The Anonymous Widower

A406 North Circular Road ‘Most Congested’ In The UK

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

This is the first paragraph.

Motorists on the UK’s most congested road spend an average of two and a half days a year sitting in traffic.

The section of the A406 between the Hangar Lane Gyratory and Chiswick Roundabout has always been a dreadful road to drive on, as long as I can remember.

These pictures show typical traffic around eleven o’clock in the morning.

There does seem to be rather a lot of private cars and small commercial vehicles, with only a few HGVs and buses.

I would love to see an analysis of where these journeys start and finish.

Converting the road to a multi-lane dual carriageway wouldn’t be possible, as much of it is lined with private houses and even if it could be built it would just attract more traffic and would need to be widened even more.

There are circular routes further out of London like the M25 and the A412, but this road is an intractable problem.

Perhaps, it needs to be in a Congestion Charge Zone?

But is a solution at hand?

Crossrail

Crossrail, if and when it opens, will not be a direct solution, as it goes East-West and not North-South like the A406 through the area.

But it will give better access to Heathrow, which is a large traffic generator in West London.

Crossrail will link the following to the Airport.

  • Canary Wharf
  • The City of London
  • East London and Essex
  • South-East London and Kent
  • West End and Paddington

It will do little to help those in North and South London to travel to and from the Airport.

Old Oak Common Station And High Speed Two

The connection of High Speed two and Crossrail could make a difference.

  • Passengers using High Speed Two travelling to and from Heathrow, would have an easy route.
  • North and North-East Londoners will be able to use the North London Line with a change at Old Oak Common.
  • South Londoners will be able to use the West London Line with changes at Old Oak Common and Clapham Junction stations.

But Old Oak Common station won’t open under 2026 at the earliest.

It is needed now.

It also does nothing for those travellers in wide swathes of North-West London.

The West London Orbital Railway

If there is a trusty knight on an immaculate white charger, coming to the rescue, it could be the West London Orbital Railway, although as it would be stitched together from parts of existing and underused infrastructure, it has more of the Dirty Dozen about it.

There would be two routes.

  • West Hampstead Thameslink and Hounslow via Cricklewood, Gldstone Park, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton Central, South Acton, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth.
  • Hendon and Kew Bridge via Brent Cross West, Gldstone Park, Neasden, Harlesden, Old Oak Common, Acton Central and South Acton.

The project has various advantages.

  • No substantial amount of new track will be needed.
  • It could be run using battery-powered trains.
  • Costs would be well under half a billion pounds.
  • It would connect to Thameslink and Bakerloo, Jubilee and North London Lines.

When Old Oak Common and High Speed Two open, it would have a direct connection.

I wrote about this railway in detail in New Railway Line For West London Proposed.

North Acton Station

As stated under Development in the Wikipedia entry for North Acton station, there may be reasons to rebuild the station to create a connection between the North London and Central Lines.

This Google Map shows the area around North Acton station.

Note.

  1. North Acton station in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. The North London Line running North-South to the right of the map.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line branches off the North London Line at the top of the map.
  4. The Central Line running East-West through North Acton station and under the North London Line.
  5. Threading its way through North of the Central Line is the Acton-Northolt Line.
  6. The Acton-Northolt Line could be developed by Chiltern Railways to give access to a second London terminal at Old Oak Common.

To develop a successful station at North Acton, that tied everything together would be a hard ask.

  • The bridge carrying the North London Line is very high.
  • The height would make step-free access expensive.
  • The frequency of trains on both the North London and Central Lines could be twelve trains per hour (tph).
  • At least, there does appear to be plenty of space from the map.

On the other hand, an architect with vision might be able to create a station that was affordable and provided high benefits for passengers.

Conclusion

There’s certainly potential in West London to improve the rail routes, although I’m not sure whether rebuilding North Acton station would be viable.

But, we should start building the West London Orbital Railway immediately.

 

 

 

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ambitious £10bn Plans For Gatwick Heathrow HS4Air Rail Service Rejected

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

This paragraph outlines the reasons for rejection of HS4Air.

But the DfT has reportedly turned down the proposal, primarily over concerns about the affordability and that it would likely face issues because the proposed route will run across greenbelt land.

It would appear from the report, that the promoters of the project; Expedition Engineering, are not happy.

This is the last three paragraphs of the article

Lenczner said that most of the rail line was going to be in tunnels, ensuring the impact to open green areas was limited and less than the Lower Thames Crossing.

He said: “We’re trying to encourage people to get out of cars and use more sustainable modes of transport and the HS4Air would have contributed to that.

“We have had lots of messages of support who are also utterly gobsmacked that it has been rejected at this stage.

He added that “we don’t intend to back down,” and said the engineering company plans to challenge the DfT’s decision.

Alistair Lenczner is a director of Expedition Engineering.

I think that HS4Air proposal is the sort of bold infrastructure project, that we will increasingly need in a post-Brexit world.

There were four major proposals to create better rail access to Heathrow up before the Department of Transport.

In Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?, I summed them all up.

Heathrow Southern Railway

I summed up the Heathrow Southern Railway like this.

  • 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

I summed up HS4Air  like this.

  • Connectivity to High Speed 2, the Midlands, North and West of England and WalesHigh Speed
  • 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.

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow

I summed up the Western Rail Approach To Heathrow like this.

  • Connectivity to Slough and Reading and further West with a change.
  • All terminals served.
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the West.
  • Network Rail’s proposed scheme.
  • Government funded (?)

Windsor Link Railway

I summed up the Windsor Link Railway like this.

  • 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.

Why Does Heathrow Need Better Rail Access?

Heathrow Airport is continuously expanding and needs better transport access.

To the man or woman in the Woking 4×4, the baggage handler in his clapped diesel Toyota and the myriad numbers of Air Cargo operators with their polluting trucks, that means better and cheaper parking and more comprehensive road networks at the Airport.

We are not talking about an American Airport with masses of space, but an airport with limited land surrounded by housing, office and commercial development.

It also has a massive non-aviation pollution footprint, caused by all the diesel vehicles serving the airport.

Surely, more and better electric trains and road vehicles into Heathrow should be part of the solution. Most politicians, trade union officials, businessmen and travellers, probably feel so.

The Airport Of The Future

In the modern world, an ideal airport should be designed so that.

  • All air-side vehicles serving the planes, runways and airport buildings, should be battery-powered or zero carbon.
  • All passengers and airport workers must arrive or leave the airport, by means of electric train, bus, tram or taxi.
  • All supplies and air cargo must arrive and leave the airport by means of electric train or truck.

Heathrow will have a large fight to get the Planning Permission for their new runway and expansion plans. But declaring the Airport to be electric vehicle only on the ground, could be a bold move, that could turn the minds of opposing residents, politicians and Local Authorities.

Electric Air-Side Vehicles

This is starting to happen, with even giant electric aircraft tugs for A380s now available.

Moving People To And From The Airport

Add up all the numbers of passengers and workers and there isn’t enough capacity at the preset time.

There needs to be the following.

  • More frequent and longer trains.
  • More platforms
  • Access to the West
  • Access to High Speed Two

HS4Air offered a different approach of a North-South railway through the Airport, which could be built without disturbing the existing rail network at Heathrow.

But it has been rejected.

HS4Air would also have allowed important local networks to be built onto Crossrail.

  • Extending Crossrail to Staines.
  • Adding the West London Orbital Railway to Old Oak Common.

I feel that combining the best bits of HS4Air, Heathrow Southern Railway and the West London Orbital Railway could be a good idea, to bring all those important workers to the Airport.

Moving Air Cargo And Supplies To And From The Airport

Some of the automated-logistics networks used by the likes of Amazon are incredibly impressive.

Could a massive logistics hub be built in the centre of the Airport?

  • Electric trains would arrive with pre-loaded containers of air cargo and supplies.
  • The containers would be automatically directed to the appropriate place on a network of tracks deep under the airport.
  • Containers would also travel in the reverse direction with inbound air cargo, returned empties and rubbish.

I’m sure something like this will happen and underneath the third runway is surely the place to build such a logistics hub.

My Views On Each Proposal

These are my views on each proposal are as follows.

Heathrow Southern Railway

This is probably the second largest and boldest of the four schemes.

It has the following advantages.

  • It gives good connections to large areas of South and South West London.
  • It connects to the two big rail hubs of Waterloo and Charing Cross.
  • It extends Heathrow Express from a short express airport service into a much-needed new commuter route between Surrey and Hampshire and London.
  • It extends Crossrail to Staines to create an important local link into the Airport for the workforce.
  • It could connect to a freight logistics hub under the new third runway.
  • It could be built without affecting existing services.
  • It will probably be a  privately-funded scheme.

But there is a big disadvantage; there is no connection to Reading, Slough and the West.

HS4Air

This is probably the largest and boldest of the four schemes.

It has the following advantages.

  • It connects to High Speed 2 and the Great West Main Line.
  • It could be connected to Gatwick and High Speed One in the future.
  • It would be built mainly in tunnel under Heathrow Airport.
  • It proposes a North South station under Heathrow Airport, below existing rail links.
  • It would be able to handle full-size high speed trains.
  • It could connect to a freight logistics hub under the new third runway.
  • It would fit in well with the development of a third runway and new terminals, as it will be well below in tunnel.
  • It could be built without affecting existing services.

But there are disadvantages

  • It will probably be a very expensive privately-funded scheme.
  • It does provide good connectivity to Slough, but doesn’t improve the connectivity to other areas, where workers at the Airport will live.

I think if this scheme is built, then the following two smaller schemes should be built as well.

  • West London Orbital Railway.
  • Crossrail extension to Staines.

These schemes would bring in Heathrow’s much-needed workers.

I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this scheme.

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow

It has the following advantages.

  • It should provide good connectivity to Reading, Slough and further West.
  • It wouldn’t be difficult to build.
  • It could connect to a freight logistics hub under the new third runway.

But there are disadvantages.

  • Except for Slough, it doesn’t connect to much affordable housing, where Heathrow’s massive workforce live.
  • It is Network Rail’s pet scheme.
  • Would it need to be government-funded?

As with HS4Air, I think if this scheme is built, then the following two smaller schemes should be built as well.

  • West London Orbital Railway.
  • Crossrail extension to Staines.

These schemes would bring in Heathrow’s much-needed workers.

Windsor Link Railway

This is very much a local scheme and doesn’t give enough capacity increase for the Airport.

But I don’t rule out in the future, a tunnel under Windsor connecting Slough and Staines to aid the development of the important town.

A Pragmatic Approach

Could a pragmatic approach be taken to give Heathrow, the world-class rail access it needs?

What About The Workers?

This may seem a strange place to start, but I believe that if Heathrow expands, the following will be true.

  • The airport will need large numbers of workers.
  • Not all jobs will be high salaries, so good access to areas of low-cost housing from the airport on a 24/7 basis will be needed.
  • If you work at the airport, then it’ll be the first place from where you want to fly on holiday.
  • Heathrow will not want workers to add to the Airport’s chronic, local pollution footprint.

Prime areas for the recruitment of airport workers will be Basingstoke, Bracknell, Reading, Slough, Staines and North West and South London.

All currently have bad rail connections to Heathrow.

To ease these journeys, the following local connections must be built.

Crossrail Extension from Heathrow Terminal 5 To Staines

In Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plans For Staines, I looked at this extension in detail and came to the conclusion that four trains per hour (tph) could run to and from Staines for Crossrail.

Although this extension came about because of the Heathrow Southern Railway proposal, I feel that it should be built whatever scheme is chosen.

  • It will add a capacity of up to 6,000 passengers per hour, between Staines and Heathrow, in both directions.
  • It will increase the capacity of Heathrow Terminal 5 station.
  • It will enable extra Crossrail services between Central London and Heathrow Terminal 5.

But the main reason is that it will create a new route between Staines and Abbey Wood via Old Oak Common (for High Speed Two) the West End, Farringdon ( for Thameslink), the City and Canary Wharf.

West London Orbital Railway

The West London Orbital Railway is planned to run in a circular manner around North West London.

I wrote about it in detail in New Railway Line For West London Proposed.

Two routes are proposed.

  • Brentford to West Hampstead Thameslink via Old Oak Common.
  • Kew Bridge to Brent Cross via Old Oak Common.

The routes would use the freight-only Dudding Hill Line.

Major costs would be.

  • Resignalling the route.
  • Up to half-a-dozen new or upgraded stations.
  • A small number of battery-electric Class 710 (?) trains.

Crossrail or High Speed Two it is not!

The railway will bring large numbers of travellers to Old Oak Common station, where Crossrail will take them to the Airport or Central London.

Windsor Link Railway

I said I was taking a pragmatic approach to rail access to Heathrow and the Windsor Link Railway build in conjunction with extending Crossrail to Staines could have several advantages.

  • Remove a lot of road traffic from the Centre of Windsor.
  • Create a rail service between Reading and Heathrow via Windsor and Slough.
  • A Park-and-Ride could be built South of Slough by the M4.
  • Unlock land for development in Windsor.
  • One tunnelling project could be used to access Heathrow Terminal 5 station.

The route could be run with a frequency of four tph, using Crossrail trains.

Perhaps it should even be part of Crossrail?

What About The Air Cargo And Supplies?

 

 

 

 

 

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Crossrail Open To Reading in 2019?

The latest rather dodgy date for the opening of Crossrail’s Core Tunnel is Autumn 2019.

In the January 2019 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article, which is entitled Crossrail Can’t Commit To Autumn Opening.

This a paragraph from the article.

TfL also says that it is exploring with DfT the possibility of beginning to operate Reading to Paddington services ahead of the completion of the Elizabeth Line to help provide a boost in revenue.

This is a very interesting possibility.

How Much Work Is Still To Be Done To The West of Hayes & Harlington?

This is the key factor as to whether Western Branch of Crossrail can be opened.

  • The biggest problem is that Class 345 trains can’t run to Heathrow as there are signalling issues to eradicate.
  • There are also several stations, that need to be completed.

There is no work-round to the first problem, but trains seem to be able to call at the unfinished stations.

It would appear, that for TfL’s proposal to be taken fully forward, the signalling issues to and from Heathrow, must be dealt with.

The stations can be finished later.

The Current Proposed Crossrail Service To Reading And Maidenhead

These are the proposed services shown on Wikipedia, so they could have been updated.

Reading To Paddington – Limited Stop

This service will be run at two trains per hour (tph) in the Peak with no trains in the Off-Peak.

Stops are Twyford, Maidenhead, Slough, West Drayton and Ealing Broadway.

Reading To Paddington – All Stations

This service will be run at two tph all day.

The service will call at all stations except Hanwell and Acton Main Line.

Maidenhead To Paddington

This service will be run at two tph all day.

The service will call at all stations except Hanwell and Acton Main Line.

A Summary Of Peak/Off Peak Calls

Adding these service up, gives the following numbers for Peak and Off Peak calls in trains per hour (tph)

  • Reading – 4,2
  • Twyford – 4,2
  • Maidenhead – 6,4
  • Taplow – 4.4
  • Burnham 4,4
  • Slough – 6,4
  • Langley – 4,4
  • Iver – 4,4
  • West Drayton – 6,4
  • Hayes & Harlington – 4.4
  • Southall – 4,4
  • Hanwell – None to Reading/Maidenhead
  • West Ealing – 4.4
  • Ealing Broadway – 6,4
  • Acton Main Line – None to Reading/Maidenhead
  • Paddington – 6,4

Note.

  1. 4,2 means 4 tph in the Peak and 2 tph in the Off Peak.
  2. It would appear that all stations except Reading and Twyford have at least four tph all day.
  3. Stations between Hayes & Harlington and Ealing Broadway will get another six tph all day going to Heathrow.
  4. Acton Main Line station will get another four tph all day going to Heathrow.

This gives the following frequencies.

  • Reading – 4,2
  • Twyford – 4,2
  • Maidenhead – 6,4
  • Taplow – 4.4
  • Burnham 4,4
  • Slough – 6,4
  • Langley – 4,4
  • Iver – 4,4
  • West Drayton – 6,4
  • Hayes & Harlington – 10,10
  • Southall – 10,10
  • Hanwell – 6,6
  • West Ealing – 10,10
  • Ealing Broadway – 12,10
  • Acton Main Line – 4,4
  • Paddington – 12,10

I can draw these conclusions from the figures.

  • Every station has a good service from Crossrail.
  • But could Reading and Twyford have another two tph in the Off-Peak to make the services four tph all day?
  • Paddington station would need perhaps two or three platforms dedicated to Crossrail to handle twelve tph.
  • The maximum frequency of 12 tph should be easily handled with conventional signalling and could be increased with modern digital signalling.

It looks like running the Western services of Crossrail from Paddington could be a possibility.

Consider.

  • The Reading and Maidenhead services will be run on routes with mainly conventional signalling.
  • The Class 345 trains, which each can hold 1,500 passengers would give a massive capacity boost to the outer Crossrail stations.
  • Heathrow services can be run with Class 345 trains, when the signalling problems are solved.
  • Higher frequencies to and from Paddington may enable trains to provide a better interchange with branch line services, at West Ealing, Slough, Maidenhead and Twyford.

But I think that separating these services initially from Crossrail will have substantial operational and development  benefits.

  • Paddington to Reading is essentially a self-contained railway, with a major branch to Heathrow and four small branch lines worked by diesel shuttle trains.
  • The route, with the exception of the Heathrow branch, has conventional signalling.
  • The signalling problems of the Heathrow branch can be solved independently.
  • The Western branches of Crossrail could be fully debugged before trains start running through the Core Tunnel.

I also wonder, if the route could be useful for mileage accumulation, driver training  and certification of newly-delivered trains.

Is It Just About The Money?

The original Modern Railways extract said that the proposal was to help provide TfL with extra revenue.

It must bring in revenue and especially when the Heathrow Branch is working reliably to plan.

Faster Journeys

Modern Class 345 trains have the following advantages over the current British Rail-era Class 156 trains.

  • They are slightly faster.
  • They have better acceleration.
  • They are modern trains designed for short dwell times at stations.

It would be very likely, that journey times between Paddington and Reading, will improve..

Passenger Behaviour

But passengers may change their behaviour .

  • Will passengers use Crossrail as a lower-cost alternative to Heathrow Express?
  • Will passengers use Crossrail as a faster alternative to the Piccadilly Line?
  • Will passengers,  going between Heathrow and the West and Wales, use Crossrail to and from Reading, with a change at Hayes & Harlingon?
  • Will passengers on branch lines find the extra capacity helpful, when travelling to London or Reading?

In addition, as I said earlier, I think opening Paddington to Reading early,, could make finishing the Crossrail project easier.

If nothing else, it shortens the to-do list!

GWR Might Object

Will GWR object to losing their local services between Reading and London to Crossrail?

Consider the following issues.

Heathrow Express

GWR have taken over the lucrative Heathrow Express.

  • Heathrow Express will be run using 110 mph Class 387 trains in an Airport Express configuration.
  • Will these trains be less of a block on the line, than the 100 mph Class 332 trains currently running the service?
  • Currently both Class 332 and Class 800 trains take nine 9½ minutes to go between Paddington and Heathrow Airport Junction.

Perhaps GWR could squeeze in extra trains, by replacing the Class 332 trains with faster Class 387 trains?

The more trains they could squeeze into Paddington, the larger their revenue.

Reading, Bedwyn and Oxford Services

I am not sure, but it does appear that GWR services to places like Bedwyn and Oxford will in future be run using the new five-car Class 802 trains.

  • The trains will surely use electric traction on the fast lines to Paddington.
  • Will passengers going between Bedwyn/Oxford and stations between Reading and Paddington, be happy to change at Reading?

As it appears that Bedwyn/Oxford services might not need to use the slow lines, these will be used  exclusively by  Crossrail and the occasional freight.

Could Bedwyn And Oxford Services Be Combined?

There is also the possibility that to save paths on the fast lines between Reading and Paddington, that hourly Bedwyn and Oxford services could be combined and split at Reading.

  • GWR already splits and joins Class 387 trains at Reading.
  • Class 800/802 trains are designed to be split and joined quickly.
  • Timings to the two destinations are about the same, being around 75 minutes.

Two five-car Class 802 trains with one running to Bedwyn and one to Oxford might be a good idea. Especially, as it saves one high-speed path between Paddington and Reading  and possibly a few trains.

It does look, that Oxford and Bedwyn services could be moved out of the way of Crossrail services.

Will There Be Enough Class 800/802 Trains?

In Huge Increase In Capacity On GWR As Final Class 800 Enters Traffic, I wrote that there are now only fifteen trains of a total fleet of 93 trains to be delivered.

I suspect that GWR can find enough trains to run Bedwyn/Oxford services to London.

Too Many Class 387 Trains!

But it does strike me that GWR will have too many Class 387 trains, if Crossrail takes over local services to Reading and Class 802 trains take over services to Bedwyn and Oxford.

Twelve Class 387 trains are being converted to take over Heathrow Express services, but that still leaves GWR with 33 trains to find a use for.

It seems like Greater Anglia’s twenty Class 379 trains, they could become homeless orphans.

Will The Class 769 Trains Get In The Way?

Original plans talked about using 100 mph Class 769 trains to back up the Class 387 trains, whilst twelve of these were updated to Heathrow Express standard.

But it appears now from Wikipedia and other sources on the Internet, that these trains will concentrate on the following services.

  • Reading To Gatwick Airport
  • Reading to Oxford

I can’t find any reference of them continuing to serve Paddington, so it looks like they should keep out of the way.

Serving The Henley And Marlow Branches

Henley-on-THames station on the Henley Branch Line and Bourne End station on the Marlow Branch Line are having their Peak services to London gradually withdrawn.

If Crossrail took over services between Reading and Paddington, the frequencies in the Peak at the interchange stations would be.

  • Maindenhead for the Marlow Branch Line – 6 tph,
  • Twyford for the Henley Branch Line – 4 tph

Two tph at each interchange station run limited stop to and from Paddington.

The trains will each hold 1,500 passengers.

Could it be that GWR feel that the increased frequencies and reduced journey times to and from Paddington mean that there is a lesser need to run a direct diesel service.

But I could see the following.

  • A four-car shuttle train, which could be a Class 769 bi-mode, at two tph on the Henley Branch Line.
  • Two tph on the Marlow Branch Line.

At least GWR have the trains to provide a service to match customer demand.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a radical plan for these branches.

No Diesel Running Into Paddington

Every train run by GWR and Crossrail, between Paddington and Reading, would use electric traction.

  • Now that large numbers of Class 800/802 trains have been delivered, it can’t be long before the last InterCity 125 runs into Paddington on a regular service.
  • Class 165 and Class 166 diesel trains will be refurbished and sent to the West Country.
  • Bedwyn and Oxford services will be run by Class 800/802 trains.

In addition all GWR trains running into Paddington will be 125 mph units running on electricity.

What is that worth as a marketing hook?

Conclusion

It looks to me, that running a full Western Branch service for Crossrail could be a good move.

So will it happen in 2019?

I think it all depends on solving the signalling issues on the Heathrow Branch!

But I feel, it should be possible, otherwise TfL wouldn’t have suggested it!

December 30, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Conclusion

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

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

An Illustration Of Why The Greenford Branch Needs Four Trains Per Hour

I wanted to ride the Greenford Branch to photograph a Class 165 train in the livery of Great Western Railway.

So I took one of TfL Rail’s Class 345 trains to West Ealing station.

By the time, that I’d climbed over the bridge and walked to Platform 5 to catch the Class 165 train to Greenford, the train had just left.

So I then spent a miserably cold thirty minutes in a fierce wind on a station without a shelter, whilst I waited for the next train.

In that time, when I took these pictures, two passenger trains in each direction stopped in the station.

Crossrail

When Crossrail finally opens, West Ealing station is going to get ten trains per hour (tph) in both directions, which will terminate in the West at Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5, Maidenhead and Reading.

Passengers interchanging with the Greenford Branch will enjoy the thirty minute wait.

Airport Workers

I have been told several times by train staff and airport workers that getting to Heathrow Airport somtimes needs a car, as the buses are hard to find.

Nothing has been said about Crossrail running through the night, but as Thameslink runs to Gatwick, I wouls suspect this will happen.

And if Crossrail runs through the night, surely the humble Greenford Branch should do the same.

Conclusion

Plans should be developed to get the Greenford Branch running at four tph, throughout the day and perhaps two tph, when Crossrail is running through the night.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Council Pitches £375m Light Rail Scheme Linking South To Heathrow Airport

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

This is the first paragraph.

Spelthorne Borough Council has submitted proposals for a light rail link from Staines-upon-Thames to Heathrow airport to provide “joined-up journeys” into the airport from the south.

The light rail link would run from close to Stains station to the Heathrow,  every six minutes and take just seven minutes.

Based on trams, the same size as the Midland Metro, it would provide a capacity of 2100 passengers per hour to and from the Airport.

Note the following.

Markets Served

In Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?, I noted four main uses for transport to Heathrow Airport.

  • Passengers
  • Workers
  • Supplies For The Airport And The Aircraft
  • Air Cargo

Spelthorne’s plan only serves a very limited market of passengers and workers living in Staines, who need to go to the Airport.

If you have a direct train or bus, would you go to Staines and change to a tram? No way!

The plan does nothing to get polluting trucks off the road, although it might be a vote winner in Spelthorne.

Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plan To Extend Crossrail To Staines

I question whether Spelthorne have read the plans for Heathrow Southern Railway (HSR), which I first heard about in the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways.

I wrote about HSR, Crossrail and Staines in Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plans For Staines. This link would do the following.

  • Provide up to six trains per hour (tph) between Staines all Heathrow stations, HS2 and Central London.
  • Transport passengers to Paddington in less time, than it takes to get to Waterloo at present.
  • Use Class 345 train with a capacity of 1500 passengers.
  • Give nearly three times the capacity of a light rail system with four tph.
  • Give over four times the capacity of a light rail system with six tph.
  • Allow passengers between Staines and the Airport would also be able to use services between Heathrow and Waterloo.
  • Need perhaps a couple of extra trains for the Staines extension of Crossrail.

I have no costings for the addition of the extra platform at Staines station, but I suspect that it is less than £375million.

If Heathrow Southern Railway is built, Spelthorne’s plan would be as dead as a dodo.

Conclusion

I see no future in Spelthorne’s light-rail plan, so it should be buried now before it costs taxpayers more money.

 

 

August 20, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | 3 Comments

Heathrow Southern Railway And Woking Station

This news item on the Heathrow Southern Railway web site is entitled Plans Announced For £1 billion Rail Link Between Southampton And Heathrow.

This is an extract.

We hope three trains an hour (tph) could be running to Southampton by 2026.”
That is the message from Graham Cross, chief executive of Heathrow Southern Railway (HSR), which is preparing plans for a £1 billion rail link between the city and the UK’s biggest airport.

This map shows a schematic of the Heathrow Southern Railway.


Hethrow Southern Railway’s plans are as follows.

  • A new section of railway will connect the Chertsey Branch Line to Heathrow Terminal 5 station.
  • This new section of railway will be built alongside the M25 to minimise environmental disruption.
  • From there trains will call at Heathrow Central and Old Oak Common stations before terminating at Paddington station.
  • Trains will connect Heathrow to Woking station and on to Basingstoke and Guildford.

Currently, the service between Southampton Central and London is as follows.

  • South Western Railway – One tph – Poole and Waterloo
  • South Western Railway – One tph – Weymouth and Waterloo – Stops at Woking
  • South Western Railway – One tph – Weymouth and Waterloo
  • Southern – One tph – Southampton Central and Victoria – Stops at Gatwick

If we take Graham Cross at his word, that the following frequencies to various stations.

  • Gatwick Airport – 1 tph
  • Heathrow Airport – 3 tph
  • Old Oak Common – 3 tph
  • Victoria – 1 tph
  • Warerloo – 3 tph
  • Woking – 4 tph

Passengers from Southampton.Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth would have a much larger choice of London stations.

As Heathrow Southern Railway also plan to run two tph between Paddington and Guildford via Heathrow, Woking could become a busier place.

These pictures show Woking station.

This Google Map shows the station.

Note some of the characteristics.

Four Long Through Platforms

The station has four long through platforms, which can accommodate the longest ten-car trains used by South Western Railway.

Twelve-Car Class 387 Trains

Two five-car Class 444 trains are 230 metres long, when running as a ten-car train.

If Heathrow Southern Railway want to run Class 387 trains, train lengths will be as follows.

  • Eight cars – 163 metres
  • Twelve cars – 280 metres

Twelve-cars trains may be too long for the platforms at Woking and other stations. but as Heathrow Southern Railway won’t open for a few years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see new trains used by Heathrow Express and Heathrow Southern Railway.

Splitting And Joining Trains At Woking

I also think, that these platforms are ideal for pairs to join and split here, so that trains are say tencars between Woking and Paddington via Heathrow and Old Oak Common  and five cars to the South West of Woking.

Conclusion

Woking’s long platforms will be used to great advantage by Heathrow Southern Railway to match their services to the capacity needed.

  • For passengers and workers to and from Heathrow Airport.
  • For commuters and passengers to and from Paddington, Central London, the City of London and Canary Wharf
  • For passengers to and from HS2 at Old Oak Common.

Heathrow Southern Railway will do a lot more, than just provide Southern access to Heathrow.

A Shorter Bay Platform At The London End

There is a shorter bay platform at the London end of the station, which is currently used for stopping trains to London.

It can’t handle long trains like the through platforms and for this reason along, I doubt it will be used by services to Heathrow.

But I wouldn’t be surprised to see a second bay platform added to improve capacity.

A Shorter Bay Platform At The Country End

Wikipedia says this about Plstform 6, which is a short by platform facing West.

The first train of the day to Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh starts from this platform, and it is often used to stable diesel locomotives in the event of a train failure.

It is probably best filed under operationally useful and I doubt it will be used by Heathrow Southern Railway, as it faces away from Heathrow.

Woking Station Is Surrounded By Tower Blocks

In the pictures, you can see tower blocks rising all round the station.

There will obviously be more, even if as I suspect the local residents object.

But we do need more housing in this crowded country of ours and Woking is a convenient distance from London for commuters.

Should Tracks At Woking Station Be Remodelled?

After Heathrow Southern Railway opens, trains calling at Woking station will use the following routes towards London.

  • Via Clapham Junction to Waterloo.
  • Via Heathrow to Old Oak Common and Paddington

And the following routes away from London.

  • Via Basingstoke to Bournemouth, Exeter, Poole, Salisbury, Southampton and Weymouth.
  • Via Guildford to Portsmouth

An ideal layout might be two wide island platforms, as they have at Reading stations.

The platforms are connected to a wide overbridge with coffee kiosks and useful shops, by escalators and lifts.

The picture shows the wide open spaces of the overbridge at Reading on the day it opened.

At Reading passengers can change trains, by waiting on the platform or sitting on the overbridge.

Would a similar design work at Woking?

Certainly something designed on similar principles to fit the circumstances of Woking station would!

Reading incidentally manages at least six tph on each face of the wide island platforms.

They are able to do this because.

  1. The platforms are very wide.
  2. Trains are increasingly Class 800 trains with modern doors.
  3. There are both up and down escalators.
  4. There are lifts.

I suspect, that when InterCity 125 trains no longer call at Reading and all trains are using modern in-cab signalling, that the frequencies of train through Reading will rise significantly.

Space To The West

To the West of Woking station, where the routes to Guildford and Basingstoke divide, there is a lot of space and if required a flyover or dive-under could be built to minimise the need for flat junctions.

West Byfleet and Byfleet & New Haw Stations

West Byfleet and Byfleet & New Haw stations are between Woking station and Byfleet Junction, where Heathrow and Waterloo services will divide.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows Byfleet & New Haw station and Byfleet Junction.

Note.

  1. There is only four tracks between Byfleet junction.
  2. Byfleet junction connects to the slow lines.
  3. Crossovers connect the slow and fast lines.

This layout means that fast trains coming from Heathrow will have to go through the slow platform at Byfleet & New Haw station.

There are two ways to increase safety.

  • Increase the number of tracks between Woking station and Byfleet Junction to six, with dedicated tracks for Heathrow services.
  • Rebuild the platforms on the two intermediate stations to the design rules in Two Platform Stations With 125 mph Trains.

It all depends, whether Heathrow Southern Railway want to use 125 mph trains on their services to Heathrow!

I discussed this in Will Heathrow Southern Railway Use Trains Capable Of 125 mph?, where I came the conclusion that the railway will be built to that standard.

Will Woking Station Be Rebuilt?

To work efficiently, as a railway station, I very much feel that Woking station will be rebuilt.

As at Reading, this will probably be done without too much disruption to passengers and trains.

It is quite a large station site and I wonder, if the ideal solution would be to build a concrete deck over the station and railway and put developments like housing, offices, shops, cafes and green spaces over the top.

Why shouldn’t we create more land for useful purposes?

The Station Concourse

The station could have a massive concourse.

  • Wide lines of gates on either side would give quick access to the Town Centre and the Car Parking.
  • Escalators and lifts would lead down to the platforms
  • Useful shops and cafes would be on the concourse.

Think Edinburgh Haymarket station, only bigger, more spacious and with escalators

A Capacity Of 24 Trains Per Hour

The new station should be designed to allow up to 24 tph, through the station.

Currently, services include

  • 14 tph to Waterloo
  • 4 tph to Portsmouth
  • 2 tph to Salisbury and/or Exeter
  • 6 tph to Southampton, Bournemouth and/or Poole

Perhaps it would be sensible to design fora capacity of 12 tph on all branches.

With modern signalling and perhaps a degree of automatic train control, these frequencies shouldn’t be a problem.

Wide Platforms

Wide platforms, that allow passengers to change trains, by just getting off one train and onto another a few minutes later are an essential.

A double-faced island platform could be used or a single wide platform in each direction as on Thameslink at St. Pancras station.

The platforms at St. Pancras work reasonably well and have been designed to handle 24 tph.

  • They have three escalators.
  • They have a lift.
  • The platforms are fully-manned.
  • Passenger information displays are magnitudes better than most stations.
  • There are Harrington Humps for step-free access to the Class 700 trains.
  • Only one class of train uses the platforms.
  • Modern digtal signalling is used.
  • Passengers use the station to change trains, when perhaps they are on a train going to one direction and need another.

To complicate matters at St.Pancras, there is a flat junction to the North of the station, where services go to and from the Midland Main and East Coast Main Lines. It appears the junction causes no delays to services.

So perhaps at Woking we could see one very wide platform in each direction.

Building On Experiences At London Bridge, Reading And St. Pancras

I’m sure that Network Rail and their architects can use the experience gained at other stations in the UK to create an interchange station at Woking, that is fit for the 21st Century.

Conclusion

I feel there is a lot to be gained by creating a bold interchange at Woking station to integrate the Heathrow Southern Railway and the existing services into Waterloo

 

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Will Heathrow Southern Railway Use Trains Capable Of 125 mph?

If the Heathrow Southern Railway is built, by the time it opens, there will have been significant developments.

  • Digital signalling based on ERTMS, with the possibilities of a degree of automatic control will be commonplace.
  • Train manufacturers will offer 125 mph trains, that with the right interiors will be able to perform well on 100 mph routes with frequent stops.
  • 125 mph bi-mode trains will have arrived.
  • Great Western Railway services into Paddington, with the exception of local services will be run by 125 mph Class 800 trains.
  • The opening of Old Oak Common station with its connections to High Speed Two, may mean that some Great Western Railway services stop at that station.

These developments may mean that on the Western end of the Great Western Main Line, there will be a need for a train with a lot of acceleration, to avoid inducing delays in the complex schedule of trains serving Paddington and Old Oak Common stations.

The easy way to achieve the required acceleration, may be to use more powerful trains, which will probably be capable of 125 mph.

But would they offer advantages over other parts of the routes Heathrow Southern Railway will serve?

The following must be considered.

The Top Speed Of Third-Rail Trains

Currently, the Class 395 train, is the fastest train fitted with third rail shoes.

But the train only has a top speed of 100 mph, when on lines electrified using third-rail electrification.

The world record for a train powered by third-rail electrification was set by a Class 442 train at 108 mph.

As several trains in the UK can cruise at 125 mph, could it be that the dynamics of third-rail electrification impose a limit to top speed?

This article in Rail Magazine, is entitled Bombardier Bi-Mode Aventra To Feature Battery Power.

A few points from the article.

  • Development has already started.
  • The bi-mode would have a maximum speed of 125 mph under both electric and diesel power.
  • The trains will be built at Derby.

In Mathematics Of A Bi-Mode Aventra With Batteries, I analyse the train in detail.

This was my conclusion.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion, that a 125 mph bi-mode train is a practical proposition.

  • It would need a controllable hydrogen or diesel power-pack, that could deliver up to 200 kW
  • Only one power-pack would be needed for a five-car train.
  • For a five-car train, a battery capacity of 300 kWh would probably be sufficient.

From my past professional experience, I know that a computer model can be built, that would show the best onboard generator and battery sizes, and possibly a better operating strategy, for both individual routes and train operating companies.

Obviously, Bombardier have better data and more sophisticated calculations than I do.

My calculation might be wrong, but it’s in the right area.

Using batteries with third-rail electric trains, may be an alternative way to overcome any problems with the dynamics of that method of electrification.

But I do suspect that if train manufacturers were asked to produce an electric train capable of running at 125 mph using third-rail electrification, they would take the money and build the trains.

Upgrading Track To 125 mph

Virtually all of Heathrow Southern Railway’s proposed or possible routes to the South and West of Heathrow are third-rail electrified

South Western Railway know that speed on these routes sells tickets, so much so that they are refurbishing the Class 442 trains for the Portsmouth route because of their higher performance.

Network Rail may get a lot of criticism for their performance with electrification, which work on new track layouts and improvements,seems not to attract.

They have also been very successful in designing and executing 125 mph track upgrades to the Midland Main Line.

So would it be possible to upgrade some of the routes to allow faster running?

Consider.

  • Fifty miles of line upgraded from 100 mph to 125 mph running saves six minutes.
  • Waterloo to Weymouth is 143 miles.
  • More powerful trains might save time on station stops.
  • The routes are four tracks to Basingstoke.
  • As modern digital signalling is applied to this route there will be further time savings.

At the moment there is no point, as South Western Railway only has trains with an operating speed of 100 mph.

But these trains will probably be replaced in the next few years or so and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them replaced with trains that are capable of 125 mph, which would make updating sections to the West of Woking possible.

South Western Railway

Surely faster services to Bournemouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Southampton and Weymouth will be of interest to South Western Railway, even if it means new trains.

The New Route Between Heathrow And Woking

Heathrow Southern Railway intends to build a new route between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Working stations.

  • A tunnel will connect  the Western end of Heathrow Terminal 5 station to new tracks running alongside the M25 to connect to the Chertsey Branch Line to the West of Chertsey station.
  • Trains would pass through Chertsey and Addlestone stations, before joining the South Western Main Line at Byfleet Junction.
  • Trains would pass through West Byfleet and Byfleet & New Haw stations to reach Woking station.

It is a well-designed route, that uses the M25 to minimise environmental damage.

From what I have said earlier about 125 mph third-rail trains, upgrading of routes to 125 mph and South Western Railways desire for faster services, I can see no reason, why this route shouldn’t be built for 125 mph operation.

125 mph trains would mean.

  • Removing level crossings at Chertsey and Addlestone stations.
  • Upgrading West Byfleet and Byfleet & New Haw stations.
  • Probably upgrading between Byfleet Junction and Woking station for 125 mph running.

But there would be about fifteen miles of high speed rail line, which for ease of operation would probably be electrified with third-rail.

Trains would switch electrification systems in Heathrow Terminal 5 station.

Conclusions

I am led to the following conclusions.

  • 125 mph third-rail trains will become a reality.
  • South Western Railway and Heathrow Southern Railway will look at them seriously.

I also feel that Heathrow Southern Railway will be a 125 mph railway.

 

August 19, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

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.
  • Network Rail’s proposed scheme.
  • Government funded (?)

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 | Transport | , , , , , , | 14 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 | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment