The Anonymous Widower

An Ambitious Proposal For A New Train Service?

I don’t know Somerset at all, so I can’t judge the proposal for a new train service discussed in this article in the International Railway Journal.

This is the opening paragraph.

GO-OP, a British open-access operating organisation, has presented revised plans to introduce a new rail service from Taunton to Swindon from December 2017.

The route starts via the following stations on the Taunton to Reading Line

Then via the following stations on the Wessex Main Line.

Finally, there are these stations on the Great Western Main Line

Eventually the company aims to extend the service to Oxford, Banbury, Leaminton Spa, Kenilworth, Coventry and Nuneaton.

Leamington Spa and Kenilworth are my additions, but they lie on the route and Kenilworth is a new station opening in Summer 2017. That date now looks like Summer 2018!

I found the article, because they intend to start the service using a pair of Vivarail D-Trains, which would be replaced in 2019 by CAF Civity diesel multiple units.

It is an ambitious proposal, that creates a new cross-country route from Somerset to Warwickshire.

It is unusual in that most Open Access proposals are longer distance services radiating from London.

But commercially and railway-wise the two areas are similar.

  • Both attract tourists and visitors.
  • Both have a network or underused railways.
  • Both are close to big dominating cities.
  • Both are probably areas, where lots of new housing is being built.

I don’t know, but perhaps it will set a welcome precedent.

  • Norfolk/Suffolk and Cheshire
  • Lincoln and Lancashire.
  • Cumbria and Derbyshire
  • North Wales and Nottinghamshire.

Certainly the Digital Railway, the available of quality DMUs and bi-modes like the Class 769 train, new stations and ambitious councils will all help.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Will Chiltern Railways Get A Second London Terminus At Old Oak Common?

This article on the Rail Magazine web site is entitled Chilterns Route Study to tackle capacity challenges and it describes how Chiltern Railways may gain a second terminal in London at Old Oak Common, which would link to the following lines.

And that’s only for starters as a couple of Underground and other lines pass through the general area.

The full study on Network Rail’s web site is entitled West Midlands and Chilterns Route Study. This is said about Chiltern Railways.

The Chiltern Route provides an important commuter route into London with connections to the Underground.

  • London continues to grow, and evolve with economic hubs expanding beyond the traditional City
  • Growing towns with major housing development planned at Aylesbury, Bicester and Princes Risborough
  • Marylebone Station is approaching its maximum capacity, in terms of train numbers and passengers
  • Any expansion of Marylebone is likely to be expensive, and disruptive due to its constrained location.

The report suggests using Old Oak Common as an additional terminal, connected to the Chiltern route. It gives these benefits.

  • Up to 4 additional trains per hour, with more travel options in to London.
  • Access to HS2, Crossrail and Great West Main Line.
  • Reduced cost and disruption compared to upgrading Marylebone.

The report is recommending building a new station at Old Oak Common, rather than upgrading Marylebone.

I think that this is a very sensible use of the space and existing railways in West London.

In Could A Chiltern Metro Be Created?, I looked at the lines between Marylebone and West Ruislip, where Chiltern Railways have ambition to create a Chiltern Metro. I said this.

I think Chiltern too, will make a bid to get into running services on the Greenford Branch and the Acton-Northolt Line, as it would give them a very useful destination in London of Old Oak Common.

Whatever happens, there will be some interesting rail developments involving Chiltern Railways in West London.

Old Oak Common Station And The Acton-Northolt Line

This map from shows the lines around Old Oak Common.

Old Oak Common Station And The Acton-Northolt Line

Old Oak Common Station And The Acton-Northolt Line

Note the West Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line go to the North and South respectively of the Old Oak Common site.

The line going to the West alongside the Central Line is the Acton-Northolt Line which links in the West to the Chiltern Main Line, just to the East of South Ruislip station.

This is the best map, I can find of the proposals for Old Oak Common station.

Rail Lines At Old Oak Common

Rail Lines At Old Oak Common

And this map from shows roughly the same area.

Current Lines At Old Oak Common

Current Lines At Old Oak Common

The Acton-Northolt Line is currently single-track and without electrification or any stations, other than South Ruislip and West Ruislip after Northolt Junction, where it joins the Chiltern Main Line.

From following the line both on a Central Line train and on Google Maps, it would appear that restoring the Acton-Northolt Line to its original double-track should be possible.

With regard to electrification, as Old Oak Common station will be electrified for Crossrail, the North London Line and other lines, it would at least have power at one end.

The Current And Proposed Service Pattern

Wikipedia lists the current services, outside the peak from Marylebone on Chiltern as the following.

  • 2 trains per hour (tph) to/from Birmingham (one fast, first stop Bicester North, and one semi-fast, first stop High Wycombe).
  • 1tph to/from Banbury (semi-fast, first stop High Wycombe). Some extend to Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • 1tph to/from Bicester North (semi-fast, first stop Gerrards Cross)
  • 1tph to/from Princes Risborough (semi-fast, first stop Gerrards Cross)
  • 1tph to/from High Wycombe (stopping service)
  • 1tph to/from Gerrards Cross (stopping service)
  • 2tph to/from Aylesbury (via Amersham). One of these services in each hour continues on to serve Aylesbury Vale Parkway
  • 2tph to/from Oxford Parkway (fast)

So that is nine trains an hour through West Ruislip, two up the Aylesbury Line and eleven between Marylebone and Neasden.

The Network Rail report, is saying that another four trains per hour would run from Old Oak Common station, which would mean thirteen trains an hour through West Ruislip.

Where these four trains will go will be up to Chiltern, but I’m sure they’ll find the passengers to fill them.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Crossrail’s Loops And Branches Across London

Most people think of Crossrail, as an East-West railway under London serving the following places on its pair of branches in the East and the West.

  • Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East.
  • Heathrow and Reading in the West.

But it is more than that, as the East-West Crossrail can be considered to be part of a larger system that includes a number of North-South routes.

  • Thameslink from St. Pancras to East Croydon via Farringdon on Crossrail.
  • East Londson Line from Highbury and Islington to Canada Water via Whitechapel on Crossrail.
  • West London Line from Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction via Old Oak Common on Crossrail.
  • Bank Branch of the Northern Line from Camden Town to Kennington via Tottenham Court Road on Crossrail.
  • Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line from Camden Town to Battersea via Moorgate on Crossrail.
  • Bakerloo Line from Willesden Junction to Elephant and Castle via Paddington on Crossrail.

Cross-London journeys will get interesting, as there will often be a dozen ways to go between A and B, when they are in different parts of London.

Kids will race each other across the City.

Crossrail will also grab a strong hold of other cross-London routes.

Central Line

Crossrail has interchanges with the Central Line at the following stations.

  • Stratford
  • Liverpool Street
  • Tottenham Court Road
  • Bond Street
  • Ealing Broadway

The Central Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Stratford to Ealing Broadway.

People who live say near Queensway will use the Central Line to access the outer reaches of Crossrail., at Ealing Broadway and Stratford.

In Step-Free Interchanges In East London, I pointed out the excellent interchange between Crossrail and the Central Line at Stratford, which sadly is Crossrail’s only top quality interchange to other lines.

The interchanges with the Central Line in Central London would sappear to be very unadventurous. Only when the line is opened, will we know how well they work and the quality of the design.

Perhaps the only way to have got better interchanges would have been for one track of Crossrail to be each side of the Central Line, through Central London.

This map from shows the section of Crossrail from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road.

Crossrail Through Central London

Crossrail Through Central London

From this map it looks like it could be possible, but I know from this section in Wikipedia, that it was difficult squeezing the tunnels past the Northern Line at Tottenham Court Road, so perhaps the route that was chosen, was the best one from a construction and cost point of view. It could even have been the only one possible.

Metropolitan Line

Crossrail has interchanges with the Metropolitan Line at the following stations.

  • Whitechapel
  • Liverpool Street
  • Moorgate
  • Barbican
  • Farringdon
  • Paddington

The Metropolitan Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Whitechapel to Paddington. Although, due to the distance between the two lines at Paddington, this probably means the Metropolitan Line will serve as a North-Western branch of Crossrail, that serves Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston.

This map from shows the section of Crossrail from Whitechapel to Farringdon.

Crossrail Through The City

Crossrail Through The City

Note how two Crossrail stations; Liverpool Street-Moorgate and Barbican-Farringdon effectively each serve two Metropolitan stations.

Effectively, it gives a large choice of routes between North West London and East London and Essex.

Crossrail interchanges with the District Line at the following stations.

  • Whitechapel
  • Paddington
  • Ealing Broadway

The District Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Whitechapel to Ealing Broadway, with a partial interchange at Paddington.

This map from shows the lines around Paddington.

Crossrail Through Paddington

Crossrail Through Paddington

Crossrail would appear to have a good right-angled connection with the District Line, between Edgware Road and Wimbledon.

So it could be argued that after Crossrail opens, the Edgware Road to Wimbledon service of the District Line is another North-South branch of Crossrail, just like with Thameslink and the East London Line.

North London Line

Crossrail interchanges with the following stations on the North London Line.

  • Stratford
  • Old Oak Common

The North London Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Stratford to Old Oak Common.

Jubilee Line

Crossrail interchanges with the following stations on the Jubilee Line.

  • Stratford
  • Bond Street

The Jubilee Line will add a loop to Crossrail from Stratford to Bond Street.

The Stations On The Loops

The effect of all these loops, mean that these stations will be on a line that connects to both ends of Crossrail.


  • Acton Town
  • Aldgate East
  • Baker Street
  • Bank
  • Baron’s Court
  • Bermondsey
  • Bethnal Green
  • Blackfriars
  • Brondesbury
  • Brondesbury Park
  • Caledonian Road and Barnesbury
  • Camden Road
  • Canada Water
  • Canning Town
  • Cannon Street
  • Canonbury
  • Chancery Lane
  • Chiswick Park
  • Dalston Kinsland
  • Ealing Common
  • Earl’s Court
  • East Acton
  • Edgware Road
  • Embankment
  • Euston Square
  • Finchley Road And Frognal
  • Gospel Oak
  • Gloucester Road
  • Great Portland Street
  • Hackney Central
  • Hackney Wick
  • Hammersmith
  • Hampstead Heath
  • Highbury and Islington
  • Holborn
  • Hommerton
  • Kensal Rise
  • Kentish Town West
  • Kings Cross St. Pancras
  • Lancaster Gate
  • London Bridge
  • Mansion House
  • Marble Arch
  • Mile End
  • Monument
  • North Greenwich
  • Notting Hill Gate
  • Oxford Circus
  • Queensway
  • Ravenscourt Park
  • St. James’s Park
  • St. Paul’s
  • Shepherd’s Bush
  • Sloane Square
  • South Kensington
  • Southwark
  • Stamford Brook
  • Temple
  • Tower Hill
  • Turnham Green
  • Victoria
  • Waterloo
  • Westminster
  • West Acton
  • West Ham
  • West Hampstead
  • West Kensington
  • White City
  • Willesden Junction

The list may be impressive, even without stations on the North-South lines, but it has consequences.

  • Ealing Broadway could see a lot of interchange traffic between Crossrail and the Central and |District Lines. Is it up to the task?
  • Stratford and Whitechapel will see a lot of interchange traffic between Crossrail and other lines. These two stations have been designed for it.
  • The Victoria Line is difficult to access. However, it is only a short walk from the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street Crossrail station.
  • The Piccadilly Line is difficult to access.

I suspect that as at Oxford Circus, there will be small schemes in several places to create connectivity.

Kings Cross St. Pancras is a big problem as it is a mass of long tunnels, but Crossrail and Thameslink will give passengers the chance to avoid it.

  • If you’re on Crossrail and want to go North on the Victoria or Piccadilly Lines, I suspect that it would be easier to take Thameslink to Finsbury Park, where you can dive into the Underground.
  • If you’re on Crossrail and want to go South on the Victoria Line, the quickest way might be change to the Bakerloo at Paddington and then walk across the platform to the Victoria Line at Oxford Circus.

But whatever route you take in a few years time, won’t be the obvious one today.

Extra Connectivity

There are various projects either under construction, planned or proposed, that would increase Crossrail’s reach.

  • The Hall Farm Curve linking Walthamstow and Chingford to Stratford.
  • The rebuilding of Bank, Camden Town, Highbury and Islington and other stations.
  • The Northern Line Extension to Battersea.
  • The Bakerloo Line Extension.
  • The Greenford Branch is being improved.
  • The re-signalling of London Underground’s sub-surface lines.
  • The four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line in preparation for Crossrail 2.
  • The adding of a Central Line station at Shoreditch High Street.
  • Extensions to the Docklands Light Railway.
  • Old Oak Common will become more and more important with connections to the West Coast Main Line, HS2 and the Chiltern Main Line.
  • Increases in frequency on the Victoria Line, Jubilee Line, Sub-Surface Lines, the Northern City Line and the Overground.

I do think though we could see a few surprises.

  • There have been proposals to extend the Waterloo and City Line for years.  Modern tunnelling and innovative train concepts might allow a shuttle between Waterloo and Crossrail at Liverpool Street.
  • As the City of London wants to cut traffic in the Square Mile, what will they do?
  • Will Oxford Street finally become traffic free?
  • Will Manor House and Harringay Green Lanes be reorganised?
  • Crossrail has seen some interesting concepts developed for building lift and escalator tunnels, which will be used again and again.
  • Crossrail will be extended to somewhere not mentioned before.

I have a feeling that Crossrail 2 won’t be so urgent.




July 6, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment