The Anonymous Widower

Would Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft Work For Regional Airports In The UK?

In Stealthy Startup Promises Cheaper Flying Via Renewable Hydrogen, I wrote about ZeroAvia and their plans for hydrogen-powered mini-airliners.

They could power a mini-airliner with the size and performance of the Cessna Caravan, of which well over two thousand have been built for all sorts of purposes. I flew in one, on holiday in Kenya, to get to the Masai Mara.

But could hydrogen-powered mini-airliners, as proposed by ZeroAvia, have applications in the UK?

All around the coast and islands of the UK and Ireland, there are small airfields with commercial services.

  • Many commercial services are struggling and some airlines have gone bust.
  • Many services are important to sustain the local economy or develop new industries like offshore oil and gas in the past and offshore wind in the future.
  • Many of the airports are ex-RAF bases and don’t lack space.
  • Some of the airports in this category, that I have visited, don’t lack wind.

I think it would be possible to install a wind or solar power driven hydrogen plant on these airports to support hydrogen-powered mini-airliners providing short feeder services to major airports.

The key to making this structure work would be the range of the hydrogen-powered aircraft.

  • Refuelling at the remote airport wouldn’t be a problem.
  • Would a major airport welcome a gas tanker refuelling the hydrogen-powered aircraft?
  • Could some routes be flown, by only refuelling at the remote airport?

I’m looking forward to my first flight!



August 15, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Air Travellers To Be Hit By Carbon Charge On All Tickets

The title of this post is the same as that of an article on the front page of today’s copy of The Times.

  • The charge would be added to air tickets on an opt-out basis.
  • London to New York would have £30 added or £15 with the most fuel-efficient airline.
  • London to Madrid would have £25 added.

It is envisaged the charge would also be added to trains, buses and ferries.

These are some of my first thoughts.

  • There will be a lot of opposition to any Government trying to enact this policy, as to most people two weeks in the sun in Spain or a long flight to Australia, are more important than the planet.
  • Some nations would never enact a policy like this anyway.
  • How would a Government force airlines like Air NeckEnd based in some far-off land to show the charge?
  • Trumkopf would consider it anti-American

But I believe that the airline industry, airports and the most of the plane and engine builders are brighter than Donald Trump.

  • If you look at the vehicle industry, belatedly it is starting to move towards cars with a lower carbon footprint.
  • Innovation is also helping to provide alternative solutions, that are bringing vehicles towards a zero-carbon future.
  • Companies like Airbus and Rolls-Royce are spending millions of Euros and pounds to design the airlines of the future.
  • New entrants into aviation like Eviation with their Alice electric aircraft are on the verge of flying.
  • Airliners are getting more efficient with time.

As a simple example take Ryanair with Boeing 737s and easyJet with Airbus A320s.

  • Suppose, one airliner had a higher carbon charge on the London to Madrid route.
  • Would this make you choose one airline over the other?
  • Possibly! But it would certainly make the plane-maker with the least efficient airliners get its act together, or it wouldn’t sell planes.

I believe that a carbon charge could hasten airliners becoming more efficient!

What About Airports?

I have read articles about airports, where they are aiming to make all their ground operations zero-carbon.

This is possible now with electric vehicles and even electric tugs, that can tow a Boeing 747.

So surely, the carbon generated at the airports involved in a flight should also be taken into account and offset.

What About Getting To And From The Airports?

In the UK, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton, Southend and Stansted are connected by electric transport systems, but Bristol, East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool are not!

This should generate an appropriate carbon charge.

Surely too, if you are driving your petrol or diesel car to and from the airport, this should be taken into account.


A fairly-applied carbon charge based on the flight, the airport and getting to the airport would help to drive down carbon emissions due to the application of better technology.


July 22, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

And We Think Crossrail’s Got Problems

Berlin Brandenburg Airport is Berlin’s new airport, that was planned to replace all the current ones.

This is the last paragraph of the introduction in the Wikipedia entry.

After almost 15 years of planning, construction began in 2006. Originally planned to open in October 2011, the airport has encountered a series of delays and cost overruns. These were due to poor construction planning, execution, management, and corruption.[9] Autumn 2020 became the new target for the official opening date[12][13] as 2019 became too improbable.[15][16] A new TÜV report published in November 2017 suggested that the opening could even be delayed until 2021.

Crossrail could be up to two years late, but it looks like this airport could be up to ten!

But then major projects seem to be missing deadlines all over Europe. Even Spurs didn’t get their stadium ready on time!

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Procrastination Over Airport Rail Links

This article in the Glasgow Evening Times is entitled Glasgow Airport Rail Link: Fresh Fears Over Plans As MSP Slams Delay.

The title says it all.

Of the airports in the UK, the following have or will have good rail or tram links.

  • Birmingham
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Gatwick
  • Heathrow
  • London City
  • Luton – Building a people-mover between the airport and station.
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle
  • Southampton
  • Southend
  • Stansted

In addition, the following airports have been talking about rail links.

  • Belfast City
  • Bristol
  • East Midlands
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds/Bradford
  • Liverpool

In fact they’ve been talking about rail links for decades.

As I started with a report about Glasgow, if you want to see how they have taken two decades to get nowhere, read the Wikipedia entry for the Glasgow Airport Rail Link.

The latest £144million plan involves tram-trains running from Glasgow Central station.

Currently, of the airports, that have talked for years, I believe the following could use tram-train technology to provide the airport rail link.

  • Bristol
  • East Midlands
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds/Bradford
  • Liverpool

Now that tram-trains are working well in Sheffield and have been ordered for the South Wales Metro, surely this technology can be considered almost mainstream for the UK.

In the specific case of Glasgow the following would be needed.

  • Modification of platforms at Glasgow Central and Paisley Gilmour Street stations, so they would give level-access to the tram-trains.
  • Creation of a single-track spur to the airport without electrification, that ends in a single platform, close to or in the airport terminal.
  • A fleet of Class 399 tram-trains with a battery capability, as have been ordered for the South Wales Metro.
  • Improved signalling to handle the extra trains.


  1. Space should be left, so that in the future, the airport spur could be doubled.
  2. A flat junction would probably work initially, but provision for a flying junction for the spur should be made.
  3. Currently, four trains per hour (tph) run past the Airport.
  4. Could the tram-trains be built to give level access to standard height platforms, so that no substantial modification of existing platforms would be needed?

It also strikes me, that this could be a privately funded scheme.

  • Glasgow Airport is ultimately owned by Ferrovial and Macquarie Group, who will be the main beneficiary of the scheme.
  • Both Ferrovial and Macquarie Group are companies that invest in infrastructure.
  • The Class 399 tram-trains can obviously be leased.

So what’s the problem?

  • Network Rail are against the scheme, as it’s not one of theirs.
  • The Scottish government won’t sanction a privately-funded scheme.
  • Various interests want a different scheme.
  • The jury is still out on tram-trains.
  • It’s a scheme for Glasgow and the decision is taken in Edinburgh.
  • Glasgow would get a better airport link than Edinburgh.

Enlighten me!

Other Airport Links

Once Glasgow is completed, other airport links could be built using the same techniques.

I have a feeling, that another airport will get a tram-train link before Glasgow!




January 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Combined Car Park And Storage Battery

I don’t drive these days, but I did for well over forty years.

If I was still driving now and still lived in Suffolk, I’d be looking seriously at an electric car as an everyday runabout, as rarely in the last twenty years, have I had the need to do a long journey, that I couldn’t do by train.

So my electric car would probably sit in a car park space at Cambridge North station, attached to a charger, a lot of the time. But with better batteries and vehicle-to-grid systems, there will come a time, when you will park your battery vehicle and tell it you’ll be returning in a few hours or days and you’ll need say four hours of charge on return. Obviously, if your circumstances change, you will have an app on your phone to make adjustments.

Suppose your average car had a 30 kWh battery, this would mean that the 450 space car park at Cambridge North station, if say 300 spaces were for electric cars would have a electricity storage capacity of around 0.9MWh.

So if the wind wasn’t blowing or the sun wasn’t shining, then there’s probably about half a MWh of electricity that can be borrowed and still allow drivers to get home.

It may all sound terribly complicated, but electricity put into batteries at night or other quiet times, gets used when it’s needed.

Batteries and other forms of energy storage will be everywhere; in houses, offices, public buildings, wind and solar farms, and in every electric vehicle.

There are 31.,6million cars alone in the UK and how many are quietly sitting in car parks and garages or at the side of the street, for most of the day.

The Car Park As A Power Station

There will be multi-story car-parks reserved for electric cars.

  • Each parking space will have a charging point.
  • The roof will of course have solar panels.
  • I would expect that in a few years time the connection between car and charger will be automatic.
  • The parking charge would be based on a mixture of time parked and energy passed to or from the battery.
  • Car parks would probably also be paid by National Grid dependent on how much energy they can make available automatically.

The control system for all this lot, would do my head in! But it would mean that all generated energy was either used or stored!

In some ways a car pack for electric cars would become a small power station.

Examples Of Car Parks

These car-parks would have some interesting applications.


Airports like Heathrow have a pollution problem and it’s not just the planes, but masses of diesel and petrol vehicles.

  • To encourage more passengers to drive electric vehicles to an airport, why not make the closest car parks electric car only?
  • Long-term car parks for electric vehicles could be a massive storage battery, which would be used to help power the airport.
  • Car parks for electric cars would be less polluted.
  • Car parks for electric cars could be under the ground with runways and taxiways on top.

Everyone would be a winner.

  • Passengers’ electric cars would be earning an energy storage charge from the National Grid.
  • The Airport would have a reliable back-up power source.
  • There would be much less pollution at the Airport.
  • National Grid would gain additional much-needed energy storage.

There will be a lot of thought going in to making airport parking more efficient and affordable for electric cars.

Business Parks And Offices

Much of the logic for airports would apply.

But I do feel, that companies with medium and large-sized fleets of vehicles will go electric, as they can then integrate energy management across their premises and fleet.

Town And City Centres

Towns and cities with a pollution problem like London, will surely use the best car parks as bribes to get more electric vehicles into the centre.

Residential Developments

The mind boggles at what could be done in residential developments.

  • Cars could go to and from parking automatically.
  • Every house would come with energy storage plus that in the car.
  • The development would appear car-free.
  • Cars could be in shared ownership with the development.
  • There could be automatic trolleys running through the development delivering parcels.

The market will determine what is needed.


Creating car parks solely for electric cars will create energy storage units at points of employment, living, shopping and transport.

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Elon Musk Goes Underground With High-Speed Trains

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in the Business section of last Friday’s Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Futuristic electric trains will soon be whizzing under the streets of Chicago at up to 150 mph after Elon Musk’s tunnelling company was chosen by the city to build a new high-speed commuter link.

Currently, the Blue Line train takes about forty-five minutes for the eighteen miles at a cost of five dollars.

Heathrow Airport is eighteen miles from the City of London and Crossrail will do the trip for thirty-three minutes when it opens, next year for a cost of under a tenner.

So what is Musk proposing?

  • A journey time of twelve minutes.
  • Passengers will ride in skates, which will carry up to sixteen people on concrete tracks.
  • Skates will run at a frequency of 120 per hour for 20 hours a day.
  • The fare would be twenty-five dollars.
  • The system would cost about a billion dollars.

It is a technically ambitious proposal.

There’s more in this section called Chicago in the Wikipedia entry of The Boring Company.

A competition to build a high-speed link from downtown Chicago to the soon-to-be-expanded O’Hare Airport had been reduced to just two bidders by March 2018. The Boring Company was selected in June 2018 and will now negotiate a contract to be presented to the Chicago City Council. Construction is to be entirely financed by The Boring Company, which is subsequently to maintain and operate the link. The system will transport passengers in automated electric cars carrying 16 passengers (and their luggage) through two parallel tunnels running under existing public way alignments, traveling from block 37 to the airport in 12 minutes, at speeds reaching 125 to 150 miles per hour (200 to 240 km/h), with pods departing as often as every 30 seconds

It states it is two parallel tunnels!

Comparison With London’s Crossrail

Crossrail will effectively do the same job in London and a comparison between the two systems may produce some interesting conclusions.


Musk’s system will have an hourly capacity of 1920 passengers per hour, based on 120 skates each carrying sixteen people.

Crossrail are talking of six trains per hour, each with a capacity of 1,500 people or 9000 passengers per hour.

I think that Crossrail will need to increase capacity, as Heathrow expands and longer trains and higher frequencies are possible.

But if Musk’s system is a runaway success, can it be expanded easily.

Journey Time

Musk’s system has a journey time of 12 minutes, as against Crossrail’s of 33 minutes

But Crossrail will stop up to ten times!

Intriguingly, the twelve minute is not the headline speed of 125 to 150 mph, but a slower 90 mph.


Little has been said of the route for Musk’s system, except that it goes between Downtown and O’Hare Airport.

Heathrow to the City of London, also goes direct to London’s major shopping area and the new business area of Canary Wharf.

It is also integrated with London’s existing Underground, Overground and rail lines at several places.

Does Musk’s system have a route structure, that won’t appeal to a lot of possible users?

Musk’s Thinking

This is an extract from the Future Goals section of the Wikipedia entry for The Boring Company.

According to Tesla, Inc. and SpaceX board member Steve Jurvetson, tunnels specifically built for electric vehicles have reduced size and complexity, and thus decreased cost. “The insight I think that’s so powerful is that if you only envision electric vehicles in your tunnels you don’t need to do the air handling for all carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, you know, basically pollutants for exhaust. You could have scrubbers and a variety of simpler things that make everything collapse to a smaller tunnel size, which dramatically lowers the cost … The whole concept of what you do with tunnels changes.

The philosophy is not unlike that of Crossrail.

  • I believe that Crossrail has been designed holistically, using the best tunnel and train technology.
  • The tunnel power supply is a simple end-to-end rail.
  • The Class 345 trains have batteries to make best use of electricity and provide emergency power.
  • The batteries will handle regenerative braking, thus minimising heat-producing electric currents in the tunnel.
  • Platform-edge doors and aerodynamic trains reduce mechanical energy losses.
  • The electric trains do not emit anything into the tunnel, except perhaps a small amount of hot air.

I suspect that Crossrail’s tunnel section will be a very energy-efficient railway.


Summing up both systems we get.

Musk’s system is.

  • A billion dollar cost.
  • Twelve minute journey time.
  • A vehicle every thirty seconds.
  • Only for the few, who want to go from O’Hare to Downtown, who can pay a premium fare.
  • Limited capacity.

A Crossrail-like solution would be.

  • Perhaps a ten billion dollar cost.
  • Twenty minute journey time.
  • A train every few minutes.
  • For everyone, who wants to travel from O’Hare to most places in Chicago with possibly a change, at a normal fare.
  • Expandable capacity.

Musk’s system will appeal to the rich and those who like novelty, but I don’t think it is a long-term solution and just like London, Chicago will eventually have a modern railway  linking it to the wider Chicago area.

Where Musk is right, is that he believes that tunnelling methods can be improved and become more affordable.

This will mean that more audacious railway schemes will be built.



June 19, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cargo Hub Is Latest Plan To Get Manston Airfield Off Ground

The title of this post is the same as a news item in the business section of The Times today.

This is the first paragraph.

It is the airport that refuses to take off. But the latest attempt to turn the Battle of Britain airfield if Manston into a sstainable commercial proposition could take wing this autumn.

The Plan

The plan for Manston Airport is roughly on the following lines.

  • The airport becomes a passenger and freight airport.
  • Help create employment in a depressed area.
  • Talk of a £300 million investment.
  • A potential to take air cargo out of Gatwick and Heathrow.

But I’m fairly sceptical given that so many attempts have failed in the past.

This Google Map shows the position of the airport.

Note how the airport is ringed by the Thanet towns.

This Google Map is a close-up of the Airport.


These are my observations.

Local Residents

The runway is roughly East-West on an alignment of 10-28.

Most take-offs and landings will probably we towards the West using Eunway 28.

I don’t know the area well, but I did get this image from Google Maps.

Note this housing just to the South of the final approach to Runway 28.

This Google Map shows the housing, the runway and the A299.

The residents can’t be too pleased of the plans.

Especially, as Google StreetView shows some of these houses to be newly-built sizeable bungalows.

Road Access

Road access to the airport would need to be substantially improved.

I can’t expect that the residents of Thanet will be pleased if a motorway is built across the countryside from the A2 South of Canterbury.

Rail Access

London’s newest airport is Southend Airport on the North bank of the Thames. The airport is growing as a base for easyJet and other low-cost airlines.

Southend Airport has several advantages, one of which is that the terminal is only a hundred metres from Southend Airport railway station, which is fifty minutes from Liverpool Street station.

In this day and age, I don’t believe that planning permission will be given for Manston Airport, unless a large proportion of freight, travellers and airport workers travel to and from the airport by rail.

Consider the current situation.

  • As the Ashford to Ramsgate Line passes just to the South of Manston Airport, I would expect that the development would involve diverting this rail line, so it passed close to the airport.
  • Current passenger services on the line, link to Ashford, Canterbury, Dover,  Margate and Ramsgate, so at least it would be ideal for local airport workers.
  • There are also a couple of trains per hour (tph) to and from London Victoria.
  • Class 395 trains or Javelins also run using HS1 into St. Pancras. Currently, the fastest trains from |St. Pancras to Ramsgate take 79 minutes, so I suspect that to Manston Airport will take about 75 minutes.

The new Southeastern Franchise, which is currently being bid for will see improved access to this area of Kent, which could include.

  • A second HighSpeed route opened into either Victoria or Waterloo using the route that used to be taken by Eurostar to Waterloo.
  • Increase in HighSpeed services to Kent.
  • Replacement of all the slow trains to speed up faster services.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see that Ramsgate gets the following HighSpeed services to London in every hour, that would call at Manston Airport.

  1. Two fast trains to St. Pancras.
  2. Two fast trains to Victoria
  3. Two fast trains to St. Pancras via the Medway towns.

Certainly, the frequency will be good.

Getting Passengers To And From The Airport

It is 2026 and these will be the times from Oxford Circus to the various London airports.

  • Birmingham – 45 minutes – via HS2
  • Gatwick – 68 minutes
  • Heathrow – 27 minutes
  • London City – 20 minutes
  • Luton – 43 minutes
  • Manston – 75 minutes
  • Southend – 60 minutes
  • Stansted – 43 minutes

Access from London might be by HighSpeed train, but people complain about the time it gets to Stansted now, so a time of 75 minutes may be a discouragement, when there are so many alternatives.

I believe that coupled with road access, which will be difficult to improve, that Manston Airport, will never be a significant player in the passenger market.

Getting Cargo To And From The Airport

The local residents are not going to want large numbers of trucks taking cargo to the airport.

But I believe that a lot of parcel and pallet transport, can go by train.

Doncaster-Sheffield Airport, which is also serious about cargo, is proposing to divert the East Coast Main Line, so that cargo trains can call at the airport. Manston Airport would have equally good rail access.

The interesting concept is what I call a HSPT or High Speed Parcel/Pallet train. The idea was first proposed in the June 2017 Edition of Modern Railways there is an article entitled Freight, Not All Doom And Gloom, which talks about high-value parcel carriers.

I have developed the concept, as I’m inclined to do in The Go-Anywhere Express Parcel And Pallet Carrier (HSPT).

I would use some of the soon-to-be redundant Class 321 trains and convert them into parcel and pallet carriers.

  • They are four-car 100 mph dual voltage electric multiple units.
  • They can run in lengths of twelve-cars if required.
  • There are over a hundred of them of which the large proportion will need new caring owners.
  • The trains may be thirty-five years old, but they are reliable and built out of steel to take punishment.
  • They can easily be converted to bi-mode units, by adding underfloor diesel engines, so they can go anywhere in the UK.
  • They could even go through the Channel Tunnel and run on the the French 25 KVAC network.

How many trucks would be taken from the UK’s crowded roads.

An Integrated Cargo Airport

An integrated cargo airport may have appeal.


  • Air cargo is increasingly  containerised.
  • Gatwick and Heathrow Airports are short of slots for passenger aircraft.
  • Manston has a long runway, that could handle the largest cargo planes.
  • The airport could easily have rail access to the |Channel Tunnel.
  • The proposed HSPTs could use the Channel Tunnel with the correct signalling.

I worry that the poor road access would be a problem.

The Competition

Doncaster Sheffield Airport could be a serious competitor with equally good train and much better road access.


As in the past, it will be a difficult project to get working well

I also think the road access problems might kill it.



August 31, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Edinburgh Airport Flying High Because Of Brexit

The Sunday Times also reports that Edinburgh Airport is doing well because Brexit has helped to drive a surge in passengers.

  • Passenger numbers are up 11%.
  • Routes are up by 7%.
  • Turnover gre 13%

Profits did slump by 34%, after a one-off boost in 2015.


June 4, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

|Aberthaw Resumes Cement Dispatch

This is the title of another article in the January 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

I wasn’t sure where Aberthaw was, so I looked it up on the Internet and this Google Map shows Aberthaw Cement Works, Cardiff International Airport and the Vale of Glamorgan Railway, that links Cardiff Central station in the East to Bridgend in the West.



  • The red arrow indicates the cement works.
  • The Airport terminal is on the North side of the long runway,.
  • Rhoose Cardiff International Airport railway station is on the other side of the runway and connected to the Airport by a sguttle bus.
  • The line was closed by Beeching to passenger traffic in 1964, but was reopened in 2005.

Could Cardiff Airport benefit from the same sort of train-train link, that has been proposed for Glasgow that I wrote about in The Glasgow Airport Rail Link Will Be A Tram-Train?

But the map does illustrate the benefit of rail access to the cement works.

  • The works is close the Vale of Glamorgan Line.
  • Trains from the cement works can go East to places that need the product, including surprisingly, the South West of England.
  • The rail link could cut the number of truck movements by 25%.

This would seem to be an ideal use for rail freight.

Are we doing enough to develop similar links, from other large factories all over the UK?

As the line is supposed to be electrified in a few years, could it be that a proper review of the line should be done first, to see whether any other projects should be done at the same time.

The reason I say this, is that the history of the line is much the same as that of the Grand Old Duke of York and his soldiers.


December 24, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Old Oak Common Be London’s Super Hub Station?

Old Oak Common station is going to be a very important rail hub in the future, with all the services that various companies and organisations would like to see serving the proposed station.

This map shows some of the existing and proposed rail lines in the area.


Rail Lines At Old Oak Common

Rail Lines At Old Oak Common

Current Plans

I’ll now list the lines shown in the map or that go through the area. and are listed in Wikipedia, as having connections at the proposed Old Oak Common station.

1. Bakerloo Line

The Bakerloo Line will call

2. Central Line

The Central Line will call.

The Central Line acts as a loop from Crossrail through Central London, serving stations not on the direct route, in Central London between Stratford and Bond Street.

I wrote about the relationship between Crossrail and the Central Line in Ducking And Diving Between Crossrail And The Central Line.

3. Crossrail

Crossrail goes through the area and development of a station has been proposed.

4. Great Western Main Line

The Great Western Main Line goes through the area and local and other services may call.

5. HS2

HS2 will be building a station at Old Oak Common.

6. North London Line

The North London Line is consulting on a new station as I wrote about in Should An Overground Station Be Built At Hythe Road?

The North London Line acts as another East-West line across London and will probably have a frequency of upwards of the current  4 trains per hour (tph) between Richmond and its Eastern connection to Crossrail at Stratford.

7. West Coast Main Line

The West Coast Main Line  goes through the area and local and other services may call.

8. West London Line

The West London Line will call and this line gives an easy route to Balham, Clapham Junction and East Croydon stations, which by-passes Central London.

I suspect that the frequency of trains on this route will be increased.

Eight lines is an large amount of connectivity.

Other Possibilities

If that isn’t enough connectivity, there are also these extra possibilities.

1. Chiltern Railways

Chiltern Railways have ambitions to use Old Oak Common station as another London terminus, with perhaps 2 tph.

I wrote about it in Linking Chiltern To Crossrail.

2. Dudding Hill Line

The Dudding Hill Line, runs to the West of Old Oak Common station. It could be electrified and have a station that is connected to Old Oak Common station.

For various reasons, both the Brent and Cricklewood \curves would be electrified, thus giving fully electrified access to and from North and South on the Midland Main Line.

3. Gospel Oak To Barking Line

Transport for London have published ideas to extend the Gospel Oak to Barking Line along an electrified Dudding Hill Line.

Suggestions have talked about 4 tph between Hounslow and Gospel Oak stations.

4. Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express uses the Crossrail route, so it could call.

5. Midland Main Line

If Chiltern can justify using Old Oak Common station, I suspect that services on the Midland Main Line can make the same arguments for using Old Oak Common station as a terminal.


It would give passengers from the East Midlands much better access to London and the South East.

6. Thameslink

There are no plans to link Thameslink to Old Oak Common station, but why not?

I proposed this in Will The Third Runway At Heathrow Be Actually Built In The Near Future?

Under Integration With Both HS1 And HS2, I said this.

It would be possible to do the following.

  •  Arrange for Heathrow Express and/or Crossrail to call at Old Oak Common for HS2.
  • Terminate some Thameslink services at Old Oak Common, thus linking HS1 and HS2.
  • Build an easy entrance at St. Pancras to Thameslink close to Eurostar.
  • It goes without saying, that Old Oak |Common will make interchange easy between the umpteen lines meeting there.

The Dudding Hill Line would be electrified.

This proposal and the related electrification of the Dudding Hill Line would do the following.

  • Give Chiltern, Crossrail, GWR and Heathrow Express a  connection to HS1.
  • Give Thameslink a better connection to HS2 and the West Coast Main Line
  • Create a fast ink between HS1 and HS2.

What could a Thameslink service to Old Oak Common station look like?

  • I would terminate 4 tph trains at Old Oak Common to give an  adequate level of service.
  • It might be advantageous to use eight-car Class 700 trains on this route, so that all trains North of Cricklewood could be twelve-car trains.
  • Could the trains going to Old Oak Common be the Wimbledon Loop trains?
  • There could be advantages in having 2 tph between Old Oak Common and London Bridge.

Obviously, passenger statistics would determine the services required.

Old Oak Common As An Airport Hub

If all or some of these plans come to pass, Old Oak Common station will be well-connected to the following airports.

  • Birmingham – Under 50 minutes by HS2.
  • City – Under 20 minutes by Crossrail
  • Gatwick – Under 50 minutes by Thameslink
  • Heathrow – Around 20 minutes by Crossrail and around 15 minutes by Heathrow Express
  • Luton – Under 30 minutes by Midland Main Line.
  • Manchester – Around an hour by HS2.
  • Southend – Around 80 minutes by Crossrail and Greater Anglia.
  • Stansted – Around 55 minutes by Crossrail and Stansted Express.

The figures are very much my best estimates, as the Thameslink and HS2 web sites don’t have simple journey time calculators as does the Crossrail web site.

But these timings do show some interesting facts, that will effect the developments of airports in Southern England.

  • Birmingham Airport is a practical alternative for those living with easy access to the HS2 stations at Euston or Old Oak Common.
  • Gatwick access needs to be faster to compete with Heathrow and Luton.
  • When HS2 reaches Manchester Aiorport, it will be a practical alternative for Middle England.
  • Southend Airport will be good for those East of London, but the journey time needs to be cut, by running faster trains to London.
  • Stansted Airport needs a faster connection to London and they will push for the four-tracking of the West Anglia Main Line.

There will be a massive battle for passengers and Network Rail will be under tremendous pressure to perform.

Rail Companies, Lines And Terminals, Without A Direct Connection To Old Oak Common Station

There is quite a few, even if you cut out train operators like Arriva Trains Wales, Scotrail, Northern and TransPennine, that don’t serve London.

1. Caledonian Sleeper

With all its connectivity, would Old Oak Common be the logical destination for the Caledonian Sleeper?

Could Old Oak Common, be London’s hub for all sleeper trains?


2. Circle, District And Metropolitan Lines

There are various ways to get on the Circle, District and Metropolitan Lines depending on where you want to go.

Just as the Central Line acts as a loop from Crossrail, the Sub-Surface Lines have various loops running parallel to Crossrail through Central London.

  • Circle and Metropolitan Lines, running North of Crossrail,  from Paddington to Whitechapel.
  • Circle and District Lines, running South of Crossrail,  from Paddington to Whitechapel.
  • District Line, running, South of Crossrail,  from Ealing Broadway to Whitechapel.

My prediction in Is Whitechapel Station Going To Be A Jewel In The East?, seems to becoming true.

3. c2c

As I said in Will c2c Push For Access To Stratford And Liverpool Street?, c2c needs a connection to a station on Crossrail.

With some reorganisation of services, I believe that it might possible to have a 4 tph service to Stratford and Liverpool Street stations, which would give passengers in the c2c area, access to Crossrail

4. East Coast Main Line

These are routes between Old Oak Common and Kings Cross station for the East Coast Main Line.

  • Crossrail to Farringdon and then the Metropolitan Line
  • North London Line to Highbury and Islington and then the Victoria Line.
  • Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus and then the Victoria Line.
  • Crossrail to Tottenham Court Road and then a 10, 73 or 390 bus.
  • Narrow boat on the canals.
  • If Thameslink should in the future serve Old Oak Common, that can be taken to St. Pancras Thameslink, followed by a walk.

None of the routes are of the best.

If you had plenty of time, Tottenham Court Road station and then a bus would be a good route, as the bus drops you in the front of Kings Cross station, with totally flat access to the trains. If you’re early and it’s sunny, you can sit in the best Waiting Room at a London station.

For local services on the East Coast Main Line, there are two slower alternatives.

  • Crossrail to Moorgate and then use the Great Northern Metro.
  • Thameslink to St. Pancras Thameslink, cross to the other platform and take Thameslink to Cambridge or Peterborough.

The second route, would be much easier, if St. Psncras had an island platform for Thameslink. At least it’s only escalators and lifts.

There is one development, that might happen, that could improve journeys to and from Kings Cross station. That is the reopening of Maiden Lane station.

5. Jubilee Line

The Jubilee Line has interchanges with Crossrail at Bond Street, Canary Wharf and Stratford stations, with an interchange with Thameslink at London Bridge station.

It also has a step-free interchange with the Bakerloo Line at Baker Street station.

The Jubilee Line also acts as a loop from Crossrail serving stations away from the main route through Central London between Stratford and Bond Street.

6. London Bridge, Cannon Street And Charing Cross

I have grouped all these three stations together as the rebuilding of London Bridge station and the Thameslink Programme have connected these three stations in a way that will change passenger patterns dramatically for users of these three stations.

For myself, it will mean that to access any trains from Cannon Street and Charing Cross or on Thameslink going South, I will probably use a bus to the superb London Bridge station with all its escalators and lifts, rather than fight my way through Central London.

Others will also choose to go direct to London Bridge, possibly by using the Jubilee or Northern Linse. It will be interesting to see how passenger usage changes at Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations.

London Bridge shows what could have been done, if they’d spent the money wisely at the dreadful St. Pancras.

There are four main routes between London Bridge and Old Oak Common stations.

  • Bakerloo Line to Waterloo and then the Jubilee Line.
  • Crossrail to Bond Street and then the loop of the Jubilee Line.
  • Crossrail to Farringdon and then Thmeslink
  • If Thameslink serves Old Oak Common, there could even be a direct train.

I suspect there are other routes and it will all be down to personal preference and where you catch your next train in London Bridge.

Cannon Street station could almost be considered a London Bridge North station.

  • It has seven terminal platforms. Try fitting more into London Bridge.
  • It is within easy walking distance of much of the City of London.
  • On a nice day, many might even walk from Cannon Street to Moorgate for Crossrail, as this route could be pedestrianised.
  • It has access to the Circle and District Lines, which with a change at Paddington give access to Crossrail and Old Oak Common station.
  • In a few years time, it will have good access to the Northern and Central Lines at Bank station.

Cannon Street station will become more important, as Network Rail and the various operators learn how to use the new infrstructure.

Sometimes, I struggle to see the point of Charing Cross station, but as it’s a very busy station others certainly see the station’s purpose.

It’s on the Bakerloo, Circle, District and Northern Lines, so getting to Old Oak Common won’t be a problem.

Transport for London are looking to take over South London inner suburban routes, so I think we’ll see changes in the management of Cannon Street and Charing Cross stations if this happens.

7. Northern Line

Both branches of the Northern Line are directly connected to Crossrail.

  • Tottenham Court Road station connects to the Charing Cross Branch.
  • Moorgate station connects to the Bank Branch.

Connections to the Northern Line might improve, if two separate lines are created

8. Piccadilly And Victoria Lines

The Piccadilly and Victoria Lines share three interchanges, but unfortunately they have no interfaces with Crossrail and only one poor one with Thameslink.

The best bet is to get on the Bakerloo Line and change at either Oxford or Picadilly Circus.

9. Victoria

Victoria station is another tricky station from which to get to and from Old Oak Common.

  • Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus and then Victoria Line.
  • Crossrail to Paddington and then Circle or District Line.

As some services out of Victoria stop at stations served by the West London Line, it is possible to use that line to by-pass Central London.

10. Waterloo

Like London Bridge, Waterloo station is very well connected to Crossrail and the Old Oak Common hub.

  • Bakerloo Line direct.
  • Crossrail to Bond Street and then the loop of the Jubilee Line.
  • Crossrail to Tottenham Court Road and then the Northern Line.

As some services out of Waterloo stop at stations served by the West London Line, it is possible to use that line to by-pass Central London.


I have come to the following conclusions.

Everybody will want to be connected to Old Oak Common station.

Groups of lines across London are emerging.

  • East to West – Crossrail, Central, District, Metropolitan, North London, Gospel Oak To Barking, Dudding Hill.
  • North to South – Thameslink, West London,East London, Northern.
  • North-East to South-West – Crossrail 2, Piccadilly, Victoria.
  • North-West to South-East – Bakerloo, Jubilee

A very strong grid with good interchanges is probably the main objective.

Looking at these groups, makes me think, that actions are suggested, that would strengthen the network.

  • Build Crossrail 2
  • Increase the capacity on the Bakerloo Line
  • Split the Northern Line into Charing Cross and Bank branches.

London will quickly fill the extra capacity.




October 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment