The Anonymous Widower

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Thoughts On The Maximum Frequency In The Central Tunnel

The Wikipedia entry for the Elizabeth Line, says this about the indicative timetable after the 6th November 2022.

The indicative timetable consists of the following services on the Elizabeth line during peak hours: there will be 24 trains per hour (tph) in each direction in the central section (Paddington to Whitechapel): of these, 12 will run between Shenfield and Paddington, 6 will run between Abbey Wood and Heathrow, and 6 between Abbey Wood and either Reading or Maidenhead. Some trains on the Reading branch will not stop at all stations. Passengers travelling between stations west of Paddington and those on the north-eastern branch will need to change trains in the central section. Changing trains at Hayes & Harlington will be required for travel between Hanwell, West Ealing or Acton Main Line and other stations on the Reading branch.

The north-eastern section via Stratford is expected to see an additional four trains per hour during peak times between Gidea Park and the existing main line Liverpool Street station’s high level terminating platforms. Since these trains run over existing above-ground lines from Liverpool Street to Stratford, they will not call at Whitechapel.

When you consider, that Dear Old Vicky can handle 36 tph in the Peak, I  feel that at some point in the future, the Elizabeth Line will handle more trains in the Central Tunnel.

This article on London Reconnections, which is entitled The Ninety Second Railway: Making the Victoria The Most Frequent Metro In The World, gives a history of increasing the frequency on the Victoria Line.

This is a paragraph from the article.

Of course, having the trains is only one part of the requirement. As our editor John Bull is prone to point out, there comes a point where frequency is not about how many trains you can squeeze through the tunnels, but about how quickly you can get passengers onto and clear of, the platforms.

As a regular passenger on the Victoria Line, there are times, when you notice that there are queues for the escalators and in the passageways at certain stations.

The Victoria Line probably can’t go to forty tph without substantial work on several stations.

But as these pictures show, the Elizabeth Line has space.

The Central Tunnel stations also have step-free walk-across access to the trains.

On my many journeys on the Lizzie Line, I’ve yet to see any delays in boarding in the Central Tunnel.

Extra Terminals

At present, the Elizabeth Line has been designed to have these terminal stations.

  • Abbey Wood
  • Heathrow Terminal 4
  • Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Maidenhead
  • Paddington
  • Reading
  • Shenfield

The capacity in the East must match the capacity in the West.

Possible terminals in the East could be.

  • Beaulieu
  • Gravesend
  • Hoo
  • Northfleet
  • Southend Victoria

And in the West they could be.

  • Bedwyn
  • Oxford
  • Swindon

The numbers must still match.

Extra services would probably best be added gradually with time, when a need was proven.

Conclusion

I feel that only three things will limit the frequency of Elizabeth Line trains through the Central Tunnel.

  • A frequency that fits the passenger numbers and route preferences.
  • The capacity of the terminals
  • The ability for engineers to meet that frequency safely and at an affordable cost.

Given that at certain times of the day, the Elizabeth Line is busier than you would expect, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that frequency higher than that planned.

September 4, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,

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