The Anonymous Widower

How Would HS4Air Affect The Western Rail Approach to Heathrow?

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

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

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

But in my view the HS4Air approach has several advantages.

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

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

Conclusion

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

 

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

How Will HS4Air Affect Heathrow Southern Railway?

Heathrow Southern Railway will be an East-West railway through Heathrow using the existing tunnels, which will connect Basingstoke and Woking to Pasddington via Heathrow and Old Oak Common.

On the other hand HS4Air will be a North-South railway through Heathrow probably in a deep tunnel.

I suspect that numerous escalators, lifts and travelators will be the only connections between the two railways and the various terminals in the airport.

Conclusion

I can see no reason, why both railways can’t be built separately.

Co-operation could be useful to both railways.

If the two railways have a well-designed interchange under Heathrow, this would open up journey possibilities like Southampton-Paris with a change at the airport.

HS4Air is more than just a railway connecting airports and the North of England to the Channel Tunnel.

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

HS4Air And Heathrow Airport’s Third Runway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

HS4Air’s Connections To HS2, The Great Western Main Line And Heathrow

This map clipped from the Expedition Engineering web site, shows the route of HS4Air to the West of London.

Note the M25 running North-South through the area.

The HS4Air And HS2 Junction

This Google Map shows the area, where HS4Air will join HS2.

Note.

  1. The M25 running North-South.
  2. The Chiltern Main Line running East-West.
  3. The two stations shown are Denham Golf Club and Denham.
  4. At the top of the map, just to the East of the M25 is a large quarry, which shows up in a beige colour.

The route of HS2 as it passes through the area from North-West to South-East is as follows.

  • HS2 crosses the M25 in a tunnel, at the point where the lane crosses just below the M25 label, at the top of the map.
  • HS2 then goes South East towards Denham on a mixture of cuttings, embankments and viaducts.
  • HS2 then follows the Chiltern Main Line in a cutting towards London.
  • HS2 goes into a tunnel just to the West of West Ruislip station.

It looks to me, that HS4Air will branch off HS2, just to the East of the M25, in the area of the quarry, which is shown in this Google Map.

HS4Air would continue along the M25 motorway towards the South, whilst HS2 will continue in to the South East.

The HS4Air And Great Western Main Line Junction

This Google Map shows the area, where HS4Air crosses the Great Western Main Line.

Note.

  1. The M25 running North-South
  2. The M4 running East-West
  3. The Great Western Main Line running East-West.
  4. The two stations are Langley and Iver.
  5. Iver North Water Treatment Works sitting to the North East of where the M25 and the Great Western Railway cross.

This Google Map shows the area, where the M25 and the Great Western Main Line cross in more detail.

Consider.

  • HS4Air would be following the M25 North-South.
  • Two links to allow trains to go both ways from the Great Western to the Southbound HS4Air, would be needed.
  • These links could loop over the Water Treatment Works.
  • As the M25 will probably need widening, combining both projects would probably benefit both.

I think we could see a spectacular junction.

HS4Air North Of Heathrow

|As the first map shows HS4Air goes underneath Heathrow Airport in a tunnel, where there will be a station in the tunnel.

This map shows the M25 to the North of the Airport.

Terminal 5 at Heathrow is picked out with a station symbol.

I suspect that HS4Air will cross the massive M25/M4 junction on a viaduct and then descend into a tunnel for the Airport.

Or if the third runway at Heathrow is built, the railway could go into tunnel to the North of the motorway junction.

I suspect, the rail tunnels will be very deep under the airport, which will mean the following.

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

With its connections to Crossrail, it would also be West London’s high speed railway station.

HS4Air South Of Heathrow

South of Heathrow, the first map, shows that the Heathrow tunnel will emerge close to the M25, South of the major junction between the M25 and the M3.

This Google Map shows the area.

I will investigate where the Heathrow Tunnel emerges in HS4Air Between Heathrow And Gatwick Airports.

Conclusion

This section of HS4Air looks to be a railway that can be slotted through alongside the M25 with very little disturbance to existing traffic routes.

I doubt that few houses or other buildings will need to be demolished.

The two major junctions with HS2 and the Great Western Railway will cause little disruption during construction, as the former will be over a quarry and the second is by a sewage works, which could be moved if necessary.

This first section is so obvious, I am surprised it hasn’t been included with the building of HS2.

 

 

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

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

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

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

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

This map from Expedition Engineering shows the route.

To minimise environmental disruption, the following should be noted.

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

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

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

Note the following about HS4Air.

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

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

The article also gives some sample journey times.

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

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

Conclusion

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

But I can see a few problems.

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

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

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

Will Crossrail Trains Run 24 Hours?

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

We don’t know the answer yet, but the article feels we should never say never.

After all, if Gatwick Airport has trains on a 24/7 basis, surely Heathrow should!

June 28, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Labour Abandons Support For New Heathrow Runway

This title of this post is the same as an article on Page 2 of today’s Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Labour will drop its formal support for a third runway at Heathrow today in a significant U-turn that leaves the plan on a knife edge.

Other points in the article.

  • Labour MPs will have a free vote.
  • 75% of all MPs support a third runway, including the SNP and the DUP.
  • A Labour free vote probably means it would pass a vote.
  • Labour has formally backed a third runway for fifteen years.
  • The unions back the third runway.

It would all be so irrelevant, if we’d built Maplin in the last century. But Harold Wilson cancelled it!

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Transport for London’s New Rail Line

Today, Transport for London have taken over Heathrow Connect, in preparation for the full Crossrail.

The service is now run by TfL Rail, just like the Liverpool Street to Shenfield service in the East of London.

It’s even shown on some of the new Underground maps.

I photographed this map at Kings Cross St. Pancras.

Note the double blue line, which indicates the new route of the former Heathrow Connect, running from Paddington in the top-right corner of the map to Heathrow Terminal 4 towards the bottom-left.

The intermediate stations shown are.

Note that TfL use Heathrow Terminal 2 & 3 for the main railway station at Heathrow and Wikipedia uses Heathrow Central.

A Trip To Heathrow From Paddington

This morning, I checked into the new TfL Rail service at Paddington, using my Freedom Pass and took the 09:11 service to Heathrow Airport.

I got out at Heathrow Terminal 2 & 3 station before returning later on another TfL Rail service to Paddington.

I took these pictures on the route.

Note that the Class 360 trains are still running on the route, as there are operational issues with Crossrail’s new Class 345 trains in the tunnel to Heathrow.

Contactless Card/Oyster To Heathrow

TfL Rail also accepts contactless card or Oyster on this route.

According to TfL’s Single Fare Finder, the single fare is £10.20 in the Peak and £10.10 in the Off-Peak.

But,I’m not sure about railcards, the affect of capping or the price if you buy the ticket on line.

Freedom Passes To Heathrow

As I’d used my Freedom Pass, the two journeys cost me a big fat nothing!

It won’t be long before the many Freedom Pass holders, will realise, that Heathrow will be in their free travel area by a comfortable train and they will possibly use it more often, than the Piccadilly Line.

TfL Rail Service Frequency

Currently, the frequency between Paddington and Heathrow is two trains per hour (tph).

Provisional service details are shown under Services in the Wikipedia entry for Crossrail, when the line opens fully in December 2019.

  • Four tph between Abbey Wood and Heathrow Terminal 4 stations
  • Two tph between Abbey Wood and Heathrow Terminal 5 stations

All services will call at the following stations.

  • All stations between Abbey Wood and Paddington stations.
  • Ealing Broadway station
  • Heathrow Terminal 2 & 3 station.

Plans for stopping at Acton Main Line, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall and Hayes & Harlington stations are yet to be decided.

I suspect that TfL would like all Heathrow trains to stop at all intermediate stations, just as services do between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, in the East of London.

But Great Western Railway may have other ideas!

Speaking for myself, I’d like to see four tph on the TfL Rail route between Paddington and Heathrow, as soon as possible.

The Future Of The Class 360 Trains

When Crossrail sort out the Class 345 trains, the five sets of five-car Class 360 trains will be surplus to requirements.

They will also be joined in the sidings in a couple of years, by twenty-one similar four car trains, that are being replaced with new Class 720 trains, by Greater Anglia.

As they are modern 100 mph trains, they should find a home somewhere!

They could even be exported to Thailand, where a similar fleet operates.

 

 

 

May 20, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ticketing On Heathrow Southern Railway

This article on City AM is entitled New Elizabeth Line Services Are Coming To Heathrow’s Terminal 5 After Airport Strikes Deal With The Government and TfL. It contains this paragraph.

Heathrow has also announced that it is introducing Oyster and contactless payments for all rail services going into the airport. From May 2018, new ticket readers will be installed at Heathrow, so anyone using Heathrow Express and TfL Rail will be able to use an Oyster or contactless.

When I passed through Heathrow a couple of weeks ago, there was evidence of new ticket gates being installed.

Heathrow Southern Railway’s Proposed Services

Heathrow Southern Railway are proposing four services to the West of Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

  • Heathrow Express from Terminal 5 to Woking, Guildford and Basingstoke, with an additional stop at Farnborough Main.
  • Crossrail from Terminal 5 to Staines
  • A service from Terminal 5 to Waterloo with stops at Staines, Clapham Junction and possibly Ashford, Felham, Twickenham, Richmond and Vauxhall.
  • A service from Terminal 5 to Weybridge with stops at Egham, Virginia Water, Chertsey and Addlestone.

Some of the stations like those between Feltham and Waterloo already accept contactless ticking, but surely all of them must if Heathrow Southern Railway is built, as you’ll be able to use contactless ticketing at Heathrow, but not at say Woking or Basingstoke.

Onward From Basingstoke, Guildford And Woking

A proportion of travellers from places like Bournemouth, Exeter, Portsmouth, Salisbury and Southampton will use Heathrow Southern Railway to get to the airport, with an appropriate change at Basingstoke, Guidford or Woking.

Will these travellers want to use contactless ticketing?

Conclusion

There will be a lot of discussions about ticketing on the Heathrow Southern Railway.

These ticketing issues, help to make it very understandable, why MTR, a partner in South Western Railway, want to join the Heathrow Southern Railway, as I wrote about in MTR Vying To Join Heathrow Southern Rail Bid.

Travellers want the ticketing system with the least hassle and as London is proving, contactless ticketing with bank cards works well!

 

 

 

April 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Heathrow Southern Railway And The Windsor Link Railway

The Windsor Link Railway is a proposed new railway, that if it is approved, will be built in two phases.

Phase 1 is described in Wikipedia, like this.

Phase 1 of the scheme would run from Slough to Staines, via Chalvey, Windsor, Datchet, Wraysbury and Sunnymeads. A new all-in-one station in the Windsor Goswells would replace the existing two nearby stations (Riverside and Central)

Phase 2 is described like this.

Phase 2 of the project involves linking to Heathrow. As the Heathrow Airtrack scheme has been dropped by BAA, the proponents say a much cheaper method of connecting Heathrow to the north west, west and south would be via a bridge over the M25. This would also have benefits for the proposed intermodal freight depot at Colnbrook, Berkshire.

This map from the Windsor Link Railway web site, shows the new tracks for both phases.

Note that Southern Access on the map is close to the route of the Heathrow Southern Railway.

Thoughts On Phase 1

Phase 1 is mainly a scheme for Windsor and I believe, it could be very beneficial to a town, that will become an even bigger tourist attraction.

It is a scheme, that has no affect on the construction of the Heathrow Southern Railway.

However, if the Windsor Link Railway wanted to increase the frequency of the train service between Windsor and Eton Central and Waterloo, there may well be arguments over who gets the paths on the crowded lines between Staines and London.

Thoughts On Phase 2

If the Heathrow Southern Railway and Windsor Link Railway designed a joint scheme, I don’t believe there is any reason, why trains couldn’t use the Windsor Link Railway to run between Reading and Heathrow.

Capacity Of Heathrow Terminal 5 Station

Heathrow Terminal 5 station has been built with space for two bay platforms.

Each platform could probably handle four trains per hour (tph), although with the right scheduling and good signaling and operation, six tph is possible.

Heathrow Southern Railway proposes the following services to the terminal.

  • Four tph from Waterloo via Clapham Junction and Staines.
  • Two tph from Weybridge via Viginia Water, Egham and Staines.

So there could be upwards of four tph from Windsor and/or Reading, that terminate at Terminal 5.

Crossrail To Reading Via Windsor And Heathrow

Somebody will want to run Crossrail trains through Heathrow Terminal 5 to Windsor and Reading.

Would Windsor cope with all the extra visitors?

Note that Heathrow Southern Railway are already suggesting that Crossrail trains to Terminal 5 could be extended to a new platform at Staines.

Waterloo To Reading Via Staines, Heathrow Terminal 5 and Windsor

Suppose two tph of the Waterloo to Heathrow Terminal 5 trains, reversed and went on to Windsor and Reading.

  • It could make better use of the platforms at Heathrow.
  • Reading would have an additional two tph service to Heathrow.
  • Windsor would have a four tph service to Waterloo.

It’s a possibility with benefits.

Conclusion

Co-operation could be beneficial to both projects.

 

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 9 Comments