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.

No comments: