The Anonymous Widower

HS2 Need To Get Their Act Together

Crossrail has been good in keeping Londoners and others informed about designs and what is happening, with constant updates to the News page on their web site.

Last month, HS2 started the contractual process to find a builder for the HS2 station at Old Oak Common.

But there is nothing about it on their News page, which is just a load of press releases.

I have found this picture of the proposed station in several places on the Internet.

But where is the detailed information page, which explains it all?

I found this map of the rail lines in Wikipedia Commons.



  1. It would appear that the rail line going along the North side of the common in the visualisation is the Great Western Main Line, which will also be used by Crossrail.
  2. It appears that the rail loop in the foreground of the visualisation, which is not shown on the map, is to allow Crossrail trains to access the North London Line.
  3. There must be another proposed loop or viaduct to allow trains to connect to the Northbound West Coast Main Line. This would allow Crossrail to be extended to Watford and Milton Keynes.

Where is the definitive map and information from HS2?

Old Oak Common station will affect travel plans for millions of travellers to and from most parts of London and a lot of places in the wider South East.

No wonder, there are people who don’t want HS2 to be built, if they have no information!

So why aren’t HS2 following the same news and information route, that has been successful for Crossrail?

April 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 6 Comments

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 | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

MTR Vying To Join Heathrow Southern Rail Bid

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in New Civil Engineer.

The title gives you all you need, but consider these facts about MTR.

  • MTR is a Hong Kong company with a revene of about £4 billion per year, which is about the same size as the Stagecoach Group.
  • MTR will be running Crossrail for Transport for London.
  • MTR in partnership with First Group, are running South Western Railway.

In addition, FirstGroup are running Great Western Railway.

So it could seem logical for MTR to be included in the consortium behind Heathrow Southern Railway, as they could have a lot of influence on the consortium’s policies.

In an argument about train paths or stations, MTR or their partner; First Group, will be involved on both sides.

The problem is Heathrow Airport and their ownership of Heathrow Express, especially if it is extended deep into South Western Railway territory at Basingstoke, Guildford or Working.

This is said on the Heathrow Southern Railway web site.

Whether or not a third runway is built, many more passengers and airport workers need to be accessing Heathrow by train. The Government’s recent M25 South West Quadrant Study ruled out widening the motorway. HSR provides the alternative, switching traffic from the roads and contributing to improving local air quality. We estimate that HSR will reduce use of this section of the M25 by over three million car trips a year.

Heathrow might be a greedy bully, but they probably need a superb rail service more, than they need to own Heathrow Express.

MTR and AECOM, who is a large partner in Heathrow Southern Railway partner, are big enough to stand up to anybody.


March 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Traffic Between Windsor And Staines After The Building Of Heathrow Southern Railway

Currently, Windsor and Eton Riverside station has a two train per hour (tph) service to Waterloo, which calls at Staines.

These are also the only trains on the Staines-Windsor Line.

So if, there are four tph on a Crossrail service from Heathrow to Staines, as  I talked about in Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plans For Staines, then that only raises the frequency of the  trains on the Southern part of the Staines-Windsor Line to six tph.

In his article about the Heathrow Southern Railway in the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, Chris Stokes says this.

With the addition of a chord at Staines, it would also be potentially possible to operate a half-hourly Weybridge – Virginia Water – Egham – Terminal 5 service, providing a further attractive local link to Heathrow.

If this service were to be added, that only raises the frequency to eight tph.

I suspect that if modern signalling techniques were applied, that the capacity of this route would be above this frequency.

Heathrow Terminal 5 Station

I doubt there will be any problems of capacity at Heathrow Terminal 5 station.

The station has been built with two Piccadilly Line and four heavy rail platforms.

This map from, shows the platform layout.


  1. It would appear there are only two heavy rail platforms in use.
  2. Through trains would use these currently in use platforms.
  3. The two spare platforms could be arranged, so that they could handle a terminating train from either direction.
  4. The terminating platforms can probably handle four tph or even six tph.
  5. The through platforms can handle well over ten tph, with the right signalling.

Someone seems to have got the design right.

The Future Of Heathrow Express

In his Modern Railways article, Chris Stokes says this about services from Woking to Heathrow.

We have assumed half-hourly services from Basingstoke and Guildford to Heathrow and Paddington, providing a 15-minute frequency from Woking, with stops at Farnborough Main (Basingstoke services), Working, Terminal 5, Terminal 2 and 3 and Old Oak Common.

He also says that this service could take over the Heathrow Express paths and it would use the through platforms at Heathrow Terminal 5 station.

This arrangement has several advantages.

  • Heathrow Express doesn’t terminate in the tunnels under Terminal 5.
  • No new train paths between Heathrow and Paddington are required
  • Heathrow Express gets  new destinations without any expensive new infrastructure.

But it would appear that Heathrow Express may have a future.


March 21, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plans For Staines

In an article in the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways about the Heathrow Southern Railway, Chris Stokes outlines how railway will serve Staines.

The addition of a bay platform at Staines, deliverable within the existing railway boundary, would assist service resilience and potentially allow extension of Crossrail services from T5 to Staines, providing a highly attractive alternative route from Staines to central London, together with enhanced interchange with South Western services. Journey times from Staines to Paddington would be as fast as to Waterloo, with excellent central London distribution provided by Crossrail. We would expect the majority of Staines to central London passengers to transfer to Crossrail, with significant interchange to Crossrail from intermediate stations between Staines and Reading, relieving overcrowding between Staines and Waterloo.

This map from shows the rail lines at Staines station.


  1. London trains take the lines to the East.
  2. Windsor and Heathrow trains take or will take the lines to the North-West.
  3. Reading trains take the lines to the South-West.

Heathrow Southern Railway plan to add a bay platform in the North West corner of the station.

  • It will be built on current railway land. (Chris Stokes)
  • It will help with the resilience of the train service. (Chris Stokes)
  • It could possibly be the terminus of an extended Crossrail service from Heathrow Terminal 5. (Chris Stokes)

I shall now look at various features, benefits and possible problems in detail.

Could A 205 Metre Long Platform Be Built?

The Google Map shows Staines station.


  1. The five-car blue train in the station.
  2. The train is probably a Class 458 train, which is just over a hundred metres long.
  3. Crossrail’s Class 345 trains are up to 205 metres long.
  4. The two footbridges over the tracks.
  5. The junction, where the tracks split to the West of the station.

These pictures show the area, where the new bay platform would go.

The Station Path and the green space are clearly shown on the Google Map.

Using the train in the station as a hundred metre ruler, I feel that with good design a platform, that was long enough for a Class 345 train could be built.

  • The path would be landscaped.
  • The platform would connect to the London-bound Platform 1.
  • There is probably space for some shelters and other facilities.
  • There might be a new entrance to the station at the West end.

Platforms have been built in much more difficult locations than this.

What Frequency Of Trains Could The Platform Handle?

Many terminal platforms in the UK handle four trains per hour  (tph).

Crossrail will actually handle 12 tph using three terminal platforms at Shenfield station, when the station gets the full service in May 2019.

I don’t think it would be outrageous to say, that the single bay platform at Staines station would be able to handle four tph.

Would Crossrail Want To Serve Staines?

Crossrail’s current service plans are lop-sided, with more trains going to the East than to the West. This means that 12 tph turnback at Paddington station.

I’m sure they would welcome extra termini in the West!

Heathrow Southern Railway’s plan is that trains will pass through Heathrow Terminal 5 station and then take the new rail link to Staines.

Crossrail’s current plan envisages two tph terminating in Heathrow Terminal 5 station, but I don’t think with the right signalling and timetable, that running four tph through the airport to the bay platform at Staines, would be impossible.

But this will only happen if there are the passengers to use the service.

Who Might Use Crossrail To And From Staines?

Chris Stokes said this.

We would expect the majority of Staines to central London passengers to transfer to Crossrail


As there is research behind the proposal, this will be right.

But there is one group of passengers, who will welcome Crossrail with open arms.

That is those people, who live in Staines or the surrounding area and work or want to work at Heathrow.

As Chris Grayling announced that Southern access to Heathrow was a priority, I discussed it with one of South Western’s station staff.

They put me right about getting from Staines to Heathrow for an early shift.


It’s amazing what can happen, when you add a simple bay platform!





March 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Thameslink Should Be On The Tube Map


  • Cambridge and Gatwick Airport are two of the most important destinations within an hour of Central London.
  • The outer branches of Thameslink to East Croydon, St. Albans, Welwyn Garden City and Wimbledon act in a similar manner to Underground Lines.
  • The central core of Thameslink will be used by many as just another Underground Line.
  • The London Overground is on the Tube Map.
  • Crossrail will be on the Tube Map.

For these and other reasons, the London sections of Thameslink should be on the Tube Map.

If Thameslink should be added, what about the Northern City Line?

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Observations On Thameslink Between Brighton And Cambridge

Yesterday, Thameslink opened the first of their services up the East Coast Main Line.

I gave more details in Thameslink Is Now Serving Peterborough And Cambridge.

Today, I did the following trips.

  • Dalston Junction to Brighton, by Overground, tram and Thameslink.
  • Brighton to Cambridge, leaving at 11:32 and arriving at 14:14, which was a journey time of two hours, forty-two minutes.
  • Cambridge to Finsbury Park, leaving at 14:24 and arriving at 15:10, which was a journey time of forty-six minutes.

These are pictures, I took along the Brighton to Cambridge part of the route.

These are some of my observations.

Are The Class 700 Trains Fast Enough?

There didn’t seem to be any problems today, but usually, when an electric train runs with the 125 mph trains on a High Speed Line like the East Coast, West Coast and Great Western Main Lines, they are a little bit faster than the hundred mph of the Class 700 trains.

Both, Class 350 trains and Class 387 trains are 110 mph trains and they have run successfully on High Speed Lines with 125 mph trains.

Interestingly, TransPennine Express has bought Class 397 trains, to work the West Coast Main Line. These are 125 mph trains, but they will have to work with uprated trains at 140mph, when in-cab signalling is installed.

In-Cab Signalling On The Main Lines

When modern in-cab signalling is installed on the Brighton, Midland and East Coast Main Lines will the current in-cab signalling of the Class 700 trains be able to be quickly updated?

I suspect it will not be a difficult project.

The Updating Of The Midland Main Line

In OLE Changes To Boost Midland Main Line Speeds, I said this.

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 840 of Rail Magazine.

Currently, the overhead line equipment (OLE) between St. Pancras and Bedford is rated at 100 mph.

But the new OLE between Bedford and Corby via Kettering is going to be built to a standard that will allow 125 mph running.

The article goes on to say that to make the best use of  125 mph bi-mode trains, the possibility of upgrading the St. Pancras to Bedford electrification to the 125 mph standard.

This must give advantages.

Are the Class 700 trains able to to take full advantage?

And are they fast enough to work with 125 mph bi-mode trains?

Are The Class 700 Trains Powerful Enough?

I ask this question, as surely changing from a slow line to a fast line, needs some acceleration and acceleration needs power.

The power available divided by the number of cars for the three trains is as follows.

  • Class 387 train – 420 kW/car
  • Class 350 train – 375 kW/car
  • Class 700 train – 417 kW/car

These figures are not that different.

By comparison, the Class 319 trains, which worked Thameslink for many years had just 247.5 kW/car.

The Class 700 Trains Aren’t Passenger Friendly For Long Distances

I regularly use Class 700 trains for short journeys on Thameslink around London. But going between say West Hampstead Thameslink and Blackfriars, is more of the sort of journey you would take on an Underground train.

  • They are perfectly adequate for short journeys in Central London.
  • The trains are generally lightly loaded, with seats often available.
  • There are plenty of hand-holds for safe standing.
  • The on train information is good.
  • I’ve even used the trains for their toilets.

On the other hand, taking an hour’s journey around London, there are several journeys, where you get a train with much better seats and a higher level of comfort.

  • Aldgate to Uxbridge on the Metropolitan Line, riding on a S8 Stock train.
  • Highbury and Islington to West Croydon on the London Overground, riding on a Class 378 train.
  • Liverpool Street to Shenfield, riding on a Class 345 train.
  • Liverpool Street to Bishops Stortford on a Class 317 train.
  • Paddington to Reading, riding on a Class 387 train.
  • Waterloo to Windsor, riding in a Class 455 train.

Note the presence of two seriously-old trains; Classes 317 and 455, and a train designed for the Underground.

Some of these journeys will get better, as new trains are introduced.

If you look at your new car, passenger features are much better than what you had twenty years ago.

The same can be said for some of London’s commuter trains, but can it be said for the Class 700 trains, when compared with the previous Class 319 trains.

  • Standing is a better experience on a Class 700 train.
  • Sitting is a better experience on a Class 319 train.
  • Entry and exit is better on a Class 700 train.
  • The toilets are better on a Class 700 train.
  • There is no wi-fi or power sockets on either train.
  • The Class 700 train is a better train to serve an Airport.
  • The Class 700 train uses the colours of a nuclear submarine, to calm passengers down!

After my trip of two hours forty-two minutes yesterday, between Brighton and Cambridge, I’m convinced the Class 700 train is unsuitable for this length of journey.

  • The seats are not comfortable enough for this distance.
  • By Cambridge, my phone was in desperate need of a re-charge.
  • At least I don’t generally use wi-fi.

The train was not very crowded, so with a more comfortable seat and a power-socket I’d have been a lot happier.

Passenger Loading Of The Train

For most of the journey, the train was virtually empty and I had four seats to myself.

Incidentally, I suspect that a lot of groups travelling all the way, will put their feet on the seats opposite for comfort.

The only time, the train had more than a few passengers was between Gatwick Airport and London Bridge stations, when it was almost completely full.

Various factors probably contribute.

  • Between London and Brighton, you can take one of Southern’s comfortable Class 377 trains.
  • Between London and Bedford, you can still take one of East Midland’s comfortable trains.
  • Between London and Cambridge, you can take one of Great Northern’s comfortable Class 387 trains.
  • Between London and Cambridge, you can take one of Greater Anglia’s comfortable Class 379 trains.

Competition may work in the Off Peak, but surely commuters have no choice.

But it was interesting, that the only crowded part of the route was the section, where there is no competition.

Take the standard grandparents living in Cambridge wanting to go to see their grandchildren in Brighton.

Will they take a two hours forty-two minutes journey in an uncomfortable train, when you can break the journey in a pleasant cafe in Central London?

Regular travellers on long Thameslink routes will work out their best strategies.

I’d love to analyse Thameslink’s passenger statistics.

But then Thameslink didn’t specify the trains.

Summing Up Brighton To Cambridge

These thoughts can probably be applied to Bedford to Brighton as well.

On the plus side, there is the following.

  • The journey time.
  • Entry and exit to the train.
  • Standing space, which makes it an excellent extra Underground Line in Central London.
  • Toilets

On the negative side, there is the following.

  • The seats.
  • The lack of passenger-friendly features like tables, power sockets and wi-fi.

But, I suspect that for Thameslink, these trains will not be welcoming to Off Peak travellers, where the competition is other operators and the car.

Is Thameslink An Extended Underground Line?

Crossrail has been designed as an extended Underground Line from Reading and Heathrow in the West to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the East.

  • Between Whitechapel and Paddington, the line functions as a high-capacity Underground Line.
  • Crossrail will appear on the Tube Map.
  • Crossrail stations will have excellent connections to the Undeground.
  • By linking services from Paddington and Liverpool Street together back-to-back, platform space is released at two major stations, which can be used to increase capacity on other routes.
  • Crossrail’s stations are seen as locations to create commercial and residential developments.
  • All stations on the route are being improved and made step-free.
  • Crossrail’s trains appear to have been designed to function as both Underground trains and commuter trains, borrowing heavily from the successful S8 Stock of the Metropolitan Line.

So how does Thameslink compare?

  • Thameslink seems to have been designed as a series of main routes across London, that go through a Central Tunnel.
  • Between London Bridge and Finsbury Park/West Hapstead Thameslink, Londonders will use the line as a high-capacity Underground Line.
  • Thameslink will not appear on the Tube Map.
  • Thameslink stations have mixed connections to the Underground, that were designed by that useless designer called Topsy.
  • Platform space has been released at St. Pancras and London Bridge and the latest remodelling has improved matters.
  • Are Thameslink’s stations seen as development hubs?
  • Are Thameslink’s stations being given the right level of improvement and step-free access?
  • Thameslink’s trains were not designed for the job they are doing.

Thameslink is most certainly not an extended Underground Line!

A Comparison With The Great Eastern Main Line

The Great Eastern Main Line is a line I know well.

  • It has a long-distance service from Liverpool Street to Norwich via Colchester and Ipswich.
  • It has an extensive commuter network from Liverpool Street.
  • Crossrail will increase capacity at Liverpool Street.

When Greater Anglia decided to replace the fleet, they could have gone for a unified fleet.

But they decided on a split fleet.


  1. It was a pragmatic decision, that provided the right train for each service.
  2. Particular attention has been paid to the interior design.
  3. The interior design has been shown to passengers, before any trains have been built.
  4. All trains will have toilets.
  5. First Class will be eliminated on the Class 720 trains.
  6. The Class 720 trains could share tracks and platforms with Crossrail’s Class 345 trains.

It looks like Greater Anglia took a lot of care.

Did the Department for Transport take a similar amount of care to get the design for the Thameslink trains?

Obviously not!

What Needs To Be Done

These are my ideas.

Split The Train Fleet

Greater Anglia’s decision to split their fleet is a telling one.

  • Express services between London and Norwich and Stansted Airport services will be run by twelve-car Class 745 trains with First Class seats.
  • London commuter services will be run by five- and ten-car high-capacity Class 720 trains with no First Class.
  • Both trains have 100 mph operating speeds.
  • Both trains appear to have well-designed interiors.
  • Both trains will be compatible with respect to station, track and signalling.

Additionally, their Class 755 trains for secondary routes will have similar performance, opening up the possibility of other direct services to London.

I believe that eventually, Thameslink services will be run by two sets of compatible trains.

If they borrowed from Greater Anglia’s logic, this could see.

  • A sub-fleet suitable for long-distance services with twelve-car trains, First Class, tables and better seats for steerage.
  • A sub-fleet suitable for London commuter services with eight-car trains and no First Class.


  1. The current seats may be acceptable for eight-car trains running short commuter routes.
  2. All trains would be fitted with wi-fi, power-sockets, cup holders, seat-back tables and other passenger-friendly equipment where appropriate.
  3. Of the long-distance routes, only Cambridge to Maidstone East is proposed to be run by an eight-car train.
  4. The long-distance trains would have the ability to run at 110 mph, where possible and needed.

I believe with a bit of sorting and remanufacturing, the current fleet could do a much better job.

  • Passengers would get better seats and other facilities.
  • Thameslink would get faster services on long routes.
  • Would a more passenger-friendly train attract more passengers, especially in the Off Peak?
  • Services on the Brighton, East Coast and Midland Main Lines would allow faster running of other services.

I don’t think I’m talking about anything that is too difficult.

Would It Be Advantageous To Allow Some Twelve-Car Trains To Split And Join?

In Has Thameslink Got The Wrong Length Of Train?, I showed how if the trains were twelve- and six-car units and the latter had the ability to split and join automatically, this would lead to the following.

  • More efficient use of trains.
  • Better operation on the Sutton Loop Line.
  • The creation of extra services by splitting at the ends of a route.

I also showed how it may be possible to adjust the lengths of the current fleet into twelve- and six-car units.



Put Thameslink On The Tube Map

I know it was an initial service, but passenger numbers on my journey from Brighton to Cambridge , must have been well below Thameslink’s forecast for the route.

I doubt more than a handfull did the whole route, like I did.

It was particularly noticeable, that passengers were thin on the ground between London Bridge and Finsbury Park stations.

And yet this route will have the following characteristics, when Thameslink is fully open.

  • Six trains per hour (tph). Running all day.
  • Two extra tph in the Peak.
  • Full step-free access at London Bridge station.
  • Full step-free access at Finsbury Park station, including to the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
  • Same platform interchange with services to and from Moorgate on the Northern City Line at Finsbury Park.
  • Step-free access at all the intermediate stations between London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

I think that Finsbury Park could become a well-used interchange for Thameslink passengers.

But like other interchanges, it needs to be shown on the Tube map, so passengers know it’s there.

On the other hand, if you ask National Rail’s timetable, the best route from Brighton to Oakliegh Park at 11:30 on a Monday, it advises using Thameslink to Finsbury Park and then a local train on the Northern City Line.

More And Better Interchanges on Thameslink

Thameslink doesn’t have many interchanges with the Underground.

  • West Hampstead Thameslink
  • Kentish Town
  • Finsbury Park
  • Kings Cross St. Pancras
  • Farringdon
  • London Blackfriars
  • London Bridge
  • Elephant and Castle

Some are fairly rudimentary and involve some walking, that is not easy.

There is also two interchanges with the Overground.

  • Peckham Rye
  • Denmark Hill

But the Thameslink frequency at these stations, is only four tph, with two extra in the Peak.

Various plans have been floated in the last few years.

  • New stations at Camberwell and Loughborough Junction have been proposed.
  • A  new transport hub linking Catford and Catford Bridge stations has been proposed.
  • A pedestrian link between City Tameslink and St. Paul’s stations.
  • An extension to the Docklands Light Railway to City Thameslink and on to Charing Cross, Euston and Victoria.

Thameslink will only get bigger and better.




March 9, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Could Crossrail And Thameslink Serve Clapham Junction Station?

This may seem a silly question, but I believe it is a valid one for the following reasons.

Clapham Junction Is A Major Interchange

Wikipedia says this about Clapham Junction station.

Routes from London’s south and south-west termini, Victoria and Waterloo funnel through the station, making it the busiest in Europe by number of trains using it: between 100 and 180 per hour except for the five hours after midnight. The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.

It is also the tenth busiest station measured by passenger numbers in Great Britain.

Clapham Junction Is Step-Free

Clapham Junction station has both a bridge and a subway between the seventeen platforms.

The bridge is fully step-free with lifts to all platforms.

Clapham Junction Has A Wide Bridge

The bridge between platforms is not only step-free, but very wide.

rchitects have copied this Victorian design at Leeds and Reading stations.

Clapham Junction Is Often A Convenient Place to Change Trains

When I go to Portsmouth or Southampton, I will often avoid Waterloo, by using the Overground between Dalston Junction and Clapham Junction stations.

It may be slower, but it is a very easy interchange, especially if I go step-free on the wide bridge.

Perhaps this explains why interchange passengers at Clapham Junction, are almost as many as those entering or leaving the rail network.

With some journeys like say Southampton to Wembley Stadium, changing at Clapham Junction is probably the most convenient.

Clapham Junction Links To The Overground

This interchange, is something I use a lot, as I have four trains per hour (tph) on the London Overground, from my nearest station at Dalston Junction.

As there are thirty-one stations on London’s circular railway, the interchange probably generates a lot of traffic.

Clapham Junction Seems To Be Well-Organised

If you want to go to say Gatwick, then generally the same platform will be used.

All Trains To Gatwick Go From 13

This can’t be said for many stations.

The station even has lists of stations and the platform to use.

This would be impossible at most large stations!

But this is the busiest station in Europe by the number of trains using it!

The Victorians certainly got the design right!

Does this passenger-friendly design attract passengers?

Crossrail, Thameslink And Clapham Junction Station

Crossrail and Thameslink don’t call at Clapham Junction station.

But some services do directly link Crossrail and Thameslink to Clapham Junction station.

London Overground From Stratford To Clapham Junction Via Willesden Junction

This West London Line service has a frequency of four tph, which from some time this year will be raised to six tph or one train every ten minutes.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at West Hampstead
  • Crossrail at Old Oak Common

It will also have interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, District, Jubilee and Victoria Lines.

London Overground From Stratford To Clapham Junction Via Canada Water

This South London Line service has a frequency of four tph, which from some time this year will be raised to six tph.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye
  • Crossrail at Whitechapel

It will also have interchanges with the District, Docklands Light Railway, Hammersmith and City,Jubilee and Northern Lines.

Southern From East Croydon To Milton Keynes

This West London Line service has a frequency of one tph.

It will have the following interchanges in the future.

  • Thameslink at East Croydon
  • Crossrail at Old Oak Common

If Crossrail is extended along the West Coast Main Line, there will be additional interchange stations.

It will also have interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, District and Northern Lines.

Southern From Clapham Junction To Brighton Main Line

There is a high-frequency service from Clapham Junction along the Brighton Main Line.

  • 3 tph – Brighton
  • 1 tph – Hastings
  • 2 tph – Eastbourne
  • 2 tph – Littlehampton
  • 4 tph – Horsham
  • 4 tph – Haywards Heath
  • 4 tph – Three Bridges
  • 6 tph – Gatwick Airport
  • 12 tph – East Croydon

Most of these services terminate at Victoria.

The named stations, except for Hastings and Eastbourne, will also be served by Thameslink.

From the passenger point of view, those going to and from London from the Brighton Main Line and South Coast stations, have a choice of London terminus.

  • Thameslink – London Bridge, Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St. Pancras and Thameslink’s Northern stations.
  • Southern – Clapham Junction and ictoria.

The two separate routes have Central London fully covered.

Deficiencies Of The Current System

Suppose you want to travel from the extremities of Crossrail and Thameslink to say somewhere like Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Exeter, Portsmouth or Southampton, that is served by Waterloo and Clapham Junction in Central London.

  • From Brighton and other stations on the South of Thameslink, there is a high-frequency Southern service.
  • From Luton and other stations on the North of Thameslink, you will probably use the Jubilee Line between London Bridge and Waterloo.
  • From Shenfield and other stations on the East of Crossrail, you will probably use the Jubilee Line between Bond Street and Waterloo.
  • From Heathrow, Reading and other stations on the West of Crossrail, you will probably use the Bakerloo Line between Paddington and Waterloo.

All the Underground interchanges will be fully step-free with lifts and lots of escalators, but the connections could be simpler.

The Arrival Of Old Oak Common Station

The building of the new mega-hub station at Old Oak Common will tie together the following lines.

  • Crossrail
  • HS2
  • North London Line
  • West Coast Main Line
  • West London Line

There is also the possibility of the West London Orbital Railway linking Old Oak Common to Hendon and West Hampstead Thameslink.

Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction stations will be two mega-hub stations, that for obvious reasons will need a high-frequency connection service.

Currently, that is planned to be the following services.

  • 6 tph – London Overground from Stratford to Clapham Junction.
  • 1 tph – Southern from Milton Keynes to East Croydon.

It is not enough, especially, if either connection at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction is a long walk.

But there are easy ways to increase the numbers of connections.

Improve The Southern Service

In his report, Chris Gibb recommended that this Milton Keynes to East Croydon route be transferred to the London Overground. I wrote about this in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

In my view Chris Gibb is right for the following reasons.

  • All passenger services on the West London Line would then be run by London Overground.
  • London Overground have a reputation for running a good train service.
  • The Milton Keynes to East Croydon service could be integrated with the Watford DC Line, the North London Line and a possible West London Orbital Railway to produce an integrated frequent local service in an area of West London, that needs a greatly improved train service.
  • Frequency between Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction could be raised to as high as ten or twelve tph.
  • It would improve connections between Watford and the expanding Wembley Stadium complex with South London.

I doubt it would be an expensive and difficult project to move this service between operators.

Build The West London Orbital Railway And Extend It To Clapham Junction

In this article on Ian Visits, this is said about the service on the proposed West London Orbital line.

Phase 1: 4 trains per hour from West Hampstead to Hounslow, calling at West Hampstead, Cricklewood, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane, Isleworth, Hounslow.

Phase 2: additional 4 trains per hour from Hendon to Kew Bridge, calling at Hendon, Brent Cross/Staples Corner, Neasden, Harlesden, OOC, Acton Central, South Acton, Kew Bridge.

The track is all in place and with a new bay platform at Hounslow, trains running on batteries could work Phase 1 with ease. The batteries would be charged South of Acton Central station.

Because of the importance of Clapham Junction as an interchange,, would it be a sensible idea to extend Phase 2 from Kew Bridge to Clapham Junction, by way of Chiswick, Barnes Bridge, Barnes, Putney and Wandsworth Town stations?

This may not be possible, as the route may not be able to accept four extra trains.

This map from shows the track layout around the two Overground platforms at Clapham Junction.

I also took these pictures of Platform 2.

I suspect that a bay platform could be added, opposite to Platform 2.

  • There would appear to be plenty of space.
  • The platform would share the lift, facilities and staff with Platforms 1 and 2.
  • It would make a good interchange, with simple connections to Platforms 1 and 2.

There could even be the possibility of making Platform 2 bi-directional so that a loop service from Hendon to Dalston Junction could be created, if that was considered the best solution.

One advantage of extending the Phase 2 Kew Bridge route, would be that it would give more electrified running to charge a battery train.

Luton/Bedford to Clapham Junction

If this route from Hendon to Clapham Junction via Old Oak Common and Kew Bridge can be successfully created, it establishes the important link between the Luton/Bedford branch of Thameslink and Clapham Junction.

Cambridge/Peterborough to Clapham Junction

There is no direct route, but probably the fastest is to dive into the Victoria Line at Finsbury Park and go to Vauxhall, from where it’s a single stop to Clapham Junction.

Just avoid changing to the Victoria Line at St. Pancras, unless you like long walks.

Crossrail to Clapham Junction

Three factors will determine how good using a double change at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction to get between Crossrail and Clapham Junction will be.

  • The frequency of trains between Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction.
  • The quality of the interchange at Old Oak Common. As it will also involve HS2, I suspect it should be good.
  • The quality of the interchange at Clapham Junction. It probably needs improvement, but it’s not bad for something designed by the Victorians.

It could be a very good link.

Could Thameslink Serve Clapham Junction Directly?

From the Brighton Main Line, there is a frequent service, but going North to Thameslink is not easy.

It could be possible to use the West London Orbital Railway to get to and from Hendon, but whether anything other than a local route is needed is open to doubt.

Could Crossrail Serve Clapham Junction Directly?

This Google Map shows the Old Oak Common area.

The railway running across the map to the North is the West Coast Main Line, whilst the Great Western Main Line goes across the bottom.

Looking at the map in detail, it might be possible to thread flyovers or dive-unders into the area to allow Crossrail trains to take the West London Line to the North or South from the East or West.


  • There are certainly some large industrial sites that could be cleared.
  • There are a couple of cemetries too.
  • There are Central, Chiltern, Crossrail, Great Western Main Line, HS2, North London Line, West Coast Main Lines to connect together.
  • A Heathrow to Gatwick Link could be threaded through.

It all depends on how much can be spent!

And Then There’s The Heathrow Southern Railway!

This is a bit different, as it’s a privately-funded railway that aims to sneak into Heathrow by following and hiding by the M25 and the use of the odd tunnel.

This map is a schematic of the proposed railway, which is caused the Heathrow Southern Railway.


  1. The blue line is Crossrail.
  2. The yellow line is a direct link from Waterloo to Heathrow.
  3. The station in a six pointed star is Clapham Junction.

On the Heathrow Southern Railway web site there is a section called Service Opportunities.

It details two routes.

Heathrow – Staines – Clapham Junction – Waterloo

  • Most track is existing.
  • New track will run along the M25.
  • Trains will be fully-integrated with South Western Railway.
  • Four tph should be possible with planned capacity improvements.
  • A bay platform will be added at Staines, within the current railway.
  • Xrossrail could be extended from Terminal 5 to Staines.

Heathrow Southern Railway envisage that a lot of passengers from Staines will use Crossrail for London.

Basingstoke/Guildford – Woking – Heathrow – Paddington

The web site says this about the route.

An exciting additional benefit of Heathrow Southern Railway is the scope to introduce half-hourly services from Basingstoke and Guildford to Heathrow and Paddington. These trains would provide a 15-minute frequency from Woking, with stops at Farnborough Main (Basingstoke services), Woking, Terminal 5, Terminal 2 and 3 and Old Oak Common.

I like the ideas and the tone of the project.


With all the ideas in the West of London, I think that some very good things will happen to the railways in the area, whether Heathrow Airport builds another runway or not.





March 8, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Minister Confirms There Are ‘No Plans’ To Extend Crossrail To Basingstoke

The title of this post is the same as the title of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Jo Johnson has confirmed that there are no plans to lengthen Crossrail to Basingstoke despite speculation from other MPs.

Following questioning from North East Hampshire Conservative MP Ranil Jayawardena, the rail minister said the government’s priority was to see the current project delivered on time before considering any additional work

It is my view that Basingstoke, is one of several places, which have been mentioned as possible terminals for Crossrail.

A list could include.

  • Basingstoke
  • Beaulieu
  • Chelmsford
  • Ebbsfleet
  • Gravesend
  • High Wycombe
  • Milton Keynes
  • Oxford
  • Southend Airport
  • Southend Victoria
  • Tring


  1. Some are safeguarded.
  2. Some have been promoted stronger than others and it is reasonable to assume that MPs will want Crossrail to turn up in their constituency.

These facts about Crossrail, say to me that extra destinations will be added.

  • The current provisional schedule is twenty-four train per hour (tph), through the central tunnel.
  • The capacity of the central tunnel is sometimes stated as thirty tph.
  • Twelve tph are scheduled to be terminated at Paddington.

The initial infrastructure doesn’t seem to be pushed too hard.

This probably gives speculation to where the spare trains will go.


March 6, 2018 Posted by | Travel | | Leave a comment

Is Crossrail Having An Affect On Train Purchases In The South East?

Crossrail and Crossrail 2 are designed to take-over suburban lines out of London.

Crossrail’s Trains

Crossrail has chosen to use Class 345 trains, which are Aventras built by Bombardier in Derby.

I would suspect that if Crossrail 2 is built, it will use the same trains, as a unified fleet must be easier and more affordable to manage.

Crossrail’s Suburban Routes

It is worth looking at the routes these services will take over and their future train fleets.

Great Eastern Main Line To Shenfield

The slow lines of the Great Eastern Main Line have been taken over by Crossrail to provide a service to their terminus at Shenfield.

Greater Anglia have chosen to replace their assorted suburban fleet with Class 720 trains, which are also Aventras.

This must be a sensible move, as there is likely to be a certain amount of platform sharing between Crossrail and Greater Anglia between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

Wheelchair ramps would be the same, or would level access from platform to train be provided.

These pictures show Class 345 trains at Liverpool Street and Stratford stations.

The step is not bad, but it is less than some on the London Overground. However, a few well-placed Harrington Humps would probably make entry and exit a lot easier.

It also must help, if Crossrail extends its route past Shenfield to perhaps Beaulieu, Chelmsford or Southend Victoria. Platforms updated for Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains, would surely fit Crossrail’s Class 345 trains.

I also don’t think there are any platform length issues, although my research says that ten-car Class 720 trains are longer than nine-car Class 345 trains.

Great Western Main Line To Heathrow and Reading

The slow lines of the Great Western Main Line have been taken over by Crossrail to provide a service to their termini at Heathrow and Reading.

Great Western Railway (GWR) were forced to use Class 387 trains, due to electrification delays on the Great Western Main Line and late deliveries of Class 700 trains for Thameslink.

This is all a bit of a dog’s breakfast and I think there’ll be a bit of a sort-out, with perhaps..

  • Electrification to Basingstoke, Newbury and Oxford.
  • Crossrail with an increased frequency, serving all stations between London and Reading.
  • Bedwyn and Oxford would be served by GWR’s five-car Class 800 trains, which would be at 125 mph between Eddington and Reading.

There could be some rather nice Class 387 trains going cheap?

But the result would be the slow lines would be Crossrail-only!

West Coast Main Line To Milton Keynes

This is a possible extension to Crossrail, from the mega hub at Old Oak Common station.

The current local operators on the West Coast Main Line are London Overground and West Midlands Trains.

Both operators have ordered new Aventras for these routes out of London.

London Overground is even replacing modern Class 378 trains with new Class 710 trains on the Watford DC Line.

Suburban Services Out Of Waterloo

If Crossrail 2 gets built, then some of these services will be taken over.

South Western Railway (SWR) have already ordered Class 701 trains for these routes.

This would appear to be a sensible move, as any improvements to platforms and stations made by SWR, will be compatible with Crossrail 2.

West Anglia Main Line To Broxbourne

If Crossrail 2 gets built, then some of these services along the West Anglia Main Line, will be taken over.

Greater Anglia have already ordered Class 720 trains for these routes.

This would appear to be another sensible move, as any improvements made by Greater Anglia, will be compatible with Crossrail 2.

Even after Crossrail 2 opens, Greater Anglia services will still be using the West Anglia Main Line, so there should be no compatibility problems.

North Kent Line To Abbey Wood, Ebbsfleet and Gravesend

The Mayor of London, several London Boroughs and other groups are pushing to extend Crossrail to Ebbsfleet.

Currently, there is a mixture of trains on the North Kent Line,


  • .In a few years time, there will be a new franchise holder.
  • It is likely that a lot of trains will be replaced.
  • It is likely that Crossrail and existing North Kent services will share a two-track railway.

It strikes me that there is a high chance that these replacement trains will be Aventras, as this will create a more efficient railway.

How Compatible Are Class 700 Trains With Aventras?

This question has to be asked, as the two different classes of trains will share routes and platforms.

  • Along the North Kent Line if Crossrail is extended.
  • Around the Cambridge area, where Thameslink and Greater Anglia share platforms.

I would assume that they must be very compatible, as the railway press isn’t saying anything to the contrary.

Surely, in a sensible world, both Thameslink and Crossrail would have used the same class of train!


It looks like there are advantages to having a line run by one family of trains.

  • All trains will fit all platforms.
  • Platform procedures will be similar for passengers and staff.
  • Aventras can be fitted with the latest signalling and control systems.

Will these shared characteristics result in extra capacity?

March 5, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment