The Anonymous Widower

Elizabeth Line To Open On 24 May 2022

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on Crossrail.

This is the sub-title.

Trains to run every five minutes 06:30 – 23:00 Monday to Saturday between Paddington and Abbey Wood.

And these are the first two paragraphs describe what will open.

Transport for London (TfL) has today confirmed that, subject to final safety approvals, the Elizabeth line will open on Tuesday 24 May 2022. The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London and the South East by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity, and transforming accessibility with spacious new stations and walk-through trains. The Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield connecting with the central tunnels from autumn this year.

In the coming weeks, Elizabeth line signage will continue to be uncovered across the network in preparation for the start of customer service. The updated Tube and Rail map will also be released later showing the new central section stations connected with the rest of the TfL network for the first time.

These are some points from the rest of the press release.

  • Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.
  • All services between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street, currently operating as TfL Rail, will be rebranded to the Elizabeth line.
  • Passengers wanting to do longer journeys may need to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street stations.
  • Services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels in autumn when frequencies will also be increased to 22 trains per hour in the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel.
  • Paddington and Canary Wharf will have a journey time of only 17 minutes. It takes thirty minutes by the Underground.
  • All Elizabeth line stations will be staffed from first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance.
  • Step-free access is in place from street to train across all Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich.
  • Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station, which means that it will not open with the other stations on 24 May. It will open later in the year.
  • Changes will be made to 14 bus routes to improve links to Elizabeth line stations in east and south-east London, where many customers will use buses to get to and from stations.
  • Full services across the entire route introduced by May 2023.

I have some thoughts.

My Routes To Crossrail

Like many in London, I will have multiple routes to and from Crossrail.

  • I could take a 21 or a 141 bus from the bus stop round the corner to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could take a 38 bus from another bus stop round the corner to Tottenham Court Road station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 38 or 56 bus from this stop to Angel station and get a Northern Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 38 or 56 bus from this stop to Essex Road station and get a Northern City Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could also take a 30 bus from this stop to Highbury & Islington station and get a Northern City Line train to Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.
  • I could take a 30, 38 or 56 from yet another stop round the corner to Dalston Junction station and get an Overground train to Whitechapel on Crossrail.
  • I could even walk a few hundred metres to take a 76 bus from the stop in the centre of de Beauvoir Town to the Moorgate end of Liverpool Street station on Crossrail.

One of the reasons, I bought my house, was that it would have good connections to Crossrail.

But there is a cloud on the horizon.

My easiest route will probably be to use a 21 or 141 bus direct to Moorgate.

But our South London Mayor in his wisdom is hoping to retire the 21 bus leaving us with just the 141 direct to Moorgate.

I am by training a mathematical modeller and I have lived much of my life at various points on the transport corridor from Cockfosters to Moorgate formed by the Piccadilly Line and the 141 bus. I can even remember using the predecessor of the 141 bus, which was the 641 trolley-bus to come up to London with my grandmother in the 1950s.

I’m certain that when Crossrail opens, that if you live in say Wood Green, Southgate and Oakwood, if you want to use Crossrail to get to Heathrow or Canary Wharf, you will be highly likely to take the Piccadilly Line to Manor House and then take a 141 bus to Moorgate to pick up Crossrail.

The only alternative will be to change at Finsbury Park for the Moorgate Line, which even after the improvements at Finsbury Park, would not be an easy change with a heavy bag or a baby in a buggy.

I talked about this problem before in Does London Need High Capacity Bus Routes To Extend Crossrail?, where I said this.

I suspect that when Crossrail opens, the 141 bus will be heavily used by travellers going between the Northern reaches of the Piccadilly Line and Crossrail at Moorgate.

The 141 bus goes between London Bridge station and Palmers Green and it has a route length of about nine miles.

Currently, buses run every fifteen minutes or so, but I doubt it will be enough in future as Transport for London are rerouting the closely-related 21 bus.

I suspect any route seen as an extension of Crossrail needs to have the following characteristics.

  • High frequency of perhaps a bus every ten minutes.
  • Interior finish on a par with the Class 345 trains.
  • Wi-fi and phone charging.

I would also hope the buses were carbon-free. Given that some of these routes could be quite long, I would suspect hydrogen with its longer range could be better.

It should be noted that the 43 bus, that passes Moorgate, is already carbon-free.

I will be interested to see what action is taken by Transport for London.

I believe their current plan is lacking and will make it difficult for those where I live to get to Crossrail at Moorgate.

Feeder Bus Routes To Crossrail

I believe that there could be considerable scope for more high-capacity high-quality feeder routes to and from Crossrail.

Currently, there are four bus routes that pass Moorgate station, that come into this category.

  • 21 – Lewisham Shopping Centre and Newington Green
  • 43 – London Bridge Station and Friern Barnet
  • 76 – Waterloo Station and Stoke Newington
  • 141 – London Bridge Station and Palmers Green

How many other routes are there, that stop outside a Crossrail station?

I suspect that for many Londoners and visitors, a bus to Crossrail will be their fastest way to their ultimate destination.

For instance, my fastest way to Bond Street, Canary Wharf, Ealing, Heathrow, Paddington and Reading will start with a bus to the Crossrail entrance at Moorgate station.

And it looks like Transport for London will be reducing my bus frequency to Moorgate, when it probably needs a slight increase.

Crossrail’s North-West Essex Extension

One of the elegant parts of Crossrail’s design is its interchange with the Central Line at Stratford station.

  • The Eastbound Crossrail and Central Line platforms share an island platform.
  • The Westbound Crossrail and Central Line platforms share an island platform.

This arrangement allows step-free cross-platform interchange between the two lines.

This map, which was clipped from Wikipedia, shows the North-Eastern end of the Central Line.

I am sure, that those who live to the North-East of Stratford station will be some of the residents of London, who benefit the most from Crossrail.

The following stations are step-free.

  • Buckhurst Hill
  • Debden
  • Epping
  • Hainault
  • Newbury Park
  • Roding Valley
  • South Woodford
  • Stratford
  • Woodford

I suspect more stations will be made step-free.

Cross-Platform Interchanges

It was originally planned, that a similar cross-platform interchange would have been built at Walthamstow Central station, that would have allowed the Victoria Line to continue to Woodford.

As the Stratford interchange works so well, I’m surprised the track layout hasn’t been used at more places on London’s rail network.

The Whitechapel Reverse

In Is Whitechapel Station Going To Be A Jewel In The East?, I discussed the importance of Whitechapel station.

Whitechapel station solves the round-the-corner problem for passengers, who want to go between say Romford and Woolwich stations.

Passengers just walk the few metres between the two platforms at Whitechapel station and take the first train to their destination.

I will be interested to see if Crossrail has an effect on traffic over the Dartfood Crossing and through the tunnels. How many will use Crossrail instead, when they are visiting their team, clients or family on the other side of the river?

I call stations like Whitechapel reversal stations, as they allow passengers to easily reverse direction. There is more about reversal stations in Reversal Stations.

The New Tube Map

These pictures show the new tube map.

Note.

  1. Crossrail is shown as a double purple line.
  2. Thameslink is also shown as a double pink line.
  3. There are certainly some drawing gymnastics to fit it all in.

But Harry Beck’s design survives.

Abbey Wood Station

The more I look at the design of Abbey Wood station and compare it to the Crossrail/Central interchange at Stratford, the more I think it is a substandard station.

Would it have been better, if one island platform had been designed for Westbound services and the other had been designed for Eadtbound services? Crossrail services might be on the outside with North Kent services between the two island platforms.

This would have enabled a journey between say Rochester and Bond Street to have been done with a simple cross-platform change at Abbey Wood station.

May 15, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Gluten-Free Sandwich In Costa

Costa announced a couple of months ago, that they would be selling M & S Food.

Even so, I was still surprised to find this gluten-free sandwich in Costa at Paddington station.

I actually prefer their egg sandwiches, as for some reason egg sandwich fillings seem to go well with gluten-free bread.

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Food | , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail is Over Budget And Very Late – But The End Is Nearly In Sight

The title of this post is a quote from this article on the BBC, which is entitled Elizabeth line: The Ambient Detailing Behind Crossrail’s New Stations.

There have been little signs appearing in the last few days.

  • In Is The Paddington Bakerloo Line Link Opening Soon?, it looked like the new tunnel, that will form the Bakerloo Line Link to Crossrail could be opening soon.
  • In The Covers Are Off At Tottenham Court Road Station, it looked like the builders were finishing off Tottenham Court Road station.
  • I go through Moorgate station about six times a week.This morning, as I normally do, I took the rat-up-the-drainpipe route to the surface, that I described in Up From The Depths At Moorgate Station. The escalators have been reversed and there were a lot of staff around.
  • I’ve also seen guys and gals walking around with clipboards.

This all indicates to me that D-Day is not far-off, when passengers will be allowed to set foot on Crossrail’s platforms and trains.

April 13, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is The Paddington Bakerloo Line Link Opening Soon?

I took these pictures on the Bakerloo Line platforms at Paddington station yesterday.

Note.

  1. There are new direction signs by the entrance, but they are covered in white plastic.
  2. The lights on the lift were showing sensible messages.
  3. The escalators behind the grill doors were running.
  4. It was only shut off using a barrier and black and yellow tape.
  5. The access between the Northbound Bakerloo Line platform and the escalator lobby, still needed to be opened up.

But it does look to me that this route is getting ready to be used.

In The Crossrail Article That Everyone Must Read, I review this article on Ian Visits, which is entitled A Sneak Preview Of London’s New Elizabeth Line Railway.

In a section, that is entitled The Bakerloo Line Link At Paddington Station, I wrote this.

Ian writes this interesting paragraph.

Something though that was added to Paddington station after the funding was approved was a new direct deep tunnel link from the platforms to the Bakerloo line. London Underground contractors built the link, and Andy Lord suggested that they are considering opening up the link before the Elizabeth line opens fully as it would help with offering step-free access for Bakerloo line customers.

Many people find getting to Paddington difficult, as I do from Dalston.

I typically use some roundabout and slow routes and most end up with arriving at Paddington on the Bakerloo Line.

Opening the link early would have the following effects.

  • It would make things a lot easier for me and probably many other passengers.
  • It would add passengers to London’s least-used Underground line.
  • It would add capacity to the Bakerloo Line station at Paddington.

It would also give a piece of the infrastructure, a good soak testing with real passengers and may flag up some changes that needed to be made to details like signage.

Did Ian call it right?

Conclusion

I think he might have!

 

April 12, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 5 Comments

The Crossrail Article That Everyone Must Read

This article on Ian Visits is entitled A Sneak Preview Of London’s New Elizabeth Line Railway.

As the title of this post indicates, Ian’s article is very much a must read and it gives everybody something worthwhile to look forward to, after what has been the worst two years of many peoples’ lives.

The Crossrail Opening Date

There are a few more tests to do and Ian says the line could open a few weeks after Easter. With the Bank station upgrade apparently going well as I reported in Final Tunnelling Gets Underway On Bank Station Blockade and likely to open in mid-May, I wonder if TfL would prefer that the two projects opened at different times for management and operational reasons.

Easter is the 17th of April, and two weeks later is May Day, with the Bank Holiday on the Monday.

If they can do all the tests, there would be good reasons to open Crossrail on the first of May.

  • It’s a different day to the opening of the Bank station upgrade.
  • They would have two clear days to get Crossrail open.
  • A lot of people will be going to Central London.
  • Other Mayors would have organised a party.
  • A Bank Holiday would give the new infrastructure a proper test with real passengers and lots of children.
  • Crossrail could also help to cover for a late-opening Bank Station Upgrade.

If I needed to bet on it, my money would be on an opening on Sunday, the first of May.

The Bakerloo Line Link At Paddington Station

Ian writes this interesting paragraph.

Something though that was added to Paddington station after the funding was approved was a new direct deep tunnel link from the platforms to the Bakerloo line. London Underground contractors built the link, and Andy Lord suggested that they are considering opening up the link before the Elizabeth line opens fully as it would help with offering step-free access for Bakerloo line customers.

Many people find getting to Paddington difficult, as I do from Dalston.

I typically use some roundabout and slow routes and most end up with arriving at Paddington on the Bakerloo Line.

Opening the link early would have the following effects.

  • It would make things a lot easier for me and probably many other passengers.
  • It would add passengers to London’s least-used Underground line.
  • It would add capacity to the Bakerloo Line station at Paddington.

It would also give a piece of the infrastructure, a good soak testing with real passengers and may flag up some changes that needed to be made to details like signage.

Opening The Liverpool Street and Moorgate Pedestrian Link

In London’s First Underground Roller Coaster, I described this link, which I believe will be used by more than just rail passengers.

I feel that like the Bakerloo Line Link at Paddington station, that this link could be opened early.

Conclusion

I can’t wait for Crossrail to open.

 

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Walking The Line

A friend asked, if I’d like to accompany her on a walk along the tunnels of the Post Office Railway.

I said yes, went along and took these pictures.

Note.

  1. The tracks are only two-foot gauge.
  2. The trains were driverless and electrically powered.
  3. The two modern trains with the plastic roofs; one of which is red and the other green, are used to take Postal Museum visitors along the tunnels.
  4. The yellow train was painted that colour for its part in the Bruce Willis film; Hudson Hawk.
  5. A large number of the sleepers had plaques on them, indicating their sponsors. The sleeps looked to be nearly all original.
  6. The paintings on the wall show the Twelve Days of Christmas and date from when Christmas parties for children were held in the tunnels.
  7. The tunnels were dug by hand using a Greathead Shield.
  8. There was no evidence of rodents.

It is a unique railway that is well worth a visit.

A few other facts and thoughts.

New Tunnels

Most modern tunnels like Crossrail, High Speed Two and the Thames Tideway are now dug by tunnel boring machines or TBMs. These pictures show Millicent and Ursula preparing to start boring the Thames Tideway.

Not all tunnels though use a TBM. Recently, the new running tunnel at Bank and pedestrian tunnels at Paddington and possibly Moorgate have been dug in the traditional way, but probably with the aid of some of the likes of JCB’s finest.

There was also the innovative way, that Whitechapel station was built, that I described in Coal Mining in Whitechapel.

Tunnel Life Research

This is a paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for the Post Office Railway.

A team from the University of Cambridge has taken over a short, double track section of unused Post Office tunnel near Liverpool Street Station, where a newly built tunnel for Crossrail is situated some two metres beneath. The study is to establish how the original cast-iron lining sections, which are similar to those used for many miles of railway under London, resist possible deformation and soil movement caused by the new works. Digital cameras, fibre optic deformation sensors, laser scanners and other low-cost instruments, reporting in real time, have been installed in the vacated tunnel. As well as providing information about the behaviour of the old construction materials, the scheme can also provide an early warning if the new tunnel bores are creating dangerous soil movement

This is worthwhile research, as there have been some problems with London’s older tunnels.

Building The Paddington Bakerloo Line Link Project

This was done in and around the Paddington end of the Post Office Railway.

There is a link to a professional presentation about this complex project in Paddington Bakerloo Line Link Project, London.

Royal Mail Group assets at Paddington helped in the comstruction of the link.

December 29, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Alstom Hydrogen Aventras And Great Western Branch Lines Between Paddington And Oxford

In Alstom And Eversholt Rail Sign An Agreement For The UK’s First Ever Brand-New Hydrogen Train Fleet, I give my thoughts on Alstom’s new hydrogen train, which I have called the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra.

One reader suggested these lines in a comment, as they are all run by diesel Class 165 trains.

These are the lines, that could be converted to Hydrogen operation.

Greenford Branch

The branch runs between West Ealing and Greenford via Drayton Green, Castle Bar Park and South Greenford.

  • It has a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).
  • The branch is 2.5 miles long.
  • Services take eleven minutes.
  • It needs a single train to run the service.

Note.

  1. In GWR To Test Battery Train On Branch Line, I wrote about Great Western Railway’s plans to test battery-eclectic trains on this line.
  2. The platform at Greenford station may need lengthening to accommodate the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra.
  3. It is my view that the branch needs four tph.
  4. It might also be possible to run Peak hour services to and from Paddington.

I do think that if the train length issue is solved that a single Alstom Hydrogen Aventra could work this branch.

A two-car Class 230 train would certainly fit.

Windsor Branch

The branch runs between Slough and Windsor & Eton Central.

  • It has a frequency of three tph
  • The branch is 2.8 miles long.
  • Services take six minutes.
  • It needs a single train to run the service.

Note.

  1. The extra capacity of the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra could be welcome.
  2. Prince Charles would like it.

I do think that a single Alstom Hydrogen Aventra could work this branch.

Marlow Branch

The branch runs between Maidenhead and Marlow via Furze Platt, Cookham and Bourne End.

  • It has a frequency of one tph
  • The branch is 7.1 miles long.
  • Services take twenty-three minutes.
  • The service reverses at Bourne End.
  • It needs a single train to run the service.

Note that the three-car Alstom Hydrogen Aventra may be too long to execute the reverse at Bourne End.

I do think that if the Bourne End problem can be solved that a single Alstom Hydrogen Aventra could work this branch.

The two-car Class 165 train, that currently works the branch is 46 metres long, so a two-car battery-electric train may be needed for this branch. A two-car Class 230 train would certainly fit.

Regatta Line

The branch runs between Twyford and Henley-on-Thames via Wargrave and Shiplake.

  • It has a frequency of two tph
  • The branch is 4.6 miles long.
  • Services take twelve minutes.
  • It needs a single train to run the service.

Note.

  1. If this line needed more capacity trains could be doubled up, as there are no length issues.
  2. It might also be possible to run Peak hour services to and from Paddington.

I do think that a single Alstom Hydrogen Aventra could work this branch.

North Downs Line

The line runs between Reading and Gatwick Airport via Wokingham, Crowthorne, Sandhurst, Blackwater, Farnborough North, North Camp, Ash, Guildford, Shalford, Chilworth, Gomshall, Dorking West, Dorking Deepdene, Betchworth, Reigate and Redhill

  • It has a frequency of two tph
  • The route is 53.1 miles long.
  • The route is partially-electrified with 750 VDC third-rail electrification.
  • The route has been planned for 100 mph trains.
  • Services take eighty-two minutes.
  • It needs six trains to run the service.

Note.

  1. The route is proposed to be run by four-car Class 769 bi-mode trains.
  2. Would a three-car train be sufficient for this route?
  3. The Alstom Hydrogen Aventras are only 90 mph trains and would they be fast enough?

I do think that Alstom Hydrogen Aventras could work this route, but given the number of trains and possible capacity and speed issues, a four-car battery-electric train could be better suited to the route.

Reading And Basingstoke Line

This line runs between Reading and Basingstoke via Reading West, Mortimer and Bramley

  • It has a frequency of two tph
  • The route is 15.4 miles long.
  • There is 25 KVAC overhead electrification at Reading.
  • There is 750 VDC third-rail electrification at Basingstoke, but the platform used by the service is unelectrified.
  • The route has been planned for 100 mph trains.
  • Services take twenty-eight minutes.
  • It needs two trains to run the service.

Note.

  1. For a battery-electric train to work this route, it might need a charging system at Basingstoke.
  2. The Alstom Hydrogen Aventras are only 90 mph trains and would they be fast enough?

I do think that a pair of Alstom Hydrogen Aventras could work this service.

Oxford Canal Line

This route runs between Didcot Psrkway and Banbury via Appleford, Culham, Radley, Oxford, Tackley, Heyford and Kings Sutton.

  • It is effectively two routes with a combined frequency of two tph between Didcot Junction and Oxford and half that between Oxford and Banbury.
  • The full route is 33 miles long.
  • There is 25 KVAC overhead electrification at Didcot Parkway.
  • Services take forty-one minutes.
  • It probably needs four trains to run the service.

I do think that a small fleet of Alstom Hydrogen Aventras could work this service.

Some General Thoughts

These are a few general points.

Stabling And Hydrogen Fuelling

Reading Train Care Facility is a large depot to the west of Reading.

  • It is ideally placed for all the lines, that I’ve mentioned.
  • It is connected to all the lines by electrified lines.

I am sure that it would be possible to build a hydrogen fuelling facility at the depot.

Two-Car Battery-Electric Trains

It looks like the Greenford and Marlow Branches might need to be served by two-car battery-electric trains.

Four-Car Trains

Some of the services might be run by four-car trains, as these would be more suitable for the number of passengers.

Total Number Of Trains

My rough estimates of numbers of trains are as follows.

  • Greenford Branch – 1 train
  • Windsor Branch – 1 train
  • Marlow Line – 1 train
  • Regatta Line – 1 train
  • North Downs Line – 6 trains
  • Reading And Basingstoke Line – 2 trains
  • Oxford Canal Line – 4 trains

This would be a total of sixteen trains or ten, if the Class 769 trains were used on the North Downs Line.

Additional Routes

There may be other routes, where the trains could be used, that are handy for Reading Train Care Facility.

Hydrogen or battery power may give advantages in opening new routes.

Would Hydrogen Trains Attract Passengers And Tourists?

I think they could, as if nothing there is a curiosity value.

Conclusion

This collection of routes surround Reading Train Care Facility and would be a nice package to run with hydrogen or battery-electric trains.

 

 

November 13, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Crossrail Tracks To The West Of Paddington Station

This map from carto metro, shows the track layout to the West of the Crossrail platforms at Paddington station.

Note.

  1. The Crossrail tunnels are shown in dotted purple at the Eastern end of the map.
  2. The tracks change from purple to black at the Royal Oak tunnel portal.
  3. Two tracks named CRL Eastbound and CRL Westbound appear to pass either side of two turnback sidings.
  4. These tracks change to purple in colour and can be followed to the Western end of the map.
  5. Tracks break off from this route to the North and serve the depot at Old Oak Common.

It appears to be a very clean and simple layout.

August 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 2 Comments

Crossrail Formally Hands Paddington Station Over To TfL

The title of this post, is the same as that article on Ian Visits.

Ian says this about the current status of the stations.

This is the sixth of the Elizabeth line stations to be transferred over to TfL, following Custom House, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Woolwich and Liverpool Street stations, which leaves only Canary Wharf, Whitechapel and the late running Bond Street to go.

Paddington station certainly looked very ready, when I visited yesterday and took the pictures in The Main Crossrail Entrance At Paddington Station.

 

August 10, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Main Crossrail Entrance At Paddington Station

These pictures show the entrance to Crossrail at Paddington station, which is by Platform 1.

Note.

  1. The whole entrance is under a massive glass roof.
  2. Eastbourne Terrace is above the station and connected to it by stairs and a pair of lifts.
  3. There is a bus stop and short-term parking on Eastbourne Terrace.
  4. There are a large number of escalators between the main line station and the Crossrail level.
  5. There are plenty of seats everywhere.
  6. It is only a short walk between one set of escalators to Crossrail and the shops in the Lawn.

I think Brunel would have liked it, as it has a touch of the over-the-top.

This is a 3D Google Map of the new entrance.

Note.

  1. The cloud pattern on the roof is clearly visible.
  2. The lifts to the station are in the middle and the stairs are at the ends of the roof.
  3. The blue dot shows the position of the bus stop, where about five routes stop.

Will cars and taxis be able to drop people off in Eastbourne Terrace?

Conclusion

It’s an impressive new entrance to the station.

 

August 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments