The Anonymous Widower

SWR Applies To Build New London Maintenance Depot

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Edition 865 of Rail Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

Hounslow Borough Council is considering an application by South Western Railway to build a new depot on the site of Feltham’s former marshalling yard in South West London.

This Google Map shows the site.

It appears to be remarkably clear and the only clue to its former use must be Feltham Railway Club.

  • The depot will lie between Feltham and Whitton stations on the Southern side of the Waterloo-Reading Line.
  • The depot will have ten roads and will be able to accommodate ten car trains.
  • Construction will start in February 2019 and the depot will open in 2020.

There houldn’t appear to be too many construction problems.

I do have a few questions.

Would The Opportunity Be Taken To Upgrade The Waterloo-Reading Line?

Waterloo to Reading and Windsor services might be increased in frequency.

Could an extra track be added alongside the depot or other works be performed to add capacity to services Reading and Windsor?

What Will Be The Affects Of The Proposed Heathrow Southern Railway?

The Heathrow Southern Railway is a proposal for a new route between Waterloo and Heathrow Airport via Clapham Junction and Staines.

Should Level Crossings In The Area Be Closed?

There are level crossings at Barnes, Feltham, Isleworth, Mortlake and North Sheen.

Would The Land Be Better Used For Housing?

This could be the major objection from the Council.

They could always build a depot with housing on top.

Could A Bigger Feltham Station Be built At The Same Time?

This could be a possibility, with perhaps a turnback platform for the proposed West London Orbital Railway.


Building the depot seems a good and fairly simple plan, but willit cover all possibilities?

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Heathrow Southern Railway And West London Orbital Railway

West London waits umpteen years for more rail lines and then two come along at the same time.

Heathrow Southern Railway

West London Orbital Railway

Both do substantially, what their names imply.

This map from shows the tracks between Feltham, Hounslow and Whitton stations.


  1. Heathrow Southern Railway’s proposed Heathrow – Clapham Junction – Waterloo service will probably go via Whitton, rather than the Hounslow, as Whitton is the faster route.
  2. Hounslow is the proposed terminus of the route of the West London Orbital Railway from West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  3. Hounslow will have a new East-facing bay platform, to handle the trains from West Hampstead.
  4. Heathrow Southern Railway have said their service between Heathrow and Waterloo will be four trains per hour (tph)

I suspect that the West London Orbital Railway will have a typical Overground frequency of four  tph.

Unfortunately, the two railways don’t meet up, as it would probably be worthwhile to give more stations a simple route to Heathrow with perhaps a change at Feltham station.

This Google Map shows Feltham station.

Would there be space to squeeze in an East-facing bay platform on the North side of the station?

  • It could be the terminus of the West Hampstead service of the West London Orbital Railway
  • It could be useful if there were operational problems to turn trains.
  • There is the advantage that Feltham is a step-free station and Hounslow isn’t.

I went to Feltham station and took these pictures.

By the side of the track on the other side of the road bridge to the station, is the Feltham Signalling Centre and a Network Rail yard.

I think it could be possible to fit a platform into the space, behind Platform 1.

  • A five-car platform looks possible.
  • It would be an island platform with the current Platform 1.
  • I doubt overhead electrification could be used.
  • Slab track might be needed to squeeze the train under the bridge.

Ideally, it should be able to take a ten-car train, which might be possible, by extending the platform to the other side of the bridge.

Currently, there are six tph each-way through the station. The following new services will be added if both the Heathrow Southern and West London Orbital Railways are built.

  • 4 tph – Heathrow Southern Railway’s proposed service between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Waterloo via Staines, Feltham, Twickenham, Richmond and Clapham Junction.
  • 4 tph – West London Orbital’s proposed service from Feltham to West Hampstead

Would modern trains and signalling, coupled with good driving, be able to handle this level of trains?

Looking at the tracks and the space on either side, it might be possible to thread a third track between Feltham Station and Feltham Junction.

This Google Map shows Feltham Junction

There would appear to be more space on the South side of the tracks, so perhaps an extra track could go on this side.

But I suspect Network Rail could find a solution from their library of cunning plans.

There could be advantages.

  • West London Orbital Railway could terminate in a step-free station.
  • Travellers between South Acton and Hounslow get a step-free route to Heathrow.
  • The bay platform at Feltham, could help when the service is disrupted.
  • An extra track to the East of Feltham, might help capacity between Clapham Junction and Staines.

I’m certain that be a simple connection between the two systems can be built.


There are possibilities to connect the West London Orbital Railway to the Heathrow Southern Railway, which could be beneficial for all parties.


April 5, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Waterloo Upgrade August 2017 – Feltham Station

I took these pictures at Feltham station.

Feltham station is a particular problem, as the level crossing has to be closed.

At present it is closed for preliminary works to take place, so that it can be permanently closed.

This page on the Hounslow Council web site gives more details.

August 6, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Feltham Station

I hadn’t intended to go to Feltham station, but whilst talking to a South West Trains driver, he suggested I go to look at the improvements there and the level crossing.


This Google Map shows the station’s location to the South-East of the Airport.

Heathrow Airport And Feltham Station

Heathrow Airport And Feltham Station

Feltham station is the station in the South East corner of the map.

A Modern Station

Feltham station is a modern station, as these pictures show.

If it has one problem it is the level crossing at the Western end of the station.


The station is well-connected with six trains per hour (tph) to and from Waterloo on weekdays and 5 tph on Sundays.

But there are a long list of stations, who have in excess of 2 tph connections to the station on weekdays and good connections on Sundays. The list includes.

  • Clapham Junction
  • Putney
  • Reading
  • Richmond
  • Staines
  • Twickenham
  • Weybridge
  • Windsor and Eton Riverside

It is an impressive level of connectivity to the buses that serve Heathrow’s terminals.

I was at Feltham station for about twenty minutes and saw several newish buses drive off towards Heathrow.

A railway called Heathrow Airtrack was proposed, but abandoned to link Waterloo to Heathrow, via Feltham.

It doesn’t seem to be mentioned much these days.

I just think, that because the services through Feltham are at a level of one train every ten minutes and because the line has several level crossings, that trying to squeeze an airport service into the mix, although probably not impossible, was difficult and would give rise to too many objections to fight off.

An Alternative Link

But Heathrow may have the solution in their hands and that would be to use an enlarged version of the Heathrow Pod system, that I wrote about in A Visit To Heathrow Terminal 5.

Or they could use some other charismatic system, that flew people at helicoptor-height over the route to and from Heathrow.

Several systems come to mind; cable-car, tram, monorail, a modern Schwebebahn or MAGLev.

The Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, was built over the River Wupper in the early Twentieth Century and it still running today. I wrote about it in The Wuppertal Schwebebahn. You wouldn’t build anything like this, but the construction of the Schwebebahn shows that you can put a lightweight railway over a river.

This Google Map shows Feltham station in greater detail.

Feltham Station And The Longford River

Feltham Station And The Longford River

Note the Longford River, which passes under the station.

This Google Map shows Terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow Terminal 4 And The Longford River

Heathrow Terminal 4 And The Longford River

Again note the Longford River.

So could some form of lightweight aerial railway be created to run at perhaps fifteen metres above the river and some of the roads in the area. This picture shows the Heathrow Pod that connects some car parks to Terminal 5.

The Heathrow Pod Crosses To Terminal 5

The Heathrow Pod Crosses To Terminal 5

The Terminal 5 system is described here in Wikipedia and is 3.9 km long. I estimate that Feltham to Terminal 4 would be about 6 km.

As Heathrow are thinking of using the Heathrow Pod system to go all the way to Kingston, I would suspect that Feltham would be in range.

My big worry would be, that the number of pods required to transfer passengers to and from Feltham might be too large for the system.

So I think that even if the Heathrow Pod system couldn’t be used for the link, within a few years, someone will devise a system that would create the ultimate airport link between Feltham and Heathrow Airport.




November 22, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments