The Anonymous Widower

Between Heathrow And Gatwick Airports Using Heathrow Southern Railway

I have received a few messages asking how the Heathrow Southern Railway would help travellers get between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

How Many Passengers Would Actually Transfer Between The Two Airports?

This question would definitely be filed under pieces of string.

The direct route using Crossrail and Thameslink will take under two hours, with a change at Farringdon.

  • There are several major tourist attractions close the the Crossrail/Thameslink route; Oxford Street, British Museum, St. Paul’s, River Thames, Tate Modern, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, for those unencumbered by baggage.
  • Will Farrington develop into a joint terminal for both airports?
  • How many passengers, will want to have a day of rest and recuperation in the best city in the world?
  • How many travellers to and from Europe, the North and Scotland will switch to the long distance trains at Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations?

Passengers wanting to avoid London could use the Waterloo – Heathrow service proposed by Heathrow Southern Railway and change at Clapham Junction.

  • The proposed Waterloo – Heathrow service will be four trains per hour (tph)
  • It would probably run at an appropriate frequency at night, just like Gatwick Express and Thameslink.
  • Passengers would change at Clapham Junction between Gatwick and Heathrow services.
  • I estimate, that the Clapham Junction route, could be quicker than the Crossrail/Thameslink route, at perhaps an hour and twenty minutes.
  • Clapham Junction station is step-free, but the bridge could be made more passenger-friendly.

Until, I get firm evidence to the contrary, I have a strong feeling that not many passengers will want to a faster service thanthe one, these two routes offer.

What About The Workers?

There must be people in the aviation industry, who need to go regularly to both airports for the purposes of work.

If you were in that class of worker, you might choose to live, somewhere that was convenient for both airports.

I suspect that this valuable group will be well-served by services from Clapham Junction.

  • Clapham Junction to Heathrow – 30 minutes
  • Clapham Junction to Gatwick – 25 minutes

Feeder times to Clapham Junction using direct trains include.

  • Balham – 6 minutes
  • Canada Water – 29 minutes
  • East Croydon – 11 minutes
  • Epsom – 28 minutes
  • Peckham Rye – 19 minutes

With four tph, the maximum wait at Clapham Junction would be fifteen minutes.

Clapham Junction Will Become An Even Bigger Hub

Heathrow Southern Railway will make Clapham Junction station, an even more important hub.

  • It is about thirty minutes away from both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.
  • Large numbers of stations have direct connections to Clapham Junction in under thirty minutes.
  • The Northern Line could be extended from Battersea to Clapham Junction.
  • Clapham Junction station is proposed to be on Crossrail 2.
  • Clapham Junction is at the centre of an extensive bus network.

It would certainly be very convenient to live close to Clapham Junction station, if you needed to go to both airports regularly.

But improvements are needed at the station.

Changing Trains

The Wikipedia entry for Clapham Junction station says this.

The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.

I use Clapham Junction regularly as an interchange, if say I’m going from Dalston Junction to Gatwick, Reading or Windsor. It can be a sprint up the stairs, and a rush across the bridge, before a careful decent to the platform.

A typical change from Platform 1/2 to 5/6 took me two and a half minutes, in the middle of the morning.

Changing trains could be improved.

These pictures show the step-free bridge at Clapham Junction

Note.

  1. Lighting is not of a high quality.
  2. It is quite wide, but not as wide as the new bridge at Reading.
  3. There are lifts to most platforms, but they could be bigger.
  4. Reading has an up and down escalator for each platform.  Surely the busiest station in the UK, deserves the same.
  5. It is cluttered with retail outlets, which could be reduced in number or placed on the platforms.

If I was the CEO of Heathrow Southern Railway, I’d rebuild this bridge, as doing that might attrack more passengers for Heathrow to use the proposed new service.

Information

Clapham Junction is well organised, with trains for a particular destination generally leaving from the same platform or pair of platforms.

They even have a board that gives this information in detail..

But it’s now 2018 and we can do much better.

There would also need to be large, clear signs everywhere to Gatwick, Heathrow, Victoria and Waterloo!

Timetable Improvements

I took a train from Clapham Junction to Feltham and although there are six tph, I had to wait sixteen minutes for a train.

It’s just that in an hour, there are four short intervals and two long ones.

Improvements need to be made, so that the timetable is more passenger friendly.

Some Platform Reorganisation

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Clapham Junction station.

It looks to me, that that terrible engineer; Topsy had a big hand in the design.

Note.

  • Tracks and platforms in orange are the London Overground.
  • Trains to Heathrow will probably use Plstforms 5 or 6, as do the Reading and Windsor services.
  • Trains from Heathrow will probably use Plstforms 3 or 4, as do the Reading and Windsor services.
  • Heathrow, Reading and Windsor are to the West.
  • Platforms 3 to 11 are for services to and from Waterloo.
  • Platforms 12 to 15 are for services to and from Victoria.
  • Services to and from Gatwick will use these platforms.
  • Platforms 16 and 17 are for West London Line services.

It looks to me, that it might be possible to reorganise the platforms so that Heathrow and Gatwick services weren’t at opposite end of the bridge.

Or should the bridge be made wide enough for a travelator?

West London Line Services

The West London Line has two main passenger services.

  • 4 tph – London Overground between Clapham Junction and Stratford, which uses Platform 1
  • 1 tph – Southern between Milton Keynes Central  and East Croydon, which have virtually sole use of Platforms 16 and 17.

If possible, an increase in frequency on this line would surely help many travellers get to and from London’s two main airports.

  • London Overground are planning to add two extra tph between Clapham Junction and Stratford in 2018.
  • London Overground will match this in 2019, with another two tph between Clapham Junction and Dalston Junction via the South London Line.

This is going to make Southern’s one tph service between Milton Keynes Central and and East Croydon pathetic, especially as the route will eventually serve Old Oak Common with connections to Crossrail and HS2.

Chris Gibb recommended that this service , should be transferred to the London Overground in the Gibb Report. I wrote about it in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

If nothing else the current service which uses two platforms at Clapham Junction for a one tph service, which doesn’t run on Sundays, is a waste of resources at Clapham Junction.

.Conclusions

I have come to the following conclusions.

  • If Clapham Junction station is improved, Heathrow Southern Railway will create a faster route to Gatwick.
  • Clapham Junction station will become a major hub station feeding London’s two major airports.

It gives very large numbers of passengers a quicker route to the airports.

I also think it could be advantageous for Heathrow Southern Railway to contribute to the upgrading of Clapham Junction station.

 

April 4, 2018 - Posted by | Travel | , , , ,

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