The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail Ltd Outlines Plan To Complete The Elizabeth Line

The title of this post is the same as this statement on the Crossrail web site.

These are a few points from the statement.

The Opening Date Of The Central Section

This is a sentence from the statement.

Crossrail Ltd has identified a six-month delivery window with a midpoint at the end of 2020. Crossrail will be making every effort to deliver the service as early as possible.

Does that meet some date between the 1st October 2020 and 31st March 2021?

And what will open on that date?

There is then this paragraph.

The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour during the peak.

Twelve trains per hour (tph) gives a capacity of 18,000 passengers per hour, which compares with the 36 tph and 31,500 passengers per hour of the Victoria Line.

Practically, this means that a twelve tph Crossrail could be carrying sixty percent of the number of passengers of the Victoria Line. It’s better than a kick in the teeth!

But then Dear Old Vicky is the Platinum Standard with lots of encrusted diamonds!

Bond Street Station

This is a sentence from the statement.

It is expected that all stations on the route will open except for Bond Street which is delayed because of design and delivery challenges.

The stations are designed so that trains can pass through, so this is not a problem.

Western Branch Services

This is a paragraph from the statement.

TfL Rail services between Paddington and Reading will commence in December 2019 with a frequency of 4 trains per hour in the peak. Testing of the signalling system continues to allow the new class 345 trains to be extended from Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow.

When Crossrail is fully open, the Western Branch frequencies are planned to be as follows.

  • Reading and Abbey Wood – 4 tph in the Peak and 2 tph in the Off Peak
  • Maidenhead and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Abbey Wood – 4 tph all day.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day.

Currently, TfL Rail’s services are as follows.

  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Paddington – 2 tph all day
  • Hayes & Harlington and Paddington – 2 tph all day

It appears that the two Hayes & Harlington services are designed and timed, so they can be extended to Heathrow Terninal 5, with trains leaving Paddington at these times.

  • XX:08 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:10 – Heathrow Terminal 5
  • XX:23 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:38 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:42 – Heathrow Terminal 5
  • XX:53 – Heathrow Terminal 4

Perhaps, if the signalling had worked as intended, we would now be seeing Class 345 trains working as follows.

  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Paddington – 4 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Paddington – 2 tph all day

Once the signalling works as needed and signed off in blood, sweat and tears, the difficult part of the job has been done.

The Reading and Maidenhead services could then be added to the mix. Especially, as no problems have been admitted or rumoured with running to these destinations.

These would mean twelve trains per hour in the Peak and ten trains per hour in the Off Peak needing to be handled at the London end of the Western Branch of Crossrail.

Paddington Station Or Central Tunnel?

The twelve tph in the Peak and ten in the Off Peak is an interesting frequency.

In If Crossrail Opens To Reading In December 2019, How Will It Terminate In Paddington?, I describe how Heathrow and Reading services at a frequency of twelve tph,  could run into Platforms 12 and 14 at Paddington.

This was my conclusion.

Platform 12 and 14 at Paddington could be converted into a two-platform Crossrail station handling seven-car Class 345 trains, at a frequency of twelve tph, with its own gate line.

I’ll ralso epeat this paragraph from the statement.

The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour during the peak.

Twelve tph in the Peak is the maximum frequency of the Western Branch into London.

Crossrail have designed a system, where trains can initially terminate in either Paddington or Abbey Wood stations.

Tp give themselves all options and get the Western Branch running, Crossrail would need to complete and certify the following.

  1. Get the signalling working to Heathrow.
  2. Make sure twelve tph could terminate in Paddington.
  3. Make sure twelve tph could run  through the tunnel between Royal Oak and Abbey Wood.

This would mean it would be possible to run twelve tph from Heathrow, Maidenhead and Reading in the West to either Paddington or Abbey Wood in London.

As twelve tph is only one train every five minutes, this surely could be run safely, once the three tasks above are complete and signed off.

Running A Split Service

This is said in the statement.

When the Elizabeth line opens the railway will operate as follows:

  • Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via Central London
  • Liverpool Street (main line station) to Shenfield
  • Paddington (main line station) to Heathrow and Reading

At a first look it appears to be a sensible plan.

  • All three services are independent of each other
  • Liverpool Street and Shenfield is working well and will carry on regardless as long as needed at six tph.
  • The Abbey Wood and Heathrow/Reading services can be run as two independent rail  services.

The following will also get a thorough testing.

  • Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The interchange tunnel between the Bakerloo Line and Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The important turnback facility at Royal Oak for trains turning in the Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)

The only problem, is that passengers will have to change trains at Paddington.

Running A Limited Preview Service In The Central Tunnel

Would it be possible to run a preview service in the Central Tunnel, after the following are tested and certified?

  • The turnback facility at Royal Oak
  • Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The intermediate stations.
  • The operation of trains in the tunnel at twelve tph.
  • Abbey Wood station.
  • The turnback facility at Abbey Wood.

A frequency of four or six tph may give the station systems a thorough testing.

Rolling Out The Full Service

This is a paragraph from the statement.

Once the central section opens, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, will commence as soon as possible.

I would assume stations and extra services will be added as soon as testing is complete and drivers and station staff are fully-trained.

Conclusion

The plan is good, as it allows these and other systems to be tested independently.

  • The signalling into Heathrow.
  • Twelve tph trains to and from Heathrow, Maidenhead and Reading.
  • Operation of the platforms in Paddington (main line station)
  • Operation of the turnback facility at Royal Oak
  • Operation of the platforms in Paddington (Elizabeth line station)
  • Handling of twelve tph and the signalling in the Central Tunnel.
  • Operation of the turnback facility at Abbey Wood.

I wouldn’t be surprised, that if all goes well, we may be seeing a very limited Crossrail service earlier than anybody currently thinks.

It would also appear to get the Western and Shenfield branches working independently to provide much needed, more frequent and quality services,.

These will then be joined by services in the Central Tunnel, which initially will be run independently.

As I said earlier a twelve tph Crossrail between Paddington and Abbey Wood through the Central Tunnel, would carry sixty percent of the passengers of the Victoria Line!

 

April 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abbey Wood Station – 7th October 2018

I took these pictures at Abbey Wood station.

It is now nearing completion and there are some nice details.

  • There are some elegant wood seats and other details.
  • The signage is clear and an update on current London Underground designs.
  • There are lots of stairs, escalators and lifts.
  • It must also be the only station with a wooden safety fence between the tracks.

All it needs now is some Crossrail trains.

Let’s hope the other stations are as good.

 

October 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

London To Rainham And Back On Thameslink

Today was the first Monday of a new timetable and I took a trip to Rainham (Kent) station from London Bridge on the new Thameslink service,, before returning to Abbey Wood station.

Note.

  1. I took a picture at each station as we went out to Rainham.
  2. There is a lot of housing and commercial development going on by Dartford and Rochester stations.
  3. Thameslink are scheduled to run trains between Luton and Rainham (Kent) stations every thirty minutes.
  4. There were two Class 345 trains at Abbey Wood station.
  5. I went in a Class 700 train with eight-cars.

There was the odd cancelled train on the route, but what surprised me on the return journey, was that my train passed four Class 700 trains going in the other direction.

I must assume, that Thameslink were training more drivers for the route.

The Service I Took

The Thameslink service between Luton and Rainham, that I took from London Bridge to Rainham is a replacement for the Southeastern service between Charing Cross and Gillingham.

  • Both services use the same route between London Bridge and Gillingham.
  • Both services stop everywhere between London Bridge and Gillingham.
  • Both services are well-connected to other services at Abbey Wood (Crossrail), Woolwich Arsenal (DLR), Greenwich (DLR) and London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee).
  • The previous Southeastern service took 66 minutes between London Bridge and Gillingham,
  • The current Thameslink service is timetabled to take 82 minutes.
  • The Thameslink service takes over forty minutes to turn round at Rainham.

Given that the Thameslink Class 700 trains are 100 mph trains and the previous Class 465 trains are only 75 mph trains, I find it extraordinary that faster and more modern trains are delivering a slower service.

Complaints

There have been complaints about the new timetable, so I asked a couple of station staff, what they felt about the new Thameslink service from Luton to Rainham.

They seemed in favour and added, these points about the service.

  • It would help with getting the service out of trouble, when there were delays East of Rainham.
  • It gives a direct connection to Dartford.
  • The extra capacity will help.

The service to Rainham will surely act as a collector service for those changing to Crossrail at Abbey Wood.

Rainham to Bond Street with a change at Abbey Wood, should be under an hour and a half.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Abbey Wood Station – 21st May 2018

Abbey Wood station has been progressing and I took these pictures.

The layout of the connecting bridges between the Crossrail and North Kent Line platforms is now clear.

  • At the London End, there is a simple footbridge, with steps to each pair of platforms.
  • At the Main Entrance End, there are wide steps and a lift between the station ticket hall and each pair of platforms.
  • The third bridge in the middle is the unusual one with wide steps and a single escalator to each pair of platforms.

I would assume, that the direction of the escalators is as follows.

  • In the Morning Peak, the North Kent Line escalator is set to Up and the Crossrail escalator is set to Down, to speed passengers from the North Kent Line to Crossrail.
  • In the Evening Peak, the Crossrail escalator is set to Up and the North Kent Line escalator is set to Down, to speed passengers from Crossrail to the the North Kent Line.
  • At other times with less traffic, both escalators would be set to Up.

I have seen a lot of station layouts all over the UK and Europe and never one like this.

I doubt, I’ve even seen a pair of platforms connected by three separate bridges too!

Could it be a design of genius to allow thousands of passengers to change between the two pairs of platforms in a short space of time?

Other station layouts that enable this rate of passenger transfer, like the interchange between Crossrail and the Central Line at Stratford station, arrange for a cross-platform interchange, with lines going in the same direction sharing a common platform.

But that arrangement would have been difficult at Abbey Wood, unless perhaps the Crossrail tunnel emerged closer to the station or a flyover or dive-under were to be built.

Both options would have required more space and would have been a lot more expensive.

The design of Abbey Wood station with its three footbridges and wide platforms, would appear to be a more affordable alternative.

Train Length

In some of the pictures, a Class 345 train is shown in one of the Crossrail platforms.

This is a full-length train, which is 205 metres long.

The pictures show just how long these trains are.

LED Lights On The Stairs

Three of the pictures in the bottom row, show the stair handrails with their light underneath.

I Like them.

 

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

TfL In Talks Over Extending Crossrail Eastwards

The title of this article is the sam as that of this article on Construction News.

The article talks about the following.

  • Extending from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet International.
  • TfL has had discussions with Network Rail.

Serious talks may well happen, once the new Southeastern Franchise takes over later this year.

 

April 6, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

How To Recycle A Station

Hanborough station on the Cotswold Line in Oxfordshire in being expanded.

Wikipedia says this, about theplans announced in 2016.

Plans were announced to increase services from Hanborough Station, by Great Western Railway. A launch event was held in Witney, at which GWR’s managing director Mark Hopwood said that the investment needed was £275 million. Double tracking would be reinstated between North Oxford and Long Hanborough and two disused platforms reopened. The local constituency MP and Prime Minister David Cameron told delegates at the meeting ” am utterly convinced of the necessity of investing in this line. I will do everything I can to give this vision a boost.”

This article on IanVisits, is entitled How Crossrail’s Legacy Could End Up In Rural Oxfordshire.

The article describes how the temporary station at Abbey Wood station, during Crossrail construction.

My picture comes from a post called Crossrail Build A Temporary Station.

The station buildings that could go to Hanborough are on the right behind the fence.

January 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Abbey Wood Station Opens

Abbey Wood Station partly opened today.

As can be seen, it is not finished, but it can certainly accept all the Southeastern trains calling at the station.

Is it the UK’s first station with three pedestrian bridges and six lifts?

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Abbey Wood Station – 30th July 2017

I took these pictures at Abbey Wood staeion.

Note my other post about Abbey Wood station called Construction Of The Platform Structures And Tracks For Crossrail At Abbey Wood Was Cimpleted By Network Rail In May 2017, which was based on a picture caption in the August 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

Does this also include the electrification?

It now appears that West of the station, the electrification runs all the way to the tunnel entrance. But the electrification is treated differently in the two Crossrail platforms.

  • In Platform 3, which traditionally would be the London-bound platform, the wires go under the station bridge and finish on a single vertical gantry. Conveniently, it’s shown in the last picture in the gallery.
  • In Platform 4, which is the Northernmost platform, the wires are fixed to the station building. This is shown in the penultimate picture in the gallery.

So it would appear, that Crossrail trains can only go East of the station under electric power  only using the track through Platform 3.

I couldn’t see if there was any connection between the track through Platform 4 and that through Platform 3, but there was also some supports for the old bridge in the way.

There would need to be a connection, if the track to the East of the station was to be used as a reversing siding.

What is now clear is that the station must be one of the few stations with three footbridges.

  • There is the main one at the East containing the main station building, which probably has lifts.
  • One in the middle of the platforms, which looks like it might have lifts.
  • There is a smaller footbridge at the Western end of the station.

According to this page on the Crossrail web site the station has a total of six lifts.

I suspect the number of lifts is because the site and the track layout, mean that it has not been possible to organise cross-platform interchange bettween Crossrail and the North Kent Line.

July 30, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Construction Of The Platform Structures And Tracks For Crossrail At Abbey Wood Was Cimpleted By Network Rail In May 2017

The title of this post, was stated under a picture in the August 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

The picture had been taken on site from the other side of the fence through the station to this picture I took in July 2017.

My later picture shows some of the canopies for the Crossrail platforms in position.

If Network Rail’s statement that formed the title of this post is correct, then is  the track layout to the East of the station complete?

This picture shows the unelectrified line leading away from the station.

Note the track without any electrification by the fence in the right foreground and the two third-rail electrified North Kent tracks in the left background.

This picture shows the track going towards Belvedere station.

Note the cross-over by the signal.

Can Crossrail Reverse All The Scheduled Trains At Abbey Wood?

Crossrail have now published a more detailed schedule for the services.

The schedule shows that a maximum of twelve trains need to be reversed at each of Abbey Wood, Paddington and Shenfield stations.

In this article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled Signalling Crossrail.

The Class 345 trains are fitted with a system called Auto-Reverse, which I explained in Crossrail Trains Will Have Auto-Reverse.

The driver selects auto-reverse and walks back through the train, as it changes platforms automatically. By the time the driver is in the other cab, the train is in position in the other platform, ready to go back to London.

But the article in Rail Engineer also says this.

Auto reverse (AR) is not provided on Network Rail infrastructure. There will also be the possibility to use AR into and out of the stabling sidings at Abbey Wood so the driver will be at the correct end of the train to finish a shift or, when coming on duty, to start a new run westwards. Service trains will, however, normally reverse in the station. AR may also be used at Custom House and anywhere using crossovers in the central section.

As the normal twelve trains per hour (tph) making up the service, will be using both platforms, cross-overs are provided to the West of Abbey Wood station, as is shown in this picture.

The system used at Abbey Wood will also be used at Shenfield.

Why Has The Reversing Siding Not Been Electrified?

In my view there can only be two explanations, if Modern Railways have got their picture caption right, which categorically said work was finished.

  • My reconnaissance was wrong.
  • Full electrification is not needed to reverse the trains.

On digging deeper, I took these four pictures at Abbey Wood station.

The pictures show in order.

  • The overhead wires for Platform 4 fixed to the station building. Look under the top of the staircase.
  • The overhead wires for Platform 3 passing under the station building.
  • The overhead wires for Platform 3 passing under the station building.
  • The overhead wires for Platform 3 anchored to a solid girder on the other side of the station building.

I couldn’t see the track layout because the wooden fence was in the way, but it would seem logical that the track through Platform 4 will eventually connect to the track through Platform 3.

This would allow the following.

  • Trains arriving in Platform 4 to transfer to Platform 3 using the reversing siding.
  • Crossrail trains to continue East on the North Kent Line using the single track and the crossovers to the East of the station.
  • A failed train could be pushed into the reversing siding, which could probably accommodate two trains.
  • Service and maintenance trains to access Crossrail’s Plumstead depot from the East.

But even if there is no connection, two independent platforms can handle the twelve trains per hour, as they will do at Shenfield.

 

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail Expands Before It Opens

This is certainly something you don’t hear often about a new rail line.

This article in Global Rail News is entitled TfL To Order More Elizabeth Line Trains.

Four new Class 345 trains are being ordered, which will mean that in the Off Peak the following will happen.

  • Trains between Whitechapel and Paddington will increase from 16 trains per hour (tph) to 20.
  • Trains between Paddington and Shenfield will increase by two tph
  • Trains between Paddington and Abbey Wood will increase by two tph
  • Trains between Paddington and Reading will double from two tph to four.
  • Trains between Paddington and Maidenhead will increase from four tph to six
  • From December 2019, six tph will call at Heathrow Terminal 5.

So have Transport for London miscalculated the capacity of the line?

I suspect not!

It’s just that they wanted to be sure that the trains and the signalling can handle the frequency of twenty tph, before ordering the trains.

That has probably been ascertained by now thorough thorough testing.

This article on the BBC, is entitled Crossrail Stations In West London Delayed Until 2019.

I wonder, if this is within the float of these station builds, so that the whole project is not delayed.

Have Crossrail only announced the actual completion date, when it is certain it can be met?

If it is, these two apparently disconnected stories show Project Management at its best, where a project is delivered on the date agreed before as much as a humble spade had entered the ground.

  • If it is late the client and the general public complain.
  • It it is early, the construction team have probably spent too much money.

So hopefully, everybody’s happy!

I would love to see Crossrail’s schedule of announcements until December 2019.

Like the ordering of more trains mentioned in the first article, I suspect some will be pleasant surprises.

The first article also has this paragraph.

The increased service frequency will be achieved, in part, by replacing five Great Western Railway services with Elizabeth line trains.

So could we see Greater Anglia and Southeastern losing paths and becoming better integrated with Crossrail?

In Abbey Wood Station in my series of Kent On The Cusp Of Change posts, I said that it looks like the track layout allows trains to run on to Dartford, Gravesend or even Rochester, as other trains on a modern signalled North Kent Line.

At Shenfield station, provision has been made in the track layout for trains to continue from Platform 4 to Southend Victoria station and Greater Anglia trains already do it.at a frequency of three tph.

I don’t think it will happen, as the journey is too long for a train without toilets.

But if Platforms 4 and 5 at Shenfield were bi-directional, this would allow Crossrail trains to venture down the Southend Branch.

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment