The Anonymous Widower

Could Three-Car Aventras Run Services On The Greenford Branch?

Services on the Greenford Branch Line between West Ealing and Greenford stations, are currently provided by a two-car Class 165 train.


  • There are no plans to electrify the line.
  • West Ealing station has a recently-constructed bay platform to serve the branch.
  • The branch line is a 2.7 mile double-track line with three stations.
  • The intermediate stations at Drayton GreenCastle Bar Park and South Greenford have short platforms, that can only accept two-car trains.
  • The service frequency is two trains per hour (tph).
  • Each trip takes eleven minutes.

In an ideal world, the service would be electric and four tph.

Proposals For New Trains

Most proposals seem to suggest moving the branch line to the London Overground and using one of their Class 172 trains. But these trains are now being moved to West Midlands Trains, so that proposal would seem to be a non-starter.

Three-Car Aventras

Could three-car Aventras run services on the line using battery power?

I discussed such a train in A Detailed Look At A Three-Car Aventra, after West Midlands Trains ordered thirty-six of the trains.

These are my thoughts.

Capacity Increase

A three-car train would give a fifty percent increase in capacity on the line.

Is this capacity increase needed?

The Link With Crossrail

Under Services in the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, it is indicated that twelve tph will pass through West Ealing station, although it is not yet known how many will stop.

Surely, when Crossrail opens fully, an integrated service with good connections will be created at West Ealing.

I believe Crossrail will work in one of two ways at West Ealing.

  1. In a London Underground-like manner, all trains will stop.
  2. Perhaps four or six tph will stop.

I suspect that Londoners won’t accept the second pattern, as they are used to the Underground and the Overground, where there are not many limited-stop services and a train comes along every few minutes.

So this would mean that there will be trains every five minutes in both directions at West Ealing station, creating a steady stream of passengers for the Greenford Branch Line.

Passengers will get fed up waiting thirty minutes for the branch line train.

As West Ealing will be a well-equipped station, waiting fifteen minutes for a train will probably be acceptable to passengers.

Anything less and there will be masses of complaints.

The Link With The Central Line

What applies at West Ealing with Crossrail, surely applies at Greenford with the Central Line.

Short Platforms

I feel that selective door opening on the Aventra could handle the short platforms on the branch.

Four Trains Per Hour

I think it be possible to work a four tph West Ealing to Greenford shuttle, as the branch line is double-track.

But it may need another cross-over to be installed.

Four tph would need two operational trains.

Charging The Trains

The trains could be charged at either end of the branch line, although for practical reasons, charging might use 25 KVAC overhead at West Ealing and 750 VDC at Greenford, as these are used on other tracks in the respective stations.

But as Aventras can be dual voltage, this could be handled by the trains.

As the line is only 2.7 miles long, charging could probably be done at one end only.

Other Alternatives

It would not be balanced to ignore other possibilities.

Refurbished Two-Car Diesel Trains

Two refurbished two-car diesel trains, like say Class 150 trains could also work four tph. on the branch.

But these would probably present services and refuelling problems.

Class 230 Trains

Two Class 230 trains could also work four tph. on the branch.


  • They could work the branch on diesel or battery, or a combination of both.
  • Trains would be refurbished to a modern standard, with wi-fi and power sockets.
  • Two-car trains would fit the stations on the branch.
  • They are designed for remote servicing.

I think that a dedicated fleet of three two-car Class 230 trains would be a viable alternative.


Three-car Aventras could provide a good service on the Greenford Branch Line, but there are issues and it may be more complicated than anyone thinks to run a service, that is acceptable to passengers.

But three two-car Class 230 trains would be a viable alternative.

October 19, 2017 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. Londoners won’t accept limited stop and few LU services are limited stop? I am sure if you suggested to Ealing commuters that their Piccadilly line trains, which normally run non-stop Acton to Hammersmith, should become stoppers (adding perhaps ten minutes to journey times) that they would be outraged!

    Comment by Mark Clayton | October 20, 2017 | Reply

  2. Agreed. When the Ordsall Chorld opens in Manchester, trains will need to stop at Piccadilly, Oxford Road, Deansgate, Salford Central and Victoria, so locals an use it as a cross-city tram.

    Comment by AnonW | October 20, 2017 | Reply

  3. Everything I read about the Elizabeth Line so far is as a commuter metro service stopping at all stations like the Underground (Turnham Green excepted).

    As for 4 tph these are London’s least used stations so no demand. The service of 2 tph is effectively 4 since you can travel either way to the Central or Elizabeth line for London, coming home you are committed though.
    Demand growth could come with the whole Park Royal hub regeneration so probably very incremental as needed basis. Easier to add a carriage than pay for additional drivers.

    “The intermediate stations at Drayton Green, Castle Bar Park and South Greenford have short platforms, that can only accept two-car trains.” There is room (given a budget) to extend at all except Drayton Green. Greenford looks like platforms have been halved in length in the past.

    Drayton Green south has plenty of platform space around the curve, north side could squeeze in another car then SDO.

    Comment by Aleks2cv | December 23, 2017 | Reply

  4. […] In Could Three-Car Aventras Run Services On The Greenford Branch?, I tried to answer the question in the title. […]

    Pingback by Nineteen Tri-Mode Flex Class 769s For GWR « The Anonymous Widower | April 23, 2018 | Reply

  5. […] Will three-car Aventras work the route, as I wrote in Could Three-Car Aventras Run Services On The Greenford Branch?? […]

    Pingback by West Ealing Station Goes Step-Free As Part Of Crossrail Upgrades « The Anonymous Widower | April 1, 2021 | Reply

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