The Anonymous Widower

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway

Transport for London have proposed a reorganisation of the Piccadilly and District Lines in the Ealing area.

I first wrote about this in Is There Going To Be More Change At Ealing Broadway Station?, but now the Elizabeth Line is on the verge of being connected across London, I feel that this post needs to be replaced.

A Possible Proposal

Ealing Broadway station is being upgraded for Crossrail.

In the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a Capital Connection supplement, which discusses London’s railways.

On Page 7 in a section about the sub-surface lines, this is said.

One possibility being discussed is that the Piccadilly should take over the District’s Ealing Broadway service. This would free up space on the South side of the inner-London circle for more City trains off the Wimbledon branch, one of the sub-surface network’s most-crowded routes.

On Page 15 in a section about the Mayor’s plans, this is said.

It is suggested Piccadilly Line services run to Ealing Broadway instead of the District Line, enabling increased frequencies on the latter’s Richmond and Wimbledon branches.

As the plan is mentioned twice, certainly the proposal is being thought about.

The Lines At Ealing Broadway Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the lines at Ealing Broadway station.

Note how the Piccadilly and District Lines share tracks from Ealing Common station, which then split with District Line trains going to Ealing Broadway station and Piccadilly Line trains going to Rayners Lane and Uxbridge stations.

If the change happened and Ealing Broadway station was only served by the Piccadilly and Central Lines of the Underground, then there might be opportunities to improve the efficiency of the Underground side of the station.

Capacities And Lengths Of London Underground Trains Serving Ealing Broadway Station

I’ll express these as a table.

  • Central Line – 1992 Stock – 930 passengers – 130 metres – 7.15 pass/m.
  • District Line – S7 Stock – 1209 passengers – 117.45 metres – 10.29 pass/m.
  • Piccadilly Line – 1973 Stock – 684 passengers – 106.8 metres – 6.40 pass/m.
  • New Tube for London – 1076 passengers – 113.7 metres – 9.46 pass/m.

Note.

  1. The New Tube for London is the shortest train, with the second highest capacity and the highest passenger density.
  2. The New Tube for London will be replacing the Piccadilly Line trains first.
  3. The New Tube for London will be replacing the Central Line trains second.

It looks like there will be no platform-length problems running the New Tube for London to Ealing Broadway station.

The District Line Platforms At Ealing Broadway Station

These pictures show the District Line at Ealing Broadway station.

Note.

  1. There are three platforms for terminating District Line trains, which are numbered 7 to 9.
  2. The service frequency is six trains per hour (tph).
  3. The bridge to the far platform 9, is not step-free.
  4. It appears to be possible to walk between platforms 8 and 9 behind the buffer stops, but it wasn’t signed.
  5. As a comparison the Central Line runs 9 tph to East London from two platforms, that are numbered 5 and 6.
  6. There was also a 3 tph Night Tube service before the pandemic, which appears to be running again.
  7. Platforms 8 and 9 seem to be covered by a building of very little architectural merit.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the detailed platform layout.

Note.

  1. Platforms are numbered from 1 to 9 from the South.
  2. Underground tracks are shown in blue.
  3. Elizabeth Line tracks are shown in orange.
  4. Great Western ~Main Line tracks are shown in red.

I believe that the three District Line platforms could be upgraded into an excellent terminus for another branch of the Piccadilly Line.

Consider.

  • Two platforms would probably be enough, but a third would be useful for service recovery.
  • As the Piccadilly and Central Line trains are the same size, could Platform 7 be a platform be available to both Underground services when needed?
  • The New Tubes for London are a few metres shorter than the current District Line trains, so would this help in creating a step-free level walkway between Platforms 8 and 9, behind the buffer stops?
  • Platforms 8 and 9 may need to be lengthened.
  • Is there any scope for any appropriate oversite development?

I certainly believe that a much better replacement could be created.

Changing Between The Underground Lines And The Elizabeth Line At Ealing Broadway Station

Ealing Broadway station is now step-free and changes between the Eastbound Elizabeth Line and the Underground are a walk on the level.

Only when changing to or from the Westbound Elizabeth Line do you need to use stairs and/or a lift.

Elizabeth Line Effects On Access To Heathrow

The Elizabeth Line will change the way a lot of passengers go to and from Heathrow Airport.

Elizabeth Line To Heathrow

At present, the service will be.

  • 4 trains per hour (tph) between Paddington and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 4 or Heathrow Terminal 5 via Ealing Broadway.

After November 6th, 2022, the service will be.

  • 4 tph between Abbey Wood and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 4
  • 2 tph between Abbey Wood and Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5

In addition these services will serve all station including Canary Wharf, Liverpool Street, Bond Street, Paddington and Ealing Broadway.

Effect On Heathrow Express

It will be difficult to predict what will happen to Heathrow Express, but I suspect several groups of passengers will desert it.

  • Passengers wanting to go anywhere East of Paddington without changing trains.
  • Passengers wanting any Elizabeth Line station.
  • Passengers, who don’t like the prices of Heathrow Express.
  • Passengers using Oyster or contactless cards.
  • Passengers who want to ride on London’s spectacular new Elizabeth Line.

After Old Oak Common station is opened for High Speed Two, the numbers could further decrease.

Will Heathrow Express survive?

Effect On Piccadilly Line

The current Piccadilly Line route to the Airport will not be closed, as for many it will still be a convenient route to the Airport

  • Passengers who live on the Piccadilly Line and don’t want to change trains. Think Southgate, Knightsbridge, Hammersmith and Osterley!
  • Passengers to the West of Acton Town station.
  • Passengers, workers and others needing to go to Hatton Cross station.

If the Elizabeth Line connected with the Piccadilly Line at say Holborn, it would be all so different.

Effect On District Line

When Crossrail opens, the District Line will become a loop from Crossrail, between  Ealing Broadway and Whitechapel running along the North Bank of the Thames via Earls Court, Victoria, Charing Cross and Monument.

The step-free interchange at Ealing Broadway could become busy with passengers travelling  to and from the Airport.

Effect On Piccadilly Line Overcrowding

Heathrow trains on the Piccadilly Line can get very overcrowded with so many passengers with heavy cases.

It must sometimes be very difficult to get on a Piccadilly Line train between Heathrow and South Kensington stations.

The Elizabeth Line should take the pressure from these trains, by allowing passengers to use the District Line with a change at Ealing Broadway.

The New Tube for London will also help to reduce the overcrowding.

Effect On My Personal Route

My personal route to the airport is to take a 141 bus to Manor House station and then get the Piccadilly Line. It takes 94 minutes.

After the Elizabeth Line fully opens, if I take the East London Line from Dalston Junction to Whitechapel and then used Crossrail, I’d take 57 minutes.

Conclusion

The Elizabeth Line will affect the way many get to and from Heathrow Airport.

But there are large areas of London, who still will need to change trains twice to get to the airport. But for many, one of those changes will be a step-free one at Ealing Broadway, Paddington or Whitechapel stations.

Piccadilly Line To Ealing Broadway Effects

Adding Ealing Broadway station as a fourth Western terminus to the Piccadilly Line will have effects, but not as important as the opening of the Elizabeth Line.

Some Improved Journey Times To Heathrow

Some Piccadilly Line stations will see improved journey times to Heathrow.

Hammersmith to Heathrow currently takes 37 minutes by the Piccadilly Line.

Taking a Piccadilly Line train to Ealing Broadway and then using the Elizabeth Line could save a dozen minutes.

The District Line Connection To The Elizabeth Line At Ealing Broadway Is Lost

Passengers along the District Line from Monument to Hammersmith will lose their direct access to the Elizabeth Line at Ealing Broadway.

Cross-platform access to the Piccadilly Line at Hammersmith and other stations will probably be provided or improved, but it will be a second change.

Note that until the Piccadilly Line gets upgraded and new trains arrive around 2023, the District Line with new trains and the soon to be installed new signalling may well be a better passenger experience.

More Trains To Richmond

This will certainly be possible, if some Ealing Broadway trains are diverted to Richmond.

But the Elizabeth Line has another delight in its cupboard for Richmond.

Old Oak Common station is scheduled to open in 2026 and will offer an interchange between the Elizabeth Line and the North London Line.

Richmond will certainly be getting a better train service to Central and East London.

More Trains To Wimbledon

This will certainly be possible, if some Ealing Broadway trains are diverted to Wimbledon.

The Ealing Common Problem

At Ealing Common station, the Piccadilly and District Line share the same tracks and platforms.

Some commentators have suggested that the new trains on the Piccadilly Line will be designed to work with platform-edge doors for improved safety and dwell times.

So if platform-edge doors were to be fitted to all stations on the Piccadilly Line as has been suggested, there would be no way the doors would fit the new S7 Stock of the District Line.

Swapping Ealing Broadway from the District to Piccadilly Lines would solve this problem and give more flexibility, but it might give London Underground other problems with regard to access for District Line trains to Ealing Common depot.

These pictures show Ealing Common station.

Note the difference in levels between the Piccadilly and District Line trains.

There would be no way to provide level access for both types of train using a Harrington Hump.

So is making a station that serves both deep-level and sub-surface lines, step-free, a problem that is still to be cracked?

This Google Map shows Ealing Common station.

It doesn’t look that it is a station, where two extra platforms could be squeezed in, so both lines could have their own platforms.

Could Ealing Common station be one of the main reasons to serve Ealing Broadway station with the Piccadilly Line?

Acton Town Station

These pictures show Acton Town station.

 

Note.

  1. The two central tracks appear to be Piccadilly Line trains only.
  2. The two outer tracks appear to be able to be used by both District and Piccadilly Line trains.
  3. There is quite a step-down to Piccadilly Line trains on some platforms.

Making Acton Town station, a Piccadilly Line-only station, would ease making the station step-free, as it would only be served by one type of train.

Chiswick Park And Ravenscourt Park

This section is shown in this map from cartmetro.com.

Note.

  1. The District Line is shown in green.
  2. The Piccadilly Line is shown in blue.
  3. The two Piccadilly Line tracks are in the middle and generally trains go straight through the four stations.
  4. The two District Line tracks are on the outside and trains stop at most stations.

It appears that the tracks have been laid out so that Piccadilly Line trains can get a real shift on between Acton Town and Hammersmith.

This could save a few minutes on some Piccadilly Line journeys.

But there is a problem!

  • District Line trains serve all stations.
  • Piccadilly Line trains serve none.
  • How is Chiswick Park station going to be served, as there are no District Line trains passing?
  • Passengers for intermediate stations, would need to get on the District Line trains before entering the Acton Town and Hammersmith section.
  • Passengers may want to change between Ealing Broadway and Chiswick Park.

There will  also be no trains running on the current District Line tracks between Acton Town and Turnham Green Junction. The only ones that do now, go to Ealing Broadway and they’re being changed to Piccadilly Line trains.

Serving Chiswick Park Station

Chiswick Park station only has platforms on the District Line, which will not see any passing trains if the District Line  doesn’t go to  Ealing Broadway.

One suggestion I found was to add two new District Line platforms to the Richmond branch.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the Richmond branch passing South of the station.

This second Google Map shows the tracks between Chiswick Park station and Turnham Green junction.

Note.

  1. The four tracks between Acton Town and Hammersmith stations.
  2. The current District Line tracks are the outside two of the four tracks.
  3. The Piccadilly Line tracks are the middle two.
  4. The two tracks at the South-West corner go to Richmond station.
  5. The Eastbound track from Richmond goes under the four-track railway, before joining the current Eastbound District Line track.
  6. The Westbound track to Richmond runs along the South side of the four-track railway, before joining the current Westbound District Line track.

These pictures were taken from a train approaching Chiswick Park station from the East.

Note, that there is enough space for a platform along the single track.

These pictures are of Chiswick Park station.

Note.

  1. The distinctive architecture of London Transport stations of the period.
  2. The two fast lines in the middle, with Piccadilly Line trains speeding through.
  3. The two District Line trains on the outside with platforms.
  4. The Richmond Branch passing to the South of the station and between the station and Sainsburys.

I would suspect that a pair of platforms could be built on the two tracks of the Richmond branch.

  • District Line trains to and from Richmond would stop at the new platforms at Chiswick Park stations and Turnham Green, Stamford Brook, Ravenscroft Park, Hammersmith, Baron’s Court and Earl’s Court stations.
  • Passengers between Ealing Broadway and Victoria stations would change at Hammersmith, Baron’s Court or Earl’s Court stations.
  • The car park at the bottom of the map is for a large Sainsbury’s. Perhaps, they would like a station entrance?
  • Chiswick Park station is Grade II Listed.

I’m sure that a good architect can find a more than acceptable solution.

Turnham Green Station

As I passed through Turnham Green station, I got off and took a few pictures, before catching the next train to Ealing Broadway.

Note.

  1. Piccadilly Line trains don’t generally stop, although they do at times to provide a service when the District Line is not running.
  2. The station is not step-free, with stairs to the entrance.
  3. It has some nice features.
  4. Herbs are provided for passengers

If required a step-free interchange between District and Piccadilly Lines could be arranged.

Hammersmith Station

I arrived at Hammersmith station on a Piccadilly Line train and left on a District Line train, after taking these pictures.

Note.

  1. The change is on the same island platform.
  2. There is plenty of space on the platform.
  3. The District Line trains are level with the platform.
  4. The Piccadilly Line trains require a step-down from the platform.
  5. The District Line trains run at a frequency of 12 tph.
  6. The Piccadilly Line trains run at a frequency of 21 tph.
  7. Hammersmith is also a big bus interchange and shopping centre.

There should be no problem changing between Piccadilly and District Lines at Hammersmith, with a wait of no more than five minutes.

Baron’s Court Station

In a brief stop at Baron’s Court station, I took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The change is on the same island platform.
  2. There is less space on the platform, than at Hammersmith station.
  3. The District Line trains are a step-up from the platform.
  4. The Piccadilly Line trains require a step-up from the platform.
  5. The District Line trains run at a frequency of 12 tph.
  6. The Piccadilly Line trains run at a frequency of 21 tph.

There should be no problem changing between Piccadilly and District Lines at Baron’s Court, with a wait of no more than five minutes.

Earl’s Court Station

I arrived at Earl’s Court station on a Piccadilly Line train and left on a District Line train, after taking these pictures.

Note.

  1. The change means that platforms have to be changed
  2. The District Line trains are a step-up from the platform.
  3. The Piccadilly Line trains require a step-up from the platform.
  4. The District Line trains run at a frequency of 12 tph.
  5. The Piccadilly Line trains run at a frequency of 21 tph.

There should be no problem changing between Piccadilly and District Lines at Earl’s Court, but Hammersmith and Baron’Court don’t need a change of platform.

What Is The Best Station To Change Between Piccadilly And District Lines?

It appears that the best place to change would be Hammersmith, or failing that Baron’s Court.

  • Earl’s Court requires a change of platform.
  • Turnham Green requires a change of platform and two sets of steps.
  • Hammersmith has a shopping centre and a lot of buses.
  • I’ve used Hammersmith before to get home from Heathrow, with a change to a 141 bus at Monument station.

I would always for preference use Hammersmith.

Conclusion

It appears to me, there are two opposite forces on either side of a possible proposal to serve Ealing Broadway station with the Piccadilly Line, rather than the District Line.

  1. The District Line will form a loop South of Crossrail between Ealing Broadway and Whitechapel stations.
  2. Making a station step-free that handles both deep-level and sub-surface lines, is not an easy undertaking.

Running the Piccadilly Line to Ealing Broadway means that a change is required at Hammersmith or Barons Court stations to use the loop described in point 1.

But this change would enable the step-free access to be created in all stations in the area.

I think that the change of terminus will go ahead, with the following additions.

  • Improved access to Ealing Common depot.
  • Improved cross-platform access at Hammersmith or Barons Court stations.
  • Possibly two extra platforms on the District Line at Chiswick Park station.

What started out as a simple change could end up as a substantial project.

But overall, because it sorts out step-free access in the area, I think it is a good proposal.

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Northern City Line

Some parts of North and North-East London, have less-than-good connections with the Elizabeth Line.

  • The Piccadilly Line has no direct connection with the Elizabeth Line.
  • The Victoria Line has no direct connection with the Elizabeth Line.
  • The Bank branch of the Northern Line has only a poor connection with the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate station.
  • The Northern City Line has only a poor connection with the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate station.
  • The Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line has a good connection with the Elizabeth Line at Tottenham Court Road station.
  • The Lea Valley Lines of the London Overground have good connections with the Elizabeth Line at Liverpool Street station.
  • Thameslink has a good connection with the Elizabeth Line at Farringdon station.

It would appear that if you live near one of the Lea Valley Lines or Thameslink stations, you can access the Elizabeth Line fairly easily at Liverpool Street or Farringdon stations, but if you rely on a Northern, Northern City, Piccadilly or Victoria Line local station, you are not so lucky!

Could The Northern City Line Be Improved To Give Better Connections Between North London And The Elizabeth Line?

This map from cartometro.com shows the lines between Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington stations.

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line, which calls at M (Manor House), Finsbury Park, Arsenal, Holloway Road and Caledonian Road, before going South-West to King’s Cross St. Pancras.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line, which calls at Finsbury Park and Highbury & Islington, before going South-West to King’s Cross St. Pancras.
  3. The black tracks on the Western side of the map are those of the East Coast Main Line into King’s Cross.
  4. The black tracks going South-East from Finsbury Park are the Northern City Line, which calls at Finsbury Park, Drayton Park, Highbury & Islington, E (Essex Road) and Old Street before terminating at Moorgate.

This second map shows the lines through Finsbury Park station.

 

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line.
  3. The black tracks going through Drayton Park station are the Northern City Line.
  4. The platforms of the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines are paired at Finsbury Park station, so that passengers can change lines with a simple walk-across.

This third map shows the lines through Highbury & Islington station.

Note.

  1. The dark blue tracks are the Piccadilly Line.
  2. The lighter blue tracks are the Victoria Line.
  3. The orange tracks are the London Overground.
  4. The black tracks going through Drayton Park and Highbury & Islington stations are the Northern City Line, which terminates at Moorgate station.
  5. The platforms of the Northern City and Victoria Lines are paired at Highbury & Islington station, so that passengers can change lines with a simple walk-across.

The big problem with Highbury & Islington station is that is not step-free.

A Step-Free Route Between Wood Green And Moorgate  Stations

Currently, it is possible to go between Wood Green and Moorgate stations by using three trains.

  • Piccadilly Line – Wood Green to Finsbury Park – 6 mins
  • Victoria Line – Finsbury Park to Highbury & Islington – 6 mins
  • Northern City Line – Highbury & Islington to Moorgate – 10 mins

Note.

  1. These are actual times measured on my phone.
  2. The total time is twenty-two minutes.
  3. I had to wait a couple of minutes at both changes.
  4. Both changes are walk-across.
  5. The changes are not as perfect as they could be, although they would be easily managed with a buggy or a heavy case.

These pictures show the change at Highbury & Islington station.

These pictures show the change at Finsbury Park station.

This route works for all stations Between Manor House and Cockfosters.

  • Cockfosters – Add 15 minutes
  • Oakwood – Add 12 minutes
  • Southgate – Add 9 minutes
  • Arnos Grove – Add 6 minutes
  • Bounds Green – Add 3 minutes
  • Turnpike Lane – Subtract 2 minutes
  • Manor House – Subtract 5 minutes

But look at the frequencies of the three sections in trains per hour (tph)

The Northern City Line frequency is not high enough, as you could have a fifteen minute wait for a train.

Improvements Needed To The Northern City Line

The Northern City Line now has new Class 717 trains, a terminal platform at Stevenage and full digital signalling is being installed.

  • The major improvement needed would be to improve frequency to at least 12 tph.
  • Six tph on both branches should be possible.

I would also install step-free access at more stations.

Moorgate Station’s Northern City Line Platforms

These pictures show the platforms of the Northern City Line at Moorgate station.

Note.

Improved Connections At Moorgate Station

I talked about the connections between the Northern and Elizabeth Lines at Moorgate station in Elizabeth Line To Northern Line At Moorgate Station.

This was my conclusion.

Routes between the Northern and Elizabeth Lines at Moorgate need to be improved.

I feel that some of the improvements could be fairly minor, but adding step-free access to the Northern City Line could be more difficult.

An Improved Connection Between Bank And Moorgate Stations

Currently, there are three ways between Bank and Moorgate stations.

  • Use the Northern Line
  • Use a 21, 43 or 141 bus routes
  • Walk

I believe that it would also be possible to dig a pedestrian tunnel between the two stations and fit it out with a moving walkway.

This visualisation shows the updated Bank station.


Note.

  1. Moorgate station is to the left.
  2. The only more-or-less completed bits are the two Northern Line tunnels and platforms and parallel pedestrian tunnel.
  3. The four cross tunnels can be picked out towards the far end of the station.
  4. Three of the cross tunnels can now be used by passengers.
  5. The moving walkway can be accessed from the two cross tunnels nearest to the Central Line.
  6. The escalators from the yet-to-open Cannon Street entrance appear to lead directly into a cross tunnel and a parallel tunnel to the moving walkway.

I believe that the moving walkway to Moorgate station could connect with the Bank station complex, at the Moorgate end of the new moving walkway in Bank station.

 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – London Crosslink

In the Wikipedia entry for the London Crosslink, this is the introduction.

London Crosslink was a passenger train service operated by Anglia Railways between Norwich and Basingstoke, using the North London Line to bypass central London. Class 170 Turbostar diesel multiple units were used, and the service operated between 22 May 2000 and 28 September 2002, supported by funding from the Strategic Rail Authority through its Rail Passenger Partnership fund.

As it was discontinued and it doesn’t seem to be sadly missed, I’m not advocating its reinstatement, but just looking how it might be run after the full opening of the Elizabeth Line.

But surely, there were good reasons, why the service was run in the first place and there might be a need in the future.

These are some characteristics of the service.

  • There were about half-a-dozen services in both directions every day.
  • At its full length it ran between  Norwich and Basingstoke.
  • Stops included Diss, Stowmarket, Ipswich, Colchester, Witham, Chelmsford, Ingatestone, Romford, Stratford, Highbury & Islington, Camden Road, West Hampstead, Brentford, Feltham, Staines, Woking and Farnborough (Main).
  • Each service seemed to have a different stopping pattern.
  • The timetable wasn’t very regular.
  • The route wasn’t fully electrified.

It appears that it may have been a difficult service to timetable.

A London Crosslink Based On The Elizabeth Line

Consider.

  • The route between Norwich and Stratford is possible and is fully-electrified.
  • Trains could use the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line between Stratford and Paddington.
  • There is no connection between the Central Tunnel and Brentford, Feltham, Staines, Woking and Farnborough (Main).

I suspect that the service would go to Basingstoke via Reading.

An alternative route might be serve Heathrow Terminal 5 and then connect to the Windsor and Staines Line.

Note.

  1. In Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Eastern Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel, I showed that I thought it was possible for Great Eastern Main Line service to use the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line.
  2. Reading and Basingstoke is not electrified.

Would it be worthwhile?

 

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Thoughts On The Maximum Frequency In The Central Tunnel

The Wikipedia entry for the Elizabeth Line, says this about the indicative timetable after the 6th November 2022.

The indicative timetable consists of the following services on the Elizabeth line during peak hours: there will be 24 trains per hour (tph) in each direction in the central section (Paddington to Whitechapel): of these, 12 will run between Shenfield and Paddington, 6 will run between Abbey Wood and Heathrow, and 6 between Abbey Wood and either Reading or Maidenhead. Some trains on the Reading branch will not stop at all stations. Passengers travelling between stations west of Paddington and those on the north-eastern branch will need to change trains in the central section. Changing trains at Hayes & Harlington will be required for travel between Hanwell, West Ealing or Acton Main Line and other stations on the Reading branch.

The north-eastern section via Stratford is expected to see an additional four trains per hour during peak times between Gidea Park and the existing main line Liverpool Street station’s high level terminating platforms. Since these trains run over existing above-ground lines from Liverpool Street to Stratford, they will not call at Whitechapel.

When you consider, that Dear Old Vicky can handle 36 tph in the Peak, I  feel that at some point in the future, the Elizabeth Line will handle more trains in the Central Tunnel.

This article on London Reconnections, which is entitled The Ninety Second Railway: Making the Victoria The Most Frequent Metro In The World, gives a history of increasing the frequency on the Victoria Line.

This is a paragraph from the article.

Of course, having the trains is only one part of the requirement. As our editor John Bull is prone to point out, there comes a point where frequency is not about how many trains you can squeeze through the tunnels, but about how quickly you can get passengers onto and clear of, the platforms.

As a regular passenger on the Victoria Line, there are times, when you notice that there are queues for the escalators and in the passageways at certain stations.

The Victoria Line probably can’t go to forty tph without substantial work on several stations.

But as these pictures show, the Elizabeth Line has space.

The Central Tunnel stations also have step-free walk-across access to the trains.

On my many journeys on the Lizzie Line, I’ve yet to see any delays in boarding in the Central Tunnel.

Extra Terminals

At present, the Elizabeth Line has been designed to have these terminal stations.

  • Abbey Wood
  • Heathrow Terminal 4
  • Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Maidenhead
  • Paddington
  • Reading
  • Shenfield

The capacity in the East must match the capacity in the West.

Possible terminals in the East could be.

  • Beaulieu
  • Gravesend
  • Hoo
  • Northfleet
  • Southend Victoria

And in the West they could be.

  • Bedwyn
  • Oxford
  • Swindon

The numbers must still match.

Extra services would probably best be added gradually with time, when a need was proven.

Conclusion

I feel that only three things will limit the frequency of Elizabeth Line trains through the Central Tunnel.

  • A frequency that fits the passenger numbers and route preferences.
  • The capacity of the terminals
  • The ability for engineers to meet that frequency safely and at an affordable cost.

Given that at certain times of the day, the Elizabeth Line is busier than you would expect, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that frequency higher than that planned.

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting North Kent Line Services To The Central Tunnel At Abbey Wood

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Abbey Wood.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  2. The North Kent Line is shown in black.
  3. The North Kent Line platform to London is the Southernmost platform and is numbered 1.
  4. The North Kent Line platform from London is the other Southern platform and is numbered 2.
  5. The Elizabeth Line platforms are numbered 3 and 4.
  6. Platform 4 is the Northernmost platform.

At present the Elizabeth Line service to Abbey Wood station is twelve trains per hour (tph), with each platform handling six tph.

This picture shows trains in both Platform 3 and 4 looking towards the station buildings.

Note.

  1. Platform 3 is on the right.
  2. Platform 4 is on the left.

In Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion, I talk about this proposal as described in this article on Ian Visits.

One of the key features of Crossrail To Ebbsfleet (C2E) project is that instead of all trains terminating at Abbey Wood, trains will terminate as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 4 tph

This will mean that 8 tph would pass through Abbey Wood station.

  • Platform 4 could certainly handle the four tph that terminated on the Elizabeth Line.
  • Platform 3 would need to handle eight tph in both directions or sixteen tph to fulfil the proposed C2E service.
  • This would be one train every 225 seconds.

I believe that digital signalling could handle this easily and safely.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Abbey Wood allows eight tph to go both ways between the North Kent Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

The Maximum Capacity At Abbey Wood Station

Because of the current track layout at Abbey Wood, I believe that without track modifications, Abbey Wood station will not be able to handle more than 12 tph.

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Eastern Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel

If say it was ever needed to run a train between Ipswich or Southend Victoria stations and the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, three things must be possible.

Trains Would Have To Be Compatible With 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.

I covered this in detail in Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line.

Trains Would Need A 100 mph Capability To Travel On The Fast Lines Of The Great Eastern Main Line

They would be designed for a higher speed of at least 100 mph, to enable running on the fast lines.

The faster running would ease scheduling of the trains.

Effectively, the train would be a Class 345 train with more features and considerably more grunt.

Trains Must Be Able To Connect Between The Fast Lines And The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Stratford

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Stratford.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in black and purple.
  2. The Elizabeth Line to Shenfield goes through Platform 8 at Stratford station and Platform 2 at Maryland station.
  3. The Great Eastern Main Line to Shenfield goes through Platform 10 at Stratford station and Platform 4 at Maryland station.
  4. The Stratford country end crossovers allow a train using the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel to go through Platform 8 at Stratford station and Platform 4 at Maryland station before continuing on the Great Eastern Main Line.
  5. The Elizabeth Line to Central London goes through Platform 1 at Maryland station and Platform 5 at Stratford station.
  6. The Great Eastern Main Line to Central London goes through Platform 3 at Maryland station and Platform 9 at Stratford station.
  7. The Stratford country end crossovers allow a train using the Great Eastern Main Line to go through Platform 3 at Maryland station and Platform 3 at Stratford station before continuing through the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Stratford allows trains to go both ways between Great Eastern Main Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Western Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel

If say it was ever needed to run a train between Oxford or Swindon stations and the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line, three things must be possible.

Trains Would Have To Be Compatible With 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.

I covered this in detail in Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line.

Trains Would Need A 125 mph Capability To Travel On The Fast Lines Of The Great Western Main Line

They would be designed for a higher speed of at least 110 or 125 mph, to enable running on the fast lines.

The faster running would ease scheduling of the trains.

Effectively, the train would be a Class 345 train with more features and considerably more grunt.

Trains Must Be Able To Connect Between The Fast Lines And The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Royal Oak

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Royal Oak.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  2. Great Western Railway (GWR)  tracks are shown in black.
  3. Where the Elizabeth Line shares the tracks with GWR services the tracks are shown in black and purple.

This map shows an enlargement of Kensal Green East Junction in the North-West corner of the previous map.

Note.

  1. The top pair of lines lead to the Elizabeth Line Depot at Old Oak Common.
  2. the pair of lines that are shown in black and purple handle Elizabeth Line and GWR local services.
  3. The pair of black lines are the Great Western Main Line.
  4. North Pole Depot is used by GWR for their Hitachi trains.

 

This map shows an enlargement between Ladbroke Grove Junction and Royal Oak.

Note.

  1. In the South-East corner of the map is Subway junction, which appears to have two crossovers for maximum flexibility.
  2. To the East of Subway junction the curved line indicates the Royal Oak Portal of the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.
  3. To the West of Subway junction, there is Paddington New Yard, where there is five tracks labelled CRL Eastbound, Turnback C, Turnback B, Turnback A and CRL Westbound from North to South.
  4. Turnback C, Turnback B and Turnback A are the three turnback sidings, where trains are turned back East through the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.
  5. CRL Eastbound and CRL Westbound can be followed across the map to the black and purple lines of the Elizabeth Line to the West of Ladbroke Grove junction.
  6. At present the Western section of the Elizabeth Line terminates in Paddington station. Crossovers at Portobello junction appear to connect the Western section of the Elizabeth Line into Paddington station.
  7. More crossovers also appear to connect the Great Western Main Line to the CRL Eastbound and CRL Westbound through Paddington New Yard.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Royal Oak allows trains to go both ways between Great Western Main Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

September 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – High Speed Trains On The Elizabeth Line

This may seem rather fanciful, but could it be the way to maximise the use of the Elizabeth Line?

  • I feel that the Elizabeth Line will eventually serve other destinations like Basingstoke, Beaulieu, Oxford, Southend and Swindon.
  • The capacity of the Elizabeth Line will grow to over thirty trains per hour (tph) under control of digital signalling.

These are a few thoughts.

The Design Of The Trains

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.

They would be designed for a higher speed of at least 110 or 125 mph, to enable running on the fast lines of these routes.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

They would also be able to run at 100 mph on the Chiltern Main Line, the Great Eastern Main Line and the North Kent Line.

The faster running would ease scheduling of the trains.

Extra facilities could include.

  • Toilets
  • Tables
  • A third-rail capability for running in Kent.

Effectively, it would be a Class 345 train with more features and considerably more grunt.

Note that in A High Speed Train With An IPEMU-Capability, I started the post with the following.

Bombardier were reported by Ian Walmsley in the April 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, to be developing Aventra, with a 125 mph capability.

Bombardier have also told me, that all Aventras will be wired so they could be fitted with on-board energy storage.

Could it be that the design of a Class 345 train could be modified to run at higher speeds? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Oxford To Southend Victoria

This could be a typical route.

  • Between Oxford and Paddington, it would follow a route similar to the GWR’s Oxford service with stops at just Reading and Slough.
  • At Paddington the train would take the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line and travel under London, at the same speed as the other trains.
  • It would emerge at Stratford and move to the Great Eastern Main Line.
  • It would probably stop at Stratford, Romford, Shenfield and all stations to Southend Victoria.

Note.

  1. Digital signalling would enforce the precise timekeeping needed.
  2. Much of the Oxford and Paddington section would be up to speeds of at least 125 mph.
  3. Times in the Central Tunnel of the Elizabeth Line would be identical to the current Class 345 trains.
  4. Much of the Stratford and Southend section would be up to speeds of at least 100 mph.

I estimate that total time would be a few minutes under two hours.

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Royal Oak

I discuss this in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Western Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel.

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Stratford

I discuss this in Extending The Elizabeth Line – Connecting Great Eastern Main Line Services To The Central Tunnel.

 

 

Connecting To The Central Tunnel Of The Elizabeth Line At Abbey Wood

This map from cartometro.com shows the track layout at Abbey Wood.

Note.

  1. The Elizabeth Line is shown in purple.
  2. The North Kent Line is shown in black.
  3. The North Kent Line platform to London is the Southernmost platform and is numbered 1.
  4. The North Kent Line platform from London is the other Southern platform and is numbered 2.
  5. The Elizabeth Line platforms are numbered 3 and 4.
  6. Platform 4 is the Northernmost platform.

At present the Elizabeth Line service to Abbey Wood station is twelve tph, with each platform handling six tph.

This picture shows trains in both Platform 3 and 4 looking towards the station buildings.

Note.

  1. Platform 3 is on the right.
  2. Platform 4 is on the left.

In Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion, I talk about this proposal as described in this article on Ian Visits.

One of the key features of Crossrail To Ebbsfleet (C2E) project is that instead of all trains terminating at Abbey Wood, trains will terminate as follows.

  • Abbey Wood – 4 tph
  • Northfleet – 4 tph
  • Gravesend – 4 tph

This will mean that 8 tph would pass through Abbey Wood station.

  • Platform 4 could certainly handle the four that terminated on the Elizabeth Line.
  • Platform 3 would need to handle eight tph in both directions or sixteen tph to fulfil the proposed C2E service.
  • This would be one train every 225 seconds.

I believe that digital signalling could handle this easily and safely.

I am fairly sure that the track layout at Abbey Wood allows eight tph to go both ways between the North Kent Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

The Maximum Capacity At Abbey Wood Station

Because of the current track layout at Abbey Wood, I believe that without track modifications, Abbey Wood station will not be able to handle more than 12 tph.

Thameslink

These proposed trains would also be compatible with Thameslink, as this route has no platform edge doors.

No platform extensions would be needed, as the Class 345 trains are shorter than the 12-car Class 700 trains.

If they were 125 mph trains, then this would ease timetabling on the East Coast Main Line, as the trains could mix it with the expresses on the fast lines.

Could These High Speed Trains For The Elizabeth Line Have A Cruising Speed Of 140 mph?

It is likely, when full authority digital ERTMS signalling is installed on main lines out of London, that 140 mph will be possible on some at least these routes.

  • East Coast Main Line
  • Great Western Main Line
  • Midland Main Line
  • West Coast Main Line

The extra speed would maximise capacity.

August 4, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Route To Windsor & Eton Central Station

This post is now complete.

I took the Elizabeth Line to Slough station, for onward travel to Windsor & Eton Central station today and took these pictures along the route.

Note.

  1. I joined the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate station and took a train all the way to Paddington station.
  2. As a Freedom Pass holder, I use the Elizabeth Line for nothing.
  3. I changed between the Central and Western sections of the Elizabeth Line at Paddington.
  4. I also bought my Slough and Windsor & Eton Central ticket at Paddington from a machine, for the princely sum of £2.10. It was with a Senior Railcard.
  5. There is a lot of building going on along the route.
  6. The diesel train on the Slough-Windsor & Eton Line was a three-car Class 165 train.

I have some thoughts on how to improve the train service to Windsor.

What Do I Mean By Improving?

I don’t mean direct trains, as that would be impossible for various reasons.

  • Platform length at Windsor & Eton Central station would be a problem.
  • Flat crossing across the fast lines would slow the expresses.
  • To make the running efficient, a flyover would need to be built. The disruption of building it and the cost would be immense.

What is needed, is a system, which means that getting from Central Elizabeth Line stations to  Windsor & Eton Central station is as easily as possible.

Windsor Is One Of Our Premier Tourism Destinations

I suspect that on passenger numbers; Bicester Village, Cambridge, Oxford and Windsor are the four most visited tourist sites by rail from London.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to provide some of the services to these destinations, with the exception of Cambridge, with British Rail-era diesel multiple units.

Could A Four-Car Train Be Run On the Slough-Windsor & Eton Line?

I took this picture of the Slough end of the three-car Class 165 train in Windsor & Eton Central station.

 

It does appear that say a four-car Class 387 train could be fitted into the platform, with perhaps some adjustment to the platform and the track.

Would The Train Be Electric Or Battery-Electric Powered?

Consider.

  • The Slough-Windsor & Eton Line is only 2.5 miles long.
  • It is single-track.
  • Trains take six minutes to do the trip.
  • Modern electric trains with better acceleration could probably do the trip in four minutes.
  • A battery-electric train will need charging.

This OpenRailMap map shows the electrification at Slough station.

Note.

  1. 25 KVAC overhead electrification is shown in red.
  2. The Slough-Windsor & Eton Line leaves the map in the South-West corner of the map and runs into the electrified Bay Platform 1.
  3. The electrification in Platform 1 could be used to charge a battery-electric train.
  4. The  Slough-Windsor & Eton Line appears to be partially electrified at the Slough end.

I wonder, if the simplest, most-affordable, least risky approach  is to electrify the 2.5 miles with 25 KVAC overhead electrification, as it would allow a standard Class 387 train to work the route.

Operation Of The Shuttle

Currently, the Class 165 trains take six minutes between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central stations, which means that with turning the train at each end of the route, where the driver must walk seventy metres or so to change ends only a three trains per hour (tph)  schedule is possible.

If I look at some of the station-to-station stops on the Elizabeth Line, I suspect that a well driven electric train could go between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central stations in perhaps four minutes. With a well-marshalled stop at either end of the route in perhaps two minutes, it could be possible to do a round trip in twelve minutes, which would allow a four tph service.

Capacity would go up from nine cars per hour to sixteen. or an over seventy percent increase in capacity.

There are several ways that, this shuttle could operate.

  1. As now, where the drivers have to be fit to change ends in the time.
  2. Two drivers are used with one in each cab.
  3. Drivers walk back on arrival at the terminal and then step-up into the next train. This is standard London Underground practice at stations like Brixton and Walthamstow Central.
  4. The train is fully-automated and the driver sits in either cab with an override, that allows him to take control, if say protestors or criminals get on the track.

As a Control Engineer, I certainly feel the fourth option is possible.

Intriguingly, I suspect the concept could be proved with two drivers in an existing three-car Class 165 train, to see if four tph are possible.

Ticketing

Ticketing is less of a problem now, than it was before March 28th 2022, as from that date Windsor & Eton Central station is now in the contactless area, so you could touch in with your bank card at any station in the London contactless area and touch out at that station.

It’s all explained on this page on the Great Western Railway web site.

I am a Freedom Pass holder, which gives me the ability to get free travel to and from anywhere on the Elizabeth line for free, so getting to and from Slough for nothing, is no problem, if I use the Elizabeth Line.

But I would need a ticket for the section between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central stations.

Before I got on the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate, I tried to buy an extension ticket between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central stations, from the ticket machines at Moorgate, but it was not possible, so in the end, I made a detour to the ticket office at Paddington and bought the ticket there. But when the Elizabeth Line is fully connected, there will have to be a rethink, as Freedom Pass holders from say Ilford would want a day out in Windsor.

Perhaps the Slough-Windsor & Eton Central line should become a fixed-fare line, where a bank card would be charged say a pound for each journey.

Note that I only paid £2.10 for a return ticket at Paddington with my Senior Railcard.

A Better Interchange At Slough

Currently, the Off Peak frequency of trains at Slough is as follows.

  • Slough and Windsor & Eton Central – 3 tph
  • Slough and Paddington – Elizabeth Line – 2 tph
  • Slough and Paddington – Great Western Railway – 2 tph – Non-stop
  • Slough and Paddington – Great Western Railway – 2 tph – Stopping

In TfL Confirms Details Of Reading Services, I wrote that the Elizabeth Line will have 4 tph to London in the Off Peak, with two extra services in the Peak.

This indicates to me, that the Slough and Windsor & Eton Central service needs four tph.

 

 

 

July 11, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Extending The Elizabeth Line – A Service Between Heathrow And Southend Airports

The Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, has a section about an extension to Southend Airport, where this is said.

Stobart Aviation, the company that operates Southend Airport in Essex, has proposed that Crossrail should be extended beyond Shenfield along the Shenfield–Southend line to serve Southend Airport and Southend Victoria. The company has suggested that a direct Heathrow-Southend link could alleviate capacity problems at Heathrow. The extension proposal has been supported by Southend-on-Sea City Council.

I think there could be a big problem, in that I estimate the journey will take a few minutes short of two hours. Surely, this will mean toilets will need to be fitted.

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 4 Comments