Beyond Mill Hill East

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TheoBald

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Evening all! I've been following these pages for some time but rarely post. I am interested in what I imagine will be a theoretical question - my apologies if it is inappropriate but my hope is that the expertise to be found on this forum will at least satisfy my curiosity and hopefully stimulate discussion.

I am a Saracens fan (the uninitiated should know that it is normal to boo at this statement). We have a nice new stadium in Barnet amidst several other sports clubs. When walking from my car to the stadium I noticed the remnants of an old railway. Some simple research showed it is the remains of the old Edgware, Highgate and London railway and but for the war could have become part of the Underground network.

As a hypothetical exercise what would be the cost of extending the Northern Line 1.8 km(?) to a new station near Page Street broadly along the old line in a cutting? And to locals or others in the know, what would be the typical midweek patronage? Finally, what hurdles would such an extension encounter? If those with any knowledge in this area could offer a rough breakdown of costs I'd be very grateful.

For starters I have

Land purchase, excavation, ballast etc, rails, fencing, bridges, short cut and cover, station with single platform, electricity supply, signaling, stock, running costs, maintenance; car parking issues, NIMBY, proximity to driving range, ...

And if all that is not enough, a future extension to Edgware!
 
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Bald Rick

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Evening all! I've been following these pages for some time but rarely post. I am interested in what I imagine will be a theoretical question - my apologies if it is inappropriate but my hope is that the expertise to be found on this forum will at least satisfy my curiosity and hopefully stimulate discussion.

I am a Saracens fan (the uninitiated should know that it is normal to boo at this statement). We have a nice new stadium in Barnet amidst several other sports clubs. When walking from my car to the stadium I noticed the remnants of an old railway. Some simple research showed it is the remains of the old Edgware, Highgate and London railway and but for the war could have become part of the Underground network.

As a hypothetical exercise what would be the cost of extending the Northern Line 1.8 km(?) to a new station near Page Street broadly along the old line in a cutting? And to locals or others in the know, what would be the typical midweek patronage? Finally, what hurdles would such an extension encounter? If those with any knowledge in this area could offer a rough breakdown of costs I'd be very grateful.

For starters I have

Land purchase, excavation, ballast etc, rails, fencing, bridges, short cut and cover, station with single platform, electricity supply, signaling, stock, running costs, maintenance; car parking issues, NIMBY, proximity to driving range, ...

And if all that is not enough, a future extension to Edgware!

Given where it is, you'd be lucky to get much change from £50m.
 

Tubeboy

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Soon after MHE. You have a house right on the old track bed! Would Saracens put any money towards your plan?
 

greatkingrat

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I think the branch would be too long to leave as single track if you wanted to maintain the current frequencies, so you would have to double the existing Mill Hill East branch.
 

JohnR

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I think the branch would be too long to leave as single track if you wanted to maintain the current frequencies, so you would have to double the existing Mill Hill East branch.

I believe the original layout had a loop at MHE - which I assume would be adequate.
 

TheoBald

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Soon after MHE. You have a house right on the old track bed! Would Saracens put any money towards your plan?

I think the house is just offline. The garden/communal area is where I felt there would be a need for the short cut and cover tunnel that I mentioned in my opening post.

I don't for one minute believe this to be a viable scheme - I simply hope to satisfy my curiosity and perhaps stimulate discussion with those interested. I'm sure Sarries would happily contribute, but confident their donation wouldn't make a significant dent in the total budget.

When first looking at this idea, several months ago, one of the avenues I explored was whether this could become part of a north London outer orbital route. I grew up before the M25 was opened and have always felt there to be a need for such a route, as the success of the M25 and Overground lines has demonstrsted. I quickly found the answer to be a resounding no!

Any more detailed cost breakdown anyone?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I think the branch would be too long to leave as single track if you wanted to maintain the current frequencies, so you would have to double the existing Mill Hill East branch.

Thanks for this. I thought that if the shuttle was restricted to a 15 minute schedule for the round trip (as I believe is the case for much of the day) then a single unit would cope. But I have no expertise in this area.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Bald Rick - thanks for your reply. I wrote a longer thank you that has somehow disappeared in the ether. Essentially I said wow! My guesstimate was £4.5-10m based solely on sums I had read on other threads.
 

Hadders

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I am a Saracens fan (the uninitiated should know that it is normal to boo at this statement).

Saints supporter here! No need to tell me when to boo.

In all seriousness your new ground is much better than that god awful Vicarage Road. The only issue is it's about the worst connected place in Greater London.

I travel by train to most away matches and it's just a bit too far to walk from Mill Hill Broadway or Mill Hill East. The shuttle buses are ok but you never know exactly when they're going to arrive and even then it's a fair walk to where they drop off to the stadium. I live in Stevenage and I've now started getting the train to New Barnet and then the 221 bus across which saves having to go into London and back out again.

It'd be great if your owners could find the cash to build an extension to the Northern Line. I'm sure it'd be a bit of loose change for them....

A 'proper' rugby club should have a railway station within walking distance ;)
 

kwrail

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Mutant Lemming

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It wouldn't be viable to spend the amount required just to extend to Copthall. There is insufficient traffic in the area to warrant it (a dozen rugby matches a year wouldn't qualify). It may be viable if it went through to Edgware but as well as a lot of it being built on the bridge under the M1, Midland mainline and surrounding area has been completely filled in and would take some serious money to re-instate. Incidentally (as part of the NIMBY element against the stadium development) how exactly did Saracens get away with a 10'000 seater stadium in a residential area when Barnet FC had their plans rejected with an average attendance of 2'000 ?
 

Hadders

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Rugby's not football!

In summary, Saracens had some large hoops to go through including:

Stadium available for community use outside the 16 rugby matches a year (they have a 4G pitch)
Comprehensive match day travel plan, including a large controlled parking zone
No Friday night matches allowed
 

TheoBald

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KW thank you for the links. Wiki had already taken me to the second but the first was new to me. The detail in the video was one of the factors that confirmed the non-viability of the whole scheme even after I had tried to convince myself that enough of the old route survives to enable a mix of cuttings and tunnels (bored or c&c) to make the link.

Mutant: I think Hadders has explained some of the hurdles that Sarries had to navigate in order to build their stadium. If you need convincing of the benefits this has brought I'd urge you to read of the work done and money raised by the Saracens Foundation. It is truly inspiring from work with autistic adults, young offenders at Felltham, cancer sufferers at local hospitals and much much more.

Hadders - even a Sinner can walk the 800m from the bus stop to stadium! And the shuttle busses depart every 5/6 minutes. You'll be pleased to know the path has been upgraded - new and wider surface, and new lights. Your cunning plan for Nigel to increase his small loan was noted!

Back on topic (and I know it's all hypothetical) can anyone point me to sources /advice on the costing of the short extension? Or costs that I have missed from my list?
 

Bald Rick

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You'll easily spend £5m just buying the property you need. Those terraced houses in the way are worth over £400k each, and there's 7 of them.

To look at the costs of building new tube lines on existing but dormant alignments, look at the Met line extension at Watford. Almost £300m for two miles (including three stations).

Things you missed:

Consents process (in this case, an Order made under the Transport and Work Act would be most likely), and all that goes with it; public consultations (at least two), documentation, legal fees, environmental reports, traffic reports, surveys, ground investigations.

Design, both outline (needed for consents process) and detail design including information management / document control systems.

Site compound

Logistics - ie moving all the material and people on / off site.

Environmental protection - which can be some distance away from the line itself. The principle of 'net gain' is employed now, ie when the project is complete, you leave the local environment in a better state (on average) than it was before you started.


Turning to construction (we haven't actually built any railway yet...)

Relocating utilities
Formation and drainage
Radio systems (voice, and signalling data, plus redundancy for both)
Plant - points machines, points heaters, power to them
Remote monitoring kit on all necessary infrastructure, particularly points and track circuits
Fixed telecomms to support the station and remote monitoring kit (plus redundancy)
Signage (operational)
Access points for maintenance / emergency response teams, to include obtaining the right of access across any third party's land.


Then, before services can start:

Testing documentation and plan
Entry into service documentation
Operation and maintenance manuals, including as built drawings
Complete testing and commissioning
Alternative transport provision for commissioning (as presumably MHE would be closed for a weekend).
Updates to all journey planners, fares info, back office systems written, tested, uploaded.
Media for launch.
Staff training (drivers, station team, maintenance team).
A modest celebration event. Tea, maybe one biscuit each.

Then, I think, we're good to go
 
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Mutant Lemming

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Rugby's not football!

In summary, Saracens had some large hoops to go through including:

Stadium available for community use outside the 16 rugby matches a year (they have a 4G pitch)
Comprehensive match day travel plan, including a large controlled parking zone
No Friday night matches allowed

Barnet FC offered that...

the large controlled parking zone that has had an adverse affect on local residents and businesses...

..still looks like a bias for an 'outsider' rugby team over a long established local football team to me. Influence in the council and all that... Are there masons on the Saracens board ?
 

Taunton

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You'll easily spend £5m just buying the property you need.
I think you've got one (if not two) zeroes missing here!

The principle of 'net gain' is employed now,
You've missed out Section 106 Agreements, which allow local authorities a second bite at the cherry of sticking their hands in a project's pocket and making off with significant cash to fund things completely unrelated but which appeal to the councillors on the planning committee, who are one of the multitude who can say yes/no to any plan. They have somehow been legally exempted in doing this from prosecution for blackmail.

I noticed also you've not provided any actual track or rolling stock, but of course that's all a minor element in the scheme of things :)
 

Hadders

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Barnet FC offered that...

the large controlled parking zone that has had an adverse affect on local residents and businesses...

..still looks like a bias for an 'outsider' rugby team over a long established local football team to me. Influence in the council and all that... Are there masons on the Saracens board ?

I've no idea how Saracens got their application through although their supporter message boards were full of it a few years back.

I'm no Saracens supporter but they're hardly outsiders - their historical home is Bramley Road which I believe is in the London Borough of Barnet.
 

TheoBald

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Bald Rick

Thank you for the list - very helpful and interesting to this amateur. I know I'm in danger of disagreeing with an expert, but I remain unconvinced at some of the detail of the costs/needs for "my" short extension. My guestimates were from extensive reading about the Portishead line and the Borders Railway amongst others. As far as I can tell a 1.8 km single track line would need no points and associated works. As I wrote above, my hope is that "gran's" house can be avoided by a cut and cover through the communal land (though you may be able to advise me that this would be too close). I don't see a complete terrace needing demolishing. In my world the rest of the line runs through council owned woods the required portion of which would be donated in return for the facility. My single basic platform (from the Severn Beach Line under the M5) would need no lifts and the station facilities would be minimalist! I do feel that development is too often hindered by an "all bells and whistles" approach, although this is probably not the place to discuss this. Nonetheless I can see that I've ignored a good deal.

Your biscuit comment (deliberate i assume)raised a smile - something that has gone down in Saracens folklore - thank you.
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Mutant Lemming

You are clearly upset that Sarries were granted planning permission and I have no wish to antagonise you. I'd offer the following further comments that may have supported their case. They are a local Barnet club - Bramley Road is less than 5 miles away. The athletics facilities have been upgraded free of charge (a declining club more than doubled its membership as a result) the pitch is made available free to hundreds of local schools and at low cost to dozens of other groups, dance classes are run for children and pensioners on site, coaching given free to in excess of a hundred local clubs/schools/disabled groups, a successful and free shuttle bus runs from 3 local stations and coaches from a range of other places ........ All for a maximum of 16 matches per year on Saturdays or Sundays.
 

Bald Rick

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I think you've got one (if not two) zeroes missing here!


You've missed out Section 106 Agreements, which allow local authorities a second bite at the cherry of sticking their hands in a project's pocket and making off with significant cash to fund things completely unrelated but which appeal to the councillors on the planning committee, who are one of the multitude who can say yes/no to any plan. They have somehow been legally exempted in doing this from prosecution for blackmail.

I noticed also you've not provided any actual track or rolling stock, but of course that's all a minor element in the scheme of things :)

You don't need section 106s if you get consent via a TWA.

I do remember building a new station in a certain London Borough were the borough were very keen for the new station, and not paying anything for it. We were building it using the 'normal' planning permission process, and the planning committee asked for a section 106 contribution for local transport improvements. We had to tell them that the new station was a local transport improvement, and if they didn't agree, we weren't building the station!


Theo Bald. We must be looking at different versions of google maps. If you look at the alignment of the existing track at the country end of Mill Hill East station, and try to join it with the former alignment at Sanders Lane (bridge required) it runs across approx 200 metres of open land with one building in the way, and another very close to being in the way. The first building has 4 homes in it. The second has 3. It is inconceivable that you could build a new railway that close to the second without requiring it to be taken in full.

In this instance, Cut and cover has the rather significant disadvantage of the 'cut' part, which requires everything on the land to be cut to be demolished first, plus a fair bit either side so that the retaining walls can be built. It is also very, very expensive, particularly for a short stretch where they are no economies of scale. The cut and cover tunnels on HS1 were rather expensive (I was there when they were being built), and they were mostly in the Kent Countryside rather than urban London. One of those in HS1 was in urban Ashford, and that was astronomically expensive. Finally, Also, I'm not quite sure how you would lose around 10-15 metres of height to get underground in about 50 metres of length!
 
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pitdiver

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I've no idea how Saracens got their application through although their supporter message boards were full of it a few years back.

I'm no Saracens supporter but they're hardly outsiders - their historical home is Bramley Road which I believe is in the London Borough of Barnet.

Just a point of correction, Bramley Rd is in fact in the London Borough Of Enfield. I know it well, used to go to the ground and drink in the bar.
 

Mikey C

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I've no idea how Saracens got their application through although their supporter message boards were full of it a few years back.

I'm no Saracens supporter but they're hardly outsiders - their historical home is Bramley Road which I believe is in the London Borough of Barnet.

My guess is that the council saw Saracens as a much more attractive proposition, a club at the top of Rugby (as proven this season) as opposed to a struggling lower league football team.

Within the Borough of Barnet, as opposed to the "Barnet" end of Barnet, I suspect there are far more Arsenal supporters anyway! Apart from anything else, their ground is actually nearer than Underhill was.
 

TheoBald

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Bald Rick - I think we're using the same image but perhaps I'm being an optimist, you the realist, albeit with a hint of exaggeration? I'm no more than someone with a long time interest in railways, particularly their engineering. I've learnt much of our proud history in giving the world railways but formed the opinion that in being first we have often been slow to adapt to technological developments - gradients and electrification being two obvious examples.

My thinking is that from the end of MHE platform to the corner of the first garden is approximately 160m. By increasing the curvature and diving at this point I had thought my cut and cover solution feasible. I had assumed that from rail to "ceiling" would be less than 3.5m, from there to ground level no more than 1m. Further I have seen mention of friction only (not cogged) Swiss railways with a 1 in 20 gradient which would provide nearly 8 m of decline. I had also assumed that the end of MHE was 2-3m on an embankment so that the new line would require a total fall of 6.5-7.5m.

An added bonus of course would be the energy saving boost for Westbound departures and the reduction in brake wear for Eastbound arrivals!

If you have the time I'd be grateful for your corrections - and even happier for an acknowledgement that my point (on the points) is correct for once!
 

Bald Rick

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Bald Rick - I think we're using the same image but perhaps I'm being an optimist, you the realist, albeit with a hint of exaggeration? I'm no more than someone with a long time interest in railways, particularly their engineering. I've learnt much of our proud history in giving the world railways but formed the opinion that in being first we have often been slow to adapt to technological developments - gradients and electrification being two obvious examples.

My thinking is that from the end of MHE platform to the corner of the first garden is approximately 160m. By increasing the curvature and diving at this point I had thought my cut and cover solution feasible. I had assumed that from rail to "ceiling" would be less than 3.5m, from there to ground level no more than 1m. Further I have seen mention of friction only (not cogged) Swiss railways with a 1 in 20 gradient which would provide nearly 8 m of decline. I had also assumed that the end of MHE was 2-3m on an embankment so that the new line would require a total fall of 6.5-7.5m.

An added bonus of course would be the energy saving boost for Westbound departures and the reduction in brake wear for Eastbound arrivals!

If you have the time I'd be grateful for your corrections - and even happier for an acknowledgement that my point (on the points) is correct for once!

You don't have to have points, if you're willing to reduce peak and off peak frequencies.

If you want to maintain frequencies, or possibly improve them to serve a stafium that throws out upwards of 10k people in 15 minutes, then you need either a loop at MHE or two platforms at the terminus. The extra running time and station dwell means you can't keep to current frequencies on an extended single line. This also means an extra train, which could be taken from elsewhere on the northern, or, more likely, bought.

The generally accepted maximum gradient on new railways outdoors (which get affected by rain and leaves) is 1:30. I had my big railway head on and thinking about OLE clearance; so if you were willing to build to tube gauge, then 3.5 metres above rail level is enough, and another metre above that, albeit tight, is probably enough. But you do have to allow transitions into and out of the the gradient, it can't just switch from level to 1:30 - the train would get air even at low speed. At the speeds and gradients we're looking at here, a transition of 50metres at each end of the gradient would be about enough (look at the south end of City Thameslink for evidence)

Re the curvature. If you tried to miss the property, speed would be restricted, probably to 10mph. Besides, it is would be sufficiently close that the owners would be entitled to sell the property if they wished, with additional compensation, so you'd end up buying it anyway. On top of that, you need space either side of the track for safe access, cabling and other kit, and also much more space to build it. Excavators etc don't normally come in tube gauge size; at least not for the scale of work required here.

In short; which ever way you try, you're buying those properties. Nevertheless, it would be much cheaper to do that than dig a tunnel.
 

Busaholic

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Is Mill Hill East not to TfL what the Greenford branch is to FGW and NR i.e. something they'd love to disappear and not get in the way of any of their grand plans?
If I am right in my supposition, any passenger projections will have to be a lot more robust than might otherwise be the case.
 

TheoBald

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Is Mill Hill East not to TfL what the Greenford branch is to FGW and NR i.e. something they'd love to disappear and not get in the way of any of their grand plans?
If I am right in my supposition, any passenger projections will have to be a lot more robust than might otherwise be the case.

My guess, and it is no more than that, is that you are correct. When I first looked up detail of the line hidden in the undergrowth and dared to dream of a Copthall station, one of the first pieces of information I found was that MHE is the least used station on the Northern Line. I also recall reading that the state of the viaduct is poor, which will not help the case.

Thanks to those who have contributed (especially Bald Rick). I think the killer card to my hypothetical line's chances is confirmation that a short cut and cover tunnel (my "solution" to threading a line through the gap) would fall foul of proximity regs (both noise and vibrations I assume).

I suspect the one thing we would all agree on is that even if the closures of lines was justifiable, far greater thought should have been given before allowing building to take place on the closed route. Now, about that outer "M25" circle line ....:D
 
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