The Anonymous Widower

Will c2c Push For Access To Stratford And Liverpool Street?

On Sunday in An Excursion To Shoeburyness, I indicated how instead of coming back the way I came via West Ham, I got off at Stratford and did some shopping at Eastfield.

But would c2c like to serve Stratford and Liverpool Street more?

The Current Weekend Service From Shoeburyness To Stratford And Liverpool Street

Currently two trains per hour (tph) run from Shoeburyness to Stratford and Liverpool Street at weekends, when there is no conflicting engineering work.

Incidentally, with my excursion, I think that I had to come back by c2c as the Great Eastern Main Line was closed for Crossrail work.

If nothing this engineering disruption shows the value of Southend being served by two independent rail lines.

The Stratford Effect

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Shopping Centre at Stratford will have a porofound effect on the operation of c2c’s trains.

This page on the c2c web site is entitled Christmas shoppers get direct c2c trains to Stratford.

This is said.

c2c will run two trains an hour on both Saturdays and Sundays that divert to Liverpool Street instead of Fenchurch Street. These will provide direct access to the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre plus easy access to London’s West End. This is in addition to the two trains an hour that run to Chafford Hundred, for the Lakeside shopping centre, as part of c2c’s existing service.

I think the news item dates from 2014, but it does show a level of intent.

There is also this article in the Southend Echo, which is entitled Extra trains planned as West Ham’s stadium move puts added pressure on c2c network.

This is said.

TRAIN operator c2c are running extra and longer trains for fans travelling to West Ham matches at the club’s new stadium in Stratford.

This won’t be a problem for weekend matches, but what about matches on weekday evenings?

c2c’s spokesman went into more detail.

When asked about direct trains running from Southend to Stratford to make the journey as quick and simple as possible for fans, c2c said they already run direct trains to Stratford from Southend and Basildon,but not Grays, and there will be two trains per hour direct to Stratford most weekends – and two more trains per hour to West Ham.

From Grays, all four trains an hour go to West Ham.

For weeknight games and during weekend engineering work, all trains run to West Ham.

At present, the weekend trains between Shoeburyness and Stratford, satisfy the weekend sopping and football, but what about other events at the Olympic Park? The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is only going to get busier.

So are the current services really what c2c and its customers want and need?

Car parking is fairly comprehensive at the outer stations according to this page on the c2c web site.

West Horndon Station

It wasn’t very busy on the Sunday I took this picture at West Horndon station, but for encouraging weekend leisure trips, the availability of car parking must be an asset.

I would imagine that c2c are pushing the authorities for permission to run evening services into Liverpool Street via Stratford.

The Crossrail Effect

When you talk about any of London’s railways, this herd of elephants, with its 1,500 passenger capacity Class 345 trains, always bursts into the room.

For c2c trains to get to Stratford, they need to take the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) between Barking and Woodgrange Park, where they join the slow lines into London.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines around Woodgrange Park station.

woodgrangepark

As the GOBlin is currently being electrified and improved, I suspect that there will be no operational problems on  the short stretch of shared line.

Will there be problems though, after Crossrail opens and there are increased frequencies of trains to and from London?

In the Peak, Crossrail will be running 16 tph to and from Shenfield, so as they are only running 8 tph in the Off Peak, I suspect that at weekends, there will be capacity for c2c’s 2 tph to Stratford.

It is interesting to look at Crossrail’s proposed Peak service on the Shenfield branch.

  • 8 tph between Shenfield and Paddington
  • 2 tph between Shenfield and Reading
  • 2 tph between Shenfield and Maidenhead
  • 4 tph between Gidea Park and Liverpool Street

This says to me, that there are probably paths in the timetable to squeeze 4 tph in the Off Peak into Liverpool Street, as the Gidea Park service is Peak-only.

Access To Liverpool Street

Liverppool Street station has two problems.

  • There are not enough platforms – This is a difficult one to solve, although Crossrail might only need a single platform to handle the limited number of services not going through the core tunnel. London Overground regularly turns 4 tph in a single platform.
  • The platforms are too short – This will be remedied once Crossrail trains are using the core tunnel.

I’m certain, that in a few years Liverpool Street in the Off Peak, will be able to handle 2 tph with a length of 12-cars for c2c.

It is interesting to note, that my train on Sunday was only eight-cars. Was this because of limitations at Liverpool Street?

Should c2c Stop At Woodgrange Park?

Currently, they don’t, but after the GOBlin is reopened would it be a good idea to create a step-free change to get to and from a lot of stations across North London.

The change at Barking between the two lines is not easy and the alternative is to improve it.

c2c Needs Access To Crossrail

c2c’s current route structure has no connection to Crossrail.

As an example to go from West Horndon to Heathrow Airport, you’d need to change twice.

  • At West Ham onto the Jubilee Line.
  • At Stratford onto Crossrail.

Neither change is a short walk, but both are step-free in busy stations.

If however, it’s a Saturday or Sunday, you could take a train to Stratford and I suspect when Crossrail opens, just wait on the same platform until a Heathrow train arrives.

It should be remembered, that c2c runs an all-Electrostar fleet and I suspect that these are Crossrail compatible with respect to platform height, so the change at Stratford would be easy with heavy cases, buggy or even a week-chair.

What Will The Future Hold?

From what I have written, it would certainly be possible for there to be two 12-car trains every hour in the Off Peak between Shoeburyness and Liverpool Street calling at Basildon, Upminster and Stratford.

But this would have limitations and possible problems.

  • Passengers from stations like Grays would want the Crossrail connection too!
  • If it is needed in the Off Peak, is it needed in the Peak?
  • Would passengers changing at Stratford cause congestion?

There would also be the mother of all battles between the train companies involved, to make sure they kept market share.

My ideal world scenario would be something like.

  • 4 tph all day go into Liverpool Street.
  • 2 tph on both c2c routes through Basildon and Grays go into Liverpool Street.
  • Chafford Hundred is served from Liverpool Street
  • Ticketing is such, that Stratford to Southend can use either route and either Southend station.
  • c2c trains to and from Liverpool Street, call at Woodgrange Park for the GOBlin.

My wish list may not be possible, but there is certainly tremendous scope for improvement.

We could even see, a station like Grays, Pitsea or Southend becoming a Crossrail terminus.

Who knows? I don’t!

 

 

 

October 18, 2016 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] I said in Will c2c Push For Access To Stratford And Liverpool Street?, c2c needs a connection to a station on […]

    Pingback by Could Old Oak Common Be London’s Super Hub Station? « The Anonymous Widower | October 29, 2016 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s