Why are we not building new underground lines?

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Hetlana, 11 Oct 2018 at 03:15.

  1. Wtloild

    Wtloild Member

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    I'm going to be working at various locations in the Black Country over the next few months.
    Thought I might stay in Brum and travel out and about by train, but was quite shocked to see how badly served that area is by rail.
    No wonder it's a congestion black-spot.
     
  2. fowler9

    fowler9 Established Member

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    The question at the start isn't "why aren't we building more tube lines in London".
     
  3. cuccir

    cuccir Established Member

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    The descent of the debate into petty regional stereotypes is silly. A national economy is a system. Take out any part of it, whether it's London's financial services, universities, creatives industries, or Cumbria's energy generation, nuclear submarines, food prodcution, and the whole thing collapses. And we've strayed into political stereotypes too, at which point it's always worth noting that more people voted leave in London than the margin between leave/remain.

    Back on topic - I'd always heard that one limitation to London's underground network was the chalk soils and stone South of the Thames. Is that still the case with modern engineering??
     
  4. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Outside of the largest cites ( and inside most of those!) to suggest that this kind of infrastructure is required is also silly
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 12 Oct 2018 at 10:21
  5. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Member

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    Not really I believe these days. The Bakerloo heading South to Lewisham is welcome, but not found of it taking over the Hayes line (it's one of my local lines). The thing about South London is that there really isn't many places new tube lines are needed. People keep calling for them without actually suggesting an alignment that isn't duplicating railway lines or just wouldn't be busy enough. Other than the proposed Bakerloo along the Old Kent Road corridor, Northern to Clapham Junction, and I think my earlier suggestion to Croydon there really isn't much worth doing. The H&C through Barking Riverside to Abbey Wood was a proposal I liked.

    It's better to improve the rail network, sorting out bottlenecks and better frequencies on Sundays.

    Edit: Reopening Camberwell/Walworth Thameslink would be great for the area. The ELL isn't sustainable for much longer at peaks, it's hell and is one of the reasons I still advocate for Thameslink along the slows on the Sydenham Corridor. South London also needs more tram lines and Crossrail 2. Get Crossrail 1 to Staines while they're at it.
     
  6. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I would like to see Clapham Junction connected to the tube network.
     
  7. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    No it isn’t really a modern limitation. The main reason they didn’t build many tube lines in south London during the early years is that they already had a relatively well developed railway system running on the surface. Also, the 3 railway companies concentrated far more on the local passenger market than the long distance companies north of London.
     
  8. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Member

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    Would be great, but not before XR2 some have said; wouldn't be able to handle the load apparently. Not very convinced by that argument but hey ho.
     
  9. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    lets just hollow out a massive cavern under Clapahm junction and put both in ;)
     
  10. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    The station cannot easily cope with existing interchange flows. It’s fairly easy to assume it would be overwhelmed by people changing there who would previously have changed at Waterloo or Victoria, or both...
     
  11. furnessvale

    furnessvale Established Member

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    Some years ago Birmingham promoted itself as the motor capital of the UK and turned its back on rail, preferring to build roads.

    It is now belatedly playing catch up with a long way to go.
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    No more ideas in this thread please! If anyone wishes to post an idea, post it in the Speculative Ideas section of the forum. Feel free to post a link here if you think it's related/relevant.

    Also can we please end the ludicrous north vs south arguments; the argument has been done to death in other threads many times, we don't want to hear it again.

    And if you see something of concern, click the report button and do not refer to it. It creates more work for us if we have to delete posts which are themselves re-publishing or referring to the problematic content.

    Please stick to the topic and bear in mind this is in the infrastructure section of the forum.

    Thanks!
     
  13. Sad Sprinter

    Sad Sprinter Member

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    The reason why we don't build underground lines anymore in London is because we made it incredibly difficult to do so.

    In the Edwardian period, there were a few plans for lines that were never built and their respective corridors are still tubeless to this day. These include the "Morgan Line" or AKA the "Chelsea to Hackney Line" or AKA Crossrail 2, and the North East and City Railway-another Morgan plan, that would have ran from Hammersmith, under Kensington Gore and Fleet Street, then turning north at Bank towards Southgate. There were coutnless other perspective tube railways that were never built, mainly because of shaky private finances, Parliamentary and local council difficult attitudes, wayleaves and problems with other private railway companies.

    Between the Edwardian period and the Second World War, the policy was to extend tube lines rather than build new ones. This was because there was more a pressing need to serve London's growing suburbs rather than build new lines themselves. Before WW2, LT had plans to quadruple the Central and Northern Lines, as well as to build a new express tunnel for the Bakerloo Line which would have ran from Baker Streen to Green Park.

    Now if WW2 didn't happen, we would probably see larger, more complicated Piccadilly, Northern, Central and Bakerloo Lines by the 1950s or 60s, assuming another world war didn't happen that would give the same post-war affects on the economy and planning like WW2 did. After that, it hard to say what LT would have done in the second half of the 20th century without WW2. The London Ports would still have declined and the Isle of Dogs would still need regenerating, so a tube out east would still be needed at some point.

    But seeing as WW2 did happen, LT had plans after the war as you probably know to build a series of tube lines as laid out in the 1949 Working Party plan. The corridors for the Victoria and Jubilee Lines were initally meant to be Crossrail type lines if I am correct in thinking. However, even though the Victoria Line was built, and so was half the Fleet Line, the state of the economy, political will and the change of focus to providing transport to the Doclands would slow down post-war tube building. The Chelsea to Hackney Line was to be constructed after the Fleet Line and would have ran on a Victoria-Milbank-Waterloo-Aldwych-Holborn-Farringdon axis, taking over the Aldwych branch of the Picc. If all went to plan, this line would probably have commenced construction in the late 70s/early 80s, completed by the latet 80s probably and would have been the latest tube line built from scratch.

    The trouble was in the late 80s, railway building suddenly took off. The government was focused on building the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Crossrail and the Waterloo and Greenwich Railway-the precursor to the JLE. They didn't even have enough money to fund Thameslink 2000 in the early 90s, coupled with the economic downturn at the time. LT wanted Crossrail and the Chelsea to Hackney Line built together to offer maximum capacity relief, however the cancellation of Crossrail in 1994 led to the Chelsea to Hackney Line being delayed. It then went through a series of iterations until the present day; in 1995 it was proposed the Chenley would be an "express metro" type line with mainline trains. Then in the early 2000s it was a tube line again (although on some early 2000s Crossrail maps it is lsited as Crossrail 2), then in the early 2010s, it became offically a Crossrail.

    So you can say, the reason why we haven't built any tube lines lately is because we've been dithering since the 70s on building the third post-war tube line.
     
  14. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Are we actually taking longer to build new lines that run underground through parts of London compared to other countries or is it just that people see it as being the case when it isn't?
     
  15. Railguy1

    Railguy1 Member

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    When everyone keeps saying "there is no space underground", do they actually mean "at the level that makes economic sense to tunnel, there is little space...". I don't think its speculative to say that in the future, technological advancement will mean tunneling even deeper will eventually become economically viable.
     
  16. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    It might be economically viable to bore plain tunnel, but on a high capacity line, station boxes can cost more than the tunnels. If the platforms are too deep, passenger access takes too long to make short journies viable. Imagine a tube stop where there were three long sets of escalators to the surface to carry 5 to 10 thousand passengers per hour.
    There may be a future in very deep bypass tunnels for mainline use where the depth has no impact on passenger movements but anything approaching metro frequency of stops would be unworkable.
     
  17. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    It’s means (take a deep breath)... that there isn’t space at a level shallow enough where sufficient vertical capacity can be provided to get people between street and platform in a short enough time that will make any such new line attractive to psssengers at a viable construction cost.

    It is easy and relatively cheap to dig deep tunnels - there’s plenty in London Well below any railway with cables and pipes in them. What isn’t easy is building the passages that connesct thme with the surface. The average Crossrail style station, at about 20-30m deep, costs more than £1bn pounds, whilst the cost for a stations length of running tunnel is about 5% of that. For a deeper station you can easily double the station cost.

    Edit: it appears there are two of us from St Albans up at the same time posting the same answers. I’m not copying you AM9!
     
    Last edited: 13 Oct 2018 at 07:51
  18. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Take a look at Rome, (where work stops dead every few weeks as they find some new antiquities), or the NYC 2nd Avenue Subway: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Avenue_Subway
    This was first mooted in 1919, and the first two miles complete in 2017, - they just managed it in under 100 years.
    We might see the re-routing of some of the oldest tube tunnels to create gaps for new lines to pass. I imagine that there are some poor alignments that LU would like to get rid of for operating convenience, e.g. the Liverpool St to St Pauls bends on the Central, the South Kensington curves on the Piccadilly. The latter has a 5 chain radius curve traversed by every train running on the main line.
     
  19. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    Maybe it's because we both see what really happens when very large volumes of passengers behave like. I've known the underground for over 60 years now and see that the speed of trains in tunnels is a small part of the problem.
    If I wasn't listening to Tony Blackburn and typing on a tablet I might have posted nearer the same time as you. :)
     
  20. LeeLivery

    LeeLivery Member

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    Fair point. I was thinking it was the Northern line that wouldn't cope, not the station itself. I guess both probably true at the moment.
     
  21. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    I think they’d need to work towards a situation where all rail only interchange flows (including Overground) happened above the existing rail platforms, and all rail to Crossrail/tube interchange was below. One problem is that the street entrances are also mainly at the low level. I suspect another Reading style ‘transfer deck’ AND a London Bridge style main concourse might do it. There’s been mention of circulation improvements during CP6 anyway, so hopefully these will reflect long term aims. I also suppose they will be hoping that significant interchange between Crossrail and SWR eventually takes place at Wimbledon... :D
     
  22. Emyr

    Emyr Member

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    Here's an idea:

    Stop dreaming of infrastructure in places which are already saturated in terms of employment density.

    Instead, build centres of employment where the existing infrastructure is not at capacity. Mix residential and commercial development so people don't each waste 500-1000 hours a year commuting.

    Take Bourneville, housing around employment, not a train line linking a housing estate to a factory.
     
  23. B&I

    B&I Established Member

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    Every time I come across the sort of thinking which assumes Britain comes to an end at the M25, I feel compelled to educate the person responsible. Particularly when it inevitably unleashes a flood of people telling us how much the rest of us owe London for our daily bread, conveniently forgetting that us peasants in the provinces did not ask for much of the economy outside the south-east to be dismantled, or for moat of what remained to then be transported away like the spoils of war
     
    Last edited: 13 Oct 2018 at 11:28
  24. B&I

    B&I Established Member

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    Quite, there are many, much more basic, improvements outside London and its commuter belt which could be funded for a fraction of the cost of a new underground line under London. *COUGH* platforms 15 and 16 at Piccadilly *COUGH*
     
  25. B&I

    B&I Established Member

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    Isn't the difference that, for whatever historical reasons, south London ended up with a much more dense suburban network, north London got tubes, and both have experienced advantages and disadvantages as a result ? If tube lines are to be extended south of the river, it would seem sensible to use them not primarily to.replace existing heavy rail lines, but to cut across different corridors and increase overall connectivity
     
  26. B&I

    B&I Established Member

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    Stupid too when you consider that it had one of the country's nore advanced and extensive tram networks, and was even considering some form of tram-subway network in the early postwar years, before that lunatic Mazzoni came on the scene
     
  27. route:oxford

    route:oxford Established Member

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    Fantasy.

    There are usually two or more parties in a relationship, location for one isn't always good for the skills of the other.

    Then you've missed out education, health, retail, sports, relatives, transport...

    Not forgetting whether or not a place is a good place to live!

    Then people's jobs change too. When I first moved here to Oxford for work, I lived within 10 minute drive or 30 minute walk to work, the office moved to the City Centre, that 30 minute walk became one hour on the bus due to congestion. I now drive to Haddenham, train into London and my 55 mile commute to Marylebone is exactly the same length of time as the 7 mile commute on the bus.

    I can't afford to buy what I have in Oxford in London.
     
  28. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    I’ve seen the passenger modelling for Clapham Junction, with various options for and different interchanges and new lines, and it really isn’t pretty. It needs a complete rethink, but that is going to be ££££
     
  29. jopsuk

    jopsuk Veteran Member

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    Alongside further "Crossrail" projects linking through the centre (which does have the issue of going ever deeper), "interesting" London projects would be:
    Platform straightening, levelling & lengthening - ideally all Underground, Overground and other metro system platforms would be straight and allow step free boarding at all carriages. On platforms with only one stock type, platform edge doors would be a good idea. Imagine if the Northern, Piccadilly, Bakerloo & Jubilee lines had trains as long as the Central & Victoria- or if the entire Sub Surface could use S8.
    Step free from street to all platforms (and step-free interchange)- imagine of the entire network was accessible.
    Heavy Rail Metro separation- this would be a big one, especially south of the river. Build new tracks, in tunnels or elevated if needed, to ensure that Metro services aren't sharing tracks with outer suburban, long distance and freight traffic.

    And imagine if, on an appropriate scale, we rolled out such comprehensive, separated, metro networks in all our major urban areas.

    For bonus points: the entirety of these metro networks should be underground. Every last cm of line, with depots either underground or with covered over sidings and covered over connections to the running lines. Weatherproof- no issues with leaf fall, or ice. No wet platforms.
     
  30. NotATrainspott

    NotATrainspott Established Member

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    Outside of London we don't have the continuous areas of high density development which justify the expense of tunnelling. Where a metro system may happen, it's now going to be a tram scheme. Due to the way that Britain's population growth happened away from traditional civic centres (think how Lancaster and York are relatively small compared to the other cities in Lancashire and Yorkshire) most large cities have street layouts which make it practical for a tram to run through the city centre if you're happy to change traffic patterns.

    As far as I'm aware, the only realistic proposals for something like an underground Metro system were/are for Portsmouth and Cambridge. In the former case, a tunnel is unavoidable if the system is to cross the harbour (you cannot have any bridge existing over the access to a major military port). In the latter, it's just not possible for a tram line to get across the old urban core. In both cases though there's no need for the whole line to be in tunnel. There's simply not enough demand to saturate a tunnel running at maximum frequency using street-running-capable vehicles. All Tube lines have enough demand to run 120m long trains at 2 minute intervals through their core.
     

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