The Anonymous Widower

Should The Elizabeth Line Be Extended To Ascot?

The idea for this post came from an article in the October 2018 Edition of Modern Railways, that was entitled Windsor Link Railway Gains Momentum.

The article talks about the benefits of the Windsor Link Railway.

Property Development And Landscaping

Ever since I read about the Windsor Link Railway, I thought it would create or free-up sites in Windsor for property development.

I even wrote about this in Is This One Of The Most Valuable Sites For New Development In The UK?.

The article details or suggests the following.

  • Around twenty-one acres, which would include the two existing station sites could be developed.
  • The Windsor and Eton Riverside station, which Grade II Listed, could be developeed into a boutigue hotel on the river.
  • The gardens in the centre of Windsor could be extended.

The article also suggests that the property development could pay for the whole scheme.

Reducing Traffic In Windsor

Windsor is full of tourist coaches and other traffic.

The proposed railway would have.

  • A single sub-surface station in the middle of the town.
  • Twelve trains per hour (tph) through Windsor, in a single-track tunnel.
  • Areinstated Royal Curve at Slough to create a route between Reading and Windsor.
  • A Park-and-Ride by the M4 at Chalvey.
  • A journey between Waterloo and Windsor of around fifty minutes, with four tph.
  • Slough would be the Northern terminal, either in the current station or West of the town in the Trading Estate.
  • It should be noted that six-car Aventras similar to Crossrail’s Class 345 trains, would probably hold a thousand passengers.

If a railway like that didn’t cut traffic going into Windsor, then nothing will.

Western Access To Heathrow

The Windsor Link Railway could also serve Heathrow Terminal 5.

The article states that this would probably need a double-track tunnel, so provision should be made in the initial scheme.

Crossrail trains could also use the link to extend Crossrail to Reading via Windsor.

  • The Royal Curve at Slough would be rebuilt.
  • The new Windsor station would need to be able to handle two hundred metre long trains.
  • Trains would serve both Heathrow Central and Terminal 5.
  • Trains wouldn’t need a terminal platform at Heathrow Terminal 5 station.

But the biggest benefit (or even curse!) would be to connect Windsor to Central London.

Wider Connectivity

George Bathurst; the scheme’s proposer envisages trains from Windsor to the following places.

  • Heathrow
  • High Wycombe via Bourne End.
  • Reading
  • Waterloo
  • Woking

In one throwaway remake this is said.

The WLR connection to Heathrow could also be used (with dual-voltage stock) for extending the Elizabeth Line westwards, to Ascot for example.

This would need a chord at Staines, which I wrote about in Heathrow Southern Railway’s Proposed Chord At Staines.

Hence the title of this post!

The Heathrow Southern Railway And The Windsor Link Railway

I wrote about the interaction of the two proposals to access Heathrow from the West and South in Heathrow Southern Railway And The Windsor Link Railway.

This was my original conclusion.

Co-operation could be beneficial to both projects.

I have not changed my conclusion, although I have updated the related post.

Heathrow’s Destinations In The West And South

Taken together the two proposals; Heathrow Southern Railway and Windsor Link Railway, will or could offer the following destinations.

  • Basingstoke – Heathrow Southern Railway – Extension to Heathrow Express
  • Guildford – Heathrow Southern Railway – Extension to Heathrow Express
  • High Wycombe – Windsor Link Railway – Possible via Bourne End!
  • Reading – Windsor Link Railway – Possible Extension to Crossrail!
  • Slough – Windsor Link Railway – Possible Extension to Crossrail!
  • Staines – Heathrow Southern Railway – Extension to Crossrail
  • Weybridge – Heathrow Southern Railway – Local Service
  • Windsor – Windsor Link Railway – Possible Extension to Crossrail!
  • Woking – Heathrow Southern Railway – Extension to Heathrow Express

I can see two high-capacity stations at Terminal 5 and Windsor capable of handling upwards of ten tph in both directions, feeding services all over the area, bringing passengers, workers and freight to Heathrow.

A Crossrail Extension To Ascot

I’ll now look at this in detail.

The Route

As I said earlier this would need the reinstatement of the chord at Staines station.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows former route of the chord as a dotted line.

Would it be possible to get one of Crossrail’s two hundred metre long trains around a rebuilt chord?

From Staines, it would be an easy run up the Waterloo-Reading Line, with calls at the following stations.

  • Egham
  • Virginia Water
  • Longcross
  • Sunningdale

All appear to be stations capable of taking long trains.

Current Service

Currently, there are two services on this route.

2 tph – Waterloo and Reading

2 tph – Waterloo and Weybridge, which branches off at Virginia Water.

Benefits Of Extending To Ascot

At present Heathrow Terminal 5 is planned to get just two tph from Crossrail. But as Terminal 5 is the busiest terminal at Heathrow by a large margin, surely it needs more services than this.

I also think, that the ideal number of services between Staines and Ascot should be at least four tph.

If two tph ran through Heathrow Terminal 5 to Ascot, this would mean the following.

  • There would be at least four tph on services between Staines and Ascot.
  • Travellers would have a wider choice of London terminals.
  • Travellers would be have direct access to all terminals and HS2 at Old Oak Common.

There would also probably be less road traffic into Heathrow.

Why Stop At Ascot?

Although, George Bathurst suggested Ascot as a terminus, why not continue all the way to Reading station?

Stations on the route are.

  • Martins Heron
  • Bracknell
  • Wokingham
  • Wnnersh
  • Winnersh Triangle
  • Earley

Note that Reading station has three third-rail electrified platforms to handle trains from Ascot, Guidford, Staines and Waterloo.

Note the train in the platform is a Great Western Railway train to Gatwick, which in a couple of years will be run by tri-mode Class 769 trains.

As the platforms only handle four tph, there is plenty of capacity to turn extra trains.

I can’t see any reason, why if Crossrail is extended to Ascot, it shouldn’t be extended to Reading.

Especially, as all the benefits I talked about earlier to Ascot would also apply to terminating at Reading.

Conclusion

I believe that an extension of Crossrail to Ascot would be worthwhile, but that it should continue to Reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 28, 2018 - Posted by | Travel | , , , ,

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