4LM in brief – 31 August 2019

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Trains in the section of tunnel between Edgware Road and Praed St junction last night.

Pictures showing stuff on the four lines modernisation between the Paddington and Edgware Road sections of the upgraded and currently being tested route. Paddington was of course the easiest bit of line that photographs can be taken from by decree of its parallel running to the Great Western tracks and platforms.

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Hammersmith bound train. It should pick up passengers from Latimer Road onwards.

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Train with Paddington as its destination, its duty 212.

One will notice the new (sort of oldish) crossover which definitely allows trains to reverse at Paddington. However this train didn’t use it at all like the others also with Paddington as their destination.

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Another ‘Paddington’ bound train that went through to Edgware Road and points eastwards. This was duty number 273.

Notice the ‘Latimer Road’ destination in the window! It seems the S7s dont have Latimer Road on the digital blinds so they had to use a sheet of paper for this. Also I wonder if it was just a few trains each hour between Hammersmith and Latimer Road as most didn’t have this.

Very oddly the Wimbleware trains carried a destination that said ‘Paddington District Line’ which they used to denote this was as far as the train was going. However despite the trains being able to show Paddington on the digital blind, it seems they preferred good old paper signs to keep a distinction between CBTC controlled and manually controlled trains at Edgware Road.

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Decommissioned westbound two aspect and speed restriction sign at Paddington.

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Newly commissioned signs at Paddington. Not sure what this ‘H’ means – yet! Note the wrapped up platform starter.

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Circle Line train running empty to Latimer Road.

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Passengers clearly very annoyed at the closure of the Hammersmith & City station at Paddington.

It seems there were no warnings until they got right up to the gates here. Which means they would get off a train and see the signs pointing to the three different stations (which again these had no warnings of any changes) and then walking ALL the way here to find the station they wanted (say for King’s Cross) closed – and then having to traipse all the way back to get the Bakerloo. Its not good enough TfL!

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Train 274 Hammersmith & City for Barking. It will pick up passengers from King’s Cross.

As a point of historic interest, the above picture shows what were once the GWR/BR platforms 14 and 15. Platform 14 is still for national rail however. The Hammersmith trains once ran through platform 13 to the left (out of picture) rather than using platform 15 and this is the explanation for the out of alignment platform/track interface on platform 15.

In fact all four platform tracks (13 to 16) merged together at this point to enter the Hammersmith line’s tunnels – and in the older days this allowed goods trains from the GWR to work through to places such as Smithfield markets.

The arrangement however meant London Underground’s trains had to share the main line tracks in order to gain their Hammersmith route and there was a lot of potential for conflicting movements. In the sixties the tracks were simply swapped around to enable a totally independent route for London Underground’s trains.

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Wrapped up signals – and yet to be unwrapped CBTC signs at Paddington! Did they miss this one? Perhaps not all the signs will be unwrapped just yet? That sign in the middle really does say ‘Tooth Bucket’ – and I don’t know what it refers to! Its certainly not a CBTC delicacy!

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Train 213 Circle Line via King’s Cross leaving Paddington.

In terms of this weekend’s testing, what is clearly happening is Thales are working on the tracks and signals at night and leaving the daytime and evenings for train testing. No doubt their engineers are at specific locations along the line and also in Hammersmith Control Centre monitoring and logging any events or difficulties, and then during the over night possessions they will tweak the system where necessary.

For exmaple early this morning at the start of services, Thales would have commissioned all the new signs and wrapped up the old signs, plus other subtleties before handing the tracaks back to TfL.

Thales didn’t have to activate the CBTC system, it was already activated and simply by-passed the signal box at Edgware Road using this large brick building – built in 2016 fo the new CBTC system to the rear of the station – as shown below:

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The CBTC control room at Edgware Road station – built 2016. The structure itself was built by AdvanceTRS under contract from Thales who then did the fitting out.

What happens then is the old system is simply switched out. Its not actually decommissioned. It must be left ready to switch back on at a moment’s notice should anything major go wrong with the new CBTC and there is a two week window for this. Once that window has passed there is no going back to the old system at all.

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Eastbound train (duty 200) just leaving Edgware Road station, with the now decommissioned signal box’s roof visible on the left.

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Trains in the centre platform at Edgware Road. That on the left is obviously a Circle Line. That on the right for Wimbledon. However it wasn’t showing any sort of displays. It had this in its window instead as the next picture shows:

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Temporary paper destination for the Wimbledon trains!

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Most trains were billed as being for Edgware Road from the High St Kensington direction.

Even on board Circle/Wimbledon trains Edgware Road was being displayed. Yet the reality is they only ran in service to Paddington. There were about six plaform staff at Paddington to ensure every train was completely emptied of passengers before continuing the journey out of service.

As pointed out trains were supposed to have special destination displays declaring Paddington or Latimer Road as destinations, however only about half seemed to have any. I soon found out why there was such an inconsistency!

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S7 for Wimbledon at Notting Hill Gate showing its special destination display at the rear.

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Eastbound Circle train at Notting Hill Gate with no special destination display visible.

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Circle Line at High St Kensington with its special destination very clearly seen.

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Paddington District Line destination seen at Bayswater.

In comparison the Metropolitan Line didn’t have any special displays despite running special services to test the new CBTC system. I had thought the Metropolitan would run in service to Finchley Road and then out of service southwwards.

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That was not the case. What was in fact being done on this line turned out to be five S8’s working an out and back service between Finchley Road and Euston Square. The rest of the Metropolitan Line towards Wembley Park wasn’t being used. The northbound platform at Finchley Road was used to reverse the trains which then ran same line to Swiss Cottage – where they crossed to the southbound track.

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The ‘Euston Square Express’ arrives at Finchley Road! Trains were turned around almost immediately.

The other interesting thing was Euston Square wasn’t the destination either. There’s no reversal there (unless the trains worked same line back to Baker Street, which wasn’t possible given the frequencies on the other lines. Consequently use of the crossover just outside King’s Cross wasn’t possible either because of conflicts with the Circle/Hammersmith trains. In fact all the Met trains were going to Aldgate, providing an out of service frequency every ten minutes – except that was a bit lopsided with gaps of twenty minutes occurring here and there as it wasn’t enough cover for an exact ten minute frequency. I am not sure why that was – perhaps it was to give the Hammersmith and Circle Lines opportunity for a bit of recovery margin if anything untoward arose.

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Special notice at Finchley Road warning of fewer trains and possible hiccups next week.

Anyway, on the way home I decided to have a look at Edgware Road station – and here I found why some trains had special destinations and other didn’t…

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The simple answer was some trains were ending up with more than one destination sheet! It may have been happening at Hammersmith where trains do sometimes become a different service and despite switching round these sheets some trains ended up with more, some with none!

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A general view of Edgware Road station as the first day of embedding the new CBTC system draws to a close.

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