Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

On the branch line…from Bank to Waterloo

Posted in Commuter, Infrastructure, London, On the branch line by Chairman Pip on 17 March 2013

Yes, I know what you’re going to say. “How can you say this is a branch line?” I know, I know. However, it is a teeny tiny stub line that you need to change in order to reach. It is a freaky little route too, entirely a commuter route getting people travelling from the areas served by Waterloo into The City; a five minute shuttle backwards and forwards between Waterloo and Bank. I’ve had a mind to include the Waterloo & City on my little branch line list of travels for a while and so, what with it yet again being a Saturday free of football, combined with the presence of HMS Westminster in the Pool of London (I always head up to take photos when warships visit the capital) meant a chance to do a little journey on the Underground’s shortest line.

Normally at this point I might well go into some history, or some specifics about the route in question. However, I thought I’d leave that to a little piece I did in 2011…

There’s no doubt of the importance of the Waterloo & City as a direct route into the heart of the major financial area of London. On the flip side, there’s also no doubt that any improvement to it would be inordinately disruptive, given that it is completely isolated…and I do mean completely, as it has no connection to the railway network at all. With its on-site depot capable of undertaking most of the maintenance tasks, if there is any need for heavy work to be done on its little fleet of ten 2-car units, then they need to be lifted out by crane. Seriously. The best that could be done is to improve the signalling so that more trains are capable of running. Even then though, that would be difficult given the short run and quick turnaround time of the service.

The Waterloo & City is entirely in tunnel, and entirely isolated, making any plan to extend it difficult in the extreme


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