The Anonymous Widower

Can Between Rayners Lane And Uxbridge Stations Be Step-Free?

I took a Metropolitan Line train to Ucbridge station today and took these pictures, taken at stations between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations, where the line is shared between Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines.

Note.

  1. Between platforms and Metropolitan Line trains access is generally good.
  2. Only Uxbridge and Hillingdon stations are fully step-free.
  3. There is no special provision for Piccadilly Line trains.

Making this section of line fully step-free is going to be difficult.

It may be very much step-free now for Metropolitan Line trains, but look at this picture of a Piccadilly Line train at Rayners  Lane station.

This certainly won’t meet the spirit if not the law of the the Persons of Reduced Mobility regulations.

The Platform Edge Door Issue

This article in London Reconnections is entitled Upgrading the Piccadilly: Calling Time on Mind the Gap?. It is an article that is well worth reading.

This is said about the platform train interface.

On modern transport networks once a system is designed to be UTO-capable then a mandatory requirement almost always now follows – the network or line in question should have platform-edge doors at all stations, including the above ground ones. Furthermore platform levels must be aligned with the floor level of the trains.

UTO means Unattended Train Operation.

I put London Reconnections on my list of trusted sites like The BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times and several railway web sites, so I would rate this interpretation correct.

The new Piccadilly Line trains will certainly be built to be UTO-capable, as on past form, they will be built to last at least forty years. Could we guarantee that UTO won’t come in during their lifetime?

Note that  one of the regulations associated with trains being UTO-capable, is that platform and train floors must be aligned.

This is not only good for passengers, including those in wheelchairs and buggies, and those overloaded with shopping, but it’s also good for train companies, as dwell times at stations can generally be reduced and staff don’t have to deal with cumbersome wheelchair ramps.

But, I think that these regulations mean that it is very difficult for two types of train to share the same platform.

This principle was probably obvious to the engineer, who designed the platforms at Stratford station in the 1930s, where main line services are on one side and the Central Line is on the other.

The principle certainly seems to be involved in the design of the tram-train interchange platforms at Rotherham Central station.

Lower level extensions are being built at the Sheffield (far) ends of the platforms, so passengers changing, will just walk along the platform.

  • The longer high-level section will be able to handle the longest train likely to call, which will probably be about eight-cars.
  • The shorter low-level section will be able to handle the longest tram likely to call, which will probably be a forty metre Class 399 tram-train.

It’s a simple layout, but it would mean a very long platform, if it were to be used with sub-service and deep-level Underground trains sharing a platform.

Applying The Regulations Between Rayners Lane And Uxbridge Stations

I believe these regulations will mean that only three ways to meet the regulations are possible.

  • Separate tracks and platforms between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations.
  • Extremely long bi-level platforms.
  • Only one type of train serves the branch.

The first two options would probably be too expensive, but I believe that by good design and some clever reworking of the tracks at Rayners Lane station.

A Redesigned Rayners Lane Station

So could Rayners Lane station be redesigned to meet all the regulations and provide a much-improved passenger experience.

Step-Free Access

This picture shows the 1930s stairs at Rayners Lane station.

The station may be Grade II Listed, but this is not acceptable any more.

As is the platform-train interface shown in the first picture!

|Adding lifts and improving the stairs will be a major undertaking.

The Metropolitan Line Service

The Peak service is ten trains per hour (tph) in both directions, with a reduction to eight tph in the Off Peak.

Once the Four Lines Modernisation (4LM) is completed in 2023, these frequencies will be increased.

The journey between Aldgate and Uxbridge stations currently takes an hour.

This journey  time is awkward from the point of scheduling the trains. The new signalling will probably reduce this to such a time, that the train could do the journey, turnround and be ready to return within an hour.

This would mean a higher frequency of trains without adding to the fleet. Although, it will probably mean that more drivers will need to be trained, which is a lot more affordable and easier, than buying new trains.

I feel that 10 tph might even be possible with the existing fleet and the new signalling.

But the new signalling will probably allow more semi-fast trains to operate, which might mean an extremely customer-friendly 12 rph were possible all day.

The Piccadilly Line Service

The Peak service is twelve trains per hour (tph) in both directions, with a reduction to six tph in the Off Peak.

Half the trains reverse at Rayners Lane station.

The journey between Kings Cross St. Pncras and Uxbridge stations currently takes an nine minutes over the hour.

The Rayners Lane To Uxbridge Service

Adding the two services together gives a  Peak service of twenty-two trains per hour (tph) in both directions, with a reduction to eleven tph in the Off Peak.

Terminating The Piccadilly Line At Rayners Lane Station

There would be advantages to terminating all Piccadilly Line services at Rayners Lane station.

  • All Piccadilly Line trains would go through the same procedure at Rayners Lane station
  • The journey time would be reduced by fourteen minutes, which would ease train scheduling.
  • There would be no knock on effects, if either line had delays.
  • Signalling and train control at Rayners Lane would be simpler.

But it would need a major rebuilding of the tracks and platforms.

On the Victoria Line, thirty-six tph are handled on two platforms at Walthamstow Central and Brixton stations or eighteen tph on each platform.

So could a single platform at Rayners Lane station handle the Piccadilly Line service?

If it could, it could even be positioned between the two Metropolitan Lines, with an island platform on either side, giving cross-platform operation in both directions.

But because problems do occur, there would probably be two terminal platforms for the Piccadilly Line, as there are at the end of most Underground lines.

I think terminating Piccadilly Line services at Rayners Lane station could be made to work well and provide step-free access at all stations West of Rayners Lane station.

Terminating The Metropolitan Line At Rayners Lane Station

I don’t believe the problems of terminating the Metropolitan Line service at Rayners Lane would be any more difficult, than terminating the Piccadilly Line, but it might offer advantages, after  all the stations on the line had been rebuilt to accept the new UTO-capable Piccadilly Line trains.

  • This would open the possibility of running trains under UTO between Acton Town and Uxbridge stations.
  • Hillingdon Borough Council have been pushing for the Central Line to be diverted from West Ruislip to Uxbridge. This would become possible.
  • The frequency all the way from Acton Town to Uxbridge could easily be raised.

As with terminating Piccadilly Line services at Rayners Lane station, I think that terminating Metropolitan Line services could be used to provide step-free access at all stations West of Rayners Lane station.

Could A Piccadilly Line Service Be Run Between Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway Stations?

In Is There Going To Be More Change At Ealing Broadway Station?, I wrote about rumours of a possible plan to create a new terminus for the Piccadilly Line at Ealing Broadway station, using the route currently used by District Line trains from Ealing Common station.

I came to the following conclusion.

But overall, because it sorts out step-free access in the area, I think it is a good proposal.

I just wonder, if it would be possible for trains to run between Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway station.

This Google Map shows where the Piccadilly Line to Rayners Lane and Ucbridge and the District Line to Ealing Broadway divide , a short distance North of Ealing Common station.

I think that creating the missing side of the triangular junction would be possible, thus allowing a service to be created between Ealing Broadway and Uxbridge stations.

  • All stations would be made step-free and UTO-capable.
  • Twelve tph could be run between Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway in both directions.
  • Ten or welve tph would still be run between Uxbridge and Cockfosters.
  • Twelve tph on both routes would mean a train every two and a half minutes between North Ealing and Uxbridge stations.
  • The route would surely be ideal for running under UTO.
  • A large area of Ealing, Hillington and Harrow would get a frequent link to Crossrail at Ealing Broadway.
  • Extra stations could be added to the route to support development.

If the interchange at Rayners Lane were to be well designed, I doubt there would be any losers.

Could The Central Line Be Extended To Uxbridge?

In the Wikipedia entry for Uxbridge station, in the last sentence of a section called History, this is said.

The London Borough of Hillingdon announced in June 2011 that it would be lobbying Transport for London to have the Central line diverted from West Ruislip station to Uxbridge. Such a project would require a business case approved by TfL and the completion of signal upgrade work on the Metropolitan Line.

So would that be feasible?

Access To Uxbridge Station?

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines to Uxbridge and West Ruislip stations.

 

The lines in the map are as follows.

  • black – Chiltern Main Line
  • blue- Piccsdilly Line
  • mauve – Metropolitan Line
  • red – Central Line

The big red blob is the Central Line’s Ruislip Depot.

Uxbridge station is in the South-West corner.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows where all the lines cross at the North-West end of Ruislip Depot.

I suspect that an efficient connection can be made to allow the Central Line to go to Uxbridge instead of or as an alternative to West Ruislip station.

Note that at some point in the future, it is expected that both the Central and the Piccadilly Lines will use the same type of train. Will Ruislip depot be used for  some Piccadilly Line trains, given its location close to Uxbridge station and the good connection?

Uxbridge Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows Uxbridge station.

Note that Uxbridge station has three lines and four platforms.

  • It would surely be much easier to handle the service, if all the trains terminating at Uxbridge were the same type.
  • This would happen, if all Metropolitan Line trains terminated at Rayners Lane station.
  • Two platforms could easily handle twenty-four tph for the Piccadilly Line.
  • Two platforms could easily handle nine tph for the Central Line.

Uxbridge would become a very busy station.

Conclusion

There are a lot of possible improvements that can be done to the train service to Uxbridge.

 

 

October 31, 2017 - Posted by | News | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. TBH I cannot see a valid reason for re-routing the Central line through to Uxbridge.

    Comment by mauricegreed | November 1, 2017 | Reply

    • I can’t either, but then I don’t live in Uxbridge.

      Comment by AnonW | November 1, 2017 | Reply


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