The Anonymous Widower

London’s First Underground Roller Coaster

This picture shows a cross-section of the massive Liverpool Street Crossrail station, which will connect Moorgate and Liverpool Street stations when it opens in December 2018.

Note.

  1. Moorgate station is on the left.
  2. Liverpool Street station is on the right.
  3. In the middle looking like a giant juicer is the ventilation shaft in Finsbury Circus.
  4. The Crossrail tunnels, which consist of two running tunnels and a pedestrian walkway between them are at the deepest level.
  5. There are escalators and lifts all over the place.

Suppose you are walking from street level at Liverpool Street station to street level at Moorgate station in heavy rain and you don’t want to get wet.

You would take the following route.

  • Enter Liverpool Street Underground station.
  • Take the escalators down from street level to the intermediate level.
  • Walk along the passage and take the escalators down to the Crossrail level.
  • Walk along the central pedestrian walkway between the two Crossrail running tyunnels.
  • Take the escalators up to the Intermediate level.
  • Take the escalators up to street level in Moorgate Underground station.

You would actually walk a shorter distance, than you do now, as the four escalators would carry you forward.

In Liverpool Street Crossrail Station Disentangled, I showed this schematic of the station complex.

Note how the Northern Line passes through Moorgate station and the Central Line passes through Liverpool Street station, both at right-angles to Crossrail.

This image enlarged from the first shows a cross-section of Moorgate station.

Note the two circles under the escalator, which I suspect are the tunnels for the Northern Line.

There is probably some intricate spaghetti at this end of the station connecting the Bank branch of the Northern Line to Crossrail, in addition to the escalators.

But it means that if you want to go from Liverpool Street station to the Northern Line, you’ll descend to Crossrail and then ascend to the Northern Line.

This will be probably easier than the current long walk and the escalator descent at Moorgate station.

This image enlarged from the first shows a cross-section of Liverpool Street station end of the Crossrail station.

Note.

  1. The glazed entrance to the station.
  2. The Central Line tunnels.

Again, I suspect the spaghetti is intricate.

But from the schematic it would appear there’s a good link from the central tunnel to the Central Line.

Conclusion

I hope the signage and information will be good.

 

 

 

 

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The East London Line Platforms At Whitechapel Station Now Appear To Be Full Length

Because of Crossrail works, Whitechapel station had to wait to get full-length platforms for the five-car Class 378 trains on the East London Line.

It at last seems the platforms are now extended.

But then it is only just over a year until December 2018, when Whitechapel station opens for Crossrail services between Paddington and Abbey Wood stations.

 

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Doubts Arise About A third Runway At Heathrow

I have always been sceptical about a third runway at Heathrow and put down my thoughts in Will The Third Runway At Heathrow Be Actually Built In The Near Future?.

Media reports are now saying that there should be more consultation, due to the election stopping the publication of updated forecasts for passengers and pollution. The Labour Party also seems to be against the idea.

By the end of 2019, Crossrail and Thameslink will be fully operational and I believe that they will push everybody including politicians, airline boses and other business leaders to seriously rethink their positions. The statements of Willie Walsh; the Chairman of the airline group;IAG seems increasingly sceptical about Heathrow’s third runway.

2019 also marks the date when Gatwick Airport can start to think about developing a second runway.

In Could Thameslink Connect To Heathrow?, I showed that it would be possible to create a high-capacity link between Heathrow and Gatwick via Thameslink.

  • The link would connect Gatwick, Heathrow, HS1 and HS2.
  • No expensive infrastructure would be needed.
  • This link could easily accommodate four trains per hour and possibly double that, when Heathrow rebuilds its terminals to make it a greener airport, more reliant on rail.

It could be in place in 2020.

Conclusion

All of these forces will kick the third runway even further into the future.

 

September 9, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Thameslink Connect To Heathrow?

This may seem an outrageous idea.

But I think it could be possible.

Can Class 345 Trains And Class 700 Trains Use The Same Tracks And Platforms?

Crossrail may use Class 345 trains and Thameslink may use Class 700 trains, but can the two trains use the same tracks and platforms?

Recently, Cambridge North station has opened and it will certainly be compatible with Class 700 trains and Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains, which are closely related to the Crossrail trains.

Heathrow’s platforms do not have platform-edge doors.

Both trains are designed to work at high frequencies using ERTMS.

So I think the answer to my question is a solid yes!

How Would Thameslink Trains Get To Heathrow?

The original plan for Heathrow Express envisaged using both Paddington and St. Pancras as terminals in Central London.

It would have used the Dudding Hill Line as a connection between the Great Western Main Line and the Midland Main Line.

This Google Map shows the tracks to the East of Acton Main Line station.

Note.

  • The four tracks of the Great Western Main Line run through Acton Main Line station.
  • The most Southerly pair of tracks are the fast lines, whilst the next pair are the slow lines as used by Crossrail.
  • The tracks shown in orange are the North London Line.
  • The two extra lines to the North of Acton Main Line station are the Goods Lines, connect at Acton Wells Junction to the North London Line, so freight trains can go across London between the Great Western Main Line and Stratford.

After crossing over the Central Line, the route splits with the North London Line going East to Stratford and the Dudding Hill Line going North through Acton Canal Wharf Junction.

To get to and from Heathrow, the services would take the same route as Crossrail to the West of Acton Main Line station.

The services would use the existing Cricklewood Curve Junction to connect with the Thameslink route to the North of Cricklewood station.

What New Infrastructure Would Be Required?

The infrastructure needed would not be of the sort of scale needed for Crossrail or Thameslink.

  • The Dudding Hill Line is would need to be electrified.
  • The Dudding Hill Line is double-track throughout.
  • The 30 mph speed limit of the Dudding Hill Line would need to be increased.
  • Would Harlesden and Dudding Hill stations be reopened or other new ones built?
  • The stations at Heathrow could probably handle Class 700 trains without too much difficulty.
  • There might be a need for a flyover to sort out the tangle of lines between Cricklewood and St. Pancras.

But nothing is too complicated or difficult.

What Frequency Of Thameslink Trains Would Serve Heathrow?

Currently, the following services are provided

  • Heathrow Express has four tph to Terminal 5 via Heathrow Central
  • There is a shuttle between Heathrow Central and Terminal 4, run by Heathrow Express.
  • Heathrow Connect run two tph to Heathrow Central.

When Crossrail opens in December 2019, the service to Heathrow will be four trains per hour (tph) to Terminal 5 and two tph to Terminal 4.

Crossrail will also provide the shuttle between Heathrow Central and Terminal 4.

It is certainly not a system designed by any individual or committee with any sense of good design.

At least, both Terminal 4 and Terminal 5 stations have two terminal platforms, so the two stations should each be able to handle up to eight tph.

If they did this would mean up to sixteen tph on the Heathrow spur, which would be well within the capability of the route and trains running using ERTMS, which will handle up to 24 tph on both Crossrail and Thameslink in the few years.

Under current plans, it appears that when Crossrail opens, the stations will get the following services.

  • Heathrow Central – 10 tph
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 – 2 tph plus shuttles
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 – 8 tph

I’m assuming that Heathrow Connect will quietly fade away.

With a bit of reorganisation of the services, it should be possible to squeeze another six tph into the airport, without building any new terminal platforms.

So I feel that say four tph Thameslink trains to Heathrow would be possible.

Could Crossrail Handle The Extra Trains?

The Thameslink trains would have to run on the Crossrail tracks between Acton Main Line station and Heathrow Airport Junction.

Currently Crossrail are proposing running 12 tph on this section, so as ERTMS can handle double this, I suspect there shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Could Thameslink Handle The Extra Trains?

This article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled Thameslink Signalling Update, says this about possible Thameslink frequencies.

To meet the specification of 24 tph through the Thameslink core section, it is necessary to deploy Automatic Train Operation (ATO). This will provide a peak theoretical capacity of 30 tph, thereby creating a reliable 24 tph service with acceptable recovery margins.

So an extra six tph could be possible.

Would A Service Between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports Be Possible?

In my view it would be the logical service.

It would certainly be possible!

And it could also be a journey without any change of train!

Would There Be Any Other Useful Connections?

These are a few thoughts and ideas.

Same Platform Interchanges

Cross-city lines like Crossrail, Merseyrail’s Northern Line and Thameslink, have the advantage, that if you are going in the right direction, but are on a train to the wrong destination, you can just get off the train and wait for the correct train.

So if you leave Heathrow on a Gatwick train and you need to go to Maidstone East, you would get off at any of the stations in the central core and wait until the next Maidstone East train arrives.

Everybody will have their own favourite interchanges. Mine would probably be Blackfriars station, as it is above the Thames, has lots of seats and there is a large coffee shop on both platforms.

The ability to do this will mean that all stations South of West Hampstead  Thameslink station will have a very easy link to and from Heathrow.

Reversing Stations

Crossrail has several stations where you can reverse your direction of travel by just walking across the platform. Whitechapel station will allow passengers to go between Abbey Wood and Shenfield stations without going up or down any steps or escalators.

Thameslink only has one reversing station at London Bridge station, although St. Pancras Thamslink has escalators and lifts to allow passengers to change direction in a short time.

West Hampstead Interchange

If plans for a West Hampstead Interchange materialise, this will link the following lines.

  • Chiltern Railways
  • Jubilee Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Midland Main L:ine
  • North London Line

Note.

  1. This could be a very good interchange to be connected to Heathrow.
  2. West Hampstead Interchange would be a good alternative until Old Oak Common station is built.
  3. Passengers going between Heathrow and stations on the Midland Main Line to the North could change here.

Those like me living along the North London Line would find it a convenient way to get to and from Heathrow.

Kings Cross And St. Pancras Stations

The massive complex at Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations currently links the following lines.

  • Eurostar
  • Midland Main Line
  • East Coast Main Line
  • Southeastern Highspeed services
  • Circle Line
  • Hammersmith and City Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Northern Line
  • Piccadilly Line
  • Victoria Line

But the only way to get directly to Heathrow is a nearly hour long journey on the Piccadilly Line. Thameslink could be just over half that time, in a less cramped train.

Blackfriars Station

I use Blackfriars station a lot, as it is my the Tate Modern.

But others will use it as a same platform interchage for reasons I outlined erlier.

London Bridge Station

London Bridge station is another important interchange, with links to the following lines.

  • Southeastern services to Kent
  • Southern services to Surrey and Sussex.
  • Jubilee Line
  • Northern Line

Note.

  • This new station is well-equipped and interchange is totally step-free.
  • It is also a short walk to the city across London Bridge.
  • This station will be a very good same platform interchange.
  • The station allows passengers to reverse direction by just walking across the platform.

As with West Hampstead, this could be a very good interchange to be connected to Heathrow.

East Croydon, Orpington and Wimbledon Stations

East Croydon, Orpington and Wimbledon stations, which are important local hubs, would all be well-connected to Heathrow.

Collateral Benefits

Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 is planning to have a Euston St. Pancras station, which is described like this in Wikipedia.

It would be a “mega station” serving the existing Euston, King’s Cross and St. Pancras main line stations. If funded and completed, it will be one of two such stations on the Crossrail 2 route (the other being Dalston).

If this station is designed properly, I am sure it will have the following.

  • A step-free and convenient link to both Thameslink and Eurostar.
  • Some form of high-capacity hi-tech people-mover, stretching under Euston Road, linking Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston stations.

I believe a station design is possible that makes the connection between HS1 and HS2 a no-hassle transfer for all passengers in less than ten minutes.

The people-mover should be in place when HS2 opens in December 2026, so that a credible HS1 to HS2 link opens at the same time.

Gatwick, Heathrow, HS1 And HS2 Will Be On One Rail Line

This could be of tremendous benefit to Londoners, travellers, tourists, rail companies and airlines, but Heathrow might not like it, as it could undermine their dominant position.

If Crossrail 2 opens around 2030, this will bring Stansted into the hub.

The Most Important Railway Station In The World

Eventually, Euston St. Pancras station will become the busiest and most important railway station in the world.

How Will Terminal Development At Heathrow Affect Crossrail And Thameslink?

Heathrow are disclosing a master-plan, for rebuilding a lot of the airport to make it more efficient and up with the best.

  • There will be two main terminals; Heathrow West and Heathrow East with satellites in between handling the actual planes.
  • These two terminals and the satellites will be between the two existing runways, with a passenger and baggage transport system beneath.
  • Terminal Five will become Heathrow West.
  • An extended Terminal Two will become Heathrow East.
  • Crossrail, Heathrow Express and the Underground will serve both main terminals.

I believe that this rebuilding could start in the next few years.

Heathrow will make sure they future-proof rail access, so we could see.

  • More terminal platforms at both Heathrow East and Heathrow West
  • Through platforms at Heathrow West to allow trains to go West from both terminals.
  • Freight shuttles bringing in provisions for the airport, the airlines and the aircraft.

This will allow Crossrail, Thameslink, Heathrow Express and other operators to have as many services as is thought necessary.

The biggest constraint will be the capacity of the Great Western Railway and the two tracks used by Crossrail.

Will Other Operastors Be Allowed Use Heathrow?

This probably depends more on politics than anything else, but technically these facts apply.

Bombardier Aventras

Bombardier have hinted that the design of an Aventra can provide commuter trains like Crossrail’s Class 345 trains and 125 mph expresses.

So it would be likely that a 125 mph Aventra of appropriate length would be able to serve Heathrow, if that were thought necessary!

All Trains Would Be Electric

I suspect that regulations would mean all trains would be electric, as you don’t want diesel or hydrogen fuels in the tunnels under Heathrow.

ERTMS

I also suspect that all trains using the eathrow stations would need to be equipped with ERTMS.

Possible Routes

Who knows what routes will become possible, but as the list of trains grows that are acceptable to Heathrow, various possibilities will arise.

  • Great Western Railway to Bristol
  • Great Western Railway to Cardiff
  • London Overground to Clapham Junction station
  • London Overground to Stratford
  • South Western Railway to Southampton
  • East Midlands Trains to Bedford/Kettering/Corby
  • West Midlands Trains to Watford/Milton Keynes/Birmingham

After Heathrow terminals are updated to East and West, there would be scope for cross country routes going vaguely South-West to North-East calling at both terminals in Heathrow.

 

Will Thameslink And Crossrail Strangle Heathrow Express?

I wonder if a ink to Thameslink will be more valuable to Heathrow, than Heathrow Express.

  • Abandoning Heathrow Express would release valuable platform space at Heathrow and Paddington.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink together would have connections all over London, rather than just Paddington.
  • Crossrail to and from Paddington would only take about five or six minutes longer.
  • Heathrow Express will have to update their trains with ERTMS and to compete with Crossrail.
  • Heathrow Express usually means a taxi to your hotel to and from Paddington.
  • Crossrail will connect the West End, The City and Canary Wharf to Heathrow.

Convenience and cost will eventually strangle Heathrow Express.

Conclusion

The following statements would appear to be true.

  • Class 345 and Class 700 trains can use the same infrastructure.
  • Crossrail and Thameslink both use ERTMS.
  • The stations at Heathrow,the Western section of Crossrail and the Thameslink core have spare capacity.

This means it should be possible to extend Thameslink services to Heathrow with a frequency of at least four tph, using an electrified Dudding Hill Line.

Some new infrastructure would be required, but nothing as comprehensive, as that for Crossrail and Thameslink.

 

 

September 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Crossrail Era Cometh

This title of this post comes from a comment on the Drapers Online web site.

It discusses the effect Crossrail is going to have on the shops in Oxford Street. This paragraph is typical of the bullish tone of the comment.

The Elizabeth Line is central to ushering in a new chapter for Oxford Street and the wider West End. The line is expected to bring an extra 60 million visits to the area each year, in addition to the current 200 million annual visits. Retailers in the West End will receive a huge boost from two new stations opening at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road.

I wonder when a railway got such a large comment in a magazine or web site, devoted to the fashion business.

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Toilets In Class 345 Trains

I visited this topic in Do Crossrail Trains Need Toilets? over two years ago, when I said this.

Surely, a much better and more affordable solution would be to update the ribbon maps in all Underground and Crossrail trains to show if the station had toilets, in the same way, they show the step free access. Some extra signs on stations showing the status and location of toilets would also be a good idea.

Incidentally on the Essex and Reading legs of Crossrail, several of the stations already have decent toilets. Getting off a train and catching the next one, to have a relaxed toilet break, is probably not a huge delay, due to the high frequency of the trains.

London has a chance to set high standards in this area, without putting toilets on any trains.

My views haven’t changed, but I do think that now the Aventra is in limited service, I can speculate further.

Walk-through Trains, First Class And Toilets

London now has five walk-through trains.

In some ways the Class 700 train is the odd train out, as it has both First Class seating and toilets.

It should also be noted that Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains don’t have First Class, but it appears they have toilets.

Walk-through trains are an undoubted success, as any Overground or Underground passenger will confirm, after seeing the way other passengers move around the train to both get a seat and be able to make a convenient exit.

First Class causes problems, as it blocks off this passenger circulation, unless it as one end of the train. But this means that First Class passengers might have a long walk to their seat at the wrong end of the day.

I wonder if walk-through trains encourage passengers to not use First Class, as the freedom to circulate in Standard Class makes the travel experience better.

It will be interesting to see how posh commuters from Frinton take to Greater Anglia’s new Class 720 trains.

Another problem of First Class sitting at one end of the train, is that if toilet provision is made, there must be a toilet near to First Class.

So if you don’t have First Class in a train up to perhaps ten cars, you can get away with perhaps a universal access toilet and a standard one.

From comments I get, most people seem to like the Class 395 trains or Javelins, that work the Highspeed services to Kent. These trains are six-car, with no First Class and two toilets.

So are these trains setting the standard for the Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains?

Toilets On Class 345 Trains

The initial layout of Crossrail with terminals at Abbey Wood, Heathrow, Reading and Shenfield, has a longest journey from Reading to Shenfield of 102 minutes according to the Crossrail web site. But there are toilet facilities at Reading and Shenfield.

However, there is the possibility, that Crossrail trains may serve other terminals like Gravesend, High Wycombe, Southend and Tring.

Tring to Southend would be a journey of two hours, so a toilet is probably a necessity.

The current Class 345 trains have been designed to be nine-car units, although at present they are running as seven cars because of platform length issues at Liverpool Street.

I’ve read somewhere that Crossrail has been designed so that the trains can be increased to ten cars, if there should be a need for more capacity.

  • Platforms have been lengthened to at least two hundred metres.
  • All stations seem to have been updated for a large number of passengers.
  • Lengthening from seven to nine cars is obviously a simple matter.
  • A similar lengthening of the Class 378 trains was not a major exercise.

So surely, it would be a simple matter to slot in a car with a toilet.

So perhaps we might see an extra tenth car added to Class 345 trains, that is tailored to the route, as this ability to add and remove cars, is a feature of all Aventras.

Hitachi’s Class 800 trains also have the capability, as I suspect every well-designed train has.

The Ultimate Airport Train

Imagine a tenth car on Heathrow services.

  • Disabled toilet.
  • Ticket machine.
  • Visitor information and shop.
  • Space for large luggage.

The mind boggles!

Conclusion

If an operator wanted Aventras with a disco car, I’m sure Bombardier would oblige! At a price!

 

August 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Class 345 Trains Are More Numerous

I took the train to Ipswich today to see Town host Brentford.

There were three Class 345 trains in a neat row at Ilford EMU Depot and another in Shenfield station.

Wikipedia now says that there are seven in service, but eleven are planned by September according to this article in the International Railway Journal.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

Crossrail Funding Contributions From Developers Forecast To Hit £600m Target A Year Ahead Of Schedule

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in City AM.

The funding has come from the mayoral community infrastructure levy (MCIL) and Section 106 contributions.

The two biggest contributions came from |Tower Hamlets at £40m and Westminster at £34m.

What the author doesn’t point out is the collateral benefit from all this extra development. Transport for London must be getting more far revenue from more passengers going to and from the developments.

It’s certainly good news.

Are areas like Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle seening similar cast flow increases?

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Finance, Travel | , | 1 Comment

Crossrail To Heathrow, Reading And Southend

Crossrail To Heathrow

In the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, there is a section called Extensions.

This is said under a sub-section called Heathrow Express.

The RUS also proposes integrating Heathrow Express services from Heathrow Terminal 5 into Crossrail to relieve the GWML and reduce the need for passengers to change at Paddington.

Note RUS refers to Network Rail’s Route Utilisation Study of 2011 and GWML is the Great Western Main Line.

Currently, Heathrow Express takes fifteen minutes to go between Paddington and Heathrow Central stations, with Heathrow Connect taking thirty-two minutes with five stops.

The journey time calculator on the Crossrail site, says the trains will take twenty-three minutes with six stops. But as I said in Are Crossrail And Bombardier Having Us On?, Crossrail’s journey time estimates aren’t very good to say the least.

I think until the Crossrail trains reach Heathrow next May 2018, any speculation I make of the time they take between Paddington and Heathrow Central will be very wide of the mark.

However, this can be said of Heathrow Express and Crossrail to Heathrow.

  • As the RUS says Heathrow Express services use four paths per hour on the GWML in both directions and these paths would be released for other services if Heathrow Express used the dedicated Crossrail tracks.
  • Most Heathrow Express passengers will not be going to Paddington or the surrounding area of the station.
  • When fully developed Crossrail will connect Canary Wharf, the City of London, the West End and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to name just four important destinations, directly to Heathrow Airport.
  • If Crossrail works as it says on the box, every travel guide and expert, will recommend you use your contactless bank card to travel on this wonderful new airport train.
  • I would suspect, that given Heathrow’s expansion plans, that the Heathrow branch of Crossrail has a capacity in excess of ten trains per hour (tph).
  • The accommodation and comfort level in Crossrail’s Class 345 trains is high and well suited for an airport service.

I think that Heathrow Express will be increasingly deserted by passengers, in favour of the cheaper and more convenient Crossrail.

So could the two services be integrated together?

In theory, Heathrow Express could use the Crossrail tracks to Paddington, but there would be problems.

  • Heathrow Express trains would have to leave the Crossrail tracks to get into Paddington.
  • Would Crossrail want non-stop trains speeding through suburban stations like Southall, with their high suicide rates?

So then why not create a Heathrow Express, that used the Crossrail tracks and stopped at say Old Oak Common (for HS2), Paddington, Bond Street, Farringdon (for Thameslink), Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf?

  • Heathrow Express would have to buy new trains compatible with the platform-edge doors in Crossrail’s tunnels.
  • Where would the trains be turned back? Perhaps a turnback facility could be built at Liverpool Street at a cost of several hundred million pounds!
  • It would still speed through suburban stations.
  • Trains moving at different speeds would reduce the capacity of Crossrail.
  • As Crossrail and Heathrow Express will use the same platforms at stations, how do you stop people without expensive special tickets using Heathrow Express?

Heathrow will continue to argue to keep Heathrow Express, but in practice in the future, it will be as outdated a concept as trains pulled by steam engines.

So one of two things will happen.

  • Heathrow Express will continue as now, using two valuable platforms at Paddington and the four equally valuable paths per hour on the GWML.
  • It will be discontinued.

I believe that in some date in the future, only three rail services will serve Heathrow.

The two Crossrail services would probably be run back-to-back, so that fewer trains were turned back at Heathrow.

The two Crossrail branches to Heathrow and Reading would merge easily to the West of Hayes and Harlington station and there would be no complications caused by Heathrow Express trains crossing to and from the fast lines.

Crossrail To Reading

Just over a month ago, Transport for London (TfL) ordered four extra Crossrail trains and announced extra services to Heathrow and Reading. I discussed this in Crossrail Expands Before It Opens

I said this.

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 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.

I also found this quote in the article on Global Rail News, that was the source for the increased services.

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

So could we be seeing a degree of co-operation between TfL, Crossrail and Great Western Railway, whereby the following services are provided?

  • Slow stopping services are run by Crossrail on the two slow lines.
  • Fast and semi-fast services are run by Great Western Railway on the two fast lines.

This would be operationally simple and might even create extra paths into London for more long-distance services.

The problem are the local stopping trains to Oxford (2 tph) and Bedwyn (1 tph). Will they run on the slow or fast lines between Paddington and Reading?

Consider the service to Bedwyn.

  • A five-car Class 800 train could run the service.
  • Small modifications at Bedwyn would probably be needed to allow the Class 800 train to use the turnback.
  • The train would run using electricity until the wires ran out near Newbury and then diesel.
  • The service could run semi-fast or non-stop between Paddington and Reading.
  • Nine-car Crossrail Class 345 trains would probably need a lot of platform lengthening, in addition to the electrification to be used to Bedwyn.

And the stopping service to Oxford.

  • A five-car Class 800 train could run the service.
  • A planned new bay platform at Oxford station would handle the service.
  • The train would run using electricity until the wires ran out near Didcot and then diesel.
  • The service could run semi-fast or non-stop between Paddington and Reading.
  • Niine-car Crossrail Class 345 trains would probably need some platform lengthening, in addition to the electrification, to be used to Oxford.

If the two services are considered together, they could join and split at Reading to save paths on the fast lines.

I think that on balance to use a pair of Class 800 trains would be better than to extend Crossrail past Reading.

Consider.

  • A second service to Bedwyn could be easily added.
  • A large number of long-distance trains call at Reading station.
  • Reading has been designed for easy interchange between fast and slow services.
  • Crossrail will be providing at least four tph between Paddington and Reading that stop at all stations.
  • Reading has services into Waterloo.

I’m certain that the train companies can find a very efficient solution.

I can see a situation, where Great Western Railway aren’t going to need many Class 387 trains in the Thames Valley.

Crossrail To Oxford

This may seem a bit over the top, but analysis might show, that the best way to create more capacity between Reading and Oxford, might be to extend two Reading Crossrail services each hour to Oxford, when the electrification to Oxford is complete.

Crossrail To Southend

Just as it appears there is co-operation between Crossrail, Great Western Railway and TfL, could similar co-operation between Crossrail, Greater Anglia and TfL, result in improved services on the Shenfield to Southend Line? I wrote about this in Crossrail Tests Its Trains In Southend.

The Long Distance Class 345 Train

Adding Oxford and/or Southend to Crossrail services, may need a sub-class of Class 345 train to be created, due to the length of the journey. Toilets would be the obvious addition.

 

 

 

 

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Are Crossrail And Bombardier Having Us On?

A rail journalist sent me this sentence in an e-mail.

Everyone who’s been on a 345 tells me it takes half its time at stations waiting for the timetable to catch up.

So it would appear that they are saving time at each stop.

Liverpool Street To Shenfield

Currently, this twelve stop journey takes 43 minutes in a 75 mph Class 315 train.

It is also scheduled at 45 minutes in the 10:35 service, which is run by a Class 345 train.

The journey time calculator for Crossrail gives 41 minutes.

This works out at a saving of just  ten seconds a stop.

Paddington To Reading

Currently, this nine stop journey takes 60 minutes in a 90 mph Class 165 train.

Crossrail will call at five more stations

The journey time calculator for Crossrail gives 49 minutes.

This works out at a saving of forty-seven seconds a stop.

Reading To Shenfield

Currently, the fastest this journey can be done is 103 minutes with two changes and the Underground between Paddington and Liverpool Street.

The journey time calculator on Crossrail gives 102 minutes.

Liverpool Street To Paddington

Currently, this journey rakes 21 minutes on the Circle Line,

The journey time calculator on Crossrail gives 10 minutes.

Conclusion

These figures don’t make sense.

  1. More time is predicted to be saved on the Reading branch.
  2. The current trains are faster on the Reading branch.
  3. I would assume that the current Class 345 train to Shenfield is timed at 45 minutes for scheduling reasons or in case something goes wrong.
  4. The Shenfield to Liverpool Street times seem to be based on the current timetable with a minute taken off.
  5. The Reading to Shenfield times can’t be right.

I do wonder if the figures in the journey time calculator on the Crossrail web site are the best estimate that could be made, when the web site was created.

Now, that an Aventra is running, they are not very good estimates.

 

 

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 3 Comments