I will be following the development of this port with interest, as I suspect that getting it into operation will not be all plain sailing. My biggest worries concern the road and rail links to get freight containers to and from the port. After all the freight train route through London on the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking lines are not the easiest places to move heavy freight trains, especially as the local residents don’t like Class 66 locomotives at all hours of the night.
Yesterday, when I returned from the New Kings Road, I didn’t come the obvious way of taking a bus to somewhere like Sloane Square or Piccadlly from where I would get the Underground. after all, the last time I did this journey, it took forever. As it was sunny, I decided to walk to Imperial Wharf station on the Overground.
I had three choices there.
2. I could also go north on a direct train that eventually ended up at Stratford.
Dalston Junction station is my preferred destination, as I can walk out of the front and get any of a number of buses to close to my house.
In the end, I let the trains make my decision for me and after looking at the indicators I got on the first one to arrive.
It was a southbound one to Clapham Junction station.
It was the first time I’d done this west to east transfer at the station and it was simple, in that I just walked up the platform and got in the train to Dalston Junction. There was a staff member on the train, so I was able to know what was the front. But on these trains it doesn’t matter as they are walk-through from head to tail.
In some ways it was a surprising way to go from Chelsea to Dalston, but it was painless and probably quicker than the alternative. The view was a lot better too!
The step-free train change at Clapham Junction station was so much better, than those where you have to walk miles between platforms. The decision to split a platform and have one destination at each end, seems to have been an excellent one.
I suspect the only improvement is to have more and longer trains on the Overground. But that will happen!
My financial advisor has just left on his bicycle to go home to South West London. I did suggest as it was raining that he cycle to Canonbury station and get the North London line most of the way.
He didn’t as he said that was Bad Karma.
These pictures show the rail bridge at Primrose Hill.
It is now pedestrianised, but it wasn’t in 1970, when I used to walk across it twice to get to and from work.
It has been proposed to re-open Primrose Hill station by bringing the short stretch of line between South Hampstead and Camden Road stations back into the regular passenger service by incorporating it into the London Overground network.
From this passenger’s point-of-view, it would be a good thing, but it is only part of a bigger plan, that might be needed to get the freight through London.
I have hinted in my ramblings around the North London and Gospel Oak to Barking lines, that London has a rail freight problem, which mainly concerns getting large numbers of long heavy freight trains, to and from London Gateway and the Haven Ports in the east and the West Coast and Great Western Main lines in the north and west.
Without repeating what London Reconnections have done, I would suggest, that before you pontificate down the pub, you read their three part analysis.
Part 1: Reshaping the Network
Part 2:The Freight Must Flow
Part 3: A Quart Into A Pint Pot
The title of part 3 sums up the problem so well.
At the present, all I can see that more and more freight traffic is going to pass through London.
For my own part, I would never buy any house, that was anywhere need the North London or Gospel Oak to Barking lines, as the noise problem is going to get horrific.
The following should also be done as soon as possible.
There should be electrification of the Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail line , so that freight trains from the Haven Ports to the Midlands and the North don’t have to go via London. This would have the benefit of opening up paths on the Great Eastern Main line and also making services from East Anglia to the Midlands electric-hauled.
The Gospel Oak to Barking line should be electrified. There are always good environmental reasons for electrification, but here the main reason is that replacing noisy diesel engines with quieter electric ones will reduce the noise substantially.
But these will only be stop gap measures and surely in around 2020, the problem of getting the freight through is going to get worse.
Something radical will need to be done.
The station is wired for electric trains to pick up current from overhead wires.
The c2c Class 357 electrical multiple unit passing through. It was probably going somewhere for something like maintenance or modification.
The wires petered out soon after we left the station and crossed the Great Eastern Main Line.
If it was fully wired like the North London line, then they could use the same type of train.
The North London Line of the London Overground is not only a passenger route, but a main freight artery.
As I waited at Homerton station today, this long train of boxes passed through.
Many of these trains are going to and from the Port of Felixstowe and the West Coast Main line. As the North London line, is the only electrified route between the Great Eastern Main line and the West Coast Main line, there is virtually nowhere else the trains can go.
The main new route will be a more direct line from Felixstowe to Nuneaton. But this route is not complete yet and there are no plans to electrify it, so it may need an engine change or two. It also requires reversing at Ipswich, due to the nature of the track layout, where the Felixstowe branch joins the main line.
There is also an alternative route via the Gospel Oak and Barking line of the London Overground. This takes four freight trains an hour and by-passes eight stations on the North London line. But unlike the North London line, it is not electrified.
This problem is going to get worse when London Gateway, a new port on the Thames east of London starts operating in late 2013. Trains to and from London Gateway will probably feed in directly to the Gospel Oak and Barking line, via the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway.
As to the size and number of trains, read this press release from DB Schenker, who will be handling the rail traffic. Here’s an extract.
The agreement will see DB Schenker Rail introduce at least four rail freight services a day (four in, four out), subject to volumes, and will serve a range of inland terminals including potential new UK locations. Additional rail freight services will be introduced in the future.
DB Schenker Rail will also pursue the development of rail freight services from London Gateway to mainland Europe using the Channel Tunnel.
Something most certainly needs to be done! In the meantime, I certainly wouldn’t buy a house that backed on to either the North London or Gospel Oak to Barking Lines.
They’ve just had a very one-sided phone-in on BBC Radio 5, with virtually an hour of the dismal Jimmies and Jennies complaining about all the inadequacies.
We’ve just had a volunteer complaining, that they are not being given car parking on the Olympic Park. It sounds to me, that they should have been turned down as a volunteer.
Let’s face it, if you don’t like the conditions, don’t volunteer.
We should be celebrating what we got right.
My field is project management and we should be celebrating the fact that all of the venues and transport links have been constructed on time and generally on budget.
Remember the Olympic Park is built in a marsh and with all the bad weather we’ve been having lately, that has not only caused construction problems, but made the design of the park difficult. Luckily, the main site of the Games is by the River Lea and Joseph Bazalette‘s massive Northern Outfall Sewer, so hopefully we’ll cope, with water and sewage.
I’ve watched the plans unfold and East London has improved beyond all expectations.
When we won the bid the London Overground from New Cross to Dalston and from Stratford to Richmond only partly existed as a set of travelling urinals. now it is a modern railway with new trains, signalling and completely renewed track. The East London Line deserves five stars in its own right, as it was built through Brunel’s Thames Tunnel of 1840 and under the Kingsland Road, without breaking anything.
As the icing, London has now got its magnificent cable-car, which will be the fun legacy of the games.
And now the phone-in is talking about the failure of the O2 mobile phone network. My Nokia 6310i works well on O2 at the moment.
Obviously stations like Stratford and Richmond are destination stations on the North London line, where there is a lot to do and are ideal places to meet a friend or someone on business. Hampstead Heath station is probably another, but it is not really an interchange.
Today, I went to buy a new jacket and found myself at Camden Road station, which is being updated by the addition of lifts. I got the jacket and then proceeded to have a coffee in the restaurant under the station called the Meribel Brasserie & Coffee House. The coffee was very good and although they didn’t specifically do gluten-free, there were a few items on the menu, that were. For instance, their breakfast menu included scrambled eggs and smoked salmon at a reasonable £7, to include some accompaniments like tomatoes and a bit of salad. I checked the dinner menu with the Russian chef and I certainly wouldn’t starve there. He knew his stuff and even knew that skate were not kosher fish.
You certainly have a better choice of gluten-free food at Camden Road station, than in the whole of Eastfield.
I also drank my coffee on a pleasant terrace in the sun watching the traffic. Unfortunately,that unusual clothes shop, Swanky Modes, which used to be opposite has now gone. C always wondered, whether they actually sold any of their way out designs.
On the North London line of the Overground, every so often a freight train comes through taking full boxes from the East Coast ports to the West Coast Main Line or empty boxes back again. Some may also be flows between Southampton and the East.
A few years ago rail freight was almost dead, but it has bounced back with a vengeance, despite the recession. It was always felt that rail freight traffic was strongly linked to GDP, but it appears the link is now broken and the figures show it. In the last five years, total freight has dropped by 10% and truck hauled traffic has dropped by 13%. So how many truck drivers have been made redundant? But in the same period rail-freight has risen by 2%. The number of containers handled at the ports in 2010 was the same as in 2005, but those that were handled by rail has risen by 29%. In the future, rail freight-traffic is expected to double between 2010 and 2030.
The reason for the growth is obviously cost and even a long train of 30 containers or so is more cost effective than 30 trucks.
But also various improvements to the rail network have been added to speed the traffic on its way. I reported on one here. There are more improvements in the pipeline too.
Some trains too, are now running through the Channel Tunnel, as far as Wroclaw in Poland.
So we’ll be seeing lots more freight trains on the rail network in the UK.
And this will mean less CO2 emissions, especially where the trains are hauled by electric locomotives.
It will also remove a lot of trucks from the major roads in the UK. Every time I travel on the A14, I seem to think that there are less trucks.
I also come to the conclusion, that we may be seeing a few green shoots of recovery.