West Anglia Main Line - four tracking

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ChristopherJ

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It's discussed in several official documents but are there any firm plans for the West Anglia Main Line to be returned as a four track railway?

Two of the core problems associated with the line are;

1) too many trains on too little track
The line is heavily used by inner suburban services every 20 minutes, outer suburban services every 30 mins and Stansted Express services every 15 mins, plus occasional freight traffic to local receiving terminals en route - all operating on the same two tracks in and out of the capital. When a train departs London the first opportunity it has to pass another train is at Broxbourne; 17 miles away!

2) too many level crossings
Just within Greater London, the line crosses road networks at Northumberland Park, Brimsdown, Enfield Lock and Cheshunt of which all cross carriageways that are heavily used by road users to cross the Lea Valley - couple this with the amount of trains that pass as per statement 1) and the interface between road and rail is heavily congested. Stand at Enfield Lock at peak hour and the barriers go up and down like a whore's drawers as if there won't be any tomorrow. A majority of incidents on the West Anglia involve level crossing abuse - predominantly in the London suburbs at the aforementioned locations.

The line was once upon a time quadruple track north of Coppermill Junction - which evidence can easily still be seen in the permanent way - to reinstate four tracks would involve tremendous work because it would require remodeling of almost the entire infrastructure between London and the Home Counties.
 
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DVD

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There are no firm proposals and it wasn't mentioned in the recent High Level Output Statement for the 2012-19 Control Period [doesn't 'Control Period' make it sound like a Joe Stalin 5 year plan].

It would definitely free up capacity on the line and could really turn the Stanstead Express into some akin to the late Gatwick Express [RIP].

I'm not sure that the cost would be extortionate. The formation seems to provide ample room for 4 tracking with relatively little major demolition of structures.
 

jopsuk

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The ;evel crossings and the stations present the big problems- I think most of the bridges are plenty wide enough. Thing is, it really needs to be four track at last as far north as the junction for Hertford, the junction at Cheshunt could do with not being flat, and ideally there would be four tracks from Tottenham Hale to Hackney Downs. The section through Clapton is a true bottle neck; ideally the Cambridge/Stansted services would effectively have their own pair of express tracks at least as far as Broxbourne, with the various "locals" from Liverpool Street and Stratford to Enfield, Cheshunt, Chingford and Stortford more able to work in some sort of harmony with one another
 

kjhskj75

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There are 2 tunnels near Clapton, so quadrupling that is probably ruled out.

Trains get be sent via the Southbury Loop, and there is talk, post-Crossrail, of routing trains via Stratford into LivSt.
 

Mystic Force

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I spent a lot of time standing at the barriers at brimsdown and Enfield lock. Do you use the underpass or wait for the barrier. I think between stations along the line there is room for 4 tracks but you would have to move all the stations. It might be better to do the other route but I think there is embankment running, around turkey st which might make this a more expensive option although those stations might be easier to remodel.
 

barrykas

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I spent a lot of time standing at the barriers at brimsdown and Enfield lock. Do you use the underpass or wait for the barrier. I think between stations along the line there is room for 4 tracks but you would have to move all the stations. It might be better to do the other route but I think there is embankment running, around turkey st which might make this a more expensive option although those stations might be easier to remodel.
The Seven Sisters route is in cuttings, on embankments or on viaducts all the way from Hackney Downs through to Bury Street Junction, then again through Turkey Street and Theobalds Grove. And having been built as a two track railway, there simply isn't the land available to widen it.

Cheers,

Barry
 
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