A weekly round-up of London’s rail transport news…

The future of rail travel will be ticketless

London Underground

A scientist with near total sight loss has urged London transport bosses to learn from other world cities to help blind travellers navigate the Tube more independently. Standard

The family of an engineer who died while fixing a travelator at Waterloo Tube station are still “desperate for answers” one year on from his death. BBC News

Tory mayoral candidate calls for TfL to sell Tube station naming rights CityAM

Elizabeth line / Crossrail

Atkins and Jacobs will run a £5m study into potential transport improvements between London and Kent, along the route of a suggested 16km extension to Crossrail. Construction News

Crossrail chairman Tony Meggs has warned industry bosses to “beware” of how deadlines are set after admitting the railway’s original 2018 opening date had created “mayhem” for the scheme. Building

Mainline / Overground

Just over 24 years after it was introduced in 1996, rail franchising is to be scrapped, the government has announced. ianVisits

Train operators may have to gear up for a 1950s-style future, where the biggest passenger demand is for summer day trips to the seaside rather than the morning commute to the office, industry bosses have suggested, as leisure travel is growing faster than the return to work. The Guardian

HS2 has brought in TfL’s programme delivery manager for Bank station to oversee work at Euston. NCE (£)

HS2 introduces carbon neutral concrete to ensure sustainable construction Global Railway Review

Plans to modify the under-construction Brent Cross West station to include a connection for the suggested West London Orbital (WLO) railway have suffered a set-back ianVisits

New Madrid to London freight train service begins thanks to Tesco Rail Advent

Ministers are mulling steep cuts to fares during less busy times – but peak fares are expected to go up in January. Telegraph (£)

Southern trains set for refurbishment and upgrades ianVisits

Eurostar must receive government help to “bounce back” and protect 3,500 jobs in Kent, a railways boss has said. Kent Online


Watchdog calls for TfL to focus on outer London public transport connectivity in new budget London Travel Watch

A Fenchurch Street station cleaner who spiked her supervisor’s coffee with cleaning fluid for “revenge” has been jailed. BBC News

Should TfL sell the names of its stations to brands? Campaign (£)

MP spotted on London Underground without face mask despite risk of £200 fine Belfast Live

And finally: Network Rail has withdrawn its objections to a live music and entertainment hub which if built could see up to 21,500 visitors flock to Stratford. Newham Recorder

The image above is from Sept 2017: The future of rail travel will be ticketless


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  1. I’m glad Network Rail have removed their objections to the MSG Sphere, it’s going to be a great idea to have a music venue in E20!

  2. ChrisC says:

    Ministers should tell the TOCs extend people’s discount rail cards they haven’t been able to use for months if they want more off peak and leisure travel.

    Railcard have just point blank refused to do anything.

  3. Southern Heights (Light Railway) says:

    Both articles on selling station naming rights seem to completely ignore the cost of doing this…

    This was discussed on LondonReconnections a few years ago. The costs were well into 6 figures IIRC…

    Remember that every single tube map across the entire capital needs replacing. Bus scrolls potentially too and don’t forget those dinky enamel signs everywhere…

    • ChrisC says:

      Don’t the maps get updated 2-3 times a year anyway so the cost of that would be minimal? But yes the cost of changing everything else would be substantial and that should be paid for in addition to the naming rights.

      No good changing a station name if you don’t actually make any money from it!

      Even in New York they tend to keep the existing station name so Atlantic Avenue became Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center. The MTA gets $200,000 a year for 20 years for that. So it’s hardly a money maker in the totality of the MTAs budget.

    • Chris Wood says:

      Station names are not just arbitrary decoration, they are there for a purpose, to help users navigate the network. Renaming them every five years or whatever, as sponsorship deals are renewed, is a really, really bad idea.

  4. Andy Johnson says:

    The freight service from Madrid to Barking is interesting. If the GB+ loading guage is used from Barking through the Chunnel, what is the reason for changing the loading gauge?

    • jason leahy says:

      Russian,Irish and Spanish railways use a wider track gauge,(distance between the rails) than standard (track) gauge,Spanish one is called the Iberian (track) gauge.In the past a huge magnificent station was built near the border between Spain and France which sadly was closed but there is a plan to reopen the station,for passengers and goods to be transferred from Iberian gauge to standard gauge trains.Spanish train manufacturer Talgo developed an automatic system to widen and narrow the distance between the wheels of the trains which is what is meant in the article adapt the axles to UIC gauge.
      Good job the Nazis didn’t have this technology when it invaded the Soviet Union in WW2 as the advance was slowed down by the Germans needing troops,weapons and supplies to be transferred from standard gauge to Russian gauge trains.

    • Chris Wood says:

      Instead, one of Hitler’s pets project was the 3m gauge Breitspurbahn (think Brunel on steroids) that would have linked Germany to all its conquests. A good thing that he never got
      the chance, but it would have been interesting all the same.


    • SteveP says:

      Don’t Spanish high-speed trains cross into France between Barcelona and Perpignan?

  5. jason leahy says:

    When I’m at Embankment tube station I have to look at the electronic board to tell if the next train is District or Circle line.I also find it hard to hear the announcements at some stations.I read that in Japan each train service has a distinctive musical jingle.
    Tube lines that have more than one route and terminus stations e.g.the Northern line along with Crossrail,DLR and Croydon trams could therefore have a different jingle for each route and destination terminus.
    I’d also like to see the tube trains colour coordinated with the colours of the lines on the tube map so sides or doors painted yellow on Circle line trains and green sides or doors for District line trains so at a glance I can see what train is at the platform without having to look at the electronic board which will also help people with poor eyesight.

  6. geoffrey says:

    Station Names Mr Gordon Selfridge tried to get the soon to be opened Bond Street in 1900 on new Central London Railway to be named after this store.

  7. SteveP says:

    It is going to be interesting to see how much of the “momentum” of franchised rail companies to maximize shareholder value, etc. etc. (turnstiles everywhere, fines for silly infractions, huge fares to stand in overcrowded carriages) works out in this new approach. I suspect there will be some missteps

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