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

Sad Sprinter

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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.
Hence why I find it so baffling OOC wasn't built as an initial LO/Crossrail interchange before HS2 comes along.
 
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Railwaysceptic

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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.

You exaggerate. About 85% of passengers alight from the GOBLIN and change to the west-bound Richmond or Clapham Junction trains. About 5% change to the east-bound trains and 10% leave the station.

The track connection does exist and is used several times a day in each direction by freight trains.

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

This major change to the GOBLIN service would undoubtedly incorporate a revised track layout at Gospel Oak including a reshaped platform.

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

Any scheme to extend GOBLIN trains onto the North London Line (NLL) would also involve sending some NLL trains via Primrose Hill to Willesden Junction low-level instead of Clapham Junction or Richmond.

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.

Hampstead Heath would be the "junction" for east-bound passengers changing to the GOBLIN. No need for any new platforms.

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?

I've been advocating such a flyover for decades! However, Bald Rick has explained in the past that electrifying between the MML and GOBLIN is extremely difficult.

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.

An interesting idea. Two points: 1) The trains should terminate in the bay platform at Hayes & Harlington instead of Ealing Broadway. 2) Although NLL trains are most heavily used east of Camden Road, at peak periods they are also full and standing east of Willesden Junction. Regular passengers will complain if the service is thinned-out.
 
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PeterC

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There are so many connections around London ready to be coloured in with some nice shiny crayons. Much as I would love to see passenger trains on them all I know that capacity constrains mean that high frequency routes with good interchanges are the way to go
 

swt_passenger

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There are so many connections around London ready to be coloured in with some nice shiny crayons. Much as I would love to see passenger trains on them all I know that capacity constrains mean that high frequency routes with good interchanges are the way to go
Interesting to see suggestions above that trains from the NLL might reach the GW reliefs. If they came through Acton Yard they’d even be grade separated, which would likely be essential - but is there any line capacity through there and then further down the reliefs?

But even if there were line capacity, for the least impact terminating trains would really need to be held at a central platform, and I think this would rule out Hayes & Harrington or Ealing Broadway. Maybe West Drayton‘s revised layout would come in handy…
 

Sad Sprinter

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Interesting to see suggestions above that trains from the NLL might reach the GW reliefs. If they came through Acton Yard they’d even be grade separated, which would likely be essential - but is there any line capacity through there and then further down the reliefs?

But even if there were line capacity, for the least impact terminating trains would really need to be held at a central platform, and I think this would rule out Hayes & Harrington or Ealing Broadway. Maybe West Drayton‘s revised layout would come in handy…

Greenford Branch?
 

swt_passenger

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Greenford Branch?
Through running on/off the Greenford branch was already permanently removed as a prerequisite for the existing service pattern, as it’s a conflicting flat crossing for down trains. It’s not going to come back anytime.
 

Railwaysceptic

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Interesting to see suggestions above that trains from the NLL might reach the GW reliefs. If they came through Acton Yard they’d even be grade separated, which would likely be essential - but is there any line capacity through there and then further down the reliefs?
Probably not, but while we've got our crayons out, why not terminate the trains at Acton Main Line by converting the Up Relief platform there into an island, replicating the current situation at Gospel Oak?
 

Basil Jet

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Probably not, but while we've got our crayons out, why not terminate the trains at Acton Main Line by converting the Up Relief platform there into an island, replicating the current situation at Gospel Oak?
Wouldn't it make more sense to terminate them at (some location around) Old Oak Common instead?
 

PTR 444

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Putting a slight spin on this idea. If half of the NLL services west of Gospel Oak (either from Richmond or Clapham Junction) were merged with the GOBLIN, could the Watford DC Line be diverted away from Euston to serve Stratford via the Primrose Hill Line instead? This would retain 8tph east of Camden Road and the only station to lose half its frequency would be Kentish Town West.
 

Lewlew

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Putting a slight spin on this idea. If half of the NLL services west of Gospel Oak (either from Richmond or Clapham Junction) were merged with the GOBLIN, could the Watford DC Line be diverted away from Euston to serve Stratford via the Primrose Hill Line instead? This would retain 8tph east of Camden Road and the only station to lose half its frequency would be Kentish Town West.
No thanks! Overground in/out of Euston are often full and is a very useful link.
 

Watershed

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Putting a slight spin on this idea. If half of the NLL services west of Gospel Oak (either from Richmond or Clapham Junction) were merged with the GOBLIN, could the Watford DC Line be diverted away from Euston to serve Stratford via the Primrose Hill Line instead? This would retain 8tph east of Camden Road and the only station to lose half its frequency would be Kentish Town West.
I am sure those travelling to/from Euston would be delighted with your proposal! :s

In all seriousness, I think there is an arguable case for diverting some of the DC line services via Primrose Hill, say half to Euston and half along the NLL. But that would still cause the frequency between South Hampstead etc. and Euston to be very low for central London.
 

cle

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How about adding service rather than diverting?

Willesden low level - 2-4tph to Stratford via QP - done.
 

Railwaysceptic

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Wouldn't it make more sense to terminate them at (some location around) Old Oak Common instead?
How would you do that? Building a new station at Acton Wells Junction is a total non-starter. A new station on the West London Line would require huge land take, be very, very expensive and in operation would involve a long walk when changing trains.

In my opinion what should have been investigated when Old Oak Common station was first mooted was making the station two tier and taking the Wycombe Lines (New North Lines) up to OOC high level and continuing to Willesden Junction. If practicable, that would have killed several birds with one stone.
 

ShadowKnight

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Perhaps diverting the line from gospel oak to the MML to say Brent cross Thameslink or the west London orbital may be a more useful through route. Changing the main interchange between the nnl and goblin to west Hampstead
 

cle

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How would you do that? Building a new station at Acton Wells Junction is a total non-starter. A new station on the West London Line would require huge land take, be very, very expensive and in operation would involve a long walk when changing trains.

In my opinion what should have been investigated when Old Oak Common station was first mooted was making the station two tier and taking the Wycombe Lines (New North Lines) up to OOC high level and continuing to Willesden Junction. If practicable, that would have killed several birds with one stone.
Acton Wells was the site of the proposed NLL station for OOC - I wouldn't quite go as far as non-starter. But unfunded sadly.

It would also incorporate the future West London Orbital, if that ever happened - guessing a four track and platform sitch there would be the ideal scenario - that would be a massive job - so I expect it would be 2 or 3, if ever.
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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Currently its 6tph peak Stratford Clapham Jct/6tph peak Stratford Richmond on the NLL. I guess you could alter it so that it was:

4tph Stratford Clapham Jct
4tph Stratford Richmond
4tph Stratford Gospel Oak thru platforms (to maintain service level in the East)
2tph Barking Clapham Jct (not calling Gospel Oak)
2tph Barking Richmond (not calling Gospel Oak)
and had you more stock, possibly an extra 2tph Barking Gospel Oak bay to improve the GOBLIN from every 15 to 10 mins.

Which would maintain the same 12tph Stratford - Clapham/Richmond but enable the through services. Pie in the sky though. And you'd need a reversible track at Gospel Oak.
 
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Railwaysceptic

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Acton Wells was the site of the proposed NLL station for OOC - I wouldn't quite go as far as non-starter. But unfunded sadly.

It would also incorporate the future West London Orbital, if that ever happened - guessing a four track and platform sitch there would be the ideal scenario - that would be a massive job - so I expect it would be 2 or 3, if ever.
I didn't know that. I'm not surprised the idea is unfunded! It would indeed be a massive project: I'd reckon 4 tracks plus platforms in addition to the current two tracks. And it's above ground level!

Currently its 4tph Stratford Clapham Jct/4tph Stratford Richmond on the NLL. I guess you could alter it so that it was:

4tph Stratford Clapham Jct
4tph Stratford Richmond
4tph Stratford Gospel Oak thru platforms (to maintain service level in the East)
2tph Barking Clapham Jct (not calling Gospel Oak)
2tph Barking Richmond (not calling Gospel Oak)
and had you more stock, possibly an extra 2tph Barking Gospel Oak bay to improve the GOBLIN from every 15 to 10 mins.

Which would maintain the same 12tph Stratford - Clapham/Richmond but enable the through services. Pie in the sky though. And you'd need a reversible track at Gospel Oak.
The North London Line (NLL) does not have the capacity for all these additional services. Remember: one of the "benefits" of HS2 is that we're going to perpetuate the shortage of NLL capacity because of freight trains using it to access the liberated West Coast Main Line.
 

Wolfie

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Currently its 4tph Stratford Clapham Jct/4tph Stratford Richmond on the NLL. I guess you could alter it so that it was:

4tph Stratford Clapham Jct
4tph Stratford Richmond
4tph Stratford Gospel Oak thru platforms (to maintain service level in the East)
2tph Barking Clapham Jct (not calling Gospel Oak)
2tph Barking Richmond (not calling Gospel Oak)
and had you more stock, possibly an extra 2tph Barking Gospel Oak bay to improve the GOBLIN from every 15 to 10 mins.

Which would maintain the same 12tph Stratford - Clapham/Richmond but enable the through services. Pie in the sky though. And you'd need a reversible track at Gospel Oak.
Huh, you state in one place that the current service is 12tph but at the start show only 8 - l'm confused.
 

swt_passenger

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Huh, you state in one place that the current service is 12tph but at the start show only 8 - l'm confused.
So am I - I‘m sure I saw a 5 tph peak service on each western leg when I glanced at the timetable a couple of weeks ago…
 

SynthD

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The North London Line (NLL) does not have the capacity for all these additional services. Remember: one of the "benefits" of HS2 is that we're going to perpetuate the shortage of NLL capacity because of freight trains using it to access the liberated West Coast Main Line.
Would the freight access the WCML via the goblin, meaning the WLL between Gospel Oak and Willesden can’t take the proposals here?

That’s one reason why I’m interested in the idea above of extending the Camden-Stratford through Primrose Hill to OOC.
 

87015

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Would the freight access the WCML via the goblin, meaning the WLL between Gospel Oak and Willesden can’t take the proposals here?

That’s one reason why I’m interested in the idea above of extending the Camden-Stratford through Primrose Hill to OOC.
You can't put passenger via Primrose Hill as its required for regulating freight on/off WCML, let alone the fact paths on DC only exist on Sundays.
 

swt_passenger

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You can't put passenger via Primrose Hill as its required for regulating freight on/off WCML, let alone the fact paths on DC only exist on Sundays.
Isn’t there another major problem, that once through Primrose Hill you can’t get from either the DC lines or the WCML slows back onto a through route to OOC?
 

87015

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Isn’t there another major problem, that once through Primrose Hill you can’t get from either the DC lines or the WCML slows back onto a through route to OOC?
Missed that bit, I'm sure a weave Slows to Acton Wells over a single crossover of the entire WCML will be equally amusing to see. Hope the drag engine is interesting too until they wire SW Sdgs, I vote for 56s.
 

cle

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Isn’t there another major problem, that once through Primrose Hill you can’t get from either the DC lines or the WCML slows back onto a through route to OOC?
I think the idea would be for additional services for the eastern end, to compensate a loss of Stratford frequencies, if others were sent through to Clapham/Richmond. Willesden LL seems to easiest place to turn these, vs getting them over to OOC.

With the note someone made of only Kentish Town West being the loser.
 

alf

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You can't put passenger via Primrose Hill as its required for regulating freight on/off WCML, let alone the fact paths on DC only exist on Sundays.

They did run passenger trains via Primrose Hill for 120 years
until about 1990. There were more inter regional slow freight
Trains sharing the double track then too.
 
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JonathanH

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What about sharing the TfL Underground bay platforms at Ealing Broadway?
There are two Central line platforms used intensively. The lesser used District Line platforms are somewhat more inaccessible given they branch off almost immediately and are the other side of the Central Line.

It would be an interesting piece of civil engineering to run a single line along the north side of the GWML from Acton, over the Central line and join the District line at the point where the lines split for Ealing Broadway and Rayners Lane.

A remodelling of Ealing Broadway might be another idea with the Central Line operation shifted north by one platform and the released platform being made available for a National Rail bay.
 
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PeterC

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You can't put passenger via Primrose Hill as its required for regulating freight on/off WCML, let alone the fact paths on DC only exist on Sundays.
Freight trains waiting for a path onto the NLL are a regular sight if you look to the west at Camden Road.

The only way to squeeze significantly more passenger capacity out of those lines is to remove the freight.
 

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