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Thankfully I’ve not been on the Victoria to Portsmouth Harbour line for quite some time but very much enjoyed a recent excursion up to the Lake District on Virgin West Coast. Weekends in First involves being lobbed a tuck box with sundry sugar coated or filled items but the return trip, mid-week and late afternoon incorporated tea/coffee, drinks and a choice of sandwiches, hot chicken salad or a fully vegetarian option plus a cheese course or dessert and/or fruit. After several days of agreeable walking around parts of the southern Lakes, this was a very mellow trip back.
And the complete antithesis of having to stand both ways on a trip to Manchester earlier this Autumn.12 Nov 2014
Hi Mr Michael
Interesting link and a similar discussion is had for users of the Brighton Mainline. The problem we have now is that investment in the Thameslink Upgrade, Crossrail and possible Crossrail 2 is that whilst capacity might increase across central London it does nothing to increase capacity at other points on the network. So in the case of the Brighton Mainline & Thameslink there is precious little space to add extra services which are needed – especially in peak. the number of off peak trains that are full with people standing is quite scary. Even what would now be considered cheap wins (such as Uckfield to Lewes re-opening to give an alternative route to London along with electrification thus allowing DMU’s to move to other parts of the network) are taking too long or not even on the table. Yet happy to spend billions on the above projects and HS2 (which I do believe are also needed). The problem is no one is taking an overall approach. Brighton to Three Bridges needs effectively 4 tracking – and north of here needs 6 tracking in places. Croydon to Victoria also needs 4 tracking on fast lines (not including local lines). No doubt similar issues apply to the Portsmouth line – which needs the Rolling Stock refurbished to a 2-2 seating configuration. Woking to Waterloo is saturated on the fast lines.
For users of the ECML – the Hitchin flyover is finally operational after years of people saying a cheap solution to prevent delays could be done to stop conflicting train movements. A British problem generally – we just take too ******* long to get anything done.13 Nov 2014
It seems I have used the 2/3 configured trains after all. I noticed that my train into Haymarket for the Sunday Remembrance service on the Helensburgh to Waverly line are shabby Strathclyde transport carriages now being used by Scotrail. Since I travel my specific route outside peak times I’ve not been impacted and thus not noticed when previously its not been 2 by 2 .
I’m imagining a Monday morning rush hour, weekend hangover, 30 minutes of sweaty smelly sardined fellow humans ….. Purgatory, pure purgatory, and I’m not even catholic … : )
To balance the criticism, the transformation of the station at Haymarket is worth mentioning. Could have been better, but 10 times better than it was.13 Nov 2014
TimFitzgeraldTC, I understood they had increased capacity on the Brighton line by extending some Gatwick Express services, ironically with the very train sets previously used on the Portsmouth line that they changed to the dreadful 2×3 Desiro stock. At least the Brighton to Victoria service at 50 minutes or so is over quickly, unlike my 90 mins on the Desiro. But your right, the south lacks capacity on a number of lines in to London, and indeed at some of the London Terminals. It is rare to arrive just outside Waterloo and go straight in, normally a few minutes wait for a platform to become available.
What we need in my view is investment on the lines in and out of Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge. Additional lines would be prohibitavly expensive, but getting in double deck trains, although expensive is possible. Clearly bridge layouts would have to be changed by either heightening the bridge or digging out underneath for the train to pass. If they start now, on say the Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton and a couple of Kent lines it could improve things incredibly for Jo public in a few years time.
We then have to solve the problem of faster trains needing to pass stopping services to give non stops from Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton. That can be done by losing a little farmland to put in train passing places, the slow train pulls in for a few minutes to let the fast train pass. In most cases this could be done at existing stations, would require an overhaul of timetables but I think is feasible.
Canucklad, glad you have 2×3’s up ther too. Be thankful you only have to use them occasionally and for only thirty minutes. As a matter of interest, is it a Stagecoach train service?13 Nov 2014
Indeed we do have the old Wessex electrics and they are totally unfit for purpose. The extension of the gatwick express services is only 7 trains at peak times, and other Victoria services have been lost. From brighton it is a real pain if you want to go to clapham at peak times. So it is marginally better, but not ideal. Peak services are 60-75 minutes against the off peak 53 minute run. But overall it isn’t to bad.
Agree with you views, any engineering work where a line has a long enough possession, then extra work should be undertaken to dig down under bridges or raise them, so that if we do go double decker in future it’ll be faster and easier to accommodate them. But no one thinks like that. Likewise your idea for passing loops (ideally at stations) makes sense. But there will still be bottlenecks in London so not sure what the overall benefit of that will be??? But point is I think more options need to be explored than is on the table.13 Nov 2014
Gents, if the experience of freight traffic on north London and London avoiding lines is anything to go by, it’s not simply an issue of track depth and overhead clearance but it is one of “train gauge” i.e, profile which is width, height, length and track overhang, particularly on bends. That is why only certain routes can take the largest shipping containers.
As it was once explained to me (back in 2008) that installing a simple pair of eight-car platforms cost in excess of £1M, you can quickly see just how seriously expensive track realignments soon become.13 Nov 2014