The Anonymous Widower

The East-Facing Bay Platforms At Reading Station

This picture shows the east-facing bay platforms at Reading station.

Bay Platforms 4, 5 and 6 At Reading Station

Bay Platforms 4, 5 and 6 At Reading Station

Note that they are numbered 4, 5 and 6 from the right. The train on Platform 5 is a Great Western Railway service for Gatwick Airport via Guildford. with a South West Trains service for Waterloo on Platform 6.

Gatwick Via The North Downs Line

Trains go to Gatwick using the North Downs Line, which is a double-track line effectively in five sections.

  • Reading to Wokingham – electrified
  • Wokingham to North Camp – not electrified
  • North Camp to Shalford Junction – electrified
  • Shalford Junction to Reigate – not electrified
  • Reigate to Redhill and Gatwick – electrified.

According to Wikipedia, there needs to be work at Redhill and Gatwick Airport stations, but I believe that is underway.

Wikipedia also states that the line has an operative speed of 70 mph. The journey currently takes 76 minutes.

Once Crossrail and Thameslink are fully open, it would surely be quicker to change at Farringdon.

  • The fastest journey between Farringdon and Gatwick Airport is now 54 minutes.
  • The Crossrail route calculator says that Reading to Farringdon will take 57 minutes.

So that means that at 111 minutes, surprisingly the London route is thirty five minutes slower and needs a change of train.

Note these further points about the North Downs route.

  • A well-driven electric train like a 110 mph Class 387 train might even be able to do the journey a few minutes quicker than the current 76 minutes, if the line were to be electrified.
  • It is my belief, that the current piecemeal nature of the third-rail electrification would enable a Class 387 IPEMU to run between Reading and Gatwick Airport, using the batteries as required.
  • I don’t think the batteries would need charging at the end of the journey, as both ends of the route are electrified.
  • The line has ten level crossings, which must speed the trains, if some were removed.
  • There must be other track improvements.
  • Class 387 trains have also been fitted with an Airport Express interior for Gatwick Express.
  • Can an Airport Express be battery-powered? Engineers like me, would say yes, but Marketing Departments would be sceptical.

I believe that ultimately a Class 387 train or an IPEMU with a similar performance could do Reading to Gatwick Airport in an hour, without further electrification.



March 31, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] In The East-Facing Bay Platforms At Reading Station, I talked about using trains with batteries to perform this service and considered it feasible. […]

    Pingback by Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Reading To Tonbridge « The Anonymous Widower | June 27, 2017 | Reply

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