The Anonymous Widower

Reading Green Park Station – 27th May 2023

Reading Green Park station opened today, so I went and took these pictures.


  1. It is a high-specification station with two platforms, toilets and full step-free access using a bridge and lifts.
  2. I was told, that the station can handle six-car trains.
  3. There is no coffee kiosk in the station, but there is a Tesco Express outside.
  4. Trains run between Reading and Basingstoke, at a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).
  5. The Reading and Basingstoke Line is partially-electrified.
  6. As I’ve seen before, there was a Chinese guy taking pictures of the station.
  7. At present there are only 54 parking spaces, but Wikipedia indicates this could be increased.

This Google Map shows the station under construction.

The map shows the station has room for expansion, which in a thriving town like Reading could be important.

I have a few thoughts.

Rolling Stock

The route is not unique, but it is unelectrified, but has 1.8 miles of high quality electrification at the Northern end.

This equates to a route, where 11.7 % is electrified.

Trains normally terminate at Reading in the fully-electrified Platform 2, which is shown in this picture.

In a typical round trip, a train can spend up to 26 mins under the wires between passing Southcote junction going North and passing it going South.

This time should be more than enough to fully-charge a battery-electric train.


So was the electrification scheme at Reading designed knowing the results of the trials in Essex, which showed that battery-electric trains did more than work and were a serious proposition?

A sixty mile range would mean a battery-electric train could handle, these routes from Reading.

  • Southcote junction and Basingstoke and then back to the electrification at Southcote junction, which would be 27.2 miles.
  • Newbury and Westbury, which is 42.5 miles.
  • Didcot Parkway and Oxford and then back to the electrification at Didcot Parkway, which would be 21.0 miles.

If four-car Class 321 Renatus, Class 379 or Class 387 trains were to be converted, I doubt there would be many modifications needed to stations and track.

The Bridge

The bridge has everything anybody would want with two lifts, stairs and lots of glass for good views.

But what puzzles me about Network Rail’s bridges is that a few years ago, they held a competition with RIBA to design a bridge.

This stylish, affordable and easy-to-install footbridge was the winner.

I wonder why not one has been built!


I feel there could be a minor problem with the ticketing.

For my trip today, I used my Freedom Pass on the Elizabeth Line as far as Reading, where I bought a return to Basingstoke, as I wanted to photograph something at that station.

In common with many stations, I had to exit from Reading station to buy my ticket from a machine.

As Reading has that superb bridge with lots of space and many changes at Reading will involve crossing the bridge, would it not be possible to put a ticket machine on the bridge?

I have travelled extensively on German trains and they place lots of ticket machines on the platforms, which I have used extensively, as their English is better than my German, which I have to use in a ticket office.



May 27, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Waste Of Valuable Resources Between Paddington And Heathrow

Much of my working life was spent in writing project management software.

I like to think, I was an expert at writing software to juggle resources.

I wrote my first piece of software in that field in ICI, to get my boss out of trouble, after he’d promised the department a program to allocate the department’s office space more efficiently.

Unfortunately, the student, who’d written the software, without leaving anything that worked or any decent instructions.

So I told my boss;Colin, that I’d have a go.

In my previous position at ICI in Runcorn, I’d worked out an algorithm to decode mass spectrometer traces, which started with a rough idea of what was there, which was entered by an operator and then used permutations and combinations to fit the output.

I used the algorithm in every resource scheduler, I ever wrote and it worked a treat.

So when I see a waste of resources, I get angry, as I know those who devised the system could have done a lot better.

Look at these pictures, I took of a Heathrow Express, that I took today.

It is barely ten percent full.

It has become a waste of resources; train, valuable paths in the Heathrow  tunnel, and platform space at Paddington.

These are a few thoughts.

Capacity To And From Heathrow


  • Heathrow Express uses twelve-car Class 387 trains, with a capacity of 672 seats, that run at a frequency of four trains per hour (tph), which is 2688 seats per hour.
  • The Elizabeth Line uses nine-car Class 345 trains, with a capacity of 454 seats, that run at a frequency of six tph, which is 2724 seats per hour.
  • The Class 345 trains can also carry another 1046 standing passengers on each journey, which adds up to a maximum of 6276 standees per hour.
  • The Piccadilly Line uses 73 Stock trains, with a capacity of 684 seats, that run at a frequency of twelve tph, which is 8208 seats per hour.

This gives a capacity of 19896 passengers, staff and visitors per hour, or which 13620 get seats.

Expressed as percentages, the four modes of transport are as follows.

  • Heathrow Express – 13,5 %
  • Elizabeth Line – Sitting – 13.7 %
  • Elizabeth Line – Standees – 33.8 %
  • Piccadilly Line – 41.2 %

In Effects Of The ULEZ In West London, I said this about journeys to and from the airport.

Heathrow Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports and 76,000 people work at the airport, with many more employed nearby.

The airport handled 61.6 million passengers in 2022, which is a few short of 170,000 per day.

If you consider that those that work at the airport do two trips per day and passengers generally do one, that means there are 322,000 trips per day to or from the airport.

But as it now so easy to get to the Airport using the Elizabeth Line will more people use the new line to meet and greet and say goodbye to loved ones or business associates. Since the Elizabeth Line opened, I’ve met a couple of friends at Heathrow, who were passing through.

I wonder, if that daily journey total of 322,000 could be nearer to 350,000 or even 400,000.

If the ULEZ charge makes some passengers and staff switch from their car to using a bus or train, this probably means that public transport to and from the airport, will need to be boosted by a substantial amount.

322,000 trips per day is 13, 416 per hour assuming a 24 hour day.


  • The ULEZ will drive employees and passengers to trains to Heathrow.
  • A lot of would-be travellers to Heathrow have had a tough couple of years.
  • Because of the Elizabeth Line more meeters and greeters will go to the airport.
  • The Elizabeth Line is making it easy to get to Heathrow for a large proportion of those living in the South-East.
  • There have been numerous car parking scandals at Heathrow and other airports.
  • Are there enough charging points for electric cars in Heathrow’s parking?
  • Parking at Heathrow is very expensive.
  • Taxis to the airport are expensive.
  • Passengers with large cases can use the Elizabeth Line.
  • Good reports of the Elizabeth Line will push people to use it.
  • The Elizabeth Line serves the City, Canary Wharf and the West End.
  • The Elizabeth Line has a step-free connection with Thameslink.
  • Passengers seem to travel with very large cases.
  • Passengers seem to be deserting Heathrow Express, as I wrote in Elizabeth Line Takes Fliers Away From Heathrow Express.


  1. The train, I took back from Heathrow this morning was full with all seats taken and quite a few standees.
  2. And it was a Sunday morning!
  3. We won’t know the effect of the ULEZ until August, but I believe it will be significant.

Obviously, I’m only using rough figures,  but they lead me to believe that in a few months, the Elizabeth Line will be at full capacity to and from Heathrow.

Heathrow Express’s Train Path Should Be Re-Allocated To The Elizabeth Line

This would increase hourly passenger capacity from 19896 to 23208 or by seventeen percent.

Great Western Railway would get two extra platforms at Heathrow and the Class 387 trains could be reallocated.

Where Would Great Western Railway Run Trains From Two Extra Platforms?


  • Various government levelling up funding has been allocated to Wales and the West.
  • I talk about the Mid-Cornwall Metro in Landmark Levelling Up Fund To Spark Transformational Change Across The UK.
  • The Mid-Cornwall Metro could include direct trains between London and Newquay.
  • There are also plans for a new station at Okehampton Parkway.
  • Given all the wind farm development in the Celtic Sea, I can see more trains between London and Pembrokeshire.
  • Cardiff and Bristol would probably welcome extra services.

I don’t think Great Western Railway will have problems finding destinations to serve from two extra platforms.

What Will Happen To The Class 387 Trains?

Currently, twelve Class 387 trains are used for Heathrow Express.

In The Future Of The Class 387 And Class 379 Trains, I said this.

The Battery-Electric Class 379 Train

I rode this prototype train in 2015.

An Outwardly Normal Class 379 Train

I think it is reasonable to assume, that as battery technology has improved in the seven years since I rode this train, that converting Class 379 trains to battery-electric operation would not be a challenging project.

Creating A Battery-Electric Class 387 Train

If the Class 387 train is as internally similar to the Class 379 train as it outwardly looks, I couldn’t believe that converting them to battery-electric operation would be that difficult.

I could see a lot of the Class 379 and Class 387 trains converted to 110 mph battery-electric trains.

Would Heathrow Express Completely Disappear?

If the Elizabeth Line trains are going between Heathrow Airport and Central London, at a frequency of 10 tph or one train every six minutes, I feel there may be scope for marketing and operational reasons to create a sub-fleet of the Class 345 trains.

The trains would be identical to the Elizabeth Line’s current fleet, except for livery, seating and some internal passenger features.

  • Perhaps, they could be called the Heathrow Train boldly on the outside, so even the dimmest passenger didn’t get on a Reading train instead of a Heathrow one.
  • All trains would have wi-fi and 4G connectivity. These features have been promised for the Class 345 trains.
  • Some coaches would be fitted with luggage spaces for the outsize cases people carry.

I could envisage the Heathrow Trains terminating at a wide number of places in addition to Abbey Wood and Shenfield. Possibilities must include Beaulieu Park, Ebbsfleet, Gravesend, Northfleet and Southend Victoria

May 21, 2023 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The First Elizabeth Line Train From Shenfield To Heathrow Leaves At 07:26 Tomorrow

The National Rail timetable is showing that tomorrow, Elizabeth Line trains will leave Shenfield at four minutes to the half-hour.

They take ninety minutes to get to the airport.

May 20, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

One Of The Worst Train Journeys I’ve Had In The UK Since The 1960s

I started out with a simple objective, in that I intended to go to Cardiff Central station and then explore the Cardiff Valley Lines to look at the progress of the electrification. I had also arranged to possibly have a drink, with an old acquaintance at Rhymney station.

For the first time, I took the Elizabeth Line from Moorgate to Paddington to catch a long distance train. It is so much easier than taking the Underground.

I bought a Super Off Peak Return ticket to Cardiff Central station for £62.15 with my Senior Railcard.

This was the journey I took today.

  • I left Paddington on the 10:18 train for Cardiff Central.
  • The train arrived at Bristol Parkway at 11:34½.
  • Real Time Trains says this about the rest of the journey. “This service was cancelled between Bristol Parkway and Cardiff Central due to a problem with signalling equipment (J3)”
  • I was advised by a member of staff, that I wouldn’t be going to Cardiff in the near future and he advised taking a CrossCountry train to Bristol Temple Meads and then going back to London using my Return ticket.
  • I left Bristol Parkway at 12:12¼ and arrived in Bristol Temple Meads at 12:20½, after taking the CrossCountry train.
  • At Bristol Temple Meads to salvage something of a wasted day, I took a diversion to Severn Beach for the princely sum of £1.95 with my Senior Railcard, arriving back at Bristol Temple Meads at 14:48½.
  • I then caught the next train to London, which turned out to be the 16:00, as both the 15:00 and 15:30 were cancelled due to an incident at Didcot.
  • The train left Bristol Temple Meads at 16:03 and arrived at London Paddington at 18:00, which was twenty minutes late.


  1. I never got to Cardiff.
  2. If I’d waited at Bristol Parkway and caught the next train, I’d have got to Cardiff at 16:15¼, which would have been four hours later, than if the first train hadn’t been cancelled and had been on time.

I’ve just tried to phone Great Western Railway, but their Contact Us page only gives details of Facebook, Twitter and What’s App. I don’t use any of those!

Conclusion – Added On 5th June 2023

I just received an e-mail saying the cheque will be the post!

May 19, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Reading’s First New Station In Over 100 Years Set To Open This Month

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

These two paragraphs outline the story.

Reading is set to welcome its first new railway station for over 100 years, as Green Park station is currently set to open for services on Saturday 27th May 2023.

Representing the first station to open in the area since Reading West in July 1906 and being the inaugural of three new Great Western Railway (GWR) stations opening this year along with Portway Park & Ride in Bristol and Marsh Barton in Exeter, this station will improve transport links and sustainability throughout the region.

These details of the station are also given.

  • Two 150m platforms
  • A new fully accessible station building
  • A fully accessible overbridge, providing access to both platforms, via stairs and lifts.
  • A bus interchange, taxi rank and cycle parking facilities
  • Two car parks with blue badge spaces, drop-off parking and long-stay parking.

The station will be on the  Reading to Basingstoke line, with half-hourly trains.


  1. The station is a reasonable walk from Reading FC’s ground.
  2. The station is South of Southcote Junction, so won’t have trains to Newbury.
  3. Bramley station, which is towards Basingstoke, is to be improved, as I wrote about in Beeching Reversal – Unlocking Capacity And Services Through Bramley (Hants).
  4. The route is partially electrification.
  5. There also may be a new station at Chineham.

Could the opening of Green Park station, be the start of more rail development in the area?

These are my thoughts.

A New Station At Chineham

This is said about a new station at Chineham, in a section called Future in the Wikipedia entry for the Reading to Basingstoke Line.

Plans have also been discussed over the years for a further new station to the north of Basingstoke, serving the Basingstoke suburb of Chineham. However doubts have been cast on the capacity of the line to support a further station after the opening of Green Park. The line between Southcote Junction and the Great Western Main Line is heavily trafficked and, in 2015, Network Rail’s Western Route Study suggested the provision of a grade separated junction at Southcote, with a third track to be provided between there and the Oxford Road Junction at Reading West.

Chineham could be an expensive station.

Extra Capacity Between Reading and Basingstoke

In addition to the two trains per hour (tph) between Reading and Basingstoke, there are also CrossCountry trains and freight services using the route.

As I said in Beeching Reversal – Unlocking Capacity And Services Through Bramley (Hants), I believe that if Chineham station is added, there will be a need for four tph on the line.

I also suspect that with the opening of the Western Rail Approach to Heathrow, this route could be used for trains between Basingstoke and Heathrow.

This could end up as a very busy line.

150 Metre Platforms At Reading Green Park Station

These are only seven-car platforms. Would they be long enough, if Reading FC were consistently in the Premiership?

I suspect that prudence would have said the platforms of all stations on the line, should be long enough to handle the nine-car trains of the Elizabeth Line.


The Reading and Basingstoke route probably needs full electrification.

This would allow.

  • Electrified freight trains between Southampton and the North.
  • CrossCountry and other passenger trains to be electrified.

The electrification would need to be 25 KVAC overhead, as no more third rail electrification is possible.

Elizabeth Line Extension To Basingstoke

I wouldn’t rule this out from happening, at some time in the future.


May 15, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elizabeth Line’s £29million Fares Bonanza As Passenger Numbers Hit New High

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item on msn.

These four paragraphs outline the story.

The Elizabeth line has enjoyed a £29m fares income bonanza due to record passenger numbers, it was revealed on Wednesday.

But the positive state of its finances – alongside a prediction that it will break even this year – came as line managers belonging to the TSSA union announced they would strike on May 24 in an unresolved pay battle.

This threatens to close the central section of the £20bn line, between Paddington and Abbey Wood, and embarrass Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London as the walkout falls on the first anniversary of its opening.

Latest figures from TfL show the Elizabeth line is carrying 3.5m passengers a week – and at times almost four million.

After the experience of continuously rising passenger numbers after the opening of the London Overground, it looks like the so-called mathematicians of Transport for London have got their numbers wrong again.

I have some thoughts.

When There’s A Sniff Of Money, The Unions Strike

This seems to be the case.

Perhaps Now Is The Time To Expand The Elizabeth Line?

I would add extra services between Oxford and Southend Victoria.

The extra fare revenue could be spent on trains.

May 11, 2023 Posted by | Finance, Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Elizabeth Line Takes Fliers Away From Heathrow Express

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

These three paragraphs add details to the story.

The opening of the Elizabeth Line has eaten into the revenues of Heathrow Express, the country’s most expensive railway service per mile travelled.

Filings reveal that Heathrow Express, which offers a 15-minute service between London Paddington and Heathrow, has failed to recover to pre-pandemic levels despite flight volumes at the airport returning to near-normal. Heathrow said revenues from Heathrow Express in the first three months of the year were £22 million.

While that is 50 per cent more than in the same period last year, when Covid-19 travel restrictions were beginning to be relaxed, it is almost a third down on the £31 million of revenues in the first quarter of 2019.

Considering how air travel is on the upturn, Heathrow Express would not appear to be performing as the airport expects.

Remember, that First Group are paid by Heathrow Airport to run the service, which is owned by the airport.

In So Many Cases On A Train!, I wrote about a trip from West Ealing to Moorgate station. These were my opening sentences.

This afternoon about three, I went to West Ealing station to see what it was like to transfer between the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel and the Western Branch at Paddington.

Coming back, I took an Elizabeth Line service that had started from Heathrow Airport and it was one of the busiest Lizzies, I’d ever ridden!

To get on the train at West Ealing station, I got in to probably coach 4 of 9, as that was in the dry and the back end of the train I needed for Moorgate station was certainly in the wet.

I then had to walk half the length of the train to get to the back of the train.

It was not easy, as the train was full of scores of passengers with large wheelie cases.

It certainly got me thinking about how passengers were getting to and from Heathrow and I came to this conclusion.

Lizzie will start a revolution in travel to and from Heathrow.

Judging by the title of the article in The Times, the revolution has already started.

Consider these reasons.

  • Heathrow Express is overpriced.
  • It doesn’t go where many passengers want to go.
  • It’s not the best way to get workers to and from the airport.
  • The ULEZ will discourage passengers and staff from driving to the airport.

In Effects Of The ULEZ In West London, I said this about journeys to and from the airport.

Heathrow Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports and 76,000 people work at the airport, with many more employed nearby.

The airport handled 61.6 million passengers in 2022, which is a few short of 170,000 per day.

If you consider that those that work at the airport do two trips per day and passengers generally do one, that means there are 322,000 trips per day to or from the airport.

But as it now so easy to get to the Airport using the Elizabeth Line will more people use the new line to meet and greet and say goodbye to loved ones or business associates. Since the Elizabeth Line opened, I’ve met a couple of friends at Heathrow, who were passing through.

I wonder, if that daily journey total of 322,000 could be nearer to 350,000 or even 400,000.

If the ULEZ charge makes some passengers and staff switch from their car to using a bus or train, this probably means that public transport to and from the airport, will need to be boosted by a substantial amount.

I can see airport workers lobbying for free tickets on Heathrow Express, but they probably live closer to the airport than Paddington or perhaps even in the Eastern areas of London served by the Elizabeth Line.

The Elizabeth Line Is Showing Signs Of Running Out Of Capacity

In the last few weeks, I’ve been on some very full Elizabeth Line trains.

Articles, like this one on Rail Advent, which is entitled Transport for London Looks Into Funding For Additional Elizabeth Line Trains, are also starting to appear.

These three paragraphs explain the problem.

Transport for London has announced that they are looking for confirmation from the Government regarding funding so that they can look into the possibility of purchasing additional Elizabeth Line trains.

The news from TfL comes after the recent announcement of delays to HS2 terminating at London Euston.

TfL says that without the extra trains, there is insufficient capacity on the Elizabeth Line (until HS2 is extended to Euston in the 2040s) for passengers looking to use HS2 and the Elizabeth Line to get into Central London.

Alstom also appear to want the space in the factory to build other trains.

So it appears that Transport for London must act soon.

Heathrow Express Needs To Be Repurposed

In Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line, I talked about running faster trains through the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line.

As any train would have to be compatible with the platform-edge doors in the central tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, the trains would have to be dimensionally identical to the current Class 345 trains.

  • Nine cars
  • Possibility of lengthening to ten cars.
  • 204.73 metres long.
  • 6 sets of doors per carriage
  • Ability to run under full digital signalling.
  • The trains would be designed for a higher speed of at least 110 or 125 mph, to enable running on the fast lines of the Great Western Main Line.
  • The trains would have Heathrow Express branding and interior.

Services could be as follows.

  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Southend Victoria via Bond Street and Liverpool Street for the City and Stratford.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Ebbsfleet International via Bond Street and Liverpool Street for the City and Canary Wharf.


  1. Both services would be two trains per hour (tph)
  2. Traffic would determine, which Eastern terminal is paired with which Western terminal.
  3. Each route would also have two Elizabeth Line tph on the same route.

The Heathrow Express services would run as follows.

  • Between Heathrow Airport and Paddington, they would run as now.
  • I believe that by using the power of the digital signalling, they could be slotted into the queue of Elizabeth Line trains taking the Central Tunnel.
  • They would run through the Central Tunnel, as just another Elizabeth Line train, stopping at all stations.
  • Southend Victoria trains would stop at Stratford, take the fast lines to Shenfield, after which they would stop at all stations to Southend Victoria.
  • Ebbsfleet International trains would stop at all stations from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet International.


  1. Trains would stop at Old Oak Common after it opened for High Speed Two and GWR.
  2. All ticketing would be contactless.
  3. Passengers using Heathrow Express to the West of Paddington, would pay an extra fee, but nothing like today’s price.

These Heathrow Express routes would have advantages.

  • Southend Airport and Southend Victoria would get a direct fast train to Central London and High Speed Two.
  • Heathrow would have a direct connection with Continental train services at Ebbsfleet International.
  • Capacity could be increased by going to ten-car trains.
  • Heathrow Express could release their platforms at Paddington.
  • There would be two fast tph between Heathrow and Stratford.
  • There would be two fast tph between Heathrow and Canary Wharf.
  • There would be four fast tph between Heathrow and Bond Street for the shopping and Liverpool Street for the City of London.
  • There would be four fast tph between Heathrow and Farringdon for Thameslink, Gatwick and Luton Airports.

Heathrow Express trains will be fifteen minutes faster to all destinations.

I don’t think there would be any major disadvantages.



May 1, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

St. Pancras To Heathrow By Elizabeth Line

I ate breakfast in Le Pain Quotidien in St.Pancras station this morning and afterwards I took the Elizabeth Line to Heathrow.

I took Thameslink for one stop to Farringdon station and got a Elizabeth Line train direct to Terminal 2 and 3 at the Airport.


  1. The train I took was going to Gravesend. I suspect it was because of engineering work.
  2. An empty train passed through, whilst I waited. I’ve never seen that before on Thameslink in St. Pancras station.
  3. I travelled in the front of the Thameslink train for the one stop.
  4. The change at Farringdon station was very quick, as it was just down in the lift and the Heathrow train was waiting.

These are some notes on a fast change using the lifts between Southbound Thameslink  and the Elizabeth Line at Farringdon station.

  • Get the first lift of the two that arrives, if like me, you can use escalators.
  • If it goes up, walk across the station at street level and get the two serial escalators down to the Elizabeth Line.
  • If it goes down, take the lift to the Elizabeth Line.

If you can’t manage escalators, you have to wait for a lift going down.

I have some observations.

Meeting And Greeting At St. Pancras Station

From my position in Le Pain Quotidien, I was able to watch passengers leaving and arriving at the Eurostar terminal opposite.

There were quite a few people, who were meeting and greeting others.

In Effects Of The ULEZ In West London, I said this about meeting and greeting at Heathrow.

But as it now so easy to get to the Airport using the Elizabeth Line will more people use the new line to meet and greet and say goodbye to loved ones or business associates. Since the Elizabeth Line opened, I’ve met a couple of friends at Heathrow, who were passing through.

Will the Elizabeth Line increase the number of trips to the airport, by making meeting and greeting easier?

If it does, then it will put more pressure on the services to Heathrow Airport.

Seats In St. Pancras Thameslink Station

These pictures show some of the large number of seats in St. Pancras Thameslink Station.

Should there be more seats along the platform at stations on the Elizabeth Line, where passengers change trains?

My Train To The Airport Was Crowded

Ten in the morning on a Sunday, is not the time I’d expect to be busy, but I estimated it was about ninety percent full, judging by the few empty seats.

There Were Eight Trains Per Hour (tph) To And From Heathrow

From Real Time Trains, it looks like the following trains were running.

  • Elizabeth Line – Abbey Wood and Terminal Four – 2 tph
  • Elizabeth Line – Abbey Wood and Terminal Five – 2 tph
  • Heathrow Express – Paddington and Terminal Five – 4 tph

My train to the Airport had been going to Terminal Four.

Is eight tph the maximum frequency, that can use the tunnel to the Airport?

Is The Elizabeth Line Diverting Passengers From Heathrow Express?

When I returned from the Airport, my Elizabeth Line train left about ten minutes after a Heathrow Express train.

  • The Heathrow Express train wasn’t very full.
  • The Elizabeth Line train was very full.
  • Passengers got out at all stations.
  • I got out at Tottenham Court Road.

It will be interesting to see the Heathrow Express passenger figures.

Which Is The Best Elizabeth Line Station For A Marks and Spencer?

Because their gluten-free food is so much better than other shops, this is important to me.

  • There are larger stores at Ealing Broadway, Tottenham Court Road (West), Liverpool Street (West), Stratford and Ilford.
  • There are food only stores at Heathrow, Paddington, Bond Street and Liverpool Street (East).

Today, I used the large store by the Western entrance at Tottenham Court Road station.

But, if you want to avoid walking, Stratford is probably the easiest.



April 16, 2023 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Effects Of The ULEZ In West London

This page on the Transport for London web site is entitled ULEZ Expansion 2023.

This is the first paragraph.

To help clear London’s air and improve health, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanding across all London boroughs from 29 August 2023.

These are some points from the rest of the page.

  • Poor air quality is impacting the health of Londoners, and it’s mainly caused by polluting vehicles.
  • Air pollution even contributes to the premature death of thousands of Londoners every year.
  • 9 out of 10 cars seen driving in outer London already meet the ULEZ emissions standards.
  • If you drive anywhere within the ULEZ and your vehicle does not meet the emissions standards, you could face a daily charge of £12.50.
  • Residents of the ULEZ are not exempt from the charge.
  • Any money received from the scheme is reinvested into running and improving London’s transport network, such as expanding bus routes in outer London.

There is no reference to trucks or HGVs.

These are my thoughts.

Objections To The ULEZ

If you type ULEZ into Google and look at the News page, you get a lot of stories that don’t show the ULEZ in a good light.

Here are a few headlines.

  • BBC – ULEZ: Labour MPs Seek Support For Non-Londoners
  • BBC – Firms In Essex Could Close Due To ULEZ, Warns Business Leader
  • Big Issue – London’s Ulez Plans Could Hit Disabled People, Charities And Small Businesses The Hardest
  • Daily Mail – Sadiq Khan Claims That Nazis Have Infiltrated Anti-Ulez Protests
  • Guardian – EU Motorist Fined Almost £11,000 After Falling Foul Of London Ulez Rule
  • Guardian – London’s Mayor Faces High Court Challenge Over Ulez Expansion
  • Kent Live – Anti-ULEZ Campaign Group Support Soars As Kent Drivers ‘Unfairly Targeted’
  • LBC – No More Ulez? Sadiq Khan Considers Scrapping Controversial Scheme And Replacing It With ‘Pay-As-You-Drive’ System
  • Slough Observer – Ulez Faces High Court Challenge
  • Which? – Why It Could Cost £17.50 To Drop A Loved One At Heathrow This Summer

It looks like Sadiq Khan has fallen into a hole.

And he hasn’t stopped digging!

To make it worse, he has suggested a Pay-As-You-Drive System. I seem to remember, that a Dutch Prime Minister, who tried it, lost the next election.

But then Sadiq Khan likes tolls as the new Silvertown Tunnel and the Blackwall Tunnel will be tolled in a few years.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports and 76,000 people work at the airport, with many more employed nearby.

The airport handled 61.6 million passengers in 2022, which is a few short of 170,000 per day.

If you consider that those that work at the airport do two trips per day and passengers generally do one, that means there are 322,000 trips per day to or from the airport.

But as it now so easy to get to the Airport using the Elizabeth Line will more people use the new line to meet and greet and say goodbye to loved ones or business associates. Since the Elizabeth Line opened, I’ve met a couple of friends at Heathrow, who were passing through.

I wonder, if that daily journey total of 322,000 could be nearer to 350,000 or even 400,000.

If the ULEZ charge makes some passengers and staff switch from their car to using a bus or train, this probably means that public transport to and from the airport, will need to be boosted by a substantial amount.

But improving public transport to Heathrow wouldn’t be easy.

  • The Elizabeth Line seems to have put a big hole in the finances of Heathrow Express.
  • How many more trains can be squeezed into the Heathrow Tunnel?
  • The Western Rail Link to Heathrow would probably need to be built. But that seems to be in limbo.
  • New trains for the Piccadilly Line are a few years away.

It might have been better to build a different scheme for Western access to Heathrow like the Heathrow Southern Railway.

I suspect that there will be a lot more passengers on the Elizabeth Line to and from Heathrow.

A ULEZ For Heathrow

This article on fleetworld, from four years ago, is entitled Heathrow To Introduce Charging ULEZ In 2022.

It hasn’t happened, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be implemented in the future.

If it did happen, there would be more passengers for the Elizabeth Line.

The Elizabeth Line

I have written three posts about how busy the Western section of the Elizabeth Line can get.

Is there sufficient capacity to accommodate all the ULEZ-dodgers on the trains to and from Heathrow?

To make matters worse, there is a large Asian population from the Indian sub-continent living along the Elizabeth Line between Ealing Broadway and Reading.

  • They seem to be enthusiastic users of the line.
  • Having ridden several times on crowded Indian trains, perhaps using trains is very much part of South Asian culture.
  • I also suspect that a lot of Indian families have spread themselves along the line, just like my mother’s close family spread themselves along the 107 bus route.

In Very Busy Lizzie, I said this.

Reading needs four tph to Central London.

The ULEZ will make this even more essential.

The Piccadilly Line

The Piccadilly Line may be getting new trains, but it is not a line that is blessed with lots of step-free stations.

The West London Orbital Railway

It does appear that the West London Orbital Railway may be more likely to be built, than a few months ago.

In Is There Progress On The West London Orbital Railway?, I wrote about a report, that consultants were being chosen.

This railway could ease pressure on the railways in West London.

Cutting Pollution In London From Trucks

London like all big cities has a lot of trucks.

As the average truck has a much larger engine than the average car, I would suspect it gives out more pollution.

One way to cut pollution from large vehicles would be to run them on hydrogen.

But unlike some cities in the UK, London has no hydrogen policy and filling stations to fill them up.

The Mayor could at least get a workable hydrogen policy.


I suspect the next Mayor of London will have to have a rethink on the ULEZ and implement a hydrogen policy.



April 15, 2023 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Moorgate And Luton Airport Parkway

This morning I went by train from Moorgate to Luton Airport Parkway to have a look at the Luton DART.

I used the following route.

  • Elizabeth Line – Moorgate to Farringdon.
  • Thameslink – Farringdon to Luton Airport Parkway.

I came back from Luton Airport Parkway on a Luton Airport Express.

I took these pictures on the route.


  1. The change at Farringdon station was very easy.
  2. You walk past toilets at the Farringdon change.
  3. There are two bridges, lots of escalators and lifts at Luton Airport Parkway station.
  4. I didn’t take the DART to the airport.

These are some detailed thoughts.

Luton Airport Parkway Station

It is a much improved station, but still has some work to do.

  • There was a problem with one escalator.
  • Some of the signage is not finalised.
  • I had a problem with ticketing, as I was sold the wrong ticket.
  • Staff probably need a bit more training.

But then the station has only been open three weeks.

Luton Airport Express

East Midland Railway’s St. Pancras and Corby service is now branded as Luton Airport Express.

  • It has its own web site.
  • Trains only stop at Luton Airport Parkway, Luton, Bedford, Wellingborough and Kettering.
  • Trains take as little as twenty-two minutes between St. Pancras and Luton Airport Parkway.
  • Class 360 trains are used.
  • Trains run every thirty minutes.

As it serves the local area, I wonder how many airport employees, now use this train to get to work?


April 14, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment