Given the extensive discussion of the HLOS that has already now developed elsewhere in the comments on this site, there is perhaps little left to add to the topic here – instead,those looking for a detailed breakdown of the HLOS would do well to read the comments on our previous piece. That said, there are a few things that are still worth drawing attention to, some of which have not really been covered in the discussions already featured here, and some which it might have been possible to miss.

Firstly, within its appendices the HLOS contains a rather nice table that indicates the expected demand level changes at the London termini in the peaks during CP5.

Given that this will likey play a key role in the development of the network over the coming years, it is nice to be able to see the expected changes all in one place. It also serves quite nicely to demonstrate the impact that Crossrail’s opening is anticipated to have on a number of stations – notably Paddington and Liverpool Street. Unfortunately (and indeed as was correctly pointed out on our recent look at Farringdon), Farringdon is not strictly speaking a Terminus, and thus doesn’t feature on the list.

The full table is replicated below. For those unfamiliar with Network Rail’s terms, “peak three hours” covers all services timetabled to arrive on a weekday morning between 0700 and 0959. The “high peak hour” specifically refers to timetabled services arriving between 0800 and 0859. The morning rush hour is used for calculations such as these because it generally has higher passenger numbers than the evening rush hour.

Additionally, we’ve highlighted expected decreases in red to make them easier to spot.

Peak Three Hours High-Peak Hour
London Forecast demand in 013/14 Extra demand to be met by 2018/19 Forecast demand in 2013/14 Extra demand to be met by 2018/19

0 8,000 0 3,800
Through via Elephant & Castle
21,100 -8,600 10,800 -5,000
Euston 24,300 2,400 11,500 1,200
Fenchurch St 24,100 2,000 13,000 900
Kings Cross 17,300 -4,600 8,000 -3,300
Liverpool St
66,800 -4,400 34,600 -2,300
Liverpool St
0 33,000 0 16,500
London Bridge
Kent routes
92,300 13,600 48,700 8,000
London Bridge
Sussex routes

45,300 24,600 23,500 11,800
Marylebone 11,400 1,000 5,100 500
Moorgate 13,200 -2,300 7,400 -1,100
26,300 -2,400 12,100 -1,900
0 23,600 0 11,800
9,600 400 4,300 200
St. Pancras
19,700 15,400 10,500 6,500
20,100 900 10,100 400
47,700 6,700 23,200 1,300
Waterloo 100,100 9,700 45,700 4,900
London Total 539,300 119,000 268,500 54,200

In addition to the table above, and something that was briefly mentioned within the discussion on the HLOS but which deserves to be highlighted here, is the inclusion of Southampton – Basingstoke within the newly proposed “Electric Spine” stretching across the country. At first glance, this may not seem worthy of much attention as this section of line is already electrified. It is, however, currently 3rd Rail – and thus in CP5 it will be converted to OHLE instead.

The inclusion of this section of line makes sense, but of real interest is the suggestion within the HLOS that his should be seen as a test case for far greater things in CP6 and beyond:

The change at renewal of Southampton to Basingstoke – the southern section of the Electric Spine – to the modern overhead AC system will also test the business case for the wider conversion of the third rail electric network south of the Thames to overhead line equipment.

Recounting the possibilities that OHLE south of the river would open up in South London would make this a very wordy article indeed, but the benefits should be clear. There is also another stretch of line (albeit a short stretch) south of the Thames that will be receiving the OHLE treatment – The scope of the GWML electrification has been expanded to include Slough – Windsor/ Maidenhead – Marlow/ Twyford – Henley-on-Thames.

Finally, reading (largely) between the lines it appears that Waterloo may see some major work during CP5. The full form that might take remains to be defined, but it appears that we will at least see some platform lengthening and work on the station throat. Given the extensive works that have (or will) take place at other London terminals, and indeed the recent mezzanine work at Waterloo itself, it will be interesting to see what plans ultimately emerge for the station.

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There are 58 comments on this article
  1. D-Notice says:

    Finally, reading (largely) between the lines it appears that Waterloo may see some major work during CP5. The full form that might take remains to be defined, but it appears that we will at least see some platform lengthening and work on the station throat. Given the extensive works that have (or will) take place at other London terminals, and indeed the recent mezzanine work at Waterloo itself, it will be interesting to see what plans ultimately emerge for the station

    I wonder if Crossrail 2 will figure in these?

  2. mr_jrt says:

    I doubt it – CR2 is far better off relieving Victoria than Waterloo.

    If it is to be relieved, I’m much keener on a shorter scheme for helping Waterloo as CR3: Waterloo – TCR – Euston. It’s only ~2.5 miles between the termini, and has the potential to dramatically relieve pressure on the terminating platforms at both ends, would plug nicely into CR1 & CR2 at TCR, and also removes the need for CR2 to have a slow pointless dogleg to serve Euston, enabling it to focus on being a better interchange at KXStP.

    It would then also free up the paths on the WLL currently used by the Southern services for more LO services.

  3. Chris says:

    CR2 is *ideal* for relieving Waterloo based on the most recent proposals made public, as the relevant RUS points out – i expect the money allocated in the HLOS will form a stop gap before decisions need to be made on a much more expensive solution (CR2 or a fifth track from Surbiton being the likeliest schemes) for the next decade.

    I dont really see the relevance of Euston and Waterloo being a few miles apart – with both the SWML and BML needing more track capacity for many miles into South London, lengthy tunnelling is unavoidable if South London capacity constraints are to be addressed.

  4. Josh says:

    26,300 pax on terminating trains at Paddington now.

    23,600 pax on Crossrail trains through Paddington when it opens.

    Reduction in Paddington terminating pax 2,400.

    That means Paddington total throughput is expected to increase from 26,300 to 47,500 in the next few years?

  5. Josh says:

    On Waterloo, what of the international station? If there is to be a Crossrail, could it be knocked down and the site used for a new deep level station? I’m sure we will weep plenty if that happened.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How about a continuation of HS2 from Euston to Waterloo, East Croydon, Gatwick and Brighton?

  7. Pickle says:

    Isn’t the whole point about Waterloo that with a) train lengthening and b) sorting our Reading they then have to / can sort out Waterloo with platform lengthening and sorting out the approaches (inc redundant CTRL flyover, lines and 4 platforms).

    Re future crossrail lines – where do the passengers at the respective overcrowded terminals (eg Waterloo, Victoria, etc) want to go (is it TCR, or is it the City or is it Docklands). From the distance I’m sitting from I’m not sure how Waterloo, to TCR, to Euston get the passengers to the City and/or Docklands

  8. Josh says:

    How about Waterloo, Bank, Liverpool Street?

    Then takeover something South West at one end and West Anglia at the other like the RUS was talking about.

    It would be a straight up replacement for the W&C line.

    In that circumstance, the Tube Chelney could be done instead of big Crossrail 2 through KXSP and TCR.

    As for the Euston conundrum, if the suburban services were moved onto Crossrail 1, would it really be that imperative for a Crossrail line to serve it? I mean there’s already a Crossrail-HS2 interchange planned for Old Oak Common and Chelney could more practically serve both KXSP and Euston if extra capacity was needed.

  9. Long Branch Mike says:

    Why on earth would you demolish Waterloo International platforms? Seems like a complete waste. Aren’t they earmarked for use starting 2015?

  10. Chris says:

    Looking at the some of the comments has any thought been given to a post about the various schemes to increase capacity at Waterloo? Appears to be a lot of confusion and misinformation.

  11. Anonymous says:

    @Pickle09:12PM, 25th July 2012

    “Re future crossrail lines – where do the passengers at the respective overcrowded terminals (eg Waterloo, Victoria, etc) want to go (is it TCR, or is it the City or is it Docklands). From the distance I’m sitting from I’m not sure how Waterloo, to TCR, to Euston get the passengers to the City and/or Docklands”

    I totally agree (although Euston Waterloo would be very useful personally). I sometimes wonder when reading of schemes to relieve this, that or the other line of current congestion between terminal A and terminal B whether the effect is more likely to concentrate even more usership at these points by virtue of their increased interchange potential. There must be many journeys where interchange is made at terminal stations with no intent of using the terminal itself but in order to change tube/bus line. TfL must have amassed an enormous amount of data regarding traffic levels and flow since introduction of Oyster. Perhaps there would be some merit in identifying and providing for flows avoiding the current terminal “nodes”

  12. Isambard says:

    This HLOS is aimed at helping Waterloo peak capacity in a rather subtle way.
    The SWML section of the final London & South East RUS is clear on quite a few things, including:-
    – the capacity need is on the SWML outer services, not the inners that are more likely to be the focus of any CR2
    – if the Reading – Basingstoke line were electrified (and hey presto, now it is to be) then peak Waterloo capacity could be increased by diverting some SWML services into Paddington in the morning peak.

    How about, as a part of the eVoyager package, soon to be announced too (or not), having as one output ten five car dual mode units. They’d be great for the West of England line. Diesel to Basingstoke, and then up to Reading and a 125mph run into Paddington. Basingstoke to Paddington is only about 6 miles or so longer than Basingstoke to Waterloo, yet the line speeds are much greater, and there’s capacity for a few more trains per hour on the GWML fast lines too IF you have all peak GWML fast line trains operating at 125mph. With some Class 180s now back with FGW, and with IEP coming, it’s almost there.

    All that’s then needed is a bit more rolling stock to run into Waterloo in those peak paths freed up. There’s going to be enough lying around following the Thameslink order, even with all the train lengthening, and other, plans elsewhere.

  13. M says:

    For passenger flows through London termini, see – Waterloo starts on p 131.

  14. StephenC says:

    Pickle points out the obvious demand for Waterloo to the city/docklands
    Josh said “How about Waterloo, Bank, Liverpool Street?”
    I thus point out Swanlink –
    Sadly, you still need something like CR2 to relieve the Victoria line, but perhaps it can focus now on starting at Clapham.

    Isambard mentions Basingstoke to Paddington as an alternative. I don’t see it myself. The key is not the time from country station to London Terminus, but to desk. I’d say Waterloo is a lot more central than Paddington, even with Crossrail. Plus it relies on available paths on the GWML, which seems a tad unlikely assuming a sparks effect.

    From what I can see, there is enough capacity for the outers on the SWML as long as those services which switch to the fast line at Surbiton don’t do this. Its that problem which needs tackling. Thus, a no-stations fast line tunnel from Surbiton to CJ plus a central London tunnel (CR2 or Swanlink) would be the perfect combination…

  15. mr_jrt says:

    The point of Euston-Waterloo for me is that there are only so many connections you can make – CR2 will probably be taking the SWML (well, some of it) & WAML, CR1 has the GWML & GEML, Thameslink (CR0) has the MML, ECML, and BML. That just leaves the WCML, the Chiltern Line, the LT&S, and the South Eastern lines that are not being pulled into Thameslink or CR1 free. If you want to funnel everything via the City and Docklands then unless you terminate services there, you have to have somewhere for them to go.

    The lines into Waterloo are essentially 2 railways – the Windsor/Reading Lines and the SWML proper. CR2 to Reading is a reasonable match up of capacity with the planned enhanced WAML, and the SWML would be a good match up with the WCML, perhaps with the Met fast lines thrown in for good measure.

    It does create interchange pressure at Clapham Junction, TCR and Euston, yes, but it enables you to focus investment for improving these interchanges at fewer locations and lets not forget, each line can’t serve everywhere – it’s simply not viable.

  16. Whiff says:

    @Chris – I agree about the need for a post to distinguish between fact and speculation on Waterloo but there are many other areas of London transport where it might be useful as well. For example @Josh mentions the proposed interchange at Old Oak Common; I thought I’d read that this wasn’t included in the plans for Crossrail but am not sure if that has changed or whether there will be provision to build one at a later date if and when HS2 gets built.

    And the figures for the expected increases in demand highlight a point I’ve been meaning to make for a while. Although I love seeing new transport infrastructure being built as much as the next LR commenter I do believe that at some point in the near future we are going to have to get serious about trying to reduce the amount that people travel.

  17. jon10 says:

    Old Oak Common, in LB of Hammersmith & Fulham, is not in Crossrail 1.0, but a station seems likely, even without High Speed 2, because of the huge amount of development land. H&F wants something to open well before 2026 when HS2 opens.

    The neighbouring borough of Kensington & Chelsea wants a Crossrail station at Kensal/Portabello as well, but two stations seem one too many.

  18. Whiff says:

    Thanks @jon10, though that does of course lead on to the question which I know has been endlessly discussed on here of what that OOC station would interchange with.
    (and re-reading my previous comment I realise I meant to write a post would be useful and not a post is needed)

  19. C says:

    “”Isambard mentions Basingstoke to Paddington as an alternative. I don’t see it myself. The key is not the time from country station to London Terminus, but to desk. I’d say Waterloo is a lot more central than Paddington, even with Crossrail. Plus it relies on available paths on the GWML, which seems a tad unlikely assuming a sparks effect.””

    I agree about desk being important – but not everybody works in the City.

    For the West End, Crossrail from Paddington will be much quicker than to Waterloo + tube. Both Bond St and TCR cover masses of jobs. Not to mention Paddington Basin area also.

    And Farringdon/Barbican is another huge employment sphere, which isn’t served from Waterloo except the 243 bus!

    So I think that Paddington – Basingstoke may have a purpose. It may be for expresses to the WoE and SWML, or it could be fasts to Reading and then covering off the local stops on the Basingstoke line, once wired – as two of the four future fast HEx paths.

    The GWML at 125mph is currently 25 mins – I could see that reducing slightly to maybe 22/23 with electric trains, no turbos and Reading untangled. If speeds increased on the Basingstoke line too, it’d definitely be competitive.

  20. paul says:

    Basingstoke to Paddington via Reading is described in the London and SE RUS almost entirely as a way of dealing with Reading to Paddington peak flows. They explain that it is not expected to do much at all to relieve the Waterloo route. I’d suggest that an extension to Basingstoke only is far more to do with simplifying operations at Reading and picking up relatively few passengers from the intermediate stations. They don’t want trains arriving at Reading already full, they should be providing Reading – Paddington capacity relief.

    By the way the forecast expenditure at Waterloo is £300m. What does that get you nowadays? Any comparable projects of similar value out there?

  21. Anonymous says:

    One of the more intriguing aspects of the speculation about possible future Crossrail links is Central London station location. I do wonder whether there is is space under places like TCR and Liverpool St to take yet more ticket halls and platforms. Also just how much room will there be and how far down will builders need to go to put large stations under places like Victoria and Waterloo. The other interesting issue will be connecting into LU stations which are “small” and whether they could cope. We have the Crossrail precedent of not connecting with Oxford Circus to avoid overwhelming the latter. Where else will future Crossrail builders have to avoid unless we can also afford to bolster platform and circulating space in LU’s stations. Every time we create new links and capacity it simply gets used up so while we might get short term relief at those places that are “relieved” by the new infrastructure we don’t get it medium to long term.

  22. Pedantic of Purley says:

    When originally looking at the RUS dealing with Reading
    one of the issues was Network Rail were proposing a 12-car fast EMU Reading-Paddington service. At the time I thought that was a bit stupid as the obvious thing was to provide it as a fast Crossrail service. The reason for the RUS proposing the service is that the expected demand into Paddington is estimated to increase by around 50% in the next few years.

    It may be part of a brilliant undisclosed plan, but is probably just serendipity (the opposite of an unforeseen cockup), that means these trains could be extended to Basingstoke. No extra paths needed. Some of the passengers would have had to change trains at Reading having started their journey at Basingstoke (or possibly Bramley or Mortimer) anyway. If electrified for freight the wires would have plenty of juice between Basingstoke and Reading. You no longer have to find platform availability for the layover time for the Paddington fast terminators at Reading.

  23. timbeau says:

    OHLE already exists south of the Thames on HS1 (and Croydon Tramlink), and the origial Crossrail plans included Maidenhead, which is also south of the Thames. The existing plans to electrify to Oxford and Bristol/South Wales would also be largely south of the Thames, except for short stretches at Goring, Culham, and Oxford itself.

    Indeed, Henley and Marlow are both north of the Thames. Electrification of these two branches and the Windsor branch would mean that all railway bridges spanning the Thames will be electrified on one system or another.

    The significance of Southampton-Basingstoke is the possibility of it being the precursor to conversion of the Southern’s dc network (largely south of the Thames – although it crosses it ten times!).

    On another point, the best way of relieving Waterloo is by diverting some of its services elsewhere, which is what Crossrail 2 would do. The number of passengers interchnaging at Wimbledon and, particularly, Clapham Junction suggests that not all SWT passengers want to go to the South Bank.

    @C – the 243 bus is not the only way from Waterloo to Barbican – the No 4 goes there too! Like all buses betwen Waterloo and the City, they both take the circuitous and congested route via the Aldwych rather than the more direct route via Blackfriars Bridge (used by the 76 until 1992) or Southwark Bridge (used by the 149 until 1999)

  24. StephenC says:

    Timbeau said “On another point, the best way of relieving Waterloo is by diverting some of its services elsewhere, which is what Crossrail 2 would do. The number of passengers interchnaging at Wimbledon and, particularly, Clapham Junction suggests that not all SWT passengers want to go to the South Bank.”

    Yes, there is a good split of people wanting the West End as opposed to the City/Wharf. There is also a need for at least 6 tracks (2 fast and 4 London) as far as New Malden. The CR2 tunnel plans to add the extra pair of tracks. The real question is over how well integrated the ability to reach the two destinations will be. For example, are passengers going to have trains to two central London destinations or have trains serve only one destination? I prefer one destination, as two would it halve the frequency to each station and make the service it far less tube-like turn up and go.

    Taking away the Waterloo service from some existing passengers (replaced by CR2) will cause howls of pain unless mitigated. Offering cross-platform interchange is the mitigation. Note that it must be cross-platform, not up stairs/lifts/escalators. TfL’s current CR2 plan doesn’t have a cross-platform interchange at Clapham Junction (for obvious reasons) and this is likely to be a real hurdle in support for the scheme.

    BTW, a better answer to the problem is to tunnel the fast lines from Surbiton to east of Clapham Junction (no stations) and start CR2 from Clapham Junction. Then develop the existing Clapham Junction platforms (or Wimbledon) as a cross-platform interchange between the Waterloo/Swanlink bound services and those to CR2. This reduces the cost of CR2, especially around underground stations.

  25. Snowy says:

    Of course the L&SE RUS also recommended tunnels from East Croydon area through to central London, as relief for part of the BML. How will they fit both BML & SWML relief tunnels at clapham junction & funnel them both through CR2.

    Whether the BML2 proposal including a tunnel to canary wharf would remove the need for the BML relief via clapham junction is an interesting question.

  26. Sam F says:

    What are the supposed advantages of OHL over third rail in so far as the southern InterCity lines are concerned?

  27. Fandroid says:

    Having travelled between Basingstoke and Reading (& Waterloo, & Paddington) countless times over the years, I can hopefully add a few observations. Most of the passengers on the Basingstoke-Reading stopping trains are travelling end to end. The commuting flows actually roughly balance, so it’s probably a nice little earner for FGW. Bramley and Mortimer generate a reasonable, but not spectacular, number of passengers in the peaks. Beyond those times, they just revert to being the dusty country stations that they are. Both Reading and Basingstoke are significant employment centres in their own right. When I moved to Reading back in the early 1970s, the local wisdom was that more people commuted in to the town by rail than commuted out (to London). Nothing has changed that over the intervening decades. So I judge that not many users of the Basingstoke to Reading stoppers are travelling on to Paddington. Also, there has never been (in my time) a through service from those branch stations to Paddington (unlike from just about all the other GWML branches).

    A through electric service from Basingstoke to Paddington would be a great boon for those Basingstoke-Reading end to enders, but may have problems with platform capacity at Basingstoke. The bay platform 5 is fine for a three coach Networker Turbo, and might just squeeze in a five coach combination, but that’s the limit. The four through platforms are all signalled for running both ways, but there ain’t much spare capacity. More freight to/from Southampton would eat up whatever there currently is. The long-awaited freight bypass would be vital if Basingstoke platform capacity is to be maintained.

    I suspect that any Paddington-bound services would have to steal paths currently used by Cross-Country, so starting back at Southampton, and providing northbound connections at Reading.

    Finally, a Basingstoke-Paddington service would inevitably capture some commuters who currently use Waterloo. Cross-Country’s scheduled time along the line is 17 mins. Reading-Paddington is about 30 mins. The best Basingstoke-Waterloo time is 47 mins; almost exactly the same. An ‘Any Permitted’ return from Basingstoke to London Terminals (valid via Reading) is only pennies more costly than a via Woking ticket. If those hypothetical trains ran through the Crossrail tunnel to Canary Wharf, I can see lots of commuters saying ‘why change onto a sweaty W&C or Jubilee train, when one bright and shiny new electric will take me the whole way?’

  28. Fandroid says:

    Having glanced at the London & SE RUS, I see that their option F6 (Basingstoke to Paddington) IS regarded as potentially relieving SWML services into Waterloo, but not in itself capable of resolving the whole gap that is predicted to exist in 2031. They don’t allocate many words to Option F6, but some of those actual words say:

    ‘ However in the event that the route was electrified this would then be a tactical intervention which may postpone the need for major changes on the SWML itself by a small duration.

    Further development is therefore recommended if done in conjuction with a future scheme to electrify the Basingstoke to Reading line for other reasons.’

    Interestingly F6 is described as a variant of Option A5 which deals with capacity on the GWML between Reading and Paddington. What A5 doesn’t dream of is a western connection between the GWML and Heathrow.

    So, the London & SE RUS must be due for yet another significant revamp, except they aren’t doing any more RUS’s ! So, the Long Term Planning Process (LTTP) will have to get its skates on (current deadline is Sept 2016 – two years into the 5-year CP5 period which the HLOS deals with).

  29. Pedantic Of Purley says:

    Thanks for that Fandroid,

    I am always a bit nervous about suggesting anything when not on my home turf as it were. My memory of Basingstoke station is hazy but I suspect that it is going to be a lot easier in future to add terminal capacity at Basingstoke, even if expensive to do so, than to attempt to enlarge Reading still further. And if you could avoid terminating at Reading it may be operationally desirable. I suspect any plan that the RUS had for fast Paddington – Reading trains would require the trains to disappear into some sidings somewhere and reappear later for their return journey.

    I don’t get the bit about stealing paths from Cross-Country as I would assume these trains replaced local Basingstoke-Reading trains. In any case if that is the problem I would have thought additional signalling sections could be added if an economic case could be made for them.

  30. Fandroid says:


    Option A5 in the RUS talks of 12-car trains. I can just see those squeezed into Basingstoke if Platform 5 were extended both ways, but it would probably have to be SDO with a vengeance for Bramley and Mortimer.

    I’m not totally sure about there being much more room at Basingstoke for terminal capacity. There is a spare line on the north side, but that is what us locals think is allocated as the stub end of the proposed freight bypass. When the station was resignalled a short time back, that stub was given ‘passive signalling’ with the freight needs in mind. It seems doubtful that it would be much use as a freight bypass if terminating passenger trains used it. There’s no real room for another line on the north side because the brand-new signalling control centre for half of southern England has been built there. Due to the old London & Southampton line being built half way up a hillside, the south side of the track layout is bounded by a high retaining wall, (and a very large main station building) so not an easy option there either.

    If you wonder how the freight bypass is supposed to work, there is a whole lot of spare land and lines west of the station where southbound freights could wait around in preference to sitting at a signal and blocking the Reading line, or taking up a platform line which is needed by a passenger train, or crossing all the lines on the busier (London) side of the station).

  31. Lemmo says:

    Our recent coverage of freight in London discussed the Southampton-Reading route north, and noted that south of Oxford there are still significant capacity issues:

    • in the Eastleigh to Southampton area
    • at Basingstoke, where southbound freight services need to cross the entire layout on the flat to reach the South West Main Line (SWML) Down lines
    • on the 10-mile two-track Didcot to Oxford section, which is shared between freight and six passenger trains (four of which are fast) per hour.

    According to the RUS, none of these present insurmountable problems, but they are significant nonetheless. Electrification alone will not resolve them, and the HLOS does not discuss them. The HLOS Illustrative options paper does mention capacity improvements on the other bottleneck: the single-track Leamington Spa to Coventry section. So it appears incomplete and we’ll have to await the detail from NR…

    @ Chris (26 July), a post on Waterloo is a good idea. I assume that the “provision” referred to in the HLOS is for platform lengthening, but could also include bringing the ex-Eurostar platforms into use, widening the throat, removing the ex-Eurostar link to the South Eastern mainline and reinstating four Windsor running lines. There are clearly more detailed plans out there, if the £300 million price tag is to be believed, and I’d also like to know more.

    @ Whiff (26 July), a post on Old Oak Common is in the offing, thanks for the prompt to complete it! But in our May report on the deliberations of London’s Transport Committee, the Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy “confirmed that there has so far been no discussion of a station at Old Oak Common”.

  32. Ian Sergeant says:


    A couple of points.

    1) If you were running Basingstoke to Paddington trains, would you bother stopping them at Bradley and Mortimer given the (current) low patronage and the SDO issues?

    2) Rather than terminating trains from Paddington at Basingstoke, would you not replace Southampton to Waterloo capacity? These would be very attractive to people heading to and from the West End, the City and the Wharf if they were able to run via Crossrail – and about neutral if not…

  33. evergreenadam says:

    There could also be direct Heathrow-Basingstoke trains if the western link to Heathrow Airport is built, I don’t a shuttle between Reading and Heathrow will be sufficient to meet the demands from the regions for a direct link to Heathrow. Such a service would probably continue to Southampton and Bournemouth, from where there should be quite a good level of demand for travel to Heathrow.

    I wonder what the maximum capacity of the Reading-Basingstoke line is in terms of trains per hour given that the existing half hourly slow service and half hourly Virgin XC service could be supplemented with a Southampton-Paddington express service and Southampton-Heathrow service plus freight traffic. Perhaps the Virgin XC will terminate at Reading in future.

    I can forsee the fast Weymouth service transferring from Waterloo to Paddington.

  34. Drew says:


    CrossCountry are unable to meet demand from Reading to Bournemouth currently. 2 tph run from Birmingham to Reading, with 1 terminating at Reading, and the other continuing to Bournemouth.

    On top of this, due to platform capacity issues at Reading, they are generally limited to using Voyager units which only have 4-5 coaches, instead of 8 coach HST trains. This should eventually be alleviated after the Reading station remodelling is finished and there will be capacity for CrossCountry HST trains.

    CrossCountry have stated they would like to extend both of the 2tph services to Reading to run on to Bournemouth so as to provide more capacity, so it’s unlikely they’d be particularly happy at being asked to terminate services at Reading.

  35. Fandroid says:

    CrossCountry* currently run 1tph to Bournemouth from Manchester plus 1 train every alternate hour to Southampton from Newcastle, both via Birmingham and Reading. I personally would love one of the Basingstoke-Reading stopping trains per hour to be replaced by another hourly through train (as would most of the existing users – I’m sure). However, the intermediate stations do need two trains per hour in the peaks, and that is what the L&SE RUS was looking at. Another personal preference for me would be for one of those through Reading-Basingstoke services to go on to Portsmouth as semi-fasts. The current service from Waterloo to Portsmouth via Basingstoke stops at just about every station after Basingstoke. SW Trains used to run a semi-fast train every other hour between Reading and either Portsmouth or Brighton but DfT dropped that out of the SW franchise, despite the service having built up a good customer base.

    I frequently use Railair coaches to Heathrow from both Reading and Woking. Both services are always fairly lightly loaded, so I suspect that it is easy to overestimate the potential demand for direct Heathrow trains from the SW mainline. I’m sure that direct services would be better used than coach transfers, but even so, the passenger numbers are not going to be massive. However, entirely for my own personal convenience I propose 2tph Paddington (or central London)-Heathrow-Reading-Basingstoke-Winchester, with alternate ones proceeding to (1) Southampton Airport & Southampton and (2) Fareham & Portsmouth.

    * (@evergreenadam- Virgin lost this franchise several years back – it’s now Arriva)

  36. Martin S says:

    @Sam F

    Advantages over 25kV AC OHL against 750V DC third rail for the SR lines are:

    – much lower resistive losses in the supply
    – ability to do practical regenerative braking
    – higher top speeds (third rail systems don’t work much over 100mph as the shoe gear bounces)
    – compatibility with electric freight locos

  37. Snowy says:

    Plus if the trial is successful then converting the UK to a single rail power source system has savings for maintenance & renewals in the long run

  38. Greg Tingey says:

    “Pasenger Flows” – whether through Termini or not, IF based on ORR’s figures are, erm, “not even wrong”, as they say.
    See letters in current “Modern Railways” which I picked up yesterday on returning form Germany, as well as my own personal observations on this subject ……

    25kV AC OHLE vs 0.75kV DC 3rd advantages…
    Well: Lower Currents, so much lower transmission losses, so sub-stations much further apart.
    Higher line-speeds – Surbition – Basingstoke – Southampton / Salisbury could easily run @ 100/110 mph with OHLE, not so with 3rd rail – 90-100 is the top limit for that pick-up mechanism (extra capacity therefore & also attracting more passengers if times lower) So another 5 or 10 mins off Soton timings.
    International standard type of kit – though with all solid-state electronics, that isn’t the great advantage it used to be.
    Regen braking, thus saving loadsamoney
    Interchangeability of stock & all powered kit, plus through running.
    Do for a start?

    Reading etc commutes
    Having watched the flows @ Ealing Bdy in the peaks, not only are the GW “suburban” services completely rammed (Demand is being supressed, they are so crowded) but it is balanced – almost as many are heading to Maidenhead / Slough / Reading as in to Padders.
    Hence, of course the insanity of turning X-rails round at Old Oak and the stupid & expensive turnback sidings…
    I predict at least a 100% increase in passenger-flows Reading Padders, once the knitting is up!
    Oh, Bradley / Mortimer … platform extensions are CHEAP (compared to everything else, anyway …..)

    Freight capacity Soton -= Oxfprd, is called the DNS – so, there’s houses on it, so what?
    ( Ditto Tavistock, incidentally ) – it’s called, erm, “Compulsory Purchase” as demostarted by Tramlink, and just about all Motorway constructions …. ahem.

    Western Links to Theifrow.
    Good idea ONLY if trains are throughs to elsewhere South of the flat bit with planes on it … which brings us to the Windsor Lines Level Crossing problem(s) – and the only solution, quite frankly is bridges & tunnels – but where?
    J Redwood’s hatred of the railways is palpable, but even he wants a new crossing @ Wokingham – & where do you put them? err, um …..

  39. Belsize Parker says:

    Greg’s last point is a very good one, especially in the light of what appears to be an incipient government U-turn on a third runway at Heathrow. If the airline industry gets its way (as I fear it will), most of the GWML and SWML assumptions in the HLOS will have to be totally reworked. Somebody needs to make approval for a third runway wholly contingent on implementing Super-Airtrack (not Airtrack Lite) with attendant level-crossing elimination in SW London and Staines/Egham, plus a proper in-tunnel connection towards T4 from Feltham…all paid for by the ‘Boris-Island is far too expensive’ lobby. With access to the South secured (and an assumption of all DC rolling-stock being dual-voltage), wiring up the missing bits of Reading-Readhill then offers the prospect of ‘Heathwick’ services via Guildford or, better still, Waterloo-Reading services via Heathrow and the western curve to the GWML. Retaining Heathrow as a dead-end branch-line, albeit with a connection towards Slough, is, to say the least, unimaginative.

  40. Mwmbwls says:

    With the announcement of the HLOS for CP5 the starting gun for projects for CP6 has been fired. In the meantime Network Rail’s replacement for the RUS’s – the Long Term Planning Process will not be short of ideas and concepts to play with

  41. Fandroid says:

    It’s difficult to see why Airtrack Lite (4tph from Staines) and a western link to the GWML shouldn’t be enough to cater for most of the real demand west and south of Heathrow. The Berkshire part of the Waterloo-Reading line serves a big prosperous population that would be happy with a good interchange at Staines. If most of the Paddington to Reading local services went via Heathrow on their way to Reading, that would capture another big catchment for the airport. Bypassing West Drayton and Hayes would cause few problems for most Thames Valley travellers.

    Longer platforms at Mortimer & Bramley (& Reading West & Green Park – which has planning permission) would be an absurd waste of money given the local passenger numbers. SDO would do it, but as I said before, most passengers on most trains would prefer it if they didn’t stop there at all!

    Didcot-Newbury-Southampton (DNS) is a lost cause. The NS bit is just about all covered up with the A34. With no sensible route to Newbury, there’s no point in reopening Newbury-Didcot. However, the real critical bit for freight, as already pointed out in LR articles, is Didcot-Oxford.

  42. MiaM says:

    Would Airtrack even generate more traffic than today?

    Run some of todays Reading-Waterloo trains Reading-Staines-Paddington, and run some of todays Reading-Paddington trains Reading-Drayton-Waterloo.

    (A bit like how tram line M6, M8, 16 and 18 is run in Berlin, Jan Petersen Straße would be Heatrow, Ahrensfelde would be Paddington, Rieaser Straße would be Waterloo and S-Landsberger Allee would be Reading, )

    Re Basingstoke: How about more stations in Basingstoke? Terminating trains could probably run to 1-2 more stations before reversing.

    Re future crossrails: I’ve written it before (perhaps not here): How about reinstalling that Waterloo – Waterloo East link and run some services southwestern (or southern…) – Clapham Junction – Waterloo – London Bridge – southeastern or southern? That would not give direct connection to anything north of the Thames but those trains would have plenty of one interchange connections to many places in London. The loss would be Charing Cross – Southeastern, but how about diverting some Waterloo trains up to Charing Cross instead?

  43. Kit Green says:


    A huge problem with Waterloo – Waterloo East is that the trains ran across the concourse at Waterloo. Not a good idea for a regular service!

  44. timbeau says:

    So Waterloo would become a through station – and we now have the mezzanine to get from one side to the other, as well as the tube accesses on both sides!

  45. StephenC says:

    Thanks for the link Mwmbwls, the scheme I see working best for Airtrack is Richmond Crossing, a way to get far more trains through the key Richmond section of the line – a full local service of 8 to 12 trains per hour, plus lots of extra capacity for Reading slows, Windsor and Airtrack. Its all part of looking at the *underused* railway lines in London, where the 4 tracks from Barnes to Clapham Junction are pretty underused. I also like the ideas of the Windsor Link Railway, something else for LR to cover?

  46. Drew says:

    The Richmond Crossing does provide some relief, but there are more problems then the Richmond crossing can solve, particularly in level crossings.

    – Level crossing next to Feltham station. This is damn hard to solve without expensive works, as the road can’t be moved. All trains between London and Staines needs to cross this crossing, currently 6tph during off-peak.

    – Level crossings through Egham. There are 4 crossings in Egham, and no bridge crossings. The town is split in half by the railway. Some of these crossings are easily convertable to bridges, but not the central ones. Suggestions of more trains per hour through Egham (stopping or not) causes intense opposition from local council and residents.

    – Level crossing at Wokingham. Like Feltham, difficult to solve without expensive works, Has 4tph during off-peak, and causes significant traffic problems during “barriers-down” at peak times. Again, more trains per hour suggestion is opposed by council and local drivers. As a former resident in Wokingham, I can personally testify that the barriers cause havoc during peak times.

    As you say, the problems are widespread, and while more trains per hour would usually be welcomed at the ends of the Windsor lines (particularly the lines to Reading as they are extremely crowded during peak times, and busy off-peak times), there are significant infrastructure issues regardless.

  47. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Although Feltham crossing might be expensive to solve it is at least one where the engineering solution is not challenging or impossible. The key to the solution is the existing bridge at the other end of the station. Make this wider and the need for the crossing almost disappears. The crossing is one-way anyway (except for bikes) if I remember correctly. If, as well as making the bridge wider, you increase the span then you neatly solve any platform extension issues at the same time.

    The bridge does not look to be ideal for modern traffic so probably it would need replacing one day anyway. If a replacement were built to solve all the issues concerning it then maybe it could be justified. The current crossing could then be downgraded to bicycles and pedestrians only. I know there is already a footbridge next to the crossing but pedestrians tend not to use it and would rather wait for the barriers to go up.

  48. StephenC says:

    @Drew, Pedantic has discussed Feltham (I agree with his comments), Egham and Wokingham are not intended to be tackled by Richmond Crossing. The proposal is focussed on a better tube-like local service and an enhanced service from Staines (including Airtrack). From your comment, it sounds like you think Wokingham can be solved on the current site with a bit of money, which is good to hear. Given that it also takes Guildford line trains, its no surprise that crossing is busy.

  49. Drew says:

    @PoP and StephenC

    Cheers Pedantic – interesting comment.

    And StephenC – I was just going off the suggested the suggested service pattern you wrote, which included 4tph Waterloo to Reading. 🙂

    As you say, with a chunk of money, Wokingham could be solved. In essence the problem is that 2 roads form a junction literally adjacent to the crossing on both side. So 4 roads converge on the crossing, There’s space to raise the roads up to bridge over the line, but the station needs moving first.

  50. Belsize Parker says:

    It is depressingly familiar to see questions of major national importance (Heathrow expansion versus Boris Island…versus ‘Heathwick’?) reduced to the relatively minor technical matter of how best to eliminate various level crossings in outer London/Surrey. The lack of joined-up thinking is truly breathtaking…ditto any concept of connecting the newly [25KV AC] electrified north-south “spine” to HS2 somewhere near Calvert. Clearly, high-speed lines in Britain are viewed as serving ‘provinces to London’ flows and nothing else (unless somebody really takes the time-buying ‘Heathwick’ LGV proposal seriously).

    Even Paris-centric France has plans for TGV routes that avoid the capital (e.g. Strasbourg-Marseille). Why can’t we aspire to running Southampton-Oxford Manchester/Leeds in around 150 minutes, using HS2 and tilt south of Calvert down the “spine”? And please don’t say: ‘lack of grade-separation at Didcot’ or ‘what about Bournemouth/Portsmouth?’. We’re talking about Britain’s future transport needs over the next 50 years here, not the technical feasibility of repositioning the platforms at Culham or adding a lower-speed DC capability to a 300 km/h Pendolino, assuming the entire 750V network hasn’t gone over to OHLE by then.

    If something is worth spending several tens of billions on, it is surely worth doing properly, with as much connectivity as possible. That way, you expand the political constituency likely to favour the scheme (and it looks to me as if the Chiltern NIMBYs and the Camden flat-dwellers are forces to be reckoned with, even more formidable, and harder to placate, than the Egham school-runners).

  51. timbeau says:

    The link to Richmond Crossing doesn’t seem to work

  52. Anonymous says:

    @Belsize Parker. It has taken the French 30 years to start opening non Paris Centric High Speed Lines. Remember they will come if HS2 is a success. The passenger flows to the cpital are the most concentrated, Cross Country flows on the south end of HS2 will eat capcity uneccesarily. The Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester trains need to start south of Bham to provide cross country services, with 25kV and tilt and extra tracks etc on the existing CC routes to Bristol and Reading.

  53. Jeremy says:

    Electrifying the branches at Slough, Twyford and Maidenhead makes great sense and is also politically expedient. It makes sense because, in combination with the other it will allow for the complete removal of all turbos from the Paddington – Reading – Didcot – Oxford – Banbury stretch. This makes the retention of through services to Paddington to/from the branches in the peaks more realistic.

  54. timbeau says:

    So what WILL operate the Greenford branch? An extension to the E11 bus perhaps?

  55. PhilD says:

    The Richmond crossing link is here:
    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure its workable

  56. Jeremy says:

    Erm, they won’t be running to Paddington any more following Crossrail. But I guess you have a point as I suppose the one they do use will have to be swapped from time to time. Although personally I’d use one of the DMUs off of the GOBLIN – no good reason for it not to be London Overground following Crossrail.

  57. Pedantic of Purley says:

    So what WILL operate the Greenford branch?

    The hope and talk is that the franchise to operate Greenford to West Ealing will transfer to Chiltern Railways and the idea is that they operate a Gerrards Cross or even High Wycombe service to West Ealing to connect with Crossrail.

  58. StephenC says:

    @Belsize Parker, I agree that the best way would be a single national plan executed over 10 to 20 years, with a fixed yearly budget (ie. all political parties should commit to a fixed investment budget of say £5bn per year and let professionals decide where to spend it). However that is not where we are at.

    I also think that connecting HS2 to Oxford makes sense, but probably north of Banbury. I does require a 4 track section of HS2, but that is needed anyway. More interesting is the possible journey times. I believe that Bristol to Leeds via Swindon, Oxford and HS2 will be competitive time-wise if the connection is added. It will be interesting to see what HS2 Ltd think with the next announcements.

    @Drew, thanks for the Wokingham info. BTW, sorry about the Richmond Crossing link. I missed the “http://” at the start of the link!

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