Examination of Witnesses (Questions 7240
7240. MS LIEVEN: Of course, my Lord,
and if there is any question of changing the programme other Petitioners
will have to be told as well.
7241. CHAIRMAN: Yes, thank you very much.
Very well, let us go on.
7242. MS LIEVEN: I think there is one
document Mr Cameron wants to put in and then I will call Mr Berryman.
7243. MR CAMERON: There is one document
I would like to put in but cannot right at the moment. It is page
36A, which your Lordship asked for.
7244. CHAIRMAN: Yes, I thought we might
7245. MR CAMERON: We have got the first
version of it but it needs a correction and, therefore, I cannot
put it in now but I hope to put it in within, Mr Hackett is saying
five minutes or so.
7246. CHAIRMAN: Can we go on with anything
7247. MS LIEVEN: Yes, my Lord. If I can
move directly to calling Mr Berryman.
BERRYMAN, Recalled Examined
by MS LIEVEN
7248. MS LIEVEN: Mr Berryman, I think
I have explained in the course of the morning how the proposals
going to Ebbsfleet have changed and the Committee may want to
ask questions about that, but I do not think we need to go back
through that. Can we go directly to the question of how and why
was the decision made to drop Ebbsfleet?
Well, as I think has been mentioned several times this morning,
there was a review of the project carried out by Sir Adrian Montague
in 2004 and one of the conclusions of that review was that the
risks to the operability of the railway and the risks of achieving
the very high frequencies that we are looking for in the central
section will be seriously compromised by the fact that our trains
would need to mix up with the regular trains which run on the
North Kent Lines. That was a conclusion we had come to independently
but when it was verified by Sir Adrian Montague's team the decision
was taken at that point that we would not include those services.
7249. If we can put up our Exhibit 2.50
Can you just explain briefly what are the problems on the North
Kent Line and how they would have to be solved?
(Mr Berryman) Yes. As has already been mentioned
this morning, the North Kent Lines are a complex of lines which
run between Dartford here and London Bridge here (Same indicated)
and there are three pairs of lines which make that journey, if
you like. The service pattern on these lines is very complicated
because there are two capacity constraints which really drive
everything on it at the moment. They are at London Bridge where
there is clearly serious congestion and at Dartford where there
are only three tracks which run into Dartford Station, although
Dartford Station itself has four platforms. It is balancing the
problems at those points and trying to provide a comprehensive
service to all the places within this group of lines which drives
the timetable. This is a fiendishly complicated bit of railway
timetabling. Unless you have been involved in railway timetables
it is sometimes hard to appreciate how complex they can become,
and this is one of the more complex bits of the timetable in the
UK. The thing which makes it difficult is the fact you have got
two junctions, one here at Crayford Creek and one down here called
Crayford Spur and Dartford Junctions, and what happens at these
junctions is the trains making different movements cross over
each other so there is a capacity constraint. Obviously you have
got flat junctions at all of these points which means that a train
turning in this direction will cross over another train going
in that direction and they have to be timetabled to avoid each
other. The way it works is that some of the trains do not actually
go into Dartford from London Bridge, they go around the circular
route like that, that is the brown pair here. That is typical
of the kind of fiddling about with the service pattern that they
have had to do to get all of the services in here, so it is a
very congested piece of railway.
7250. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: There
have been historically two dreadful accidents on what you call
`going round the loop', Hither Green and St John's, each of which
killed 100 people 45 years ago.
That is right.
7251. Do those problems still exist that gave
rise to that, would they have been made worse by that further
congestion, or have they had fundamental solutions to the problems
that gave rise to those two disasters?
(Mr Berryman) I do not think they have
had fundamental solutions, my Lord. Obviously the railways around
here have now been fitted with a system called `TPWS' which prevents
trains crossing red signals and that should have really resolved
most of the problems which are relevant in this area. It ought
to be mentioned that the trains around here do not go very quickly
and they are well within the speed parameter of the TPWS system.
7252. Well, they were not going very fast that
night when one ran into the back of the other and pushed the other's
coaches up, whereupon it demolished the bridge in front, falling
down, crashing the carriage behind and killing 100.
(Mr Berryman) Indeed, my Lord, you are
quite correct in that.
7253. It was only going at 15 miles per hour.
(Mr Berryman) The reason I referred to
the speed is that the TPWS system has a maximum speed limit within
which it can safely stop trains, so these trains do not exceed
that speed limit. The issue really is the fact that there are
only three tracks between Dartford and Dartford Junction and the
number of flat junctions involved in this part of the network
between Crayford Creek and Crayford Spur and then the flat junctions
at Charlton and Blackheath, which I am sure Lord James is very
familiar with, so that is it really.
7254. MS LIEVEN: If we were going to
extend to Ebbsfleet and, therefore, have to undertake the four-tracking
solution, and perhaps we can take this slightly out of order so
that we stay with this exhibit, can you explain to us, even with
that four-tracking solution, what problems or what complexities
would be left?
If you just four-tracked it and you did not do anything else,
you would still be struggling because you would have crossing
movements at these junctions. What you would have to do to make
a four-tracking solution work is recast the service so that one
pair of tracks, which would run down here (indicating), and this
is not a track diagram, but it is a useful surrogate for that,
one pair of tracks would take all the trains going into the two
northernmost platforms at Dartford and the two southernmost platforms
would be used by trains coming along here or along here (indicating).
By segregating the trains in that way, you could make the whole
thing work even more efficiently, irrespective of whether Crossrail
was going to be there or not. The point about that, which I think
I ought to just explain, is that that would require a recasting
of the services. In other words, some trains which currently exist
would be re-routed onto different routes and the whole thing would
be quite a complex exercise.
7255. CHAIRMAN: And stop at different
And stop at different stations, my Lord. I have to say that, based
on bitter experience, apart from taking someone's parking space
away, taking away their existing train service is probably the
worst thing that you can do to anyone in London, and you always
come in for a great deal of criticism if you ever do that.
7256. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: Mr Berryman,
again in the quest of completeness of understanding, is there
not a direct line that goes from Victoria to Gillingham quite
separately and parallel to that?
There is, my Lord, and that is not on this diagram because that
is very well to the south of this route.
7257. But it is still a direct line which serves
a great many of those stops.
(Mr Berryman) I am sorry, my Lord?
7258. It is a direct line which serves a great
many of those stops, so, for completeness, we ought to know about
(Mr Berryman) It does not serve any of
the stops on this diagram, my Lord. It actually runs further south
down here (indicating).
7259. But it ends up at Gillingham and that
is on this.
(Mr Berryman) Yes, it does end up at Gillingham.
It sort of runs like that (indicating) and it goes to Victoria
at the other end. That is the fast line, my Lord, from Gillingham.
49 50 Crossrail Ref: P49, North Kent Lines-Proposed
Service Pattern under Integrated Kent Franchise (BEXYLB-44_04-002) Back