The Anonymous Widower

Did Heathrow Back Down?

This article on the BBC is entitled New Elizabeth Line to serve Heathrow’s Terminal 5

A few months ago Heathrow was wanting to charge Crossrail an extortionate price for access to Heathrow and it was also holding out from allowing Crossrail to reach Terminal Five.

They tried all legal means to get Crossrail to cough up for the access to Heathrow, but no court found in their favour. And that includes the most important court of all; the Court of Public Opinion. Many, and Londoners in particular, look upon Heathrow Airports as a greedy bully and perhaps Heathrow decided this was a fight they couldn’t win.

So their only bargaining chip left was Terminal Five and perhaps British Airways had a quiet word.

Passengers complaining about being ripped off by Heathrow Express wouldn’t complain to Heathrow, but to British Airways.

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Longfield Station

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways has made me ask  questions about how services to various stations in Kent will be affected.

Longfield station is probably best described as a typically busy commuter station with three trains per hour (tph) for most of the day.

These pictures show the station.

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

I had lunch with a friend whilst I was there and a problem he flagged up was that parking can be difficult, especially if you want to travel later n the day.

Parking At longfield Station

He said sometimes the only alternative to driving, is to cut across toEbbsfleet International station and put up with the higher prices of the Highspeed sewrvice.

Note how the car parking at Longfield station is all over the place.

The Price Of The High Speed Service

I have heard several complaints about the cost of the service into St. Pancras and I do wonder that if Victoria could be used as a second terminal, as I examined in Victoria As A Highspeed Terminal, that this could have the affect of bringing prices down.

Trains Through Longfield

I travelled out to Longfield in a 100 mph Class 377 train, but I travelled back in a 75 mph Class 466 train.

The former are just about fast enough, but the latter are too slow for a journey between ictoria and Dover or Ramsgate.

As I indicated in Track Improvements, Network Rail believe that the key to faster services is better signalling and faster trains.

The signalling problem is being addressed by the East Kent Re-Signalling Project, but new trains are needed that can operate at a higher speed on the lines in Kent.

Using a version of the Class 395 train is a possibility, but so is an entirely new train from another manufacturer. Having ridden in an Aventra and read the armours that the train can have a 125 mph capability, I’m sure Bombardier can come up with a Kent Coast Express.

Surely, more Class 395 trains must be the most likely, as six-car trains, working on most routes as 12-car units, is something that appears to work well for the current operator.

I think that the most likely scenario in future will be.

  • The stopping service currently run by 75 mph Class 466 trains will be run by 100 mph Class 377 trains.
  • The two semi-fast services will be run by new faster trains.
  • All services would be twelve-car trains.

As each service would be run by a faster train, there would be journey time savings.

Will Longfield Lose Any Of Its Three Trains Per Hour?

I think this is unlikely, as when this is tried, there is usually  a bitter row, that train operating companies try to avoid.

Will There Be Any Victoria to Thanet Services via Bromley South And High Speed One?

These services would take the following route from Victoria to Ashford International station.

  • Bromley South station
  • Fawkham Junction Link
  • Ebbsfleet International station
  • High Speed One

After Ashford, they could go to Dover, Hastings or Ramsgate.

There are two capacity constraints.

  • Between Victoria and Bromley South.
  • Between Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fast service from Victoria to Thanet in the timetable.

It would be ideal, if a train to both Dover and Ramsgate were possible in an hour.


It is my view that Longfield station will not have an inferior service to the present time, when the new franchise is awarded.

But services will be different! And hopefully faster!

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.


July 4, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 15 Comments

Dame Sally Davies Puts The Boot In To Cancer

The lead item on BC Breakfast this morning is detailed in this article on the BBC web site entitled Chief medical officer calls for gene testing revolution.

Dame Sally Davies is very forthright in calling for gene testing to cease being a cottage industry and be nationalised with a large database of all information, to help in the treatment of cancer.

She said that spending the same amount of money on a national system, would bring better treatments to many more patients.

But she didn’t leave it at that and criticised doctors for not wanting a nation system and patients who don’t let their data be added to the national database.

I have been told by Liverpool University, that one of the reasons for their success with pancreatic cancer, is that they have an impressive database of cases from all over the world.

Those who refuse to allow their data to help others, need to be persuaded in the strongest possible way.

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Health | | 1 Comment

Faster Trains For Slower In Scotland

In my analysis of the Kentish routes in Kent On The Cusp Of Change, I wrote a post called Elimination Of Slow Trains.

In the post, I said that the 75 mph Class 465 trains, were slowing services and reducing capacity, based on an article called Kent on the Cusp of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

I proposed a minimum specification for trains on Kentish routes.

  • 100 mph capability
  • Designed for a fast station stop with minimum dwell-time
  • Regenerative braking
  • Efficient traction motors
  • Wi-fi in all classes
  • The capability to fit boosters for 4G signals.

Southeastern’s Class 465 trains fail on all points.

In Scotland, there is a new batch of Class 385 trains on order to work the new electrified services between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Under Operation in the Wikipedia entry for the trains, this is said.

The new trains will also operate on the newly electrified Croy, Dunblane and Shotts lines as well as replacing existing stock on the currently electrified Carstairs, North Berwick and Cathcart Circle Lines. This will allow for the replacement of ScotRail’s Class 314 fleet, and allow for the cascading of a number of Class 156, Class 158 and Class 170 units.

The Class 314 trains are even older and less capable than Southeastern’s Class 465 trains.

So what will be effect on services in Scotland, where the Class 385 trains replace the Class 314 trains?

If you look at the North Berwick Line trains between Edinburgh and North Berwick stations take around 33-34 minutes, when run by 100 mph Class 380 trains. Under Rolling Stock in the Wikipedia entry for the North Berwick Line, this is said.

From December 2017, ScotRail services on the North Berwick Line will begin to use new Class 385 units. Services will be formed of six coaches (two 3-car units) following growing passenger numbers (the platform at North Berwick was extended in early 2016 to accommodate these new longer trains). In the short term Class 380/1s (four car) will be removed from the line and two Class 380/0s (three car) used instead until the Summer and back again to four car units until December. Once the new units arrive, The Class 380 units will be cascaded to increase capacity on the Ayrshire and Inverclyde Lines to and from Glasgow making all services on these routes operated by Class 380s.

So could it be that although both Class 380 and 385 trains are 100 mph units, the newer trains have a better station stop performance, which enables the timings on the line to be reduced and possibly allow the doubling of frequency of trains to two trains per hour?


Modern 100 mph trains with the ability to execute fast stops at stations are good for operators and passengers alike.

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Could South Western Railway Use Class 395 Trains Instead Of The Proposed Class 442 Trains?

In When Do Mark 3 Coaches Accept The Inevitable?, I mused about why South Western Railway were using refurbished Class 442 trains on the routes betweenLondon and Portsmouth.

The reasons for using these refurbished trains include.

  • They could be very powerful trains if they were retractioned.
  • The Portsmouth Direct Line is very challenging.
  • The trains might become 100 mph plus trains, which could save minutes on journey times and aid timetabling.

|The current Class 444 and Class 450 trains working the route may be 100 mph trains, but could it be that the required performance improvements need a more powerful and/or faster train?

I suspect too, that as the trains are based on legendary Mark 3 coaches, the interiors can be refurbished to a high standard with everything passengers need and want.

In Ultimate Class 395 Train, which is part of my analysis into Kentish routes in Kent On The Cusp Of Change, I proposed upgrades to a new batch of Class 395 trains.

  • Batteries To Enable Working To Hastings For The New Southeastern Franchise
  • Wi-Fi And 4G Capability
  • Up To 125 mph Capability On 750 VDC Third-Rail Electrification

Would these trains be an alternative to the Class 442 trains for the Portsmouth Direct Line even using batteries to handle the topography of the line, regenerative braking and save energy?

If they were working a line like the Portsmouth Direct Line, where acceleration and power is probably more important than outright speed, the trains could be rated accordingly. The operating speed on the line is currently 90 mph, but how much time would be saved with perhaps a 110 mph train and some or all of the line able to handle speeds of 100 mph plus?

The choice of refurbished Class 442 trains, which are claimed to save five minutes on fast services and seven minutes on slow ones, says a lot about what is possible between London and Portsmouth.

But would a Class 395 train, similar to those needed on Kentish routes without the 25 KVAC capability be an off-the-shelf new train that could give the same or even better journey time improvements?

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment