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 | , , , , ,

22 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

  2. Firstly use a Harrington hump to make it step free then install platform edge doors to match 2 types of trains height but you can’t add platform edge doors till the dreadful 1973 stock is eventually scrapped

    Comment by A Kaur | August 18, 2018 | Reply

  3. […] Can Between Rayners Lane And Uxbridge Stations Be Step-Free?, I investigated the line between these two stations, including these […]

    Pingback by Thoughts On The Power System For The New Tube for London « The Anonymous Widower | October 6, 2018 | Reply

  4. Maybe terminating all metropolitan line ,trains at Wembley park station and allowing Jubilee line to take over the Uxbridge, Watford, Stanmore,Chesham and Amersham branches . Running Jubilee line trains to Uxbridge and cutting off the Uxbridge,Amersham,Watford and Chesham branches from the Metropolitan line allow trains to terminate at Wembley park to match Piccadilly line height between Rayners Lane to Uxbridge.The metropolitan line can revise Aldgate – Wembley park route as metropolitan line trains terminate on outer platforms at Wembley park and passengers cross over to Jubilee line to go to Uxbridge,Amersham,Chesham,Stanmore and Watford branches.The Jubilee line will have connection at Harrow on the Hill with chiltern railway.Stations between Uxbridge,Stanmore,Watford Chesham, Amersham and Wembley park will be Jubilee line- only stations.Maybe having 5 northern terminus will make operating the Jubilee line even more difficult

    Comment by A Kaur | December 17, 2018 | Reply

    • The biggest flaw in your proposal is that it would need a lot more Jubilee Line trains to be constructed and several new S Stock trains would be redundant to TfL’s needs.

      I have read somewhere that TfL are proposing to run the Uxbridge trains through to Barking or perhaps even Upminster.

      This would do the following.

      1. Improve frequencies between Whitechapel for Crossrail and Barking and Upminster for c2c.

      2. Reduce the pressure on turning trains at Aldgate, where the current twelve trains is probably

      3. Allow more trains on the other branches of the Metropolitan Line to terminate at Aldgate station.

      4. It may enable more trains to be stabled at Upminster.

      If say four trains per hour went through to Barking and/or Upminster stations, that would mean there were, 16 tph on the route, which might be possible to be turned at Upminster.

      Comment by AnonW | December 17, 2018 | Reply

      • I have 1 question. If though the Central line was re-routed to Uxbridge would West Ruislip Station close and be taken off the London tube map?

        Comment by Aronjit | November 10, 2019

  5. Maybe give platforms 1 and 3 at Uxbridge station are to be served by the Jubilee line and platform 2 and 4 at Uxbridge station are to be served by the Piccadilly line . Also build different platform departure board at different platform numbers as it shall show as on departure board at different platform numbers:
    Uxbridge station on top,Jubilee line/Piccadilly line,platform numbers,Terminates Here and destination on bottom as it shall show as :
    At platform 1 departure board:
    Uxbridge Station
    Jubilee line
    Platform 1
    Terminates Here
    Stratford

    At platform 2 departure board:
    Uxbridge Station
    Piccadilly line
    Platform 2
    Terminates Here
    Cockfosters

    At platform 3 departure board:
    Uxbridge Station
    Jubilee line
    Platform 3
    Terminates Here
    Stratford

    At platform 4 departure board:
    Uxbridge Station
    Piccadilly line
    Platform 4
    Terminates Here
    Cockfosters

    Comment by A Kaur | December 17, 2018 | Reply

  6. Anon W , no we have been through this before don’t you that Uxbridge trains to Barking and Upminster are sub surface trains and will not match the Piccadilly line height Rayners Lane to Uxbridge and it makes it much harder to be unattended train operation and peds thank you very much

    Comment by A Kaur | December 26, 2018 | Reply

  7. Maybe tfl should terminate all Piccadilly line trains at South Harrow instead of Rayners Lane as there is a crossover points. So yeah it would make sense for tfl toy terminate and reverse all Piccadilly line trains at South Harrow

    Comment by A Kaur | February 15, 2019 | Reply

  8. Tfl would terminate all Piccadilly line trains at South Harrow Station. The point of that will be that even though there will be a South Harrow Station to Rayners Lane Station gap,Rayners Lane Station will become a Metropolitan line-only Station as Piccadilly line trains will no longer serve Rayners Lane Station anymore. There are crossover points east of South Harrow Station

    Comment by Aronjit | May 9, 2019 | Reply

    • I thought of both Metropolitan and Piccadilly line trains having separate tracks and platforms between Rayners Lane Stations and Uxbridge Stations. Metropolitan line trains will use the centre tracks while Piccadilly line trains will use the outer tracks.

      Comment by Aronjit | July 22, 2019 | Reply

  9. The reason for tfl management should terminate all piccadilly line trains at South Harrow station is that there are stabling sidings east of South Harrow station and can be accessed by both platforms via a pair of crossovers. Piccadilly line trains that terminate at South Harrow station would terminate on Platform 1 and will reverse using the crossovers east of South Harrow station to switch onto the Eastbound tracks and they will come into the stabling sidings to be stabled. When coming back into service piccadilly line trains will come out of the stabling sidings and arrive onto the Eastbound tracks and they would come back into service on Eastbound Platform 2. Additionally I thought of running a
    Acton Town – South Harrow Shuttle Branch Line as there are stabling sidings east of Acton Town station to stable piccadilly line trains. Piccadilly line trains from South Harrow Branch Line will terminate on Eastbound Platform 3 and will leave the Eastbound Express Fast Tracks and come into the stabling sidings to be stabled. When coming back into service piccadilly line trains will come out of the stabling sidings and arrive onto the Westbound Express Fast tracks and come back into service on Westbound Platform 2. All Piccadilly line trains that run on the
    South Harrow Branch Line will terminate as far as Acton Town in the East and will not go all the way to Cockfosters Station ( The Northern End of the Piccadilly line). The South Harrow Branch line will use 6tph instead of 12tph.
    The Piccadilly line Proposed off peak services:
    . 12 tph between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 4.
    . 12 tph between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5.
    . 12 tph between Cockfosters and Northfields.
    . 6 tph between Acton Town and South Harrow.
    Also even though there will be a South Harrow station to Rayners Lane Station Gap, Rayners Lane Station will become a Metropolitan Line- only station as Piccadilly line trains would not serve Rayners Lane station anymore as Metropolitan line trains run better train services to Central London from Uxbridge Station as Metropolitan line trains gets passengers to stations : Kings Cross,Baker Street,Aldgate,Liverpool Street,Moorgate,Barbican and Farringdon Stations quicker. Metropolitan line trains from Uxbridge to Kings Cross takes under an hour but Piccadilly line trains are slower and takes over an hour to get to Kings Cross. Metropolitan line train journeys are a lot shorter than Piccadilly line trains so why use Piccadilly line when you can use Metropolitan line with reduced journey times as timings are a lot shorter than the Piccadilly line.

    Comment by Aronjit | August 30, 2019 | Reply

  10. I cannot see a valid reason for re-routing the Central Line to Uxbridge as there are 2 dead end sidings that come from west ruislip depot and 1 track siding links to ruislip sidings that reverse Metropolitan line trains from west to east rather than the main line that goes straight to Ickenham Station as there are no crossovers to switch from the Ruislip sidings to the Westbound tracks to Ickenham Station as there are only crossovers to switch from the Ruislip reverse sidings to the Eastbound tracks to Ruislip station as 1 sidings tracks does not link to Ruislip dead end reverse sidings to reverse Metropolitan line trains from west to east. The 1 track siding that links to ruislip sidings links to Ruislip sidings as the Ruislip sidings is a dead end to reverse Metropolitan line trains from west to east. So the proposal to reroute the Central line to Uxbridge is not practical as the 1 sidings tracks links to Ruislip sidings

    Comment by Aronjit | September 28, 2019 | Reply

    • It’s a Borough of Hillingdon idea. West Ruislip has just 1.72 million passengers a year and Uxbridge has 8.38 million. So perhaps they want to add capacity at Uxbridge and feel this is the way to do it. But the report dates from 2011, since when the new trains have come into service, which have increased capacity. The Metropolitan Line is being signalled and this must add more capacity. In a couple of years the new Piccadilly Line trains will come into service, which will further increase capacity.

      It is probably not necessary to divert the Central Line, unless the Chiltern Line has a major increase in capacity.

      Comment by AnonW | September 28, 2019 | Reply

  11. I think that the most practical idea is for tfl management should terminate all Piccadilly line trains at South Harrow station as there are
    5 stabling sidings east of South Harrow station and can be accessed from both platforms via a pair of crossovers but the best way to access the 5 stabling sidings is for Piccadilly line trains terminating at South Harrow station to crossover from the Westbound tracks onto the Eastbound tracks in order to be routed into the Eastbound Platform 2 as piccadilly line trains would terminate on Eastbound Platform 2 and can reverse empty into the sidings. The stabling sidings can be accessed best from Eastbound Platform 2 as Terminating piccadilly line trains that terminate at South Harrow station would crossover from Westbound tracks to the Eastbound Platform 2 to access the stabling sidings as Westbound Platform 1 would become an unused Platform. Eastbound Platform 2 would be used to terminate piccadilly line trains on go empty in the stabling sidings and come back to service using the same Platform. The stabling sidings is on t same track as the Eastbound tracks and Eastbound Platform 2. Piccadilly line trains would run a Acton Town to South Harrow shuttle using only 4 tph.
    Piccadilly line Proposed service:
    12 tph between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 4.
    12 tph between Cockfosters and Heathrow Terminal 5.
    12 tph between Cockfosters and Northfields.
    4 tph between Acton Town and South Harrow.
    40 tph in total
    36 tph in the Core Section between Cockfosters and Northfields.

    Comment by Aronjit | September 28, 2019 | Reply

  12. I have 1 question. If though the Central line was re-routed to Uxbridge would West Ruislip Station close and be taken off the London tube map?

    Comment by Aronjit | November 10, 2019 | Reply

    • No idea!

      Comment by AnonW | November 10, 2019 | Reply

  13. If the Metropolitan line was extended to Barking, could it run a split service of serving BOTH Aldgate and Barking Stations allowing for the Hammersmith and city line to cease?

    Comment by Aronjit | February 8, 2020 | Reply

  14. I have a few suggestions for making Rayners Lane to Uxbridge stations step free:
    1. Scrap the Uxbridge Branch of the Metropolitan line and West Harrow station would CLOSE and SHUT.
    2. Truncated the Piccadilly line at South Harrow Station as there are crossovers east of South Harrow station for Piccadilly line trains to go back to Cockfosters Via Central London as there are 2 crossovers east of South Harrow station as piccadilly line trains can terminate and reverse from either 2 Platforms as Rayners Lane station will become a Metropolitan line-Only station as piccadilly line trains would no longer serve Rayners Lane station anymore.
    3. Send SOME Central line trains to Uxbridge Station as the Central line would run a SPLIT service serving BOTH West Ruislip and Uxbridge.

    Comment by Aronjit | February 8, 2020 | Reply

    • You can’t scrap or close stations as a large number of people object.

      Comment by AnonW | February 8, 2020 | Reply

  15. If the Central line was rerouted to Uxbridge, could it perhaps run a SPLIT service serving BOTH Uxbridge and West Ruislip Stations?

    Comment by Aronjit | February 9, 2020 | Reply


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