The Anonymous Widower

Doubts Arise About A third Runway At Heathrow

I have always been sceptical about a third runway at Heathrow and put down my thoughts in Will The Third Runway At Heathrow Be Actually Built In The Near Future?.

Media reports are now saying that there should be more consultation, due to the election stopping the publication of updated forecasts for passengers and pollution. The Labour Party also seems to be against the idea.

By the end of 2019, Crossrail and Thameslink will be fully operational and I believe that they will push everybody including politicians, airline boses and other business leaders to seriously rethink their positions. The statements of Willie Walsh; the Chairman of the airline group;IAG seems increasingly sceptical about Heathrow’s third runway.

2019 also marks the date when Gatwick Airport can start to think about developing a second runway.

In Could Thameslink Connect To Heathrow?, I showed that it would be possible to create a high-capacity link between Heathrow and Gatwick via Thameslink.

  • The link would connect Gatwick, Heathrow, HS1 and HS2.
  • No expensive infrastructure would be needed.
  • This link could easily accommodate four trains per hour and possibly double that, when Heathrow rebuilds its terminals to make it a greener airport, more reliant on rail.

It could be in place in 2020.

Conclusion

All of these forces will kick the third runway even further into the future.

 

September 9, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gibbs Report – Gatwick Airport Station Should Be Transferred To Gatwick Airport

The Gibbs Report, says that the Gatwick Airport station should be transferred to Gatwick Airport.

The Gibbs Report says this about the development of the station.

The scheme to provide additional concourse and platform capacity at Gatwick Airport has £120.5m assigned to it in CP5, with a £30m contribution from Gatwick Airport Limited (“GAL”).

Since the original concept was developed, the specification and costs have risen significantly, but not been matched by the budget, which has remained fixed. The outputs now fall far short of GAL’s expectations and ambitions, and do not meet Network Rail’s own Station Capacity Planning Guidance (2015).

The report then recommends that Gatwick Airport station, be sold to the Airport, with the Airport assuming responsibility for the development.

Conclusion

Chris Gibbs makes a compelling case for the proposal.

How many other stations could be developed in this way?

There must be quite a few sporting, leisure and shopping venues, where a rail station lies inside or very close to the venue, where combining the station with a new development will be to everybody’s advantage.

In the GTR area, perhaps Falmer station should become part of the Amex Stadium.

 

July 7, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Kent On The Cusp Of Change – Reading To Tonbridge

The Kent On The Cusp Of Change article in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways talks about reopening a service between Reading and Tonbridge stations.

This is said.

Kent County Council has recommended the restitution of through services to Reading, as existed many years ago when the route was operated by ‘Thumper’ stock. The council says that consideration should be given to a future option of providing a through Ashford – Tonbridge – Redhill – Gatwick – Redhill – Guildford – Reading service, potentially as a joint operation between the Great Western Railway (GWR) and South Eastern franchises.

This could build on the existing service level between Reading and Gatwick provided by GWR, and would link together several of the major towns of the south-east region with each other and with their local international airport.

The introduction of bi-mode rolling stock now being deployed across the railway network would resolve the problem of gaps in the electric power system on sections of this route.

In The East-Facing Bay Platforms At Reading Station, I talked about using trains with batteries to perform this service and considered it feasible.

I still do, but then bog-standard bi-mode trains might be a better option in terms of cost.

I also believe that a Reading to Ashford service via Gatwick Airport would be a very valuable route with the following connections.

  • Wales and the West at Reading station.
  • Gatwick Airport
  • Hastings at Tonbridge station.
  • Rail services to the Continent at Ashford station.

I also think, that once more Continental services stop at Ashford, as I indicated in Ashford Spurs, that this rail link could be one of those rail routes where usage is way about any forecast.

Conclusion

Given Gatwick Airport’s ambititious plans, I rate an Ashford to Reading service as a high possibility.

See Also

These are related posts.

To know more read Kent On The Cusp Of Change in the July 2017 Edition of Modern Railways.

 

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 16 Comments

Crossrail And Heathrow In Legal Dispute Over Fees

This title of this post is the title of an article in the Financial Times.

This dispute will run and run, as it is a gift to the lawyers.

As it is the greedy owners of Heathrow, won’t allow Crossrail trains to go directly to Terminal 5, which means you will have to use the Piccadilly Line or change trains.

But I think, that there are obstacles to Heathrow’s plans to rip-off passengers.

  • They still need to get Planning Permission for the Third Runway.
  • Transport for London will start to upgrade the Piccadilly Line in 2019 and new trains will arrive in 2022.
  • Heathrow Express will still only get you to Paddington at a rip-off price.

The other winner could be Gatwick, who seem to want to work with Transport for London, rather than fight with them.

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Should The Overground Be Extended To Gatwick?

With no end in sight f the Southern dispute and Govia seeming incapable of managing their way out of a paper bag, surely the time has come to explore the possibility of making Gatwick Airport a terminus of the East London Line?

A service could stop at all stations to New Cross Gate, Anerley (for my friend Nick), Norwood Junction, East Croydon, South Croydon and Gatwick Airport.

I know I’m being selfish, but it would create a valuable route to the East of Thameslink.

Gatwick have ambitions to be a massive rail hub and are putting millions where their mouth is.

So why shouldn’t they become a terminus for a two trains per hour (tph) service from Highbury and Islington, that alternates with a two tph service to West Croydon?

  • At present you can get to Gatwick from Highbury and Islington, with a single change at New Cross Gate.
  • It takes 26 minutes to New Cross Gate and after a three minute wait, 44 minutes from New Cross Gate to Gatwick.
  • So total time is 73 minutes.

By comparison getting to Heathrow by Piccadilly Line takes about 70 minutes, so it’s not that slow.

I started this post on holiday, as a bit of a light-hearted post, but it does strike me, that it would be feasible.

Consider.

  • It gives the whole of East London from Walthamstow to Croydon, through Hackney, Tower Hamlets, New Cross a direct route to Gatwick.
  • There is no new infrastructure required.
  • Highbury and Islington is a well-connected terminal.
  • Whitechapel gives a good connection to Crossrail.

I think that although it wouldn’t be something that some companies would welcome, it is the sort of idea, that an innovative Gatwick could fund to steal business from Heathrow.

 

 

December 6, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Reflections On My Journey From Gatwick

After a good night’s sleep, it is perhaps worth taking a look at my experience yesterday in getting through and home from Gatwick Airport.

The train problems were hopefully exceptional, but having seen the new plans for Thameslink’s services, which make it difficult for anybody in East London to go South, I suspect that these problems will go on for some time.

The trouble with the new Thameslink is that it has no step-free interchange with any of the main North South routes through East London.

East London Line

Currently, you can change at New Cross Gate for Gatwick services, but after Thameslink fully opens, this connectivity will be lost under current plans.

It looks like the best route will be to go to West Croydon station and take the tram to East Croydon.

Bank Branch Of The Northern Line

Currently, the interchange at London Bridge between Northern Line and National Rail is not good, although it is step-free.

Hopefully, it will get better.

But the problem with the Northern Line is that many of the stations need reconstruction for full step-free access.

If the London Bridge interchange is improved and the excessive walking is cut, I could use this route a lot to get to Thameslink from Angel station.

But Angel is not a station for a large case, a wheelchair or a baby in a buggy.

Victoria Line

Many on the Victoria Line go direct to Victoria and get a direct train.

Victroria Line access to Thameslink is currently terrible with the only interchange at Kings Cross being step-free and a very tortuous and long walk.

After Thameslink is fully open, there will be a much easier change at Finsbury Park station.

Conclusions

I’m still not sure that the new fully-open Thameslink will not be without controversy.

There is also a need for a solution to the Freedom Pass problem.

I suspect that savvy passengers will just buy an extension ticket between East bCroydon and Gatwick Airport.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t put it past Gatwick Airport to fund the moving of Gatwick Airport into Travel Zone 6, if Heathrow does something unfriendly with Crossrail ticketing. After all, each return ticket costs just £6.

November 11, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Crawling Home From Gatwick

Getting home from Gatwick for me, should be an easy process.

  • Touch in with my American Express card at Gatwick Airport station.
  • Train to East Croydon station.
  • Touch out to close the transaction.
  • Train to London Bridge.
  • 141 bus to home.

But there was trouble in this simple plan.

  • Thameslink services appeared to have problems.
  • The tragic Croydon tram accident.
  • There appeared to be a shortage pf trains to East Croydon.
  • Staff weren’t very numerous.
  • The closure of ower Bridge.

I eventually got to East Croydon and touched out without going through the barrier, so I was now in Freedom Pass territory. The train from Gatwick was a Class 377 train, which although brilliant for commuters, is not designed for anybody with a suitcase.

There needs to be a reader on the platform at East Croydon, so that passengers with Freedom Passes can touch in and out, without going to the barrier. But sorting this minor irritation, is probably the least of Southern’s worries.

After a wait of about thirty minutes, I got on a trainto London Bridge and although, I’d intended to get the Overground from Brockley, I missed the stop as in the dark, I missed the stop, so I went to London Bridge, which should be quicker anyway.

But it wasn’t, as on arrival at the station, there were no buses and only a couple of taxis.

I took the taxi and the amiable driver immediately turned off the meter.

It was all due to the total gridlock created by works on both Tower and London bridges.

After crossing the river, it was more or less plain sailing.

It could be argued that my journey would have been easier, if I hadn’t wanted to go via East Croydon, so that I could save a few pounds.

I don’t need the money but other travellers do! The system certainly doesn’t cope well with those, who want to change from using their Freedom Pass to a ticket at East Croydon station.

If I’m going out and back through Gatwick, the problem can also be solved by buying a return ticket from East Croydon to Gatwick Airport from a ticket machine from certain companies like the Overground and Thameslink.

 

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November 10, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Nightmare At Gatwick

I few out to Las Palmas from Southend and the experience coming back through Gatwick couldn’t have been more different.

I arrived in the North Terminal and this terminal is now very poor compared to modern standards.

  • The walk to Passport Control is long and tortuous compared to many other similar-sized European airports.
  • Passport Control was solid and was only half open.
  • The baggage took an age to arrive, but luckily my bag was off first.
  • I had to get the shuttle to the main terminal for the train, but it wasn’t a well-signposted route.
  • I of course just missed the shuttle.

The North Terminal is basically a 1970s design and it shows.

The terminal is a disgrace and doesn’t fit with any notion of Britain being open for business.

Did the Government plump for Heathrow, as they have all had very bad experiences of Gatwick.

To be fair to the Airport, their plans for the future look good.

Gatwick In The Future

Gatwick In The Future

But will we actually see it?

 

November 10, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Is Theresa Working A Flanker?

With my Project Management knowledge, but no actual experience, if I look at the three options for a new runway in the South-East, I come to these conclusions about each.

  1. New North-West Runway at Heathrow – Virtually impossible to build due to political, environmental and local opposition.
  2. Extended Northern Runway at Heathrow – Difficult but not impossible to build.
  3. New Southern Runway at Gatwick – Probably fairly easy to build.

But reading the media this morning it looks like Option 1 will get the go-ahead.

So could Theresa give her blessing to this option, knowing it will never get built, due to the will of the House and the people?

It would be Brexit all over again, where the electorate and some rebellious MPs override the wish of the Prime Minister and their cabinet.

Ultimately, it would mean that Option 3 at Gatwick could go ahead, followed in a few years by a cut-down Option 2.

This would future-proof the South-East’s airport capacity for decades.

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Planemakers’ View On The South East’s New Runway

There was an article in the Business section of The Times yesterday with a headline of Boeing Ditches Supersonic For Down-to-Earth Midsize Models.

The article says this.

For Heathrow, the traditional long-haul/short-haul connection model is undermined by the direction of Boeing and Airbus development, which means that long-haul can be achieved flying with smaller aircraft from secondary airports.

I read the whole article and they backed the statement with impressive evidence.

I think that if Heathrow gets the nod to expand, it could turn out to be a disaster for the Airport, especially as Gatwick needs to expand anyway.

But who knows, what the Government’s decision will be today, in this crazy world of UK Politics?

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment