The Anonymous Widower

An Analysis Of Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

I wrote this post in January 2017, when I decided to cut this out of my original post of A Hard Look At Crossrail 2.

Nearly two years later, I decided to update the post after the new platforms have reopened at Waterloo station.

I wrote Is This One Of The Best Platform Access Routes In Europe?, after the access to the new platforms was substantially completed in May 2019.

This has meant a further upgrade has been incorporated.

The Waterloo Suburban Services Proposed To Move To Crossrail 2

These suburban termini and their routes into Waterloo station are proposed  to be connected to Crossrail 2.

  1. Chessington South – 34 minutes – 9 stops
  2. Epsom – 37 minutes – 9 stops
  3. Hampton Court – 36 minutes – 9 stops
  4. Shepperton – 51 minutes – 14 stops

The times are for a typical one-way journey from Waterloo, which usually has a frequency of two trains per hour (tph).

I suspect that the timings are designed, so that they can be achieved by a 75 mph Class 455 train.

An Upgraded Waterloo Station

Waterloo station is getting a massive upgrade in August 2017, which I describe in detail in What Is Happening At Waterloo In August?.

That upgrade has now opened and is now substantiallycomplete in May 2019.

After the upgrade, Waterloo station will handle the suburban services better than it does today.

  • There will be five extra platforms, with the reopening of the platforms 20 to 24 in Waterloo International.
  • Together these platforms should be able to handle another twenty tph.
  • There will be longer platforms, which will all be able to take twelve-car trains.
  • There will be an improved track layout, both in Waterloo and on the approach.
  • There will be related improvements to improve access to the Underground and the Waterloo and City Line at Waterloo station.

All this should mean Waterloo station, will be capable of handling a substantial increase in trains and passengers, with an improvement in efficiency and comfort.

As I said in Rail Engineer On New Platforms At London Waterloo, the number of passengers handled in a year will increase by twenty-five percent.

Improvements On The Branches

Each branch has its own problems, but the following would help in various places.

  • More step-free access.
  • Some level crossings on the branches can probably be removed..
  • Improved access to onward services like buses, cycling and walking at some stations.
  • Some trackwork to allow Crossrail 2’s proposed frequency of 4 tph.

These improvements will generally be needed, whether the services terminate in Waterloo or are a part of Crossrail 2.

New Trains

Currently, suburban services out of Waterloo are run by a large mixed fleet of generally excellent trains.

This gives 264 four-car trains and 60 five-car trains with a total of 1137 carriages.

South Western Railway are purchasing 30 five-car and sixty ten-car new Aventras with a total of 750 carriages.

The Class 707 trains and the Aventras could offer serious performance improvements, as they are probably designed to be able to have a short as possible time, for a stop at a station.

In an ideal world, all trains running these branches would be identical and all platforms would be designed to fit them perfectly, just as many Overground platforms, fit the Class 378 trains.

Crossrail 2 would do this, with possibly the same Class 345 trains, that have been developed for Crossrail.

But why shouldn’t the routes be worked by a homogeneous fleet, serving platforms and stations designed for the trains?

I believe that Crossrail 2 could make no extra difference to the passenger going between these branches and Central London, except for the route from Wimbledon, which will be in tunnel.

But the new Aventra trains will have three very big effects.

  • They will be walk-through ten-car trains.
  • They will have much better capacity for bags, cases and all the other paraphernalia passengers bring.

But most importantly, if they live up to the claims of train manufacturers, the high performance, well-designed trains with a consistent train-platform interface will save as much as three minutes a station.

  • Trains will stop from line speed faster.
  • Trains will accelerate back to line speed faster.
  • Bigger lobbies, will enable passengers to load and unload faster.
  • Wheelchair passengers and buggy pushers would roll across on the flat.
  • Regenerative braking and light weight will save the train operating company in electricity and train access costs.

Until we get actual figures, even one minute a stop, would reduce times on the branches as follows. Figures in brackets are for two minutes a station.

  1. Chessington South – 25 minutes (16)
  2. Epsom -28 minutes (19)
  3. Hampton Court – 27 minutes (18)
  4. Shepperton -37 minutes (23)

Note that the first three services are now under half-an-hour, without making any allowance that the timings will be for a 100 mph train with better performance, than the 75 mph Class 455 trains.

Is Four Trains Per Hour Possible?

If the round trip from Waterloo can be done in an hour, that means that just two ten-car trains can provide a 2 tph service, as opposed to the four trains now needed.

I suspect that South Western Railway will be experimenting to see if they can get a Shepperton round trip in under the hour.

It may seem difficult, but there are certain factors in their favour.

  • The Shepperton Branch Line is self-contained after it leaves the Kingston Loop Line.
  • It is double-track, so there is no passing loop problems.
  • There are no level crossings.
  • The stations on the branch are fairly evenly-spaced at just over a mile apart.

If a total out-and-back time from Waterloo could be under an hour for each branch, this would mean that a 4 tph service on a branch, would need just four trains.

So for each branch to have 4 tph would need just 16 ten-car trains, with similar performance and characteristics to Class 707 trains or the Aventras.

Currently, to provide a 2 tph service, needs sixteen trains, because it takes over an hour to do a complete round trip.

Would it be possible for trains to shuttle up and down these branches?

Look at the example of the East London Line, where four tph shuttle between dedicated platforms at Highbury and Islington and Dalston Junction stations in the North of London to various destinations in the South.

In Increased Frequencies On The East London Line, I reported on Transport for London’s plans to up the frequency on this line to 20 tph.

So could we be seeing something similar at Waterloo, where trains to Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations, each have their own dedicated platforms?

The four platforms could even be adjacent, so if you want Wimbledon or a station common to more than one branch, displays would lead you to the first train.

Put simply to provide 4 tph for all branches would need 16 modern ten-car trains and four dedicated platforms at Waterloo. How efficient is that for passengers and train operating companies?

Crossrail 2’s Proposals For Services On The Branches

Wikipedia says this about Crossrail 2 services to these suburban branches, after surfacing from the tunnel South of Wimbledon station.

I think that Wimbledon will have to handle perhaps another 8 tph from other places on the fast lines. But they do that now!

Between Wimbledon And Waterloo

South Western Railway have not disclosed their hand yet, but I suspect that they are doing the maths.

I think that it will be possible for a 4 tph Crossrail 2 service and all the other slow services between Wimbledon and Waterloo to use a single pair of tracks carrying 20 tph.

Surely, if 20 tph can be handled on the East London Line with ten year old signalling technology and Class 378 trains, then this frequency can be handled with modern signalling and new Aventras.

It should be noted that Crossrail and Thameslink can both handle 24 tph under Automatic Train Operation (ATO) in a tunnel, so surely the slow lines can handle 20 tph on the surface under ATO or just using plain good driving.

There could even be capacity for some extra services.

Wimbledon Station

Wimbledon station would only need two platforms for these services, but I do feel that work would need to be done to accommodate the passengers.

But the station would probably not need the massive modifications until it was decided to build the Crossrail 2 tunnel.

Clapham Junction Station

If all these trains can be accommodated on just two tracks between Waterloo and Wimbledon, then these services could call at two dedicated platforms at Clapham Junction station.

  • All trains would stop.
  • Staff and passengers would see a succession of identical trains stopping every three minutes.
  • Passengers would have a maximum wait for fifteen minutes for a direct train, to their specific destination.
  • All trains to stations on the branches would use the same platform, making it easy for passengers.
  • As on the East London Line, trains for any station on the branches would be to a clock-face pattern.

The two platforms could be opposite faces of an island platform, with a waiting room, cafe and toilets in the middle.

Vauxhall Station

If it can be done at Clapham Junction station, why not have a dedicated pair of platforms at Vauxhall station, giving access to the Victoria Line?

I use the link at Vauxhall, between the Victoria Line and Waterloo suburban services occasionally and every time I do, it seems to have been improved.

This map from shows the lines at Vauxhall station.

Lines At Vauxhall

Lines At Vauxhall

I think it is true to say, that if the Victoria Line had been built in the last decade or so, the Victoria Line station could have been placed underneath the main line station.

But even so, I suspect Network Rail and Transport for London have ideas to improve the interchange.

Only Sixteen Ten-Car Aventras Will Be Needed

My calculations show that modern 100 mph trains, like the Aventras that South Western Railway have ordered could provide 4 tph on the Crossrail 2 routes with just sixteen ten-car trains.

All the calculations I’ve done show that replacing trains with faster modern ones, increases the frequency and results in more efficient use of trains.

South Western Railway have bought sixty of these trains.

So they must have some impressive plans!


Crossrail 2’s proposals for the suburban branch lines from Waterloo to the four destinations of Chessington South, Epsom, Hampton Court and Shepperton stations, can be fulfilled using the following.

  • More platform capacity in Waterloo.
  • Modern high-performance 100 mph trains like Class 707 trains or Aventras.
  • Some improvements to track and signals between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.
  • Wimbledon station would only need minor modifications.
  • A measure of ATO between Waterloo and Wimbledon stations.

What effect will this have on the design of Crossrail 2?


December 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Exploring The Shepperton Branch Line

The Shepperton Branch Line could be incorporated into Crosssrail 2, so when I went to Fulwell station to look at the drainage works, I looked at the rest of the branch.

I’ve separated my thoughts into sections.

Fulwell Station

The pictures I took at Fulwell station, are shown separately in Fulwell Station And The Drainage Works.

It is very much a simple suburban station, but because it is next to Fulwell bus garage, it appears to be well served by buses.

Shepperton Station

Shepperton station wasn’t intended to be the terminus of the branch. Wikipedia talks of original plans crossing the Thames, to the East of Chertsey Bridge, but this plan was abandoned in 1862.

Looking at maps, there wouldn’t be any space between the houses to extend the line, over a 150 years later.

Around Shepperton Station

Around Shepperton Station

The station is South of the well-marked Sunbury Golf Course.

It is in some ways, a curious mix.

  • A long single platform.
  • No toilets, coupled with none on the trains.
  • Not a great deal of car parking.
  • Services for the passengers are only minimal.
  • Although only one train per hour runs on Sundays, the single line branch can handle more.

But it has a large modern station building.

I needed the toilet, so I went round the corner to a Costa and had a coffee and did my business.

Kempton Park Station

Kempton Park station is not one of the best on the line.

I would suspect that the racecourse would welcome this station being on Crossrail 2.

Crossrail 2

If Crossrail 2 comes to the Shepperton Branch Line, it will have effects on the line its stations and the surrounding area.

This document on the TfL web site is entitled Crossrail 2 factsheet: Services between Norbiton, Kingston and Shepperton, gives details.

This is said.

On the Shepperton branch up to 8 trains per hour, in each direction, would serve Norbiton, Kingston and Hampton Wick stations. 4 trains per hour, in each direction, would run west of Hampton Wick to Shepperton, calling at all stations.

The delivery of Crossrail 2 will be accompanied by station improvement work at a number of locations, including platform work and the installation of new lifts or ramps where there is currently no step-free access.

It is also proposed that a second platform at Shepperton station is provided.

Obviously, with up to eight trains an hour (8 tph) in each direction, there will need to be a second platform at Shepperton station.

This Google Map shows the station area in detail.

Shepperton Station

Shepperton Station


  1. The White-roofed building to the North-East of the station symbol, is the new station building.
  2. The station will get four tph of  1500-capacity Crossrail, with perhap 2 tph going to Waterloo in the Peak.
  3. A second platform could be a tight fit, but it is probably possible.

Some will argue, that Shepperton, doesn’t need this massive increase in capacity.

,There would appear to be few places on the Shepperton Branch to reverse the trains.

This Google Map shows.Teddington station.

Teddington Station

Teddington Station

A rebuilt or remodelled Teddington station would be a serious possibility.

  • The station has some space.
  • A reversing siding or a bay platform could be squeezed in.
  • The trains could also use a siding at Strawberry Hill Depot to reverse.
  • Reversing 4 tph could probably be easily handled at Teddington.

The Wikipedia entry for Crossrail 2, says this.

Shared use of the Shepperton Branch Line with 6-8 train per hour to Teddington and 4 trains per hour to Shepperton.

So perhaps to Crossrail 2, using Teddington station is more than a possibility.

Crossrail 2’s biggest problem on this line is not the trains or stations, but the level crossing at New Malden, that I wrote about in A Very Bad Level Crossing Problem.


October 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Fulwell Station And The Drainage Works

On my way back to Waterloo on the Shepperton Branch Line, I just had to visit Fulwell station and the drainage work, I wrote about in If Your Train Is Late Should You Blame Henry The Eighth?.

I took these pictures.

It is a substantial piece of engineering.

  • The water is collected from the area of the tunnel into a large tank on the station side of the tunnel.
  • The water is then pumped to the lagoons at Fulwell Junction.
  • When there is available capacity, the water is drained away, using the drains under the Kingston Loop Line through Teddington.
  • The electricity requirement was high and required a separate supply and sub-station.
  • The pipework isn’t small.

According to this press release from Network Rail, the works are costing £6 million. This picture of flooding at Fulwell station is from the document.

Flooding At Fulwell

Flooding At Fulwell

This map from, shows the lines in the area.

Lines At Fulwell Station

Lines At Fulwell Station

I heard comments like these, from several of the locals.

  • The flooding has been terrible at times in recent years.
  • If the works cure the flooding they’ll be very pleased.
  • They’ll be glad to get the footpath reopened.
  • But I didn’t hear any complaints of too much noise.

It does seem to me, that a November 2016 completion date could be possible.

If you were an engineer working on this project, would you want a dry winter or a very bad one, to give the system the sternest test, the Devil can devise?

Final Thoughts

I suppose the only other thing that could be to clean the water and use it for watering one of the golf courses in the area. But probably the cost of the treatment plant, which would be something like the Old Ford Water Recycling Plant, would be too much.

As to hiding or burying the pipe, I suspect that there is a plan for this, possibly using nature’s camouflage and/or lots of soil.

The station is also a good example of traditional cable ducting, but the design probably predates the system I wrote about in Keeping Your Wiring Tidy.

I’ll go back in a couple of years and have a take a butcher’s.

Hopefully, it will still look like a job that has been well done!

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

If Your Train Is Late Should You Blame Henry The Eighth?

I have just read this fascinating article in the Rail Engineer, entitled Fulwell’s Blue Lagoons.

This is the first paragraph.

What do we have to thank – or blame – King Henry the Eighth for? The Church of England? Some very ruined abbeys? The fashion for padded shoulders? Flooding and subsequent train delays on the Shepperton branch?

Yes, they’re all down to him.

Henry’s need for water at Hampton Court Palace, meant that a whole series of problems were left for Victorian railway engineers, when they built the Shepperton Branch, that have persisted to the present day.

Read the article to find out how Network Rail have hopefully solved the problems.

This Google Map Shows the area around Fulwell and Strawberry Hill stations.

Between Fulwell and Strawberry Hill Stations

Between Fulwell and Strawberry Hill Stations

The tunnel talked about in the article is to the West of Fulwell station.

October 30, 2016 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 1 Comment