The Anonymous Widower

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

A Trip To Northfleet

Yesterday, I went to Northfleet station.

Partly, it was to have a drink with my old friend; Ian, but mainly it was to take some pictures to add to Elizabeth Line To Ebbsfleet Extension Could Cost £3.2 Billion.

Normally, when I go to see Ian I take the HighSpeed service out of St. Pancras.

But this service is expensive and as I was leaving from Moorgate, I decided to take the Elizabeth Line to Abbey Wood and get a train to Northfleet station instead.

I have a few thoughts on my journey.

Cost

I used my Freedom Pass to Abbey Wood and then bought an Off Peak Day Return between Abbey Wood and Northfleet for just £4.95 with a Senior Railcard.

Convenience

As you have to use one of the bridges at Abbey Wood to change to and from the Elizabeth Line, I used the one at the station end and popped through the barrier to buy my onward ticket from a machine.

Surely, Freedom Passes should be linked to a bank account, so if you want to stray outside Zone 6, you are automatically charged.

Elizabeth Line Messages On Southeastern

At Swanscombe station today, whilst waiting for my Thameslink train to take me back to Abbey Wood, I noticed that the displays were telling passengers to change at Abbey Wood for the Elizabeth Line.

You certainly wouldn’t use the dreadful Swanscombe station with heavy cases, but stations like Abbey Wood, Dartford, Gravesend and others would enable granny or grandpa to take a sensible-size wheeled case to Heathrow Airport with reasonable ease, once the Elizabeth Line becomes a fully-connected railway between Abbey Wood and Heathrow.

Onward Trains At Abbey Wood

There are two easy onward Thameslink tph at Abbey Wood, that run at sixteen and forty-six minutes past the hour.

You can also take the first Dartford train and then take the first train from there.

If you get the Thameslink train from Abbey Wood timings are as follows.

  • Slade Green – 6 minutes
  • Dartford – 11 minutes
  • Stone Crossing – 16 minutes
  • Greenhithe – 18 minutes
  • Swanscombe – 21 minutes
  • Northfleet – 23 minutes
  • Gravesend – 27 minutes
  • Higham – 33 minutes
  • Strood – 39 minutes
  • Rochester – 42 minutes
  • Chatham – 45 minutes
  • Gillingham – 50 minutes
  • Rainham – 55 minutes

Note.

  1. There are also two Southeastern tph between Charing Cross and Gravesend, but they don’t serve Abbey Wood.
  2. The timings appeared sensible in my two trips; yesterday and today.
  3. Travellers also have a choice in that they can use the more expensive HighSpeed services to selected stations.

After just missing a Thameslink train today by a few seconds, and then had to wait thirty minutes for the next train, I am convinced that there needs to be a four tph service between Abbey Wood and Rainham.

Four tph Between Rainham And Abbey Wood

In Crossrail Ltd Outlines Plan To Complete The Elizabeth Line, I said this about Western branch services.

When Crossrail is fully open, the Western Branch frequencies are planned to be as follows.

  • Reading and Abbey Wood – 4 tph in the Peak and 2 tph in the Off Peak
  • Maidenhead and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Abbey Wood – 4 tph all day.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Abbey Wood – 2 tph all day.

This includes 6 tph between Heathrow and Abbey Wood all day.

Crossrail To Ebbsfleet is proposing that the South-Eastern branch will terminate as follows.

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

So will this mean that the six tph to Heathrow will be split equally between Abbey Wood, Northfleet and Gravesend, with two Heathrow tph terminating at each terminal?

The North Kent Metro

My naive mind thinks, why don’t the two Heathrow and Gravesend services terminate at Rainham?

This would give the following.

  • The minimum four tph between Abbey Wood and Rainham.
  • Rainham should be able to turnback for tph.
  • Services would call at Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe, Swanscombe, Northfleet, Gravesend, Higham, Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham.

North Kent would have its own metro running under London Overground rules.

It could even start as soon as Class 345 trains are allowed to run to Rainham.

Airport Connect

Consider

  • The Elizabeth Line service between Abbey Wood and Rainham could serve Heathrow at its Western end.
  • The Thameslink service would serve Luton Airport Parkway.
  • Both services would serve Liverpool Street for the Stansted Express and services to and from Southend Airport.
  • Both services would serve Farringdon for services to and from Gatwick Airport.
  • An extra station at Silvertown could serve London City Airport.
  • In future, there could even be a connection to High Speed Two at Old Oak Common.

One service on the Elizabeth Line would connect all these together.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

London Now Has A Large Communal Cool Room For The Elderly And Disabled

I would suspect that most elderly and disabled people, who live in the London boroughs have a Freedom Pass entitling them to free public transport.

London’s new cool room is large and fully air-conditioned, and stretches eight miles right across the city between Paddington and Canary Wharf.

It is officially called the Elizabeth Line, but others call it Crossrail or the Lizzie Line.

Perhaps, the seats in the stations are hard, to discourage overstaying in the well-controlled cool atmosphere.

 

These seats are used on most stations.

I wonder how many passengers will choose the Elizabeth Line in this heat?

I certainly will!

 

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Quiet Battery-Powered River Ferries To Serve Battersea Power Station Pier

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

These two paragraphs give the story and explain the operation of the new boats.

Passengers using Battersea Power Station pier will soon be boarding the UK’s first hybrid high speed passenger ferries using battery power.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers are building two new vessels which will operate solely on battery power when travelling between Tower and Battersea Power Station piers – and recharge while using biofuelled power when sailing further east and west outside their central London route.

They will join the fleet in the Autumn.

There is also this environmental statement from Thames Clipper.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is committed to achieving net zero with all new builds by 2025 and for its wider fleet, infrastructure and environmental footprint by 2040.

That sounds very good to me.

Conclusion

I suspect that this policy will lead to increasing use on London’s river transport system.

I’d also like to see Thames Clipper better integrated with the Overground, Underground and the buses. Some of the walking routes could be improved and have better signage.

I also think, that the Thames Clipper would benefit, if the Freedom Pass could be linked to a credit card, so that Freedom Pass holders would only need to use one card to use all of London’s transport systems.

January 22, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Thought On Low Vaccination Rates In London

Could London’s bad performance be down to difficult parking provision at vaccination centres?

There was no parking, where I went to the Francis Crick institute for my vaccination.

But I went by bus and train using my Freedom Pass. So it cost me nothing!

According to my contacts at Transport for London, there are still a lot of elderly and eligible Londoners, who don’t have Freedom Passes.

I’d love to see a graphic showing Freedom Passes against vaccination in the over 65’s in London!

There are probably other related questions to answer.

  • How many no-shows at vaccination centres are down to parking problems?
  • How many of the non-vaccinated couldn’t find a centre close by, that they could drive to?
  • How many of the non-vaccinated object to spending money to get to the vaccination centre?

And many more! I hope a university is doing the research!

February 28, 2021 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 8 Comments

Greener And Brighter Stations Across Hampshire And Surrey

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Network Rail hope to save 25% in electricity by rewiring and relighting their Wessex Route stations.

Worcester Park and Andover stations are two of the latest stations to be rewired, forming part of the drive to replace old and inefficient electrical equipment and incandescent lights at 32 stations in Hampshire and Surrey.

As Worcester Park station is Freedom Pass territory, I went to have a look.

Note.

  1. It appears that all the original light fittings have been updated with some form of LED conversion.
  2. The LEDs are clearly visible in some of the pictures.

The whole project is called Rewire and Relight and is due to be finished in 2024.

Conclusion

I suspect Network Rail can apply these techniques to a lot more places, than just 32 stations in Hampshire and Surrey.

 

November 3, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coulsdon South Station Has Gone Step-Free

Coulsdon South station went step-free a couple of months ago, so I went to take a look.

These are my thoughts.

The Bridge

Mechanically, the bridge is typical of many in the UK, but someone has taken care over the design, by the use of well-chosen colours and bricks.

The Café

We need more station cafes like Jaconelli’s Espresso Bar.

  • Full range of proper coffee and other drinks.
  • Cakes and snacks.
  • Gluten-free options.
  • Wude selection of alternative milks
  • Knowledgeable and friendly staff.

I suspect it is also owner-managed, as most cafes of this type would be in Italy.

It’s one of the best cafes of its type, that I’ve found in a long time.

The Old Bridge

According to one of the guys in the café the old bridge needed replacing.

But leaving it intact, gives the young, fit or agile a second route across the tracks.

Local Walks And Attractions

There are walks nearby in the Surrey Hills and on the London Loop.

I was also told, that you can get a bus to the Lavender Fields.

Zone Six Station On Thameslink

The station is in Zone Six, which puts it in Freedom Pass territory.

It also has two Thameslink and two Southern trains per hour, so it is easily reached.

Car Parking And A Taxi Service

This Google Map shows the station.

Note the car parking and a taxi service, which is called District Cars.

Conclusion

Coulsdon South is now a very well-equipped station and it must be an ideal place to meet a friend, family member or work colleague to either have a chat or a serious discussion.

Surely, with more people continuing to work from home, the need for meetings between those in the office and those at home will grow! Zoom etc. can only do so much and the cpncept doesn’t suit everybody!

So perhaps we’ll see more community-managed meeting rooms, like the one I described in The Newly-Decorated White Horse Room In Westbury Is Open For Bookings.

 

August 14, 2020 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Suffolk Have It’s Own Version Of London’s Freedom Pass?

London has a travel pass for certain groups of passengers, like the elderly and the disabled called a Freedom Pass.

This is the introduction forthe Freedom Pass from Wikipedia.

Freedom Pass is a concessionary travel scheme, which began in 1973, to provide free travel to residents of Greater London, England, who are aged 60 and over (eligibility age increasing by phases to 66 by 2020) or who have a disability. The scheme is funded by local authorities and coordinated by London Councils. Originally the pass was a paper ticket, but since 2004 it has been encoded on to a contactless smartcard compatible with Oyster card readers.

I have a Freedom Pass, as I am seventy-two and it really gives me freedom, as my eyesight isn’t good enough for me to drive.

Other parts of the UK like Manchester and Newcastle have similar schemes that allow a degree of free travel on local trains, trams and light rail systems.

But generally English counties like Suffolk don’t have such a scheme.

East Anglia’s Rail Revolution

All of Greater Anglia’s trains are being replaced with new Stadler Class 745 and Class 755 trains.

In InterCity Quality For Rural Routes, I said this.

Greater Anglia are purchasing a fleet of 38 trains with a total of 138 carriages to replace 27 trains with a total of 58 carriages.

  • This is a forty percent increase in the number of trains.
  • This is nearly two and a half times as many carriages.
  • The average number of carriages per train is raised from 2.1 to 3.6.

That is a massive increase in train capacity.

I don’t believe that Greater Anglia will park these trains in a siding, but use them to increase frequencies.

Greater Anglia are having signalling problems introducing the new trains, but we have already seen the following in Suffolk.

Four-car Class 755 trains running from Ipswich to Cambridge, Felixstowe and Lowestoft.

As the frequency is still the same and train length has increased from one, two and three cars, this is almost a doubling of capacity.

The UK’s Contactless Ticketing Revolution

London started wide-scale contactless tickerting and in places, it is applied to rural routes like Iver and Reading on TfL Rail’s new Western branch, where frequencies are more Suffolk, than Central London.

I believe in the next few years, the average passenger going between say Newmarket and Ipswich in Suffolk, will touch-in at Newmarket with their credit card and touch-out at Ipswich, just as passengers do now, millions of times all over London, every day of the year.

London’s Freedom Pass looks to the readers in London, as just a different credit card, so it is able to allow passengers through.

I believe that once Suffolk goes contactless with ticketing, then it will be possible to overlay a Suffolk Free Travel Pass on the system.

What Lines Would Be Allowed To Be Used By Passengers With A Suffolk Free Travel Pass?

These are routes that are wholly or partly in Suffolk.

Ipswich And Cambridge

The Ipswich and Cambridge Line currently has one train per hour (tph) and is wholly in Suffolk, except for a short section at the Cambridge end of the route.

Would a Suffolk Travel Pass allow travel to Cambridge?

I suspect that both Cambridgeshire and Suffolk would have reasons for a compromise , as both counties could benefit from visiting Travel Pass holders.

I would include Ipswich and Cambridge in a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

Ipswich And Diss

The section of the Great Eastern Main Line, between Ipswich and Diss, currently has two tph and is wholly in Suffolk, except for a short stretch at Diss, which is just over the border in Norfolk.

I would include Ipswich and Diss in a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

Ipswich And Felixstowe

The Felixstowe Branch Line currently has one tph and is wholly in Suffolk.

But this route is planned to be upgraded as I wrote in Could There Be A Tram-Train Between Ipswich And Felixstowe?.

  • Tram-trains would start at Ipswich station and run to \felixstowe.
  • Tram-trains could start on the forecourt of Ipswich station and could run through the streets of Ipswich, via Portman Road, the Town Centre, Christchurch Park, Ipswich Hospital, the proposed new housing at Westerfield and Ransome’s Retail Park before joining the Felixstowe  Branch, in the area, where it crosses the A14.
  • It could even do more street running in Felixstowe to connect to the Town Centre and the Sea Front.
  • Frequency would be four tph.

Removing the passenger service from the rail lines between Derby Road and Ipswich stations, would allow more freight trains to run through the area.

I would include Ipswich and Felixstowe in a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

Ipswich and Lowestoft

The East Suffolk Line currently has one tph and is wholly in Suffolk.

I believe that this line could be developed by adding a second hourly service to Aldeburgh.

I would include Ipswich and Lowestoft in a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

Colchester And Peterborough

The current service runs between Ipswich and Peterborough, and is a service of one train per two hours.

Greater Anglia plan to do the folloeing.

  • Increase the frequency to one tph.
  • Extend the route to run between Colchester and Peterborough.
  • It will terminate in a bay platform at Colchester.

The route will be mainly in Suffolk, with thends in Cambridgeshire and Essex.

  • Passengers for the North and Scotland will change at Peterborough.
  • Passengers for London will change at Colchester, Ipswich, Cambridge and Peterborough.
  • Passengers for Stansted Airport, Hertfordshire and West Essex will change at Cambridge.
  • Passengers for Sudbury will change at Colchester.

This route will become a very important connecting service.

Because of this connectivity, I would include Colchester and Peterborough in a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

Colchester Town And Sudbury

The Gainsborough Line currently has one tph and is an isolated line that is half in Suffolk and half in Essex.

I would include Colchester Town and Sudbury in a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

How Would It Be Funded?

Wikipedia says this sabot the funding of London’s Freedom Pass.

The cost of providing the travel concession is negotiated between London Councils and the local transport operator Transport for London. It is funded through a mixture of national grant and council tax.

Although a similar process could be used for a county like Suffolk, other elements are present, that have effects on use and revenue.

Only One Train Operator

There is only one train operator involved; Greater Anglia.

This must make planning and operation easier.

Greater Anglia Should Benefit From Passengers Travelling Further

Will passengers use their passes to get to Ipswich and Peterborough to travel further?

If they do, then Greater vAnglia won’t be bothering.

Greater Anglia may be able to fill the twelve-car Clsass 745 trains in the Peaks, but filling them in the Off Peak will be more difficult.

Would a Suffolk Free Travel Pass attract passengers to the trains?

Modal Change

This is a big imponderable in any calculation.

If you live near a station, would you be more likely to use the train to go to work, shopping or a meal in Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds or Cambridge, if the train was free?

Only partly, but if the car parking was expensive or always full, that would be a deterrent.

People plan travel against a large range of parameters and cost is one of them.

Would a Suffolk Free Travel Pass take pressure off the roads.

Trips To The Coast

There are only two rail-connected coastal towns in Suffolk; Felixstowe and Lowestoft.

Travel on a sunny day between Ipswich and Felixstowe and the train can be packed with passengers going for a stroll along the sea front.

With more capacity, this usev will increase and especially amongst those who would be eligible for a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

Carbon Emissions

People are starting to take notice of carbon emissions.

But they’re not buying electric cars, as they worry about the range.

So taking the train is a sop to the pressure of their conscience or that of their children.

Stansted Airport

There are two tph between Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

Travelling from say East Suffolk to the sun, could start with a train to the nearest airport using a train at Cambridge.

East-West Suffolk Travel

Suffolk is not the largest county in England, but East West travel by road can take longer than the train.

Greater Anglia are planning two East-West services at a frequency of one tph.

  • Colchester and Peterborough via Ipswich, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmunds and Ely.
  • Ipswich and Cambridge viaNeedham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmunds and Newmarket.

Note that Ipswich and Bury St. Edmunds stations will have a frequency of two tph.

The East-West Railway, currently being built between Oxford and Cambridge is proposing more improvements for Suffolk.

  • A new hourly Manningtree and Oxford service, via Ipswich, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Bury St. Edmunds, Newmarket and Cambridge.
  •  A new A14 Parkway station, where the Cambridge and Peterborough routes divide to the North of Newmarket.
  • Tram-trains at a frequency of four tph between Ipswich and Felixstowe.

Note that Ipswich and A14 Parkway stations willl have a frequency of three tph.

I also think that operationally, there could be another improvement.

Ipswich station has a limited number of platforms and expanding it will be difficult.

But I believe that operations could be eased, if the Ipswich and Cambridge and Ipswich and Lowestoft services were to be combined into a single cross-Suffolk Cambridge and Lowestoft service, with a reverse at Ipswich.

These routes between Cambridge and Suffolk will spread the Cambridge effect across the county and in return Suffolk will provide the housing and other resources that Cambridge needs.

People Will Be Working Longer

We are going through an employment revolution for those past retirement age for various reasons.

  • Economic necessity.
  • Some people l;Ike and/or need the camaraderie of working.
  • Some people have much-needed skills.
  • Some business owners and self-employed prefer working to retirement.
  • Flexible and part-time working is expanding.

A Suffolk Free Travel Pass would be used by a lot of those who are still working and paying Income Tax.

Healthcare

I have no figures, but I suspect in London, Freedom Pass holders are bigger users of the NHS and hospitals.

Healthcare in East Anglia is changing, with increasing dependence on the three largest hospitals at Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich.

This means that going to hospital for a check-up often means a fifty mile drive and a long hassle over the limited parking.

Published plans mean that Cambridge and Ipswich hospitals will be rail-connected at each end of Suffolk.

Would it be easier to use the train from many parts of Suffolk?

It should also be noted, that those with health problems, that need regular hospital visits in London, are issued with a Freedom Pass for travel, as it’s cheaper than sending a car.

Any county bringing in a free travel scheme would surely use it to help those needing to go to hospital regularly.

Greater Anglia’s new trains are all step-free, as this picture shows.

I believe that good rail-connected hospitals can improve the efficiency of the NHS.

Summing Up Funding

All of these developments across Suffolk will see a large increase in Suffolk’s economic activity and the consequent tax take from Council Tax and Business Rates.

I believe that Suffolk could probably afford to fund their share of a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

Given the reduction in carbon emissions, that would probably occur, surely Government would contribute a share.

As Greater Anglia would surely benefit from onward journeys to and from London, they can probably afford to do a good deal for free travel in Suffolk. After all, they’ve already built in the capacity to their business model.

Restrictions On Use

There may need to be restrictions on use, like some routes apply in London.

For instance, using trains to and from London to perhaps travel between Ipswich and Stowmarket, may be restricted in the Peak.

It will all depend on Greater Anglia’s capacity.

Would It Work For A Group Of Counties?

I don’t see why not!

Perhaps instead of Cambridgeshire, orfolk and Suffolk, all having their own Free Travel Passes, would an East Anglian one work better?

Conclusion

If London can have a Freedom Pass, then why not Suffolk? Or other English and Welsh counties for that matter?

I have rambled through several ideas and possibilities.

But I believe that Suffolk with the powerhouse of Cambridge in the |West can see an improvement in economic activity, can go a long way to funding a Suffolk Free Travel Pass.

This in turn could generate further economic activity and the tax revenue that would be generated to pay for the scheme.

Suffolk though is lucky in that it aslready has the rail network and Greater Anglia have purchased enough trains. Only a hanful of extra stations and some branch line reopenings would be needed.

I shall return regularly to this post.

 

 

 

 

December 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Coolest Trains In London

It was hot in London today, so I thought I’d investigate how well the New Class 710 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line.

I did the following journeys.

  • A 141 bus from my house to Harringay Green Lanes station.
  • A Class 710 train between Harringay Green Lanes and Gospel Oak stations.
  • A Class 710 train between Gospel Oak and Blackhorse Road stations.
  • A Victoria Line train between Blackhorse Road and Highbury & Islington stations.
  • A Class 707 train between Highbury & Islington and Moorgate stations.
  • After doing some shopping, I took a 141 bus to my home.

I took these pictures on the route.

Some observations.

Passengers Towards Gospel Oak Weren’t Numerous

The train going to Gospel Oak station wasn’t very full, wil only about half the seats taken.

The Train From Gospel Oak Was Packed

It was rather different going back, as every seat on the train was taken and there were passengers standing.

The Seats And Air In The Train Were Comfortable

I would certainly recommend a trip in a Class 710 train on a hot day, as a means to cool off.

Let’s hope that all the other classes of Aventras have the same quality of air-conditioning.

The Victoria Line Wasn’t Busy

The air and temperature ion the Victoria Line wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t of the same quality as the Class 710 train.

But the trip made me think that passengers avoid the deep tube in hot weather.

Class 707 Train To Moorgate

I used the cross-platform interchange at Highbury & Islington station to switch to a Class 707 train, running a Great Northern service to Moorgate station.

The air-conditioning was working well and the two other passengers remarked that it was good in this hot weather.

It’s a pity that these trains have ironing-board seats.

Will These Trains Cut Crime?

When I moved to Dalston in 2010, the service along the North London Line was just being launched and wasn’t fully running until May 2011.

Dalston was the haunt of aimless youth and it wasn’t the best place to live.

Nine years on and it has all changed.

The youths have disappeared and the perceived threat of crime seems down. So where have they all gone?

From stories I have heard, public transport has improved so much, that a large proportion of the youths, have discovered something better to do! It’s called work.

  • New Class 378 trains
  • North London Line trains have gone from four trains per hour (tph) to eight.
  • East London Line trains didn’t exist in 2010 and are now sixteen tph.
  • There are several fleets of new buses.
  • Increases in train frequencies are planned.

Dalston is now a much better place to live.

The new Class 710 trains will soon be running on the following routes.

  • Gospel Oak to Barking Line
  • Liverpool Street to Cheshunt
  • Liverpool Street to Chingford
  • Liverpool Street to Enfield Town

And the new Class 707 trains will soon be running on the following routes.

  • Moorgate to Hertford East
  • Moorgate to Stevenage
  • Moorgate to Welwyn Garden City

Most new trains will be in service by the end of this year.

The following will be delivered.

  • More capacity
  • Increased frequencies
  • Better comfort
  • Wi-fi and power sockets
  • On-train CCTV

A lot of the previous ancient trains will be scrapped.

Will the new trains cut crime and the perception of crime in the areas of North-East London, that they serve.

It is too early to tell, but good public transport has had a remarkable affect on Dalston.

So will the same thing happen in Enfield, Hasringey and Wathamstow?

 

Conclusion

I wonder how many people with a Freedom Pass like me are cooling off in this weather by using these and other trains.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Strong Business Case For Proposed West London Orbital Overground, TfL Says

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

West London is one step closer to a new train line which will connect the outer boroughs and relieve pressure on existing transport infrastructure.

The proposed West London Orbital would run from Hendon or West Hampstead through Acton to Hounslow.

It is my view, that now TfL have got a strong business case, they should get this project started.

  • The only problem is money and that could be raised by abandoning the fare freeze.
  • Or increasing the size of the Congestion Charge Zone.
  • Hard on some, but we should be less selfish.
  • I would accept a few restrictions on my Freedom Pass.

There has been too much waffling and it is now time for action.

 

July 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment