Examination of Witnesses (Questions 440
TUESDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2002
440. Can that be achieved on the Central Line?
My impression is that on occasions the train now stays too long
in the station because of the sheer problem of getting people
on and off the trains because of the level of overcrowding?
(Mr Goulcher) Yes, that is one of the major factors
that limits capacity. What we have to try and do is to consider
whether it is right to try and increase the capacity, increase
the number of trains we attempt to run given constraints like
that, which actually means that in practice you may not be able
to move them through as quickly as you need to and that leads
to the bunching of trains. The trains in front, if you like, fill
up and wait even longer at platforms and the trains behind are
empty, and so forth. What we try and do is have a realistic timetable
441. I understand that. If you are then saying
that is the problem now and you want to squeeze another 25 per
cent of passengers through in the rush hour how do you do that?
You cannot have people hanging out of the windows, can you, of
(Mr Goulcher) We would not want that. There are a
number of things we are doing. We had a timetable change last
month which was designed to take advantage of the automatic train
operation that the Central Line project delivered. What that helps
to do is regulate the trains and make the intervals more even.
The more even the intervals the less the crowding.
442. You are talking about improving the trains.
I am interested in the flow of the passengers.
(Mr Goulcher) There is very little we can do about
that. There are two things we do, one is that we have implemented
what we are calling station assistants for train services, they
are dedicated staff whose job it is to manage the platform.
443. To push people in or to pull them out?
(Mr Goulcher) Not like in Tokyo! They have a roving
public address facility and they are trained specifically to use
that to encourage people to move down within the trains to reduce
dwell times and to help the train operator to know when it is
safe to move on, and so forth. The other way of controlling volumes
is obviously through limiting the numbers entering stations. You
will probably be familiar with the regular occurrence at Victoria,
where we have to restrict entry because the volumes are too great
and it is not safe, so it disrupts the train service.
444. Bearing in mind what you said about getting
people on and off trains what would the impact on the capacity
of the Central Line be of the construction of a new tube station
in between Liverpool Street and Bank?
(Mr McKenna) A new tube station between Liverpool
(Mr McKenna) That would be technically impossible
446. I was under the impression that a new underground
station had been mooted.
(Mr McKenna) Is it Bishopsgate, which is the other
side of Liverpool Street?
447. Okay. I am receiving a lot of correspondence
on Bishopsgate. If there is not a Central Line station built at
Bishopsgate and given thatalthough, I am not going do go
down the route of the East London line extensionit has
not yet been approved, do you think it is sensible to plan for
10 million square feet of office space in East London?
(Mr McKenna) You have to think about it in terms of
train service handling capacity and station service handling capacity.
An extra station at Bishopsgate would not effect the train service
handling capacity, we can get some more out of the existing system.
In terms of the station service handling capacity we have expanded
Liverpool Street quite a lot in the last 10 years, so that is
less of a worry, it is more the train service handling capacity
on the Central Line that is key.
(Mr Goulcher) It is very dependent on what the development
is there to do and what the mix of the use of the space is. In
principle, especially with the East London line extension, travelling
through there will be enhanced infrastructure.
448. To look at it other way round, given the
transport capacity we have at the moment where would any of you
say would be the best place to locate a new, high density tall
(Mr McKenna) In broad terms you would want areas that
have a reasonable number of different lines of London Underground
and National Railway nearby.
449. Over the stations?
(Mr McKenna) Near to the stations.
450. Can I ask you Mr Palmer, from a transport
perspective can we accommodate tall buildings anywhere in London?
If we can, where should we put them and should we pepper pot them
or should we put them in clusters?
(Mr Palmer) The difficulty we have, and we have heard
about the London Underground system, is that so much of the transport
system in London is near to overcrowding at long periods of time.
On the National Rail Network although there is spare capacity
at off-peak periods that is increasingly getting less the case.
We have overcrowding on several lines but not on every line, despite
what many people would say. If we are going to locate taller buildings
the two things we need to look at is, first of all, for each one
we need to take a full analysis of the transport assessment that
is likely to arise, because different types of buildings having
different impacts, for example an international bank might generate
a lot of traffic from various places, where as if it was a call
centre of the same size it would have a different sort of transport
impact. We need to understand those impacts before we proceed
with the planning and the development. Where we do have capacities
by and large round or near the major rail termini that, I suppose,
suggests pepper potting round the transport termini that we already
have. The other problem we have is that in terms of developing
new transport infrastructure we are getting to the case where,
certainly in London, it is very expensive indeed, to add on extra
new stations, lines or whatever.
451. Do you think there is a complete lack of
integration in London between transport policies and land use
(Mr Palmer) Although transport is a material consideration
in development considerations it is very rarely the issue that
actually determines whether a development proceeds. It is very
often something else that will determine it. I think that may
be one of the changes that we will expect to see in the future,
that transport should be seen as a more important aspect.
452. I want to talk to you about capacity in
other forms of transportation. You pointed about termini, if you
build a huge tower block over the top of Waterloo Station the
capacity does not exist on the lines in on out of Waterloo to
cope with that.
(Mr Palmer) It probably does not. Marylebone might
be an instance and there is space, I think, round King's Cross,
I do not think it is full to capacity. It depends on how the development
is used at the end of the day.
453. Given the fact that we do seem to be likely
to get development of substantial new buildings in central London
over the next few years where do you think we can generate capacity,
more broadly than simply the Underground? How can we create greater
transport capacity within central London to deal with those developments?
(Mr Palmer) The two biggest changes would be the Thameslink
2000 and the East West Cross Rail, they would be the biggest step
changes in capacity we could provide, but they are probably the
most expensive changes as well.
454. Do we have any similar problems elsewhere
in the United Kingdom with city centre congestion that is like
to cause a problem if we see development of buildings.
(Mr Palmer) They are slightly different. In other
areas you tend to get more dependency on buses as public transport
access. The principles are the same, where you do not have the
service level provided or you cannot provide the service level,
where you cannot provide the on-street facilities to ensure that
buses have good access to these places then you will have exactly
the same problems we have in London.
455. Which particular place would you highlight?
(Mr Palmer) Manchester would be one and Birmingham
456. How many United Kingdom city's could you
name that you say have sufficiently good pubic transport systems
to support tall buildings?
(Mr Palmer) Oh dear! Most of the major cities do have
good public transport systems but we do tend to bemoan in London,
by and large, although it is very overcrowded. In Manchester with
the development of the Manchester Metro, in Liverpool we have
seen good developments over the last five years, or so, and in
Sheffield we have seen the development of the Super Tram which
is, as far as I am aware, currently under used at the moment,
partly because of land use developments not having taken place.
457. In all of those places you think tall buildings
could be built?
(Mr Palmer) It depends on the intensity of the use
and the nature of the use. The principle that we are trying to
encourage is more intensive use or more intensive building within
town and city centres in order that more and more people have
the option to access them by non-car modes of transport, including
walking and cycling. We do need to do an individual analysis of
each proposal before it proceeds.
458. Would mixed development help, do you think,
if people want to live where they work?
(Mr Palmer) It may help. It may reduce the transport
impact of some developments. The question is whether the developer
themselves are terribly keen on those sort of developments, and
that is raising other issues. Whether or not people are prepared
to live that close to where they work I do not know. We have seen
a shift where we do have people living in town centres and very
often you find them travelling to the next town along because
they want that break between work and home life, as it were.
459. You think a journey to work is worthwhile?
(Mr Palmer) I can remember there was some research
done 10 years, or more, ago which asked the question "Why
do men in particular like to drive to work?" They felt it
was the only peaceful time they had between the chaos at home
and the chaos at the office.
Mrs Dunwoody: And they like toys!