The Anonymous Widower

Are Crossrail’s Turnback Sidings At Westbourne Park Without Electrification?

This Google Map shows Westbourne Park bus garage, nestled between the elevated M40 motorway and the rail lines out of Paddington station.

 

Note.

  1. All those white rectangles with red ends are buses.
  2. Running along the South side of the garage are the electrified Crossrail rail lines that go into the tunnel to Paddington and all points to the East.
  3. Below that are the electrified lines of the Great Western Main Line.
  4. The electrification gantries on both sets of lines are clearly visible.

There are also some lines which appear to go under the bus garage.

This Google Map shows those lines in more detail.

The new Westbourne Park Bus Garage was built so that Crossrail sidings for trains turning back at Paddington would be under the buses.

The image is dated 2018, but it clearly shows that the sidings don’t have electrification.

Could this be deliberate or does the image predate the installation of the overhead wires?

This Google Map is a few more metres close to the portal, where the trains enter the tunnel.

Note the footbridge going North-South over the area.

These pictures were taken from the footbridge of the tracks beneath the footbridge.

 

Looking at the pictures, the following can be ascertained.

  • The bus garage is a concrete structure in the distance, highlighted by a topping of red buses.
  • The sidings that go under the bus garage are not electrified.
  • The Northernmost of the tracks, that go past the bus garage is not electrified. Perhaps, this track is used to allow diesel-hauled service trains to access the tunnel.

There would certainly be an advantage in not electrifying the sidings, as working in effectively the basement of a bus garage, if a fault developed with 25 KVAC all around you, would be a Health and Safety nightmare.

Passing The Bus Garage

Later I took a train past the bus garage and took these pictures.

 

It is certainly, an impressive use of limited space.

Buses are lined up on the first floor of the garage.

I would suspect that the concrete plant will be dismantled, as this would allow more sidings to be laid out underneath the bus garage.

The Turnback

But did I get the answer to the question I posed?

From my observations on the bridge and after looking in detail at the Google Maps of the area, the turnback sidings are to the South of the bus garage. Note the intricate track layout in the third Google Map in this post.

The turnback also appears to be electrified.

Auto-Reverse

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the turnback, is contained in this article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled Signalling Crossrail. This is an extract.

A new facility called ‘auto reverse’ is being provided at Westbourne Park (no station) for turning the 14 trains per hour in the reversing sidings. The driver selects ‘auto reverse’ on leaving Paddington station and walks back through the train, obviating the need for drivers to ‘step-up’. By the time the train gets back to Paddington (about a mile) the driver should be in the other cab ready to form the next eastbound departure.

The facility has the capability to turn round a full 30 tph service. There is just time for the driver to walk back through the train whilst in the reversing siding but doing so on departure at Paddington gives that extra time that will also help recover from perturbation.

The article also says that Auto Reverse will not be provided on Network Rail infrastructure, but as these tracks between the bus garage and the Great Western Main Line are Crossral infrastructure, that would be irrelevant.

The Auto Reverse would appear to be a clever use of automation, which I suspect the driver can stop at any time using some form of remote control.

Is It Ready For Use?

I have to ask this question.

It looked to me, that there was still some work to do.

If Crossrail were to open in early December, then it looks that it could be impossible.

So were these works at Westbourne Park, the reason for the postponement?

 

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments