I have seen tram-trains at work in Karlruhe, Kassel and Mulhouse and they work well as they travel on the tram-tracks in the city centre and the train tracks as they travel outside and to the next major town. We’re soon to introduce Class 399 tram-trains between Sheffield and Rotherham as an experiment and after what I’ve seen in Europe, I don’t believe that the trial will be a substantial failure because of the concept.
When I looked at Crossrail 2 at Wimbledon, I said I had a bonkers idea. If we can have tram-trains, then why can’t we have tram-tubes?
Dimensional restrictions would apply and I suspect it would only be possible with the larger size of tube train. But the cross-section of the modern S7/8 stock is not that different to your average tram, although they are longer. Although, I’ve seen some substantial tram-trains in Europe, with at least four coaches.
What gave me the thought was the problem of the Tramlink platforms at Wimbledon would be solved if they could run up the District Line to another terminus.
It is probably infeasible at Wimbledon for various reasons, but once the tram-train technology is proven in a UK environment, I can’t see why the concept might not work in the right way in the right place on the sub-surface lines of the London Underground. One possibility would be to create a branch line shuttle. Such a concept could have been used at Barking Riverside, but they have decided to extend the Gospel Oak to Barking Line instead.
I do think it will be wrong to underestimate the devious minds of those engineers trying to squeeze the last drop out of London’s transport infrastructure.
After my trip to Wimbledon, I just had to look at how the Crossrail 2 will affect the area.
Depending on what you read, the tunnel portal could be to the London side of Wimbledon station or the country side.
I always thought it was going to be south-west of Wimbledon station, but the latest route map on the Crossrail 2 web site shows it on the London side and I do remember reading somewhere that it had been moved.
I think there may be advantages to this position of the portal.
1. There may be more space in which to work on the London side, as there is a lot of land used by the railway and industrial units.
2. The tunnel is probably a kilometre shorter and this may have the knock-on effect of needed less ventilation and access shafts.
3. Wimbledon station will still be on the surface. It will need extensive rebuilding, but there will be no need for platforms in tunnels.
4. Wimbledon station could easily be rebuilt with the two hundred and fify metre long platforms needed for Crossrail 2.
5. Integrating the Crossrail 2 lines into the busy lines of the South Western Main Line, may well be an easier construction job on the London side, that causes a lot less disruption to an already overloaded route into London.
6. Constructing the portal on the London side, may well cause less inconvenience to a smaller number of local residents.
For these reasons, I’ll look at the London side portal position and how it might affect those that live and work in the area.
This is a clip of the area of a possible London-side tunnel portal from Crossrail 2’s map from Wimbledon to Chelsea.
Crossrail 2 Wimbledon Poral Area
The area is mainly a collection of train sidings and depots and lots of industrial units, as this Google Earth image shows.
Crossrail 2 Wimbledon Area Now
Unfortunately, the two maps are at a different orientation.
My feelings are that the two tracks will join up with an island platform at Wimbledon station, which would obviously need a rebuild. This Google Earth image shows the station.
Note the shopping centre to the south-east, with the Tramlink approaching from the south to a terminus squeezed in tight.
Wimbledon station is not a modern station by any means with several problems.
1. Access to the platforms is up and down steep steps.
2. Tramlink needs at least an extra platform. At the moment the Tramlink stop at Wimbledon, must be one of the pokiest and passenger-unfriendly tram stops in the world, as it seems to have been modelled on the Black Hole of Calcutta. The improvements to Tramlink at Wimbledon are shown on this page of the TfL web site, but there is no design for the new Tramlink stop.
3. Changing between Tramlink, South West Trains services and the Underground involves going up one set of stairs and then down another.
4. London is moving away from booking offices and the whole layout of stations is changing dramatically.
I’m no architect, but I know a good modern station layout like say Reading when I see it.
I think at Wimbledon, you could build a deck over all the lines and access the various services using escalators and lifts, as at Reading. All of the customer services and the shops and kiosks would be on the deck and passengers would just walk into the station at the deck level straight off the street. As at Reading and other new stations, passengers would tend to wait above rather than on the platforms.
The platforms would extend both sides of the bridge, so that Tramlink could have its own well-lit two-platform station tucked under the road outside the station or the car park opposite. One small point is that when I traced TfL possible GOBlin extension, it needed to reverse at Wimbledon. One or more bay platforms could be tucked in on the country-side of the station, if they were needed.
The French, Germans and a lot of other nations would handle the problem of Tramlink differently. They would probably run it acroos the station perpendicular to the train tracks, either on-street on in a tunnel. But we don’t like the first and the second would be expensive. It would only work well, if the Tramlink was going to be extended to somewhere north-west of Wimbledon station.
I would though investigate a solution for Tramlink, similar to the platform layout used by the Overground at Clapham Junction, where the two services meet head on and passengers just walk up the platform to change trains. The problem is that Tramlink would need to cross the train lines as the tram and Underground lines are on different sides of the station. This would need a flyover or extensive on-street running for the trams, but I believe that it would be good to have both together in their own part of the station. At worst getting Tramlink from its awful location, would give passengers a better experience and release half a platform for train services.
Whilst I was writing this, I had an idea worthy of getting myself certified. And that is the tram-tube! It’s so bonkers, it needs a separate article, which I’ll write later.
So that is my thoughts on Crossrail 2 at Wimbledon!
I believe that it can be put through a rebuilt station, with very little disruption.
The dreadful station needs a complete rebuild anyway.
Yesterday evening, I went to Wimbledon to have a drink with a friend. It’s not a difficult journey, but I was going out in the rush hour and Victorian railway planners didn’t really expect anybody to travel from the very poor East London to the affluent South-West.
They only built two cross-river rail links east of London Bridge and one of these was a re-use of some leftover infrastructure in the shape of the Thames Tunnel. It’s got better in recent years, with the re-opening of an extended East London Line, through the Thames Tunnel and new lines in the shape of the Jubilee Line and the Docklands Light Railway to Lewisham, but if you live in Dalston and want to go south-west regularly, you’re living in the wrong part of the city.
If I’ve got plenty of time to get to Wimbledon, I have three slow routes I can take.
1. Walk to Canonbury station and take a North London Line train to West Brompton, where I change onto the District Line to Wimbledon.
2. Walk to Dalston Junction station and take an East London Line train to Clapham Junction, where I change to a train for Wimbledon.
3. Take a 76 bus to Waterloo and then get a train to Wimbledon.
The first two routes are best used at a non-busy time, where perhaps you’ve got a paper to read and the third can be very slow, if the traffic is heavy.
Because of Crossrail work and diverted buses, taking a bus to Bank for the Drain to Waterloo is not the serious proposition it should be.
To further complicate matters, the Transport for London Journey Planner, says walk to Dalston Junction and take a train to Canada Water, from where you get the Jubilee Line to Waterloo,
In the end, I took a 141 bus to Bank and struggled to Waterloo through a very crowded Drain.
Coming back, it was after eleven, so I had to wait ten minutes for a train to Waterloo, where I decided to come home via Canada Water and the East London Line. This is a good route coming home, as it means two stops on any bus, drops me just round the corner from my house.
If Crossrail 2 ever gets built, this journey will become much easier, as between Dalston Junction or the Gateway to the North-East and Wimbledon or the Gateway to the South-West, there will be only seven intermediate stations; Angel, Kings Cross/St. Pancras/Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria, Chelsea Kings Road, Clapham Junction and Tooting Broadway.
So using my mother’s Ready Reckoner, Dalston to Wimbledon will take just sixteen minutes.
I’m certainly backing Crossrail 2!
I came back from Wimbledon to Dalston Junction tonight, by taking a train into Waterloo and the a Jubilee Line train to Canada Water before taking the Overground north.
South of the Thames there were police everywhere, but from Canada Water onwards, I didn’t see any sign of the boys and girls in blue.
But I didn’t see any trouble either!
One officer told me they were being careful as it was Friday night. It all seemed to be effective!
I took a train from New Cross to London Bridge to see if I could get any pictures of the Bermondsey dive-user works.
One think that is noticeable from the pictures, is the amount of space there is for the lines into London Bridge. At the present Thameslink isn’t running and it would appear there are two ready-ballasted tracks between the junction to New Cross Gate and London Bridge.
In a post last September, where I went up and down the East London Line, I took a few pictures of New Cross station. I changed trains at the station today and took these pictures.
It certainly looks a lot better. The sun helped too!
My only problem with the station is that changing trains to go south after travelling from Dalston Junction is a walk across a platform and very easy, but return journeys mean a platform change over the bridge.
Perhaps one day, they’ll extend the East London Line trains to a proper terminal at another station. like Hayes as I suggested in this post, so northwards changes would be simpler.
I took these pictures of the new viaduct that is being built as part of the works concerning the Bermondsey Dive-Under.
This artist’s impression is from Network Rail and shows the dive-under.
I actually walked along the side of the East London Line Extension, which crosses under the three sets of railway lines running through the area, towards the right of the picture.
The two lines shown in my gallery are the two viaducts towards the top. Note how both are shown going into a concrete tunnel, with the other line, which will carry the Thameslink trains over the top. You can also see the viaduct being built in this Google Earth image.
I think the viaduct is being built alongside the rail line closest to the top-right of the image. Are the white shapes, the concrete shells of the arches shown in the gallery?
The sets of lines from top to bottom are as follows.
1. This set of lines along which I think the new arches have been built will take trains on the South Eastern Main Line between London Bridge and New Cross and on into Kent.
2. This set of lines also takes services between London Bridge and New Cross, although at the moment no trains are running on these lines.
3. This set of lines will take Thameslink services to New Cross Gate and beyond.
4. This set of lines links London Bridge and New Cross Gate.
It’s all very complicated and if anybody can correct anything or add more, please let me know.
I do think that untangling the spaghetti left by the Victorians, probably caused a lot of sleepless nights amongst Network Rail employees.
I also wonder, whether Network Rail will be creating small business units in the large number of new arches.
Provision was made for Surrey Canal Road station when Phase 2 of the East London Line Extension was built a few years ago.
The pictures show that the work to create a new station wouldn’t be too great. They have decided to rename it to New Bermondsey station. The new station is close to Millwall FC as this Google Earth image shows.
Millwall FC And New Bermondsey Station
The station is in the bottom right-hand corner of the image, where the railway crosses Surrey Canal Road and construction could start this year.
As the post entitled Uncovering The Past On Thameslink showed, the railway lines around South Bermondsey station are complicated to say the least and at the moment they are more so due to the construction of the Bermondsey Dive-Under. This Google Earth image shows the main viaduct out of London Bridge as it goes south east.
Exploring Around The Bermondsey Dive-Under
The top left corner of the image shows the old Peek Frean biscuit factory and at the bottom right there is Millwall’s ground. I took these pictures as I walked around.
The arches are certainly a good example of Network Rail’s extensive collection of railway arches used for non-rail commercial pyrposes.
The respected study from Cardiff University on violence as reported on the BBC’s web site is saying that injuries due to violence is at a new low. This is the first two paragraphs.
The number of violence-related injuries in England and Wales is at its lowest level for at least 15 years, an annual study suggests.
Cardiff University’s survey of 117 hospital units showed about 211,000 victims of violence went to hospital in 2014 – 10% fewer than in 2013.
All sorts of explanations have been offered and they’re probably all a bit responsible.
Since I moved here to Dalston in 2010, one of the biggest differences, is that the streets just feel so much safer. It’s only a personal view and not backed by any statistics, but generally everything just seems a lot quieter.
I put it down to an long list of little factors, which have worked together to create the improvement. The Overground has opened, pavements, the built environment and buses have improved, there are busy cafes everywhere and generally you see more families and older people on the street.
I think it’s probably mainly down to the beneficial link between a better environment and improved behaviour, that has been suggested by Stephen Bayley and other commentators.