current map from a customers point of view looking at the map only.

Tower Gateway Re-opening

Tower Gateway (DLR)
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu

There is a bit of a buzz recently over the re-opening of Tower Gateway in February. Increasing this is a poorly edited Tube map showing this month on the TfL website.

Now for a new map it still shows the DLR Woolwich as openning Jan 09.

As to find out whats happening I decided to email my contact at the DLR and I can confirm that within the DLR, "It’s looking like early March" for the re-opening. Time will tell but remember that Feb is a short month anyway so it could still open in the latter part of the month if not the first week of March.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

377 on Thameslink Core update

377202 on test through the Thameslink Core
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu

This week has been busy for 377 working on Thameslink metals. On tuesday we had 377214, with 377202 returning on wednesday and now today we've had 377211 running. At the moment the 377 are making runs from Selhurst Depot to Kentish Town then reverse to Herne Hill, return to Kentish Town before reversing again to Selhurst.

The routing is the following stations

Selhurst Depot, Norwood junction, Crystal Palace, Gipsy Hill, West Norwood, Tulse Hill, Herne Hill, Loughborough Junction, Elephant & Castle, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St Pancras International, Kentish Town (reversing in platform 3).

5Z11 Selhurst to Kentish Town

Selhurst 11:15
Norwood Junction 11:17
Crystal Palace 11:23
Tulse Hill 11:35
Herne Hill 11:39
Loughborough Junction 11:42
Blackfriars 11:51
Farringdon 11:58
St Pancras International 12:01
Kentish Town 12:06

5Z12 Kentish Town to Herne Hill

Kentish Town 12:21
St Pancras International 12:30
Farringdon 12:36
Blackfriars 12:44
Loughborough Junction 12:53
Herne Hill 13:00

5Z13 Herne Hill to Kentish Town

Herne Hill 13:22
Loughborough Junction 13:24
Elephant & Castle 13:28
Blackfriars 13:33
Farringdon 13:38
St Pancras International 13:42
Dock Junction North 13:45
Kentish Town 13:47

5Z14 Kentish Town to Selhurst

Kentish Town 14:06
Dock Junction North 14:09
St Pancras International 14:13
Farringdon 14:19
Blackfriars 14:25
Loughborough Junction 14:34
Herne Hill 14:37
Tulse Hill 14:41
Crystal Palace 14:43
Norwood Junction 14:59
Selhurst Depot 15:05

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Thoughts on Boris and opening of Woolwich Arsenal

Woolwich Arsenal Opens
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu

As promised here some more detailed writings on what went on yesterday.

Monday was the latest opening of an DLR extension. once again ahead of its planned opening and quietly transforming the local area. I managed to view the station a few months back while its was under going final touches to become the station fit for the public. One thing I was surpised was the feeling of airyness at the high two levels from the skylight (you can see the affect it has on the image above with some of the skylight just on the right hand side of the image). The basic island layout of the station reminds me of North Greenwich (grey rather than blue) but thats hardly a bad thing.

Now back to the opening. Boris managed to get himself caught up in a major delay and turned up 40mins late and then managed to struggle to get the barriers open with his Oyster (seriously). One thing if hes coming from London bridge, shouldn't he have had a paper ticket? Especially as he used a SouthEastern service to get to Woolwich Arsenal. Once Boris got there he was mobbed by locals and went straight into shaking hands.

Boris speech to the gathered pressed seemed more about giving a commanding prescense than actually saying much. He seemed to like the word regeneration alot as he used it repeatedly. He actually did a joke that TfL should take over SouthEastern as soon as possible to keep the train serve running to time! Seems Mayors have a taste for TOCs with Ken wanting Southern!

The invited guests were taken around a short tour around the station before being taken down to platform level and Boris spoke to reporters. This is where I got to speak to Ian Brown of TfL Rail and managed to get some important questions answered.

I managed to get a train back with Boris and Ian Bown onboard.It was clear once we got to City Airport that Boris had never been this way before. As the local area was described for him it made me think, after all he had gone on about regeneration but didnt seem to know what was actually happening in the Royal Docks at all.

All in all another success for the DLR is now hard at work supporting people in East London. I would like to thank my contacts at the DLR for my invite for the day and hopefully see you again for the next opening.

To see my images from the day go to my flickr set


Driver training on the 377

377 214 on Test
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu

First Capital Connect (FCC) have restarted their driver train on a borrow 377 from Southern. Last year they used 377 202 with regular trips up to Bedford on the Midland Main Line. Now after returning 202 I spotted 377 214 on test. This image is from a run from Selhurst to Kentish Town where the unit reversed in platform 3 and heading off south. The trip ended at the newly installed reversing siding at Herne Hill.

Times the unit is booked to run

5Z11 Selhurst to Kentish Town

Selhurst 11:15
Norwood Junction 11:17
Crystal Palace 11:23
Tulse Hill 11:35
Herne Hill 11:39
Loughborough Junction 11:42
Blackfriars 11:51
Farringdon 11:58
St Pancras International 12:01
Kentish Town 12:06

5Z12 Kentish Town to Herne Hill

Kentish Town 12:21
St Pancras International 12:30
Farringdon 12:36
Blackfriars 12:44
Loughborough Junction 12:53
Herne Hill 13:00

Monday, 12 January 2009

Boris Opens Woolwich Arsenal

Boris Opens Woolwich Arsenal (DLR)
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu

Today was the offical opening of the latest DLR extension to Woolwich Arsenal. I got a press invite to the show and will be releasing my images tomorrow (sadly other commitments mean I can do them today). Oh and the extension opened SEVEN weeks early.

While I was there I got to speak with London Rail's MD Ian Brown. London Rail is basically incharge of the DLR and Overground as well as supporting TOC in the London area.

I asked him what happened with the new Overground platforms at Stratford over christmas and when were they going to be opened?

Basically it seems that Network Rail didnt have the signalling testing to complete the work there and at the moment TfL is awaiting a new possesion to try again and commission the link.

On the subject of the new 378 fleet for the Overground I was told that the first is expected in service by March this year so a little wait longer.

As for the Oyster on National Rail within zones 1-6, ATOC is meeting this week and this will be discussed and hopefully sorted for a deadline!

Now for The East London Line (ELLX) Phase Two to Clapham Junction. It seems the DfT have made an offer for this and TfL have responded with a counter offer thats currently with the DfT. Lets hope they don't wait too long. Ian also told me he was very keen to see this progress quickly as he feels its extremely important to have this up and running as soon as possible. And with Thameslink Programme affecting the stations this will serve Im not surprised.

Thats it for the exciting news. Tomorrow I will be adding images taken from day including Boris failing to open the gates with his Oyster and explaining why he said the sooner TfL take over SouthEastern the better. All will be revealed.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Woolwich Arsenal is open for business

Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu

After 3 years of work the latest DLR extension is open to the people of East and South London. The 2.5km extension is the final stage of the South Eastern Leg of the DLR via City Airport from Canning Town. This route came about after a study in 1997 in to future extensions. It is hoped that this extension will help regenerate Woolwich giving them easiler access to City Airport, Canary Wharf and North East London. Come 2010 the service will be double with the currently under construction Stratford International extension meaning that the locals will have access to SouthEastern's High Speed line as well as Eurostar services from Stratford International (or travel to Ebbsfleet on SouthEastern's service and change there).

Come 2017 the DLR will have a walkable interchange with Crossrail transforming Woolwich's transport links. But thats a story for another day.

Woolwich Arsenal Services

Times from Woolwich Arsenal using the DLR

Bank - 28mins
Canary Wharf - 19mins
City Airport - 6mins
Stratford - 19mins

Monday - Friday trains

First train to Bank 05.26
Last train to Bank 01.01

First train from Bank to Woolwich Arsenal 05.32
Last train to Woolwich 00.35


First train to Bank 05.21
Last train to Bank 00.11

First train from Bank to Woolwich Arsenal 05.35
Last train to Woolwich 00.35


First train to Bank 06.51
Last train to Bank 23.11

First train from Bank to Woolwich Arsenal 07.05
Last train to Woolwich 23.35

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Oysters & First Capital Connect

Oysters take over!
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu

As we all hope that Oyster is put on all National Rail stations in zones 1-6 (well techinally 1-9) at some pont this year a few TOC (Train Operating Companies) have quietly got on with installing Oyster readers at their station. It now seem FCC is busy behind the scenes installing the equipment in all their station within the travelcard area. I have recently seen Oyster touch in machines at Tooting and Wimbledon Chase. FCC have commited themselves to installing Oyster card readers by the end of March 2009. Thats two months time. After this time they will be a period of testing making sure that all machines work correctly before the public can use them some time in "late 2009".

Stations that FCC are installing Oyster readers on are

Zone Two
Loughborough Junction

Zone Three
Cricklewood, Hendon*
Harringay, Hornsey, Alexandra Palace, Bowes Park*
Tooting, Haydons Road, Wimbledon Chase

(* Zones 3/4 boundary stations)

Zone Four
Mill Hill Broadway
New Southgate, Oakleigh Park, Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill
South Merton, Morden South, St, Helier, Sutton Common

Zone Five
New Barnet, Grange Park, Enfield Chase, Gordon Hill
West Sutton

Zone Six
Elstree & Borehamwood
Hadley Wood, Crews Hill

Other station served by FCC in the travelcard zones (1-6) where Pyster PAYG doesn't work include

SWT - Wimbledon*
Southern - Sutton, Carshalton, Hackbridge, Mitcham Junction, Mitcham Eastfields, Streatham, Tulse Hill, Norwood Junction, East Croydon
SouthEastern - Herne Hill

(* Already Oyster installed barrier equipment for the District Line)

Saturday, 3 January 2009

2009 Transport Events

London Overground 378 Derby
Originally uploaded by kpmarek

Well as we start 2009 I though it would be good to look at the transport events we will see during the year.

*The first one will be the DLR's Woolwich Arsenal extension which open on the 10th
*The first 377/5 for FCC will be deliveried and tested

*The first 377/5 begins passanger runs late this month

*Blackfriars Tube station closes for 35 months for complete rebuilding
*All things being well the Moorgate branch of Thameslink along with the bay platforms at Blackfriars will close to allow rebuilding at Farringdon and Blackfriars on the 22nd

*DLR re-open Tower Gateway

*SouthEastern begin services using the 395's on HS1 speeding up services from Kent into central London

Other events without dates
*New Overground platforms are finished and opened
*378 fleet for the Overground comes into service
* First 09TS on the Victoria Line comes into passenger service
*PAYG Oyster on all rail services before the years end

There are also alot of things that could seriously affect our travelling lifes during 2009. The Thameslink programme along with the Tube upgrade are making weekend travel more difficult in the short term as is works around Stratford for the Olmypics. The next few years see large part of the networks affect but once we get through to late 2011 we will have six months of things being quiet before the chaos that being the focus of the world will bring before we start down the major works road. If everything hold to course then come 2018 (mostly expect the Bakerloo Line) we will see serious improvements in travelling around London with the Tube upgrade finished and new trains on most of the lines (Circle, District, Met, Hammersmith & City and Piccadilly), Completed London Overground works with longer trains, finished Thameslink with much improved links across the South East and a new fleet of trains, Crossrail open, High Speed travels to Kent and many open access operators to North France and finally another DLR extension opened. Its a long road of basically a decade but when they're finished London will be transformed. Just in time for HS2, Crossrail 2 and many other planned rail links to start?

Thursday, 1 January 2009

DLR goes advanced. Again!

Deptford Bridge (DLR)
Originally uploaded by MackenzieBlu

Just a note that the newly extended platforms at Deptford Bridge have a new look map. But whats interesting is the interchanges at Stratford and Shadwell. The new maps show Stratford being a place to interchange for the Stratford International line and Shadwell now is shown as a interchange for the Overground. This will be the truth in 18 months time in July 2010.

As for the DLR, its just 9 days until the new station at Woolwich Arsenal opening. Least the DLR managed to bring out good news where as London Overground had to cancel its move from Stratford Low Level to the main station. This could impact the time scale for the DLR's Stratford International line construction but time will tell.