The Anonymous Widower

Is There A Need For A Waterloo To Gatwick Service?

Whilst writing Are Network Rail And Heathrow Southern Railway Moving Towards A Joint Project On Western And Southern Access To Heathrow Airport?, I got to thinking about connectivity to London’s two main airports; Heathrow and Gatwick.

If both the Western Approach To Heathrow (WRAtH) and Heathrow Southern Railway (HSR) schemes are completed, Heathrow will have direct connections to the following major stations and areas.

  • Canary Wharf using Crossrail
  • City of London using Crossrail
  • Clapham Junction using HSR
  • HS1 using a future Crossrail to Ebbsfleet
  • HS2 using Crossrail
  • Liverpool Street using Crossrail
  • Reading using WRAtH
  • Waterloo using HSR
  • West End using Crossrail

Many more places will need a single change at Clapham Junction, Farringdon, Reading, Stratford, Waterloo or Woking.

Awkward stations to get to and from Heathrow include Kings Cross, London Bridge, St. Pancras and Victoria.

Admittedly, Kings Cross, London Bridge and St. Pancras can be reached using Crossrail and Thameslink or the Underground, but Victoria is not easy as Crossrail doesn’t have an interchange with the Victoria Line.

Gatwick will have direct connections to the following major stations and areas.

  • City of London using Thameslink
  • HS1 using Thameslink
  • Reading using GWR
  • Victoria using Southern or Gatwick Express
  • West End using Thameslink

Many more places will need a single change at Clapham Junction, Farringdon, Reading, or Victoria.

Awkward stations to and from Gatwick include Canary Wharf, Euston, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Waterloo.

Consider these points about Waterloo station.

Waterloo Has The Connectivity

Waterloo is on four Underground lines.

  • Bakerloo Line for North West London, Paddington, West End,, South East London and North East London in collaboration with Dear Old Vicky!
  • Charing Cross Branch of the Northern Line for North London, Euston and the West End.
  • Jubilee Line for North West London, West End, Canary Wharf and Stratford.
  • Waterloo & City Line for Bank and the City of London.

Waterloo also has its own network of frequent and comprehensive services to South West London and further afield.

Waterloo Could Be Getting Crossrail 2

In Sadiq Khan’s dreams!

The Bakerloo Line Extension and the West London Orbital Railway are much more urgent to be built, but they don’t serve Surrey, where posh commuters live!

Waterloo Is Almost A Tourist Destination

I say almost, as it is just a short walk from Westminster, several important museums and galleries, and the Thames.

Waterloo Station Is A Place To Meet Friends And Business Associates

I regularly meet friends as they pass through Waterloo station, as it has several restaurants, where you can sit, eat, drink and chat.

Waterloo Station Is Going To Be Developed

Plans are being developed to build above Waterloo station.

Could this include more hotels, in addition to offices and housing?

Why Has There Been Talk Of A Service Between Waterloo and Heathrow For Years, But Nothing About A Link To Gatwick?

Heathrow AirTrack was proposed by BAA some years ago and now Heathrow Southern Railway are putting in a privately-funded proposal.

But search for a proposal for a direct service between Waterloo and Gatwick and you find nothing sensible.

  • Could it be that the route is too difficult or there is not enough capacity at Gatwick and/or Waterloo?
  • Is it that a route to Heathrow would be much more profitable, as it is so much bigger?
  • Is it tradition? Waterloo serves the South West and London Bridge and Victoria serves the South.

But time is moving on, a larger Waterloo and Gatwick stations are coming and Network Rail are getting some of their best brains around digital signalling.

A Waterloo And Gatwick Airport Service

As Gatwick expands, I believe that a direct service between Waterloo and Gatwick Airport will become more necessary.

The Route Of The Service

I’m not sure of this, but I believe that there is a route between Waterloo and Streatham Common or East Croydon stations, which could be used for a Waterloo to Gatwick service.

  • It may need to use the flyover at Waterloo, that used to be used by Eurostar.
  • I wrote about using the flyover in Waterloo Upgrade August 2017 – Waterloo To Sevenoaks.
  • Could it use a route like Brixton, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill, West Norwood, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace, Norwood Junction and East Croydon?
  • Once on the Brighton Main Line it would be plain sailing.
  • Of the stations on the route I mentioned, only Norwood Junction has a direct service to Gatwick.
  • A rebuilt Brixton station with its Victoria Line connection could be a valuable interchange.
  • Crystal Palace will have a six trains per hour (tph) service on the Overground to Highbury & Islington.
  • The route is fully electrified using third-rail.

I’m sure a practical and useful route can be found.

The Frequency Of The Service

Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted Express services have a frequency of four tph.

So I wouldn’t think it unreasonable for a service between Waterloo and Gatwick Airport stations to have the same frquency.

Express Or Typical Suburban Service

Airport trains around London fall into two styles.

  • Express – Gatwick Express, Heatrow Express and Stansted Express.
  • Typical Standard Suburban Train – Crossrail and Thameslink.

As I am happy to use Thameslink to Gatwick, I have no particular preference. Except that if getting an early flight out of Gatwick, I take a night bus to Victoria and then use Gatwick Express, as it runs all night.

Passenger demand would decide, the level of service.

Trains For The Service

An appropriate train would be chosen to match the service style.

Both would do a very capable job.

Platforms At Waterloo

If I assume that Heathrow Southern Railway’s four tph service between Waterloo and Heathrow uses a single platform at Waterloo, I would expect it will be one of the higher-numbered platforms.

So could a Gatwick service with the same frequency use the next door platform?

This would surely be very convenient.

Conclusion

I think it is quite likely that a service between Waterloo and Gatwick Airport could be run.

But whether it is worthwhile is another matter.

 

 

 

April 29, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , , ,

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