The Anonymous Widower

A Thought On The Prospects For Crossrail

Someone asked the question, in a discussion group, that I visit, if Crossrail will be a success.

I believe that you only have to look at the success of the London Overground to realise that Crossrail will be a success.

When the North London Line reopened as the first route of the London Overground with new Class 378 trains, it used to run four-car trains at a frequency of six trains per hour (tph) between Stratford and Willesden Junction stations.

Now the line runs eight tph on that route and the trains are five cars.

That is a capacity increase of 66% in terms of cars per hour.

And still at times, the trains are full and Transport for London are looking at ways of adding extra trains and/or cars.

Crossrail will have the factors going for it, which helped to make the Overground that success. It is new and has a novelty value, but above all like the Overground, it is built for full-sized people, who could be pushing bikes and buggies and trailing baggage.

Crossrail, also increases options for alternative routes for Londoners , who are World Champions at ducking-and-diving.

Crossrail has also been designed so that the trains can be extended.

If Crossrail has a problem, other than the lateness and budget overrun, it is that it doesn’t connect to the Victoria or Piccadilly Lines.

February 18, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. London Overground particularly NLL section is utterly remarkable transformation from the decrepit state it was in in the 1980’s. I’s put money on it no route has achieved such an increase in passenger usage and all credit to Ken Livingsone for kicking it off and for Bori for sticking with it and pushing for subsequent enhancements. Crossraill will be succesful but there will be alot of traffic abstraction from other routes which is no bad thing but for me LO created so many more new journey opportunities. Quite frankly if the govt was really serious about modal shift LO would be given control of all the inner suburban networks around London

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | February 18, 2022 | Reply

  2. I do wonder as well that the Overground seemed to lose momentum for expansion, when Peter Hendy left TfL for Network Rail. Was this because Sir Peter had the good ideas and knew how to implement them or did he have a sidekick who did? LO did create a lot more journey opportunities.

    I do agree that some of the inner suburban services should go to TfL. The first to go should be the Moorgate Lines, which are a bit of a misery line. I live within walking distance of Essex Road station, but if I want to go to Hertford, I always take a bus to Tottenham Hale or Hackney Downs and get the Greater Anglia service to Hertford East, as the ticketing is much easier. Great Northern’s ticket selling is awful and it’s impossible to buy an extension ticket for a Freedom Pass which is so easy on Greater Anglia or the Overground.

    Comment by AnonW | February 18, 2022 | Reply

  3. I live in Dalston but the one things that’s putting me off is that the Piccadilly line doesn’t connect to cross rail!

    Comment by lawrenceedwardwilsonhotmailcom | February 19, 2022 | Reply

    • I live a little bit further West and I have the luxury of the 141 bus with a stop opposite my house to Manor House. In the early evening, I find that if I want to get to the Leicester Square area, it’s actually quicker to get a 141 and double-back on the Piccadilly Line.

      Comment by AnonW | February 19, 2022 | Reply

  4. Crossrail will transform East West travel across London which was its aim. It may have lost some relevance to Canary Wharf since the pandemic with more home working, but for me, as a regular traveller between Maidenhead and Southend on Sea (and East London) it will be a game changer in terms of travelling time and number of changes required. I can’t wait for the full line service to be implemented in 2023.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | February 19, 2022 | Reply

  5. Also….. I forgot to add that Crossrail has already transformed travel west of London with a regular and frequent service to stations that suffered infrequent services particularly at weekends. Taplow previously had no Sunday service. It is now part of the stopping pattern for all XR services. Similarly, Iver is now part of the stopping pattern.
    However, there are times when both these stations should only be part of an alternate stopping pattern. That probably won’t happen.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | February 19, 2022 | Reply

  6. In the way that the renaissance of the NLL has done wonders for travel in North London I have to put in a word for the West London Line, which until 1940 carried more passenger traffic than it did for the first 60 years of my life. It’s a wonder that our Victorian ancestors had more appreciation of the value of peripheral routes around London (albeit incomplete) than the transport planners of the 20th century. My only regret about the WLL is that it will have no interchange with Old Oak Common and the Elizabeth Line and HS2.
    It seems to me that for TfL to assume control over rail services loosely bounded by or intimately associated with the current LO routes would be a good idea, however I recall that about 8 years ago TfL had great ambitions to take over the Inner Suburban lines (basically everything within the Greater London area). Many of us outside this area, particularly in the south and south western sectors could see that this could have been to the detriment of the TOCs and the longer distance commuter services.
    As for anybody travelling on GWR today and wishing to travel to Southend on Sea, it’s sad to reflect that from 1910 to 1939 there were direct services from Ealing Broadway. Sometimes progress is not what it seems.

    Comment by fammorris | February 19, 2022 | Reply

    • I thought that there will be an interchange at Old Oak Common. It’s just that everybody is pulling it in their own direction.

      I feel that the problem is local councils outside London like Kent and Hertfordshire seem to be against change and that it needs an expert to take charge of it all and sort it out.

      I went from Moorgate to Aylesbury last week and the interface between my Freedom Pass and Chiltern at Harrow-on-the-Hill was difficult compared to what happens on Greater Anglia, whose ticket staff have in my opinion, always got the passenger the best deal.

      Hopefully, Great British Railways will sort it, so we have contactless ticketing all over the UK.

      Comment by AnonW | February 19, 2022 | Reply

      • I couldn’t agree with you more about standardised ticketing without interfaces. Sadly DfT seem to be more concerned about consulting industry on a 30 year plan for the Railway (echoes of 1991 and BRB preparing a 10 year plan for their future) and asking the public where the headquarters of GBR should be to do anything practical.

        Comment by fammorris | February 19, 2022

      • There will be an interchange at Old Oak Common, but only when HS2 comes on stream to connect with GWR & Lizzie Line services.. I understand that until that happens the interchange would serve little to no purpose..
        As far as connections with the WLL are concerned, I’m sure that TfL will have a bus service to connect with Willesden Junction and perhaps if the traffic proves buoyant they may actually create a direct pedestrian link to a new station on the WLL. I seem to recall that there was a suggestion to do something like that in the early days of the OOC interchange discussions. It must have quietly been dropped due to cost.

        Comment by Andrew Bruton | February 20, 2022

      • Yes there will be an interchange between Crossrail and HS2, and indeed if the option of building a new station on the North London Line at Old Oak Common Lane is exercised, a pedestrian link to the Crossrail/HS2 is more than practicable. The issue of a proposed station in Hythe Lane seems to have fallen by the wayside due the failure of negotiations with Car Giant who occupy part of the site identified for the station. In any case pedestrian access to the Crossrail/HS2 interchange would have involved an expensive elevated covered walkway from Hythe Lane over the newly built Crossrail stabling depot; a distance of at least quarter of a mile. If the only option is to go to Willesden Junction, assuming the lifts are working it would be far more sensible to transfer from the WLL to the NLL and return to a proposed Old Oak Common Lane station – much more realistic than a bus going around the houses to get to the same location.
        As for inconsistencies in the way passengers are treated when wishing to get extensions beyond Zone 6, I would not blame local councils but the different train operating companies. My own experience of using SWT (before First Group took over), GWR, Southern and Southeastern always left me developing a complex when it came to travelling with GWR.

        Comment by fammorris | February 20, 2022

  7. The trouble is, that since Hendy left for Network Rail, TfL don’t seem to be able to plan their way out of a paper bag.

    Comment by AnonW | February 20, 2022 | Reply

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