The Anonymous Widower

West Ealing Station Goes Step-Free As Part Of Crossrail Upgrades

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Ian Visits.

The title says it all.

These pictures, which were taken on the 31st March 2021, show West Ealing station.


  1. It is fully step-free.
  2. As at Acton Main Line station, the lifts are very disabled-friendly.
  3. The terrible staircases of the old station have yet to be demolished.
  4. There is just a small amount of work to finish.

It is a fine addition to London’s portfolio of stations.

But one thing is not covered in the article – What is going to happen to the Greenford Branch?

I think I would favour the automated shuttle! But then I’m a trained Control Engineer.

  • Two-car battery electric train.
  • Option of being lengthened to three cars.
  • I suspect Alstom, CAF, Stadler and Vivarail could all provide trains.
  • There would be level access between train and platform to reduce station dwell times.
  • Automated like the Victoria Line, where when ready to depart, the driver presses a button to close the doors and then the train moves automatically to the next station.
  • The driver could sit in the middle of the train with screens to see front and rear, so they wouldn’t even have to change ends, which wastes time.
  • Or they might choose to sit in the front cab or even use a sophisticated remote control, developed with gaming or military drone experience.
  • Charging would be automatic at both terminals.
  • One train would run a continuous service with a timetable, which just said services would be a service approximately every fifteen minutes
  • Trains would have wi-fi and passengers could view front and rear camera images on their devices.
  • Trains would be stabled at night in one of the two terminal platforms and could have a spruce up each night from a mobile or the station cleaning crew.
  • Trains might need to have sufficient performance to run a service into and out of Paddington, at the beginning and end of the day. But if Crossrail services were reliable and six tph, this feature could be superfluous. But other services might need a main line capability at say 60 or 70 mph to relocate to and from the main depot.
  • On the Greenford Branch, signallers and/or the driver would need the ability to park the train in the next terminal station, when a freight train is passing through.

Get this automated branch line right and the technology could be used in several places around the UK.



April 1, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. Not sure why there needs to be any specific mention of the Greenford branch as it wasn’t the subject of the article. It continues as is until the services are transferred to TfL or possibly Chiltern at some point. The branch doesn’t justify a 4tph service as one commentator mentions. An increase to 3tph to gauge interest would be a good start.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | April 1, 2021 | Reply

  2. The Greenford branch is integral with the station.

    Announcements at Paddington specifically mention changing to the branch.

    It needs four tph to attract passengers and I think it could be possible with a single two-car battery-electric train, as I propose in the updated post.

    There are several branch lines in the UK, where the system could be used.

    Comment by AnonW | April 1, 2021 | Reply

  3. Step free access at West Ealing now opens up this branch for the disabled together with the ascending lifts at Greenford . There are two further stations on the branch that are nominally step free but lack of staffing by the GWR who operate this service mean these are not fully available.

    This branch is ripe for transfer to TFL who would arrange proper staffing of stations or alternatively deal with the train platform gap to provide level boarding. Whether a shortened version of the trains introduced by Greater Anglia which have retractable step could be more suitable could be investigated?

    With a regular service this line could provide a DLR type service for west London while I noticed that Greenford has a branch without platforms that freight trains used so whether this service could be transferred to this branch and extended might be another option ?

    Comment by Melvyn | April 1, 2021 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: