This sign was displayed at Paddington Underground station today.
The staff do try to lighten the journey.
If I haven’t got tickets and I’m going to say Reading or Slough, I always go via Dalston Junction to get the tickets in the machine there, as I get the best price that is otherwise only available with the hassle of queuing up at a Ticket Office.
Transport for London’s recommended route says get to Highbury and Islington station and use the Victoria and Bakerloo lines to get to Paddington. It suggests a time of just over thirty minutes.
But there are some problems with this route, especially if I get a bus to Highbury and Islington.
- There is as much walking, as going to Dalston Junction.
- The ticket machines at Highbury and Islington don’t issue tickets from the Zone 6 Boundary, so I have to pay for an unneeded journey from Paddington to West Drayton.
- In the rush hour or at busy times, this route is horrendous, due to the inadequate Victoria line.
- Sometimes, buses to the station are hard to find, due to heavy traffic on the Balls Pond Road.
It may be the quickest at times, but it is never the easiest.
I tend to go one of two routes.
- I often use the Overground to Whitechapel and then the Hammersmith and City line to Paddington. This route has the advantage that it is air-conditioned all the way, but it takes about a dozen minutes longer, than the recommended route.
- If I take a bus to Kings Cross and then take the Hammersmith and City line, this can be around forty minutes.
But if I want to go on a main line train out of Paddington, it puts me at the wrong end of the station, unless I have a booked train.
Today, I’m going to Cardiff on the 13:45 train out of Paddington. As I’m taking my own gluten-free sandwiches and I won’t have to buy a drink, I shall use the Whitechapel route, leaving before 12:30.
Crossrail will change all this in that I’ll still get to Whitechapel in eight minutes and then it’ll be thirteen minutes to Paddington. So it should be under half-an-hour between the two stations and we’ll all probably be delivered to the convenient end of Paddington.
It is interesting to apply my mother’s rule of two minutes a station and five minutes for an interchange to the before and after Crossrail routes via Whitechapel.
Before Crossrail – 35 minutes
After Crossrail – 23 minutes
It’ll be fascinating to see whether the twenty-three minute figure is regularly beaten. Hopefully as the interchange at Whitechapel will be quicker, Paddington station will be much easier and the trains on Crossrail will be very frequent, this will be the case.
I took this picture of the war memorial on platform one at Paddington station.
A voice track has now been added.
It may be wishful thinking as I’ll be 72, when Crossrail fully opens in December 2019.
But how will the new line affect the journeys I take regularly?
Access To Crossrail
I will get to and from Crossrail in one of two ways.
I am within walking distance of Dalston Junction station, where I could use the Overground to get to and from Whitechapel station, which is a major station on Crossrail.
This route is a good one for coming home, as I just walk up the stairs or take the lift at Dalston Junction, before waiting no more than a couple of minutes for a bus to perhaps fifty metres from my house.
The other way to go to Crossrail is to get a bus directly to the line. At present, I have three routes within a hundred metres that go direct to stations, that will be on Crossrail. The 56 goes to Barbican and the 21 and 141 go to Moorgate. I suspect that the buses will be reorganised for Crossrail, so the 38 might be routed to stop by an entrance to the Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road.
Coming back, if the stop for the 21 and 141 is sited as well as it is now for Moorgate station, this would probably be my preferred route in the rain, as the stop for those routes, is just across a zebra crossing from my house.
If anything my biggest problem about access to Crossrail, is choosing from a selection of convenient routes. Especially, as the buses could well be a few minutes quicker than they are now.
This is probably the most common destination out of London, where I go to the football.
I doubt that I’ll change my route much, but it should be easier to get to and from Liverpool Street and I doubt, I’ll ever use a taxi again.
The only possible change I could see is that if the Great Eastern Main Line links up better with a cross-platform interchange at Shenfield, I might use this route. Hopefully, Ipswich services could also be faster under the Norwich in Ninety program, so sitting in a comfortable train will be less important, than say a journey in under an hour from Liverpool Street.
Liverpool And Manchester
I’ve bracketed these two cities together, probably much to the annoyance of a lot of residents of the two cities, but by the time Crossrail opens, there will be a thirty minute service every ten minutes between the two cities. Much of this happens late this year, so we’re not talking about possible projects.
So for many who live between and around the two cities, your route to and from the South will become one of personal preference and convenience.
Coupled with all the other Northern Hub developments, I suspect that both cities will have a more frequent service to and from London and the South than they do now. It might also be quicker, if 225 kph running is enabled by new signalling.
If Milton Keynes is a Crossrail terminal, I could see up to three trains an hour to both cities stopping there to pick up and set down passengers.
If say Liverpool and Manchester did get three trains an hour from Milton Keynes, you would have a maximum wait of twenty minutes for a train to your desired destination.
I would probably book a seat from Euston, but as that dreadful station starts to be rebuilt, I’d probably hop on Crossrail for Milton Keynes.
If though it was four trains an hour to Liverpool and Manchester from Milton Keynes, and perhaps I wanted to see an exhibition at the Tate Liverpool, I’d probably book a Standard Off Peak Ticket the night before and take my chances on getting a decent seat at Milton Keynes.
The more I look at it, Crossrail must terminate at Milton Keynes and that city should be a stop on a large number of Virgin services.
I’m going to Reading next week to see Ipswich. This one is a no-brainer and it’ll be Crossrail all the way.
I’m also going to Birmingham next week and this one could be difficult choice from a multiplicity of routes.
By 2019, Birmingham’s tram system and some extra trains will link a lot more parts of the city, so depending on where I’m going I might not even go through New Street station. If I’m still going to Bordesley for Birmingham City, will the worst station I’ve used recently be a better proposition and perhaps easier to get to?
But again Milton Keynes is an option.
At the southern end, Crossrail doesn’t really ease the Marylebone problem if I use Chiltern to get to Birmingham. Unless of course getting to the Bakerloo Line at Paddington is easy. The alternative might be to exit Bond Street Station on Crossrail, walk to Oxford Street station and get the Bakerloo Line to Marylebone.
I’m always surprised that Brunel’s Great Western had such bad connections to his father’s Thames Tunnel.
Finally, with Crossrail, Paddington gets put on my list of stations that are easy to get to.
But will I actually go there or get a Reading train and change for Wales and the West there?
Definitely a go direct and no more slogging along the Piccadilly Line.
Yesterday was a day, when Crossrail would have been more than handy.
I went to Exeter to see an old friend and his wife and had booked myself out of Paddington on the 09:07 train.
From Hackney, getting to Paddington is not easy and I usually take the Metropolitan line to the western end of the station and walk in to the trains from the bridge. Since the new Underground station has been built, this is the easiest way to get a train for Wales and West.
Paddington station for me also presents a gluten-free breakfast problem, in that there is nowhere I would trust in the station. So I took a bus to Kings Cross station, where there is both Leon and Carluccio’s, who both do excellent gluten-free breakfasts. Yesterday, it was Leon’s turn and I left myself thirty seven minutes to get to Paddington, after finishing my egg, chorizo and beans.
But that was my downfall, as there was signalling problems on the Metropolitan line and the trains were very infrequent and crammed solid.
So I tried a taxi and the queue was hundreds long and there wasn’t a taxi in sight.
In the end I found a bus to take me up to Euston Square station, where after a wait, I got on a train to Paddington.
But I missed the train by about five minutes.
Normally, the journey takes ten minutes from Kings Cross to Paddington, but it had taken me forty-five. The Metropolitan line, which is normally one of the most reliable had let me down.
It’s on journeys like this, that Crossrail will really benefit people like me, who live in the eastern part of the capital.
I should have a choice of buses to various Crossrail stations, or I could even take the Overground to Whitechapel from Dalston Junction station, just up the road from my house.
Crossrail is going to change the east of London dramatically and not just the places, which have a station on the line.
When I came back from Reading into Paddington station yesterday, I walked to the back of the Inter City 125 train and took the bridge to the Metropolitan line station. Before catching my train to get home, I ventured outside to look at the new entrance, which has just opened.
As you can see the entrance is by the canal and the Paddington Basin. It’s obviously not finished yet and won’t be until Crossrail opens in a few years.
It is an area, that is crying out for a decent cafe, restaurant or bar.
I took this picture on the pedestrian bridge over Paddington station.
It’s amazing what you can do with flexible rubber hose and a couple of jubilee clips! But then you’ve got to make sure the rain from the roof, goes down the drain and not where people walk.
This is an example of the sort of design I like! It’s clever, stylish, practical and above all affordable!
The Metropolitan station at Paddington is emerging from the extensive building works at Paddington station.
Note that there is still quite a lot to do, like installing the lifts.
Paddington station now has a new taxi rank.
It must be one of the best ones in the UK.
It certainly means that if you’re coming into Central London from the west and need a taxi, it’s a good station to pick one up.
Note how the taxi rank is properly numbered, so you can arrange to meet on a particular number!