The Anonymous Widower

Thoughts On Hounslow Station

These are my thoughts in no particular order.

Step-Free Access

There are only eight railway stations in the London Borough of Hounslow and only Chiswick and Hounslow stations are not step-free and no plans have been published about creating fully-accessible stations.

This is the rather old-fashioned footbridge at Hounslow station.

Current Train Service

The main current Off Peak train service is four trains per hour (tph) using the Hounslow Loop Line, which conveniently pass each other in the station.

There are also two tph between Waterloo and Weybridge, which means the station has a six tph service.

There are also a couple of extra services in the Peak.

Hounslow Track Layout

This map from shows the track layout at Hounslow station.

The crossovers on either side of the station probably allow trains to be turned back at the station.

A train arriving from London, which is to the North East would do the following.

  • Stop in the Southern Platform 2.
  • Wait whilst the driver changes ends.
  • Return to London using the North Eastern crossover to change to the correct track.

It would probably take between three and four minutes.

West London Orbital

Hounslow station has been proposed to be one of the terminals of the new West London Orbital Railway.

It will have four tph from West Hampstead Thameslink via the Dudding Hill Line.

How will these trains be trains be turned?

Use The Existing Track Layout

There appears to be almost fifteen minutes gaps between trains through the station, so would it be possible to use the existing North-East crossover and the Southern Platform 2 to turn the trains?

When you consider, that London Overground generally allow between five and twelve minutes to turn a train, timing could be tight. Especially, if the driver needed to take a toilet break!

And what would happen, if a train failed or there were several passengers of limited mobility to unload from or load on the train?

I feel, that this current method would only be used as a little-used fallback.

A Turnback Siding

This Google Map shows the station and the track to the South West.

Note that there is probably enough space to put a turnback siding to the South West of the station, with some realignment of the tracks.

This method was used at West Croydon station by services on the East London Line, but recently, the service has started to use the bay platform at the station.

  • The train would stop in Platform 2 and unload the passengers.
  • It would move to the turnback.
  • At the appropriate time it would move into Platform 1 and load passengers.

It would then be ready to start the service to West Hamstead Thameslink.

A Bay Platform

This Google Map shows the North-Eastern (London) end of the station.

There is a road called Whitton Road alongside the station, where a London-facing bay platform would be built. The crossover would need to be rebuilt to allow trains from London to cross into the bay platform.

But operationally, it would be easier.

  • Returning trains to West Hampstead Thameslink would not block the Hounslow Loop Line.
  • Passengers using the West London Orbital would only cross the line, if they were continuing their journey from Platform 2..
  • I doubt many passengers arriving in Platform 2 would want to use the West London Orbital.
  • Passengers with reduced mobility changing between the West London Orbital and bus, car or taxi at Hounslow station would have a step-free route between street and train.
  • Drivers would have time for a comfort break.

I will be very surprised if a bay platform is not built to handle the West London Orbital.

A Rebuilt Station

If the West London Orbital is built, which I feel would be highly sensible, the station will probably need to be remodelled to incorporate a bay platform to turn trains.

The footbridge at the station will also need to be replaced with a fully-accessible one.

So Hounslow station will probably need to go through a thorough refurbishing, if not a full rebuild.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments

Syon Lane Station To Go Step-Free

I came back from Brentford using Syon Lane station.

These pictures show the station.

What surprised me, is the number of posters up saying that the station is to be made step-free.

Searching the Internet, I found this document on the Hounslow Borough Council web site, which is dated April the 15th 2019 and entitled Step-Free Access To Many Of Hounslow’s Stations Proceeding At Pace!

This is an extract.

Plans to improve accessibility at Syon Lane Station were given the green light this week as Hounslow Council confirmed securing the necessary funding for the £2.4m programme to proceed.  Improvements to the station, which sits on the South West Rail (SWR) network, will include a new footbridge, providing an additional exit point and lift from the west bound platform, delivering step-free access to the street from this platform, as well as easing congestion.  A new (wider) staircase and bridge deck is proposed for the London-bound platform which should also reduce congestion at peak times. Step-free access from this platform to the street will be enabled by improvements to the footpath leading to Rothbury Gardens. Works will commence at the end of April and are due to complete by the end of the summer.

The scheme is being financed by a cocktail of funding streams including; Sky, Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), Transport for London (TfL) and a contribution from SWR themselves. The total cost is c£2.4m including contingency.

It looks to be a comprehensive well-thought out scheme.

Judging by the presence of a Portacabin and what appeared to be vegetation clearance, where a bridge might go, it appears that everybody is at least starting at pace. Finish by the end of the summer could be a possibility, although I think it is a tough ask!

Reading some of the posters at the station, more than usual details were given about the way the footbridge and step-free access will be added.

These are the phases.

Footpath Improvement Works

Footpath via Rothbury Gardens is closed. Access to Platform 1 is through the Syon Lane entrance (stairs)

Lift And Bridge Sub-Structure And Foundation Works

Installation of lift shaft and footbridge steelwork structure.

Installation of lift equipment.

Removal of existing Platform 1 staircase.

Installation of linkspan to new footbridge.

Staircase from Syon Lane is closed. Access to Platform 1 is via Rothbury Gardens (step-free footpath)

Platform Finishes And Footbridge Commissioning

Following commissioning new footbridge linkspan will be opened.

Oyster readers will be moved to new final locations.

The West London Orbital Railway

The West London Orbital Railway may or may not be built in the next few years.

This would double the number of trains through Syon Lane station from four trains per hour (tph) to eight tph.

As this would be a train every 7-8 minutes, for safe operation, step-free access would be essential.

Stations on the Hounslow Loop Line, that will be used by the proposed West London Orbital Railway are.

  • Hounslow – As this will be a terminus, step-free access will be essential.
  • Isleworth – Planned to be step-free. See Isleworth Station To Go Step-Free for more details.
  • Syon Lane – Going step-free
  • Brentford – Already step-free
  • Kew Bridge – As this will be a terminus, step-free access will be essential.

Except for the two terminals, all stations needed for the West London Orbital Railway are planned to be step-free.

Good project planning would probably mean, that the joint stations were prepared for eight tph as early as possible to stop these works delaying the project.


April 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Around The Hounslow Loop Line

The Hounslow Loop Line is a suburban railway in South-West London, that runs in a loop off the Waterloo to Reading Line.

Today, to get to know the line, I took a Hounslow train from Waterloo and after passing through Clapham Junction, Putney and Barnes stations, the train took to the Hounslow Loop Line calling at a succession of stations on both sides of the Thames.

We waited a minute or so at Hounslow station, before starting to return via Whitton and Twickenham stations.

When the train got to Richmond station, I changed to the North London Line to come home directly, whilst the train went back into Waterloo, by way of the Waterloo to Reading Line.

These pictures give a flavour of the Hounslow Loop Line.

It is a very tidy suburban line.

  • Most platforms have been lengthened to take ten-car trains.
  • Whitton station has been rebuilt as I wrote about in How To Spend Five Million Pounds.
  • It has a triangular junction with the North London Line around Kew Bridge station.
  • In the mid-2000s, the train frequency on the line was doubled from 2 trains per hour (tph) to four.

All of this work has led to a 162% increase in passengers between 2004-5 and 2007-8.

I wonder what is the limit of trains round the Hounslow Loop Line.

This is more proof if it were needed, that suburban lines need at least 4 tph to really bring in the passengers.

Transport for London’s Orbital Railway

In August 2014, I wrote Will The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Be Extended To Hounslow?, which was based on a Modern Railways report on the Mayor’s Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2050. This is said.

There may be a case for further orbital rail capacity, says the document – it shows an indicative, uncosted network to link Hounslow, Old Oak Common, Neasden, West Hampstead, Harringay, Walthamstow, Barking, Abbey Wood, Bexleyheath, Norwood Junction, Sutton and New Malden and back to Hounslow, with another route between Abbey Wood and New Malden via Lewisham, Peckham Rye and Wimbledon.

The proposed orbital railway passes takes a route from Hounslow to Wimbledon via the following stations.

  • Whitton
  • Twickenham
  • Strawberry Hill
  • Teddington
  • Kingston
  • New Malden
  • Raynes Park

Nothing concrete has been said since about the railway, but the following is happening or planned.

All these should happen by the end of 2018.

Will More North London Line Trains Go To Richmond?

Currently the North London Line service from Richmond is 4 tph to and from Stratford.

It takes around an hour, which is ten minutes faster than going via Waterloo and taking the Jubilee Line.

The only possibly faster way would be when Old Oak Common station is opened and a change there would be made to Crossrail.

I estimate, that this could result in a timing of around 45 minutes or perhaps lightly less.

As Old Oak Common station, will also have connections to HS2, the West Coast Main Line ans other important routes, Richmond to Old Oak Common could become a very heavily used route.

4 tph would probably not be enough trains, especially as the current service to the East from Willesden Junction is 8 tph.

So I think it quite likely, that the frequency between Richmond and Old Oak Common stations would be eight tph.

The extra four trains, wouldn’t need to go all the way to Stratford, as there has been talk of alternative routes.

  • Terminate at Old Oak Common.
  • Terminate at somewhere convenient on the North London Line.
  • Terminate at Barking via the Gospel Oak to Barking Line
  • Go Along the Dudding Hill Line to Brent Cross Thameslink

The choice would be large.

But could Richmond handle the increased frequency of trains?

If the trains used the same route as now, there is probably a current limit of 4 tph, as the route is shared with the District Line from Gunnersbury station. Especially, as the District Line service will be increased!

So alternative ways of turning the trains is needed.

Trains could take the Houslow Loop Line after South Acton station and go through Hounslow, Whitton and perhaps terminate at Twickenham, where it should be possible to create a suitable bay platform.

But it’s not just events at Twickenham that need more capacity and North London Line services, so could we see services going in a loop via Hounslow, Whitton, Twickenham and Richmond?

This Google Map shows the line between Richmond and North Sheen stations.

Between Richmond and North Sheen Stations

Between Richmond and North Sheen Stations


  1. Richmond station is to the West.
  2. North Sheen station to the East.
  3. The North London Line turns North off the line through the two stations.

In some ways, North Sheen station is a bit of a mess and a real problem.

  • It has a level crossing at one end.
  • It has no disabled access.
  • There is another  three level crossings between Mortlake and Barnes stations, which are the next stations on the line towards London.
  • The level crossings feature regularly in Google News with respect to accidents, failures and suicides.

It might be best, if North Sheen station was completely rebuilt and the level crossings are consigned to the dustbin of history.

This map from shows the layout of lines at Richmond station.

Platforms And Lines At Richmond Station

Platforms And Lines At Richmond Station

I don’t think it would be too difficult to complete the loop, so that trains from the North London Line could turn without needing a terminal platform

It has a level crossing at one end.It has no disabled access.There is another  three level crossings between Mortlake and Barnes stations, which are the next stations on the line towards London.

Improving Richmond To Waterloo

But the problems of the level crossings are still there!

These posts describe the line between Richmond and Barnes station.

Currently, 8 tph run on the lines between Richmond and Waterloo via Clapham Junction stations.

In the other direction, the service is as follows.

  • 2 tph to Reading
  • 2 tph to Windsor and Eton Riverside.
  • 2 tph to Waterloo via Hounslow and Brentford
  • 2 tph to Waterloo via Kingston and Wimbledon.

Richmond will become an important station connecting lots of places to Old Oak Common.

Will 8 tph between Richmond and Waterloo be sufficient?

Heathrow Airtrack

Heathrow Airtrack was an attempt to create a link from Waterloo to Heathrow Airport.

Wikipedia says this about the proposal.

The scheme, estimated to cost around £673 million, was controversial mainly because of the projected impact on local road traffic due to the high number of level crossings on the route.

Trains would have been 2 tph calling at the following stations.

  • Clapham Junction
  • Richmond
  • Twickenham
  • Feltham
  • Staines

Could another 2 tph be squeezed in through Richmond?

With difficulty and Automatic Train Operation, it might be a possibility.

But it also looks like the level crossings have already killed one project.

On the other hand, it does appear that if more capacity could be created between Richmond and Waterloo, other services would follow.









December 31, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment