The Anonymous Widower

Left In A Siding: The Rail Link That Could Make Heathrow Greener

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

The article makes a powerful case forvthe building of the Heathrow Southern Railway.

It is a must read.

I can never understand, why the government hasn’t backed this scheme.

  • It creates a four trains per hour service between Heathrow and Waterloo via Staines and Clapham Junction
  • It creates an extension of Heathrow Express to Basingstoke, Guildford and Woking.
  • The extended Hethrow Express creates a much needed commuter route into Paddington.
  • Few properties would be affected by the new railway.

But above all, it will be built with private money.

 

June 17, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Heathrow Plans Runway Over M25 In 30-Year Expansion

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

This picture, which I downloaded from this page on the Heathrow web site, shows the proposed expansion.

For comparison this Google Map shows the Airport recently.

These are some of my thoughts.

The Position Of The Third Runway

As can be seen, the new third runway is to the North-West of the North Runway.

  • It will extend all the way to the M25.
  • The M25 will be lowered and the new runway and two parallel taxiways will cross the road on a series of bridges.

This enlargement from the first image shows the crossing of the M25 and two other roads.

Note.

  1. The runway is on the left, which increases the spacing with the North Runway
  2. How openings between the runway and the taxiways will allow natural light onto the motorway.
  3. In the picture you can see five angled taxiways joining the runway from the two taxiways. Does this design mean that aircraft spend a minimum of time queuing for take-off? Similar but not so extreme layouts can also be seen on the two existing runways.

What intrigues me, is what looks to be a hole in front of the ends of the taxiways.

Could it be rail or road access to the airport?

This map from Network Rail shows the route of the proposed Western Rail Approach To Heathrow.

It looks like the dark holes could be the railway, between Langley and Terminal 5.

This section of the rail link is supposed to be in tunnel, but I wonder if costs could be saved if it is in a buttressed cutting, designed in cooperation between Heathrow and Network Rail.

Obviously, it will need to be in tunnel to cross under the M25.

I think that rather cleverly, the runway has been slotted in with the best use of the limited land available.

A Phased Construction Program

The Times says this about the construction program.

Only the runway would be built by the opening date of early 2026.

Other facilities such as new terminals, car parks, hotels and transit systems would open from 2030, with an expansion of Terminal 5 the priority

This means that the extra runway capacity can be used initially to better accommodate the same number of flights.

If Heathrow get it right passengers. should see the following.

  • They would suffer less from construction.
  • Fewer taxi delays on the ground.
  • Less long fuel-burning taxiing between gate and runway.
  • More flights leaving on time.

It might also enable air traffic controllers to allocate aircraft noise in a fairer manner.

Car Psrking

Two huge new car parks are to be built North and South of the Airport, which in conjunction with new hotels would be connected to the terminals by an underground transit system.

This article on International Airport Review is entitled Heathrow To Launch First Airport Ultra Low Emission Zone.

So doesn’t the building of large car parks contradict this policy.

It would unless, the car parks are designed for the future.

  • Electric cars only.
  • Intelligent chargers for every parking space.
  • Whilst the cars are parked and connected, they would be a massive energy storage battery for the National Grid.

When you arrived back to your car after a week in Greece, there would be enough power in the battery for your next journey.

By 2030, there will be a substantial need for parking for electric cars at railway stations and airports. Parking solutions like this will help reduce the carbon footprint of airports.

Conclusion

2030 is ten years away and Heathrow will have to work hard to build an airport fit for those times.

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Attitudes To Cars Changing?

There were two articles on the same page of yesterday’s Times.

City Steps Up Safety Drive With 15mph Limit

This is the first paragraph.

A blanket speed limit of 15 mph will be introduced in the City of London as part of a safety drive.

They are intending to have the limit in place by 2021-22!

Hopefully, in that time, these rail projects will be finished and discouraging the use of vehicular traffic.

  • Crossrail
  • The capacity increase at Bank station.
  • New trains and faster suburban services into Cannon Street, Liverpool Street, London Bridge and Moorgate stations.
  • Frequency improvements on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines.
  • Better cycling and walking routes.

The City of London wants to attract more visitors and these projects and the speed limit will surely help.

Travellers Who Arrive Ar Heathrow By Car Face Pollution Charge

This is the first paragraph.

Motorists will be charged up to £15 to drive to Heathrow under plans to combat congestion and pollution around London’s busiest airport.

Heathrow’s Chief Executive, is quoted as saying.

Three or four years ago the general mood was of opposition. The mood has changed hugely.

I believe that Hathrow can cut its carbon and pollution footprints significantly, by the following.

  • Making all air-side vehicles zero-carbon.
  • Increasingly the rail lines and services to the Airport.
  • Encouraging passengers and workers to go to and from the Airport by zero-carbon transport.

I also think, that an Airport, that marketed itself as No Addition Carbon, could attract more passengers.

May 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Are Network Rail And Heathrow Southern Railway Moving Towards A Joint Project On Western And Southern Access To Heathrow Airport?

In Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?, which I wrote in August 2018, I came to an extensive series of conclusions, which I have now changed as HS4Air and Windsor Link Railway have now been consigned to the landfill site of unbuilt projects.

In Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes, But Discounting HS4Air And Windsor Link Railway?, I give my latest views.

These were my conclusions.

Heathrow Connectivity

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

The two major schemes, that are left,  provide that.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway, which extends Heathrow Express to the South West and provides links to Waterloo and Greater South London.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow does what it says in the name.

Both schemes would share the same Western access route to Terminal 5 station and this could be modified to serve a new rail terminal under the new third runway.

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.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow links the airport to Reading and Slough.
  • 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.

Pollution Solution

As the airport develops, Heathrow Southern Railway and Western Rail Approach To Heathrow could together make a substantial reduction in the pollution emitted by 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.

Heathrow And High Speed One

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

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

Heathrow And High Speed Two

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

With the elimination of direct access to the airport by High Speed Two, a short journey between Heathrow Airport and Old Oak Common stations will have to be acceptable.

It should also be noted, that Network Rail’s Western Approach To Heathrow (WRAtH) and Heathrow Southern Railway (HSR) would share the following infrastructure or interests.

  • Heathrow Terminal Five station.
  • The Western access tunnel and track to Heathrow.
  • Network Rail is planning a flyover at Woking, which would help HSR’s plans.

If a rail terminal were to be built under a new third runway, that too would be shared.

An Update On Heathrow Southern Railway

In the May 2019 Edition of Modern Railways there is an article which Is entitled Time For Action On Heathrow’s Southern Link.

Most of the article takes the form of an interview with Graham Cross, who is the Chief Executive of HSR.

The first part is a call to the Government to make a decision soon, as otherwise HSR’s funding and timescale will be at risk.

In the rest of the article, Mr. Cross talks about the project and introduces some changes.

More Tunnels

This is an extract from the Modern Railways article.

The line would be mainly in tunnel to minimise environmental impact. “We would need to tunnel under certain obstacles anyway, and once you’ve set up tunnel boring machines, you might as well stay underground.” says Mr.Cross.

Could this move to tunnels also be driven by improved tunnelling techniques and cost savings, in addition to the environmental impact?

If so, will we be seeing more new tunnels in the UK, for rail, roads, electricity and sewage?

This Google Map shows the Northern section of the HSR route.

Note

  1. The South-Western corner of Heathrow Airport can just be seen in the North-Eastern corner of the map.
  2. Wraysbury station is towards the North-Western corner of the map.
  3. The M25 running North-South
  4. Staines station is the station South of the King George VI Reservoir
  5. The Staines-Windsor Line running North-West from Staines station.
  6. The Waterloo-Reading Line running West from Staines station.

The HSR would need to thread its way on the Eastern side of the M25.

From the map in the Modern Railways article, it appears that the route from Heathrow Terminal 5 station splits into two Southerly routes a short distance to the East of the point where the Staines-Windsor Line goes under the M25.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr may help to make everything clearer.

Note.

  1. The reservoirs are shown.
  2. The troublesome level crossings between Staines and Egham.
  3. It also spears that there is a disused railway going North through Yeovenney Halt.
  4. Yeovenney Halt would not be far from the route of the HSR to the East of where the M25 and the Staines-Windsor Line cross.

This Google Map shows the area in detail.

It’s not an area that with large numbers of houses and businesses.

Two routes are shown for HSR on the map in Modern Railways from the area to the East of where the M25 and the Staines-Windsor Line cross.

  • One route joins the Staines- Windsor Line to take trains to and from Staines station.
  • A second route is shown passing under the Staines-Windsor Line.

Note.

  1. As there is plenty of space, a flyover could be built if needed to connect Heathrow Airport to Staines station.
  2. The space would also be useful for creating a tunnel portal to continue the route to the South.

Two options are shown on the map in Modern Railways, to connect Heathrow to the Chertsey Branch Line.

Option 3 connects to North of Virginia Water station.
Option 8 connects to North of Chertsey station.

This Google Map shows Virginia Water and Staines stations and the area in between.

Note

  1. Virginia Water station is towards the bottom-left of the map,
  2. Staines station is towards the top right.
  3. The area of Yeovenney Halt can just be seen.

This Google Map shows the area between M25 and Chertsey station.

Note that Chertsey station is in the South-East corner of the map.

It looks like one or even both of the routes from Yeovenney Halt to the Chertsey Branch Line could be fairly easy to dig.

  • There could be suitable sites at both Virginia Water and Chertsey.
  • The distance is under ten miles.
  • Much of the work could probably be done without closing the railways.
  • There’s space for a flyover at both locations.
  • Very few, if any business or residents would need to sell up and move.
  • The tunnels could even be under the M25.

As Mr. Cross said, tunnelling could be a good option.

As WRAtH will also be tunnelled could both twin bore tunnels be dug with the same tunnel boring machines? Or as part of the same contract?

There certainly seem to be options for co-operation between the two projects to save money.

No West-Facing Triangular Junction At Staines

This is an extract from the Modern Railways article.

An earlier idea to create a triangular junction with a west-facing connection towards Egham did not command local aupport and was dropped.

I described this previously in Heathrow Southern Railway’s Proposed Chord At Staines.

It was intended to enable a two tph service between Weybridge and Heathrow Terminal 5 stations.

I would assume passengers are happy to change trains at Staines, which is step-free.

The Google Map visualisation, shows the footbridge at Staines station.

Waterloo To Heathrow Services

This is an extract from the Modern Railways article.

The first would comprise a four trains per hour (tph) service from Waterloo to Heathrow Terminal 5 as an extension of existing SWR services, with 2 tph running via Twickenham and 2 tph via Hounslow. HSR envisages these services would be formed of SWR’s new Class 701 trains.

Note.

  1. Ten-car Class 701 trains will probably be used.
  2. These trains have 556 seats and can accommodate 740 standees, which is nearly 1300 passengers.

The frequency and capacity compares well with Crossrail to the Airport.

Heathrow Express Extension To Woking, Guilford and Basingstoke

This will become two services wit a frequency of two tph.

  • Paddington and Guildford via Old Oak Common, Heathrow, Woking and Basingstoke.
  • Paddington and Guildford via Old Oak Common, Heathrow, Woking and Guildford.

Note.

  1. Basingstoke, Guildford and Paddington get a direct train to Heathrow, Old Oak Common and Paddinhgton.
  2. Twelve car Class 387 trains would work the service.
  3. My rough estimate says thirty four-car sets would be needed.
  4. A twelve-car Class 387 train has sixty percent more seats than a nine-car Class 332 train.

It is also said in the article, that a flyover could be built at Woking in CP6, which would help the Heathrow Express services.

Crossrail Extension To A Bay Platform At Staines Station

In Heathrow Southern Railway’s Plans For Staines, I discussed a plan to extend Crossrail services from Heathrow Terminal 5 station to a bay platform at Staines station.

It is not mentioned in the Modern Railways , so am I right to think, it is not going to happen.

  • The proposed Waterloo to Heathrow Terminal 5, will provide a capacity of 5,200 passengers per hour between Staines and Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Do WRAtH intend to run the two tph, that HSR wanted for Staines, to Slough and Reading to provide Western access to Heathrow?

So dropping the original plan is probably a reasonable decision.

How Many Trains Will Use Heathrow Terminal 5 Station

Currently, the service to Heathrow Terminal 5 station is as follows.

  • 4 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Terminal 5
  • 2 tph – TfL Rail – Paddington and Terminal 5

There is also a shuttle to Terminal 4 station, running approximately every fifteen minutes.

Crossrail

After Crossrail opens the service will be.

  • 4 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Terminal 5
  • 2 tph – Croosrail – Paddington and Terminal 5

Only the name on the train and the train type will have changed.

WRAtH

According to Wikipedia, WRAtH will have the following services.

t is envisaged that there would be a service of four trains an hour from Heathrow to Slough and Reading. Earlier publicity also suggested there would be two trains per hour to Twyford and Maidenhead.

Heathrow Express have offered to run services to Reading which would stop only at Slough.

I have I have a few thoughts.

  • A service from Reading must have access to all terminals at Heathrow.
  • All stations between Langley and Reading need at least two tph to Heathrow.
  • Should services between Paddington and Heathrow be extended to Reading?
  • Services must run on a 24/7 basis, to allow people to get to and from work and passengers on seriously delayed flights to get to their destination..

One way to provide a good basic service would be to combine the shuttle between Terminal 4 and 5 with the service to Slough and Reading.

  • A train starting at Reading would call at a number of stations including Slough on its way to Heathrow Airport.
  • It would then call at the following station in order; Heathrow Terminal 5, Heathrow Central, Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5.
  • It would then return to Reading via Slough.

The stopping pattern between Langley and Reading would be arranged to suit passenger needs.

Advantages of this extended shuttle are as follows.

  • All terminals are served by services originating in the West.
  • The four tph shuttle is matched with four tph on WRAtH to and from Reading.
  • No Westward-facing bay platform is needed at Terrminal 5 to turn trains from Reading.
  • A Westward-facing bay platform might be useful for service recovery.

All trains using WRAtH to and from Reading would use through platforms at Terminal 5.

HSR

HSR will have the following services.

  • 2 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Basingstoke via Woking
  • 2 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Guildford via Woking
  • 2 tph – SWR – Waterloo and Terminal 5 via Hounslow and Staines
  • 2 tph – SWR – Waterloo and Terminal 5 via Twickenham and Staines

Note.

  1. The Heathrow Express services will use through platforms.
  2. The Waterloo services could use a bsay platform.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the current layout of platforms at Heathrow.

 

Adding all the requirements together, the following platforms will be needed.

Two through platforms for the following services.

  • 2 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Basingstoke via Woking
  • 2 tph – Heathrow Express – Paddington and Guildford via Woking
  • 4 tph – Crossrail – WRAtH services between Reading and all terminals

Note.

  1. Eight tph would not be difficult to handle.
  2. Heathrow Express and the WRAtH services would alternate.
  3. There would be same platform interchanges between Heathrow Express and WRAtH services.

In addition, there would be the following.

  • A bay platform for Waterloo services.
  • Possibly another platform for service recovery.

Ther could also be extra platforms for long distance services between Heathrow Terminal 5 and destinations like Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford and Plymouth

It has amazed me, how by combining HSR, Crossrail, Heathrow Express and WRAtH services together needs so few platforms in Terminal 5 station.

Conclusion

Network Rail’s Western Appoach To Heathrow and Heathrow Southern Railway may currently be two separate schemes with different funding models, but they have a lot of shared infrastructure, interests and objectives.

Both projects would surely be better with strong co-operation.

Judging by how well it all seems to fit, it does seem that they are talking.

 

 

April 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 12 Comments

Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes, But Discounting HS4Air And Windsor Link Railway?

This post is an updated version of Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?, which has been written to fit with the situation as it exists in April 2019.

  • HS4Air has not been accepted.
  • Windsor Link Railway has not been accepted.
  • The scheme is Heathrow-only.

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 to Heathrow  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.

Heathrow’s Third Runway

Heathrow’s third runway and another terminal could be built North of the current two runways.

These factors would effect the chance of it being built and the eventual opening  date.

  • The development of extra services on High Speed One.
  • The opening of High Speed Two.
  • The building of a second runway at Gatwick.
  • Extra capacity at other London airports, like City, Luton, Southend and Stansted.
  • Politics, as many possible leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties don’t want it built.

I have a feeling that Heathrow’s Third Runway could be a back-burner project for decades.

I do think though, that the space underneath the third runway could be used as a rail terminal.

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.

Could Heathrow Go Diesel-Free?

I believe that if a well-designed rail-terminal was built under a new third runway, the extra rail capacity could enable, Heathrow to go substantially zero-carbon on the ground!

  • All vehicles bringing passengers to the Airport would have to be zero-carbon powered.
  • Hybrid vehicles would have to use battery power within a few miles of the Airport.
  • Air cargo and airport supplies would be shuttled into the Airport by electric train to the rail terminal under the third runway.
  • All vehicles serving the planes would be zero-carbon powered.
  • Even giant aircraft tugs for Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s can be battery-powered.
  • We are probably talking several years before a third runway would open! So why not?

It is disruptive innovation on a grand scale!

Airports built to these principles and there will be several before 2030, will have a massive marketing advantage.

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.

Heathrow Southern Railway would also be able to serve any future rail terminal under a new third runway.

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

The Piccadilly Line 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 (?)

As with the Heathrow Southern Railway, Western Rail Approach To Heathrow would also be able to serve any future rail terminal under a new third runway.

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.

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.

The two major schemes, that are left,  provide that.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway, which extends Heathrow Express to the South West and provides links to Waterloo and Greater South London.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow does what it says in the name.

Both schemes would share the same Western access route to Terminal 5 station and this could be extended to also serve a new rail terminal under the proposed third runway.

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.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow links the airport to Reading and Slough.
  • 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.

Pollution Solution

As the airport develops, Heathrow Southern Railway and Western Rail Approach To Heathrow could together make a substantial reduction in the pollution emitted by 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.

  • It will get better, 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.

Heathrow And High Speed One

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

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

Heathrow And High Speed Two

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

With the elimination of direct access to the airport by High Speed Two, a short journey between Heathrow Airport and Old Oak Common stations will have to be acceptable.

 

 

April 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail Ltd Outlines Plan To Complete The Elizabeth Line

The title of this post is the same as this statement on the Crossrail web site.

These are a few points from the statement.

The Opening Date Of The Central Section

This is a sentence from the statement.

Crossrail Ltd has identified a six-month delivery window with a midpoint at the end of 2020. Crossrail will be making every effort to deliver the service as early as possible.

Does that meet some date between the 1st October 2020 and 31st March 2021?

And what will open on that date?

There is then this paragraph.

The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour during the peak.

Twelve trains per hour (tph) gives a capacity of 18,000 passengers per hour, which compares with the 36 tph and 31,500 passengers per hour of the Victoria Line.

Practically, this means that a twelve tph Crossrail could be carrying sixty percent of the number of passengers of the Victoria Line. It’s better than a kick in the teeth!

But then Dear Old Vicky is the Platinum Standard with lots of encrusted diamonds!

Bond Street Station

This is a sentence from the statement.

It is expected that all stations on the route will open except for Bond Street which is delayed because of design and delivery challenges.

The stations are designed so that trains can pass through, so this is not a problem.

Western Branch Services

This is a paragraph from the statement.

TfL Rail services between Paddington and Reading will commence in December 2019 with a frequency of 4 trains per hour in the peak. Testing of the signalling system continues to allow the new class 345 trains to be extended from Hayes & Harlington to Heathrow.

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

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

Currently, TfL Rail’s services are as follows.

  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Paddington – 2 tph all day
  • Hayes & Harlington and Paddington – 2 tph all day

It appears that the two Hayes & Harlington services are designed and timed, so they can be extended to Heathrow Terninal 5, with trains leaving Paddington at these times.

  • XX:08 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:10 – Heathrow Terminal 5
  • XX:23 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:38 – Heathrow Terminal 4
  • XX:42 – Heathrow Terminal 5
  • XX:53 – Heathrow Terminal 4

Perhaps, if the signalling had worked as intended, we would now be seeing Class 345 trains working as follows.

  • Heathrow Terminal 4 and Paddington – 4 tph all day
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 and Paddington – 2 tph all day

Once the signalling works as needed and signed off in blood, sweat and tears, the difficult part of the job has been done.

The Reading and Maidenhead services could then be added to the mix. Especially, as no problems have been admitted or rumoured with running to these destinations.

These would mean twelve trains per hour in the Peak and ten trains per hour in the Off Peak needing to be handled at the London end of the Western Branch of Crossrail.

Paddington Station Or Central Tunnel?

The twelve tph in the Peak and ten in the Off Peak is an interesting frequency.

In If Crossrail Opens To Reading In December 2019, How Will It Terminate In Paddington?, I describe how Heathrow and Reading services at a frequency of twelve tph,  could run into Platforms 12 and 14 at Paddington.

This was my conclusion.

Platform 12 and 14 at Paddington could be converted into a two-platform Crossrail station handling seven-car Class 345 trains, at a frequency of twelve tph, with its own gate line.

I’ll ralso epeat this paragraph from the statement.

The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour during the peak.

Twelve tph in the Peak is the maximum frequency of the Western Branch into London.

Crossrail have designed a system, where trains can initially terminate in either Paddington or Abbey Wood stations.

Tp give themselves all options and get the Western Branch running, Crossrail would need to complete and certify the following.

  1. Get the signalling working to Heathrow.
  2. Make sure twelve tph could terminate in Paddington.
  3. Make sure twelve tph could run  through the tunnel between Royal Oak and Abbey Wood.

This would mean it would be possible to run twelve tph from Heathrow, Maidenhead and Reading in the West to either Paddington or Abbey Wood in London.

As twelve tph is only one train every five minutes, this surely could be run safely, once the three tasks above are complete and signed off.

Running A Split Service

This is said in the statement.

When the Elizabeth line opens the railway will operate as follows:

  • Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via Central London
  • Liverpool Street (main line station) to Shenfield
  • Paddington (main line station) to Heathrow and Reading

At a first look it appears to be a sensible plan.

  • All three services are independent of each other
  • Liverpool Street and Shenfield is working well and will carry on regardless as long as needed at six tph.
  • The Abbey Wood and Heathrow/Reading services can be run as two independent rail  services.

The following will also get a thorough testing.

  • Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The interchange tunnel between the Bakerloo Line and Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The important turnback facility at Royal Oak for trains turning in the Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)

The only problem, is that passengers will have to change trains at Paddington.

Running A Limited Preview Service In The Central Tunnel

Would it be possible to run a preview service in the Central Tunnel, after the following are tested and certified?

  • The turnback facility at Royal Oak
  • Paddington (Elizabeth Line station)
  • The intermediate stations.
  • The operation of trains in the tunnel at twelve tph.
  • Abbey Wood station.
  • The turnback facility at Abbey Wood.

A frequency of four or six tph may give the station systems a thorough testing.

Rolling Out The Full Service

This is a paragraph from the statement.

Once the central section opens, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, will commence as soon as possible.

I would assume stations and extra services will be added as soon as testing is complete and drivers and station staff are fully-trained.

Conclusion

The plan is good, as it allows these and other systems to be tested independently.

  • The signalling into Heathrow.
  • Twelve tph trains to and from Heathrow, Maidenhead and Reading.
  • Operation of the platforms in Paddington (main line station)
  • Operation of the turnback facility at Royal Oak
  • Operation of the platforms in Paddington (Elizabeth line station)
  • Handling of twelve tph and the signalling in the Central Tunnel.
  • Operation of the turnback facility at Abbey Wood.

I wouldn’t be surprised, that if all goes well, we may be seeing a very limited Crossrail service earlier than anybody currently thinks.

It would also appear to get the Western and Shenfield branches working independently to provide much needed, more frequent and quality services,.

These will then be joined by services in the Central Tunnel, which initially will be run independently.

As I said earlier a twelve tph Crossrail between Paddington and Abbey Wood through the Central Tunnel, would carry sixty percent of the passengers of the Victoria Line!

 

April 26, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Platforms 10-14 At Paddington Station

This Google Map shows the Western end of Paddington station.

Note.

  1. In the top right hand corner of the map you can see the canal boats parked alongside the station.
  2. The light brown flat roof, would appear to be the roof of the London Underground station, which has two platforms and is served by the Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines.
  3. The thin platform pointing out from under the road bridge at the is probably the extension of the two Underground platforms, which are numbered 15 and 16.
  4. The next platform end which is wider, is platforms 12 and 14.

Now look at this picture taken by the end barrier on platform 15.

Note.

  1. The road bridge is over the top.
  2. Platform 14 is opposite, which is fitted with overhead electrification.
  3. The track for Platform 15, is the Westbound Underground line and has typical London Underground electrification.
  4. I think the signal gantry at the end of the platform can be seen on the Google Map.

The Google Map and my photo are two different views of the same area.

The Length of Platform 14

This article on Rail Engineer is entitled All Change At Paddington.

This is an extract, which is talking about Platform 14.

To extend the platform’s operational length to 164 metres, it had to be extended at both ends. On the London end, the buffer stop had already been moved by 11 metres, and that was all the room available. The country end had also been extended as much as possible.

164 metres is an interesting length.

The length of a four-car Class 387 train is just over eighty metres, so two working as a pair would fit Platform 14.

In Weight And Dimensions Of A Class 345 Train, I state that the length of a seven-car Class 345 train is 159.74 metres.

It looks like platform 14 can accept either of the electric trains that work the suburban services out of  Paddington.

The Length of Platform 12

Platform 12 is the other platform face of the island containing platform 14.

I took these pictures as I walked down the Underground platform.

I then left the Underground station and took these pictures on the island containing platforms 12 and 14.

Note that the train in Platform 12 is an eight-car Class 387 train, which is around 160 metres long.

The end of the train appeared to be about the same place as the end barriers on the Eastern end of the Underground platform.

As a S7 Stock train is 117.45 metres long, I estimate that the length of Platform 12 is almost 280 metres.

This picture was taken at the Eastern End of the platforms from behind the buffers.

As there is perhaps forty metres, between the buffer stop and the train, does that mean that Platform 12 and its neighbour; Plstform 11 are long enough to accommodate any of the following.

  • Up to four four-car Class 387 trains.
  • Two seven car Class 345 trains.
  • A Class 345 train at the maximum length of nine or ten cars.

Network Rail seem to have provided a lot of space for future services.

Conclusion

There is certainly enough space to run a Western Cossrail service to Reading. The space is available now, so it should be available in December 2019.

The only restriction would be that Platform 14 can only handle a seven-car Class 345 train.

 

 

 

 

April 21, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

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 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment