The Anonymous Widower

West Ealing Station – 12th October 2016

I took these pictures at West Ealing station.

It looks like the new bay platform 5 is ready, but little progress seems to have made on the new station building.

There’s still no information, as to when the service on the Greenford Branch, becomes a four trains per hour (tph) shuttle.

What we do know is that this page on the Crossrail web site has some nice images of the station, that will rise behind the hoardings.

Wikpedia says that initial services on Crossrail will be.

  • 4tph Abbey Wood to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 2tph Shenfield to Reading
  • 2tph Shenfield to Maidenhead

There will also be another 2 tph running between Abbey Wood and West Drayton in the Peak.

All this in addition to other Great Western Railway services running to and from Paddington.

Services On The Greenford Branch

Passengers on the Greenford Branch will have to change to get to and from Paddington and I suspect some will moan.

But for many passengers from Greenford to the West End, the City or Canary Wharf, they will have an easier journey with just one change at West Ealing.


  • The Greenford Branch shuttle frequency of 4 tph fits well with the Crossrail and Paddington services.
  • I suspect that every shuttle arriving from Greenford will arrive so that passengers for London can just walk across the platform and get a train to Central London.
  • The maximum wait for a Crossrail train to Liverpool Street will be seven and a half minutes all day.
  • If passengers need to cross between the shuttle platform and the Westbound Crossrail platform there will be a bridge with stairs and a lift.

These are the timings before and after Crossrail opens between Greenford and Liverpool Street.

  • Currently,  using the Metropolitan Line across Central London – 66 minutes
  • Crossrail and the shuttle – 31 minutes plus how long it takes to change trains at West Ealing.

Greenford to Canary Wharf gives these timings.

  • Currently, changing to the Underground at Paddington – 75 minutes
  • Crossrail and the shuttle – 37 minutes plus how long it takes to change trains at West Ealing.

And these timings apply between Greenford and Heathrow Terminal 4.

  • Currently, changing at Ealing Broadway – 54 minutes
  • Crossrail and the shuttle – 28 minutes plus how long it takes to change trains at West Ealing.

I suspect that each 4 tph shuttle will be timed to arrive at West Ealing, so that someone with a child in a buggy and a heavy case has time to cross the line using the bridge and the lifts.

Trains On The Greenford Branch

The Greenford Branch is not electrified and there seem to be no plans to electify the whole line.

But if you look at the pictures, that I took yesterday, you’ll see the foundations for the gantries are there to electrify the bay platform 5 .

Initially, the shuttle will have to be run by something like the current Class 165 trains.

Simple mathematics says that to provide a four tph shuttle two trains will be needed.

There would be no major  infrastructure changes, as the line is mainly double-track, so the trains could probably pass easily. But there might need to be an additional crossover to allow trains to run on the correct line.

But these trains have their problems, which were illustrated yesterday, when a fit young lady with a toddler in a buggy didn’t board the train as fast as she would have done at a typical Overground station with a modern Class 378 train.

As Crossrail will be run to a tight schedule, I doubt that TfL want serious loading delays with wheelchairs, buggies and heavy luggage.

So this means that modern trains must be provided on the Greenford Branch.

There has been a lot of speculation on the Internet, that the Greenford Branch, like the Romford to Upminster Line in the East of the capital, should become part of the London Overground.

This might be a sensible idea, especially as London Overground from 2018 will have some spare modern weheelchair-friendly Class 172 trains,, once the Gospel Oak to Barking Line is fully electrified and running new electric Class 710 trains.

On the other hand, the fleet of eight Class 172 trains, will probably be very much in demand by other train operating companies, as with a change of seats, they’d be ideal for many routes outside of London.

As Baldrick would say, there is a cunning plan, that could be enabled.

The platforms at West Ealing station are all being made step-free for the two types of trains that will use them; Crossrail’s 345s and GWR’s 387s.

This applies to all of the Western Crossrail stations and looking at the bay platform 5 at West Ealing, that has been built to the standard height.

So this would mean that GWR’s 387s would be able to use the platform, once it is electrified, which looks like is happening.

But these trains wouldn’t be able to use the branch, unless it was electrified.

However, London Overground’s new Class 710 trains, would also fit the bay platform.

The Class 710 train, like Crossrail’s 345 are members of Bombardier’s new Aventra family of trains.

As Bombardier demonstrated battery trains in public service nearly two years ago, there has been speculation that Aventras will have a battery capability to do journeys away from the overhead wires.

This is the best information so far!

This article in Global Rail News from 2011, which is entitled Bombardier’s AVENTRA – A new era in train performance, gives some details of the Aventra’s electrical systems. This is said.

AVENTRA can run on both 25kV AC and 750V DC power – the high-efficiency transformers being another area where a heavier component was chosen because, in the long term, it’s cheaper to run. Pairs of cars will run off a common power bus with a converter on one car powering both. The other car can be fitted with power storage devices such as super-capacitors or Lithium-Iron batteries if required.

Bombardier have confirmed the wiring for onboard power storage to me.

Consider use of Class 710 .

  • The length of the Greenford Branch is just 4.3 km., so out and back from West Ealing should be within the typical 50 km. range quoted for battery trains.
  • The batteries could be used to handle regenerative braking at the various stops to save electricity.
  • There would be no need to put up any overhead wires on the branch.
  • The Class 710 trains are four-car trains, so would be sufficient capacity for the medium future.
  • The Class 710 trains are optimised to call at stations in the shortest time possible. So could we see a faster service on the branch?
  • The Class 710 trains are friendly to wheelchairs, buggies and heavy luggage.
  • The Class 710 train would just look like a mini-Crossrail train.
  • Bombardier would love to have a live demonstration of their battery technology on a line close to Heathrow Airport.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see London Overground taking over the Greenford Branch and using Class 710 trains running on batteries on the route.


October 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Now There’s A Thing!

I made a mistake in an Internet search and found there’s an actor called Donald Tripe.

He must be having an interesting time in the run-up to the US Presidential Election

October 12, 2016 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Austrian Railways To Run More Sleeper Trains

This article on Global Rail News is entitled ÖBB to expand night train services.

This is said.

Austria’s ÖBB is working with Deutsche Bahn (DB) to take over several night train routes following the German operator’s decision to drop the services.

From December 11, ÖBB will add six routes to its Nightjet network, including services with car and motorbike transport.

I do find it rather surprising that little Austria is prepared to provide a service that the mighty Germany won’t!

I’ve never travelled on a long distance Austrian train, but perhaps like the Swiss, they try to give the passengers what they want, rather than as Deutsche Bahn do and give the passengers the minimum they can get away with.

The Austrians will take over six routes and spend €45million on new coaches.

The route I like is Venice to Munich, as it might be a sensible way to come back from Venice and save a night in a hotel in Venice.

This will be a move to watch.

If it is successful, I think that there’ll be other night services.

October 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | | 1 Comment

A Big Step For Rail Baltica

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Rail Baltica procurement agreement signed.

Rail Baltica is a large  project to create a standard gauge railway from Tallinn in Estonia to Bialiystok in Poland via Riga in Latvia and Kaunus in Lithuania.

One extra part of the plan is to build a rail tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn, to connect Finland to the European railway network.

This Google Map shows the Gulf of Finland.

The Gulf Of Finland

The Gulf Of Finland

Helsinki and Taillinn are in the West on the North and South coasts respectively, with St. Petersburg in the East.

I would think, that a Taillinn to Helsinki Tunnel, would be feasible, but at probably sixty kilometres it would be the longest undersea tunnel in the world.

Now that the various parties have agreed to proceed, we might see some progress on building the main route from Tailinn to Bialystok, which hopefully will be finished in 2025.

October 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment