The Anonymous Widower

Commitment To West London Orbital Rail Line

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in Global Rail News.

This is the first three paragraphs of the article.

A new West London Orbital rail line has been included in a revised 25-year Transport Strategy for the city.

Its addition follows a public consultation. The document describes an extension of the Overground network connecting Hounslow with Cricklewood and Hendon via Old Oak, Neasden and Brent Cross.

The line would reinstate a regular passenger service on the Dudding Hill line, which links Acton and Cricklewood.

I like this proposal and I wrote about the railway in New Railway Line For West London Proposed.

In the related post, I said this about building the line.

This is no Crossrail or HS2, where billions need to be spent.

The three largest sub-projects would be.

Electrification of the Dudding Hill Line, if it is to be done.
Resignalling of the Dudding Hill Line.
Necessary track replacement and updating.
In addition, there are around ten station projects.

There will also be a need for up to perhaps sixteen Class 710 trains. This could be around £90-100 million.

Since, I wrote that, things have moved on.


The first order for Class 230 trains has been placed, giving them credibility.

They could do the short routes on batteries.

But if these trains can do it on batteries, why can’t Class 710 trains?

So that means no new electrification!


Some of the stations, that will need to be built or modified, like Harlesden or Neasden, sit on sizeable brownfield sites.

Surely, property developers can be persuaded to build a station underneath much-needed housing.

It’s all about good design and very much in the Mayor’s thinking and the property developers’ interests!

Project Management

Get this right and, the line could be built simply and reasonably quickly.

The West London Orbital could be built to the following specification.

  • No full electrification.
  • Battery trains.
  • Platforms long enough for four-car Class 710 trains.
  • Bay platforms with possible charging at West Hampstead, Hendon, Hounslow and Kew Bridge stations.
  • Four tph on both routes.

It lends itself to a very efficient way of building the railway.

  1. Update the tracks and signalling as required on the route.
  2. Build a platform on the freight line through West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  3. Build a bay platform that will accept a four-car train at Hounslow station.
  4. Establish a four tph shuttle service between West Hampstead  Thameslink and Hounslow stations calling at Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  5. Stations could be built at Neasden, Harlesden and Old Oak Common, where there is a generous amount of brownfield land, with lots of space for housing above the tracks and platforms.
  6. Add a bay platform at Hendon and Kew Bridge stations.
  7. Establish a second four tph shuttle service between Hendon and Kew Bridge stations calling at Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton Central and South Acton.


  1. Batteries would be charged South of Acton Central using the existing third-rail electrification.
  2. About five miles of the route would not be electrified.
  3. Housing developments on top of a station are a property developers dream.

The service could be started using Class 230 trains, with the option to switch to four-car Class 710 trains, powered by batteries, when more capacity is needed and Bombardier have fully developed the battery Aventra.

March 6, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. The orbital line could easily be extended to the Goblin line at Upper Holloway.

    Comment by Mark Drukker | April 2, 2018 | Reply

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