The Anonymous Widower

Are These Two Stories Related?

These are two stories recently published in Railway Gazette.

Deutsche Bahn Sells Arriva Businesses To Private Equity Holding Company, which starts with this paragraph.

Deutsche Bahn has reached agreement to sell its Arriva local transport activities in Denmark, Poland and Serbia to München-based private equity holding company Mutares SE & Co KGaA.

That is fairly clear and is probably related with the German government’s desire for DB to concentrate on its core business.

RENFE Looks At Entering UK Rail Market Through Open Access Partnership, which starts with this paragraph.

Open access passenger service developer Grand Union Trains is working with Spain’s national operator RENFE and private equity firm Serena Industrial Partners on a proposed service between London and Wales.

That also is fairly clear and would bring competition to services to South Wales.

The article also says the following.

  • RENFE seem to be expanding into partnerships to run services outside Spain.
  • A parkway station at Felindre will be build to avoid the reverse at Swansea, that would save 20 mins.
  • It will be a high quality service with new electro-diesel trains.
  • Four trains will be needed.
  • A 2025 start is envisaged.

Will this partnership with Grand Union Trains proceed with the development of Grand Union Trains’ London and Stirling service?

I have some thoughts and questions.

Will Deutsche Bahn Sell Other Arriva Businesses?

I think this is a reasonable question to ask, especially, as Deutsche Bahn owns two Open Access Operators in the UK; Chiltern Railways and Grand Central Trains.

  • Both operators have a good reputation.
  • Both operators need to decarbonise, either by updating their current stock or buying new trains.
  • Both operators have solid niche markets, where they are often responsible for the stations.
  • Both operators have expansion plans.

Would RENFE and Serena Industrial Partners be interested in taking over Arriva UK and developing the business?

The Talgo Factory At Longannet

I believe that there is reason to believe that one of Talgo’s reasons for a factory in Scotland, is that it could have been used to build Russian and dual-gauge trains for Eastern Europe. The trains would have been delivered by ferry from Rosyth.

There is also the not-small matter of the fleet for Rail Baltica, for which Talgo will surely be a bidder.

But Russia’s attack on Ukraine has scuppered that plan, or at least delayed it for a few years. But now, there could be a much larger market for trains in Eastern Europe and especially Ukraine.

If RENFE Acquire Open Access Operators In The UK, They Will Need New Trains

They will certainly need new trains for the South Wales operations, if they go ahead, but if they were to decarbonise Chiltern and Grand Central, the order could be substantial.

With one Spanish train factory in the UK and another a possibility, I would suspect any train order would go to a Spanish train-builder.

If the orders fell right, could we see Talgo’s factory at Longannet built after all?

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Great Western Railway Get Innovative

This article on Rail Advent, which is entitled Great Western Railway Trial New Long Weekender Ticket Between London Paddington, Bristol And South Wales, caught my eye.

This is the Long Weekender page on the Great Western Railway web site.

This seems to be the basic rule.

Leave on a Friday or Saturday, return on a Monday and save over 60% compared to an Anytime Return.

You can also apply your Railcard.

This sounds very useful to me.

As an example, I spent an enjoyable couple of days in Swansea, where I explored the area on the rail network. This could be made to fit in with one of these tickets, even if it meant buying a return from Cardiff.

I shall investigate further, as the website booking doesn’t seem to know about the Long Weekender ticket.

I visited Paddington this afternoon and asked one of those guys in a green uniform.

He told me that at the moment you have to buy them in the Booking Office and that they will be available on the web site.

He also thought they were a good idea.

There is also this post on Ian Visits, which is entitled GWR Launches “Long Weekend” Train Tickets.

Ian says this.

GWR added that if the trial of the Long Weekender proves successful, it will be extended to other parts of the network.

Does that mean GWR’s or the National network?

September 30, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Quality Of The Ride On The Lizzie Line

This morning I went from Moorgate station to Paddington station on the Lizzie Line.

I was in a virtually empty car and I could gauge a good estimate of ride quality.

In my opinion, the gold standard in the UK for some time has been the British Rail Mark 3 coach.

  • But Mark 3 coaches don’t always run on modern slab track, which must give a smoother ride.
  • Each track under London also has its own tunnel, so there is no buffeting, when you pass a train going in the opposite direction.
  • Acceleration is also very smooth, due to the high proportion of powered axles.

I am getting very close to naming the Class 345 train, as the new gold standard.

August 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The 38 Bus And The Lizzie Line

London’s 38 bus is very convenient for me.

  • It is a frequent route, running most times every few minutes.
  • The stops are about a hundred metres from my house just round the corner.
  • To the East it goes through Hackney to the romantic Clapton Pond.
  • To the West it goes to Angel and across Central London to Victoria station.
  • The route connects to the new entrance at Hackney Central station, which makes it easy coming home from the East with heavy shopping.

Yesterday, I used the 38 bus to go to and from the Lizzie Line for a trip to Paddington station.

The Outrun

These pictures show the change to the Lizzie Line at Tottenham Court Road station.

Note.

  1. It was a walk of about a hundred metres.
  2. I took pictures of the entrance to the new @sohoplace theatre, which is still behind barriers.
  3. The walk could improve, once the works around Centre Point are finished.

It’s certainly a viable route from where I live and the Angel to the Lizzie Line, if you’re going West.

The Return

I took these pictures on my return.

Note.

  1. It was a walk of about a hundred metres.
  2. The two stops for the 38 bus are opposite each other.
  3. The walk could improve, once the works around Centre Point are finished.

It would certainly be a viable route to get from the Lizzie Line to the Angel, if you’re coming from the West.

It would also be a viable route for me to get to my house.

Although taking a 21 or 141 bus from Moorgate is a better route, as I suspect it is quicker.

Unfortunately, that route won’t be viable if Transport for London have their way and execute The Great Bus Robbery.

Which Route Does Transport for London’s Journey Planner Recommend?

Whoever wrote the current version of this is not a Londoner, as it recommends a route with three changes and doesn’t use the Lizzie Line.

If I type in my home address, it does recommend going via Dalston Junction and Whitechapel, which is better, but the walk is too much for me on some days.

I Wouldn’t Be Surprised To See Improvements To The Positions Of Bus Stops

They are not best placed at the moment, but the construction in the area is still going on.

So after construction finishes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some stops moved to better places.

 

August 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Extending The Elizabeth Line – Improving The Route To Windsor & Eton Central Station

This post is now complete.

I took the Elizabeth Line to Slough station, for onward travel to Windsor & Eton Central station today and took these pictures along the route.

Note.

  1. I joined the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate station and took a train all the way to Paddington station.
  2. As a Freedom Pass holder, I use the Elizabeth Line for nothing.
  3. I changed between the Central and Western sections of the Elizabeth Line at Paddington.
  4. I also bought my Slough and Windsor & Eton Central ticket at Paddington from a machine, for the princely sum of £2.10. It was with a Senior Railcard.
  5. There is a lot of building going on along the route.
  6. The diesel train on the Slough-Windsor & Eton Line was a three-car Class 165 train.

I have some thoughts on how to improve the train service to Windsor.

What Do I Mean By Improving?

I don’t mean direct trains, as that would be impossible for various reasons.

  • Platform length at Windsor & Eton Central station would be a problem.
  • Flat crossing across the fast lines would slow the expresses.
  • To make the running efficient, a flyover would need to be built. The disruption of building it and the cost would be immense.

What is needed, is a system, which means that getting from Central Elizabeth Line stations to  Windsor & Eton Central station is as easily as possible.

Windsor Is One Of Our Premier Tourism Destinations

I suspect that on passenger numbers; Bicester Village, Cambridge, Oxford and Windsor are the four most visited tourist sites by rail from London.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to provide some of the services to these destinations, with the exception of Cambridge, with British Rail-era diesel multiple units.

Could A Four-Car Train Be Run On the Slough-Windsor & Eton Line?

I took this picture of the Slough end of the three-car Class 165 train in Windsor & Eton Central station.

 

It does appear that say a four-car Class 387 train could be fitted into the platform, with perhaps some adjustment to the platform and the track.

Would The Train Be Electric Or Battery-Electric Powered?

Consider.

  • The Slough-Windsor & Eton Line is only 2.5 miles long.
  • It is single-track.
  • Trains take six minutes to do the trip.
  • Modern electric trains with better acceleration could probably do the trip in four minutes.
  • A battery-electric train will need charging.

This OpenRailMap map shows the electrification at Slough station.

Note.

  1. 25 KVAC overhead electrification is shown in red.
  2. The Slough-Windsor & Eton Line leaves the map in the South-West corner of the map and runs into the electrified Bay Platform 1.
  3. The electrification in Platform 1 could be used to charge a battery-electric train.
  4. The  Slough-Windsor & Eton Line appears to be partially electrified at the Slough end.

I wonder, if the simplest, most-affordable, least risky approach  is to electrify the 2.5 miles with 25 KVAC overhead electrification, as it would allow a standard Class 387 train to work the route.

Operation Of The Shuttle

Currently, the Class 165 trains take six minutes between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central stations, which means that with turning the train at each end of the route, where the driver must walk seventy metres or so to change ends only a three trains per hour (tph)  schedule is possible.

If I look at some of the station-to-station stops on the Elizabeth Line, I suspect that a well driven electric train could go between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central stations in perhaps four minutes. With a well-marshalled stop at either end of the route in perhaps two minutes, it could be possible to do a round trip in twelve minutes, which would allow a four tph service.

Capacity would go up from nine cars per hour to sixteen. or an over seventy percent increase in capacity.

There are several ways that, this shuttle could operate.

  1. As now, where the drivers have to be fit to change ends in the time.
  2. Two drivers are used with one in each cab.
  3. Drivers walk back on arrival at the terminal and then step-up into the next train. This is standard London Underground practice at stations like Brixton and Walthamstow Central.
  4. The train is fully-automated and the driver sits in either cab with an override, that allows him to take control, if say protestors or criminals get on the track.

As a Control Engineer, I certainly feel the fourth option is possible.

Intriguingly, I suspect the concept could be proved with two drivers in an existing three-car Class 165 train, to see if four tph are possible.

Ticketing

Ticketing is less of a problem now, than it was before March 28th 2022, as from that date Windsor & Eton Central station is now in the contactless area, so you could touch in with your bank card at any station in the London contactless area and touch out at that station.

It’s all explained on this page on the Great Western Railway web site.

I am a Freedom Pass holder, which gives me the ability to get free travel to and from anywhere on the Elizabeth line for free, so getting to and from Slough for nothing, is no problem, if I use the Elizabeth Line.

But I would need a ticket for the section between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central stations.

Before I got on the Elizabeth Line at Moorgate, I tried to buy an extension ticket between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central stations, from the ticket machines at Moorgate, but it was not possible, so in the end, I made a detour to the ticket office at Paddington and bought the ticket there. But when the Elizabeth Line is fully connected, there will have to be a rethink, as Freedom Pass holders from say Ilford would want a day out in Windsor.

Perhaps the Slough-Windsor & Eton Central line should become a fixed-fare line, where a bank card would be charged say a pound for each journey.

Note that I only paid £2.10 for a return ticket at Paddington with my Senior Railcard.

A Better Interchange At Slough

Currently, the Off Peak frequency of trains at Slough is as follows.

  • Slough and Windsor & Eton Central – 3 tph
  • Slough and Paddington – Elizabeth Line – 2 tph
  • Slough and Paddington – Great Western Railway – 2 tph – Non-stop
  • Slough and Paddington – Great Western Railway – 2 tph – Stopping

In TfL Confirms Details Of Reading Services, I wrote that the Elizabeth Line will have 4 tph to London in the Off Peak, with two extra services in the Peak.

This indicates to me, that the Slough and Windsor & Eton Central service needs four tph.

 

 

 

July 11, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Lizzie Line And Circle/District Line Interchange At Paddington – 1st July 2022

This morning I wanted to go between Moorgate and Victoria stations.

It is a journey that can be done in any number of ways.

  • Circle, Hammersmith & City or Metropolitan Line to King’s Cross St. Pancras and then change to the Victoria Line.
  • Northern Line to King’s Cross St. Pancras and then change to the Victoria Line.
  • Northern Line to Euston and then change to the Victoria Line. This can be a cross-platform interchange.
  • Northern City Line to Highbury & Islington and then change to the Victoria Line. This is not an easy interchange.
  • Northern Line to Bank and the change to the Circle or District Line.
  • Circle or Hammersmith & City to Paddington and then change to the Circle or District Line. This interchange involves a walk all the way across Paddington station.
  • 21, 43 or 141 bus to Monument and the change to the Circle or District Line.

If you’re lucky and time it right, you can get a direct Circle Line train, which run at a frequency of six trains per hour (tph).

The Elizabeth Line has opened up another way.

The Elizabeth Line is taken to Paddington and then you walk up the side of the station to the Circle/District Line entrance on the other side of Praed Street from the National Rail station.

These pictures show my walk at Paddington station.

Note.

  1. It is an immaculate step-free climb out of the Elizabeth Line station.
  2. Once at station level, it is a walk up a gentle incline the the Circle/District Line station.
  3. There are shops; including Boots, M & S and Sainsburys, and toilets just inside Paddington station, as you walk beside the station.
  4. There are stairs to walk down to the Circle/District Line platforms.

I walked the transfer in under ten minutes. From Moorgate to Victoria took 38 minutes.

I feel that this route has advantages for many travellers.

  • The Elizabeth Line currently has 12 tph through Paddington.
  • When the Elizabeth Line is fully connected up in Autumn 2022, there will be 22 tph, through Paddington.
  • The convenient shops and toilets will be welcomed by many.
  • It is an easier route, than accessing the Circle/District Line station from inside the main station.

The Lawn, which has shops and cafes, would also be a good place to meet friends, family or a business colleague or client.

Moorgate And Victoria Via The Circle Line

I did this route on the 5th of July, after waiting ten minutes for a Circle Line train. It took me 23 minutes.

July 1, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Step-Free Provision On Elizabeth Line West Of Paddington

The stations may be step-free between street and platform, but West of Paddington, there does not appear to be step-free access between the platform and the train.

These pictures show a selection of stops.

Compare these steps of a few inches, with those I showed in Step-Free Access Between Train And Platform On The Elizabeth Line.

These pictures were taken between Woolwich and Paddington stations and show first class step-free access between train and platform.

The step-free access on the Western branch of the Elizabeth Line does not appear to be up to the standard expected of a world class railway.

Is The Current Arrangement Only Temporary?

I took these pictures at Padding Station today of a Class 345 train alongside Platform 10.

Note.

  1. There are large gaps.
  2. I had a chat with a station guy, who’d just unloaded two wheelchair passengers from the train using a ramp.
  3. He felt things could be improved.
  4. I feel that level access for the Elizabeth Line at Paddington is important.

But when the Elizabeth Line is fully connected, it will be connected to a series of Central London stations, including Paddington, that will have full step-free access between the train and the platform.

So the current arrangement will be improved dramatically in a few months.

The Visitor To London In A Wheel-Chair

The Central London section of the Elizabeth Line between Paddington and Whitechapel or Woolwich stations is step-free between street and train.

So a visitor to London in a wheel-chair might choose to stay in a hotel on this easy section of the Elizabeth Line to make the most of their stay.

But because of the lack of step-free access between train and platform outside of the Central London section, would they have trouble visiting places like Windsor, which would require a change of trains at Slough?

Would It Be Possible To Separate Elizabeth Line and Great Western Railway Services?

Consider.

  • Great Western Railway services between Paddington and Didcot Parkway use the Elizabeth Line platforms at Ealing Broadway, Hayes and Harlington, West Drayton, Slough, Maidenhead, Twyford and Reading.
  • In addition, some express trains stop at Slough and Ealing Broadway.
  • There are also freight trains passing through.

It might be sensible to move the Paddington and Didcot Parkway service to the Elizabeth Line and adjust platform heights appropriately.

June 22, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 7 Comments

London Now Has A Large Communal Cool Room For The Elderly And Disabled

I would suspect that most elderly and disabled people, who live in the London boroughs have a Freedom Pass entitling them to free public transport.

London’s new cool room is large and fully air-conditioned, and stretches eight miles right across the city between Paddington and Canary Wharf.

It is officially called the Elizabeth Line, but others call it Crossrail or the Lizzie Line.

Perhaps, the seats in the stations are hard, to discourage overstaying in the well-controlled cool atmosphere.

 

These seats are used on most stations.

I wonder how many passengers will choose the Elizabeth Line in this heat?

I certainly will!

 

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Using The Elizabeth Line Between London City And Heathrow Airports

Today, I went from London City Airport to Heathrow using the Docklands Light Railway, the underground section of the Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express.

London City Airport And Poplar Stations

I took these pictures on this section of the route using the Docklands Light Railway.

Note.

  1. I started my journey at 13:15.
  2. I arrived at Poplar at 13:27.
  3. The journey took twelve minutes, which agrees with the timetable.

This is a route, that gives a view of London’s rebuilding in the East.

Poplar And Canary Wharf Stations

I walked this section.

Note.

  1. I started my walk from Poplar station at 13:27.
  2. I was on the platform at Canary Wharf station at 13:39.
  3. I used a lift at Poplar station and the escalators at Canary Wharf station.
  4. The walk took twelve minutes, but it was a roundabout route.
  5. It looks like a level walkway is to be built between the two stations.

This Google Map shows the are between the two stations.

Note.

  1. Poplar station in the North-East of the map.
  2. The bridge at Poplar station, that provides the route I took over Aspen Way.
  3. After crossing the bridge and using the lift, I walked along the South side of Aspen Way.
  4. I then walked South down the path at the East side of the site, where it appears from the hoardings, flats will be built.
  5. Finally, I turned left to walk along the dock and then right to cross into Canary Wharf station.

Work appears to have started at Canary Wharf on the Southern end of an extended walkway, that will link to the bridge over Aspen Way.

This direct route could be nearly two hundred metres shorter and would shorten the connection by several minutes.

Canary Wharf And Paddington Stations

This section of the journey took nineteen minutes and I arrived at Paddington at 13:58, as this picture shows.

It had taken forty-three minutes between London City Airport and Paddington stations.

Paddington And Heathrow Airport By Heathrow Express

I took the 14:10 Heathrow Express to the Airport and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. It took about six minutes to walk between the Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express.
  2. This was my first ride on Heathrow Express, since the service has started using Class 387 trains.
  3. The trains are fine, but where are the tables, that I like so much in the other Class 387 trains?
  4. The train arrived at Heathrow Central at 14:29.

This meant my journey between the two airports had taken an hour and fourteen minutes.

Canary Wharf to Heathrow using Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth Line had taken thirty-four minutes.

Return To Paddington On The Elizabeth Line

I came back from Heathrow on an Elizabeth Line train, which took 29 minutes.

That would mean that today using the Elizabeth Line to Heathrow.

  • Heathrow and Canary Wharf will take 48 minutes.
  • Heathrow and London City Airport will take one hour and twenty-nine minutes.

The difference in time between the two trains is solely down to the times of the Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth Line trains between Paddington and Heathrow.

What Difference Will A Direct Elizabeth Line Connection Make?

Canary Wharf are giving a figure of thirty-nine minutes between Canary Wharf and Heathrow, when the Elizabeth Line fully opens.

This would appear to indicate that fully opening the Elizabeth Line connection at Paddington will save nine minutes and the Elizabeth Line will only be a few minutes slower than Heathrow Express, if you can cut out the change at Paddington.

This table compares times between Canary Wharf and Heathrow.

  • Elizabeth Line with a change at Paddington – 48 minutes
  • Elizabeth Line and Heathrow Express with a change at Paddington – 34 minutes
  • Elizabeth Line direct – 39 minutes

How many passengers will swap from Heathrow Express to a complete Elizabeth Line?

Is There Going To Be A Pedestrian Bridge Between Poplar And Canary Wharf Stations?

This Google Map shows the bridge that leads South from Canary Wharf station.

Note how the bridge could have been designed to go through the station to the housing to the North and perhaps ultimately to Poplar DLR station.

These pictures show the complete bridge on the South side and what could be the start of construction on the North side.

Note.

  1. This pictures were taken on two dates.
  2. A full bridge would connect the new housing to the shopping centre and the Jubilee Line station.
  3. Between Poplar and Canary Wharf stations would be around 120 metres.
  4. There would be a straight and level walking route between Poplar DLR station and the two Canary Wharf Jubilee and Elizabeth Line stations.
  5. A short branch would lead to Canary Wharf DLR station.
  6. Stairs would lead to the buses that run through Canary Wharf.

It does appear that the North and South bridges will form a continuous straight route.

The bridge would create a comprehensive transport interchange for East London.

 

 

 

 

June 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Route Between New Cross Gate And Queen’s Park Stations

In Does The Elizabeth Line Offer Similar Benefits To The Bakerloo Line Extension?, I said this.

I suspect that the easiest way between New Cross Gate and Harrow & Wealdstone will be with changes at Whitechapel and Paddington.

I also said, I would try out the route today.

I did a shorter route between New Cross Gate And Queen’s Park stations, with the same two changes.

For each extra station, I can apply Irene’s Law, by adding two minutes for each station.

I took these pictures on the route.

Note.

  1. On the Overground and the Elizabeth Line, there were few spare seats and a number of standees.
  2. Quite a few passengers changed at Whitechapel.
  3. The tunnel at Paddington between Elizabeth and Bakerloo Lines wasn’t very busy.
  4. The Bakerloo Line wasn’t very busy.

I have a few thoughts.

First Time Riders

I got the impression, a lot of passengers were first-time riders.

This could explain the passenger numbers.

Timings

These were my timings.

  • It took me forty-six minutes for the fourteen stations.
  • The interchange at Whitechapel was about four minutes.
  • At Paddington, I walked between the Elizabeth and Bakerloo Line platforms in under five minutes and then just missed a Northbound train.

Irene’s Law

I talk about Irene’s Law in Irene’s Law – Estimating Tube Journey Times, where I define it like this.

If you want to get an estimate of how long a journey will take on the London Underground, you count the number of stations and multiply by two, before adding five for every interchange.

For the Overground, I’ve found that using three minutes for the number of stations gives a reasonable answer.

So how does it fit for my journey?

  • The base time is forty-six minutes.
  • Deduct ten minutes for the two changes gives thirty-six minutes.
  • 36/14 gives 2.6 minutes.

I’ll go with that! But it looks like for a mixed journey like this, 2.5 might give a rough estimate.

How Would This Time Compare With An Extended Bakerloo Line?

Consider.

  • New Cross Gate station could be on an extended Bakerloo Line.
  • The Bakerloo Line timetable gives a time of 26 minutes between Queen’s Park and Elephant & Castle stations.
  • There are three extra stations, which would probably be two minutes per station.

So the time between Queen’s Park and New Cross Gate stations would be 32 minutes via an extended Bakerloo line.

Conclusion

It looks like an extended Bakerloo Line will be a few minutes quicker.

But that the Elizabeth Line will be a good alternative for a few years.

My feeling is that the Elizabeth Line will have enough capacity for several years, but that eventually the Bakerloo Line will need to be extended.

May 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment