Five car ELL trains now a "must do" for TfL

Last month, we reported that passenger numbers on the East London Line were forecast to rise significantly by 2016. At the time, we argued that:

The great squash means that measures to boost capacity become more necessary and thus, we hope, more likely, more quickly.

Now, transport news site London Reconnections now reports that these figures mean that:

The process of expanding the 378s [ELL trains] to include a fifth car seems now to be accepted as a “must do,” with Howard Smith indicating in Modern Railways that this may happen sometime around 2013/2014. This will no doubt come as good news to the Bombardier works at Derby, were such work would have to take place. It will mean, however, selective door opening at a number of stations. 

While the interchange at Whitechapel would be among the platforms lengthened to accommodate the extra carriage, Canada Water would not. This will make life at that interchange interesting during rush hour, though it remains to be seen how much the arrival of Crossrail at Whitechapel, providing an alternative route in to the West End, will change commuting patterns.

The report also states that an extra four trains will run on the core section (from Surrey Quays to Dalston) during morning rush hour to alleviate congestion for the next year, before the arrival of the ELL to Clapham Junction, at which point, these trains will become part of that service. Finally, the report shows that the section south of New Cross Gate is capable of squeezing on an additional 2 trains per hour, meaning that Brockley could enjoy 18 tph in total during peak times.


Mb said...

excellent, a train story. remember also that the new signalling system that has just been awarded will also increase frequency of services H&C and D&C trains from Whitechaple. One of the bigest resignaling jobs in the world

Awarded to Bombardier (they also do signalling) good news for UK Plc, or is it Canada Plc. Whatever. Whitechaple will possibly be more important for Brockley folk that Canada Water?

mb said...

"Overall, the upgrade, which is due for completion in 2018, will provide 24 per cent more capacity on the District line, 27 per cent more capacity on the Metropolitan line and 65 per cent more capacity on the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines."

Actually 'only' £345m, i thought it was more.

Read more:

Danja said...

Actually 'only' £345m, i thought it was more.

Oh it will be, let them make a start first.

Mb said...

You Danja are a very cynical young man.

Lou Baker said...

It's all tinkering.

While any improvement is welcome it does nothing to address our transport network's fundamental problems.

The French, Germans and Chinese are powering ahead with modern networks.

We're not bold enough to do new - we tinker with what is still, basically, a Victorian railway.

And while I absolutely agree we should make the most of what we have, we don't even do that. No 8 car trains on the ELL because no one was brave enough to make the right decisions. No new interchanges with the Victoria Line at Brixton, with Thameslink at Loughborough Junction
or with the Central Line near Shoreditch because we're short sighted penny pinchers.

Forget Crossrail and Thameslink. We need to be talking about Crossrail 2, Crossrail 3, Thameslink 2, Bakerloo, Northern and Victoria Line extensions. More light rail schemes - like the DLR. And trams. How I wish we could get rid of some of the cursed buses in central London and make it a tram city again.

The country has no ambition. We have failed railways. The legacy of generations of incompetence, over unionisation, inadequate staff and unambitious politicians. We need to reclaim the initiative from these non-entities to help us put the Great back in Britain.

Mb said...

Lou, they "tinker" in France and Germany too. The only think the ell shares with the Victorians is much of its route...and the fact that it's "some trains" your comparing the upgrade with projects not yet started. Those projects are planed WITH upgrades like this. Otherwise how do you distribute the people that those new projects encourage onto the network. Thameslink and crossrail arriving at farringdon has led to "tinkering" with a 150yr old station well as building anew one. The Victorians "tinkered" with there system.

By the way, have you ever considered a career in speech writing? That last paragraph gave me a lump in my throat.

Mb said...

...oh by the way, if you get your crayon out on the tube map and sketch in links where the lines cross your in danger. Can the central line at that point cope with a train full of passengers? If not the passengers will build up. You then close the station and the trains fly through. It's a system, not a series of unconnected lines.

What goes in must have room to go out.

And people are talking about crossrail 2 etc. money doesn't grow on trees you know.... Stop whining.

Lou Baker said...


It's completely wrong to say all the ELL share with the Victorians is a route. Most of the stations are Victorian too. As is the legacy - in south London at least - of bad connections. (And so are the working practices).

Absolutely you have to consider the implications of adding a new station on to, say, the Central Line. But the fact that you can't add a new station demonstrates the problem - that we operate these things at full capacity, with no wiggle room. This is why it's awful when things go wrong.

The problem is that we do these things piecemeal. We don't have a vision of where our transport system needs to be in 10, 20, 30 years. Consequently we have a system that would have been inadequate 20 years ago. I'm afraid the workers bare much blame. A failure to adopt modern working practices, over unionisation etc mean we have a railway that costs more to operate than comparable ones, but delivers much less.

As for the money - this is a great time to invest in infrastructure. Building things is good spending. It's an investment in our country's future. You could almost never spend enough on these things. When Britain was the pre-eminent global power we invested masses in our infrastructure. When the U.S. was pre-eminent it built the biggest and best roads and bridges. Now it's the Chinese who lead the way. We should follow.

Far better to spend money on this stuff which gives our country a competitive advantage rather than frittering it away on benefits for Polly Shagsalot and her 19 children, all of whom refuse to work. One is an investment in the future, the other is wasted on chavs. Sadly we do too much of the latter and not enough of the former.

Mb said...

So you want to spend more on the ELL route to rebuild the stations rather than spread the finite NR and TfL budget across the rest of the network? If there were limitless money I'd agree. There isn't. Brockley is a shabby station, I'd rather a 5th car and more frequent services than a new station at the mo, its choices on a set budget not "lack of ambition" I Like the Idea of spending public money that creates more money in the medium to long term, as well as employing skilled people who would otherwise be on the dole. Unfortunately this government is not into keynesianism, reducing the deficit to zero is the holy grail no matter what damage it causes.

I'd also like schools rebuilt, lower student fees, more spending or tax breaks for r&d etc, etc. unemployment is going up, tax receipts are going down. We could borrow the money I suppose. Read will Hutton, you two would get on.

Anonymous said...

Errrr ..... So we cannot get to canary wharf at rush hour by changing at Canada water OR all trains drop there and you must have to walk through to reach a carriage that is opening? Thanks for clarifying.

Anonymous said...

"The country has no ambition. We have failed railways. The legacy of generations of incompetence, over unionisation, inadequate staff and unambitious politicians. We need to reclaim the initiative from these non-entities to help us put the Great back in Britain."

Here here.

Anonymous said...

Where? Where?

Lou Baker said...


You mistakenly think that you have to choose between investment and deficit reduction.

It is a fake choice.

There is good spending (like investment in infrastructure) and bad spending (social policies, benefits, welfare etc).

We simply need to reallocate the latter to the former. Stop paying people to do nothing - make them
do something. This 2 million strong workforce could help rebuild our schools and railways. But the politicians are too weak to tell these people they should work for their benefits.

As for student fees - university is an investment in your future. Anyone sensible enough to recognise that will not be put off by the fees. The rest? Probably weren't uni material in the first place.

PM said...

The addition of the overground to Brockley has been fantastic for the area but at rush hour it is so overcrowded. The addition of extra trains coupled with longer ones is needed to cope with the popularirty of this route. However it should be expanded to six rather than five carriges. Remember the DLR? This went from two to four and now Six.If we are looking to the future we should expand to maximize capacity now.

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