The Anonymous Widower

A406 North Circular Road ‘Most Congested’ In The UK

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

This is the first paragraph.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But is a solution at hand?

Crossrail

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

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

Crossrail will link the following to the Airport.

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

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

Old Oak Common Station And High Speed Two

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

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

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

It is needed now.

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

The West London Orbital Railway

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

There would be two routes.

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

The project has various advantages.

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

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

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

North Acton Station

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

This Google Map shows the area around North Acton station.

Note.

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

 

 

 

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

How Will Chiltern Railways Serve Old Oak Common?

Whilst writing A Proposal For Two London Overground Stations At Old Oak Common, I got to thinking about how Chiltern Railways would use Old Oak Common station as a second London terminus, to relieve pressure on Marylebone station.

Lines At Old Oak Common

This map from TfL shows the lines in the area and the location of the proposed two new stations; Hythe Road and Old Oak Common Lane, for the London Overground.

Hythe Road station will be on the  West London Line between Willesden Junction and Shepherd’s Bush stations.

Old Oak Common Lane station will be on the North London Line between Willesden Junction and Acton Central stations.

How Will Chiltern Serve Old Oak Common?

Search the Internet for “Chiltern Railways Old Oak Common” and you find little of substance.

So exactly how will Chiltern Railways get trains to the station complex?

Using The Acton-Northolt Line

The Acton-Northolt Line is a logical route from Northolt Junction on the Chiltern Main Line to Old Oak Common.

But there could be problems with the Acton-Northolt Line.

  1. It will be on top of the tunnel taking HS2 out of London and building HS2 might be difficult.
  2. It is partly single track and would need to be doubled.
  3. It might be difficult to find space to build the station at Old Oak Common around the platforms for HS2, Crossrail and the Great Western Main Line.
  4. Getting tracks to the Northern part of the site for a Chiltern station there, might be difficult.

Points 1 and 2 would probably combine together to delay the Chiltern extension until after HS2 or at least the tunnel, is substantially complete.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr illustrates the problem of finding a place for the station.

Note.

  1. The Great Western Railway is the multi-track in black .
  2. The single track shown in black North of North Action station is the Acton-Northolt Line.
  3. Old Oak Common Lane station is just to the North of Acton Wells Junction.
  4. The curves to connect the Acton-Northolt Line to the North London Line would be very tight.

The preferred position for the station is probably in the area of the current Heathrow Express Depot.

An alternative position for the station could be at North Acton station.

This Google Map shows North Acton station and its relation to the proposed Old Oak Common Lane station.

Old Oak Common Lane station would be located North of the Junction, where the Dudding Hill Line and the North London Line split, in the top-right corner of the map.

The rebuilt North Acton station could have the following characteristics.

  • Two or possibly three, Chiltern platforms could be built North of the current Central Line platforms.
  • The station could have a walking route or moving walkway to connect it to Old Oak Common Lane station and the main Old Oak Common complex.
  • It would also fulfil the aims of politicians to link the Central and North London Lines.

It could be a viable alternative with valuable over-site development.

I took these pictures from the bridge, where Victoria Road passes over the Central Line and Acton-Northolt Lines.

Note.

  1. The pictures were taken looking East towards Old Oak Common.
  2. The single-track Acton-Northolt Line is in the shrubbery on the left.
  3. The Acton-Northolt Line is about two or three metres higher than the Central Line.
  4. The greyish-blue bridge in the distance carries the North London Line over the cutting.

North Acton station is on the other side of the bridge.

It strikes me that the various levels give possibilities for an improved Central Line layout and a couple of platforms for Chiltern Railways.

Advantages and Problems Of Using The Acton-Northolt Line

The advantages of using this route could include.

  • It could open up development sites along the route.
  • New stations could be developed at Hanger Lane, Perivale, Greenford, Northolt, South Ruislip, Ruislip Grdens and West Ruoslip.
  • The new double-track line could be electrified without disrupting existing services.
  • It connects the Chiltern Main Line to HS2 and Crossrail.
  • It could enable a Crossrail extension along the Acton-Northolt Line.

The big problem could be doubling the Acton-Northolt Line and building the station, whilst the tunnelling work for HS2 was proceeding.

The Acton-Northolt Line And HS2

I do hope that HS2 is not being designed to block future use of the Acton-Northolt Line.

In fact, I hope the reverse is true and creation of a double-track Acton-Northolt Line is part of the specification for HS2.

Using The Dudding Hill Line

There is a connecting chord between the Chiltern Main Line and the Dudding Hill Line at Neasden.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows how trains would get between Wembley Stadium station and the Dudding Hill Line.

Note.

  1. The Dudding Hill Line is the line crossing all the tracks to the South of Neasden.
  2. The route would mean that Chiltern trains would be sent to their destination; Marylebone or Old Oak Common at Neasden.

The biggest problem may be where to put the station, as the Dudding Hill Line passes slightly to the West of the Old Oak Common complex.

But look at TfL’s visualisation for Old Oak Common Lane station.

The Dudding Hill Line is shown in the visualisation running under the pedestrian and cycle route to Victoria Road.

This Google Map shows the area in detail.

Note.

  1. The North London Line goes North-East.
  2. The proposed Old Oak Common Lane station would be built where the road is closest to the North London Line.
  3. The Dudding Hill Line goes North.

There would appear to be a site ripe for development to the West of the Dudding Hill Line.

Advantages and Problems Of Using The Dudding Hill Line

The advantages of using this route could include.

The station could be built in combination with London Overground’s proposed Old Oak Common Lane station.

  • There is a lot of space for the station.
  • No new track is required, although the Dudding Hill Line would need upgrading.
  • Good connections to HS2 and Crossrail will be built for Old Oak Common Lane station.
  • Thestation on the Dudding Hill Line could also be used by the proposed West London Orbital Railway.
  • Construction would not be a difficult job and would not affect existing services.
  • The site would not be affected by HS2.

The problems are mainly about connectivity to other lines, but well-designed connections to Crossrail and the Central Line would solve a lot of these problems.

Conclusion

There are at least two feasible options for a Chiltern station in the Old Oak Common area.

 

 

October 22, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments