East London Line to get major capacity boost

The TfL Draft Business Plan, launched yesterday, proposes to lengthen the East London Line trains to five carriages and add another two trains per hour to the service by 2015. The plan is TfL's wishlist for the next 10 years of infrastructure investment.

It says:

Demand for London Overground services has grown by 160 per cent in the last five years on the original network. With the East London line included the overall demand has trebled. This growth is outstripping capacity and causing severe peak-time congestion. 

Therefore TfL plans to lengthen trains and increase frequency (an additional two trains per hour) on the East London line to boost capacity and ease overcrowding. In addition, trains will be lengthened on the West London, North London, Euston to Watford and the Gospel Oak to Barking lines. These projects will provide 25 per cent more peak capacity, supporting the growth of the 10 Mayoral Opportunity Areas served by London Overground.

The East London Line will be the first part of the Overground network to benefit from a capacity increase. Other increases should be delivered by 2016.

The Evening Standard notes:

Transport chiefs admit the plan is reliant on chancellor George Osborne approving up to £2 billion per year in capital funding starting from 2014/15.

Even if those negotiations are relatively unfruitful, we can be reasonably confident that the ELL upgrades will go ahead, since they are comparatively cheap and urgently needed.


Anonymous said...

What does this mean though? East London line could just mean the "core" bit to Surrey Quays... Will they go through brockley? (It doesn't say Crystal Palace or West Croydon as the preferred termination point).

Brockley Nick said...

Well the five carriages will be for the length of the line on all services, so that's good news regardless.

I believe the extra trains will probably terminate at New Cross, but someone else may be able to offer better advice.

Anonymous said...

This is likely to be just the core section-Surrey quays to highbury. IIRC the signalling on the core section can cope with around 24 trains an hour whereas the bit south of New Cross Gate can only cope with around half that number.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't think they'll go to new cross as there is only the single terminating platform. They'll prob turf everyone off at Surrey quays, then run into a siding by the depot to turn around again

Thomas said...

It's already full during rush hours so that's another 2 years for the numbers using it to increase, by about 2 carriages worth of people surely? Particularly if the rise carries on like it has in the last 2 years.

Not trying to be a negative nancy but is there much of a long-term (as in more than few years) plan for this in addition to these extra carraiges?

Michael_FH said...

Previous information suggests that there are two spare slots on the route down to Crystal Palace without impacting Southern services.

The two changes would amount to 56% additional capacity on the ELL.

Anonymous said...

Will they address the crowd congestion at Canada Water I wonder...? Probably not.

Brockley Nick said...

@Michael, very interesting thanks. And welcome news if that's what they are thinking of.

Brockley Michael said...

Crystal Palace has spare terminating capacity; if there are paths between New Cross Gate and there, and the signalling can cope with it, two extra trains could terminate there. I'm less sure about the northern termini, however.

And presumably an extra carriage means selective door opening through the core (Surrey Quays-Whitechapel), as those stations' platforms aren't long enough?

Would be nice to think the trains would speed up a bit too.

But yes, some investment is better than no investment.

THNick said...

Why is the increase in capacity "25%" not 66%?
And what Michael said about door closing.

michael_FH said...

There would be selective door opening in the core section and Canada Water will only get more crowded.

25% increase comes from 1 extra carriage (platform lengths make more than that difficult to achieve in the short term), but an additional 2 trains on our branch means another 25% increase on the existing 8 trains per hour. Together the increase is 56%.

Matt-Z said...

Good stuff:

Two extra slots between New Cross Gate to Crystal Palace will be almost as welcome as the fifth carriage.

Platforms at Surrey Quays, Shadwell, Whitechapel, and all the new stations up to Dalston / Highbury & Islington can all be extended without too much difficulty.

This should give some breathing space until Crossrail opens in 2018, alleviating the Jubilee and Canada Water (see below).

Bad stuff:

Canada Water is (as stated) going to get worse before it gets better. Short platforms, more frequent trains, more congestion. It need an expensive and complex rebuild. Can't imagine the money for this will be found any time soon.

Capacity is going to be at its upper limits with these improvements. Without cutting the Southern stopping services, or a major (expensive) resignalling, that's it in terms of tph. Six car trains is again in the difficult and very expensive pile.

Anonymous said...

Brockley Michael worries about enough terminal capacity at the Northern end of the line.

Even after the Clapham Junction service starts they won't be using two terminating platforms at Dalston Junction. There is also a lot of building slated for north of Dalston Junction and I wouldn't say that the Eastern Curve to Stratford will never be reinstated.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anyone know what the plan is for Dalston junction. There is a big builing site opposite the station. Some sort of extension?

Anonymous said...

Will it go from Brockley to Haggerston on Saturdays?

rbmartin said...

I wouldn't be surprised if there is two extra slots to Crystal Palace. Southern used to have the silly peak train there which would leave 4 mins after the packed Victoria train to there. At least you got a table and 4 chairs to yourself though!

This was axed when Southern introduced 10 car evening peak services to West Croydon.

mr_jrt said...

Northern terminal solution:
Widen the viaduct west of Camden Road to handle 4 tracks. Rebuild platforms along the entire four-track section. Run the NLL on the northern lines using AC and the ELL on the southern tracks using DC, hooking up to the DC lines. That gets you Watford Junction, Harrow & Wealdstone and Willesden Junction.

So you could quite comfortably run Watford-New Cross, H&W-Crystal Palace, Willesden-West Croydon and Dalston-Clapham Junction.

...those should be able to consume any paths the core can handle.

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