The Anonymous Widower

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

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

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

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

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

Heathrow In The Future

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

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

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

Heathrow’s Pollution Footprint

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

Uses For Improved Rail Access

There are several uses for improved rail access to Heathrow.

Passengers

Many passengers feel they must drive to and from Heathrow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Workers

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

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

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

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

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

Supplies For The Airport And The Aircraft

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

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

Air Cargo

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

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

Crossrail

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

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

Heathrow Southern Railway

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

HS4Air

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

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

Piccadilly Line Upgrade

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

Probably needs 24 hour operation.

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow

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

West London Orbital Railway

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

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

Windsor Link Railway

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

This scheme also unlocks development of upmarket housing in Windsor.

Conclusions

I have seen railway stations and airports all over Europe.

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

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

Heathrow Connectivity

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

Two schemes provide that.

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

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

What About The Workers!

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

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

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

Old Oak Common station

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

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

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

Heathrow And Gatwick

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

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

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

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

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

Heathrow And High Speed One

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

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

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

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

Heathrow And High Speed Two

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

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

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

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

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

This would make Heathrow a viable alternative to regional airports.

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

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow

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

Consider.

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

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

A Final Conclusion

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

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 14 Comments

HS4Air’s Heathrow and Gatwick Tunnels And Stations

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

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

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

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

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

Heathrow

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

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

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

Gatwick

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

HS4Air would mainly add fast connections to Heathrow and HS1.

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Heathrow Southern Railway And West London Orbital Railway

West London waits umpteen years for more rail lines and then two come along at the same time.

Heathrow Southern Railway

West London Orbital Railway

Both do substantially, what their names imply.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tracks between Feltham, Hounslow and Whitton stations.

Note.

  1. Heathrow Southern Railway’s proposed Heathrow – Clapham Junction – Waterloo service will probably go via Whitton, rather than the Hounslow, as Whitton is the faster route.
  2. Hounslow is the proposed terminus of the route of the West London Orbital Railway from West Hampstead Thameslink station.
  3. Hounslow will have a new East-facing bay platform, to handle the trains from West Hampstead.
  4. Heathrow Southern Railway have said their service between Heathrow and Waterloo will be four trains per hour (tph)

I suspect that the West London Orbital Railway will have a typical Overground frequency of four  tph.

Unfortunately, the two railways don’t meet up, as it would probably be worthwhile to give more stations a simple route to Heathrow with perhaps a change at Feltham station.

This Google Map shows Feltham station.

Would there be space to squeeze in an East-facing bay platform on the North side of the station?

  • It could be the terminus of the West Hampstead service of the West London Orbital Railway
  • It could be useful if there were operational problems to turn trains.
  • There is the advantage that Feltham is a step-free station and Hounslow isn’t.

I went to Feltham station and took these pictures.

By the side of the track on the other side of the road bridge to the station, is the Feltham Signalling Centre and a Network Rail yard.

I think it could be possible to fit a platform into the space, behind Platform 1.

  • A five-car platform looks possible.
  • It would be an island platform with the current Platform 1.
  • I doubt overhead electrification could be used.
  • Slab track might be needed to squeeze the train under the bridge.

Ideally, it should be able to take a ten-car train, which might be possible, by extending the platform to the other side of the bridge.

Currently, there are six tph each-way through the station. The following new services will be added if both the Heathrow Southern and West London Orbital Railways are built.

  • 4 tph – Heathrow Southern Railway’s proposed service between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Waterloo via Staines, Feltham, Twickenham, Richmond and Clapham Junction.
  • 4 tph – West London Orbital’s proposed service from Feltham to West Hampstead

Would modern trains and signalling, coupled with good driving, be able to handle this level of trains?

Looking at the tracks and the space on either side, it might be possible to thread a third track between Feltham Station and Feltham Junction.

This Google Map shows Feltham Junction

There would appear to be more space on the South side of the tracks, so perhaps an extra track could go on this side.

But I suspect Network Rail could find a solution from their library of cunning plans.

There could be advantages.

  • West London Orbital Railway could terminate in a step-free station.
  • Travellers between South Acton and Hounslow get a step-free route to Heathrow.
  • The bay platform at Feltham, could help when the service is disrupted.
  • An extra track to the East of Feltham, might help capacity between Clapham Junction and Staines.

I’m certain that be a simple connection between the two systems can be built.

Conclusion

There are possibilities to connect the West London Orbital Railway to the Heathrow Southern Railway, which could be beneficial for all parties.

 

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Between Heathrow And Gatwick Airports Using Heathrow Southern Railway

I have received a few messages asking how the Heathrow Southern Railway would help travellers get between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

How Many Passengers Would Actually Transfer Between The Two Airports?

This question would definitely be filed under pieces of string.

The direct route using Crossrail and Thameslink will take under two hours, with a change at Farringdon.

  • There are several major tourist attractions close the the Crossrail/Thameslink route; Oxford Street, British Museum, St. Paul’s, River Thames, Tate Modern, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, for those unencumbered by baggage.
  • Will Farrington develop into a joint terminal for both airports?
  • How many passengers, will want to have a day of rest and recuperation in the best city in the world?
  • How many travellers to and from Europe, the North and Scotland will switch to the long distance trains at Kings Cross and St. Pancras stations?

Passengers wanting to avoid London could use the Waterloo – Heathrow service proposed by Heathrow Southern Railway and change at Clapham Junction.

  • The proposed Waterloo – Heathrow service will be four trains per hour (tph)
  • It would probably run at an appropriate frequency at night, just like Gatwick Express and Thameslink.
  • Passengers would change at Clapham Junction between Gatwick and Heathrow services.
  • I estimate, that the Clapham Junction route, could be quicker than the Crossrail/Thameslink route, at perhaps an hour and twenty minutes.
  • Clapham Junction station is step-free, but the bridge could be made more passenger-friendly.

Until, I get firm evidence to the contrary, I have a strong feeling that not many passengers will want to a faster service thanthe one, these two routes offer.

What About The Workers?

There must be people in the aviation industry, who need to go regularly to both airports for the purposes of work.

If you were in that class of worker, you might choose to live, somewhere that was convenient for both airports.

I suspect that this valuable group will be well-served by services from Clapham Junction.

  • Clapham Junction to Heathrow – 30 minutes
  • Clapham Junction to Gatwick – 25 minutes

Feeder times to Clapham Junction using direct trains include.

  • Balham – 6 minutes
  • Canada Water – 29 minutes
  • East Croydon – 11 minutes
  • Epsom – 28 minutes
  • Peckham Rye – 19 minutes

With four tph, the maximum wait at Clapham Junction would be fifteen minutes.

Clapham Junction Will Become An Even Bigger Hub

Heathrow Southern Railway will make Clapham Junction station, an even more important hub.

  • It is about thirty minutes away from both Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.
  • Large numbers of stations have direct connections to Clapham Junction in under thirty minutes.
  • The Northern Line could be extended from Battersea to Clapham Junction.
  • Clapham Junction station is proposed to be on Crossrail 2.
  • Clapham Junction is at the centre of an extensive bus network.

It would certainly be very convenient to live close to Clapham Junction station, if you needed to go to both airports regularly.

But improvements are needed at the station.

Changing Trains

The Wikipedia entry for Clapham Junction station says this.

The station is also the busiest UK station for interchanges between services.

I use Clapham Junction regularly as an interchange, if say I’m going from Dalston Junction to Gatwick, Reading or Windsor. It can be a sprint up the stairs, and a rush across the bridge, before a careful decent to the platform.

A typical change from Platform 1/2 to 5/6 took me two and a half minutes, in the middle of the morning.

Changing trains could be improved.

These pictures show the step-free bridge at Clapham Junction

Note.

  1. Lighting is not of a high quality.
  2. It is quite wide, but not as wide as the new bridge at Reading.
  3. There are lifts to most platforms, but they could be bigger.
  4. Reading has an up and down escalator for each platform.  Surely the busiest station in the UK, deserves the same.
  5. It is cluttered with retail outlets, which could be reduced in number or placed on the platforms.

If I was the CEO of Heathrow Southern Railway, I’d rebuild this bridge, as doing that might attrack more passengers for Heathrow to use the proposed new service.

Information

Clapham Junction is well organised, with trains for a particular destination generally leaving from the same platform or pair of platforms.

They even have a board that gives this information in detail..

But it’s now 2018 and we can do much better.

There would also need to be large, clear signs everywhere to Gatwick, Heathrow, Victoria and Waterloo!

Timetable Improvements

I took a train from Clapham Junction to Feltham and although there are six tph, I had to wait sixteen minutes for a train.

It’s just that in an hour, there are four short intervals and two long ones.

Improvements need to be made, so that the timetable is more passenger friendly.

Some Platform Reorganisation

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Clapham Junction station.

It looks to me, that that terrible engineer; Topsy had a big hand in the design.

Note.

  • Tracks and platforms in orange are the London Overground.
  • Trains to Heathrow will probably use Plstforms 5 or 6, as do the Reading and Windsor services.
  • Trains from Heathrow will probably use Plstforms 3 or 4, as do the Reading and Windsor services.
  • Heathrow, Reading and Windsor are to the West.
  • Platforms 3 to 11 are for services to and from Waterloo.
  • Platforms 12 to 15 are for services to and from Victoria.
  • Services to and from Gatwick will use these platforms.
  • Platforms 16 and 17 are for West London Line services.

It looks to me, that it might be possible to reorganise the platforms so that Heathrow and Gatwick services weren’t at opposite end of the bridge.

Or should the bridge be made wide enough for a travelator?

West London Line Services

The West London Line has two main passenger services.

  • 4 tph – London Overground between Clapham Junction and Stratford, which uses Platform 1
  • 1 tph – Southern between Milton Keynes Central  and East Croydon, which have virtually sole use of Platforms 16 and 17.

If possible, an increase in frequency on this line would surely help many travellers get to and from London’s two main airports.

  • London Overground are planning to add two extra tph between Clapham Junction and Stratford in 2018.
  • London Overground will match this in 2019, with another two tph between Clapham Junction and Dalston Junction via the South London Line.

This is going to make Southern’s one tph service between Milton Keynes Central and and East Croydon pathetic, especially as the route will eventually serve Old Oak Common with connections to Crossrail and HS2.

Chris Gibb recommended that this service , should be transferred to the London Overground in the Gibb Report. I wrote about it in Gibb Report – East Croydon – Milton Keynes Route Should Be Transferred To London Overground.

If nothing else the current service which uses two platforms at Clapham Junction for a one tph service, which doesn’t run on Sundays, is a waste of resources at Clapham Junction.

.Conclusions

I have come to the following conclusions.

  • If Clapham Junction station is improved, Heathrow Southern Railway will create a faster route to Gatwick.
  • Clapham Junction station will become a major hub station feeding London’s two major airports.

It gives very large numbers of passengers a quicker route to the airports.

I also think it could be advantageous for Heathrow Southern Railway to contribute to the upgrading of Clapham Junction station.

 

April 4, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Heathrow Southern Railway’s Proposed Service Between Weybridge And Heathrow 5

In an article in the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways about the Heathrow Southern Railway, Chris Stokes proposes a service between Weybridge and Heathrow Terminal 5 stations.

With the addition of a chord at Staines, it would also be potentially possible to operate a half-hourly Weybridge – Virginia Water – Egham – Terminal 5 service, providing a further attractive local link to Heathrow.

In this post, I will look at the various issues associated with this proposal.

Weybridge Station

Currently, Weybridge station is serviced by the following trains on the South Western Main Line.

  • Four trains per hour (tph) to London Waterloo.
  • Two tph to Woking.
  • Two tph to Basingstoke via Woking.

In addition two tph use the Chertsey Branch Line to go to London Waterloo via Virginia Water, Staines and Hounslow.

This Google Map shows the staion on the South Western Main Line.

Note the train that will use the Chertsey Branch Line in Platform 1, which shares an island with the London-bound Platform 2.

This would have been convenient for me, as I arrived from Woking, with the intention of taking the branch line to Staines and Feltham.

But as there are only two tph on the Chertsey Branch, I had to wait twenty-five minutes. Luckily, the train has a long turnround at Weybridge, so I was able to sit in a comfortable seat for much of the wait.

These are a few pictures of the station.

The bridge is an interesting structure, which has a set of new lifts.

Wikipedia says this about the use of the station.

Up and Down platforms serve the slow lines; there is a bay platform on the up side, from which trains operate on the Chertsey or Weybridge Branch of the Waterloo to Reading Line. Stops on this line include the main towns and villages of Runnymede and it gives Weybridge’s longer route to Waterloo via Staines. This service can also be used to provide a cheaper and quicker route to the Great Western Main Line, by changing at Virginia Water for the service to Reading, Berkshire from Waterloo, for passengers on or by the South West Main Line but not near the North Downs Line.

In the middle of a wet Thursday, there weren’t many people waiting for a train for the Chertsey Branch.

Trains On The Chertsey Branch Line

This Google Map shows the station and the triangular junction between the South Western Main Line and the Chertsey Branch.

Note, the historic motor-racing circuit of Brooklands to the South of the South Western Main Line and the triangular junction.

The connection between the Chertsey Vranch Line and the South Western Main Line is a flying junction, so I don’t think there’ll be any issues with Heathrow Express trains using Heathrow Southern Railway’s new railway to Woking.

Going towards Weybridge and London, there appears to be a single track connecting the Chertsey Branch to Platform 1 in Weybridge station.

There may be need for small changes to the track, but this simple layout should be able to easily handle four tph.

Looking at Real Time Trains, shows that in the hour I travelled, only four passenger services passed, through Addlestone station on the branch, with three other freight and stock movements.

So it is not a busy line.

If Heathrow Southern Railway is built and Heathrow Express runs to Working, passenger trains in each direction will become.

  • 2 tph – London Waterloo to Weybridge – Calling at Addlestone, Chertsey, Virginia Water, Egham and Staines.
  • 4 tph – Heathrow Express – Non-stop between Terminal 5 and Woking, joining the Chertsey Branch Line, just to the North of Chertsey station.
  • 2-4 tph – Freight trains and stock movements.

There would appear to be enough paths to squeeze in two extra trains between Terminal 5 and Weybridge, which call at Addlestone, Chertsey, Virginia Water and Egham, and use the new chord at Staines, that I talked about in Heathrow Southern Railway’s Proposed Chord At Staines.

Should Services Between Weybridge and Terminal 5 Stop At Staines?

This would need a platform or platforms on the chord.

This Google Map shows the area of the chord.

Note.

  1. There is a vehicle ramp to gain access to a multi-story car park.
  2. Much of the space to the East of the ramp is surface car parking and in my view, wasted space.
  3. There appears to be a bus station.

I think there is sufficient space to create an innovative transport interchange.

It could even be very simple.

  • Single platform long enough for one of South Western Railway’s five car Class 701 trains, which are possibly around 120 metres.
  • Bi-directional working.
  • Walking routes to the bus station and the main station.

The most complicated piece could be a step-free bridge to the rest of the station.

Terminal 5 Station

Heathrow Terminal 5 station was built with two Westward-facing terminal platforms.

As each has a capacity of probably four to six tph, there shouldn’t be any problems of capacity.

Conclusion

A Weybridge to Terminal 5 service seems a serious possibility.

But I can’t help wondering, if it should be four tph and the direct service to Waterloo via Chertsey should be discontinued.

But a platform at Staines to interchange should be provided.

I’ll be interested to see the final proposals.

 

 

 

 

March 30, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Heathrow Southern Railway’s Proposed Chord At Staines

In an article in the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways about the Heathrow Southern Railway, Chris Stokes proposes a new chord at Staines to connect the lines to Reading and Windsor.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the chord.

 

Note.

  1. London trains take the lines to the East.
  2. Windsor and Heathrow trains take or will take the lines to the North-West.
  3. Reading trains take the lines to the South-West.

The chord is shown as a pair of dotted lines between the Windsor and Reading Lines.

These pictures taken from a train from Egham to London, show how the chord has been developed.

In the article this is said about how the chord could be used.

With the addition of a chord at Staines, it would also be potentially possible to operate a half-hourly Weybridge – Virginia Water – Egham – Terminal 5 service, providing a further attractive local link to Heathrow.

If this service were to be added, that raised the problem of putting the chord through the development.

 

March 29, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | 2 Comments

GWR Announces Plans To Replace Class 332s As It Takes Over Heathrow Express Service

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

In some ways, I was surprised that Heathrow Airport are handing over the running of Heathrow Express to Great Western Railway (GWR).

But.

  • It seems, that the main problem, in that HS2 want their depot for construction of their new line.
  • GWR will use twelve Class 387 trains to run the service as opposed to the the current fourteen Class 332 trains.
  • The new trains will be updated with First Class, high speed wi-fi and more luggage space.
  • The deal seems to run to 2028.

I do think, that the main reason could be, that this gives FirstGroup or MTR Corporation a say in all the railways, serving or going near Heathrow Airport.

  • GWR is owned by FirstGroup.
  • Crossrail is operated by MTR on begalf of Transport for London.
  • South Western Railway is a joint venture between FirstGroup and MTR.

The operation of Heathrow Express by GWR completes the set.

My post; MTR Vying To Join Heathrow Southern Rail Bid, could link MTR to the proposed Heathrow Southern Railway, who are hoping to create a link into Heathrow Airport from the South.

One of the plans of Heathrow Southern Railway is to create a new Basingstoke/Guildford – Woking – Heathrow – Paddington service.

  • This would have a frequency of two trains per hour (tph) between Paddington and  both Basingstoke and Guildford.
  • This would mean there would be a four tph Frequency between Paddington and Woking via Heathrow Terminal 5, Heathrow Terminal 2/3 and Old Oak Common.
  • Creating the new service by extending Heathrow Express, means that the new service can take-over the paths used  by  Heathrow Express, to and from Paddington.
  • It is also worth noting that the Class 387 trains, that GWR are proposing to use on Heathrow Express are dual-voltage and can run on tracks with third-rail electrification.

Heathrow Express will become a double-ended service,  in much the same way that Gatwick Express takes passengers from both London and Brighton to the airport.

GWR taking over Heathrow Express must make the operation of trains to and from Heathrow Airport easier.

Why Change The Trains?

I think there are various reasons.

Operation And Maintenance

Obviously, if GWR uses only Class 387 trains on their shorter electrified routes from Paddington, this gives advantages in terms of operation, maintenance and staff utilisation and training.

I suspect too, that GWR have the depot space and sidings, to accommodate all the Class 387 trains they need.

Increasing Fleet Size

There are two published plans y to increase rail services to Heathrow.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway would like to extend Heathrow Express to Woking and ultimately to Basingstoke and Guildford.
  • Western access to Heathrow could also be a route for Heathrow Express to perhaps Reading and Oxford.

In the future there could be other services.

  • Developments could mean that a Heathrow-Gatwick service could be possible and worthwhile.
  • There is speculation in the media, about a direct service between Heathrow and Southampton.

Any expansion of services would probably need more trains.

If they need more Class 387 trains in the future, there are two operators, who have small fleets of Class 387 trains.

Some of these might become available, as the operators consolidate and update their fleets.

Acquiring more Class 332 trains could be problematical.

The Class 387 trains route, means that Heathrow Express will remain a  fleet of identical trains.

Operation On Routes With Third Rail Electrification

Any expansion of Heathrow Express to the Western side of Terminal 5 could connect to the extensive network of third-rail electrification.

For this reason, a Heathrow Express fleet without the capability to use third-rail electrification, would be limited in its market.

The Class 387 trains have been designed as dual voltage units and could work on third-rail networks by adding third-rail shoes.

Can Class 332 trains work on third-rail routes?

Operating Speed

The Class 387 trains are also 110 mph trains, whereas the operating speed of the Class 332 trains is 100 mph.

The faster operating speed must help operation on the busy fast lines to and from Paddington, where the Class 800 trains are 125 mph capable.

Train Length Issues

Consider.

  • The current Class 332 trains, run as nine-car trains, consisting of one four-car and one five-car trainset.
  • Class 387 trains are basically a four-car trainset, which can run as four, eight or twelve-car trains.
  • To complicate matters, Crossrail, which will use the same platforms at Heathrow are planning to nine-car Class 345 trains, but these could be lengthened to ten or even eleven cars.

These probably cause no problems with the current service, as running eight-car Class 387 trains would probably provide enough capacity.

Would a twelve-car Class 387 train need some platforms to be lengthened?

A four-car Class 387 unit is 80.77 metres long, so a twelve-car train would be 243 metres long.

This compares with the following.

  • Heathrow Express Class 332 – Nine cars – 206 metres.
  • Crossrail Class 345 – Nine cars – 205 metres
  • High Speed Train running with eight carriages – 220 metres
  • Inter-City 225 running with nine carriages – 246 metres
  • Two five-car Class 444 trains running togeyther – 230 metres
  • Two five-car Class 800 trains running together – 260 metres

A twelve-car Class 387 train is long, but not wildly out of line.

As the pairs of Class 800 trains work into Paddington,, I suspect twelve-car Class 387 trains can do the same.

If there is a problem, it will be in the Hathrow stations.

Alternatively, could some extra cars be built by Bombardier to create five-car trains, that would work as ten-car units, which would be around two hundred metres long?

Joining And Splitting Of Trains

Could Heathrow Express benefit from trains with the ability to split and join?

When there are more than one route to the West from Terminal 5, there may be advantages for trains to split and join in Terminal 5 station, to serve more than one destination to the West of the airport.

This picture was taken, as I watched two Class 387 trains joining together.

Note the driver in the cab on the right, controlling the process.

There is also a gangway between the two Class 387 trains, which the Class 332 trains don’t have.

Updating The Trains

The production of Class 387 trains has only just finished at Derby, but the Class 332 trains were built twenty years ago.

So could it be, that creating a modern fleet with all the features needed is easier with the later trains?

Suitability For Use With Heathrow Southern Railway Proposal

There are various issues here.

These concern fleet size and capacity

  • Any extensions to the South and West will need more trains.
  • If express services between Basingstoke, Guildford and Woking, and Paddington via Heathrow are successful, this could lead to calls for more services and other destinations, which could need more trains.
  • If five-car units were needed, then Bombardier could probably oblige.
  • There may be a need to lengthen platforms at the Heathrow stations.

Expanding a Class 387 train fleet would be easier.

There are also line speed issues.

  • What would be the design operating speed of Heathrow Southern Railway’s tracks alongside the M25? – 90, 100 or even 125 mph!
  • Could the operating speed of the Chertsey Branch Line be increased to the same speed, as there are only two stations; Chertsey and Addlestone?

The 110 mph maximum speed of a Class 387 could be a serious advantage, as speed sells!

How Many Trains Would Need To Be Converted?

Currently, there are fourteen Class 332 trains working Heathrow Express services.

They usually work in pairs, so there are seven trains.

If these are replaced by twelve-car Class 387 formations, that means up to twenty-one trains will be needed for the airport services from their current fleet of forty-five trains.

Eight-car formations would need fourteen trains.

Conclusion

It appears to me, that it is good decision to change the fleet for Class 387 trains.

Overall Conclusion

It’s all coming together for Heathrow Southern Railway.

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 15 Comments