The Anonymous Widower

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 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

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 Stratford allows trains to go both ways between Great Western Main Line and the Elizabeth Line Central Tunnel.

Connecting To 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.

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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 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

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Rebuilding Shenfield Station

I have a feeling that Shenfield station will become a bottleneck on the Great Eastern Main Line.

  • I feel that both passenger and freight traffic will increase through the station in the next ten years.
  • I also feel that there is a possibility that the Elizabeth Line will be extended to Southend/Airport/Victoria and/or Beaulieu.
  • Yesterday, I changed between a Southend and a Lizzie Line service, which meant down in one lift and up in another.
  • With more and more housing likely to be built in the area, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more parking.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the station needing to be rebuilt and expanded in the next few years.

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Will There Be A Need For Long Distance Class 345 Train?

I wrote Crossrail To Heathrow, Reading And Southend in August 2017.

This was a section in that post.

The Long Distance Class 345 Train

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

As an example, the safeguarded Reading and Gravesend service would be eighty-three miles.

  • A Reading and Paddington service takes fifty-seven minutes for the thirty-six miles.
  • At that speed Reading and Gravesend would take two hours and eleven minutes.
  • Even Reading and Shenfield will will take only nine minutes less than two hours.

Will all passengers be able to hold on for these lengths of time?

100 mph Capability

Greater Anglia’s Class 720 trains are 100 mph trains, but their sisters on the Elizabeth Line are only 90 mph trains.

So if the trains are to work perhaps to Gravesend, Oxford or Southend would a 100 mph capability be needed?

Conclusion

If the Elizabeth Line is extended, there may be a need for trains to be updated.

June 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – An Extension To Southend Airport

The Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, has a section for 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 have written about extending Crossrail to Southend before in Council Launches Campaign To Extend Crossrail To Southend-on-Sea.

In that post, I gave these reasons.

  • Extra capacity between London and Southend
  • A more intensive service to Southend Airport
  • A twenty-four hour service to Southend Airport
  • Enabling housing
  • Taking pressure from Liverpool Street

I came to the conclusion, that extending the Elizabeth Line to Southend could have a lot going for it.

Times Change

But that post was written nearly four years ago and times change and they will change more in the next few years.

The Elizabeth Line Trains Are Shorter Than The Liverpool Street And Southend Victoria Trains

This has also happened and the pair of five-car Class 720 trains, that Greater Anglia use for Southend Victoria services are over thirty metres longer than the Elizabeth Line’s nine-car Class 345 trains.

This would mean that there would be no need for platform lengthening along the route to Southend Victoria.

Zero-Carbon Aircraft Are Under Development

Zero-carbon aircraft like the Heart Aerospace ES-19 could be in service by 2027. These aircraft will probably have a limited range of around 400 km and a charge time of 40 minutes.

  • Southend Airport’s position on the East side of London would enable the creation of zero-carbon flights to places like Amsterdam, Brussels, Lille, Paris and Rotterdam.
  • A quick estimate indicates that aircraft like the ES-19 could fly from Southend to Amsterdam and recharge in around two hours.
  • Intensively scheduled, these electric aircraft could make several round trips per day.
  • Would almost silent electric aircraft be able to fly twenty-four hours per day?

These flights could seriously increase the number of passengers to Southend Airport before the end of the decade.

More Housing

I think more housing will be built between Shenfield and Southend, which will increase the need for more services past Shenfield.

The Great Eastern Main Line Will Have Full Digital Signalling

More and more trains will be running on the Great Eastern Main Line and like other main lines in the UK, it will receive full digital signalling, which would probably be applied to the Shenfield and Southend Line.

This would give the extra capacity to Southend Victoria, that running the Elizabeth Line to Southend Airport and Southend Victoria would need.

Possible Services

I think there are two main possible options, but there may be others.

  • A long Elizabeth Line extension all the way to Southend Victoria.
  • A short Elizabeth Line extension only as far as Southend Airport.

My feelings are as follows.

  • The Greater Anglia service should remain as it is with three trains per hour (tph) calling at all stations to Shenfield, Stratford and Liverpool Street.
  • Perhaps three or four Elizabeth Line tph would extend to Southend Victoria, calling at all stations.
  • All Elizabeth Line trains would call at all stations to and from London, as they do now!

Full digital signalling would handle the extra trains.

 

Conclusion

I think it will be unlikely that the Elizabeth Line will be extended to Southend in the next few years, but before the end of the decade, I can certainly see limited  Elizabeth Line services going all the way to Southend Victoria.

June 19, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments