SWML Strategic Study

kevin_roche

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I just found this document on the network rail website. https://www.networkrail.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/South-West-Main-Line-Strategic-Study.pdf

I have not had time to read it all yet but I thought others might be interested in it too. I think it might send me to sleep over the next few days. The title page says:

South West Main Line Strategic Study Phase 1 2021

And the executive summary starts:

This SWML Strategic Study – Phase One has been undertaken between April 2020 and March
2021 to refresh the Main Line strategy between Woking and Waterloo, which originally formed
part of the Wessex Route Study (2015). The study considers:

• The current capability of the network;
• Future passenger demand scenarios;
• A road map of interventions to increase capacity on the SWML to respond to future
demand.
 
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nlogax

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Lots of interesting proposals and options in there, including one that would require removal of the Nine Elms flyover. Will take a while to read, thank you for linking this.
 

swt_passenger

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The two key features no longer mentioned, compared to the last study, are Basingstoke grade separation, and the 5th track from Surbiton to Clapham Junction, (which was really there as an alternative of Crossrail 2 wasn’t going to happen).

On the other hand, Woking grade separation is still thought to be required.
 

kevin_roche

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The two key features no longer mentioned, compared to the last study, are Basingstoke grade separation, and the 5th track from Surbiton to Clapham Junction, (which was really there as an alternative of Crossrail 2 wasn’t going to happen).

On the other hand, Woking grade separation is still thought to be required.

In the introduction, it says this phase only covers Woking to Waterloo so presumably a later phase will consider Grade Separation at Basingstoke.

In fact on Page 5 in the recommendations it says:

Undertake a second phase of this SWML Strategic Study looking at the outer area to
identify where the additional future train services described in this first phase should
operate beyond Woking and whether the network could accommodate them. This second
phase will commence in April 2021.
 
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swt_passenger

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In the introduction, it says this phase only covers Woking to Waterloo so presumably a later phase will consider Grade Separation at Basingstoke.

In fact on Page 5 in the recommendations it says:
Ah right that makes sense. I just did a search on Basingstoke and it didn’t get much coverage.
 

cle

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This all makes sense, and Woking definitely sounds essential. I don't have tons of faith in Clapham Junction calling, but the line would be important. Could Queenstown Road be closed down entirely? It's not that well used, and the Northern line will open any day now, with Waterloo service (and direct to beyond). Might enable the works a little more easily. I can't see that the Nine Elms flyover is that needed any more.

Looking towards part two -
Would the Basingstoke works be with a view to enable more services to either terminate there, or perhaps to head up to Reading? I'd think Basingstoke would need more platforms. If Woking-Waterloo is saturated and the main topic of discussion here, I would think that a secondary set of services to add frequency might help. Especially to employment and connections in Reading. I'm assuming no CR2 here.
 

waverley47

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The main interventions seem obvious in this.

Minor point which definitley needs reiterating. The baseline graphs for passenger growth post covid show an interesting story. Max growth reaches pre pandemic levels next year and continues to grow, and median growth reaches pre pandemic levels in 2023/24, so interventions are definitely needed. The minimum growth scenario has deflated numbers until the early 2030s however, so I guess they'll be seeing how numbers recover before taking any big decisions.

Woking needs sorting simply to make timetabling easier. Interestingly there's a comment that this will not in and of itself allow for more paths, but given the main line timetable is still written with Woking as the main pinch point, it will make everyone's jobs a whole lot easier to just get it done. Expensive, but definitely possible. Unfortunately, we are still a decade after this was first mooted with nothing yet arisen, but here's hoping.

Queenstown road should probably be either everything stops or closed long term simply for timetabling, but medium term reopening platform 1 and shifting everything one line northwards is a good idea.

I agree the nine elms flyover should go, it's raison d'etre has entirely disappeared. Granted it's useful in extremis during engineering, but it's not like there are alternatives around south London. A shame that it lasted just over two decades, but life moves on.
 

nlogax

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I agree the nine elms flyover should go, it's raison d'etre has entirely disappeared. Granted it's useful in extremis during engineering, but it's not like there are alternatives around south London. A shame that it lasted just over two decades, but life moves on.

At this point it's twenty eight years old, though granted only thirteen years of actual regular usage.
 

waverley47

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At this point it's twenty eight years old, though granted only thirteen years of actual regular usage.

Jesus time moves fast, I thought it was more like 23 years.

When was the last time anything ran over it out of interest. I saw some plans for diversions during the Victoria resignalling but I'm not sure if that ever happened
 

zwk500

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What would go in place of Nine Elms flyover?
Another track.

Jesus time moves fast, I thought it was more like 23 years.

When was the last time anything ran over it out of interest. I saw some plans for diversions during the Victoria resignalling but I'm not sure if that ever happened
Last time I knew of was for the London Bridge rebuild in 2018. EDIT: It gets used by charters occasionally, there was a regular service over it in 2019.
 

cle

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It's a shame, but it's not like there is capacity to send additional trains from Herne/Denmark Hill into Waterloo. In theory, that would be a real purpose. But there's no space anywhere! The odd diversion and charter, not worth keeping it.
 

Horizon22

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Yes it only saw TOC usage recently for a handful of Southeastern services in Dec '17 / Jan '18 and even then it was only very few trains. It's original purpose is now defunct and it is a moderately easy piece of work for a considerable gain.
 

swt_passenger

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Jesus time moves fast, I thought it was more like 23 years.

When was the last time anything ran over it out of interest. I saw some plans for diversions during the Victoria resignalling but I'm not sure if that ever happened
Only a few days ago. 17th July 5Q20. They‘ve been using it as the usual route to move 707s to Southeastern. Of course there are a number of other different options, but that’s what they usually seem to prefer…
 

hwl

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Woking needs sorting simply to make timetabling easier. Interestingly there's a comment that this will not in and of itself allow for more paths, but given the main line timetable is still written with Woking as the main pinch point, it will make everyone's jobs a whole lot easier to just get it done. Expensive, but definitely possible. Unfortunately, we are still a decade after this was first mooted with nothing yet arisen, but here's hoping.
Best part of century, grade separation was on LSWR to do list and they were working out from London.
Queenstown road should probably be either everything stops or closed long term simply for timetabling, but medium term reopening platform 1 and shifting everything one line northwards is a good idea.

I agree the nine elms flyover should go, it's raison d'etre has entirely disappeared. Granted it's useful in extremis during engineering, but it's not like there are alternatives around south London. A shame that it lasted just over two decades, but life moves on.
The main issue isn't Queenstown Road station but the "temporary" props but under the eastern most (the original) 3 track LBSCR bridge that use up 2+ track beds on the SWML.

The alignment has previously had 10 track beds and could easily take 9 if the LBSCR bridge is sorted and just the ramp of the flyover goes.

There is spare track bed between the northern 2 most tracks (P1 & P2) through the station.

The Flyover was EU funded so we have to repay the funding if it is demolished before a certain date (I can't remember which year of the top of my head)

An old post on the subject:

 

randompixel

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The Victoria Arch project is ploughing on at Woking.

Victoria Arch widening and replacement bridge works​

Rebuilding the bridge will provide an opportunity for Network Rail to renew the railway infrastructure in Woking, allowing more reliable services for passengers for decades to come. The scheme will also improve the efficiency of freight services in the area by removing unused dedicated freight tracks.

We have been working with Surrey County Council and Network Rail since 2017. At present, there are three feasible options being consider including factors such as requirement, the project’s scheduling, cost and engineering feasibility. These options will be moved to the next phase where they will be developed to a point where one can be selected for detailed design and delivery.

The next phase of the works will focus on the detailed design of the preferred bridge option and the start of the procurement process.

Works are anticipated to start in winter 2021/2022 and expected to conclude in early 2024.

I'd like to hope they could integrate any reconfiguring work (6th platform was on the agenda before too?) at a similar time they're demolishing and rebuilding the bridge.
 

Meerkat

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The Victoria Arch project is ploughing on at Woking.



I'd like to hope they could integrate any reconfiguring work (6th platform was on the agenda before too?) at a similar time they're demolishing and rebuilding the bridge.
Last time i counted there were 11 tracks over the bridge, including a few barely used ones, so pretty easy to not block the flyover and 6th platform even if they just directly replace it!
 

thecouncillor

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The idea of using the DWS for a fair few Main Line trains that then go over the flyover and join the DMF near Clapham Junction sounds the absolute most sensible. Especially if they want to achieve 30tph. A contraflow system at Clapham is also sensible, so that all trains in the up direction in high peak can stop, and all down trains in the high peak can stop away from London.

Not sure what it does for the Windsor lines, but it would seem to me that the smartest methodology (?) is actually to redraw those. If most are using Waterloo International, and one or two are using Platform 18 and 19, surely it speaks to a limited use of the WREV and DWS at high peak for a couple of trains in each direction; but mostly using UWF and DWF. If this is the case, I'm assuming no more than 20tph reliably pathed into / out of Waterloo. If that's all that could realistically be needed, then fantastic.
 

30907

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A contraflow system at Clapham is also sensible, so that all trains in the up direction in high peak can stop, and all down trains in the high peak can stop away from London.
The report points out that this (and even more so the 4-platform option) would require major reconstruction. I would guess this would take oit a fair bit of Clapham Yard, the implications being obvious.
 

Dunfanaghy Rd

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I see that there is a proposal to convert Woking Down bay into a through road. I assume this is the kiss of death to the Art Deco building - a shame.
As a freighty my involvement at Woking was mostly to run round ballast trains at weekends. Due to the position of the junction in relation to the yards this was (does this still happen?) a monumental pain - ask any Woking signaller. I could never understand why someone didn't push for re-opening the Virginia Water Curve, to give a straight run between Eastleigh and work sites, via Reading (assuming that the Broad Gauge Mob could keep a route open). If that happened then there is no need for much of the Down Yard (just keep some near Day's terminal), which eases the Platform 6 / Victoria Arch job.
The Treasury (surprise!) forced BR to sell the flyover site (I was on the PW then; my guvnor was mad as wet hen about it.)
Pat
 

thecouncillor

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The report points out that this (and even more so the 4-platform option) would require major reconstruction. I would guess this would take oit a fair bit of Clapham Yard, the implications being obvious.

However arguably it is only the reception and washer section, not the stabling points. With Feltham Yard, Strawberry Hill and such it wouldn’t be a disaster, especially if ECS was simultaneously fed to Wimbledon via East Putney after morning peak and could be fed directly onto the Up Fast in the evenings to get back.
 

swt_passenger

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I see that there is a proposal to convert Woking Down bay into a through road. I assume this is the kiss of death to the Art Deco building - a shame.
I think converting Woking down bay has been part of the Woking flyover proposal for quite a while, it’s mentioned in the 2015 route study.

Isn’t the idea is it becomes the normal platform for down Portsmouth bound services but also the stoppers which will reverse in a turnback beyond the station and return over the flyover, so no longer using P3?
 

The Ham

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I think converting Woking down bay has been part of the Woking flyover proposal for quite a while, it’s mentioned in the 2015 route study.

Isn’t the idea is it becomes the normal platform for down Portsmouth bound services but also the stoppers which will reverse in a turnback beyond the station and return over the flyover, so no longer using P3?

I believe that was the plan, although there's probably other options which it could be used for, for instance using platform 4 for up trains during the morning peak and down trains in the evening peak

That would mean that there's 3 platforms which could be used so that trains could (in theory) approach Woking closer together, or at least mean a slight delay at the platform on one service has less of an impact on following services.
 

kevin_roche

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There is a good summary of the situation on the Ian Visits website.

Anyone who has squashed onto a train heading to Waterloo in the morning knows that the line is packed, and a report from Network Rail has looked at what can be done to improve things, in the short term, and up to 2050.

 
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There is a good summary of the situation on the Ian Visits website.

Thank you for that link. What is made abundantly clear is that Crossrail 2 is no longer a London-centric project. It is now a scheme designed primarily to benefit long distance commuters from Surrey and Hampshire (and also from Hertfordshire) As such, there is no good reason why Londoners should made a large financial contribution to this project in the way they did to Crossrail 1. I hope but doubt that the Mayor will make this point clear to both the DfT and the Treasury.
 

kevin_roche

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Thank you for that link. What is made abundantly clear is that Crossrail 2 is no longer a London-centric project. It is now a scheme designed primarily to benefit long distance commuters from Surrey and Hampshire (and also from Hertfordshire) As such, there is no good reason why Londoners should made a large financial contribution to this project in the way they did to Crossrail 1. I hope but doubt that the Mayor will make this point clear to both the DfT and the Treasury.
I wrote to my MP, (Maria Miller MP for Basingstoke) over a year ago asking for her to support Crossrail 2. Got a disappointing reply.

I hope that this report and Phase 2 will be considered properly, but I doubt it. You are right that Ian's summary makes the issues clear.
 

Bald Rick

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Thank you for that link. What is made abundantly clear is that Crossrail 2 is no longer a London-centric project. It is now a scheme designed primarily to benefit long distance commuters from Surrey and Hampshire (and also from Hertfordshire) As such, there is no good reason why Londoners should made a large financial contribution to this project in the way they did to Crossrail 1. I hope but doubt that the Mayor will make this point clear to both the DfT and the Treasury.

Crossrail 2 is very much a London centric project, which also benefits Surrey, Hampshire, Hertfordshire (+ Essex and Cambridgeshire).

This has always been the case, and TfL, Mayor, DfT and Treasury are very much aware of the fact. Hence the proposed 50:50 split of funding.
 

swt_passenger

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Crossrail 2 is very much a London centric project, which also benefits Surrey, Hampshire, Hertfordshire (+ Essex and Cambridgeshire).

This has always been the case, and TfL, Mayor, DfT and Treasury are very much aware of the fact. Hence the proposed 50:50 split of funding.
Do you know why they seem to have dropped the 2015 study’s reversible 5th track from Surbiton to Waterloo, which was explained as the fallback project if Crossrail 2 got seriously delayed?
 

Bald Rick

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Do you know why they seem to have dropped the 2015 study’s reversible 5th track from Surbiton to Waterloo, which was explained as the fallback project if Crossrail 2 got seriously delayed?

The 5th track was never investigated in any detail. It’s actually easier, cheaper (and much less disruptive) to build 6.
 

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