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.