Orange order for TfL's tangerine dream

Officer Gilpin: You ever hear the expression the simplest answer is often the correct one?
Detective Boney: Actually, I have never found that to be true.
- Gone Girl

The Transport Committee's statement in support of the Bakerloo Line extension also asks for some much-needed clarity in terms of the options to extend the East London Line south from New Cross.

The Bakerloo Line consultation makes an oblique reference to the idea, but gives no hint which way such a line might head and whether any other services might be sacrificed as a result.

The New Cross extension could head into Lewisham and, once there, the world is its Oyster.

17 comments:

Ffiish said...

A quick run down to Hither Green, stopping at platform 4. Then convert part of the goods yard to provide a curve to let trains reach platform 5 for the return journey.

Mackerel Sky said...

Standing at Canada Water, or Shoreditch High Street, heading south, the New Cross service is always the quiet one. And it's always disheartening when the Overground trains are cancelled from New Cross and put into service on the New Cross Gate branch, as if it's inevitable that one day the New Cross branch will be quietly closed. Maybe I'm being pessimistic though, as I'm sure I've noticed the New Cross service getting busier over the last year or so, and maybe an extension somewhere - anywhere - could indeed happen.

paddyom said...

Not sure how the tunnel at Rotherhithe could cope with more trains running through it. Eventually that will become the bottle neck of the Overground a bit like London Bridge.

Jj said...

Just close New Cross and divert the trains to the other branches, which has more users.

Cillian said...

As a New Cross user I find that the trains are quite in demand on the outward journey, especially now with no trains stopping at Charing Cross or Waterloo East at the moment. The return journey to New Cross is usually quieter but this, in my opinion, is only because users are more than happy to get off at New Cross Gate and walk down the road. If it was removed from New Cross the outward journeys from New Cross Gate would only get more packed!

anon said...

I would definitely welcome this idea!

Mackerel Sky said...

And then you'd not get a seat anyway. I suspect in addition to the Rotherhithe tunnel, the New Cross Gate to Sydenham stretch is already close to capacity, what with sharing the Overground services with National Rail.

Fly Thinker said...

There's enough capacity in the tunnels. The Underground works in tunnels and are able to get a lot more than the current peak Overground services which is 16tph. This line can easily cope with another 8tph.

Fly Thinker said...

There seems to be surplus space on the embankment on the northern side of Hither Green, which could be used to offer a termination of Overground services quite like the current layout with New Cross but only with two pairs of tracks and an island platform.

Coupling this with additional services via the New Cross route (possible 6tph in each direction) could prove to be fruitful in adding additional capacity to the Inner London services that often are full with Outer London passengers by the time it reaches Hither Green.

Brockley Nick said...

It's not a choice between running more trains to NXG vs running trains to NX. There is no capacity on the NXG line (because they share the line with Southern trains) to run any more trains. NX trains are essentially a "bonus". They are looking at ways to squeeze more ELL trains on to the NXG branch, but it's not an either / or situation.

Jj said...

This evening, there was a 10 minute gap when there were no trains (Southern or Overground) scheduled to arrive on the northbound platform, so that no capacity excuse just doesn't fly with me. TFL, Network Rail and GLA are just too darn cheap to upgrade the signaling infrastructure that would enable a more frequent service.

Monkeyboy said...

signaling on a shared line is no small task to upgrade. its not just a set of traffic lights, there is specific equipment on the trains that interacts with the signaling system. the application of money could solve it but its just not there, especially if you want the bakerloo.

Brockley Nick said...

That's two different points. Yes, they could upgrade the line and squeeze a few more on. I think that's the plan, longer term. But in its current form, the NXG route can't take any more trains. So my previous point stands.

Jj said...

That's my point. Normally there is a 4-5 min gap between services on peak time, but there was a 10 min gap today during the evening peak time, and normally 15 min gap on off-peak times.


So there are still capacity to fit in more services in between.

Matt-Z said...

A few reasons this won't happen any time soon (or probably at all):

There's nowhere at Lewisham to terminate the service. Lewisham is a tangled web of inefficient flat junctions and conflicts. The recent developments (Lewisham Gateway etc) have restricted the available space to do anything about this. Fitting in any sort of diveunder/flyover to allow a service of just a few trains per hour to turnaround is a low priority compared to sorting out the station and junctions for the existing services.

If you can't terminate at Lewisham you have to go further out (e.g. Hither Green as suggested earlier). 5 car trains starting at Hither Green (or similar) would already be full by the time they got to New Cross. Unless major work is done to allow for 8 car running on the central core (which could be as radical as a new cross-river bore to replace Brunel's tunnel) there's not the capacity for an extension from New Cross.

There's a bottleneck / capacity constraint in the cutting and tunnels between New Cross and St Johns, and there's no chance of getting any extra lines through there. Any future re-signalling will be aimed at getting more 12 car trains from Kent up to London Bridge and back as quickly as possible. There will be a great reluctance to cede any paths to a slow-moving low-capacity metro service.

The priority for the ELL/Overground is getting as many trains as possible down the slow lines to West Croydon / Crystal Palace. If the recent reduction in rush hour Southern services from London Bridge persists I wouldn't be surprised if a temporary timetable
change is negotiated to allow for an extra couple of Overground trains to take up the slack. I think the New Cross branch will always remain South East London's equivalent of Mill Hill East. You might even be able to fit in a bay platform at Surrey Quays and run the New Cross branch as an isolated shuttle with no conflicting moves.

Fly Thinker said...

If the tracks and platforms serving the Blackheath line at Lewisham were to be elevated via a viaduct then this can increase flow of rail traffic to London Bridge (fast) and Victoria but the Blackheath line would lose services to St John's and New Cross.

The Hither Green Line via Lewisham would pick up for this by allowing services from New Cross and St John's to stop at platforms 1 & 2, plus still maintaining a Nunhead to Hither Green route for freight. This freight could also be used as Overground services to Clapham Junction (or even optimistically Old Oak Common) from Sidcup or Hither Green.

The new Blackheath line would then be able to introduce Overground services from Barking Riverside/Abbey Wood to New Malden via Peckham Rye.

These Overground extensions can serve a new Brockley station on the southeastern tracks.

Adrian said...

With National Rail, DLR, Overground and Bakerloo (and the 2030 overground expansion), Lewisham could really become a major transport hub.

Although the lack of space and prior planning has probably scuppered that.

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