The Anonymous Widower

TfL Needs More Elizabeth Line Trains Because Of HS2 Delays At Euston

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

This is the first paragraph.

Transport for London (TfL) is warning that delays to the HS2 railway may require it to buy more Elizabeth line trains to cope with the thousands of people dropped off at Old Oak Common needing to get into central London.

Given, the way they got the project management and the cost and schedule so wrong, I wonder if we can rely on this assertion.

I certainly find fault with this statement.

In an ideal world, TfL would be able to send some empty Elizabeth line trains stabled in a depot to the west of Old Oak Common station, but the location of the main depot rules that out.

The Wikipedia entry for the Elizabeth Line says this about the future service.

In May 2023, it is planned to allow trains to run from both eastern branches to west of Paddington. This will allow both more flexible, and higher frequency, services: 24 tph peak, 20 tph off-peak, and direct services between Shenfield and Heathrow. In the longer term, when Old Oak Common opens, all trains will serve Old Oak Common, with those not serving the Reading or Heathrow branches reversing there.

The service changes for 21 May 2023 were confirmed in February 2023. The peak timetable will increase to 24 trains per hour. Off-peak service level will remain at 16 trains per hour, with two Shenfield–Paddington trains extended to Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and two Abbey Wood–Terminal 5 trains switching to Terminal 4.


At present 8 trains per hour (tph), pass through the site of Old Oak Common station.

By reversing the trains at Old Oak Common, rather than Paddington, this will surely mean that after the 21st of May 2023,  24 tph in the Peak and 20 tph in the Off Peak will pass through Old Oak Common.

If eight tph, still go on to Heathrow, Maidenhead and Reading, 16 tph will be turned in the Prak and 8 tph in the Off Peak.

This would give more capacity, as more trains would be running between Old Oak Common and Whitechapel.

If TfL have collected the right statistics, I’m sure they can predict the number of trains needed.

It seems to me, that the most important thing that TfL can do is make sure they can turn all the trains they need to at Old Oak Common station.

How Are Trains Going To Be Reversed At Old Oak Common?

The Victoria Line can handle 33 tph between Brixton and Walthamstow Central and the Elizabeth Line could use a similar method to handle the 16 tph, it needs to turn at Old Oak Common.

A process called stepping-up is used on the Victoria Line.

  • On arrival in the terminal platform, the driver shuts the train down and leaves the cab.
  • A second driver gets in the cab at the other end of the train and readies the train for departure.
  • When instructed by the signalling, the new driver initiates the process by which the train leaves the station.

The original driver of the train, walks to the other end of the platform, to get themselves ready to be called to step-up to another train, at an appropriate time in the future.

I suspect to use stepping-up at Old Oak Common for the Elizabeth Line will need four platforms; two through platforms for services beyond Old Oak Common and two adjacent bay-platforms for services to be turned.

In Crossrail Trains Cleared To Use The Heathrow Tunnel, I gave this detailed description from Ian  of the Class 345 trains‘ Auto-Reverse feature.

Around half of westbound trains will terminate at Paddington, but to head back eastwards, once all the passengers are off, they carry on westwards to Westbourne Park, then return back to Paddington on the eastbound line.

Normally that means the train driver would drive to Westbourne Park, stop, walk through the train to the other end, then drive back. But with “auto-reverse”, as soon as the train leaves Paddington, the driver switches to automatic and starts walking through the train to the other end. By the time the train arrives at Westbourne Park sidings, the driver will be sitting in the drivers cab at the other end of the train ready to head back into Central London.

I suspect that the Elizabeth Line will use Auto-Reverse or some other nifty piece of automation at Old Oak Common.

March 29, 2023 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,

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