The Anonymous Widower

Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?

Various schemes have been proposed to improve rail access to Heathrow.

There are also two schemes in progress, that will improve rail access to Heathrow.

  • Crossrail, which will open in 2019.
  • Piccadilly Line Upgrade, which will be complete in 2025.

I also believe that if the West London Orbital Railway is created, then this could have a positive affect on travelling to and from Heathrow.

Heathrow In The Future

Heathrow are disclosing a master plan, for rebuilding a lot of the airport to make it more efficient and up with the best.

  • There will be two main terminals; Heathrow West and Heathrow East with satellites in between handling the actual planes.
  • These two terminals and the satellites will be between the two existing runways, with a passenger and baggage transport system beneath.
  • Terminal Five will become Heathrow West.
  • An extended Terminal Two will become Heathrow East.
  • Crossrail, Heathrow Express and the Underground will serve both main terminals.

I believe that this rebuilding will happen, whether or not a third runway is built and it could start in the next few years.

Heathrow’s Pollution Footprint

Heathrow is a big polluter, but it is not so much the planes, as the diesel cars, buses and trucks serving the airport.

Uses For Improved Rail Access

There are several uses for improved rail access to Heathrow.

Passengers

Many passengers feel they must drive to and from Heathrow.

Next year, Crossrail will connect Heathrow directly to the City of London, Canary Wharf, the West End and to the heart of London’s Underground, Overground and National Rail system.

An example journey will be Bond Street to Heathrow Central in twenty-six minutes.

New trains on the Piccadilly Line are planned to enter service in 2023 and will offer more capacity and more pleasant journeys.

Currently, Piccadlly Circus to Heathrow Central takes fifty-two minutes and I would hope that this time is reduced to perhaps 40-45 minutes.

I think, these two upgrades will change the way many in Central, North East, East and South East London access the airport.

  • Trains will be more comfortable.
  • Trains will be frequent.
  • Crossrail will be completely step-free.
  • The Piccadilly Line will have more step-free stations.
  • The Crossrail trains will have masses of space.
  • Trains will take passengers to all the terminals

But Crossrail and the Piccxadilly Line upgrade, will do little for those in North West and South West London and those living to the West of the airport.

Workers

Workers at Heathrow, range from highly-paid pilots down to  lowly-paid cleaners, with a full spectrum in between.

Many though have a problem, in that they need to get to and from the airport at times, that are inconvenient for public transport.

A station guy at Staines said that getting between there and Heathrow for an early start or after a late finish is difficult.

The lower-paid workers also need good links to areas of lower-cost housing.

In an ideal world, Crossrail and Piccadilly Line services, should run on a twenty-four hour basis, with appropriate frequencies.

Supplies For The Airport And The Aircraft

I wonder what percentage of the supplies for Heathrow is brought in by diesel truck.

In the Heathrow of the Future, surely many supplies could be loaded onto smart trolleys and taken on electric freight trains to delivery points under the airport.

Air Cargo

Heathrow is an important air cargo terminal, but as with supplies, surely the cargo can be collected outside of the airport and delivered by electric shuttle trains.

The Best Bits Of The Various Actual And Proposed Rail Routes Into Heathrow

Crossrail

  • Connectivity to large parts of London and the East.
  • Connectivity to lower-cost housing areas in East and West London.
  • High capacity.
  • Frequent trains
  • Modern trains
  • All terminals served
  • Extra trains could be added.

The capability for 24 hour operation has hopefully been built in.

Heathrow Southern Railway

  • Connectivity to Waterloo, Clapham Junction, South and South West London
  • Extends Heathrow Express to Woking and Basingstoke
  • Adds a new route for commuters into Paddington.
  • Extends Crossrail from Heathrow to Staines.
  • It will be built alongside the M25 with a tunnel to Terminal Five.
  • All terminals served
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the South West.
  • Privately funded.

HS4Air

  • Connectivity to HS2, the Midlands, North and West of England and Wales
  • Possible connection to Gatwick and Ashford for the Continent.
  • North-South station in a tunnel deep under Heathrow.
  • The Heathrow station will be able to handle full-length high speed trains from Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester.
  • Heathrow could become a High Speed Rail hub serving Greater Western London.
  • Sneaks along the M25.
  • All terminals could probably be served, by escalators and lifts from the deep station.
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the North and West.
  • Privately funded

I’m keener on the section North of Heathrow, than that to the South.

Piccadilly Line Upgrade

  • Connectivity to West and North London
  • Connectivity to lower-cost housing areas in West London
  • Frequent trains
  • All terminals served.
  • No new infrastructure

Probably needs 24 hour operation.

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow

  • Connectivity to Slough and Reading and further West with a change.
  • All terminals served.
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the West.

West London Orbital Railway

  • Connectivity to North West London with a change at Old Oak Common.
  • Connectivity to low-cost hosting areas in West London.
  • Created as part of the Overground.
  • Eight trains per hour (tph) through Old Oak Common.
  • Connectivity for high-value passengers in affluent parts of North London.
  • Connectivity for important workers in less-affluent parts of North West London.
  • Probably, Transport for London funded.
  • No difficult construction.

The West London Orbital Railway should go ahead, because it connects so much of West London to Crossrail, Old Oak Common and High Speed Two.

Windsor Link Railway

  • Connectivity to Slough and Reading and further West with a change.
  • All terminals served.
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the West.
  • Privately funded

This scheme also unlocks development of upmarket housing in Windsor.

Conclusions

I have seen railway stations and airports all over Europe.

Many airport stations are cramped, as they have been built as an afterthought.

But some like Schipol and Frankfurt have a comprehensive station, where you can get trains to a very long list of places without a change.

Heathrow Connectivity

Heathrow needs a very high level of connectivity, for passengers, workers and freight.

Two schemes provide that.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway, which extends Heathrow Express to the South West and provides links to Waterloo and Greater South London.
  • HS4Air, which has an elegant expandable station deep under the airport and connects to High Speed Two and the Great Western Railway in the North. Extending to Gatwick and Ashford for the Continent could also be possible, if required.

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow only does what it says in the name and HS4Air does that without bagging valuable platforms at Terminal Five.

What About The Workers!

Heathrow’s other big need is rail access for the increasing numbers of people, who work at the airport and live locally.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway links the airport to South West London  and also allows an extension of Crossrail to Staines.
  • Windsor Link Railway links the airport to Windsor, Slough and Reading.
  • Crossrail links the airport to Old Oak Common with its housing developments and rail connections with High Speed 2 and the London Overground.
  • West London Orbital Railway will bring more workers and passengers to Old Oak Common from all over North West and South West London.

Old Oak Common will be important for many working at the airport.

Old Oak Common station

Old Oak Common station will become an important interchange for workers and passengers travelling to and from Heathrow.

  • It must be totally step-free.
  • Some of the long interchange walks on current plans should be augmented by travelators.
  • Crossrail is planning six tph between Old Oak Common and Heathrow. Is that enough?

Get Old Oak Common right and all those needing to go to and from Heathrow will benefit.

Heathrow And Gatwick

The connection between Heathrow and Gatwick airports is tortuous at present, but will get better as the years progress, as Crossrail and Thameslink improve.

As the airports grow, with a third runway at Heathrow and a second one at Gatwick, how many people will want to travel quickly between the two airports, as increasingly, both airports will offer services to more destinations?

As a Londoner, I also believe that we will see more split flights, where passengers stopover in London for a night or two, when they are going halfway around the world. Terminal London will be the best airport transfer terminal in the world.

Predicting the number of travellers between the two airports will be extremely difficult and only a direct measurement will be a worthwhile figure.

If a direct rail link is needed, HS4Air should be extended to Gatwick to provide a frequent fifteen minute connection.

Heathrow And High Speed One

I will be very surprised if many travellers need to go quickly between Heathrow and High Speed One.

Why would anybody between say St. louis and Paris not fly direct? Perhaps only, if you were spending time in London between the two legs of your journey.

For those that need to do it, using an extended Crossrail between Heathrow and Ebbsfleet will probably be good enough.

But when passenger numbers say it would be viable, extending HS4Air to Ashford would be a distinct possibility.

Heathrow And High Speed Two

For all sorts of reasons Heathrow needs good connectivity to High Speed Two.

If I was the CEO of Heathrow, I would want to have a station at my airport, where passengers could travel to and from the major cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham in as direct a manner as possible.

Using Crossrail to Old Oak Common will give access to all High Speed Two trains, but the ability to get a train to the North within thirty minutes of clearing immigration and customs, would be a major selling point for my airport.

Suppose HS4Air was providing four tph to Birmingham of which two tph, went to each of Crewe/Manchester and Nottingham/Leeds.

Or the four tph could be double trains, with one half serving each Northern route.

This would make Heathrow a viable alternative to regional airports.

Heathrow will strongly support HS4Air, as it would be like having a whole series of regional flights, with a thirty minute transfer to and from long-haul routes.

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow

The Western Rail Approach To Heathrow is far inferior to the HS4Air proposal.

Consider.

  • The Western Rail Approach To Heathrow only connects the Great Western Railway to Heathrow.
  • HS4Air connects High Speed Two as well.
  • HS4Air creates a new expandable station under the airport, which would be capable of handling the longest trains.
  • HS4Air can be expanded to Gatwick and Ashford.
  • HS4Air is privately funded.

Direct access between Slough and Heathrow can be provided by the Windsor Link Railway.

A Final Conclusion

All these schemes have their good points and I think that the best way to get the rail access that Heathrow and Gatwick need, is to let the private section build what the airports need, subject to the correct planning permissions.

 

 

 

 

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 10 Comments

HS4Air’s Heathrow and Gatwick Tunnels And Stations

One of the details I like about the HS4Air proposal is that the HS4Air tracks cross both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports at right-angles  to the existing rail routes through the airports.

In my experience, stations with this layout, make for an easy interchange.

I suspect, the Heathrow and Gatwick Tunnels will be very deep under the airports, which will mean the following.

  • They won’t disturb the existing airport.
  • All the existing Crossrail design and construction expertise will be useful.
  • The station could be as large as needed, with through and terminal platforms.

The stations will have lifts, escalators and travelators all over the place to connect to the existing airport terminals.

Heathrow

The Heathrow HS4Air station could have direct services all over the place.

For many getting to Euston or Paddington to perhaps take a train to Swansea can be a pain, but if Heathrow develops a proper local transport network based on Crossrail and proposals like Heathrow Southern Railway, this will be much easier.

Heathrow Airport could become a massive High Speed Rail Hub buried under the existing Airport.

Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is already an excellent Rail-Hub between London and the South Coast.

HS4Air would mainly add fast connections to Heathrow and HS1.

I suspect that Gatwick would have a smaller number of terminal platforms than Heathrow.

Conclusion

These two stations will be massive building projects, which using the expertise gained from other similar projects, will not disrupt anything on the surface.

July 30, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

HS4Air Between Gatwick Airport And Ashford

This map clipped from the Expedition Engineering web site, shows the route of HS4Air between Gatwick Airport and Ashford International station.

The route reuses the existing railway between Ashford International and Edenbridge (Kent) stations.

From Gatwick Airport To Edenbridge

This Google Map shows the countryside between Gatwick and Edenbridge.

According to the first map, the Gatwick Tunnel emerges to the East of the M23 Motorway, which runs North-South down the left side of the map.

It probably emerges South of the Airport spur from the M23 and then it would travel on the surface to Edenbridge (Kent) station, which is in the North East corner of the map.

It looks to be a very challenging route, although there are several industrial sites scattered between the M23 and Lingfield, which is perhaps halfway between the motorway and Edenbridge.

This Google Map shows Edenbridge (Kent) station with the Redhill-Tonbridge Line passing through.

It would appear that the engineering could be reasonably attainable, but getting the natives on-side might not be so easy.

It’s not as though the residents between Edenbridge and Gatwick will get much benefit from HS4Air.

From Edenbridge To Ashford

This line has the following characteristics.

  • It is around forty miles long.
  • It is almost straight.
  • It is double track.
  • There are several stops.
  • There is a maximum speed of 100 mph

It doesn’t appear to have many more than about four trains per hour (tph) in both directions.

Very little has been said about how HS4Air will transform the line, except that it will be upgraded to a high speed line.

The only information of value is that Ashford to Gatwick will take 25 minutes.

How far would a train go in that time at various speeds?

  • 100 mph – 42 miles
  • 125 mph – 52 miles
  • 140 mph – 58 miles

As the route between Edenbridge and Gatwick is probably around a dozen miles, it would appear that a well-designed 125 mph route could enable the time quoted by HS4Air.

Local Stations On The High Speed Line

I’ll take Penshurst station as an example.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note that it is very simple with a platform on each line.

Currently, it gets a single tph in both directions.

HS4Air would probably mean that at least another four tph, passed through the station at 125 mph.

It could be argued that this could cause safety problems.

On the other hand, there are many stations in the UK, where local trains stop and expresses go through at 125 mph.

Platform-edge doors would be a difficult and expensive solution, but why not make access to the platform only possible, when a train is stopping?

Looking at Penshurst station, this station also needs some more facilities, like a fully accessible footbridge.

Conclusion

The Gatwick to Ashford section can be converted into a 125 mph route,  which would give a time of 25 minutes between the two stations.

However, I do think there will have to be a lot of political leverage to get it built.

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

HS4Air Between Heathrow And Gatwick Airports

In terms of the number of trains, the route between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports could be one of the businest section of HS4Air.

This map clipped from the Expedition Engineering web site, shows the route of HS4Air between the two airports.

Note that in addition to the tunnels under the two airports, there is another tunnel through sensitive parts of Surrey.

Heathrow Southern Railway And The Southern Portal Of HS4Air’s Heathrow Tunnel

This Google Map shows the first section of the route South from Heathrow.

The two motorways are.

  • The M25 goes roughly North-South.
  • The M3 goes roughly East-West

I said in HS4Air’s Connections To HS2, The Great Western Main Line And Heathrow, that it appears that HS4Air’s Heathrow Tunnel will emerge somewhere just South of where the motorways meet.

The station in the South-East corner is Addlestone on the Chertsey Branch Line.

Follow the line Northward and Chertsey station is visible.

Heathrow Southern Railway intend to use this branch as part of their proposal to create access from the South into Heathrow.

From Chertsey, their route would follow to the East of the M25 and then use a short East-West tunnel to connect into Heathrow Terminal 5.

This Google Map shows the Chertsey Branch Line, where it crosses the M25.

The Chertsey Branch Line goes diagonally across the map from Chertsey station in the South-East corner to the North-West corner.

A Junction just before the Chertsey Branch crosses the M25 would connect to the new railway running on the East side of the M25, towards Heathrow.

So that HS4Air and the Heathrow Southern Railway avoid each other, it would appear that the Southern portal of HS4Air’s Heathrow Tunnel must be to the South of the Chertsey Branch.

Onward To Junction 11 Of The M25

If HS4Air, then followed the M25, it could probably be squeezed in as far as a short distance past Junction 11.

This Google Map shows the section of the M25 around junction 11.

Junction 11 to 12 Of The M25

The first map, shows HS4Air following the M25 and passing over the M25/A3 junction.

This Google Map shows the area around the M25/A3 junction.

The junction between the M25 and the A3 is clearly visible.

On either side of the A3, as it goes South of the junction are the RHS Garden Wisley and Wisley Airfield.

I doubt that HS4Air will go anywhere near the Garden, but the airfield might well be the place, where the tunnel under the North Downs has its Northern portal.

The problem is how does HS4Air get between Junctions 11 for the A320 and Junction 10 for the A3 along the M25.

This Google Map shows the section of the M25.

Junction 11 is in the top-left of the map and Junction 10 is in the bottom right.

  • I have flown my helicopter along the route and in places there is not much space on either side of the road.
  • The road runs through housing in places.
  • The road is very busy.
  • The distance between the junctions 10 and 11 is 3.6 miles.

This page on the Highways England web site, says that the road is to be converted into a four lanes each way smart motorway.

Expedition Engineering obviously have a plan to get the motorway and a double-track high speed railway through this difficult section.

The Surrey Tunnel

I said earlier that the Northern Portal of the |Surrey Tunnel will be on or in the vicinity of Wuisley Airfield.

Putting maps together and taking an educated guess, I wonder if the Southern portal is on this map, which shows an area South of Dorking.

Note the Ibstock brick works. Could this be the site?

This Google Map shows its relationship to Gatwick Airport.

The distance is about nine miles, from the brick works in the top left of the map to the Airport.

According to the first map in this post, the route is mainly on the surface

Conclusion

The route is challenging, but I’m pretty sure, that it can be created.

 

 

July 26, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

How Would HS4Air Affect The Western Rail Approach to Heathrow?

The Western Rail Approach to Heathrow (WRAtH), is a proposed new rail route to Heathrow from Reading and Slough.

It has a similar objective to HS4Air’s connection to the Great Western Main Line at Iver.

Both railways would connect Reading and Slough to stations in the Airport.

But in my view the HS4Air approach has several advantages.

  • HS4Air connects to both Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Ashford, whereas WRAtH only connects to Heathrow.
  • It would connect high speed trains from Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford, South Wales and the West of England to Heathrow, Gatwick and Ashford for Continental services.
  • As an example a direct Cardiff-Ashford service would take three hours twenty minutes.
  • Trains would be faster, with an operating speed between Reading and Heathrow of at least 140 mph.

But perhaps most importantly, HS4Air could be a totally privately-funded project.

Conclusion

I feel Network Rail’s proposal for a Western Rail Approach to Heathrow is not needed, if HS4Air is built.

 

July 26, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

HS4Air And Heathrow Airport’s Third Runway

HS4Air will pass under Heathrow Airport in a tunnel, where there will be a new station.

Look at how Crossrail hasn’t resulted in major demolition in Central London.

For this and other reasons, I believe that HS4Air can be built underneath the Airport without affecting what Heathrow do on the surface.

The only effect that a possible third runway and an extra terminal at Heathrow, would be minor changes to the route of the tunnel and the layout of the station.

But I suspect that HS4Air will be built, so that it is totally future-proofed for all possible developments at Heathrow.

On the other hand, HS4Air might have effects on Heathrow Airport.

  • Passengers from the North of England would be more likely to come by high speed train from Birmingham and Manchester.
  • Passengers from South Wales and the West of England would be more likely to come by high speed train from Bristol and Cardiff.
  • The transfer between Heathrow and Gatwick would be less than twenty minutes. HS4Air claim just fifteen.
  • If there was sufficient demand there could be a Heathrow-Gatwick shuttle every 10-15 minutes.

Just as some of these effects will be positive for Heathrow, they will also be positive for Gatwick.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion, that some politicians, who are seriously against a third runway at Heathrow, could manage to get the runway blocked or delayed for a decade, by citing HS4Air and Gatwick as a viable alternative.

But that won’t matter, as Gatwick will build the much-needed runway for the South-East and it will be less than twenty minutes from Heathrow.

July 26, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Plans Revealed For £10bn High-Speed Railway To Connect Britain’s Busiest Airports, HS1 and HS2

The title of this post is the same as this article on Global Rail News.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Developers are submitting plans for a new high-speed line to the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) in response to a call for market-led proposals.

Named ‘HS4Air’, the proposed £10 billion railway will connect HS1 at Ashford to HS2 North West of London with stops at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and a spur connection to the Great Western main line.

This map from Expedition Engineering shows the route.

To minimise environmental disruption, the following should be noted.

  • There is a North-South tunnel under Heathrow Airport.
  • HS4Air follows the M25 to the South-West of London.
  • Several miles of the route between Heathrow and Gatwick is in tunnel to the West of Horsham.
  • There is a West-East tunnel under Gatwick Airport.
  • The Ashford to Tonbridge Line would become part of HS4Air.

There will also be stations at Ashford, Tonbridge, Gatwick and Heathrow.

This further diagram from Expedition Engineering shows the various possible routes.

Note the following about HS4Air.

  • Four major airports; Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester, will be connected to the Channel Tunnel.
  • Wikipedia suggests, that the line could be extended to a reopened Manston Airport.
  • A Paris to Manchester passenger service via Gatwick, Heathrow and Birmingham, is proposed.
  • High-speed connecting services from Cardiff, Oxford and Manchester to Ashford are proposed.
  • HS2’s major interchanges of Birmingham International and Crewe, are served.
  • Freight routes from Liverpool and Southampton to the Channel Tunnel will be enabled.

It looks a good basis to connect the rest of the UK to the services through the Channel Tunnel.

The article also gives some sample journey times.

  • Ashford-Gatwick: 25 minutes
  • Manchester-Heathrow: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Heathrow-Gatwick: 15 minutes;
  • Cardiff-Heathrow: 1 hour 40 mins
  • Birmingham-Paris: 3 hours
  • Manchester-Paris: 3 hours 40 minutes (My Estimate)

Intriguingly, the Manchester-Paris time, is the same as Eurostar’s current time between London and Amsterdam.

Conclusion

The plan seems to be well-thought out and it gives a good increase in connectivity from Wales, the West Country and the Midlands and North of England to Heathrow, Gatwick and the Channel Tunnel.

But I can see a few problems.

  • Will the residents of the North Downs accept a high-speed railway through their area?
  • If freight routes from Liverpool and Southampton to the Channel Tunnel are established, will residents object to masses of noisy freight trains?
  • Will there be pressure for more tunnels?

On the other hand Expedition Engineering are saying that needed extensions to the UK’s electricity grid can be laid underground along the same route.

July 25, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Premium Passport Control At Gatwick

By getting lost, I came across Premium Passport Control At Gatwick.

I’d already noticed the lengths of the queues for passport control, so by paying a fiver on my contactless card, I virtually walked at a brisk pace through passport control and security.

I shall certainly book it on my next flights through the airport.

Some will argue that everybody should get this level of service, but as the Gatwick web site says, the service is limited to fifty passengers per hour, just think how big, an area would be needed for the thousands of passengers per hour handled by the airport.

For me though, the service is ideal.

  • At seventy with a few health issues, standing in queues is a pastime I avoid.
  • As a coeliac, I often find food on board a flight is questionable to say the least, so having more time for perhaps something before I fly is an advantage.
  • I can afford the cost!
  • I like to time things as fast as possible.

I would improve the service in two ways.

A Yearly Pass

I do about ten flights a year out of the UK. If for say thirty pounds I could get Premium Passport Control both Outbound and Inbound, I would always fly through Gatwick, as it has flights to where I want to go.

A Duty Free By-Pass

I never buy any traditional duty-free products, although I might buy something in airport shops, like newspapers, snacks or toiletries.

So I would have an optional route straight into the main departure area, by-passing the slow lane through dDuty Free.

Conclusion

I think this will get better!

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , | 1 Comment

Dalston To Gatwick And Back For £6.15

This could be one of the best travel bargains for those like me, who have the privilege of a Freedom Pass.

I can use my pass, as far as East Croydon or West Croydon stations, but I must buy a ticket or use contactless to get to Gatwick Airport.

So I use the following route.

  1. London Overground to West Croydon station using my Freedom Pass.
  2. London Tramlink to East Croydon station using my Freedom Pass.
  3. Thameslink or Southern to Gatwick using a contactless credit card.

I paid £3.10 for the last leg.

These pictures show my journey to Gatwick.

Note that as my flight on Friday was early, I was staying the the Premier Inn, where I watched the World Cup 2018, before taking an early bath and an early bed.

The only problem was finding how to get from the shuttle to the Premier Inn at the Gatwick North Terminal.

Coming back, was just a two-legged journey.

  1. Thameslink to London Bridge station using the ticket I bought on the way out and my Freedom Pass.
  2. A 141 bus to just outside my house from the forecourt of London Bridge to just outside my house using my Freedom Pass.

I paid £3.05 for the ticket between Gatwick and East Croydon.

The Journey Could Be Improved

I do this journey a lot of times, especially as it is an easy way to the South Coast.

  • Getting to Victoria will continue to be difficult, until there is a comprehensive rebuild of Highbury and Islington station.
  • I could go to St. Pancras and get Thameslink, but there are time restrictions on using a Freedom Pass early in the morning.
  • I could get a 141 bus to London Bridge, but going South seems a lot longer than coming North due to traffic, road works and bus frequency.

So what would I do to improve things?

The Overground Should Go To East Croydon Not West Croydon Station

Often, when I do the journey to West Croydon, the train is almost empty from perhaps Penge West station.

So do passengers from the East London Line wanting to go to Croydon choose a train to East Croydon?

  • East Croydon has a cornucopia of services going all over the South.
  • West Croydon has only a few services and no long distance ones.
  • There are no intermediate stations between either station and Norwood Junction station.
  • East Croydon is the hub station of London Tramlink.
  • There is only a tram service going East at West Croydon.
  • To get a tram to Wimbledon at West Croydon, it is a long walk, which is badly signposted.

What is needed is a dedicated Overground platform at East Croydon station.

  • One platform could handle six trains per hour (tph)
  • It would create a simple one-change link between Gatwick Airport, Brighton and other South Coast destinations to East London and especially Whitechapel station, for the Eastern branches of Crossrail.

I know space is difficult, but I suspect that there is a solution somewhere.

Refurbish The Class 700 Trains

The Class 700 trains have only been in service for about two years, but when you travel on one after using another train, you realise their inadequacies.

  • The seats are worse than most and certainly not up to the standard of those on Electrostars, like the Class 377 train, I took to Gatwick.
  • There is no wi-fi.
  • There are no power sockets to charge a mobile phone or laptop.
  • Tables don’t exist in most of Standard Class.
  • There’s nowhere to put a drink.
  • Some drivers, who worked for East Midlands Trains told me, that they are not fast enough for the Midland Main Line.

They are crap design of the highest class. They certainly don’t say “Welcome to the UK”, to arriving passengers at Gatwick.

But I do believe the trains can be sorted, as the Class 707 trains are better.

Extend The Freedom Pass Area

A Freedom Pass works to any station in Fare Zone 6, with a few extensions like Shenfield station using TfL Rail and Watford Junction station using the Overground.

I don’t think that the area, where the Freedom Pass can be used for free, should be extended, but the technology must exist to link a Freedom Pass with a credit or debit card, so that all journeys within the Oyster contactless area are charged appropriately.

I’m surprised that this or something like it hasn’t been implemented yet, as surely it could be an encouragement for Freedom Pass holders to vote for a Mayoral candidate.

Conclusion

Travelling to Gatwick will get easier and more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

June 14, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

£250m Bypass Will Destroy Woodland

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

A four-mile bypass will be built partly in the South Downs National Park under a plan that conservation groups fear will set a precedent for development in other protected areas.

This map shows the route of the proposed bypass.

The route may be the best solution, but I believe we need to be more radical.

Overcrowded and inadequate roads exist all along the South Coast of England and in many other scenic places in the UK.

I think we need to develop a philosophy to solve the problems of roads in these crowded places.

Building a four-mile bypass at Arundel, may be needed, but we should do many other things to ease traffic congestion and improve transport capacity.

So what do I believe we should do?

We could introduce negative measures like road pricing or other restrictions, but I believe there are positive things we could do.

Broadband

You might think, what has broadband got to do with reducing the need to build roads.

I believe that as more houses and businesses get very high speed broadband, this will reduce the number of journeys taken.

Mobile Phone Coverage

I am not sure, what effect excellent mobile phone coverage will have on traffic, but it certainly will have one.

Cycling

We will all be cycling more and one of the consequences of excellent mobile phone coverage will be the growth of park-it-anywhere bike schemes like ofo and Mobike.

I think a few years time, many short distance journeys will be done by bicycle.

But expect some Luddite councils to legislate against ofo, Mobike and their ilk!

Rail

Fast forward five years and a train journey in an area like along the South Coast or in East Anglia or the West Country, will be very different.

  • Digital signalling will increase the capacity of all lines and mean that most stations will have at least four trains per hour (tph) in both directions.
  • Digital signalling will also allow more routes.
  • Advances in train design will mean that journeys are faster.
  • Ticketing will use contactless bank cards or mobile phone payment systems.
  • Trains will be a much more comfortable and work-friendly experience, with wi-fi, 4G and power sockets.
  • Track layouts will be improved and level crossings will be removed., to allow trains to operate more efficiently.
  • Improved information on trains and stations.
  • The improved dwell times of modern trains, will allow new stations to be added without degrading services.

The biggest development along the South Coast, will be an improved service between Ashford and Portsmouth/Southampton/Bournemouth.

  • Existing tracks will be used, with the addition of short stretches of new track at possibly Brighton and Eastbourne.
  • Line speeds will be at least 100 mph.
  • Most stations will have a Turn-Up-And-Go four tph service.

There will also be other improved routes to and from London and Gatwick Airport for many of the coastal towns.

This improvement in rail services will be impossible with a rail company like Govia Thameslink Railway providing services.

  • They are more conservative, than the RMT.
  • They look after their core commuter traffic, at the expense of other passengers.
  • The franchise is just too big.

However, digital signalling will allow Open Access Operators to compete and create new services geared to customers needs.

Thameslink

The current Thameslink service will have the following characteristics, when it is completed in December 2019.

  • Twenty-four tph through London.
  • A well-designed track layout at Bermondsey that unlocks London’s North-South railway.
  • Services at a level of at least two tph to many stations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
  • A set of uncomfortable Class 700 trains, designed by a moronic civil servant in the Department of Transport.

The major Thameslink upgrade was designed totally without vision and charisma.

However, the basics and possibilities are there to do the following.

  • Increase the frequency to thirty tph through the Central London core.
  • Increase the frequency on the Brighton Main Line through Gatwick, substantially, by using digital signalling.
  • Rebuild the trains, with what passengers need.
  • Add extra services all along the South Coast.
  • Develop a massive rail-air interchange station at Gatwick.

I believe that Gatwick could develop into the busiest station in the UK.

I also think, that anybody going between London and the South Coast, will have a frequency of at least four tph from their local station, using either a direct service or a single change at Gatwick.

Freight

This Google Map shows the A27 through Arundel.

Note the number of trucks on the roads.

Where are they going?

The bypass would get the trucks out of Arundel, but would it just encourage more to use the South Coast route as a bypass for the crowded M25?

We need a proper philosophy for freight in this country.

  • As much freight as possible should be by rail.
  • Trucks should be for short distance or specialist needs only.

Does Southampton Docks have good enough access to the UK rail network?

I think not, especially as it would be very difficult to increase freight traffic through Southampton Central station, due to the restriction of the double-track Southampton Tunnel.

Conclusion

There is a lot to do, before we spend £250million n a bypass.

 

 

 

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment