The Anonymous Widower

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 | , , ,


  1. […] Will Chiltern Railways Get A Second London Terminal At Old Oak Common?, I talked about Network Rail’s ideas to link the Chiltern route to the new […]

    Pingback by After The Northern Hub, Is Network Rail Planning A Midland Rail Hub? « The Anonymous Widower | July 9, 2016 | Reply

  2. […] There has been speculation that Chiltern could open a second London terminus at Old Oak Common for Crossrail. I wrote about it in Will Chiltern Railways Get A Second London Terminus At Old Oak Common?. […]

    Pingback by Chiltern Are Being Very Serious « The Anonymous Widower | October 25, 2016 | Reply

  3. Chiltern already run some services through Old Oak into Paddington at odd times, as a diversion and to keep their rights from GCR/GWR joint.
    Chiltern have been one of the most succcesful franchisers and are running out of space at Marylebone. They have already split the platform lengths into A and B, and converted the carriage sidings into additional platforms.
    Marylebone was never completed as GCR volumes fell short of expectations. Half the unused terminal was sold off for property development. I expect at some point that building will be redeveloped opening up the track level.

    Quite the turnaround from Thatcher’s closure proposal to turn it into a Coach Station.

    The study talks of 4tph into 2 terminating platforms as congestion relief for Marylebone. That seems short sighted.
    Clearly that service could be doubled from 2 platforms in the peak. Presumably the study considers the Chiltern line to be isolated from Paddington by Crossrail. However there is a flyover from the depot that could be retained for use by Chiltern to access Paddington for it’s longer distance inter-city services such as Kidderminster and Milton Keynes.

    Also having passive provision for through platforms would allow possible future Crossrail extensions such as High Wycombe since the proposed operation is heavily weighted to the East with many Paddington terminators. With HS2 and many interchanges there will be pressure to extend the Crossrail terminators to the Old Oak hub but no depot to run them on to. Also Crossrail at Greenford would relieve Central Line congestion from the west. Maybe a BETTER use for some of the Paddington terminators would be to loop 4tph through the Greenford line, 2 in each direction. More electrification & platform extensions will depend on the intensification of housing/employment from the whole Park Royal scheme. One to keep in the book for 20 years hence.

    So my preference is to build in safeguarded space for 4 Chiltern Line platforms.
    I would also add two platforms for the West London Line junction services (Cross Country/Gatwick/Olympia). Clapham Junction is a Top 10 National station.

    I like your poposal for Greenford. As a diesel branch it is a better fit for Chiltern and would suit 2 tph Risborough route stoppers. The bay at West Ealing would give Crossrail / Chiltern cross-platform interchange in advance of the redevelopment at Old Oak. It also relieves Marylebone and offers some diversion service.

    Great Western wants to get rid of the service and focus on electrics. TfL does not want to take it on at a loss and wants to be all electric. It would not be ‘connected’ to the London Overground network of lines without some joint running on Crossrail through Ealing Broadway to the Acton Goods lines.

    Comment by Aleks2cv | December 23, 2017 | Reply

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