The Anonymous Widower

Do Tourists To The UK Get Bad Advice On How To Use The Trains?

I travelled out to Oxford with a Chinese family from Hong Kong.

  • They were going to Oxford and home via Bicester Village.
  • They had actually flown into Edinburgh and after spwnding a few days in the City, they had taken the train to London, where they were spending another few days.
  • They were going to spend a day in Paris using Eurostar.

I think they had booked most of the tickets in Hong Kong before they left.

Knowing, what I know about ticketing, I would have organised things a bit differently.

Family And Friends Railcard

Purchase of a Family and Friends Railcard can give discounts for a one-off fee of £30.

To find out ticket orices with the Family and Friends Railcard web site.

Splitting A Journey

Most tickets other than Advance tickets allow the ticket holder to break a journey and then carry on later.

Because I am a coeliac and need gluten-free food, if I’m travelling a long distance, I may break the journey in say Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds or Manchester, where I know I can get a quality gluten-free meal.

Tourists might want to break a journey between Edinburgh and London at York or Durham. This is possible on an Off Peak or Anytime ticket.

Tickets To Or From Stations Or Terminals

This ticket is a First Class Off Peak ticket between Manchester Stations and London Terminals, using Any Permitted Route.

I actually used it between Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston stations, but I could have used the ticket to go via Birmingham and then take Chiltern Railways from Birmingham to London Marylebone.

I think the general rule is if your ticket is marked Any Permitted Route and you keep going in the same direction, most routes are possible.

I always ask first, as some companies have different rules.

Visiting Bicester Village, Oxford And Windsor In One Day

The Hong Kong family I met were visiting Oxford and Bicester Village.

The best way to do this is to make sure you have a Day Return ticket  between London Terminals and Oxford, which is marked Any Permissible Route.

This will enable you to do the following three journeys.

  • London Paddington to Oxford.
  • Oxford to Bicester Village
  • Bicester Village to London Marylebone.

With a Railcard, this ticket will cost £18.10.

If you want to visit Windsor, this can be done on the outward journey, by splitting the trip at Slough. There is a branch line to Windsor at Slough worked by a shuttle train, which costs £1.90 for a return trip with a Railcard.

Ranger And Rover Tickets

Check these tickets out, if you’re staying in a town or city for a few days, as they may be a cheaper option.

The various Rovers and Rangers are detailed on this web page.

London

The Oyster card in London is dying.

  • But don’t worry, as the same prices are available by using a contactless bank card.
  • Contctless bank cards have the same daily and weekly cap as Oyster.
  • Contactless bank cards also work on the Underground, Overground, buses, Docklands Light Railway and the Emirates Air Line.
  • You can now use contactless bank cards at London City, Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton Airports.
  • If you want to use Gatwick and Heathrow Express services, these can be accessed using contactless ticketing too!

It appears there are very few complaints.

If you want to read a detailed analysis of London ticketing, read this page on the Finding The Universe web site.

Summing-Up

I shall be adding to this page, as it is only a rough general guide.

Use the Contact form to send any suggestions or questions.

 

 

 

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where The Queen Gets Her Energy

Yesterday’s edition of Countryfile on BBC1, was entitled Royal Special: Windsor.

In the program, they shows how Windsor Castle and the surrounding estate, use an Archimedes screw in the River Thames to generate electricity.

I found this video on the Internet.

There is also this document on the Internet.

It may look crazy, but after reading the document, it would appear to be cost effective.

This Google Map gives aerial view of the weir and the installed screws.

The two screws are installed in two sections of the weir at the right end.

It may look crazy, but after reading the document, it would appear to be cost effective.

  • At peak flow the two units generate a total of 320kW/hour.
  • There is a six year return on investment.
  • The design life is fifteen years..
  • The owner of the generators has a forty year lease on the site.

I suspect, we could see more units like this!

 

May 28, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Windsor And Eton Central Station – 26th April 2018

These pictures show Windsor And Eton Central station.

In some ways it is more of a Shopping Centre than a railway station.

The current service to Slough station, is one two-car Class 165 train every twenty minutes.

Consider.

  • When Crossrail opens to Slough in December 2019, there will be at least six Crossrail trains per hour (tph), between Slough and Central London.
  • There will also be at least four GWR tph between Slough and Paddington.
  • The upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel, will give Windsor masses of world-wide publicity.
  • Passengers to Windsor increase significantly on a day with good weather.

I also reckon, that getting to Windsor via Crossrail and Slough could be up to twenty minutes faster, than using Waterloo and Windsor and Eton Riverside stations. So which way, would all the tourists use?

Increasingly, the current train service from Slough will become inadequate.

GWR have ordered nineteen Class 769 bi-mode trains, one of which could be used on the line to increase capacity.

  • They would offer a doubling of capacity, from two-cars to four.
  • Their slightly faster speed, might enable them to run at a frequency of four tph.
  • The trains would probably fit Windsor and Eton Central station with selective door opening or a small platform extension.

Windsor and Eton Central station is going to get very busy.

Those tourists, who just want a selfie with the castle, should be able to take one, between successive trains.

Windsor could become a Tourist Hell!

 

 

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

The Garden Station

Stations increasingly are getting to be very grand and expensive buildings.

I was musing today about the design of the Windsor Royal station on the proposed Windsor Link Railway.

This railway could be a double-track railway between the current Windsor and Eton Riverside station and the Slough To Windsor And Eton Line, created in a cut-and-cover tunnel across Windsor.

Much of the area of the route is either car parks or gardens.

The station could be a single island platform with the following characteristics.

  • The platform would be long enough for the longest trains to use the route.
  • The platform would be wide enough to incorporate booking, passenger and staff facilities in a relaxed layout in the middle.
  • Escalator and lift entrances at several places along the platform.
  • Minimalist surface buildings much like the fosteritos of the Bilbao Metro.
  • Light pipes and other ideas could give the station a lot of natural light.

The surface area would be one large garden with walking routes to the sights of the town.

Any car parking would surely be provided at a Park-and-Ride station outside of the town.

 

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring The Great Western Branches – 29th November 2016

On this morning, I explored the three branches of the Great Western Main Line, that are closest to London, to look at the progress of electrifying their connecting stations on the main line.

I then repeated the trip to add in two more branches.

I was also looking to see how services could be run with say four-car Class 387 trains, that had been fitted with on-board energy storage, as I wrote about in Rumours Of Battery-Powered Trains.

All the branches are described in order from London.

Electrification At West Ealing Station And On The Greenford Branch

These pictures show the electrification at West Ealing station, where the Greenford Branch Line connects to the main line.

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the area in the photographs, at the Southern end of the Greenford Branch Line.

The Southern End Of The Greenford Branch

The Southern End Of The Greenford Branch

Notes and queries.

  • The pictures of the lines were taken from a footbridge over the line, behind the Access Self Storage.
  • The lines in the map show an older layout.
  • The track in the bay platform 5 has access to both tracks on the Greenford Branch, which means that two trains could work the line to provide a four trains per hour (tph) service.
  • The Up Slow line has access to both tracks on the Greenford Branch and to the new West Ealing sidings.
  • The island for Platforms 4 and 5 appears to be more or less complete.
  • Platform 3 needs to be lengthened.
  • There are signs of foundations for the footbridge, past the end of the current Platform 3 and in the construction works beyond Platform 5.
  • Will the Bay Platform 5 be double-sided? There’s no foundations for a bridge on the Platform 4/5 island.
  • Will Platforms 1 and 2 be reconstructed or removed?

I suspect that the station is ready for a  four tph diesel shuttle to Greenford, but the Bay Platform 5 can’t be wired until the bridge is in place.

Could Electric Trains With On-Board Energy Storage Work The Greenford Branch?

A few facts and thoughts.

  • The service is not possible at present, as there are no wires in the Bay Platform 5 at West Ealing station, where the trains would need to charge their storage between trips.
  • Trains would probably wait between three and five minutes at West Ealing station, which would be more than enough to top up the batteries.
  • The bay platform at Greenford station and platforms at the other stations will probably need lengthening, but there would probably be little other infrastructure work.
  • Incidentally, there is a tunnel on the branch, where blocks of housing have been built over the line, so electrification of the line could be difficult, unless provision was made, when the housing was built.
  • Without doubt, the track layout at West Ealing has been designed, so that two trains could provide a four tph service.
  • Two four-car trains could probably be parked in the bay platform. This could give operational flexibility.

Passenger routes between main line and Greenford Branch services would be as follows.

  • With Eastbound services on the main line, the change would a very easy walk of a few metres across the island platform.
  • With Westbound services on the main line, use of the bridge would be needed. But it looks like the footbridge has been positioned at the optimal position for both services and passengers joining or leaving the railway at West Ealing station.

As there will be frequencies of at least 8 tph on the main line and 4 tph on the branch, waiting will be a maximum of fifteen minutes.

The West Ealing Sidings

The pictures show the Orange Army swarming all over the new West Ealing Sidings, which will provide stabling for the new Class 387 trains.

I also took these pictures of the sidings as I returned to London.

Incidentally, as I passed through Old Oak Common on the way back to London, there were upwards of six of the new trains squatting in Hitachi’s new depot for the Class 800 trains.

If in the future, there is a variant of these trains with on-board energy storage, these sidings are certainly conveniently placed for the Greenford Branch.

Traffic On The Brentford Branch Line

These pictures were taken from Southall station of a train going onto the Brentford Branch Line.

I’d never seen any traffic here before and I only included the pictures, as Hounslow Council have aspirations for a passenger service on this line, that I wrote about in Could The Golden Mile In Houslow Get A Station?

If it was decided to open the Brentford Branch Line to passenger trains, then Class 387 trains with on-board energy storage would be a possibility to provide services.

A Heathrow Connect Class 360 Train in Platform 5 At Hayes and Harlington Station

I didn’t expect to see this.

A Heathrow Connect Class 360 Train in Platform 5 At Hayes and Harlington Station

A Heathrow Connect Class 360 Train in Platform 5 At Hayes and Harlington Station

But there were signalling issues, so they appeared to be  using the Class 360 train as a shuttle to Heathrow.

Electrification At Slough Station And On The Windsor Branch

These pictures show the electrification at Slough station, where the Windsor Branch Line or more correct, the Slough to Windsor and Eton Line connects to the main line.

Note.

  • There are overhead gantries over Platform 1 at Slough station, which is the bay platform for the Windsor Branch Line.
  • There is a line of overhead line gantries on the outside of the curve, as the Windsor Branch Line leaves Slough.
  • The gantries on the branch are lighter than those on the main line.
  • The Class 166 train in the picture had three-cars, so the platform could probably be lengthened for a four-car Class 387 train.

As there appears to be no work anywhere else on the branch, I have to assume, that the electrification doesn’t go very far along the Windsor Branch Line.

This Google Map shows the lines at the start of the Windsor Branch Line.

slough1

There are two main tracks at the start of the Windsor Branch.

The track closest to the blue building, is the actual branch.

  • It is a single track that goes between Windsor and Eton Central station and the Bay Platform 1 at Slough station.
  • Trains take six minutes for the journey.
  • The current frequency is three tph.
  • The bay platform 1 and a short length of the branch could be electrified.

The track furthest from the blue building is a long spur off the Down Main, that allows trains to be moved to and from the Windsor Branch Line.

  • It appears to be long enough for train to be parked on the spur.
  • It appears that the spur is being electrified for about a couple of hundred metres.
  • The spur could be extended or reconfigured to become a passing loop.

There also appears that there is a crossing that allows trains to move to and from the bay platform 1.

Could Electric Trains With On-Board Energy Storage Work The Windsor Branch?

Operation of the Windsor Branch would be as follow with a train fitted with on-board energy storages.

  • Trains enter the branch by going to the end of the spur and reversing into the bay platform 1.
  • Trains charge their on-board energy storage in Platform 1.
  • Trains run to and from Windsor using on-board energy, charging after each trip.
  • Trains leave the branch by going to the end of the spur and reversing onto the Down Main.

I have a feeling that if needed, that with small modifications, four tph might be possible, using two trains.

One of the possibilities unlocked by four tph could be to use the train to get passengers to the town from a Park-and-Ride site, beside Junction

Windsor And Eton Central Station

I took these pictures of Windsor and Eton Central station.

It certainly has several quality food outlets.

Electrification At Maidenhead Station And On The Marlow Branch

These pictures show the electrification at Maidenhead station, where the Marlow Branch Line connects to the main line.

Note.

  • Platform 5 is almost fully-electrified and the wires curve away onto the Marlow Branch.
  • Platform 4 and its connection to the Marlow Branch appears to be fully electrified.
  • There is a reversing siding to the West of the station in there somewhere.
  • There is an unfinished gap in the electrification of all lines to the East of Maidenhead station.

I wouldn’t think it would be long before all the electrification work is finished at Maidenhead station.

Could Electric Trains With On-Board Energy Storage Work The Marlow Branch?

So how will the various services to and from Maidenhead and on the Marlow Branch be handled, if Class 387 trains with on-board storage were available?

  • Between London and Maidenhead services would be worked using overhead power.
  • Between Maidenhead and Bourne End, services would be worked using on-board energy storage, that would be charged in Platform 5 at Maidenhead  or on the main line to and from London.
  • Between Bourne End and Marlow, the trains couldn’t run as they are too long and a two-car Class 166 would work the service and connect at Bourne End.

From the layout of the overhead wiring, I suspect that which of Platforms 4 or 5 is used at Maidenhead is flexible and which is actually used by a particular service would depend on many factors.

Electrification At Twyford Station And On The Henley Branch

These pictures show the lack of electrification work at Twyford station, where the Henley Branch Line connects to the main line.

The two slow platforms 3 and 4 at Twyford station, which will be used by Crossrail and Platform 5 which is used by the Henley Branch trains, show no signs of electrification, although work has been done on the fast platforms 1 and 2.

In the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article by Roger Ford entitled Electrical Clearances: The Plot Thickens.

As the stations either side of Twyford, which are Maidenhead and Reading, are both almost fully wired, there must be a serious reason why there isn’t any work started on Platforms 3, 4 and 5 at Twyford. Could it be that without either rebuilding the bridge or lowering the track and rebuilding the platforms, the new regulations can’t be met?

However, there could be a possible solution.

These trains will be using the station in a few years.

  • Class 800 trains, which are bi-mode.
  • Class 345 trains, which I believe could be fitted with on-board energy storage for other reasons, like tunnel emergencies.
  • Class 387 trains, which I believe could be fitted with on-board energy storage.

So could we see Platforms 3 and 4 at Twyfrord station without wires?

I’ve no idea!

But it does seem strange that no electrification work has been started at Twyford station, except on the fast lines, through Platforms 1 and 2.

Could Electric Trains With On-Board Energy Storage Work The Henley Branch?

So how will the various services on the Henley Branch be handled, if Class 387 trains with on-board storage were available?

Consider.

  • The branch is only a short one with a total length of 4.5 miles.
  • There are one tph on the branch, with extras to Paddington in the Peak.
  • Trains turn round in about four minutes.
  • From 2018, Twyford station will be served by 2 tph from Crossrail and 4 tph from GWR in each direction.
  • Platforms at all stations seem long enough for at least four-car trains.
  • There used to be a passing loop at Shiplake station.
  • Trains going to and from Paddington could charge their energy storage on the main line.

Two trains working a reconfigured branch could possibly create a 4 tph service.

Creating a four tph service on the Henley Branch, is the sort of problem, that engineers solve in the traditional way. – In a suitable hostelry!

I think that spending the money on a passing loop, some means of charging the trains and possibly a rebuilt Shiplake station, will be much better value, than electrifying the branch and the Crossrail platforms at Twyford station.

Electrification At Reading

In the December 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article entitled Loco-Hauled EMUs On GWR.

The article starts by saying.

GWR’s new Class 387 trains will be loco-hauled to and from their depot at Reading, until electrification between Maidenhead and Reading is completed.

Could this all be because, Network Rail don’t have a plan to electrify Twyford?

At least the depot seems electrified.

I didn’t see a Class 387 in their depot, but there were at least half-a-dozen parked at Hitachi’s depot at North Pole.

Electrification From Didcot To Oxford

The Cherwell Valley Line between Didcot and Oxford can be described as follows.

  • It is a double-track hemmed in on both sides.
  • The two stations at Radley and Culham are on narrow strips of land and could be difficult to electrify.
  • There is a tail of electrification gantries from Didcot Parkway onto the branch, which is typical of some other branches like Windsor and Marlow.
  • There were electrification piles in several places, either in the ground or just lying around.
  • The track could have be reconfigured to incorporate a new South-facing bay Platform at Oxford station.

These are some pictures.

One of Chiltern’s Class 168 trains was also hanging around, training drivers.

Could Electric Trains With On-Board Energy Storage Work Didcot To Oxford?

Didcot to Oxford is about 10.5 miles, so I suspect range is not a problem, especially if the new Southern Bay Platform is built, which would mean trains would not have to cross the lines wasting energy North of the station.

What would drive this, is not technology, but if Chiltern are running a service at their usual standard from Oxford to Marylebone, it could be take passengers from the GWR.

New Class 387 trains with on board energy storage could be a good weapon with which to fight back!

But then so would Class 800 trains!

Oxford Station

I took these pictures at Oxford station on the 1st of December.

Note GWR’s 13:01 arrival from Banbury into the new bay Platform 2.

Was I watching the first scheduled train into the new platform?

There certainly wasn’t any dignitaries!

National Rail’s Arrival and Departure details on the Internet certainly showed that Banbury services were using the new Platform 2 later in the day.

Conclusions

From my explorations I have come to the following conclusions.

  • There is a large gap in the electrification works at Twyford station.
  • It looks to my untrained eye, that the Greenford, Windsor and Marlow branches are being wired, so the branches could be served by electric trains with on-board energy storage.
  • The Orange Army is furiously at work creating new sidings at West Ealing for the Class 387 trains.
  • It is possible for trains to use the new bay Platform 2 at Oxford station.

It will be interesting to take a Chiltern service to Oxford, when the service opens on the 11th of December.

It certainly was a good day to take photographs.

 

November 29, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is This One Of The Most Valuable Sites For New Development In The UK?

I don’t question the engineering behind the Windsor Link Railway, but I do question whether the project is viable financially.

Property Development

Obviously, the key to financial viability is the property development opportunities that the building of the Windsor Link Railway will enable.

I don’t know much about property development, but from conversations with serious property developers over the last few years, I can say this.

  • Some of the sums of money that can be involved are immense.
  • Location is still as important as it ever was.
  • Car parking can be reduced in developments above stations, which reduces construction costs.

An infrastructure investor from a large insurance company, also told me that developments with a new station and possibly a few new trains are easy to finance as a package.

Property Development At Windsor And Eton Riverside Station

Look at this Google Map of the Windsor and Eton Riverside station and the River Thames.

Windsor And Eton Riverside Station And The Thames

Windsor And Eton Riverside Station And The Thames

The railway and the adjacent car parks, use a surprisingly large amount of land, that would be released by the building of the Windsor Link Railway.

The Windsor Link Railway could be a single track tunnel, as the maximum frequency would only be four trains per hour in both directions, which would enter the tunnel around the end of the current platforms.

Obviously, all of the land where the current station and car parks would be available for development. There would just be a rail tunnel in the basement.

I also feel that done properly, this development with its superb location on the river, should be car-free.

If that is the case, then perhaps Windsor needs a station under this development?

As the development will be pretty grand and very desirable, I would design a station with the following characteristics.

  • Single-platform able to accept twelve-car trains. We don’t want to build a restriction for the future.
  • All trains could be IPEMUs running on batteries in the tunnel. Quiet, very green and no dangerous electrification.
  • Platform-edge doors. They’re probably needed under EU safety legislation.
  • Double-ended with one entrance in the development and another in Thames Street. If tourists can’t drive, they need to be in the centre.

I think with modern station design, that a single-platform station would be sufficient, although, it would probably restrict services to four trains per hour in each direction.

We’ve never built a combined up-market station and luxury development in this country yet, although there are quite a few stations like Dalston Junction with lots of dwellings on the top.

Windsor And Eton Riverside could be the place to start.

Property Development At Windsor And Eton Central Station

If the Riverside site could be properly developed, what about, where the Windsor Link Railway are proposing to put their proposed Windsor Royal station.

This is a Google Map of the area to the West of Windsor And Eton Central station.

WindsorAndEtonCentralStation2

Note how the area is dominated  by coach and car parks. Visitors want to come to see the river and the castle, socialise a bit, have a drink and a meal, and perhaps buy some tatty souvenirs. They don’t want to look at car and coach parks.

In Connecting The Windsor Link Railway To The Slough To Windsor And Eton Line, I looked at the engineering and I don’t think building the rail connection is impossible.

It is my view, that you build the railway and the station in the best way for train operation and passenger convenience. The station would probably have the following characteristics.

It could be a traditional surface station or underground, with minimal buildings above the surface.

I prefer the underground station, as it has other advantages.

  • There would be lots of entrances facing in all directions. Think fosteritos!
  • It could have a single-platform or a double-platform/island layout, capable of handling twelve-car trains.
  • Platform-edge doors.
  • A single track would lead to Slough and also to the tunnel under Windsor.

In the hole for an underground station, it would also probably be a good idea to build an adequately-sized underground car and coach park.

But surely visitors need some form of decent Park-And-Ride using an uprated train service. Such a station is envisaged by the Windsor Link Railway at Chalvey Interchange, which is South of Slough close to the M4.

Once the new station and the railway is fully connected, there is a magnificent opportunity to create a world-class park and related development over the top, between the existing railway viaduct and the iconic Thames.

The redundant Central station and the unused part of the massive viaduct would be developed appropriately.

Let’s face it Windsor is rather a crap and tatty tourist dump at the present time. The Windsor Link Railway could give the town the opportunity to give the historic town and castle the environment and status, it needs and deserves.

The Trains

In The IPEMU And The Windsor Link Railway, I wrote how IPEMU trains could make the design and building of the Windsor Link Railway easier and more affordable.

I believe it is essential that the Windsor Link Railway is run using trains with an IPEMU capability.

I also believe that as I saw in Future-Proofing The Uckfield Branch, that all platforms including the bay platform at Slough station must be capable of accepting twelve-car trains.

I am assured that this is in the design.

The Central Tunnel

I would suspect that many people would feel that digging the central tunnel across Windsor will be an enormously  expensive operation.

Construction companies put in cut-and-cover tunnels like this all over the world and especially in Germany. The last tunnel, I saw being built was the large Stadtbahn Tunnel in Karlsruhe right down the main street, which would take the German version of the Class 399 tram-train.

Digging A Big Hole

Whilst this tunnel is controversial and has its problems, it is much larger than that proposed through Windsor. The final cost estimate for Karlsruhe eas €588million for a double-track tunnel, which is 3.5km. long and has seven stops.

In the UK, the only similar tunnel is the Dalston Western Curve, where a new tunnel was dug along an existing alignment.

This article in the Londonist describes a visit to the tunnel before it opened.

Intriguingly, the Dalston tunnel was reportedly dug by a German sub-contractor, who specialise in getting trams in tight places.

We sometimes seem too conservative when we dig tunnels. I can’t think of a cut-and-cover tunnel built in the last twenty years in the UK? Not even one built to create an entrance to a car park!

In June last year I wrote Walking The Proposed Route Of The Windsor Link Railway. I felt afterwards that a single-track tunnel between the area of the Riverside station and a new Windsor Royal station to the North of the current Central station would be possible.

Since then, the IPEMU train has become a serious possibility and if trains on the Windsor Link Railway had this capability, then the tunnel could have these characteristics.

  • Single-track tunnel.
  • Built using cut-and-cover.
  • No electrification.
  • IPEMU trains only in the tunnel.
  • Evacuation walkway like the DLR.
  • No massive ventilation and evacuation shafts.

My project management knowledge tells me, that this is the sort of tunnel, that could be built without causing too much disruption to train services and road traffic, by getting all of the jobs in the right logical order.

Conclusion

The Windsor Link Railway, is a project that must be judged as a whole.

But do that and there is a lot of money to be made from property development, which would more than pay for the railway.

February 24, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walking The Proposed Route Of The Windsor Link Railway

There is a proposal called the Windsor Link Railway to link the two railway lines running into Windsor end-to-end and put a new station in the Goswells area of the town. This is the schematic of the route through Windsor clipped from Wikipedia.

Windsor LinkRailway

Windsor LinkRailway

 

Wikipedia also says this about Phase 1 of the project.

Phase 1 of the scheme would run from Slough to Staines, via Chalvey, Windsor, Datchet, Wraysbury and Sunnymeads.

A new all-in-one station in the Windsor Goswells (Windsor Royal) would replace the existing two nearby stations (Riverside and Central).

I took a train to Windsor & Eton Riverside station and then walked across the town vaguely following the route of the proposed cut-and-cover tunnel to Windsor & Eton Central station, where I got a train to Slough to change for London.

These pictures document the walk.

This is a Google Map of the area.

Windsor Stations

Windsor Stations

You can pick out the two stations, the coach and car parks and the tennis courts, with the Windsor and Slough Rail Line curving away to the North.

If you follow the proposed route from the Riverside station, it would be in a cut-and-cover tunnel passing in front of the Bel And The Dragon and probably through the car park and gardens to cross Goswell Road and then go through the coach and car park.

The building of the tunnel, looks like it would not require the demolition of any buildings, although it is likely that the gardens, the tennis courts and the bowling green would probably have to be relaid. The degree of difficulty of such a construction would probably be similar to that for the new tram/train tunnel being constructed in Karlsruhe, that I wrote about in this post.  One of the important Crossrail projects, the Acton Dive Under would probably have used similar skills to those needed to construct the proposed tunnel under the streets of Windsor. Except that the Acton Dive Under is being built in a the middle of a busy four track railway and the Windsor Tunnel will be built in a busy town-centre road.

In everything written about the Windsor Link Railway, I can’t find any statement as whether the tunnel will be single or double track. When you bear in mind that the Windsor and Slough Rail Line is single track, I would not be surprised if the tunnel was also designed the same way, with perhaps a station with two platforms. The reason it’s not been stated, could be they’re keeping their options open.

I think that as the Windsor Tunnel will probably be not much more than five hundred metres in length and as it will only be used by electric trains, that it could be a simple design with a built in walkway like the Docklands Light Railway tunnels or the Canal Tunnels at Kings Cross. This would mean that large ventilation and evacuation shafts probably will not be needed. This would of course cut the cost of building the Windsor Tunnel.

Once at the viaduct, the track or tracks would have to climb onto the viaduct. The viaduct is surprisingly wide and is surrounded on both sides by car and coach parks, as is shown in this Google Map.

Windsor Viaduct And Car Parks

Windsor Viaduct And Car Parks

,I think that modifying the viaduct to connect the two lines would probably not be as difficult as the creation of the Bermondsey Dive Under, where space was at a premium and they wanted to thread a double up-and-down, between three other lines.

If you look at the schematic map of this line through Windsor, at the top of this page, you’ll see they have put a station called Windsor Royal in the middle of the Windsor Tunnel. And by it in the diagram is a big blue P, which probably signifies parking.

So will the proposed Windsor Royal station be either in on under the car and coach parks by the side of the viaduct?

As to its final design, that depends on the type and number of tracks and the skill of the architect and engineers.

One of the early things that must be decided, as it effects the design of Windsor Tunnel, Windsor Royal station and the line to Slough, is whether the line will be electrified to 25 kVAC overhead or 750VDC third rail, as Slough will soon be electrified to the former standard and Windsor and Eton Riverside is electrified to the latter. If the trains are going to go past Slough, perhaps to Reading or Oxford, and still run into Waterloo, the trains will have to be capable of handling both voltages, so something like the new Class 700 trains, that are being purchased for Thameslink, or something similar would fit the bill.

As the tunnel size required for a train using third-rail electrification is smaller, as you don’t have to accommodate the overhead wires, I would suspect that like on Thameslink, where the voltage changeover is at Farringdon station, that the pantograph will go up and down at Windsor Royal station.

As only one track is needed on the viaduct and it would obviously be easier and more affordable to only have one track leading to the viaduct, the line from Windsor Royal station to the viaduct will probably be single track, perhaps splitting just to the North of the station to allow a two platform station in between the tracks. After the Windsor Royal station, the tracks might combine again to allow a simple single-track tunnel to connect to the line for Datchet and beyond.

Wikipedia says that the two existing stations will be replaced by the new Windsor Royal, but the schematic at the top of this page, shows short spurs into the two existing stations. Is this a clue as to how the line will be built, whilst maintaining a train service that is essential to the lifeblood of Windsor and its residents, businesses and visitors?

I believe with good project management that virtually a full train service could be provided nearly all of the time, until a full connection is made through the Windsor Tunnel, at which point the existing stations can be closed.

I don’t know what those that are behind this project are thinking, but it has the air of a project that like all good projects has been designed in the garden or bar of a pub, whilst copious amounts of beer and other legal substances have been consumed.

 

 

 

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 4 Comments

Walking Around Windsor

It’s been a long time, since I’d been to Windsor.

The weather was lovely and it made for a very pleasant day, walking amongst memories of the times I had spent in the town with C and other friends like a guy from Liverpool University, who lived in the town.

If you decide to go, it might be better to choose a rainy day and certainly a train journey might be less stressful. The only problem with the train I took from Waterloo, was the lack of toilets, which was compounded by long queues to access the station toilets at Windsor and Eton Riverside station.

October 6, 2013 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment