Overground Barking - Clapham/Richmond - Are through services feasible?

Stadtbahn

Member
Joined
29 Jul 2021
Messages
23
Location
England
My current commute (West Hampstead - Crouch Hill) requires me to take both the North London line and the Goblin line with a change at Gospel Oak. On a personal level, changing at Gospel Oak is a slight inconvenience (particularly towards West Hampstead as it requires going up and down lots of stairs). It also seems that the single Goblin platform at Gospel Oak is preventing higher frequencies. However, my personal entitlement aside, it seems that this affects lots and lots of people. Now that trains are getting busier again, a full train load of people has to transfer through the way too small underpass (it seems that 99% of people arriving at Gospel Oak via the Goblin line transfer to the North London line westbound.

This leads me to my question: Would through trains from Barking onto the North London line be feasible? The track connection seems to exist and seems to be functioning, but does the capacity exist on the North London line? Is building a 4th platform at Gospel Oak feasible? Thought it might be an interesting discussion to have.

Although there are obviously bigger priorities and bigger worries for TfL right now, it would make the commute for thousands of people slightly easier.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

NorthKent1989

Established Member
Joined
13 May 2017
Messages
1,668
You must have been reading my mind this morning, I travel in the ELL and was looking at the Overground map wondering why there are no services to Clapham or Richmond from Barking, but I think it’s because the NLL and the Goblin are electrified differently (overhead for Goblin and third rail for NLL) but don’t quote me as I may be wrong.

It would be handy to have a Barking to Clapham/Richmond service though.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
79,417
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
You must have been reading my mind this morning, I travel in the ELL and was looking at the Overground map wondering why there are no services to Clapham or Richmond from Barking, but I think it’s because the NLL and the Goblin are electrified differently (overhead for Goblin and third rail for NLL) but don’t quote me as I may be wrong.

The NLL already is dual voltage, isn't it?
 

Stadtbahn

Member
Joined
29 Jul 2021
Messages
23
Location
England
You must have been reading my mind this morning, I travel in the ELL and was looking at the Overground map wondering why there are no services to Clapham or Richmond from Barking, but I think it’s because the NLL and the Goblin are electrified differently (overhead for Goblin and third rail for NLL) but don’t quote me as I may be wrong.

It would be handy to have a Barking to Clapham/Richmond service though.
I believe both are overhead at this point!
 

Chris Butler

Member
Joined
23 May 2010
Messages
238
My current commute (West Hampstead - Crouch Hill) requires me to take both the North London line and the Goblin line with a change at Gospel Oak. On a personal level, changing at Gospel Oak is a slight inconvenience (particularly towards West Hampstead as it requires going up and down lots of stairs). It also seems that the single Goblin platform at Gospel Oak is preventing higher frequencies. However, my personal entitlement aside, it seems that this affects lots and lots of people. Now that trains are getting busier again, a full train load of people has to transfer through the way too small underpass (it seems that 99% of people arriving at Gospel Oak via the Goblin line transfer to the North London line westbound.

This leads me to my question: Would through trains from Barking onto the North London line be feasible? The track connection seems to exist and seems to be functioning, but does the capacity exist on the North London line? Is building a 4th platform at Gospel Oak feasible? Thought it might be an interesting discussion to have.

Although there are obviously bigger priorities and bigger worries for TfL right now, it would make the commute for thousands of people slightly easier.

I assume that its the impact on the NLL's capacity by having the frequent service cross on the flat that is the killer.
 

DJS76

Member
Joined
15 Aug 2020
Messages
35
Location
London
The current GOBLIN platform isn't on a through route which would prevent trains from Barking through to Richmond calling at Gospel Oak. This was the case with the extra service that used to run through to Willesden Junction in peak hours
 

stuu

Member
Joined
2 Sep 2011
Messages
1,070
There isn't capacity on the NLL west of there, right now there are ~12 trains in each direction per hour, including freight (not all of which actually runs but it is timetabled). That's pretty much as many trains as can be run. Added to which another flat junction is not going to help timings either
 

Basil Jet

On Moderation
Joined
23 Apr 2022
Messages
332
Location
London
Is building a 4th platform at Gospel Oak feasible?

You would need two new platforms since neither of the through tracks has a platform and the terminus line can't be extended. I doubt a business case for two new platforms at Gospel Oak exists, and suspect that Hampstead Heath would become the new junction instead.

The NLL already is dual voltage, isn't it?

The trains are, most of the track is one or t'other. In particular both the Clapham and Richmond termini are third rail only, so I think the Goblin trains would need shoes fitted to reach either, but I doubt that's a showstopper.

I assume that its the impact on the NLL's capacity by having the frequent service cross on the flat that is the killer.
Given that the Circle Line has numerous flat junctions much busier with longer trains than either the NLL or the Goblin, I would be surprised if that were the issue. Freight paths are more likely to be the issue.
 

Stadtbahn

Member
Joined
29 Jul 2021
Messages
23
Location
England
You would need two new platforms since neither of the through tracks has a platform and the terminus line can't be extended. I doubt a business case for two new platforms at Gospel Oak exists, and suspect that Hampstead Heath would become the new junction instead.



The trains are, most of the track is one or t'other. In particular both the Clapham and Richmond termini are third rail only, so I think the Goblin trains would need shoes fitted to reach either, but I doubt that's a showstopper.


Given that the Circle Line has numerous flat junctions much busier with longer trains than either the NLL or the Goblin, I would be surprised if that were the issue. Freight paths are more likely to be the issue.
I completely forgot about freight, thanks for kicking my memory!
 

stuu

Member
Joined
2 Sep 2011
Messages
1,070
Given that the Circle Line has numerous flat junctions much busier with longer trains than either the NLL or the Goblin, I would be surprised if that were the issue. Freight paths are more likely to be the issue.
17-30m longer at most, which is pretty irrelevant compared to a 750m long container train, which run 3-6 times an hour each way along the NLL (in theory). Freight is the issue, both in terms of capacity and flat junctions
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
3,211
This would make sense in theory - but east of Gospel Oak NLL can't see a drop in frequency.

If Gospel Oak can't be rebuilt with additional platforms, one option is to skip it and terminate 'HHBLIN' at Hampstead Heath instead. Plenty of room for a bay - nicer station with wide platforms, accessible, close to many local attractions, Royal Free, Village, bus connections etc...

Another might be if it could get to at least Willesden Junction (possibly low level).
Works at Gospel Oak could merely faciliate another platform to turn more trains - with still two through lines, possibly. But not as huge a agin.
 

Stadtbahn

Member
Joined
29 Jul 2021
Messages
23
Location
England
This would make sense in theory - but east of Gospel Oak NLL can't see a drop in frequency.

If Gospel Oak can't be rebuilt with additional platforms, one option is to skip it and terminate 'HHBLIN' at Hampstead Heath instead. Plenty of room for a bay - nicer station with wide platforms, accessible, close to many local attractions, Royal Free, Village, bus connections etc...

Another might be if it could get to at least Willesden Junction (possibly low level).
Works at Gospel Oak could merely faciliate another platform to turn more trains - with still two through lines, possibly. But not as huge a agin.
Surely terminating at Hampstead Heath would make the situation 100 times worse as there would be no longer a connection to the NLL. As I mentioned above, it feels like 99% of the passengers on the western part of the Goblin use the line to connect to the westbound NLL at GO (not based on stats but I do that journey a few times a week). But I'd be interested to find out whether adding a 4th platform at GO could significantly increase frequency on the Goblin or whether it would be a marginal capacity increase.
 

stuu

Member
Joined
2 Sep 2011
Messages
1,070
Surely terminating at Hampstead Heath would make the situation 100 times worse as there would be no longer a connection to the NLL. As I mentioned above, it feels like 99% of the passengers on the western part of the Goblin use the line to connect to the westbound NLL at GO (not based on stats but I do that journey a few times a week). But I'd be interested to find out whether adding a 4th platform at GO could significantly increase frequency on the Goblin or whether it would be a marginal capacity increase.
Hampstead Heath is the next station on the NLL? I think there are bigger constraints than the single platform, if it were to get past 6 tph then it would start to be a problem
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
3,211
Surely terminating at Hampstead Heath would make the situation 100 times worse as there would be no longer a connection to the NLL. As I mentioned above, it feels like 99% of the passengers on the western part of the Goblin use the line to connect to the westbound NLL at GO (not based on stats but I do that journey a few times a week). But I'd be interested to find out whether adding a 4th platform at GO could significantly increase frequency on the Goblin or whether it would be a marginal capacity increase.

Did you mean eastbound (i.e. coming in from Goblin - change at GO - NLL towards Stratford?) - in that case, it would be a double-back yes, but I think those moves are rare.

Whereas westbound it would probably be better - one less stop (if GO is passed) and as I mentioned, a more suitable station as the interchange. A bay could work on either side, come to think of it. Lots of room. And eastbound - no change although maybe not cross-platform any more. But one side would be cross-platform in either scenario.

Dudding - yes, wouldn't it be great to thread into the West London Orbital plans.... but I can't see how it could happen around West Hampstead. Would need to use the freight lines from GOBLIN to the MML at Kentish Town and link to Dudding - doable but not with the NLL.
 

JonathanH

Veteran Member
Joined
29 May 2011
Messages
12,436
Funnily enough I had this thought today too.

Send it down towards the Midland Mainline to Dudding Hill and build a new station just south of Gospel Oak?
Not sure there would be any chance of that without the entire link being on a flyover over the Midland Mainline. Moreover, are there likely to be any relevant traffic flows?
 

Stadtbahn

Member
Joined
29 Jul 2021
Messages
23
Location
England
Did you mean eastbound (i.e. coming in from Goblin - change at GO - NLL towards Stratford?) - in that case, it would be a double-back yes, but I think those moves are rare.

Whereas westbound it would probably be better - one less stop (if GO is passed) and as I mentioned, a more suitable station as the interchange. A bay could work on either side, come to think of it. Lots of room. And eastbound - no change although maybe not cross-platform any more. But one side would be cross-platform in either scenario.

Dudding - yes, wouldn't it be great to thread into the West London Orbital plans.... but I can't see how it could happen around West Hampstead. Would need to use the freight lines from GOBLIN to the MML at Kentish Town and link to Dudding - doable but not with the NLL.
Ignore everything I said - I was thinking that HH is on the Goblin line (I kept picturing trains terminating at Upper Holloway), it's been a long day ;)
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
3,211
Not sure there would be any chance of that without the entire link being on a flyover over the Midland Mainline. Moreover, are there likely to be any relevant traffic flows?
Hmm - thinking on it as and end to end line:

Barking (Riverside) - through NE London - Blackhorse Road - Upper Holloway - West Hampstead (Thameslink) - Cricklewood - Neasden - OOC - Hounslow?

or so... I guess it is another NLL in part. Arguably a four-tracking! :) But ducking both above and below the existing line. Long way to OOC vs via Willesden I'm sure. Probably a mirror image of the GOBLIN in East London which is not wholly logical or useful, tbh.
 

Sad Sprinter

Member
Joined
5 Jun 2017
Messages
1,046
Location
Way on down South London town
Hmm - thinking on it as and end to end line:

Barking (Riverside) - through NE London - Blackhorse Road - Upper Holloway - West Hampstead (Thameslink) - Cricklewood - Neasden - OOC - Hounslow?

or so... I guess it is another NLL in part. Arguably a four-tracking! :) But ducking both above and below the existing line. Long way to OOC vs via Willesden I'm sure. Probably a mirror image of the GOBLIN in East London which is not wholly logical or useful, tbh.

I've wondered whether there'll be any gain in extending it back to Kentish Town and through Thameslink. Would relieve the Northern line around the Tufnell Park area but not provide much more new journey opportunities considering the Victoria Line will always be faster.
 

NorthKent1989

Established Member
Joined
13 May 2017
Messages
1,668
I might be misremembering but wasn’t there a plan in the early 1990s to electrify parts of the Goblin and restore the connection to Kentish Town so that Thameslink could run express trains to Stansted Airport by running from the MML to the Goblin then on to the West Anglia line.

Another thing I recall was that it was intended to run Overground trains from Clapham Jnc to Barking as an overlap service with the Richmond-Stratford service but that lack of electrification at the time meant that Clapham trains ended up running to Stratford anyway
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
3,211
I've wondered whether there'll be any gain in extending it back to Kentish Town and through Thameslink. Would relieve the Northern line around the Tufnell Park area but not provide much more new journey opportunities considering the Victoria Line will always be faster.
As in make GOBLIN a Thameslink line? It'd need to be at least 8 cars, for one thing. And doesn't really open much new up as you say. And trains/tubes/buses into Finsbury Park are already available for the railhead in that part of town. Moorgate is more appealing/useful now with Crossrail too.

Secondly, capacity is welcome on the north side's existing branches. 2tph out of Kings Cross need a home, and the classic MML route can always do with more frequency. The problem is terminating trains on the south side - or sending 8 car trains via East Croydon/Gatwick, which is seen as wasteful on paths. A few 8 car turnbacks in South London would remedy this, and increase the inner service. Sadly, there aren't many viable options.
 

leytongabriel

Member
Joined
27 Jan 2013
Messages
400
My pet speculative project is Goblin to Ealing Broadway via Willesden Junction. It's a real pain getting to Ealing from N / NW London even though it's not far. Know it's not on with the frieght situation. What if some NLL trains went via the Primrose Hill line to Willesden, giving Goblin trains pathways via Hampstead Heath? The highest demand on the NLL seems to be east of Camden Rd.

Seem to remember that when Goblin electrification was being pushed for there was a Tfl plan originally to run through Gospel Oak to Willesden Junction. Got dropped pretty quickly.
 

swt_passenger

Veteran Member
Joined
7 Apr 2010
Messages
28,343
My pet speculative project is Goblin to Ealing Broadway via Willesden Junction. It's a real pain getting to Ealing from N / NW London even though it's not far. Know it's not on with the frieght situation. What if some NLL trains went via the Primrose Hill line to Willesden, giving Goblin trains pathways via Hampstead Heath? The highest demand on the NLL seems to be east of Camden Rd.

Seem to remember that when Goblin electrification was being pushed for there was a Tfl plan originally to run through Gospel Oak to Willesden Junction. Got dropped pretty quickly.
I think before about 2010, wasn‘t the TfL plan to have some trains from Stratford terminating in a central bay platform at Camden Rd? Of course they eventually binned that idea and ran all peak trains all the way through.

Is it possible that the original plan for Camden Rd terminators was intended to keep some paths free on the NLL between Hampstead Heath and Willesden Jn?
 
Last edited:

Watershed

Established Member
Joined
26 Sep 2020
Messages
6,714
Location
UK
My pet speculative project is Goblin to Ealing Broadway via Willesden Junction. It's a real pain getting to Ealing from N / NW London even though it's not far. Know it's not on with the frieght situation. What if some NLL trains went via the Primrose Hill line to Willesden, giving Goblin trains pathways via Hampstead Heath? The highest demand on the NLL seems to be east of Camden Rd.

Seem to remember that when Goblin electrification was being pushed for there was a Tfl plan originally to run through Gospel Oak to Willesden Junction. Got dropped pretty quickly.
The issue is the lack of an interchange station. Once Old Oak Common is built, the situation should improve quite a bit - provided the Overground stations are also built (funding is currently unconfirmed AFAIK).
 

Dave W

Member
Joined
27 Sep 2019
Messages
368
Location
North London
I thought the extra through train to Willesden was canned because the Bay - fine for the 2 car 172 - couldn’t take a longer train, and there was no capacity for anything else.

I do sometimes wonder if it’s just be easier to just get rid of that third platform - capacity aside of course. That said I did loads of photting at GO in my early days in London and I have a real soft spot for it... so I insist we build a mega station with platforms on every conceivable alignment instead :D
 

JonathanH

Veteran Member
Joined
29 May 2011
Messages
12,436
I thought the extra through train to Willesden was canned because the Bay - fine for the 2 car 172 - couldn’t take a longer train, and there was no capacity for anything else.
The bay at Willesden has been able to take a 5-car unit for some time now.

The through train was canned when the Barking to Gospel Oak service went up to 4tph as it was originally in place as a 'crowd buster'.
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
3,211
Willesden Junction LL should be rebuilt as a two island outfit. Enables a potential GOBLIN option, or use for the Bakerloo to add frequency (and lessen QP turns) - or something else like more DC trains/ELL as various proposals have suggested over time.

Ealing to N London will be a dream of the NLL and/or WLL OOC stations are built. Not to mention Heathrow to NLL. And GWML/HS2/Crossrail to WLL/CJ. It would be such a well-used connection.
 

Kite159

Veteran Member
Joined
27 Jan 2014
Messages
16,646
Location
West of Andover
The bay at Willesden has been able to take a 5-car unit for some time now.

The through train was canned when the Barking to Gospel Oak service went up to 4tph as it was originally in place as a 'crowd buster'.
I'm sure that peak time extra was in the timetable even with 4tph, was more a crowd buster due to sheer overcrowding on the 2 coach 172s. Got axed when the 172s started moving away to the West Midlands and when the 4 coach units started running (as a 710 can hold a lot more passengers than the old 2 coach 172s)
 

Top