The Anonymous Widower

Heathrow Congestion Charge Is Expected To Raise £1.2bn A Year

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Heathrow airport could make £1.2 billion a year from a congestion charge levied on drivers arriving at the airport by car, according to analysis.

The article also says.

  • The charge will start when the third runway opens.
  • The charge will be levied on all cars, even the cleanest.

It is designed to encourage drivers to use public transport, like buses, coaches and trains.

I don’t believe that you can force a lot of passengers to give up their cars, when going to the Airport,. But then for the sake of the planet, they must give up their diesel 4x4s and large cars.

As a non-driver and almost a non-flyer, I’m not affected!

September 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

What Will Boris Do About The Proposed Third Runway At Heathrow?

I have tackled this before in October 2016 in a post called Changing Sides.

This was how I started that post.

There is an interesting article in The Sunday Times today, entitled Boris Retreats In Fight Against Third Runway.

Boris is apparently saying he won’t oppose a third runway at Heathrow, so if anything he’s being consistent in changing horses, just as he did with Michael Gove.

But perhaps more surprisingly, Willie Walsh, the Chief Executive of IAG, who own BA, is quoted as calling Heathrow a fantasy project, which has been gold-plated and inflated by the owners to maximise their returns, at the expense of the airlines.

The paper also says that Gatwick will build a new runway anyway.

Remember, it was written before Theresa May’s government decided to allow Heathrow’s Third Runway.

Since the decision to allow Heathrow to build a Third Runway was made nearly three years ago in October 2016, there have been a lot of changes.

Notably, Boris has gone from Foreign Secretary and an MP in a Heathrow Expansion-opposing constituency to Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister he is supposed to look at the bigger picture.

Unless he’s totally stupid he must have noted the following.

Brexit Has Changed From A Simple Quick Exit Into A Slow And Very Tortuous Process

I would expect an opinion poll would show that the UK population thinks that sorting out Brexit is a much more important problem, than the decision on a new runway in the South East of England.

So will Boris put Heathrow’s Third Runway on the back burner, given the following factors

Gatwick Will Build A Second Runway Anyway

In the Wikipedia entry for Gatwick Airport, there is a section entitled Expansion Proposals, where this is the first paragraph.

Gatwick has been included in a number of reviews of airport capacity in southeastern England. Expansion options have included a third terminal and a second runway, although a 40-year agreement not to build a second runway was made in 1979 with West Sussex County Council. Expanded operations would allow Gatwick to handle more passengers than Heathrow does today, with a new terminal between two wide-spaced runways. This would complement or replace the South Terminal, depending on expected future traffic.

My project management knowledge tells me, that Gatwick could add a second runway and upgrade the terminals in a shorter time, than Heathrow can build a third runway.

But more importantly, Gatwick Airport could build the extra runway and terminal without disruption to airport passengers, aircraft and road traffic on the nearby M23.

Boris’s only problem with Gatwick expansion, is the amount of post he’ll get from Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

Disruption Must Be Avoided

Recent timetabling and construction fiascoes on Thameslink and Northern Rail should have sent a message to politicians, that large infrastructure projects must be created without disrupting train or air passengers and road traffic.

Can Heathrow Be Built Without Disrupting Traffic On The M25?

It is interesting to look back at the basic facts at the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5.

  • A public enquiry into the project lasted 525 days.
  • The terminal sits on a 260 hectare site.
  • Construction started in 2002.
  • The terminal opened in 2008.
  • Construction finisged in 2011.
  • The terminal cost £4.2billion.

The construction of Terminal 5, also needed the M25 to be widened and linked to the terminal.

This Google Map shows Heathrow Terminal 5 and its relationship to Heathrow’s current two runways and the M25.

I remember the construction of Terminal 5 well, if only because, I was stuck in or moving slowly along that section of the M25 so many times.

As this immense construction project, is probably in living memory of much of the population of West London, how will they react to the thought of all the disruption, that building the third runway will cause.

Would Uxbridge, throw Boris out, if he approved the building of a third runway at Heathrow?

Heathrow Is A Pollution Blackspot

Various factors mean, that the surroundings of Heathrow are a pollution blackspot, mainly caused by the large number of diesel vehicles on the M4 and M25 motorways and others bringing passengers and goods to the airport.

I believe that any Planning Permission for the third runway, will require Heathrow to do something about the pollution. This could be easier than anybody thinks, as more of us will be using electric vehicles by the time the runway opens.

Heathrow are already proposing their ULEZ or Ulta Low Emission Zone.

Heathrow Rail Access Will Improve

Crossrail will eventually serve Heathrow in a year or so and this will improve rail access to the Airport significantly.

Other rail links are also in prospect.

The first two would be privately financed.

This better rail access may reduce the traffic and pollution around the airport, but it will make it easier, for passengers to use the airport and traffic will grow.

High Speed Rail

Increasingly, Heathrow and the other London airports, will come under competition from High Speed Rail.

Eurostar has upwards of seventy percent of the London-Paris and London-Brussels passenger markets.

I have travelled a few times from London to Amsterdam on Eurostar and feel that four hours is my limit for comfortable train travel.

I estimate the following journeys would be possible on Eurostar.

  • London and Cologne via Brussels in four hours
  • London and Bordeaux via Paris in four and a half hours.
  • London and Frankfurt in Five hours.

Another competitor to air services out of London will be London and Edinburgh services on the East Coast Main Line, which are being updated with new faster trains and journey times under four hours.

Air Cargo And Heathrow

I looked up air cargo in Wikipedia and these points are there.

  • Fifty-percent of all air frieght is belly-cargo on airlines.
  • An industry expert estimates that 15-20 tonnes of air cargo is worth 30-40 economy passenger seats, when both are on passenger planes.
  • In 2017, the IATA observed a 9% rise in freight tonne kilometres
  •  Boeing is doubling its 767F production since 2016 to three per month in 2020.

Heathrow dominates the air cargo traffic into and out of the UK and last year it handled 1,788,815 tonnes of cargo, which was a 5.3% increase in tonnage on 2017.

However, it does appear that the second largest cargo airport in the UK; East Midlands, handled about the same amount of freight as Heathrow in April 2018.

There is also the East Midlands Gateway close to that airport, which will be a massive logistics park., with a rail connection.

Perhaps the pressures of the congested Heathrow, with some nudging from the Government could remove the cargo aircraft from the airport to more suitable airports like East Midlands and Doncaster Sheffield.

Manchester Airport Is The Most Important Airport North Of London

Manchester Airport is the busiest Airport after Heathrow and Gatwick and over the next few years it will catch up to a certain extent.

In Changes Signalled For HS2 Route In North, I said this about Manchester Airport’s rail connectivity if High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail are combined across the Pennines.

If High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail are developed as laid out in the Transport for the North report, the following cities will be connected to Manchester Airport.

  • Birmingham – High Speed Two
  • Blackpool – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Bradford – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Carlisle – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Edinburgh – Northern Powerhouse Rail/East Coast Main Line
  • Glasgow – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Hull – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Leeds – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • London – High Speed Two
  • Newcastle -High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Preston – Northern Powerhouse Rail/West Coast Main Line
  • Sheffield – Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • Sunderland –  Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • York – High Speed Two/Northern Powerhouse Rail

Manchester Airport will probably become the most important station in the North with High Speed connections to a large part of England and Scotland.

Heathrow and Gatwick will find they have a very big and well-connected Northern competitor.

Extinction Rebellion And Other Environmental Protesters

Most of the environmental protesters like Extinction Rebellion seem to have focused their attention on Heathrow, where airports are concerned.

They will fight tooth and nail to stop Heathrow’s third runway.

Will Heathrow Get The Planning Permission They Need?

I think that this is the sort of planning decision, that will end up with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Theresa Villiers.

Her Wikipedia entry says this.

Villiers favours construction of a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and Manchester, arguing that flyers could use capacity at airports such as Birmingham International and Manchester International Airport.

She is also quoted as being against a third runway at Heathrow, when she was a member of Davisd Cameron’s cabinet.

Grant Schapps, who is the current Secretary of State for Transport, could be more supportive to Heathrow’s application.

The Mood Of The UK About The Environment

The view of the average UK voter on the environment has changed markedly in the last few years, driven by documentaries, events and politics from around the world.

Boris’s father; Stanley Johnson has written books on the environment and received the Greenpeace Award for Outstanding Services to the Environment, so this could fit with his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow, when he was Mayor of London.

Do Heathrow Airport Have A Plan B?

In Heathrow Plans Runway Over M25 In 30-Year Expansion, I outlined how I thought the runway would be built.

The Times says this about the construction program.

Only the runway would be built by the opening date of early 2026.

Other facilities such as new terminals, car parks, hotels and transit systems would open from 2030, with an expansion of Terminal 5 the priority

This means that the extra runway capacity can be used initially to better accommodate the same number of flights.

Perhaps Plan B would mean changing the order of construction, leaving a space for the third runway and getting Planning Permission to build it in perhaps starting in 2028.

Conclusion

This is a tough one to call and I know what I would do. I would just let it fester until the decision was forced by another factor.

But Boris is the Prime Minister and will have to make a decision!

 

 

 

 

D

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Heathrow Plans Runway Over M25 In 30-Year Expansion

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article in Saturday’s copy of The Times.

This picture, which I downloaded from this page on the Heathrow web site, shows the proposed expansion.

For comparison this Google Map shows the Airport recently.

These are some of my thoughts.

The Position Of The Third Runway

As can be seen, the new third runway is to the North-West of the North Runway.

  • It will extend all the way to the M25.
  • The M25 will be lowered and the new runway and two parallel taxiways will cross the road on a series of bridges.

This enlargement from the first image shows the crossing of the M25 and two other roads.

Note.

  1. The runway is on the left, which increases the spacing with the North Runway
  2. How openings between the runway and the taxiways will allow natural light onto the motorway.
  3. In the picture you can see five angled taxiways joining the runway from the two taxiways. Does this design mean that aircraft spend a minimum of time queuing for take-off? Similar but not so extreme layouts can also be seen on the two existing runways.

What intrigues me, is what looks to be a hole in front of the ends of the taxiways.

Could it be rail or road access to the airport?

This map from Network Rail shows the route of the proposed Western Rail Approach To Heathrow.

It looks like the dark holes could be the railway, between Langley and Terminal 5.

This section of the rail link is supposed to be in tunnel, but I wonder if costs could be saved if it is in a buttressed cutting, designed in cooperation between Heathrow and Network Rail.

Obviously, it will need to be in tunnel to cross under the M25.

I think that rather cleverly, the runway has been slotted in with the best use of the limited land available.

A Phased Construction Program

The Times says this about the construction program.

Only the runway would be built by the opening date of early 2026.

Other facilities such as new terminals, car parks, hotels and transit systems would open from 2030, with an expansion of Terminal 5 the priority

This means that the extra runway capacity can be used initially to better accommodate the same number of flights.

If Heathrow get it right passengers. should see the following.

  • They would suffer less from construction.
  • Fewer taxi delays on the ground.
  • Less long fuel-burning taxiing between gate and runway.
  • More flights leaving on time.

It might also enable air traffic controllers to allocate aircraft noise in a fairer manner.

Car Psrking

Two huge new car parks are to be built North and South of the Airport, which in conjunction with new hotels would be connected to the terminals by an underground transit system.

This article on International Airport Review is entitled Heathrow To Launch First Airport Ultra Low Emission Zone.

So doesn’t the building of large car parks contradict this policy.

It would unless, the car parks are designed for the future.

  • Electric cars only.
  • Intelligent chargers for every parking space.
  • Whilst the cars are parked and connected, they would be a massive energy storage battery for the National Grid.

When you arrived back to your car after a week in Greece, there would be enough power in the battery for your next journey.

By 2030, there will be a substantial need for parking for electric cars at railway stations and airports. Parking solutions like this will help reduce the carbon footprint of airports.

Conclusion

2030 is ten years away and Heathrow will have to work hard to build an airport fit for those times.

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes, But Discounting HS4Air And Windsor Link Railway?

This post is an updated version of Could Rail Access To Heathrow Be Formed Of The Best Bits Of Various Schemes?, which has been written to fit with the situation as it exists in April 2019.

  • HS4Air has not been accepted.
  • Windsor Link Railway has not been accepted.
  • The scheme is Heathrow-only.

Various schemes have been proposed to improve rail access to Heathrow.

There are also two schemes in progress, that will improve rail access to Heathrow.

  • Crossrail, which will open to Heathrow  in 2019.
  • Piccadilly Line Upgrade, which will be complete in 2025.

I also believe that if the West London Orbital Railway is created, then this could have a positive affect on travelling to and from Heathrow.

Heathrow In The Future

Heathrow are disclosing a master plan, for rebuilding a lot of the airport to make it more efficient and up with the best.

  • There will be two main terminals; Heathrow West and Heathrow East with satellites in between handling the actual planes.
  • These two terminals and the satellites will be between the two existing runways, with a passenger and baggage transport system beneath.
  • Terminal Five will become Heathrow West.
  • An extended Terminal Two will become Heathrow East.
  • Crossrail, Heathrow Express and the Underground will serve both main terminals.

I believe that this rebuilding will happen, whether or not a third runway is built and it could start in the next few years.

Heathrow’s Pollution Footprint

Heathrow is a big polluter, but it is not so much the planes, as the diesel cars, buses and trucks serving the airport.

Heathrow’s Third Runway

Heathrow’s third runway and another terminal could be built North of the current two runways.

These factors would effect the chance of it being built and the eventual opening  date.

  • The development of extra services on High Speed One.
  • The opening of High Speed Two.
  • The building of a second runway at Gatwick.
  • Extra capacity at other London airports, like City, Luton, Southend and Stansted.
  • Politics, as many possible leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties don’t want it built.

I have a feeling that Heathrow’s Third Runway could be a back-burner project for decades.

I do think though, that the space underneath the third runway could be used as a rail terminal.

Uses For Improved Rail Access

There are several uses for improved rail access to Heathrow.

Passengers

Many passengers feel they must drive to and from Heathrow.

Next year, Crossrail will connect Heathrow directly to the City of London, Canary Wharf, the West End and to the heart of London’s Underground, Overground and National Rail system.

An example journey will be Bond Street to Heathrow Central in twenty-six minutes.

New trains on the Piccadilly Line are planned to enter service in 2023 and will offer more capacity and more pleasant journeys.

Currently, Piccadlly Circus to Heathrow Central takes fifty-two minutes and I would hope that this time is reduced to perhaps 40-45 minutes.

I think, these two upgrades will change the way many in Central, North East, East and South East London access the airport.

  • Trains will be more comfortable.
  • Trains will be frequent.
  • Crossrail will be completely step-free.
  • The Piccadilly Line will have more step-free stations.
  • The Crossrail trains will have masses of space.
  • Trains will take passengers to all the terminals

But Crossrail and the Piccxadilly Line upgrade, will do little for those in North West and South West London and those living to the West of the airport.

Workers

Workers at Heathrow, range from highly-paid pilots down to  lowly-paid cleaners, with a full spectrum in between.

Many though have a problem, in that they need to get to and from the airport at times, that are inconvenient for public transport.

A station guy at Staines said that getting between there and Heathrow for an early start or after a late finish is difficult.

The lower-paid workers also need good links to areas of lower-cost housing.

In an ideal world, Crossrail and Piccadilly Line services, should run on a twenty-four hour basis, with appropriate frequencies.

Supplies For The Airport And The Aircraft

I wonder what percentage of the supplies for Heathrow is brought in by diesel truck.

In the Heathrow of the Future, surely many supplies could be loaded onto smart trolleys and taken on electric freight trains to delivery points under the airport.

Air Cargo

Heathrow is an important air cargo terminal, but as with supplies, surely the cargo can be collected outside of the airport and delivered by electric shuttle trains.

Could Heathrow Go Diesel-Free?

I believe that if a well-designed rail-terminal was built under a new third runway, the extra rail capacity could enable, Heathrow to go substantially zero-carbon on the ground!

  • All vehicles bringing passengers to the Airport would have to be zero-carbon powered.
  • Hybrid vehicles would have to use battery power within a few miles of the Airport.
  • Air cargo and airport supplies would be shuttled into the Airport by electric train to the rail terminal under the third runway.
  • All vehicles serving the planes would be zero-carbon powered.
  • Even giant aircraft tugs for Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s can be battery-powered.
  • We are probably talking several years before a third runway would open! So why not?

It is disruptive innovation on a grand scale!

Airports built to these principles and there will be several before 2030, will have a massive marketing advantage.

The Best Bits Of The Various Actual And Proposed Rail Routes Into Heathrow

Crossrail

  • Connectivity to large parts of London and the East.
  • Connectivity to lower-cost housing areas in East and West London.
  • High capacity.
  • Frequent trains
  • Modern trains
  • All terminals served
  • Extra trains could be added.

The capability for 24 hour operation has hopefully been built in.

Heathrow Southern Railway

  • Connectivity to Waterloo, Clapham Junction, South and South West London
  • Extends Heathrow Express to Woking and Basingstoke
  • Adds a new route for commuters into Paddington.
  • Extends Crossrail from Heathrow to Staines.
  • It will be built alongside the M25 with a tunnel to Terminal Five.
  • All terminals served
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the South West.
  • Privately funded.

Heathrow Southern Railway would also be able to serve any future rail terminal under a new third runway.

Piccadilly Line Upgrade

  • Connectivity to West and North London
  • Connectivity to lower-cost housing areas in West London
  • Frequent trains
  • All terminals served.
  • No new infrastructure

The Piccadilly Line probably needs 24 hour operation.

Western Rail Approach To Heathrow

  • Connectivity to Slough and Reading and further West with a change.
  • All terminals served.
  • Provides a freight route into the airport from the West.
  • Network Rail’s proposed scheme.
  • Government funded (?)

As with the Heathrow Southern Railway, Western Rail Approach To Heathrow would also be able to serve any future rail terminal under a new third runway.

West London Orbital Railway

  • Connectivity to North West London with a change at Old Oak Common.
  • Connectivity to low-cost hosting areas in West London.
  • Created as part of the Overground.
  • Eight trains per hour (tph) through Old Oak Common.
  • Connectivity for high-value passengers in affluent parts of North London.
  • Connectivity for important workers in less-affluent parts of North West London.
  • Probably, Transport for London funded.
  • No difficult construction.

The West London Orbital Railway should go ahead, because it connects so much of West London to Crossrail, Old Oak Common and High Speed Two.

Conclusions

I have seen railway stations and airports all over Europe.

Many airport stations are cramped, as they have been built as an afterthought.

But some like Schipol and Frankfurt have a comprehensive station, where you can get trains to a very long list of places without a change.

Heathrow Connectivity

Heathrow needs a very high level of connectivity, for passengers, workers and freight.

The two major schemes, that are left,  provide that.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway, which extends Heathrow Express to the South West and provides links to Waterloo and Greater South London.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow does what it says in the name.

Both schemes would share the same Western access route to Terminal 5 station and this could be extended to also serve a new rail terminal under the proposed third runway.

What About The Workers?

Heathrow’s other big need is rail access for the increasing numbers of people, who work at the airport and live locally.

  • Heathrow Southern Railway links the airport to South West London.
  • Western Rail Approach To Heathrow links the airport to Reading and Slough.
  • Crossrail links the airport to Old Oak Common with its housing developments and rail connections with High Speed 2 and the London Overground.
  • West London Orbital Railway will bring more workers and passengers to Old Oak Common from all over North West and South West London.

Old Oak Common will be important for many working at the airport.

Pollution Solution

As the airport develops, Heathrow Southern Railway and Western Rail Approach To Heathrow could together make a substantial reduction in the pollution emitted by the airport.

Old Oak Common station

Old Oak Common station will become an important interchange for workers and passengers travelling to and from Heathrow.

  • It must be totally step-free.
  • Some of the long interchange walks on current plans should be augmented by travelators.
  • Crossrail is planning six tph between Old Oak Common and Heathrow. Is that enough?

Get Old Oak Common right and all those needing to go to and from Heathrow will benefit.

Heathrow And Gatwick

The connection between Heathrow and Gatwick Airports is tortuous at present.

  • It will get better, as Crossrail and Thameslink improve.
  • As the airports grow, with a third runway at Heathrow and a second one at Gatwick, how many people will want to travel quickly between the two airports, as increasingly, both airports will offer services to more destinations?
  • As a Londoner, I also believe that we will see more split flights, where passengers stopover in London for a night or two, when they are going halfway around the world.

Terminal London will be the best airport transfer terminal in the world.

Heathrow And High Speed One

I will be very surprised if many travellers need to go quickly between Heathrow and High Speed One.

For those that need to do it, using an extended Crossrail between Heathrow and Ebbsfleet will probably be good enough.

Heathrow And High Speed Two

For all sorts of reasons Heathrow needs good connectivity to High Speed Two.

With the elimination of direct access to the airport by High Speed Two, a short journey between Heathrow Airport and Old Oak Common stations will have to be acceptable.

 

 

April 28, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HS4Air And Heathrow Airport’s Third Runway

HS4Air will pass under Heathrow Airport in a tunnel, where there will be a new station.

Look at how Crossrail hasn’t resulted in major demolition in Central London.

For this and other reasons, I believe that HS4Air can be built underneath the Airport without affecting what Heathrow do on the surface.

The only effect that a possible third runway and an extra terminal at Heathrow, would be minor changes to the route of the tunnel and the layout of the station.

But I suspect that HS4Air will be built, so that it is totally future-proofed for all possible developments at Heathrow.

On the other hand, HS4Air might have effects on Heathrow Airport.

  • Passengers from the North of England would be more likely to come by high speed train from Birmingham and Manchester.
  • Passengers from South Wales and the West of England would be more likely to come by high speed train from Bristol and Cardiff.
  • The transfer between Heathrow and Gatwick would be less than twenty minutes. HS4Air claim just fifteen.
  • If there was sufficient demand there could be a Heathrow-Gatwick shuttle every 10-15 minutes.

Just as some of these effects will be positive for Heathrow, they will also be positive for Gatwick.

Conclusion

I am led to the conclusion, that some politicians, who are seriously against a third runway at Heathrow, could manage to get the runway blocked or delayed for a decade, by citing HS4Air and Gatwick as a viable alternative.

But that won’t matter, as Gatwick will build the much-needed runway for the South-East and it will be less than twenty minutes from Heathrow.

July 26, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Labour Abandons Support For New Heathrow Runway

This title of this post is the same as an article on Page 2 of today’s Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Labour will drop its formal support for a third runway at Heathrow today in a significant U-turn that leaves the plan on a knife edge.

Other points in the article.

  • Labour MPs will have a free vote.
  • 75% of all MPs support a third runway, including the SNP and the DUP.
  • A Labour free vote probably means it would pass a vote.
  • Labour has formally backed a third runway for fifteen years.
  • The unions back the third runway.

It would all be so irrelevant, if we’d built Maplin in the last century. But Harold Wilson cancelled it!

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Doubts Arise About A third Runway At Heathrow

I have always been sceptical about a third runway at Heathrow and put down my thoughts in Will The Third Runway At Heathrow Be Actually Built In The Near Future?.

Media reports are now saying that there should be more consultation, due to the election stopping the publication of updated forecasts for passengers and pollution. The Labour Party also seems to be against the idea.

By the end of 2019, Crossrail and Thameslink will be fully operational and I believe that they will push everybody including politicians, airline boses and other business leaders to seriously rethink their positions. The statements of Willie Walsh; the Chairman of the airline group;IAG seems increasingly sceptical about Heathrow’s third runway.

2019 also marks the date when Gatwick Airport can start to think about developing a second runway.

In Could Thameslink Connect To Heathrow?, I showed that it would be possible to create a high-capacity link between Heathrow and Gatwick via Thameslink.

  • The link would connect Gatwick, Heathrow, HS1 and HS2.
  • No expensive infrastructure would be needed.
  • This link could easily accommodate four trains per hour and possibly double that, when Heathrow rebuilds its terminals to make it a greener airport, more reliant on rail.

It could be in place in 2020.

Conclusion

All of these forces will kick the third runway even further into the future.

 

September 9, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heathrow Plan To Build Third Runway – On Stilts Over M25

This is the title of an article in the Business section of the Sunday Times.

Apparently, three viaducts would be built over the M25, with a wide one for the runway and two narrower ones for the taxi-ways.

Sounds fine by me!

I also feel that the technique of using stilts could be applied to build new housing and commercial properties over roads and railways.

Look at all that space over some city centre stations!

June 4, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Building The Third Runway At Heathrow

This is not concerned about the politics and protests of building the third runway at Heathrow, but about how it could be built and the options for transport to the Airport.

The Current Heathrow Airport

This is a Google Map of Heathrow Airport and the surrounding area.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport

The Proposed Heathrow Airport

This map from the Heathrow web site, shows the position of the new runway and the expanded airport.

 

Heathrow Airport With Three Runways

Heathrow Airport With Three Runways

Note.

  • How the M25 is dropped into a tunnel.
  • The village of Harmondsworth is no more.
  • This page on the Heathrow we site gives a lot more details.

Construction

It looks to me, that the actual transformation of the Airport will be possible, as it looks like construction would just replace the housing with the new runway and associated works.

Diversion Of The M25

Cut and cover tunnels would carry the M25 under the new runway, but from the map, it looks like the motorway will only be in tunnel under the new part of the airport and for not that great a distance.

I think with careful planning, the M25 could be left functioning, whilst the tunnel and new runway are constructed, so it should be nothing like the problems of constructing Terminal 5.

Conclusion

The new runway and terminal shouldn’t be the world’s most difficult construction project.

 

 

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Comments Off on Building The Third Runway At Heathrow

Does Brexit Mean We Need More Runways?

I ask this question, as after I wrote Changing Sides, I’ve had some thoughtful comments.

In 2015, there were seven airports that handled over ten million passengers.

  1. London Heathrow – 74,985,748
  2. London Gatwick – 40,269,087
  3. Manchester – 23,136,047
  4. London Stansted – 22,519,178
  5. London Luton – 12,263,505
  6. Edinburgh – 11,114,587
  7. Birmingham – 10,187,122

In addition, there are airports like Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool and Newcastle, that can take a significant portion of regional traffic.

I can add these comments.

  • Manchester is taking traffic from other airports in the North and Scotland.
  • In a decade or so, a very high speed rail link could enable Liverpool to provide extra runway capacity for Manchester.
  • Birmingham will be on HS2 within a decade.
  • Manchester will get HS2 within two decades.
  • Six of the top seven airports are getting improved rail links.
  • Glasgow is just off the list in eighth, but does Scotland need two airports in the Central Belt?
  • Cardiff is not the busiest airport and was in fact 20th.

The Airports Commission said we need another runway in the South East, but will Brexit change matters?

I have this feeling that, Brexit could mean that we actually see more air-routes opening up.

Consider.

  • The British will always love their holidays in the sun.
  • The UK will always be a destination for tourists and a low pound courtesy of Brexit will help.
  • If the regions of the UK get more independence from London, they’ll probably look to attract more visitors.
  • On past form, the City of London will survive Brexit, just as it did the Great Fire and the Blitz.
  • Brexit could be an excuse for building more runway capacity.
  • People love setting up airlines to lose their fortune and those of others.
  • Infrastructure like railways and trams will make some airports, easier and more affordable to use.
  • Travellers will get more savvy.

On the other hand, the low-cost airlines seem to be saying that traffic to and from the UK will be a lot lower and they are moving aircraft out of the UK.

I have no idea what will actually happen, but we may see some surprising things. I said this earlier.

In a decade or so, a very high speed rail link could enable Liverpool to provide extra runway capacity for Manchester.

Consider.

  • The Shanghai Maglev Train has a top speed of over 400 kmh and a length of 30 km.
  • Liverpool and Manchester airports are 50 km. apart.
  • Liverpool Airport is alongside the Mersey.

Even if this doesn’t happen, we’ll certainly see many airports expand and be easier to use.

The debate on where the South-East gets extra runway capacity has been enlivened by Gatwick saying that if Heathrow is chosen, then they’ll build a second runway anyway.

Consider.

  • Building a new runway at Heathrow will need extensive works to the M25
  • Gatwick has the space for a second runway and has already shown possible runway, terminal and rail railway station designs.
  • Gatwick is already a well-connected rail-hub.
  • Both airports will be connected to Farringdon by modern high-capacity rail links.
  • Cameron promised no third runway at Heathrow and his election still defines the make-up of Parliament.
  • Most Londoners don’t like Heathrow.
  • Heathrow probably couldn’t build a third runway, if Gatwick got the Government’s blessing.

We could see the Government give Heathrow their blessing, but Gatwick builds a new runway as well.

Surely two world-class airports for London, would show that a post-Brexit Britain was open for business.

I think many London residents like me, living away from Heathrow, would accept an enlargement at both airports.

You can envisage these scenarios.

Heathrow Gets A Third Runway And A Sixth Terminal

If this was the decision, the following would or could happen.

  • The opposition would be vocal and possibly violent.
  • Every legal experts in the field would keep the Courts going for decades.
  • The moving of the M25 would paralyse the traffic to the West of London for at least a decade. Remember Terminal 5!
  • All of the hassle would frighten investors away from a post-Brexit UK

Gatwick would build a second runway anyway.

Heathrow Hub

Heathrow Hub is the independent proposal shortlisted by the Airports Commission. Wikipedia describes it like this.

Heathrow Hub proposes extending both of the existing runways up to a total length of about 7,000 metres and dividing them into four so that they each provide two, full length, runways, allowing simultaneous take-offs and landings. The aim is to complete the construction within five years and with 100% private funds.

Available capacity would be doubled while keeping a percentage of the slots unused in order to alter noise levels. In addition, early morning flights could land much further west along the extended runways so reducing the noise footprint for a large area of west London.[5] Other noise mitigation techniques include using two-stage approaches, and steeper, curved climb-outs.

The Heathrow Hub concept includes a new multimodal air, rail and road interchange located approximately two miles north of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to accommodate passenger growth. This includes a new terminal, a new railway station connecting Heathrow to the West Coast Mainline and Crossrail and direct access to the M25 motorway.

 

This image from the Heathrow Hub web site shows the layout with just the Northern runway extended.

Heathrow Hub Runway Proposal

Heathrow Hub Runway Proposal

Note.

  • The M25 would just needed to be put in a tunnel, as has been done at Schipol.
  • The Southern runway could be expanded later to provide even more runway capacity.
  • As aircraft will get smarter and be able to fly more precise paths, more noise will be kept within the larger airport boundary.

With my project management hat on, I believe that the building of the rNorthern Runway extension, a new terminal and all the connecting infrastructure could be built without disrupting the operation of the current Airport.

Heathrow Hub is the joker in the pack and it could be the surprise choice.

But I doubt it.

  • The opposition would still be vocal and possibly violent.
  • Every legal experts in the field would keep the Courts going for decades.
  • Heathrow Airport wouldn’t like it, as they didn’t think of it.

Although, in a post-Brexit world, it could make sense.

Gatwick Gets A Second Runway

In some ways this is the option with the least amount of hassle.

  • The opposition at Gatwick would be much less, than choosing Heathrow.
  • There would be no traffic disruprion at Heathrow.

But Heathrow would probably fight the decision in the Courts.

I also think, that Heathrow will never give up on expansion, as there is just too much investment in the airport.

Both Airports Get An Extra Runway

This could be the Judgement of Theresa!

  • Heathrow would extend the Northern runway, as detailed in the Heathrow Hub proposal, with perhaps another rail-connected terminal between the runways.
  • Gatwick builds a second runway and appropriate terminals.

Consider.

  • The current two-airport strategy works for London.
  • Heathrow and Gatwick will soon have much-improved rail connections with an interchange in Central London.
  • Both rail journeys to Central London will be around thirty minutes.
  • Both runways could be built without disrupting the existing airports.
  • Once the M25 is covered, Heathrow can extend the runway and gets the space for more terminals.
  • Few properties would be demolished at either Heathrow and Gatwick.
  • Those living around Heathrow would suffer less noise.
  • A second runway fits Gatwick’s plans.
  • Airlines can choose their best location as capacity increases.
  • At least two runways at both airports, surely increases safety.

But the reason, I like this option best, is that it future-proofs, the airports in the South-East for a very long time.

It also creates true competition between the two airports and that can only be to the benefit of the airlines and their passengers.

This article in the Independent is entitled If Gatwick and Heathrow both build extra runways, it could mean the UK becomes future-proofed.

Add future-proofing to my list.

Conclusion

I said we should be prepared for surprises about airports.

I stand by that!

 

 

 

October 9, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments