As “Phyllis” and “Ada” make their stately progress east from the portals at Park Royal, plans are evolving for the Crossrail route west, and an absorbing story it is to tell.

The Mayor has now published Old Oak: A Vision for the Future, setting out the grand plan for what could become the Canary Wharf of west London. Old Oak Common (OOC) is an emerging transport hub for HS2, Crossrail and the Overground, and the gateway to the huge Park Royal Opportunity Area. This is giving rise to one of London’s most ambitious redevelopments.

Make no mistake, this is a project that will transform west London. Crossrail is currently the largest construction project in Europe, Park Royal is the largest industrial estate in Europe, and HS2 is no minnow.

The task of weaving the various rail routes into a coherent and achievable whole at OOC has been challenging for the planners. The scheme that is emerging incorporates Crossrail as but one of the elements, and here at LR Towers we’re very happy to be recounting a tale of vision, some joined-up thinking and a step change for rail in west London.

Aspiration 2043

An impression of OOC in 2043, taken from Old Oak: A Vision for the Future, published last week by the Greater London Authority (GLA)

The sprawling wastes of OOC lie trapped in the railway no-mans-land between Wormwood Scrubs and the next tangle of lines north around Willesden Junction. At first glance there could be no possible reason for a station here, and indeed Crossrail was expected to speed west to Ealing Broadway, with only a few services pausing at Acton Mainline. HS2 changed all that, however, and the concept of a Crossrail-HS2 interchange emerged. In principle both HS2 and TfL were positive, though neither would commit alone. Then TfL raised significant concerns about the broader HS2 design in London and made some requirements of its own, one of which was an OOC interchange with the Overground and Crossrail, largely to relieve pressure on the underground routes through Euston.

Step aside for the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham (LBHF), which had bolder plans, engaging the architects Terry Farrell and Partners to create a vision for regeneration. Highly ambitious but eminently achievable, as the illustrious Mwmbwls lyrically enthused, this would transform the area into a key transport node and economic hub.

The fanfares of 2011 then died down and all went quiet but, intrigued, we followed the plans behind the scenes. It’s some achievement that, in a matter of a couple of years, OOC has grown from the mere seed of an idea to a £10 billion development that may require the vehicle of a Mayoral Development Corporation to push through.

An integrated rail plan needs to be in place this year to meet the HS2 parliamentary timescale, and a big question is how this meshes with the Crossrail project timetable. A collaborative design approach is essential, not only to create an effective interchange that allows the various routes to operate reliably, but also to phase the rail works in the midst of a large-scale redevelopment. Old Oak Common will not all be built at once – indeed it cannot and (as we outline below) parts of the site will not be redeveloped for 20 or 30 years.

An integrated design is one thing, but deciding who pays for it is another. The benefits and costs will be shared between several parties which, for rail, includes HS2, Network Rail, TfL and Crossrail, the TOCs for the GWML and WCML, the freight operators who use the busy orbital lines that criss-cross the site and – last but not least – the DfT. In broader terms the players include the Mayor, the developers and masterplanners and, of course, LBHF.

TfL will be particularly aware that Old Oak Common provides a test of its “strategic interchange” concept, and it will be interesting to see the extent to which it is willing to take leadership, and to financially commit.

Here in Part 1, we summarise the many strands being pulled together and outline what the planners have come up with, and we emphasise that at this stage this is merely a plan, a Vision; none of this has budget or agreement. In Part 2, we explore the dance between the key players, some nagging questions, and how the decision-making might unfold.

From small acorns – an Old Oak snapshot

The excellent Carto Metro maps help the unfamiliar reader navigate the maze. The slightly edited version below shows the location of the interchange, with orbital connections radiating in all directions. It doesn’t show the proposed route of HS2, and also misses some detail, such as the Great Western (GW) goods line which ran alongside the Central from North Acton through East Acton to the West London Line (WLL).

Carto OOC rev

Edited from Carto Metro map, courtesy of Franklin Jarrier

A sense of the expanse of the site comes from the photo below. HS2 will emerge from beneath these lines and the canal above, into a station box similar to Stratford International. The tracks in the foreground will remain to access the Crossrail depot.

Ben Brooksbank

Looking west in BR steam days from just west of the West London Line bridge at Old Oak Common East Jn. Empty coaching stock is being brought from the carriage yards onto the flyover line which crosses the GWML towards Westbourne Park. The view shows the height of the Grand Union Canal, with the railway beneath a large retaining wall. The vantage point, an old footbridge from the canal towpath, no longer exists. Courtesy of Ben Brooksbank

The grand plan

So to the proposed development itself.

Firstly, the images below gives a sense of the scale compared to Canary Wharf and Olympic Park, which implies that Park Royal will also require a Development Corporation vehicle to facilitate the masterplanning and investment. The core Old Oak area is 155 hectares whilst the wider Park Royal Opportunity Area is 868 hectares, almost 9 square kilometres.


Taken from Old Oak: A Vision for the Future, published last week by the Greater London Authority (GLA)

The vision is of 19,000 new homes and 90,000 new jobs, with a new interchange station the size of Waterloo, handling 250,000 passengers a day. OOC will become a “super hub” between London and the rest of the UK, Europe and the world. It’s quite a claim, and in Part 2 we’ll explore the implications in terms of London’s rail network as a whole.

The first picture above of OOC as it might look in 2043 represents the culmination of a multi-phase development. The phasing is dictated partly by what land is available at each stage, and the inevitability of the Crossrail and Intercity Express Program (IEP) depots means that the planners have had to work around these. The assumption is that these sites will become available for later phases of development, but for now put yourself in the position of the developer or investor. How would you feel about two large railway depots as the centrepiece, taking pride of place in the vista from your new Phase 1 show-home?

Success with Phase 1 is essential to help kick start the regeneration of the wider area and raise the value and viability of later phases. Success will also improve the business case for new transport links, including new stations for the Overground and the a GWML.

With HS2 and Crossrail construction dominating the space at Old Oak Common itself, Phase 1 of the broader Old Oak development is expected to be north of the canal and around North Acton station. The space immediately around the HS2 and Crossrail stations would not become available until Phase 3 (2026-32), while the Crossrail and IEP depot sites will not become available for development until Phase 4, from 2032.


Potential development phases, from the GLA Vision

High Speed Two

Next, to the project that provided the initial driver for all this: HS2. Unsurprisingly the design for the HS2 station at Old Oak Common bears an uncanny resemblance to Stratford International. Despite the acreage available, the site options for a high-speed station are very limited, constrained by housing in the west and the Grand Union Canal looming above the Crossrail depot access tracks in the east.

The HS2 station is located where the existing Heathrow Express and First Great Western Intercity 125 depot now lies. This will become redundant when the Intercity Express (IEP) depot opens on the south side of the tracks at North Pole, alongside Wormwood Scrubs, and when Crossrail takes over Heathrow services. This large site, the erstwhile Eurostar depot, constrains the Old Oak Common station site on the south side, of which more below.

Six platform lines are envisaged for the 400m trains and the station will be sunk around 15m below the existing rail lines. The central island platform will be for international services via the proposed HS1-HS2 link, which can be segregated for border control purposes. Three running tunnels will head east, the central bore being the HS1-HS2 link to emerge around Primrose Hill.

The on-going debate over the HS2-HS1 link will be left for another post. Suffice to say now that question marks over the route east from OOC will not materially alter the layout of the station itself, although the routes offered from OOC may change if, for example, the planners pursue opportunities for new cross-London regional services using a redesigned HS1-HS2 link.

HS2 2013 consultation Draft ES

HS2 revised route, published Jan 2012, drawing # HS2-ARP-00-DR-RW-05301. The image quality suffers from the need to resize for the web and we recommend readers to download the PDF.

Compare this to the most recent plans in the Draft Environmental Statements presented to consultation groups.

HS2 Arup Jan 2012

Map published as part of the Draft Environmental Statement for the current HS2 consultation, section Scrubs Lane to Wells House Road. The image quality suffers from the need to resize for the web and we recommend readers to download the PDF.

There are two significant changes at OOC. Firstly, the HS2 axis has moved more towards East-West, to avoid housing at the west end around Acton Wells. The result is that the eastern end of the HS2 station now lies beneath the Crossrail/GWML station on a raft.

Secondly, the Crossrail/GWML station has been relocated eastwards, also partly necessitating the raft over the HS2 station. This is so that all the station platforms are grouped centrally and aligned with the proposed North-South pedestrian ‘greenway’ through the development. It also provides sufficient space for Crossrail turnback sidings, which would then become part of a grade-separated junction for the WCML branch.

The 2013 plan also clarifies the layout of the Crossrail depot, with a bank of stabling sidings on the north side closest to the canal, and the maintenance depot adjacent to the HS2 station to the south. This is important to the development as a whole because it may be easier building a raft above stabling sidings than over a maintenance depot. Plus, in the event of Crossrail being extended westwards, it will probably be more straightforward to create new stabling facilities elsewhere than relocate the maintenance depot. The end result at OOC might well be that the Crossrail stabling sidings are redeveloped but the maintenance depot stays.

As we piece together the components in this complex project, the main engineering consideration for LR readers to bear in mind is that the HS2 station is underneath everything else, and therefore needs to be built first. HS2 is also the main economic and political driver behind OOC, at present, so the next obvious question is: will anything get built without HS2?

That’s a question we’ll seek to unravel in Part 2, but for now lets take a look at the other components that need to be integrated.

Crossrail routes west

A recurring theme in the comments on LR is the questionable wisdom of terminating 14 of the 24 peak hour Crossrail services at Paddington. This was acknowledged in the 2011 London & South East RUS which, noting a looming capacity gap of 5800 passengers in the peak hour on the GWML, looked at options to extend Crossrail services west.

But this is a fiercely guarded domain. Crossrail is a flagship TfL project and there is little tolerance of changes that might endanger the project being delivered to spec, on budget and on time.

Arguably Crossrail’s ambitions west were curtailed by the lack of electrification, and the dearth of a rail strategy that might provide a trustworthy milieu for investing in and operating such a complex project. In short, Crossrail needed to be ring-fenced from the directionless fragmentation beyond and, sadly, this is still the case.

While Crossrail itself presses remorselessly on with the original plan, TfL and Network Rail are actively looking at the route west from the Royal Oak portal. As a baseline, the London & SE RUS envisaged Crossrail services reversing at OOC rather than at Royal Oak. This is now being built into the proposed station at OOC, where Crossrail will have two island platforms, with the two central tracks being for reversing trains.

The RUS assessed various options to extend for Crossrail, and outlined a peak service pattern of:

  • 10tph semi-fast to (or via) Heathrow Airport
  • 6tph semi-fast on the GWML
  • 8tph via a new route to the WCML slow lines

London & SE RUS Fig 8.1

On the RUS diagram above, note the short section on the map in green, from Paddington to OOC. This is delineated as “Extension associated with HS2”, which implies that it is expected to be part of the HS2 plan, and budget. As we shall see in Part 2, this is not an expectation shared by HS2, which is desperately trying to contain its ballooning financial overheads.

Mott McDonald has reported to the DfT on the Crossrail-WCML link. Two options are recommended, both using the central Crossrail turnback tracks. One option is to the Dudding Hill line then Acton Canal Wharf route, the other has a tunnel to connect with the WCML near Stonebridge. The latter is the recommended option thought it costs more, because journey times are quicker.

The GWML and WCML routes split at OOC, therefore this key junction needs to be grade-separated. Building the grade-separated junction will cost £25 million if constructed at the same time as HS2-GWML interchange, but £50-75m if delayed to later phases. This is another cost which TfL would like to see included in the HS2 bill, but there’s more.

The Crossrail depot

The extensive Crossrail depot on the north part of the site is currently being used for the concrete tunnel lining factory. This production line turns out the ring segments which the giant tunnel boring machines (TBM) install as they rumble eastwards.

Crossrail depot site

The Crossrail concrete tunnel lining factory and future depot site at OOC. Photo courtesy Crossrail

Once the TBMs emerge victorious at the other end, the Crossrail depot will be built here, with maintenance facilities and stabling largely for the Abbey Wood services. The maintenance depot will occupy the old Coronation Sidings, laid by BR in the 1960s for its Blue Pullman trains, while stabling sidings will fan out to the north on the site of the concrete tunnel lining factory.

Diamond Geezer

The future Crossrail stabling sidings in 2008 looking east with the First Great Western depot on the right. Photo courtesy of Diamond Geezer.

All very straightforward, one might think, but in reality it is the Crossrail depot that is providing the biggest headache for the OOC planners. It is partly a question of timing: NR starts work on the Crossrail OOC depot at end-2013 and is due to complete 2018. As currently designed and approved, the Crossrail depot does not allow for development above the site, and it is too late in the day to redesign given the lack of clarity on the other putative components in the grand plan.

Worse, for the promoters of the broader Park Royal Opportunity Area redevelopment, the intrusion of the Crossrail depot equates to a real cost in terms of land values and jobs delivered. Without the Crossrail depot OOC could provide in excess of 80,000 new jobs, but with the depot occupying the prime commercial site the development can only offer 20-30,000 new jobs. The prospect of apartments and offices overlooking a railway depot slashes property values and tarnishes the sheen of the vision. Most importantly, the land that the depot uses lies centrally at the heart of the redevelopment, on what could be the most lucrative real estate in the whole project.

Thus far it has not been possible to see a way forward. In the absence of a clear re-specification and the budget to deliver it, Crossrail will progress as planned. For LR readers exasperated at the nonsense of the Royal Oak turnback, the OOC Crossrail depot could become the most potent symbol yet of our short-term and fragmented rail planning.

A GWML station and the loss of the High Wycombe route

Crossrail will take over the GWML Relief lines, and the HS2 plans show a mainline station including four platforms on the Fast lines. This would allow some trains to stop and others to run through and would be an essential requirement for the intensive peak service of 20tph on the Fast lines proposed in the RUS (Option A5, p109). The 20tph envisaged in the RUS will run the GWML to its maximum capacity, but this is likely to be necessary anyway by the mid-2020s to meet demand in the outer Thames Valley corridor.

Clearly the capacity for a mainline interchange is being built into the OOC design. This would fully realise its potential as a strategic interchange, although it will require a persuasive business case.

What of the ‘other’ route west, the erstwhile GW mainline to Birmingham and beyond via High Wycombe? Before HS1, this was England’s newest mainline, built with long passing loops at stations, grade-separated junctions and alignments that favoured fast rail. Long-neglected but revived by Chiltern Railways, the 2011 London & SE RUS expects capacity gaps could be met by train lengthening and service alterations. Yet the 2011 Stations RUS notes the high level of crowding and congestion at Marylebone which is likely to require intervention.

Marylebone offers little potential to expand and has relatively poor onward connections. Could the GWML provide an alternative, along with the additional connectivity through OOC? Alas, while aficionados of a holistic and long-term view would see the benefits, safeguarding this route has not been considered possible. Paddington is also unlikely to have much slack with 20tph to service.

Perhaps this is a missed opportunity, but in reality it has proved challenging to shoehorn the WCML branch into the OOC design, let alone make provision for the Chiltern route. Still, the alignment at the west end of OOC, where the Banbury route joins the GWML, will be used by the Crossrail WCML branch. Depending on the design of the grade-separated junction and the route chosen through to the WCML, there may still be an option to maintain a connection to the Banbury route, although this does not appear to be part of the current thinking.

The IEP depot

The North Pole IEP depot was given planning permission in 2011 and will adapt the mothballed Eurostar facility, which lies on the south side of the GWML at Old Oak Common and adjacent to Wormwood Scrubs. The first units to be built as part of the IEP program will be introduced into service on the GWML from 2017.

Although not as thorny a problem as the Crossrail depot, in terms of the OOC redevelopment overall the location of the IEP depot here is still far from ideal. At least there is safeguarding in the planning agreement to allow access across the depot from the south side, which makes an Overground station possible here.

Nevertheless, this site is also regarded as a Phase 4 project, so for the next twenty years the south side of the redevelopment will be flanked by the IEP depot. Perhaps this is understandable, given the IEP program’s resilience to almost universal criticism, and the contractual commitments that would have to be rewritten with Hitachi.

However, it seems perverse given that the North Pole site is so coveted. Furthermore, just to the east on the other side of Mitre Bridge, a large area of railway land is considered surplus, to be released for redevelopment as part of the neighbouring Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) Kensal Gasworks Strategic Site. Again, some questions for Part 2.

A new Overground station

Last but certainly not least, how to integrate TfL’s Overground routes?

Those with a penchant for pencilling lines on maps can spend many a happy hour at OOC, with the plethora of potential connections and interchange options. As the CartoMetro map above shows, the WLL from Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction traverses the east end of the site, while the NLL to Richmond crosses the west. Unfortunately the HS2-Crossrail station is located mid-way between and just too far for a convenient interchange.

Given that the route from Clapham Junction is likely to be the greatest traffic generator, weaving the WLL into the interchange is a thorny problem that has been furrowing brows at TfL for some time. To complicate matters further, there is also the potential to design in new Overground routes. The two main contenders are north onto the freight-only Dudding Hill line towards Brent Cross and the Midland Mainline, and southwest via Acton Central and onto the Hounslow Loop.

We first became aware that plans were afoot when we came across a TfL presentation at the Golden Mile Transport Group back in February 2012, which showed a new Overground interchange crossing above the HS2-Crossrail station and linking the WLL and NLL routes in both directions.

TfL 2012 Overground

Overground at OOC v1, TfL presentation Feb 2012

The Overground station as proposed above was found to be unfeasible. Construction and operation of HS2 and Crossrail at OOC would be challenging enough without the complication of a new Overground station emerging in the midst of it.

In terms of locating a new station, Overground needed to keep as close to the maelstrom as possible without getting sucked in. An ideal solution would be one that could be ring-fenced itself, and constructed independently of HS2 and Crossrail.

So, it was back to the drawing board, and the new options are shown below. It is a neat solution to a complex problem while still offering great flexibility in terms of modularity and future route options.

The first option is for a combined WLL/NLL station to the south of the new Intercity Express Program (IEP) depot, adjacent to Wormwood Scrubs. Access to the other platforms would be via a walkway across the IEP depot. This is not ideal but the distance is modest, akin to the footbridge across the depot tracks at Clapham Junction, and offers the best opportunity for a coherent design for access and interchange across the station.

It is not clear at this stage whether the platforms and track can be accommodated within the railway lands, tight up against the IEP depot. If not then a strip of Wormwood Scrubs’ Metropolitan Open Land may have to be taken which, though protected, is hoped will be considered an acceptable trade-off for the benefits the new station will bring.

A two-level station is proposed, with the WLL and the NLL routes segregated. With flat junctions, and gradients permitting, an alternative of a large single island platform could serve all routes. While perhaps cheaper to construct, and easier for interchange, such an arrangement would create an operational bottleneck and run the risk of station over-crowding.

Multiple route options are possible, including to the Dudding Hill and Acton Central routes, but all incur the cost of substantial new build:

  • Northwards to Willesden Jn on a large viaduct across the IEP depot, mainline and HS2 stations, then over Regents Canal to the industrial land before joining the existing NLL-WLL chord
  • Eastwards, where the route would split and pick up the existing alignments onto the WLL
  • Westwards across the Central Line and industrial land to join the NLL towards Acton Central
  • Westwards to Acton Wells Junction, through a tight curve rising above the Central Line

Travellers familiar with the screech of wheels through Willesden Junction high-level platforms may quiver at the thought of more tortuous curves. In reality the 210m radii are slightly less severe than on the new ELL heading north from Shoreditch, which are 180m. The Shoreditch curve, however, is only a quarter turn, whereas at OOC trains will turn a half circle. Speeds will obviously be slow, but they will be anyway on the approach to the platforms, so this is not considered a problem.

TfL 2013 option 1

TfL 2013 option 1. Source for this and diagrams below: TfL presentation, Golden Mile Transport Group, January 2013

On the wise assumption that it may be problematic securing the funds for the ambitious works above, TfL outline two further options. These offer less connectivity but are still viable in terms of service planning.

The second option (below) is the one that made it into last week’s Vision document, but that is not to say that the first option has been ditched. It is early days yet.

This option jettisons the viaduct over the entire site northwards to Willesden Junction. No doubt this is more achievable in terms of cost and construction feasibility, but it does require a second Overground station at the west end of the OOC site for NLL services. Not only is this some distance away, but loses the neatness of Overground services in one place and adds significant design challenges for the interchange. Alternatively, the station on the south side could be dropped altogether with services calling only on the west side, although this would not serve the Dudding Hill route.

TfL 2013 option 2

TfL’s second option

The third alternative proposed by TfL is the cheapest, but only provides terminal platforms for the WLL connection. The route through to Clapham Junction is expected to generate the largest traffic flows of all the Overground services through OOC, hence it is served in all of the options above, but again the location of the NLL platforms does not lend itself to ease of interchange or a coherent design for the station overall.

TfL 2013 option 3

TfL’s third option

What is interesting about these options is that they are not mutually exclusive, in fact they could be regarded as phases towards the grand plan. This modular approach would allow the final sections to be integrated when funds permit, or to fit with the construction program for the main HS2/Crossrail station, with the assumption that passive provision is made.

More importantly, this Overground plan could progress independent of HS2, as it skirts around it. In the fragmented planning environment of today, that is a significant advantage, and no doubt one of the reasons this particular design has evolved.

We’ll explore the route options in Part 2, along with the implications for other traffic on the WLL such as freight, and the broader planning implications for the orbital routes.

What next?

To conclude Part 1 (and thanks for making it this far), OOC could become a transformative project for west London and provide a step change for the rail network. But the Mayor’s Old Oak: A Vision for the Future is just that: a vision, and not in any way a statutory planning document or strategy.

In Part 2 we delve deeper and try and resolve some nagging questions, then explore the dance between the key players and take a tentative view of how the decision-making might unfold.

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There are 482 comments on this article
  1. Anonymous says:

    Please check your URL reference to the London Overground options – only one of the three pictures is there, isn’t it?

  2. stimarco says:

    It strikes me that this kind of project would be better handled by the OOC Development Corporation (or whatever Boris decides to call it). The LDDC was responsible for much of the early development of the DLR, so there is a precedent.

    As HS2 isn’t going to be open for at least a decade or so, it’s silly to try and rush this. Even Crossrail is five years away, and it doesn’t take five years to design and build a new railway depot.

    The White City depot on the Central Line is an excellent example of what was once an open-air depot being rafted over so buildings could be plonked on top. This was paid for by the developers, so Crossrail might even be able to offload this part of its budget entirely onto said developers. This is the area most likely to consist mainly of shops and other amenities, so train noise won’t be an issue.

    As for the Overground station: if you’re going to build a great big trench with a station in it for HS2, why not make it wider and stick an Overground station under the new OOC GWML platforms too? Better yet: why not cover all of the new rail infrastructure with the new development? It’s a bit wasteful of valuable land to have low-rise stations occupying acres of the stuff for no good reason. There’s nothing of architectural interest around here; certainly no Listed buildings that I can see. And it would mean the open Wormwood Scrubs area could remain untouched.

    A useful feature of the above is that the railways and depots would be entirely protected from the worst ravages of the British weather. And you don’t have to spend silly money on an ‘egotect’ to design a fancy glass and tin hat for your new stations. It’s going to be hard to top Barlow and Brunel’s nearby efforts anyway.

  3. Fandroid says:

    It’s great to see some thought going in before before any serious development occurs. A bit of ‘vision’ even. However, methinks that it would be a shame to have just one Overground station (Option 2b) on the west side that would be a very long way from the Crossrail platforms.

    As a slight dampener, I must point out that, after the first few paras, the article does rather give the impression that an OOC Crossrail station is a certainty. However, it’s all fantasy until someone commits some cash, as the current Crossrail project has no station between Acton Main Line and Ealing Broadway.

  4. stimarco says:

    On a more realistic note:

    Why not build the new Overground station and its approaches in tunnel, beneath the new HS2 and OOC stations? You don’t have to worry about blighting the views from the new developments if you do this. Yes, it’ll cost more, but if this really is going to be West London’s own Clapham Junction, it would make sense to avoid the dumber mistakes visible at the latter. This is supposed to be a major multi-generational investment.

  5. RichardB says:

    This is a really interesting article. I do have one question. Where does this leave Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council’s ambitions for an additional station on the West London line (WLL) at North Pole Road. This proposal which was to be funded entirely by the council would have reinstated a replacement for the station which formerly existed namely St Quintin’s Park and Wormwood Scrubs although I am not sure the new station would have been built exactly on the foundations of the earlier station.

    For more information on this proposal there is a council document dated 2008 which can be found at:

    I thought the the council were still promoting this but is this now a dead duck? Can anyone clarify the status of this proposal?

  6. Anonymous says:


    You would have to go deep to go under the HS2 station box. It looks like you would have to go over both – there doesn’t seem room to go under the GWML and over HS2.

    But without tunnelling under Wormwood Scrubs, the lines couldn’t significantly intrude across that land.

    So levels are all wrong.

  7. mr_jrt says:

    On the whole, I like the plans. Points of contention though:

    Obviously as mentioned, maintaining the link to the NNML. The challenge is getting the up line over the turnback lines, but not impacting Old Oak Common Lane. Now the GWML platforms are as far east as they can be, I suspect the only viable option given the distances available would be to dive the turnbacks as sharply as possible and raise the up line the minimum required. I suspect this will mean raising Old Oak Lane as well…but doing so now is less of an issue than later when there are expensive buildings with views all around it.

    More platforms/tracks. I keep arguing that the GWML needs to be 6-tracked for an effective metro service to operate. Whilst this isn’t going to happen now, it means that you need more platforms for when it does. Building these in now is the only way. The main lines need 4, the relief lines need 4, and realistically, a metro line alongside would only need 2 more due to frequency. I suspect that this isn’t an option until the IEP depot gets moved along though, then the platforms can get shuffled south…or you build the terminating/branch platforms at a lower level and have escalators up to the 2+2 GWML platforms. The advantage of moving the platforms south is that it eases the curvature for the branch to the NNML.

    I think that’s it…I’m sure I’ll come up with more later 😉

  8. Walthamstow Writer says:

    An interesting article Lemmo. I look forward to Part 2 when it unravels some more of the detail. I do tend to agree with Stimarco here. This is pretty much a “clean sheet of paper” site albeit with a few constraints. I think our planners need to learn some lessons from the Far East where sticking depots underground and designing stations so huge developments can be plonked on top over many years is second nature. Ironically the two places best at it have strong UK influence in their history! Shame we seem to have unlearnt the techniques the HK and Singaporean authorities have burnished to perfection.

    One thought that does enter my head is whether we run a risk of creating something like we have at Stratford in East London which is a long way from being optimal. Freight tracks which “impede” passenger traffic, freight loops with little apparent use, remote stations with negligible use (the Internationals), an International station with no international trains, interchanges which are long and staggered around. Old Oak Common has the advantage of being entirely new build while Stratford did not but the thought of “botched” track alignments and station locations even at this early stage is not really acceptable. Similarly not catering for links to existing rail infrastructure such as the Chiltern route is a bit shoddy too. I know I am in perfectionist mode again but the developers want maximum value and they’ll only get that if they get the rail depot facilities “designed out” from public view *and* with the very best rail connectivity that can be achieved on the site. Some “head bashing” is needed to get the parties as aligned as possible.

  9. Lemmo says:

    @ Fandroid, thanks for your comment, I’ve amended the text to clarify that this is indeed a vision, an emerging plan.

    Stimarco and WW, yes there is a golden opportunity here to design a superb new interchange from bottom-up, a clean sheet. The problem is that the IEP sponsors (DfT) and the Crossrail sponsors (DfT and TfL) will have to intervene to change the current plans for the depots, and they are not going to do that without a robust and funded alternative agreed.

    So perhaps, as WW says, someone is going to have to do some ‘head bashing’, which again points to a Development Corporation vehicle. But how will Boris deal win over the DfT…?

    @ mr_jrt, yes that’s how I understand the WCML junction will be engineered, and there is space aplenty to the south to expand the station… if you don’t build an IEP depot there. This might also reduce the cost of rafting the Crossrail/GWML station over HS2.

    @ Richard B, thanks for this, I was not aware of a proposed station at North Pole Rd and I have no idea what the latest is. I’d appreciate more info.

    We looked at Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) in this post about a potential Portobello station on Crossrail . Although TfL has given this the official thumbs-down, we’ll show in Part 2 that the Crossrail route east from OOC may need to be four-track, which would make a station possible.

  10. Rational Plan says:

    Well, it all comes down to money though doesn’t it, and of course buildability. Which tends to get forgotten in some peoples grand plans. I think the options they have come up with are good. Chiefly because they don’t impinge on anyone elses sites and they don’t seem too expensive.

    Remember this is all on top of existing HS2 budget, you can’t load too much on it, though it would be nice if they can swing for option 1 and just have one combined station.

  11. Anon. Mouse says:

    I thought that the NLL has no spare capacity for passenger trains, and that the current trains are full. Would this line be able to cope with the extra traffic generated by a HS2 station at Old Oak Common. In which case, the planners might decide to only connect to the WLL. (There is precedent for deciding not to allow interchange between lines, it didn’t happen between the central line and the ELL).

    Also, could one of the central line stations be moved slightly? Maybe this would allow a combined WLL and Central Line station at the far west end of Old Oak Common, which would be much easier and cheaper to implement.

  12. The other Paul says:

    I’d say both NLL and WLL deserve elevated stations above the HS2 station/Crossrail depot site. Continue the line from WJ South, rather than entering the tight curves where the WLL and NLL diverge, build the station in the air, and curve the lines round back to their original routes. Might need a bit of land take from the edges of wormwood scrubs park, but that could be replaced elsewhere. The curves might even be gentler. Would need a long elevated section, so expensive, but not as expensive as tunnelling and would give the best interchanges and journey times. Environmental impact minimal in that area, and you could box the viaducts like Shoreditch High Street to allow for future developments.

  13. Ian Sergeant says:


    Not convinced why we would want a Central Line (or for that matter Bakerloo Line) station at Old Oak Common. If we are sending people to the West End or the City we would use Crossrail.

  14. mr_jrt says:

    I agree, the option 1 is genius, IMHO. The only things it doesn’t offer is a Central line interchange and a way of Richmond services to serve the station before heading up the Dudding Hill line.

    If there were a metro service built along the GWML then the size of the site would make two stations on it viable, but it would still be a poor interchange if facilities were centred on the mid-point of the HS2 station. If they had a set of facilities at each end however, then two stations would do well to disperse passengers. That way you could have your Central/NLL/Dudding Hill station (say, OOC West), and you could then have a separate WLL/GWML station at Wormwood Scrubs…say OOC East)…I suspect it would still be less than ideal given the distances required to reach the GWML platforms though.

  15. stimarco says:


    “However, it’s all fantasy until someone commits some cash, as the current Crossrail project has no station between Acton Main Line and Ealing Broadway.”

    I thought that was the main point of the article: “Who pays?” TfL would naturally rather have HS2 pay its way. Crossrail is already at the hard-hats and shovels stage, so it’s too late to dump yet more costs onto it this late in its construction. However, work has not yet commenced on its depot at OOC, and it’s still some years away from running an actual cross-London service yet, so there might be time to get some changes in. Especially if said changes result in Crossrail having to spend less money than originally budgeted.

    HS2 is at least 10-20 years away from opening, so there’s still a lot of slack there. Given that it’s already had Euston’s reconstruction nailed onto it, despite NR already having plans to rebuild the station before the project was green-lit, it might not be too difficult politically to add on a new interchange station at OOC if this can be used to reduce the costs of the Euston work.

    The Overground station is arguably the trickiest element and that’s mainly due to the rat’s nest of lines in the area, but if you let the builders build over the top of it all, it might release enough cash to justify the extra work.

    Anyway, that’s enough rubbish from me.

  16. The other Paul says:

    Also worth adding that IF the Crossrail depot can be reconsidered the scope is opened up for the LO platforms being elevated across that site inside the obvious development box, the South ends of these platforms should be close enough to provide meaningful interchange with the other lines and the LO lines could continue as simple viaducts above the rest of the site.

    This should be recognised as a once in 100 year opportunity to build a genuinely useful 21st century interchange between these lines, with all the associated benefit to the surrounding area and relief for more central locations.

  17. stimarco says:

    @The other Paul:

    Why build it above when you could widen the box planned for the HS2 station and put the LO platforms alongside, beneath the GWML station?

    Viaducts might be cheaper to build than tunnels, but if you can use cut-and-cover techniques for the latter, the difference in price drops quite a bit. You’d also need quite a few viaducts if you went for Option 1 and these would put off a lot of developers by reducing the value of the land.

    Hiding as much as economically possible not only helps increase the attraction of the site for developers, but the fact that this is, essentially, a ‘clean slate’ project, with lots of opportunities for building trenches and boxes from the top down, rather than having to tunnel under everything the hard way using TBMs and dig upwards to an existing, relatively new, station. The GWML is currently only occupying a small part of the site: there’s no station there at the moment, so you could easily phase everything around it without causing much—if any—disruption.

    Consider, too, that if you leave the Crossrail and IEP depots exposed to the elements, you need to build structures over them to keep the rain off all your maintenance equipment. If you design everything to be built over, you no longer need to worry about that: the concrete slabs are the roof of not only your maintenance sheds, but also your stabling sidings. The latter also benefit from the added security of being fully enclosed, with limited, easily monitored, access points.

    Cut-and-cover tunnels could, for the most part, be built before the big redevelopment projects begin, so there’d be plenty of easy access. (It might even be worth ‘burying’ some of the existing infrastructure too, ideally along better, more useful, alignments. But that’s very much a FantasyLand™ notion. As it is, tunnelling would at least give you the option of easing some of the tight curves to allow faster services.

    I’ll grant, viaducts are inevitably going to be at least a little bit cheaper, but I contend that this is one project that genuinely deserves a little bit of gold plating.

  18. Whiff says:

    Thanks Lemmo – another fascinating article and definitely worth the wait! Will be interesting to see how much of this development is ever actually built.

    One thing that doesn’t make sense so far is that we are being told that HS2 is going to be so busy that Euston station is going to have to be re-built and relieved at a cost of billions of dollars. Yet on the other hand Crossrail is expected to be able to cope with the numbers of passengers who will be changing at OOC; I know that they will be making use of the capacity that is currently being wasted by turning round at Royal Oak but I still quite see how the numbers will add up.

  19. Milton Clevedon says:

    Super article Lemmo.

    The key aspects of the project are:

    (1) Make it constructable (hence some of the thinking about Overground routes to avoid the engineering mess in the middle). The eastern end of OOC interchange with GW, Crossrail and HS2 all overlapping will be a lulu.

    (2) Who will pay for what, when, what passive provision, and which sort of powers might be needed to authorise railway and indeed road elements not part of HS2 and its Bill? There will be plenty of work for the business case chappies.

    (3) The slow burn on land development, with the paradox of early, easier redeveloped areas being further from ‘central Old Oak’ and closer to existing stations at North Acton and Willesden Junction. It could be very costly to build over depots and land values don’t support that – OOC is not HK or Singapore in land value (yet!), it will take years for LVs to grow to that extent and as a developer you will go for low hanging fruit.

    A few other comments:

    (4) Someone is going to need to build one or two roads across the site and the canal, to allow servicing and access traffic to the developments, otherwise you are over-dependent on the A40 and Harlesden High Street and overloading those – and defining and building those links is just as difficult as some of the rail options.

    (5) HS2-HS1 is currently a sorry project with lots of cost for little use – and its single-track design and its location in the middle of the HS2 station, at sealed-off international platforms, doesn’t aid planning or operation of domestic cross-London flows whether HighSpeed Intercity or non-HS regional. Greengauge 21 has said there is a case for domestic trains on HS2-HS1 – and has also blogged about the Chiltern link now that HS2 is going to tunnel through NW London – but let’s wait for your further post on that topic.

    (6) PRT could be a boon for local access to development sites – just as DLR has been in East London. TfL is starting up a local transport study on linkages, referenced in the 28 June GLA consultation.

    (7) With this scale of construction for rail and developments, there will need to be a ‘green transport plan’ for the construction workforce. That could be interesting, especially in the absence of – er – a convenient station!

    Finally, a typo, 2 paras below the stabling sidings photo you mention Royal Oak opportunity area…

  20. peezedtee says:

    As stimarco says, “HS2 is at least 10-20 years away from opening”. Alternatively, it may never happen at all, as seems increasingly likely. See e.g. C. Wolmar in the Evening Standard yesterday:

    Will the planning for Old Oak Common include a Plan B in case HS2 does not go ahead? Or is there, in that event, no justification for an Old Oak Common scheme at all?

  21. Malcolm says:

    The Christian Wolmar article says absolutely nothing new. And it is the Standard.

    There is perhaps cause for some concern though. If HS2 were canceled, then it seems obvious to me that we could forget Old Oak Common. And just about any other development of anything at all.

  22. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ peezedtee 7:53AM, 10th July 2013, and Malcolm 8:02AM

    Not heard of any Plan B, but…

    HS2 may have been the catalyst for a lot of heavy duty thinking about development at OOC as well as a rail interchange, but the OOC development scale is driven by London Plan numbers not by HS2, therefore a large scale development is still feasible and justifiable, and might be easier without HS2 in the way!

    Also some other line routeings might be simpler within the zone – or do you still safeguard a High Speed corridor for that future rainy day?

    Essentially OOC can still be a Stratford in development and transport terms, but with Great Western and Crossrail and Overground instead of Great Eastern and Crossrail and Overground. Sounds similar doesn’t it? Stratford didn’t need a High Speed line to succeed, no one would dream of calling the Great Eastern that, though the nominal presence of HS1 has helped visibility and marketing even if the number of real passengers at Stratford International are still minuscule.

    There could still be scope for an improved HS2-HS1 or Euston Cross or whatever via OOC, to achieve domestic express connections nationally, and within London & Home Counties, and internationally. Just that Birmingham and points north would have to come down the WCML or, maybe, the ex-GW/Chiltern main line… So plus ca change?

    BUT – who pays for the transport elements then? HS2 wouldn’t be there, so it starts to sound Mayoral and TfL-esque for the main components and the DfT for a minority. Perhaps a pot of gold will be found in the construction, you could then call the station Rainbow’s End.

  23. Anonymous says:

    How much of the formation of the GC route via Ashendon Junction and Grendon Underwood, and on to Rugby, Loughborough etc, is still there? Has an “HS2-lite” on that alignment been costed? What speeds could be acheived on that route (designed in the early 20th century with high speed running in mind)
    Quadrupling might be necessary over the sections that are still used, or planned to be reopened under Evergreen 3, i.e from Northolt to Ashendon and Grendon to Calvert.

  24. Deep Thought says:

    My under-informed comments…

    1 – It will be very interesting to see what happens with HS2 in the next 6 months. The recent rise in price is going to make it much easier for Osborne to axe, much to my chagrin.
    2 – Option 1 looks like the only one worth pursuing to me. London already has plenty of badly planned “interchanges” that involve long walks and in my experience people will re-plan journeys just to avoid them. There is a golden opportunity here to actually do it right for once.

    Hell, if it was up to me I’d get the compulsory purchase orders printed and demolish that triangle of houses to the West of the site to get rid of the large loop round them. I’m sure that would be a popular move!

  25. mr_jrt says:

    @Deep Thought
    How many residences are there? Add up the cost of CPOing them and weight against the cost of the curved viaduct plus maintenance over the expected lifetime of the structure. And additional wear on the rolling stock from the curvature.

    I wonder how the two figures would compare. Might be worth the CPO or even just making a good offer to re-home the current residents somewhere nicer given how much the land will be worth after development.

  26. Milton Clevedon says:

    Some demolition thoughts just above which sound a bit like stimarco on a grump against Victorians!
    Please bear in mind that it was the good folk of places such as Keystone Crescent and Balfe Street (by Kings X) who helped to push over the first HS1 scheme proposed by British Rail, since it wasn’t being charitable to their residences. That Overground curve is there for several reasons I’m sure, and one is to be considerate to the expectations of the local community.

  27. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I think that approach is far, far too simplistic. If we were talking about a low-tech industrial estate, primarily used for warehousing and not providing many job prospects then maybe we could adopt that approach. But we are dealing with people’s properties. An Englishman’s home is his castle and all that.

    I am sure if he had the time John Bull would tell you about the stress of having to move because of external events of any kind. It is pretty rare, if ever, that the issue is you have to move from one property to a nicer property provided for you and in a location that fits in with local schools and existing journeys to work. And although this might not be such an issue in London, it is also about communities being destroyed. There is also quite a lot of evidence that very old people do not survive major upheavals in their later life very well and often die in the following months.

    If it were so simple then a third runway at Heathrow would probably have been built by now. Just give the people compensation to more than cover that market cost of their home, boot them out and leave them to fight it out in the property market – with these newly-homeless people competing against each other and raising prices above the compensation provided. And in a slightly different context, if it were that simple, Camden Town would have a nice new fit-for-purpose Underground station.

    Whilst vaguely on this subject, I think that there is an over-reluctance to compulsorily purchase any domestic property at all for roads and public transport improvement even though purchase of just one or two, or maybe a dozen, properties could sometimes make a vast difference. Despite high house prices, the additional cost to a scheme would often be quite low but the benefits high. I suspect that this is not only because of the opposition to it but because it could seriously delay or even kill off a proposal. Also the fear of being taken to court for each property arguing that it is not actually “necessary”. Short of being on the only possible alignment of a trackbed it is difficult to prove that purchase is necessary.

  28. Lemmo says:

    @ Anon.Mouse, North Acton station is being circled by new development so I can’t see it being moved, and an interchange with the orbitals lines at Acton Wells Jn might look obvious from the map but the reality on the ground and in terms of operation would make it very hard to achieve something workable.

    But your questions about the capacity of the NLL and WLL are apposite. What is the theoretical capacity of these lines on their current alignments, and what investment is required to achieve this?

    @ The other Paul, if you could build an Overground station above the Crossrail depot, how would this then connect to all the other routes?

    @ Whiff, thank you and I’ll attempt to clarify this in Part 2, but suffice to say now that Crossrail, HS2, Overground and everything else are separate projects, with no-one really pulling it all together, hence the numbers will never add up. That’s why OOC is a litmus test for much broader issues.

    @ Milton Clevedon, thanks for the typo, corrected. There’s so much I had to chop out but indeed a key challenge is the feasibility of the works overall, which include building new roads before you can build new stations, alongside the need to build a (temporary?) station to serve all the people building the new development.

    HS1-HS2 link is for another post, in fact several if we start writing about HS2. It’s a curious conundrum that HS2 has thrust OOC into the limelight but, as the larger redevelopment burgeons, it could well live on even if HS2 falters… which is not unlikely.

    @ peezedtee, arguably HS2’s approach is to demolish the merest hint of a Plan B. ‘There is no alternative’… which is questionable and, as the cost becomes more and more astronomical, it thankfully is being questioned. Milton Clevedon’s follow-on comments elaborate further, but if you view OOC as a classic chicken-and-egg in the midst of strategic vacuum, fragmentation and a simmering political test of nerves on many levels, then you get the idea.

    @ Malcolm, nonsense.

    @ Anonymous 9.40am, we’re mostly keen amateurs here and would be interested in the answers to your questions. Please sleuth away and let us know what you dig up!

  29. Greg Tingey says:

    there may still be an option to maintain a connection to the Banbury route, although this does not appear to be part of the current thinking. Which just goes to show how bloody stupid some people can be!

    TfL “Option 2” is the most practical ….

    Mr JRT
    Been to Maidenhead today – yes 6 tracks as far out as at least Airport Junctions … AND keep the GW GC link extant – it is vital, actually, long-term.

  30. peezedtee says:

    Anon 0940 writes: “How much of the formation of the GC route via Ashendon Junction and Grendon Underwood, and on to Rugby, Loughborough etc, is still there?”

    — All of it as far as Rugby, with the single exception of the demolished viaduct at Brackley. Funnily enough, I believe the present HS2 route plan involves building a new viaduct near Brackley!

    There is or was a cattle shed on the trackbed near Woodford Halse, I think, but that should not pose any great difficulty.

    The earthworks for the flying junction at Ashendon are still in situ, as you can see from any passing northbound Chiltern train. From there to Grendon is intact and part of it was in use for goods traffic until not all that long ago. From Grendon to Calvert is in goods use as we speak, and will become part of the proposed Marylebone to Milton Keynes route.

    I’m told that the c. 2-mile Catesby Tunnel, south of Rugby, is intact and in reasonable condition.

    North of Rugby the formation is irretrievably lost to new housing. However, it might be possible to get from there to Leicester via the disused Midland route, though I haven’t investigated that personally.

  31. Delenn says:

    Given the missed opportunities in Birmingham (Expand Moor St to cover both New St and existing Moor St/Snow Hill lines. Extend line from Curzon St to Moor St site, so as to include HS2. Close Digbeth Coach Station and New St Bus station, and move all to Moor St site. Extend Midland Metro to Moor St site). All doable in a once in a lifetime scheme to create the perfect transport interchange, and they blew it.

    Never underestimate the ability of the powers that be to miss the chance to do the right thing.

  32. ngh says:

    Re the big proposed loop to the west of the proposed “Overground” OOC station at North Pole sidings with option 1/2

    I think people may be reading too much into the proposed alignment and avoiding buildings etc.

    The easiest way of linking the proposed new OOC station site to the all the necessary lines so the diverted WLL services can continue to serve all the possible routes is for the line to be reconnected to the NLL south of Acton Wells junction so there is an easy choice* of NLL or Dudding Hill line for either Dudding Hill or WCML. Once you have decided that, there isn’t much choice on alignment.

    *This would allow the WLL overground station to serve the current:
    Overground Clapham Junction – Stratford services;
    Southern WCML Services ex Clapham.

    Option 1 (even if eventually after several stages) would appear to be key to maximising viable paths as it reduces the number of highly utilised flat junctions (for example Mitre Bridge where WLL overground and WCML services (Southern and freight) part ways) .

    That would leave to sort out:
    Rebuilding Willesden High level junction as grade separated
    Rebuilding Acton Wells junction as grade separated
    and adding a Western chord from Acton Canal Wharf Junction to Willesden No 7 junction (for Southern WCML Services)

    Would it be sensible to assume that Willesden Junction station might get at least a partial rebuild and better access?

  33. Anonymous says:


    A quick scan over Google Earth suggests the trackbed is surprisingly intact at least to the outskirts of Leicester, except for a few units of light industry in Rugby and Brackley. A possible alignment alongside the A43 bypass would be possible to avoid the latter – with a station to mollify the NIMBYs – whilst Rugby would need a realignment anyway if it were to tie in with the WCML, which it crosses at right angles.
    There is what appears to be a blocked up tunnel in the Catesby area

    Current estimates for the thirty-mile Borders Rail project are about £350m – roughly £12m per mile, including seven stations. HS2 is about 140 miles, so estimate at about £1.5bn to reinstate and upgrade the great Central to the same standard – rather more to take 150mph+ trains.

    Or to look at it another way, HS2’s £50bn budget would buy several thousand miles of reinstated railway.

    @Mr JRT 1017

    The Royal Mail postcode finder lists just over 100 separate addresses in the “triangle” at the west end of Old Oak Common, namely Wells House Road, (odds 1-167, evens 2-52)

  34. Anonymous says:

    “North of Rugby the formation is irretrievably lost to new housing”

    Are you sure? I think this is the trackbed a mile or so north of the centre of Rugby, and is the closest I can find to building encroachment,+UK&hl=en&ll=52.390903,-1.236332&spn=0.002026,0.005659&sll=51.524112,-0.252589&sspn=0.004132,0.011319&t=h&hnear=Rugby,+Warwickshire,+United+Kingdom&z=18&layer=c&cbll=52.390947,-1.236463&panoid=WSY4tla4D3ElbIM5caS8Ew&cbp=12,10.48,,0,0

    It looks intact to me, although the new neighbours might not appreciate it re-opening. As I said, a diversion in the Rugby area may be necessary to connect to the WCML.

    The trackbed is readily traceable all the way to Leicester

  35. Chris says:

    Anon – the GCR has been talked about for a long, long time – quite simply, the bits that are most useful for providing extra capacity and are the most expensive to build are also the bits that remain in use or have been lost to development; the formation through Nottingham and Leicester is no longer viable while the GW and Metropolitan approaches into London are used by other services. Reopening might relieve the MML to a limited extent but it’s no alternative to HS2.

    Stimarco – I don’t see how you can look at the diagrams and come to the conclusion that the Overground could even share the station box at OOC, let alone dive underneath; the levels and alignment just aren’t compatible. Viaducts are being proposed because the NLL and WLL are above the height of the GWML, the curvature and gradients for what you’re proposing just aren’t practical and the construction costs would rule it out anyway.

  36. Anonymous says:

    No-one mentioned the Metropolitan approaches – the idea was to use the New North Line alignment (Old Oak – Northolt: already proposed as part of HS2) but then stay on the GW/GC route as far as the diverge of the GW and GC at Ashendon (quadrupling where necessary) and then following the GC as far as you can get. At the very least this should appease the Chiltern Nimbys.

    Yes, we still need a link into central London – Crossrail won’t make much of a dent in the long-distance capacity available at Paddington, and Paddington is in the worng place anyway. But a three-station distribution (Old Oak, Euston St Cross, Stratford Unintentional) would avoid the need for too much demolition at Euston (and possibly allow a more sensible routing of Crossrail 2)

  37. peezedtee says:

    [email protected]
    When I said “north of Rugby” I didn’t mean immediately north of Rugby. The GC trackbed is built over at Whetstone, between Leicester and Lutterworth, and also in the middle of Lutteworth just where the station was. There are pictures of the new housing in question on pp.142 and 146 respectively of “The Great Central Then and Now” by Mac Hawkins.

  38. HowardGWR says:

    The ‘what ifs’ concerning the GCR have poignancy bearing in mind the plan to turn Marylebone into a bus station but this thread (thanks Lemmo) makes we wonder about whether we are not seeing a developing principle of Out of Town railway termini. If the idea is to relieve central stations that are not central, like Paddington, Marylebone, Euston, St Pancras, Kings Cross, and Waterloo) we could end up with a concept that looks like Clapham Junction, only with good central tubes to the West End, City and Wharf, as Waterloo has, but Clapham Junction doesn’t have (yet). Stratford then looks like OOC, and with the Northern Line extended to Clapham and Crossrail 2 the Clapham will look like it too.

  39. Anonymous says:


    Lutterworth – it’s not clear from Google Earth exactly where the trackbed was but there is a gap between the buildings and the M1 which is plenty wide enough to take a double track railway (and indeed a station), even if it is not on the exact line of the old railway.

    As for Whetstone – as I said, it is clear as far as the outskirts of Leicester.

    Anyway, that’s all for HS2 phase 2 – the GC alignment would certainly get you to the West Midlands.

  40. Anonymous says:

    @” with good central tubes to the West End, Wharf, and City, as Waterloo has”

    well, two out of three, anyway (the third is unmentionable, in more than one sense of the word!)

    @”with the Northern Line extended to Clapham and Crossrail 2 then Clapham will look like it too”

    one out of three – the only direct service from CJ to any part of Docklands is, and will remain, the Overground to Surrey Quays, and the layout at Kennington means the Northern Line extension can only serve the West End, not the City.

    Crossrail 2 as currently proposed would indeed improve access from the south west suburbs to the City, but via Tooting Broadway and, to a lesser extent, TCR and Angel, not Clapham Junction.

    (Pedant’s Corner – the Northern Line was extended to Clapham in 1900). Clapham Junction is actually in Battersea.

  41. Beleben says:

    “North of Rugby the formation is irretrievably lost to new housing.”

    I’m not sure what “irretrievably lost” means. From the £50+ billion saved by not building HS2, you could buy every family in that “new housing”, their own mansion, with gold taps, somewhere else.

  42. Moosealot says:

    @Whiff, 03:21
    The throughput of a platform at an intercity terminus is pretty low. There’s normally at least a 20 minute turnaround time so that late arrivals can be made up, rubbish picked up, reservation tickets posted, catering restocked and passengers embarked comfortably. Add a margin for a late departure and we’re talking 2tph per platform. This is why termini have to be big and therefore expensive.

    HS2 phase 1 is slated to run at 14tph, rising to 16 or 18tph later. Even 18tph of 650-pax IEP* is 11,700 pax/hour. Crossrail trains have much greater capacity – 1,500 per train – and there will be 24tph both ways, so 36,000 pax/hour. Even if all the HS2 trains were full, the line running at full capacity and everybody changed from HS2 to Crossrail at OOC, that would require less than a third of its current capacity. Given there is provision to increase Crossrail to 30tph and 1,800 pax/train, this goes down to just over one fifth of its capacity. Let’s not forget that there are other changes that will be undertaken at the interchange (although the majority will be HS2 country to Crossrail London and vice versa) – namely GWML residents working around Kings Cross/Euston and KX/Euston/up-country pax going to Heathrow – which would actually relieve the OOC-central London parts of Crossrail and the horribly overcrowded Euston Square – Paddington H&C tubes.

    GWML Great Western Main Line, Paddington to Reading (and beyond)
    H&C Hammersmith & City line
    IEP Intercity Express Programme, replacement for current high speed trains.
    pax passengers
    tph trains per hour

    *Nobody knows what stock would actually go on HS2 at the moment, but assuming capacity will be similar to IEP

  43. Graham H says:

    HS2 will be an IEP-free zone fortunately; the HS “Network only” sets appear to be double deck on current plans and at least 12 cars long, so their capacity is likely to be closer to twice the figure you mention; on the other hand, an occupancy rate of anything over 65% would be good by UK IC standards, so each HS2 train is likely to be delivering, say, around 1000 punters to the distribution system – again, using the same BOFP, about 24000 pax/hr. The presently unanswerable question is precisely how many HS2 trains will actually stop at OOC. The precedents of Stratford are not encouraging. Even if the HS sets have a greatly superior performance to, say, the Eurostars (not difficult), a stop so early in the trip is going to cost around 10 minutes and many operators will not wish to do that unless either (a) told to do so by a franchise agreement, or (b) OOC offers a very attractive range of connexions. Heathrow might just do the trick, although the volumes will be relatively small?

  44. Anonymous says:

    “Even if all the HS2 trains were full, the line running at full capacity and everybody changed from HS2 to Crossrail at OOC, that would require less than a third of its current capacity. Given there is provision to increase Crossrail to 30tph and 1,800 pax/train, this goes down to just over one fifth of its capacity.”

    Let’s save an awful lot of money and build the HS2 terminus at OOC, relying on XR1, Overground etc, etc for local distribution throughout London.

    Given progress in public transport in the past 175 years, OOC is much closer to central London in real terms than Euston, Paddington and Waterloo were when they were built!

  45. JM says:

    Great article Lemmo.

    Will wait for part 2 to post proper response but can anyone realstically see ‘Old Oak Common’ being used as a name for the area? I know H&F and Terry Farrell were promoting the name as ‘Park Royal Int’l in their vision document.

    If, as one or two rumours (and TF’s own Twitter account) appear to indicate, Messrs Mittal and Fernandes look to cite a new stadium for Queens park Rangers close to the site, maybe it could be called Queens Park Royal.

  46. PeteD says:

    @Graham H

    “or (b) OOC offers a very attractive range of connexions. Heathrow might just do the trick, although the volumes will be relatively small?”

    Fast airconditioned direct links to West End, City and Docklands sounds attractive.

    Euston will offer a 450metre walk if you are in the back carriage before a long descent to the tube/crossrail

  47. Chris says:

    Anon – an OOC terminus has been considered and ruled out, even TfL are against the idea. It simply doesn’t allow sufficient dispersal of passengers, with the vast majority of passengers relying on Crossrail. Euston is far superior.

    As for a reopened GCR using the NNML, there isn’t the capacity at Paddington – the real cost is not building through the countryside, which the GCR won’t save much money on anyway, but through built up areas.

  48. timbeau says:

    “Euston is far superior”
    on what measure? by the time HS2 is built, OOC would have direct services to Heathrow, the Thames Valley, Docklands, and probably the WCML out to Northampton, (and maybe South Wales and the West Country if GWML services call) and be at most one change away from most of south east England, via the west London Line (for Clapham junction and thus most of the southern counties) or Crossrail (for Kent and East Anglia via Stratford, and the rest of the Home Counties via Farringdon). Indeed, if Stratford International were allowed to live up to its name, you could add Paris and Brussels to that list. Southern’s service over the WLL could even be used to provide a direct service to Gatwick.

    “the vast majority of passengers relying on Crossrail”

    What can Euston offer? two deep tube lines (three if you count the two branches of the Northern Line separately) . Even if you include Euston Square, the list is far from impressive. No direct services to Docklands (even after XR2) or Heathrow.

  49. Deep Thought says:

    @PeteD – It will be interesting to see what the actual plans for the Euston rebuild entail, although I would assume these are on hold until HS2 is properly confirmed. Seen as I’ve already flippantly suggest bulldozing a large number of houses, how about digging out Euston square and then moving the platforms up to the Euston road where they should be?

    Yes, I know this is essentially impossible. Would be nice though 🙁

  50. Rational Plan says:

    Well for starters Euston allows people to catch a bus within reasonable time, or a cab at not too high a cost or even walk to their destination. Euston / Kings Cross are London’s best located rail terminus’s.

  51. timbeau says:

    “Euston / Kings Cross are London’s best located rail terminus’s”

    I don’t think so – that’s why the Metropolitan railway was built.

    It depends where you want to go of course, but I would suggest Blackfriars (not strictly a terminus now, I know), Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street, and Liverpool Street are all much nearer the centre of things. Arguably Waterloo and Victoria as well.

    Euston/KX are not even in the Congestion Zone

  52. peezedtee says:

    My hunch is that, if HS2 happens at all, and assuming it doesn’t just terminate at Old Oak Common, for the reasons suggested above, it is going to need the Railway Lords’ “Euston/St Pancras Cross” underground solution. The present proposal to destroy 600 homes at Euston is absurd, brutal, unnecessary and surely unsustainable in a modern democracy.

  53. Minstral says:

    I like the stop HS2 at OOC idea. How much does the tunnel into Euston cost and what would happen if half that money was put into improving the other Public transport routes in the vicinity of OOC. Such as: –

    > Extend Royal Oak terminating trains to OOC to provide fast access to Central London and Canary Wharf

    > London Overground with 10 coach trains to Stratford, Richmond and Clapham. How many current commuters on those lines would appreciate that improvement alone. However it would also allow additional capacity for HS2 passengers not wanting to travel through Central London to use the radial connections

    > Southern Milton Keynes to Croydon trains – extended and after the funds above paying for a rebuild of the Southern part of Clapham Junction Station to give access to the main line for the WLL trains and thus allow extending them to Gatwick – 4 trains per hour potentially replacing the Gatwick empties.

    > Cease District line to Ealing Broadway and replace with service from Earls Court through Kensington Olympia to Old Oak Common to access the Victoria/Westminster area to the new junction station

    Lots of potential Euston can’t match as no new capacity being added and sounds like it could be a lot cheaper than tunnelling under Camden and rebuilding Euston, so really ought to be looked into further

    Obviously loss of line capacity on WLL/NLL with these extra longer trains means a freight solution is needed but I think this is necessary anyway to relieve significant passenger under-capacity on these lines.

  54. Anonymous says:


    They’re not the best located, but they are the best connected in terms of offering the widest direct tube and rail access to all compass points of London, rather than just across zone 1. Rational Plan is also right that they can provide short taxi/car hire rides across central London, alongside quick bus trips and walking in some cases, something OOC wouldn’t be able to. This shouldn’t be sniffed at: There are around 35-40% more black cabs in london than yellow taxis in NYC, and close to double the number of minicabs/PHV as taxis here.

  55. stationless says:

    Would I be correct in assuming that the WCML services to be piped into Crossrail are the semis and not the slows? If that were the case, could the Southern services to Watford not be redirected onto the NNML?

    Failing that, why not add a couple of West-facing terminating platforms at OOC and split the service between there and Marylebone?

  56. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: “a stop so early in the trip is going to cost around 10 minutes”: actually Arup’s modelling here: suggests a total cost from stopping at Birmingham International of less than 4 minutes.

    You made the claim on the other thread as well that stops early in the trip take more time than stops later in the trip. This is the exact opposite of what is actually the case. Slowing down from a slower speed costs less time in total than slowing down from full line speed. This is why HS2 is proposed to have intermediate stops at places close to the termini in Manchester, Birmingham, and London, and no other stops between these places.

  57. Si says:

    peezedtee – re underground Euston Cross
    1)we build underground stations by cut and cover these days. Even if not, a sizable amount of the surface would be taken
    2)there’s a disparity in the services: perhaps 3tph intercity on HS1 (plus 6tph metro) vs 18tph on HS2. Assuming that you pair up classic-compatible HS2 services with Javelins (yuck on the metro seating), that still leaves 9tph to turn around at Euston Cross (or Stratford depot?). Oh, assuming that the Chunnel security issues are sorted and trains can just run through.
    3)you are also talking about an awful lot of passengers – Old Oak Common is planned to remove about a third and through traffic is like 5%, so you are looking at over 15,000 passengers an hour.
    4)which is serious passenger flows and would need serious infrastructure. You’ve made Swiss Cheese under 500 houses – you’d need to build it as a big hole, rather than try to mine it. Bang, 600 houses gone.
    5)Crossrail 2 and Thameslink will carry all the passengers to/from the High Speed Route? No one will walk the insane distance to the tube and those trains (like those at Old Oak, if the WCML Crossrail branch happens. There’s little hope of boarding GWML Crossrail trains at OOC as they will be rammed) will be fairly crowded already, when entering zone 1.
    6)As I mentioned, through traffic is like 5%, why abandon St Pancras, add about £2bn to the scheme, destroy a similar area of housing and make a much crappier station with fewer onward links?

  58. HowardGWR says:

    I suspect the Two Lords Eupancross proposal will suffer as DfT will invoke the ‘not invented here’ rule. The above suggestions from Minstral, are also a ‘no-brainer’.

  59. Ian J says:

    @HowardGWR: Presumably then the whole HS2 route should suffer, as it was not invented by the DfT either.

  60. JM says:

    Re Euston/Old Oak, depending on the percentage difference between arriving and departing passengers, how would most people arrive or depart at either? If businessmen are on expenses, they would most probably waive picking up an Oyster and jump in the nearest cab. Particularly if staying in a hotel.

    For anyone arriving, you surely want to be as central as possible. If 2/3 of trips are expected to be leisure, Euston lands you close to one of the largest block of hotels in London or less than 15 minutes from mist primary leisure destinations.

    There is no reason why any future route could not give you a direct link to Crossrail (well there is, but from a pure planning point of view). Particularly as the eastern leg of CR1 may require a split into two routes in the longer term future. A leisure or tourist hotspot like Greenwich or St Pauls could be just as likely an end destination from Euston for HS2 departees as the Docklands. They wouldn’t have a direct link either.

  61. Whiff says:

    @ Chris 7:20 10th July

    Is it too cynical to suggest that TFL want HS2 to go to Euston and not terminate at OOC is so that they can get Euston upgraded without having to pay for it themselves and because they seem to think it’s the only way they can get CR2 built?

  62. Anonymous says:

    No one from the midlands/north/ Scotland wishes to terminate their journey at Old Oak Common. HS2 is not all about London you know.


  63. Anonymous says:

    “No one from the midlands/north/ Scotland wishes to terminate their journey at Old Oak Common. HS2 is not all about London you know.”

    No one from the midlands/north/ Scotland wishes to terminate their journey at Euston

    As I pointed out before, OOC will be much better-connected than Euston – direct services to Reading, Bristol, South Wales, Heathrow, Liverpool Street, Farringdon (for Thameslink, which will by then include the GN lines), Stratford (for HS1 as well as east Anglia), and Clapham Junction (and probably Gatwick) will give connections throughout southern and eastern England and beyond. Euston and Euston Square between them can offer little if anything extra in terms of connections.

    “Euston lands you ……less than 15 minutes from mist primary leisure destinations”

    So will OOC – although there is no figure quoted for OOC, the Crossrail website’s projected journey time from TCR to Ealing Broadway is 12 minutes.

    Why not build HS2 to OOC first, and only if Crossrail gets swamped (perhaps when Phase 2 is in the offing) extend to a central London terminus

    If you must have a central London terminus, why does it have to be at Euston anyway – just because the original London to Birmingham line started there? Birmingham trains have, in the past, also run from Paddington, Marylebone and Broad Street. For that matter, there’s a big unused space at Waterloo which could be used.

  64. stimarco says:


    “[…] Viaducts are being proposed because the NLL and WLL are above the height of the GWML…”

    I could have sworn I specifically mentioned burying some of those too. It’s not as if we’re talking about canyons and ravines here; it’s just some low rolling hills. Most of those viaducts were built to remove flat crossings over the GWML, not because there’s a mountain range nearby. Modern electric rolling stock can easily handle much steeper gradients than the early steam locomotives the present infrastructure was built for, so why keep the latter around? Tourism?

    On taking a closer look at the options shown in the article, and another closer look on Google Maps (which wasn’t working while I was writing my earlier post, so I was using my unreliable memory), I think it might actually be better to just build a tunnelled station on a north-south axis directly below the HS2 / Crossrail / GWML platforms instead of an east-west design. This could effectively replace the present routes over the GWML, effectively continuing the two-track situation at Willesden Jct. a little further before splitting in tunnel under Wormwood Scrubs to return to the Richmond and Clapham Jct. routes. Willesden Jct. itself already provides interchange with the Watford DC and Bakerloo lines and is also a cross-shaped interchange, albeit with the levels reversed.

    The curved viaduct to the west of the new station seen in Option 1’s diagram appears to end at a pinch-point—rarely a good idea—and has the phrase “Remodelling of Acton Wells Junction Required” printed right next to it, strongly implying that it won’t be a simple matter of adding yet another pair of tracks to this route. As the intention appears to be mainly to get trains into Willesden Junction from the south (there not being any obvious routes along the WCML itself that wouldn’t also require some major grade-separation works as the stations are on the northern side of the alignment), a north-south tunnelled station would eliminate this requirement entirely.

    Willesden Junction’s station platforms are accessed from both the NLL and WLL via a flat junction just to its south. You could easily fit tunnel approaches between these and simply divert all services to Clapham Junction via a new, tunnelled, OOC station.

    South of the OOC site, there aren’t any stations on the two southern routes for quite some distance, so there’d be no difficulty with providing suitable connections to each one.

    Now, I’m well aware that this would add to the costs, but we’re already talking about a shockingly overpriced £32bn. high-speed railway and an equally overpriced glorified RER line calling at a new station built on a 170-year-old mainline railway. None of that is going to be cheap anyway, but the latter does already have some TBMs, one or two of which could probably be reused to build all this. Nailing an Overground station onto that little lot is going to be tricky regardless of the design approach taken, but burying some of the Overground routes in the area makes a damned sight more sense to me than trying to build even more twisty little viaducts to add to the ones already there. They’re not going to be pretty and they will reduce the value of the land in the eyes of the developers. Which brings up the possibility that they may be willing to contribute towards the added costs.

    But… meh. Whatever. I’ve never lived in that neck of the woods; maybe people there really do find the screeching of trains around sharp corners soothing and restful.

  65. Moosealot says:

    @Anon 17:38

    Terminating at OOC may be a conceivable stop-gap to reduce the costs of phase one, but in the grand scheme it has to go to Central(ish) London.

    You would need at least an 8 platform HS2 station at OOC if terminating, cf 4 for through trains due to turnaround time. Whether the cost for this would be justifiable in order to merely delay the cost of running into Euston/Euston X/wherever is debatable.


    Even better than terminating Chiltern services at OOC…
    Run them through onto HS2-HS1 link to St Pancras. 6tph to High Wycombe, 3tph all-stations (including a rebuilt Greenford on the NNML) and 3tph semi-fast (extendible later) would be a much better service than currently exists while freeing up quite a few Marylebone slots, and would match well with the current 6tph Kent Javelin.

    This would give an Express Crossrail route OOC-St Pancras-Stratford for the cost of:

    extending Greenford station (which isn’t integral to the plan and could be dropped)
    redoubling single track sections of the NNML
    electrifying Chiltern mainline (which will probably have happened by the time this is built anyway)
    building HS2-HS1 link (£660m for double track solution)
    extending platforms on the Chiltern line (cost: pretty cheap – there are few constraints and most are 8-car+ already)

    Greenford Station, assuming similar cost to Abbey Wood, £130m
    HS2-HS1 double-track link, £660m
    Platform extensions, £20m
    6x 10-car class 395s assuming £1.2m per carriage, £72m
    Doubling one 1km and one 4km section of NNML at £10m per km, £50m
    Electrification of 38km double track from OOC to High Wycombe at £600k per single track km, £46m
    Total: £978m

    Which, even with only a quarter of Crossrail 1’s capacity must be described as an absolute bargain.

    NNML New North Main Line A (currently) little-used link from the Great Western Main Line at Old Oak Common to the Chiltern Line at South Ruislip

  66. Flare says:

    Couple of clarifications:

    – this proposal for Old Oak Common is entirely dependent on the HS2/GWML/Crossrail interchange station, therefore it is dependent on HS2 itself
    – the brief from the DfT to HS2 includes the provision of an interchange station at Old Oak Common providing interchange between HS2 – GWML – Crossrail, the cost of this is included in the £40ish billion budget for HS2

    Apologies if I’m repeating earlier points, but TfL/GLA will petition the government for the following if it is not included in the bill:

    – provision of grade seperated turnback at OOC to enable future WCML – Crossrail link
    – provision of an overground station in the Old Oak Common interchange, exact form to be determined and at the very least passive provision for both an Overground station to south and west

  67. Jeremy says:

    “Euston/KX are not even in the Congestion Zone”

    Correct. The zone starts immediately the other side of the Euston Road. Short of demolishing much of Bloomsbury to relocate them a few hundred yards south towards Tottenham Court Road, though, I fail to see how they can be made more central than they are. Oxford Circus in less than five minutes by Victoria line seems plenty central to me!

    More to the point, plenty of people “want” to go to Euston. Apart from connections with KX for Eurostar, and tube connections to the West End and the City (let’s include Euston Square in this assessment as a covered link is planned pre-HS2), there’s the fact that for many of HS2’s intended users, Euston is already where they arrive in London. They know how to get from there to their eventual destination in the capital.

    And yes, I would be an example of such a person, but for the fact that I now live in London and only need Euston when it’s time to escape again.

  68. Kit Green says:

    …people “want” to go to Euston….

    This type of argument must have been considered when it was decided that the people of Kent “want” to go to St Pancras.

  69. stimarco says:

    @Kit Green:

    I think the argument was that any improvement would be better than the options available prior to HS1’s completion. And, if you’re using the HS1 Domestic services that run via Ashford, the journey time savings really do make sense, even if you do get dumped into a pathetic little shopping centre for your “premium” fare.

    (Via Gravesend? Not so much. The relatively short stretch north of Ebbsfleet is barely 17 minutes of the total journey time of about an hour. It takes about that long just to get to Ebbsfleet from Strood, let alone places like Gillingham. The wibbly-wobbly railway network around those parts is so painfully slow, the top speed for most of the run is barely half the top speed of the trains, so it’s not exactly an efficient or effective use of that expensive rolling stock. It’s very much a political stop-gap to dampen the screams of the poor buggers when they heard that the Crossrail stretch to Gravesend had been kicked into the long grass.)

  70. Greg Tingey says:

    The throughput of a platform at an intercity terminus is pretty low. There’s normally at least a 20 minute turnaround time
    For actual Inter-City services, yes.
    NOT for suburbans, though … watch station-working @ Liverpool St or Waterloo!

    A slight modification changes your idea from good to brilliant, as in:
    Let’s save an awful lot of money and build the HS2 THROUGH STATION at OOC, relying on XR1, Overground etc, etc for local distribution throughout London, AND CARRYING ON TO HS1 ….
    Ahem – first we have to shoot the security-theatre loonies, though. Um.

    Deep Thought
    That would mean closing the Euston Tap.
    Don’t go there!

    Mistral, NO
    You DON’T “stop HS2 @ OOC”
    You continue it to join up with HS1, in tunnel the whole way & a double-ended through station between Waterloo & London Bridge …..

    Ian J
    Yes. Precisely. Hence their crap presentation & “not realizing” that an IC train is more productive for business than flying or driving, with embedded WiFi on trains …..

  71. Chris says:

    Anon – Euston is superior because it provides better access to Central London and is far more effective at dispersing passengers. Of course OOC offers lots of benefits, that’s why it is being built in addition but neither are suitable in isolation. As for the choice of Euston, a lot of work went into possible locations and it is the only practical site for a terminus given ALL the different considerations, transport links being the biggest consideration which will only be enhanced by CR2 – a project which will be needed to relieve Euston whether HS2 is built or not.

    Deep Thought – the plans for HS2 are available, have a look at the Environmental Statement and/or design refinements being consulted on.

    Stimarco – Old Oak Common might not be Grand Canyon but that doesn’t make tunnelling a simple option, a change of height requires gradients suitable for passenger and freight traffic without compromising roads and railways in the process while retaining the various chords needed in the area. What you’re proposing doesn’t even look possible let alone financially viable, but if you want to come up with a diagram suggesting otherwise feel free.

  72. Chris says:

    Greg – where are all these through trains going though? Even if we had a completely open border policy, which we don’t, there is nowhere for most of the captive trainsets to go. The extra expense of a through station doesn’t make sense when the vast majority of the traffic isn’t travelling through and the services can’t sensible be interworked.

  73. Anonymous says:


  74. Mark Townend says:

    @Moosealot, 11:26AM, 11th July 2013

    Instead of Chiltern services to Euston/St. Pancras, I think it far better to route GWML expresses (many planned to be electric soon) to the international superhub, creating a single ‘hauptbahnhof’ for all longer distance intercity services from London, rather like the recent developments in Berlin and Wien. GW would also stop at OOC for Crossrail interchange (west end/city/docklands) and other lines. The capacity given up at Paddington could then be used by Chiltern. The latest plans for OOC show the GWML located directly above and parallel to HS2 at the east end of the complex, so it could be practical to drop a pair of tracks down an incline between the levels here, and the Great Western Railway’s original intention of running to Euston could finally come to pass! Assuming a quality pedestrian connection between Euston and KX/St. P, the benefits of this for GWML would be manifold, with direct interchange available to International services, Thameslink, ECML, MML and Kent HS1 domestics, as well as the various urban transit options serving north and east London.

  75. timbeau says:

    @Chris 1537
    “Euston is superior”
    Maybe so, but given the spiralling costs of HS2, it may be unaffordable.

    Could an initial terminus at OOC turn the thing from a financial turkey to something financially viable? By all means safeguard the route to Euston for a possible later stage, but if Euston to Curzon Street turns out to be is over budget, let’s not allow the unattainable ideal to get in the way of building the achievable.

  76. HowardGWR says:

    It should be remembered that Lord Mawhinney’s report recommended OOC as the stop-off for Heathrow. Unless Howard Davies’ study recommends an entirely new location for the National and Hub Airport, OOC is the mecca for air travellers and it might as well be that for international rail travellers, at least for those who would arrive on the many services outlined by other posters.

    I don’t see this takes anything away from Euston for HS2, except consideration of the Two Lord’s proposal, which in any case makes for an extra stop for the International trains like we see at Brussels.

    Without detailed analysis of O/D data, especially ‘reason for travel’, I find the whole discussion of ’15 minutes to the office’ type consideration just stabs in the dark. How many of these ‘businessmen’ are there among the projected thousands of arriving pax?

  77. Lemmo says:

    @ Anon.Mouse, North Acton station is unlikely to be moved as it is now circled by new development and is a key part of the transport strategy in the wider Park Royal Opportunity Area. Also, although an interchange with the NL might look obvious on paper, in practice it will be expensive and operationally challenging to create this at Acton Wells Jn.

    @ Anonymous 2.04 and 3.33pm 10th July, you are spot on with the core issue on the astronomical cost of HS2 compared to alternatives, and the availability of a potential trunk route through to Leicester, which might be designed for freight, which would free up capacity on the other mainlines for passenger.

    OOC will not become a terminus for HS2, let’s just ditch that idea. But the alternatives proposed for the route east are a much more interesting proposition, and could bring wider cross-city travel benefits to London travellers.

    @ timbeau, the whole design will need a re-spec to reduce costs, and this might yield a rebuild at Euston that is affordable and less destructive. Wasn’t NR going to rebuild Euston anyway?

    @ Flare, this proposal for Old Oak Common is entirely dependent on the HS2/GWML/Crossrail interchange station, therefore it is dependent on HS2 itself. Is it? HS2 has been an essential driver, but just possibly the wider scheme is now building up a head of steam.

    But yes, TfL obviously wants to get as much built into the HS2 bill as possible, even if it is just safeguarding.

    @ Mark Townend, interesting idea, please could you produce one of your fabulous drawings?

  78. Deep Thought says:

    @Greg – Don’t worry, I’d keep the Tap! Perhaps put the Arch back and add an extra bar inside it?

    @Chris – Thanks, I will try to look them up when I have time. I have only seen some early renders on, which looked horrible!

  79. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: “I’m well aware that this would add to the costs, but we’re already talking about a shockingly overpriced £32bn. high-speed railway and an equally overpriced glorified RER line”: so you want to make them even more overpriced?

    In discussion here is is noticeable that when people compare OOC and Euston some are only thinking about onward transport links by rail – don’t forget that most people leaving most London terminuses are going by foot, bus or taxi. Being 15 minutes from Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station platforms is not the same thing as being 15 minutes from your destination in central London.

    @HowardGWR: Some useful information is here:
    Pages 92-3 give maps and tables of where the people using Euston currently are heading to and how they get there, and a broad categorisation of their reason for travel.

    @lemmo: “the whole design will need a re-spec to reduce costs, and this might yield a rebuild at Euston that is affordable and less destructive”: This has already happened for Euston, which is why a total rebuild of Euston station is not now proposed (bang go the conspiracy theories that HS2 is all a nefarious scheme by TfL to get Euston rebuilt). This was announced a few months ago – to be honest I’m surprised it wasn’t covered on London Reconnections at the time.

    Does anyone who knows the area well have any thoughts on how likely it is TfL would be able to take over the strip of Wormwood Scrubs shown in the renders for the GLA’s “vision”? The Scrubs’ wikipedia page suggests that it was very contentious even when British Rail built the Eurostar depot alongside.

  80. StephenC says:

    A good article and lots of points that could be made. I’ll keep it fairly brief. Firstly, I should note that I’m no fan of HS2, but I won’t complain too much here. I do think its far from certain that the project will go ahead in its current form given the recent jump in cost.

    On HS2 east of OOC, a southern terminus has always made much more logical sense than Euston. It could have been at Waterloo if enough other investment had removed local services. Or underneath the south bank between Waterloo and Blackfriars. The big part that is forgotten in HS2 discussions is door to door journey times, and if you live south of London or outside London to the south, the HS2 journey time savings are small compared with the time and hassle of just getting to Euston or OOC.

    If it has to be Euston, then the Euston Cross scheme has real merit. We shouldn’t be building termini in this day and age.

    The NNML route to High Wycombe is vital. It provides a connection in a direction which will be cut off otherwise. The connection could be one of two things. Either A 4tph/6tph Crossrail extension, stopping at North Acton, West Ruislip and all stations to High Wycombe. Or a 4tph Clapham Junction to Ealing Broadway service via OOC south, North Acton and West Action (Central line no longer going to Ealing Broadway). With the latter option, you’d still have 4tph Clapham Junction to the NLL.

    The Crossrail link to the WCML looks expensive to me. Unless it can be built in a cut and cover fashion through the industrial estate (before it is developed), then I struggle to see it happening. Thats why the NNML option becomes even more important to avoid wasting Crossrail in the west.

    Of the Overground options, option 1 is considerably more desirable than option 2. But the original option 1 where the lines went between the HS2 and GWML stations on a viaduct was even more desirable. The attitude of “protecting boundaries” is pretty despicable when the result is a far worse passenger experience forever after. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

    It would have been nice to divert the WLL via East Acton and join the Richmond branch in a single north south axis station alongside Old Oak Common Lane, especially as the line via East Acton used to be four track. Unfortunately, the four track alignment seems to have been sold off east of East Acton. Really rather tragic.

    One final point. If OOC does take off as a big development site, then commuting to the site for work will dominate travel patterns, over and above access to HS2. Its definitely worth bearing this in mind, given how Canary Wharf has struggled to keep up with commuting demand.

  81. Chris says:

    Timbeau – a less attractive terminus is not going to change the fundamental economics, it’s not like there isn’t an associated increase at cost at OOC to compensate which along with the reduced benefits do not justify such an alteration.

    Lemmo – I can’t see the logic behind a trunk route for freight via Leicester, let alone as some kind of alternative to HS2. Even if such a line could cater for existing traffic flows using the various north-south mainlines, which it couldn’t, and could do so without simply causing capacity issues elsewhere, which is hard to imagine, it would produce little appreciable extra capacity for long distance passenger traffic and do nothing to reduce journey times.

  82. Anonymous says:

    @Chris (3:37 11th July) said that CR2 will be needed to relieve Euston whether HS2 is built or not.

    Is this really true? If so why are TFL nailing their colours so firmly to the HS2 mast (if that isn’t too painful a mixed metaphor!) If HS2 doesn’t make it to Euston, TFL are going to have a hard job convincing people that CR2 still needs go via there.

  83. Whiff says:

    ps previous comment was from Whiff

  84. Rational Plan says:

    Euston is the cheapest and easiest location to build on, of all the current sites in Zone 1. They did look at many sites during the assessment process. The idea that would move the terminus to Waterloo or anywhere else is laughable

    You want a Zone 1 station as it provides the best onwards connections for all of London as well as the significant proportion of travelers are going to zone 1 only.

    I’d ignore those TFL destination points for passengers arriving at Terminuses in London as they are heavily skewed to commuters. Commuters often end up choosing their housing based on the easiest journey to work, So every rail station has a significant number of people who walk to their job from where they get off the train or a short tube journey from the station.

    The only way to save money on constructing a terminus is to build it outside Zone 1, and that pretty much means at Old oak common.

    There is relatively little that they can cut from HS2, they should concentrate on getting the contracts right and not changing their minds once construction has begun. Then hopefully they won’t need any of the contingency.

  85. Graham Feakins says:

    Euston – Now time to consider what the latest “Private Eye” (PE1344) has to say in its lengthy piece under its “Signal Failures” column: “….With a £14.4bn contingency plan to play with, HS2 Ltd can plough on to rebuild London Euston while the station remains the terminus of Britain’s biggest mainline (rather than leaving Euston alone until many passengers have switched to the future HS2-Crossrail interchange in West London) …[PE pointed out two years ago that] Accommodating Euston’s trains and passengers in that building site would hugely inflate the cost….

    …later [April 2013] HS2 published scaled-down Euston plans … yet HS2 Ltd chief Alison Munro told the public accounts committee this month [July 2013] that the expected cost of HS2’s station at Euston had risen 33%, to £1.6bn.

    She explained: “As we were able to do further work, we are able to understand better the implications of trying to keep an operating station during construction. That was one of the main reasons why the cost is thought to be higher than originally.” ”

    Neither trying deliberately to plug “Private Eye” as such nor infringe copyright but I cannot also resist the final comment of the piece: “If only HS2 Ltd’s budget had stretched to £1.50 for a copy of “Private Eye” in August 2011, she might have realised much sooner the implications of running a major station and a construction site in the same place.”

    Available on all good railway bookstalls.

  86. peezedtee says:

    Does anyone know who is “Dr B-Ching” who writes “Signal Failures” in Private Eye? Could it be Christian Wolmar? Barry Doe? Peter Rayner? Alan Williams?

  87. Anonymous says:

    Yes, and none of those! But then who is peezedtee?! The identity is the individual’s privilege, doesn’t one respect that?

  88. Graham H says:

    @Ian J – Sorry not to have responded earlier to your comments on the time cost of an “early” stop – you are right and I was wrong – I had been reading across from a calculation I had been using for another purpose, based on Eurostar, instead of recalibrating it – laziness, I’m afraid, As to Arup’s point about Birmingham International, the short answer is that no one knows what the performance of the new stock is to be yet, although it will surely be better than Eurostars and HSTs. Nor is it clear what platform management techniques will be applied to reduce dwell time; the Eurostar precedents are not encouraging, and some UK inter-city operators make a meal of it even with automatic doors. It is also worth noting the extra time that additional calls add to many services with much lower speeds than HS2 – anything from 2-5 minutes. Arup’s figure looks very optimistic.

    Meanwhile, back at OOC, no one seems to have told the bidders for GWML yet that they must plan on the basis of calling there, so they may well not – at least one bidder has no intention of doing so – presumably on the grounds that it is as easy to convey Heathrow punters to Paddington for an XR interchange if more time consuming for those customers, but time saving for through passengers to London.

  89. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Graham H 7:22AM, 12th July 2013

    Agree no GW stops likely yet at OOC because we are talking about 2026 before HS2 opens and maybe the same for OOC main station. And Phase 1 doesn’t add a lot, eg Birmingham to Reading is surely easier by CrossCountry?

    Expect there could be a contractual variation if required in due course – no point in putting that in a contract now as Parliament hasn’t given authority yet for the main HS2 project or nor does OOC have powers. Suppose you could put a dependency clause in a franchise bid (if this, then that), but would that require various franchising procedures to have to re-start? Don’t think DfT wants to go there, it’s had enough franchising hold-ups recently!

  90. c says:

    You’d think Euston was on Mars the way people go on here.

    It’s incredibly handy for all of the businesses around Tavistock Square, for the main universities, the UCL hospital, shopping on Tottenham Court Road, for Bloomsbury, for the Euston Tower and Euston Road developments including Santander, previously for NR itself, for the British Library, for all the accommodation around Russell Square and lots at Euston itself, Regents Park (festivals, theatre etc) – and with a bit of a walk, a lot of the medical and creative businesses in the northern reaches of Marylebone and Fitzrovia. And of course, all of the new Kings Cross campus.

    I suggest people learn up on London. There’s plenty around there.

  91. Greg Tingey says:

    Graham Feakins
    “Private Eye” is plainly “anti” HS2 at all costs …
    Also, if rebuilding a working station costs MORE, how come rebuilding Reading, whilst (mostly) keeping it open has cost LESS (by careful rescheduling) ??
    Something does not add up, here.

    The real bugger with Euston is the totally-crap non-interchange with the Circus Circle/Met?H&C lines, which should have been fixed in 1960, if not 1920!
    This needs doing RIGHT NOW – or at the very least, make sure that it is done asap ….

  92. Flare says:

    The remit to HS2 from DfT included an interchange between Euston and Euston Square. I’m not sure how public this remit is but I have copied the relevant sections below:

    2.65 The main terminus station in central London will be Euston. HS2 Ltd will develop a scheme that includes direct interchange with the LUL Met. and Circle line services at Euston Square.

    2.66 HS2 Ltd shall recognise and include Network Rail and TfL’s reasonable requirements for Euston Station.

    2.67 HS2 Ltd shall in conjunction with TfL consider the implications of the potential for a Crossrail Line 2 proposal for interchange at Euston (dependant on the level of development of the scheme available from TfL). HS2 Ltd. shall prepare a proposal to DfT for how provision for this potential interchange could be made.

    2.68 The HS2 Station at Old Oak Common will provide:
    – interchange with GWML and Crossrail services (enabling Crossrail trains to terminate in accordance with the Crossrail operating pattern)
    – recognise and include Network Rail’s reasonable requirements for the GWML station

    2.69 In addition, the construction of the Old Oak Common station must not impact on the construction or train service operation from either the Crossrail or IEP depots situated in the vicinity of the proposed Old Oak Common Station.

    2.70 The proposals for Old Oak Common station must not preclude aspirations for local services (West, North London Lines and West Coast Main Line), as well as local authority aspirations for the regeneration of the area. DfT will lead the engagement with TfL and local authority stakeholders.

  93. Flare says:

    @lemmo In answer to your post, yes it is entirely dependent though I realise this is not stated explicitly. Some development may come forward around North Acton and Willesden Junction but without a Crossrail station there won’t the step change in transport provision to allow substantial development. Of course, delays on HS2 will result in land blight for much of the area.

  94. Anonymous says:


    Yeah, some bizarre views on Euston here, it takes me 6/7mins to walk from a road off Russel Square to grab my train at ES, 10mins max to Euston itself. There are tons of tourists, students and employers around the Bloomsbury area, look how many hotels there are. Hell, the British Museum is walkable from ES and Euston. On the other side of TCR, near to Warren St station, are a load of design and New Media firms. The roads are bursting with taxis and PHCs.

    It astounds me that anyone would suggest tunneling through the maze that is the West End or Westminster/Whitehall to terminate HS2 at the busiest station in the country, Waterloo. Nevermind north-of-the-river, the links to SE London and Kent are worse at Waterloo compared to the Euston-KXSP complex.

  95. Graham H says:

    @anonymous of 0929 – quite so; for those of us who have worked in the capital for many years, walking is often a good alternative to public transport – eg Waterloo to Victoria -30m, Waterloo to Farringdon 25m via Blackfriars Bridge, and so on, but the usage of tube and bus in zone 1 suggests that people aren’t prepared /don’t know how to do the same journey on foot. It can hardly be said that London is pedestrian-friendly; the bridgeheads are especially bad (Lambeth and Southwark honourable exceptions). Accessing Euston and KX from the south is subject to crossing the Euston Road – a major deterrent on foot – I have seen many truly horrible accidents to pedestrians there.

  96. Anonymous says:

    ” tunneling through the maze that is the West End or Westminster/Whitehall to terminate HS2 at the busiest station in the country, Waterloo”

    Actually, if you draw a straight line from OOC to Waterloo, fully three quarters of the distance is under parkland. Not many basements to avoid in Hyde Park! Admittedly if you want to use the International station at Waterloo you would need to make a sweep round to the south – further away from the west end.

    “the links to SE London and Kent are worse at Waterloo”
    Two words: “Waterloo”; “East”
    How do you get to, for example, Hayes or Dartford from Euston?

    We are told that HS2 is to increase capacity, implying there is still a role for the WCML. So why have its London terminus duplicate what’s already there. HS1 has given Kent a new link to north London, to supplement, not replace, its existing links to the City and West End. HS2 could do the same for the Midlands.

    Not that I think Waterloo is any more practical or sensible a terminus than Euston – just that Euston is by no means the necessary choice.

    Why not an out of town terminal? (If OOC can be considered out of town) . Wherever the terminus is, the majority of users will need to be distributed to their widely scattered final destinations by onward transport.
    Bristol Parkway and Birmingham International are well used, for example. And no-one bats an eyelid at the distance between Heathrow and central London – indeed even “City” Airport is further from Central London than OOC is!

    The stats for the various terminals someone linked to earlier make interesting reading. Of all the terminals, Euston actually has the third highest proportion of arrivals (65%) continuing by tube or rail, beaten only by the relatively remote outposts of Paddington and Marylebone, and the second longest median onward journey (3.6km), beaten again by Paddington (at 4.6km).
    The lowest figures (12%, 900metres) are for Cannon Street – not surprising really, as not only is it right in the heart of the City, but SER commuters have a choice of termini (Charing Cross comes in the best three on both criteria, and second-placed Moorgate’s figures are acknowledged as unreliable because its layout made it difficult for the surveyers to distinguish passengers using FCC’s terminus from those arriving by LU services).
    I don’t buy this argument that Euston is where people want to go because that’s where the hotels are. Or are you suggesting that Heathrow was built where it is because it is so handy for the hotels on the Bath Road!

    Yes, there are businesses, and jobs, and meetings, in Bloomsbury. But you only need to look at the heights of the buildings to see that, for better or worse, most of the business floorspace is in the City.

  97. HowardGWR says:

    @Ian J
    12:22AM, 12th July 2013

    Thank you Ian, sounds just the ticket, does that report. (I’m not from Yorkshire but often talk as they do).

    Clearly a lot of reading ahead, but I do recommend all who want to join a ‘where should the stations and connections be’ discussion to join me in reading it.

    I was slightly concerned that the introduction mentioned only measuring peak arrivals and departures, which may miss out the HS2 -HS1 transfer issue somewhat, as well as Airport pax transfers, but perhaps I am wrong on that..

    It seemed to be concentrating on commuter travel but i shall discover if that is true. Lemmo’s excellent first article is by no means considering that issue alone (or indeed primarily).

    Hope to rejoin by the time OOC Article 2 comes out!

  98. Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous 11.16

    My bad about Waterloo East, although Euston-KXSP still has better south-of-the-river links than Waterloo does north of the Thames. It also has better West London links as well and isn’t as busy. In general, it has better links for London as whole and nearby counties compared to other major zone 1 stations.

    I never claimed that Euston is where people want to go, just challenged the notion that it is somehow poorly located in central London, when in truth it is next door to the West End and the City, both walkable to their northern fringes or short cab rides away. This is all rather moot though as the choice of terminal was never based mainly on central London cloation

  99. Mark Townend says:

    @Anonymous, 11:16AM, 12th July 2013

    I think Euston is by far the best site for the HS2 terminal because together with its existing familiar connections to various parts of London central, it sits in close proximity to KX/St P with the excellent range of longer distance connectivity available there, particularly international services, which will always be better from London than from any future regional international outposts, if ever they develop at all with the security and immigration concerns. Good pedestrian connections between the terminals could also add single interchange to Thameslink destinations both north and south of London as well to Kent via HS1 domestic services.

  100. Chris says:

    @Whiff – If i remember rightly Euston tube will be at something like 185% of capacity *without* HS2, which will only add around 5% more to that number.

    If anything I’ve got the impression that TfL and the mayor have dialled back on connecting HS2 with CR2 precisely to avoid the problem of people thinking that the latter is dependent on it, when in reality it makes little overall difference and will be necessary regardless.

    @anonymous 11:16 – To make the lives of those replying to you easier, could you choose a username of some kind please? As for you’re issues with Euston it wasn’t plucked out of a hat but was the result of a study that considered all manner of locations – it’s all very well pointing out the benefits of OOC by pointing to Bristol Parkway and Brum International but they are in addition to a much more centrally located station and are NOT an alternative.

  101. Moosealot says:

    Lots of interesting ideas here, thanks to Lemmo for an inspiring article, I look forward to the second half!

    I, too, am not convinced by HS2, nor am I certain that it will go ahead at its new price tag. Living in West Yorkshire and having to travel to London a couple of times a month for business, I would have thought that I would be the target demographic but for people round here, there is no benefit.* If there is going to be a big redevelopment in the Park Royal area, then OOC needs to be built regardless of whether HS2 passes through it or not although provision needs to be made for a route on that alignment.

    Having thought about it, Crossrail is probably a better option for the Chiltern ‘outers’. Given there’s only a single bay at High Wycombe and not too much potential to build another due to the geography, having an all-stations High Wycombe service and a semi-fast that continues to Princes Risborough might be a better allocation. Once Crossrail is running there will be plenty of capacity at Paddington, it’ll be the 4/5-track GWML between Acton Main Line and Airport Jct that will limit throughput. East of OOC there will be plenty of room, so the Chiltern Mainline services could also use the NNML and Paddington. 4tph Crossrail High Wycombe stoppers, 4tph Crossrail Princes Risborough semis 2tph Oxford/Banbury-via-Bicester and 2tph Mainline services should be easily doable provided the NNML is redoubled and some station loops are reinstated. That leaves plenty of scope for a more intensive ‘inner’ service from Marylebone to one of the Ruislips and for options North of Aylesbury. Might an OOC/Paddington Crossrail interchange make a Moot St-Paddington route more attractive to a Lon-Brum traveller than the WCML route to Euston in the absence of HS2? Could the capacity issue be resolved by intensifying service on this route, and by how much could you intensify it before serious money needs to be spent?

    Redoubling the NNML, Electrification OOC to Princes Risborough (provided there’s enough clearance in the Risborough Gap tunnel to take it without modification) and platform lengthening on the Chiltern line where required should come in comfortably below £140 million in total. This is similar to the cost of rebuilding Abbey Wood station.

    *Currently I can drive to Wakefield in 20 minutes and park 100yds from the station for £9 a day. Leaving home 35 minutes before the train is due is guaranteed to get me on. A typical 2h05 WKF-KGX journey gets me from my house to Kings Cross in 2h40. If I catch the non-stopper at 0712, it’s 2h22.
    If/when HS2 eventually makes it up here, I’ll have to go to Leeds, which is about the same distance as Wakefield. But the traffic is unreliable and sensibly-priced car parks are half a mile from the station so I would have to leave at least an hour to get from home to the platform. Add 82 minutes to get to Euston, according to HS2’s figures for fastest journey and we’re at 2h22… plus a longer walk to the HamMet&Circle plus an extra stop on it. £50bn to get a marginally slower journey with a load of extra hassle? No thanks: for more capacity and faster times from Yorkshire and the North East, spend <1% of that £50bn sorting out the flat junctions at Doncaster.

  102. JM says:


    You will still have a Kings Cross service from Leeds once and hour surely.

  103. Will says:


    “spend <1% of that £50bn sorting out the flat junctions at Doncaster"

    Ah, but if you're a politician, or an ambitious DfT civil servant, which would you rather have as your legacy/on your CV? "Sorted out the flat junctions at Doncaster", or "Built a high-speed railway between London and Yorkshire"? The question of which does the job better and/or cheaper doesn't enter into it.

  104. Chris says:

    @Moosealot – No single project, whether it’s HS2 or grade separation at Doncaster, can benefit everyone – that’s just how it is. That said, comparing the situation in 2032 to a journey today seems pretty meaningless – people’s workplaces can move or change as can their place of residence, while today’s frequencies and stopping patterns will inevitably be altered following the completion of HS2 to free up capacity.

    As for Paddington having ‘plenty of capacity’ that isn’t really going to be the case, capacity on the approach lines, extra services and longer trains/short suburban platforms are all limiting factors.

  105. Chris says:

    Will – HS2 is no more an alternative to upgrading the existing network than Crossrail is to upgrading the tube, you need both. I’m not aware of any politician or civil servant that’s suggested that a new high speed line removes the need to invest in the current network, so this straw man argument that it’s one or t’other is meaningless.

  106. Deep Thought says:

    @Graham & Greg – I read the Signal Failures column yesterday as well. It implies there is something not quite right at HS2, as the “contingency” fund is increasing as the planning progresses, when you’d logically expect it to go the other way as plans firm up.

    I don’t think B Ching is anti-HS2 at all costs. He does have a lot of criticisms of the project, but I still get the impression he thinks a new high-speed is workable. For instance he suggested that HS2 should probably have a few more stops on it, e.g. near Milton Keynes, as the Japanese high-speed lines have comparable inter-station distances and this does not seem to impact their popularity.

    I think B Ching’s main criticism is that the need for HS2 is based of DaFT predictions of passenger numbers in 30 years time, and that DaFT, or anyone else, don’t exactly have the greatest of track records on getting these predictions right. It’s a valid point, particularly when currently peak Manchester to London trains are not even close to full due to the eye-watering prices (according to his column, if someone wants to disagree feel free). In my opinion it’s about time the Government took a long-term view, shouldered the risks and built the damn thing (this applies to many infrastructure projects, not just HS2).

    And yes, I’d also be interested to know who the person behind the column is 😉

  107. Moosealot says:

    I doubt that the Leeds-KX service will go away. It will probably gain stops at Retford, Newark and Grantham to push the journey time up to about 2h17 from 2h03 so that the high speed service looks better. There’s form here with the Kent coast services.

    The point is that for people living in suburban West Yorkshire there will be little to no benefit from HS2 and we are one of the groups that are supposed to derive most benefit from it. Population density around here is insufficient to support fast, frequent local public transport so it is necessary to drive to a convenient railhead: the centre of Leeds does not qualify as ‘convenient’ because the traffic is awful and the parking is hideously expensive, miles from the station or both.

    For £50bn, HS2 needs to offer *significant* benefit to a *lot* of people and as things stand, it doesn’t. 4-tracking the bottlenecks in the ECML between Peterborough and Kings Cross and sorting out the junctions at Doncaster will be much cheaper than the Leeds branch of HS2 alone and have a far wider benefit.

  108. Moosealot says:

    I’m well aware that no project can benefit everyone. At the moment it’s claimed that HS2 will benefit everyone living in t’North but in fact it will benefit a handful of people who live in Leeds and another handful who live in Manchester: the BCR has been fiddled either deliberately or by omission.

    There’s currently no funding for sorting out the ECML bottlenecks but there is funding for HS2 to go to Leeds. It’s not a straw man to ask how public money could be spent to best effect; if it’s spent on one thing it cannot be spent on something else so there’s always an either/or and in this situation the funding would be far better spent on the ECML – which would still benefit rail users who live in the centre of Leeds. A similar argument could be made for the North West whereby reducing the fares on the WCML would be of far wider benefit than HS2. Yes, the tube upgrade and Crossrail are both ongoing, but it looks like bus services are going to be cut back and/or fares raised in order for TfL to stay within their funding envelope.

  109. Kit Green says:

    The figures from the central_london_rail_termini_report for onward travel from Euston do not persuade me they are accurate when the chart states that 1% of passengers with 8+km (5+ mile) onward journeys walk to their destinations. I simply cannot believe this.

    Moosealot: Total journey times

    Before I got to your later comment I was already thinking of the disgraceful cynicism of the downgraded timetable on the Kent classic lines that now offer a much poorer service to passengers from Staplehurst, Paddock Wood and Tonbridge. As for services from Maidstone East there appears to be a positive desire to make these as slow as possible. Whatever happened to the off peak very fast trains from Cannon Street to Ashford with one stop at MDE?

  110. JM says:


    Do people only add train procurement to the cost of the project when they are against it? haha.

    Appreciate that side of the argument but my assumption would be (you can say if I’m wrong) that probably the vast majority of passengers on the route do travel from Leeds to London and would probably be the case for almost all other intercity routes bar probably Glasgow and Edinburgh where disembarking passengers from London may be more spread from Preston/York onwards.

    I would argue the KX – Leeds service even if 1tph would likely benefit from a capacity increase (as end to end users switch) and arguably a more competitive price. Given the time savings that would already exist, places like Stevenage, Newark or Grantham could be used for new routes you could run (Cleethorpes, Nottingham, Norwich) rather than compromising the current journey from Wakefield or Donny to London.

    The only real problem I have with HS2 is the fact the current plans omit places like Stoke-on-Trent and Sheffield via a spur near Killingworth. That would be over 3/4 of a million more users access to HS2. As far as the money goes and the current discussion, other than Lord Mandelson, it does just seem to be the same old critics feeling slightly more galvanised.

    The term used is always white elephant – I wonder if anyone has thought about what will happen if it is more successful than predicted, particularly if many journeys end up being ‘new’.

  111. Chris says:

    @Moosealt – there is a world of difference between those who benefit directly by travelling on it, and those who benefit indirectly from the effect it has on the regional economy. I find it hard to believe that anyone is seriously suggesting that HS2 will benefit every very single person in the north, but even if they did the fact you wouldn’t use it personally does not mean you wouldn’t benefit from it’s construction in some other way.

    As for sorting out ECML bottlenecks, there has been plenty of investment with more confirmed in the next control period – just off the top of my head the Hitchin flyover has just been completed, another is underway south of Doncaster to remove coal traffic from a section of the ECML, work is nearing completion to provide 6 tracks between Finsbury Park-Alexandria Palace to separate the Hertford Loop from slow line services and extra platforms are underway at Peterborough.

    In CP5, just off the top of my head there are plans for a new turnback at Stevenage, extra capacity through Holme by partial or complete quadrupling of the remaining double track section, grade separation at Werrington and resignalling with ERTMS. CP6 will no doubt see further improvements identified too.

    In my view this HS2 vs existing network argument is the very definition of a straw man – like HS1 and Crossrail it won’t be funded from the same pot nor has there been any proposal too as far as im aware, the same argument applies for funding both alongside each other as there is for funding Crossrail alongside the tube upgrade.

    TfL’s funding settlement has indeed been squeezed due to cuts to the DfT budget, but that hardly makes it directly attributable and besides capital expenditure has been protected IIRC.

  112. PeteD says:

    If you upgraded the WCML to provide another 4tph, the ECML to provide another 4tph and the MML to provide another 4tph, purchased new trains and rebuilt Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross to take those extra trains, how much change out of £50bn would you get and what would be the impact on the existing services?

  113. Greg Tingey says:

    Mossealot & everyone
    What happens if the ECML is salami-slice improved (AGAIN) so that 150-160 mph running with “normal” stock is achieved? Build a Morpeth avoider, de-kink Cockburnspath, re-connect via Leamside …4-track & junction improvements … all for about £billion.
    Value compared to HS2?
    You have of course got the WCML upgrade as an example of what not to do & the improvements all the way from the introduction of the Deltics to stringing the knitting to Edinburgh as an example of how o do it right. Copy the second example & go for it?
    KX-Waverley in 3 hr 45?

  114. Chris says:

    PeteD – Cost is just one factor, you have to take into account the benefits produced and to what degree such a project achieves the required aims. A scheme may be ‘cheaper’ than the headline figure of HS2 but it’s not better value if it only produces a fraction of the benefits nor produces the long term capacity required, and we all know how initial estimates can escalate especially for an upgrade of an existing, increasingly congested line.

    Some people will always argue in favour of ‘upgrades’ but at some point another pair of tracks will always be necessary, the economics of which favour a new alignment built for higher speed operation. If the cost, risk and disruption of the West Coast Route Modernisation wasn’t proof enough, recent issues with paths and reliability increasingly only underline the widely held view that the WCML has reached this point.

  115. Chris says:

    Greg – what would 150 or 160mph do to capacity on a mixed traffic route? How much work would be involved to bridges, cantenary, trackbed, clearances, stations, alignment to cope with the speed invovled? It would be more cost effective to build a new line. You could call it HS2….

  116. peezedtee says:

    One lot of people says the funds earmarked for HS2 could be much better spent on a multitude of smaller railway works schemes to improve capacity.

    Another lot of people says that, even if that were so, the system just doesn’t work like that, and that if HS2 is cancelled there won’t suddenly be all that money to spend on other capacity-enhancement proposals. Government, on that view, would reallocate the funding to something else, not necessarily railway-related and possibly not even connected with transport.

    I genuinely do not know which group of people is right. In an ideal world I should like to be able to have both lots of short- and medium-term spot capacity improvements (true, a few of these are gradually happening, but progress seems painfully slow) *and* a long-term new north-south line, though probably not the exact HS2 scheme, which I think is quite flawed in a lot of ways. But the world is far from ideal.

    What is undoubtedly true is that the powers that be have so far made a real pig’s ear of selling the present HS2 scheme to the public, most of whom misunderstand the reasons for it (capacity not speed). Political support amongst both Lab and Con is clearly crumbling, UKIP whips up ever more hostility to it, most of the mainstream media are ever more sceptical …..

  117. Lemmo says:

    Good discussion, thanks everyone. This is no mean feat, given the complexity and the polarised nature of the HS2 debate. Suffice to say, let’s try and keep the focus on OOC please.

    Part 2 is still a few days away, sorry for the delay.

    @ IanJ, yes we realise there’s a gap in our coverage on HS2 and there are discussions behind the scenes as we speak. Unfortunately two of us are in the throes of moving house, including me, overseas. But, as they say, ‘normal service will resume’.

    On OOC as terminus, I am now understanding the benefits, in the context of an achievable phased project that might allow the alternative Lords’ Euston Cross scheme, or route HS2 from Queens Park along the AC lines into Euston. Equally, I can envisage a root-and-branch HS2 redesign based on a spec which emphasises capacity over speed, and might then allow alternatives with a more favourable BCR to be developed.

    And I empathise with StephenC’s point: “We shouldn’t be building termini in this day and age”.

    @ stimarco, you are right about the pressure the Overground design puts on Acton Wells Jn, which will become a passenger-freight bottleneck where most routes seems to cross. From a sleepy backwater it could turn into a Borough Market Jn.

    @ Moosealot, Crossrail to Chiltern was rejected because it is not electrified and the demand would be less than WCML. It may still be worth a look, as extending Crossrail to the WCML will be expensive, and Chiltern is hampered by limited capacity at Marylebone. There is also potential to intensify WCML services on the DC Lines, and what about options for Crossrail 3?

    @ Flare, thanks for the info on the HS2 remit.

    Some development may come forward around North Acton and Willesden Junction but without a Crossrail station there won’t the step change in transport provision to allow substantial development. Of course, delays on HS2 will result in land blight for much of the area.

    This is the nub, and arguably it is the Crossrail station that generates the development, spurred on the HS2 and Overground. HS2 has got it this far, but will HS2 delays scupper the whole development? I think the jury is still out on that.

  118. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I’m afraid I’m a HS2 sceptic. If the argument is that we need capacity then fine but can we please ensure every train runs at the maximum length permissible so that we use every path in the most efficient way. Instead we have trains stuffed to the gunwhales because of short formations, lack of rolling stock, mixed performance stock and platforms that are too short. We have ridiculous pricing policies that create false “hurdles” between peak and off peak causing peak trains to not be fully loaded and initial off peak services stuffed so full people would sit on the roof if they could. It’s bonkers.

    The government has no clear plan to really ensure that long formation trains run on newly electrified routes or that we have much longer trains and more of them in urban areas. Many inter-regional trains could be two or three times longer than they are. Instead the TOCs scratch round in desperation for every spare carriage that might make itself available while the DfT maintains the mirage that they have nothing to do with rolling stock numbers. We have to do things better than this. When we have a proper, funded national strategy to give the *existing* railway what it needs then we can move on to re-opening closed lines and then when that’s sorted out we can consider HS2. I have yet to see anything that sets out in reasonable detail what rail services will look like on existing main lines if we build HS2. I don’t see how anyone can agree to HS2 without something close to a guarantee about the rest of the rail network.

    Turning back to London matters I note that certain Labour London Assembly members are now getting very grouchy and questioning about HS2 and its effect on London. Proposals at Euston are a major cause for concern due to the mass demolition and years of construction related disruption. Now this may well be a ruse to extract more concessions from HS2 Limited but it’s an interesting twist in opinion. The requirement for the Mayor to find 50% of the funding for C2, deemed essential for Euston, also creates another dynamic about who coughs up, for what and what development follows in its wake. It could all get very, very messy if the Government persist in HS2 but won’t fund CR2 and the Mayor is unable or even unwilling to beg for the 50% funding. Boris may view as doable but that doesn’t mean any successor will have the same view or even the same priorities. It’d be a tad ironic if the Mayor was able to stall HS2 through not being able to conclude CR2 successfully.

  119. Snowy says:

    The problem with extending trains to the maximum during the peak is what do you then do with that rolling stock for the rest of the day. The C2C franchise is a great example of a commuter railway which parks half it’s fleet after the morning peak. One of Beechings pet dislikes was large amounts of rolling stock not being utilised effectively (admitted this was for summer sea side trains rather than londons commuters). It would be a tax ironic if we not only reversed his closure decisions but also rolling stock ones.

    New lines however are supposed to create new journey opportunities & encourage new passengers so existing stock is better redeployed & extra passengers fill seats on the new rail.

    Therefore the benefits are stronger for new lines rather than longer trains as you get better rolling stock utilisation. In an ideal world of course…

  120. JA says:

    Interesting stuff. It’s such a complex proposal, with each element of it having many consequences, but initially a few thoughts spring to mind.

    1. Freight; at the moment a massive amount of freight flows through the OOC area in all sorts of directions, where could it be rerouted, or how would it be accommodated, to my mind this is potentially one of the biggest stumbling blocks.

    2.i An HS2/Crossrail interchange would put massive amounts of pressure on the Overground to Clapham Junction, not to mention Clapham Junction itself. Will we have seen a wholesale redevelopment of Clapham Junction by then with many more fast trains stopping?

    2.ii With this in mind the failure to safeguard a four track formation under the Earls Court redevelopment as outlined in your previous article seems exceptionally shortsighted.

    3 Willesden Junction: If the Old Oak Common station goes ahead what will be the situation at Willesden Junction? Could it would make sense to build a sister stationon the WCML, connected by a dedicated service complementing the Overground perhaps, or a series of travelators. With some, or possibly even all services into and out of Euston calling there would be potential for far greater connectivity.

    4 Heathrow; I personally don’t think Heathrow will exist in it’s current form indefinitely. In the coming years or decades the political will to replace it with a larger Thames Estuary Airport will probably emerge. This is probably a debate for another time, but it could have an impact on the decision to give an interchange station the go ahead, or the pattern of services that might call there.

    5. Great Western Services: what provision could there be for these to call at the station?

    If the development is to assume a level of strategic national importance then to my mind the decision making process should be devolved away from the local council as greatly as possible.

  121. Deep Thought says:

    @Walthamstow Writer – I actually agree with you, but come down on the side of we’re likely to need HS2 anyway. If only the DFT could get their act together, end the current franchising model, actually complete a tendering contract on time and introduce sane ticketing arrangements then we’d end up releasing a lot of extra capacity on the existing routes.

  122. Chris says:

    @peezedtee – It’s worth remembering that HS2 will not be funded all at once but spread out over a decade and a half. While any cancellation of HS2 may come with some loose commitment to spend more on other schemes, the idea that there’ll be tram extensions and local rail reopenings left right and centre are fanciful, with any extra funding likely soaked up trying to make do with the existing mainlines.

    @walthamstow writer – the railway network is never going to operate perfectly all the time, the real world just doesn’t work like that. Clearly there are various things which can be done to make better use of what we have, but it’s not going to fundamentally alter the capacity constraints on the WCML for example, so with HS2 not due to open for another two decades the future has to be planned for too.

    As for the whole CR2 argument, overall passenger growth will make capacity at Euston a major issue regardless of HS2 – if CR2 doesn’t progress then something else will have to instead, stalling HS2 would make little difference to the problem.

  123. Greg Tingey says:

    Kit Green
    You mistyped something there …
    There will never have bee any “very fast trains” from Cannon St to anywhere – least of all the LDCR line to Ashford …. I would suspect an average speed of 45-50 mph? Too much curvature, too many flat junctions.

    I stand corrected … indeed this is a continuation of the salami-slicing.
    Next question: why isn’t everyone else doing this?

    IMNSHO … HS2 should have started from the North end(s), not London….

    – well make Acton Well 4-track & grade separate, then! There is room, after all.

    JA point (4)
    I still think Balckbushe (near Farnborough/Fleet) is a better site – but it isn’t “fashionable this week”

    Deep Thought
    If only the DFT could get their act together,
    Hysterical laughter …..
    Takes dried frog pill, followed by several pints [ Landlord / Quadhop / Pale Rider / etc … ]
    Etc …

  124. Kit Green says:

    Greg Tingey 07:55AM, 13th July 2013

    In NSE days there were a couple of years when there was I believe a 48 min service from Cannon Street to Ashford, and I am sure that it was via Chiselhurst, Swanley and MDE. There was an article I think in the Practice & Performance section of Railway Magazine that discussed the achievement of managing this on that line. I cannot find the article at the moment but am sure it is not just my imagination.

    The 48 min timing seems familiar as it is the same from St Pancras, although that has two pointless stops on the way.

  125. DW down under says:

    Thanks Lemmo for an excellent part 1. Looking forward to Part 2. I’d begun my responses to the Consultation quite a few days ago, and will put them up somewhere when done.

    While I agree with many of the points made in the artricle and comments, may I add:

    1) It is notable that the proposed land uses do not emphasise Hotels. I would have though this area would be a natural location for a cluster of 6* hotels to serve the London of the 2030s and on.

    2) Also notable is the lack of connection into the “traditional” LU network. The suggestion I will be floating is as follows:

    a) Crossrail 1 to take over West Ruislip locals and extend to Gerards Cross;
    b) Central Line diverted to OOC;
    c) Bakerloo extended to (via) OOC;
    d) Watford Local (DC) service diverted to OOC
    e) District service via Olympia and OOC, possibly continuing as the Watford Junction local service (replacing Bakerloo and Overground services)’
    f) Bakerloo extended/diverted to OOC (whether connected on to Watford local line or not)

    3) HS2 could end up being deferred, or built in smaller “chunks”. In which case, WCML capacity relief would be provided by the former GC/GW routes via High Wycombe. Some capacity upgrade between OOC and the Akeman St link may be required. I think it vital that commentators not get in a huff about HS2. If the government finds it lacks the support in the House for such a big ticket item in a time of austerity, it must find a viable alternative to resolve the WCML problem. A tilting train served GCML+NNML route together with freight running via Oxford and Reading instead of WCML and WLL may end up being the “softer” option; allowing HS2 a longer and more considered gestation. OOC would serve a GCML+NNML route as perfectly well as HS2, and passive provision for the latter could be made at OOC while interim services run via the “classic route.”

    4) Part 2 of the article will look at the players and turf issues. For my part, I have alteady identified that HS2 east of OOC should be removed from HS2 Ltd’s remit altogether. In place thereof, a new Corporation under the aegis of the Mayor and DfT should be established. It will be the task of this new Corporation to integrate High Speed Rail into London writ large. Also under this Corporation’s remit will be Cross-London rail links. So we move the boundaries from a project/functional boundary, where demarcation issues cause operational and planning stupidities, to a geographic one. HS2 Ltd stops just west of OOC, and the Old Oak Development Corporation and the High Speed Rail Integration Corporation (OODC, HSRIC, or whatever they are called) will deliver the new Central London facilities. The new Corporation will also deliver Crossrail facilities. For that purpose, a Crossrail 1 Extension Corporation (C1XC) should be established, as a subsidiary of HSRIC. It would take over legal responsibility for effectively Phases 2 and 3 of Crossrail (western and eastern extensions respectively), then Phase 4 (platform and train extensions and step-free access).

    5) Ideally OOC would include a major bus and coach interchange facility. This in turn needs good road access for such vehicles, plus taxis, PHVs and minicabs. I had difficulty reconciling the petty aspect of discussion about whether double-deck buses could get under a certain bridge, and the enormous scale of the project. Of course the bridge should accommodate ALL types of bus that could now or for the forseeable future (including therefore, trolley buses) run in London – and likewise be wide enough to cross 4 traffic lanes plus 2 high-grade bicycle lanes plus a double-track tram line in the central reservation.

    What is clear is that a whole raft of issues intertwine:

    – Park Royal redevelopment
    – Old Oak redevlopment as part of Park Royal
    – Old Oak Common as a major transport integration hub for the west of London;
    – HS2
    – Crossrail 1
    – Crossrail 2
    – Great Western Main Line
    – train maintenance and stabling facilities (Crossrail, IEP, other … )
    – Davies Commission into London Airport Strategy (and thus future of Heathrow)
    – West Coast Main Line
    – New Northern (Great Western and Great Central) Main Line via Ruislip
    – Overground aspirations for Dudding Hill line and Brent Cross Thameslink’
    – West London Line: Overground aspirations; Southern aspirations; freight capacity
    – LU services (SSL and Tube)
    – Uxbridge link from Ruislip line
    – Greenford Branch
    – High Speed train facilities for London
    – International train facilities and Border Security requirements
    – through International trains
    – local aspirations for high grade transport services
    – interchange facilities to local and road based passenger services
    – modular, elevated transit systems (eg possible people-mover systems around OOC, connecting more distant platforms, etc)
    – possible tram network connections
    – short and long term temporary, and permanent accommodation
    – domestic non-discretionary retail (ie household basics for residents)
    – traveller and impulse, discretionary retail
    – commercial
    – professional
    – industrial
    – service industries
    – medical needs (local, regional, specialist)

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. What is clear is that London plc (in the form of the Mayor) is going to need to assert a very firm position to prevent a substandard outcome for London, while the Government will need to maintain a careful watching brief to ensure both excellent outcomes for non-Londoners and sound economics. Oh but that DafT could just contain themselves to such a brief!

  126. Anonymous says:

    Journey times for trains on the traditional kent coast mainline are pretty much what they were before HS1, at least south of Ashford. There used to be 1 slow tph that took approx 1hr40ish to Folkestone west, serving Folkestone central 2mins later (i.e. not far off the time it takes the Eurostar to get to Brussels). There was also 1 “fast” tph that took just over 1hr30 and served Folkestone central only. Now there are 2tph on the mainline serving both Folkestone stations each taking between 1hr30 and 1hr40 depending upon service but serving all the stations previously served on the slow services. In addition there is also 1tph on HS1 taking a fraction over 50mins to st pancras.

    It may have been that 20/30years ago they were a bit quicker than this but 48mins from Cannon St to Ashford sounds unbelievably quick (would make cannon st to Folkestone central if they had run that far about 1h5min! or 25mins quicker than a fast service!). I do vaguely recall services being a little quicker (maybe 1hr20 for fast, 1hr30 for slow) when I first moved out of london in the 80s so it is not impossible. Presumably lines were less congested further up the line allowing quicker routes though at that time?

    One minor point though HS1 from Ashford to St Pancras is 38mins, not 48mins, although if you are trying to get to the city destinations supported by cannon street this difference would I agree be meaningless.

  127. Kit Green says:

    I have still not found the article mentioned earlier, but I have come across this gem from the May 1993 Railway Magazine that shows up the caution needed when considering large rail schemes:

    “The case for the Channel Tunnel Link assumes that CrossRail will be operational by the time the former has been built…”

  128. Deep Thought says:

    @Greg – Fair response! Wishing for the DaFT to do a good job is probably a worse flight of fantasy than all the lines on maps we have collectively drawn put together.

  129. Ian Sergeant says:

    I looked the earlier discussions around Euston as a terminus, and I felt there were points I could add:


    If businessmen are on expenses, they would most probably waive picking up an Oyster and jump in the nearest cab. Particularly if staying in a hotel.

    Companies are often wise to this. Businessmen (and increasingly businesswomen) are encouraged to use public transport to save costs. You only have to look at the number of people with cases in peak hours on the tube.

    For anyone arriving, you surely want to be as central as possible. If 2/3 of trips are expected to be leisure, Euston lands you close to one of the largest block of hotels in London or less than 15 minutes from mist primary leisure destinations.

    True, but what drives the demand for HS2 is the peak travel requirement. Only a small percentage of people arriving for work in a morning at Euston walk. And if the tubes weren’t so full, I suspect that even less would walk.

    @Kit Green

    The figures from the central_london_rail_termini_report for onward travel from Euston do not persuade me they are accurate when the chart states that 1% of passengers with 8+km (5+ mile) onward journeys walk to their destinations. I simply cannot believe this.

    …people “want” to go to Euston….

    This type of argument must have been considered when it was decided that the people of Kent “want” to go to St Pancras.

    I can’t believe the report either, but I suspect it’s people ticking the wrong box on a survey card, or being deliberately unhelpful. I don’t think that’s a reason not to trust the report as a rough order of magnitude. Basically if I were to say that Cannon Street is popular because it’s close to where a lot of people work (which is what the cynicism about HS1 in Kent is about in my opinion), but Euston, Paddington and Marylebone are less close to where a lot of people work, I don’t think I would be far wrong.

    Which brings me on to my wider points. Assuming that Heathrow Express is consumed into Crossrail 1, and that Crossrail 1 extends (eventually) to Reading, Crossrail 1 frees up 2tph Greenford, 6tph Heathrow, 4tph Reading at Paddington. Doubling the New North Main Line would mean that the existing service from High Wycombe and Banbury (5 tph) could be moved to Paddington, meaning that a decent suburban service to West Ruislip could be put in place (currently 3tph) to Marylebone (in a similar vein to what was said by StephenC and Moosealot earlier).

    What hasn’t been suggested is what to do with the rest of the extra capacity at Paddington. With the redoubling of Swindon-Kemble, I’d like to see 2tph peak running from Gloucester/Cheltenham rather than 1tph (which would create space on crowded Bristol TM trains due to switch from people using Chippenham to using Kemble), 2tph fast Newbury to Paddington (currently 1tph Exeter to Paddington), 6tph fast Oxford to London (currently 3tph). There seem to be a lot of opportunities for increasing capacity on long-distance trains, which is where operators make money.

    Does HS1 need to go to Euston? I’ve argued not before on my blog, although I’m coming round to it with the Lords’ proposal; the demolition around the station reminded me of what happened in the 19th century to create the station in the first place in Camden, as described by Dickens in Dombey and Son. But does it need to go to Euston in the first place? Well, clearly not. Crossrail 1 takes peak passengers to the West End, the City and Docklands. The need for direct international trains will enforce something like the Lords’ proposal eventually, but not necessarily by 2026.

    A final point, which may have been made before. Phase 2 of HS2 necessitates Crossrail 2 at Euston as things stand. But what if you take all the Tring traffic and take it through Crossrail 1? Take the Watford Junction DC traffic through Primrose Hill? Euston would be a lot less busy, and all those who walk from Euston could walk from TCR. Is it enough in the short term? I really don’t know, but I would love to see the statistics.

  130. Castlebar says:

    @ Ian Sargeant

    Thank you for a very interesting and informative comment.

    You mention 6tph fast Oxford to London. What do you foresee as feeders to Oxford from the N or NW of Oxford, especially as that area has become commuterland and the Stratford-Honeybourne-Cheltenham route still seems to be on the agenda for many of the locals. It does lead to some interesting possibilities that surely need to be considered in “the great scheme of things”, rather than being brought in from the cold as an afterthought when ‘customer’ numbers have risen further.

  131. Anonymous says:

    Some wishful thinking going on hereabouts.

    June 26, House of Commons, second reading of High Speed Rail (Preparations) Bill- in favour 330 against 27.

    Best to plan HS2 and Euston and forget speculative ‘alternatives’.

  132. StephenC says:

    Just to note that the low number of passengers on Chiltern is now a good reason for taking Crossrail to High Wycombe at 4tph/6tph whereas previously its been thought of as a bad reason. HS2 is going to need space on the trains that arrive from the west in order for passengers to be transported on top central London. 10 car trains from High Wycombe are likely to be not too full, yet the link still provides a vital link and is easy to built, if planned for now.

    @Flare, I note that the DfT remit to HS2 requires Euston. Was this remit before or after HS2 actually evaluated all the options? I hope its a later remit, otherwise the process looks a little dubious.

    @Anonymous 11:16am We are told that HS2 is to increase capacity, implying there is still a role for the WCML. So why have its London terminus duplicate what’s already there. HS1 has given Kent a new link to north London, to supplement, not replace, its existing links to the City and West End. HS2 could do the same for the Midlands.
    Yes, you put it well there – its why Waterloo would work in the bigger picture. Access to HS2 will be good from the west and east, with Overground being good for links in NW London. But large swathes of SW, S and SE London will spend longer getting to the HS2 train than they will on the HS2 train. South of the river, West Kent, Sussex , Surrey and East Hampshire is something like 10m people, for whom HS2 really isn’t the step change its proponents would have us believe. (And south of London already lost fast access to Eurostar. I sometimes think everyone involved in railway planning lives north of the river…)

    @Chris, personally the best reason for HS2 is ironically that there seems to be no plan B, thus the £50bn would be lost to rail. It is one heck of a gamble the industries leaders are taking though.

  133. The other Paul says:

    Re: HS2 to OOC and not Euston

    Problem is that many long distance travellers often use cabs, not tubes or metros – look at the long lines of taxis at any major termini or airport if you don’t believe me. And they generally use cabs with good reason – because they have bulky luggage, children or pets to consider. Who wants any of those on crowded commuter services?

    Terminating HS2 at OOC would require a major road upgrade into central London – and yes, Euston IS central London and OOC isn’t. And so it’s better in all ways to simply continue the railway to somewhere Central enough to disperse the traffic.

    Now, I’ll give you, Euston isn’t the best place, nor is it essential to *terminate* somewhere Central, merely *serve* somewhere Central. So personally I would bore two more tunnels alongside Crossrail for HS2, run it through Stratford to join with HS1 and have one station somewhere like Farringdon between OOC and Stratford.

    Given that that’s unlikely to happen, and there is also a valid argument about connections on the Euston Road, the Railway Lords plan seems like not such a bad one. A depot in Dagenham or Ebbsfleet could support HS2 trains terminating at Stratford or Ebbsfleet. Maybe another in Ashford too. The high value land take is greatly reduced. Personally I’d go a step further and run all current Euston services either onto Crossrail, via tunnels to HS1 joining up with the Javelin routes, or via tunnels into the (ex Javelins) terminating platforms at St P. Then you could close Euston on the surface altogether and redevelop the entire site.

  134. Will2 says:

    Appreciate this is first and foremost a transport forum but the potential of the OOC site touches a lot of wider issues. Policy Exchange’s very interesting recent report on the prison system recommends the closure (amongst others) of HMP Wormwood Scrubs.

    This got me thinking on whether the already ambitious vision for Park Royal could be expanded over a wider area. I’d be interested to here the experts’ views on how best to implement new transport solutions to unlock a redevelopment corridor as far North as Wembley and South to White City and Earl’s Court, linking all four of these “Mayor’s Opportunity Areas”.

  135. DW down under says:

    Let me try for a scorecard here:

    1) Do we agree that an LGV/ICE type line will be needed for Britain – operational by mid-Century?

    2) Do we agree that the WCML is facing capacity constraints, which can be addressed several ways – including rebalancing of fares and capacity, diversion of traffic to other routes which may in turn need some upgrading or rebuilding/re-opening, plus creation of permanent alternative routes to assist with essential maintenance and reliability of the core southern WCML? But that these are relatively urgent needing a first stage implemented by about 2018 (fares rebalancing, redirection of some traffic load) and a second by about 2021 (upgrading or reconstruction of diversionary and permanent alternative routes).

    3) Do we agree that OOC is well-positioned to become a major transport hub to the west of Central London;

    4) Do we agree that division of responsibility for facilities on the Park Royal/OOC site has the potential to cause major planning inefficiencies?

    5) Are we agreed that a single Statutory Authority should take charge of the multiple projects and interests involved, including the London end of HS2, CR1 extensions, CR2, optimising terminals affected by CR1, CR2, HS1 and HS2 – including inter alia Waterloo, Paddington, Liverpool St, Euston, St Pancras, Victoria …. ?

    6) Should there be a similar Strategic Freight statutory body charged with the task of providing suitable freight routes from Europe and South-East England to the rest of Britain, including loading gauge clearance, axleload, train speed and electrification works.

    7) Do we agree that turnaround time for long-distance high speed trains is very much longer than for metro-type services. That 2.5 tph may be typical capacity per platform? If so, do we agree that smart money is for train reversal and passenger facility servicing (catering replenishment, water replenishment, superficial level cleaning and tidying) to occur away from extremely high-value real estate – implying an outer urban location beyond the primary traffic target.

  136. Milton Clevedon says:

    LBH&F looked at the potential to have PRT from OOC in various directions, including, North Acton/Hanger Lane (remote car parking), Kensal, Willesden Junction and on the available section of GW 4-tracking past East Acton as far as Wormwood Scrubs Prison and Hammersmith Hospital. You could then follow the Central Line towards the growing Imperial College campus at White City.

  137. DW down under says:

    Re: Hotels.

    Many have commented on the concentration of hotels around Euston St Pancras. Russel Sq, too – based on Piccadilly Line – from an earlier exchange of comments on another thread.

    Chicken and egg here. The hotels followed the travel patterns. Should therefore the “egg” dictate to the chicken where to lay her next egg?

    I made the point in my comments above that the OOC scheme seemed to lack a vision for a major role for high-grade (and budget conscious) Hotels. As it becomes a major “gateway” hub into London, the demand by Hotels for sites will follow. All the major International chains will want an HS2 (or equivalent) plus Crossrail station at Level 0, I’m sure.

    My point is that OOC will become a Hotel centre by virtue of its transport accessibility, and that capacity will complement some of the existing hotels while those whose cost of operation (due to site restrictions or old building structure) is too high will relocate.

  138. Windsorian says:


    “It should be remembered that Lord Mawhinney’s report recommended OOC as the stop-off for Heathrow”.

    I think there are several problems with Mawhinney. Firstly his report did not consider a possible HS1 -HS2 link, thereby ignoring the potential for HSR taking over the existing Heathrow flights to the near continent; just 3 months ago HACAN produced an updated report on the subject
    Also his report did not consider the potential for extending the Thames gateway Javelin trains to the West of London.

    Also Mawhinney, like HS2 Ltd before him, rejected the cost of a Heathrow Hub station on the GWML between West Drayton & the M25, claiming it would be £2 Billion more expensive than the preferred route from OOC to Northolt and through the widest part of the Chiltern ANOB.

    However since then the surface route from OOC to Northolt is now tunnel and of the 12.4 miles accross the Chiltern AONB, no less than 5.8 miles will be in tunnel and 3.5 miles in deep cuttings (a total of 9.3 miles).

    Then you can add on a cost of between £1.8 billion – £3.9 Billion for a spur off the HS2 route to Heathrow and £500M for the proposed WRAtH connection from GWML to T5

    Route(s) :-

    Cost(s) :-

    All this begs the question of whether it makes sense to build an internation station at OOC as part of HS2 Phase 1 and then another international station at LHR as part of HS2 Phase 2. ???

  139. Anonymous says:

    Euston was an outer suburban terminus in the 1840s on the-then M25 equivalent – Euston Road was the heavy goods bypass where HGVs (cattle etc) were droved to Smithfield.

  140. StephenC says:

    @Will2 I think the London Overground can provide an effective link from South to North through the sites. While a DLR type solution on that axis might be desirable, it would prevent use by freight and long distance services, thus won’t happen.

    A DLR type solution does seem achievable and desirable within the core site however. Three legs – OOC to Westbourne Park (if not Paddington), to Hanger Lane and to Stonebridge Park (and perhaps on to Wembley Park). This would act as the spine for redevelopment, and would also replace the need for a tunnelled Crossrail link to the Watford lines. It could also take over the Central line to Ealing Broadway. And possibly the Piccadilly to Rayners Lane.

    I would like to see the London Overground extended to the Brent Cross development if that goes ahead. But there is still the opportunity to do something clever. If you build tracks across the Brent Cross site to the Brent Cross northern line (in a sub surface concrete box so you don’t prevent any development) then you provide a vital link across north London to the Northern line Edgware branch. Comment on that consultation here.

    This map shows one possible option for both the DLR and Overground (Since there are so many choices, many possible links make sense. I’ve focussed on things achievable without tunnelling).

  141. Milton Clevedon says:

    And Euston and the Euston Road corridor benefited from the first ‘Crossbus’ – Mr Shilibeer and successors – which interestingly was in 1829, pre-railway but serving a major development corridor (Opportunity Area of those days), from Paddington to the City (via the then ‘M25’). Then came the Metropolitan Railway …

    So yes, you can manage your connections in different contexts.

  142. StephenC says:

    @Windsorian, Yes, Heathrow has always been the tail wagging the HS2 dog. Given the current amount of tunnelling, a much shorter route to Manchester and Leeds is in fact the M1 route HC-Midland I originally proposed. (Birmingham isn’t really as important as Manchester and Leeds for HS in the UK, the the route should favour the longer distance services).

    As far as I can tell, there was never a full analysis done of going via the M1 without going via OOC. Going to the M1 via OOC was evaluated, but its clearly a stupid route, so was rightly rejected. No one has yet managed to properly justify why a train to Manchester and Leeds should spend the first part of its journey heading south, not north. A train heading north for the M1 with no second London station would probably reach the M25 before HS2 trains would have left OOC. (I’d love to see a link if M1 not via OOC was evaluated).

  143. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I think there are several problems with Mawhinney.

    Probably very true. Most notorious one was was probably his ridiculous diatribe against an Asian women’s “Hopscotch” club where as usual he opened his mouth for a cheap political soundbite without a basic check of the facts – which did seem to be his usual approach at one time.

    See here.

  144. stimarco says:


    “No one has yet managed to properly justify why a train to Manchester and Leeds should spend the first part of its journey heading south, not north.”

    It’s for the same reason passengers heading for Kent or Paris have to get on a train on the wrong side of the Thames that then proceeds to head north, then east, then south (briefly), before heading east along the Thames for about a dozen miles before finally deigning to head properly southwards towards their preferred destination.

    The reason is politics.

  145. Alan Griffiths says:

    Moosealot 11:26AM, 11th July 2013

    “Terminating at OOC may be a conceivable stop-gap to reduce the costs of phase one, but ………………….. this would be justifiable in order to merely delay the cost of running into Euston/Euston X/wherever is debatable.”

    This was the history of HS1. It’s conceivable that early services terminating as OOC could turn round as quickly as MML services at St. Pancras, with most in-service work done at the other end.

  146. Rational Plan says:

    i sometimes wonder if some people here own land in Milton Keynes!

    There are many good reasons for the current route.

    Old Oak Common provides access to a major rail route, not heading northwards, it is also going to be receiving a brand new fast commuter line (crossrai) that has plenty of spare capacity from the West, this makes it an ideal spot to distribute traffic before arriving in Central London.

    Any savings you make from not building Old Oak common would be more than swallowed by the necessary mitigation at Euston.

    There is nothing wrong in making access to Heathrow easier, it is our main global hub and is going to remain so. No Thames side mega hub will be built, if it was so, we’d live in a world where 3 new high speed lines were under construction.

    Short of building a direct station there, old oak common also provides a quick and simple interchange to the airport.

  147. Graham H says:

    @PoP and others – it should be remembered that Mawhinney is merely a jumped up radiographer with no serious expertise in any other field; he was also a coarse and boorish person to work for – as one senior civil servant, normally noted for his Sir Humphreyish mien, put it to me – he is a pig in a suit. His behaviour and low quality personal interventions during the BR privatisation process had even his political colleagues gasping. Not someone to meet just before going under the knife.

  148. Ian Sergeant says:


    Services north-west of Oxford are challenging. Stratford to Honeybourne might get built to support 2tph: I don’t believe that this will extend to Cheltenham (or even to Cheltenham Racecourse) without it being completed by the Gloucestershire Warwickshire railway. For this discussion it’s irrelevant.

    I suspect that the single track section between Wolvercote and Charlbury would prevent the 2tph from Worcester (1tph starting at Hereford), 2tph from Stratford plan which might make sense at peak. I can’t help but feel that the recent Cotswold Line upgrade did half a job.

  149. DW down under says:

    I have just read the London Assembly response to the HS2 amendments and draft ES, here:

    and here:



    Some snippets (emphasis mine):

    (Transport) Committee conclusion

    2.22 The physical effects of the scheme will be severe for several London localities, including the Euston and Camden areas, Wells House Road and other areas around Old Oak Common, West Ruislip and the Colne Valley. Homes, businesses, community services and habitats are to be destroyed and damaged across some large areas. The mitigation and compensation measures proposed to date are far from adequate. High Speed 2 Ltd and the Government should give urgent attention to resourcing these measures fully. They should also engage more effectively with local authorities and other local stakeholders to develop and resource satisfactory mitigation and compensation, and should allow as much time as this requires before the Parliamentary stage.

    Upgrading London’s transport network

    3.5 The Victoria and Northern lines are being upgraded, but the biggest prospect for increasing the capacity of the transport system to handle more passengers from Euston is Crossrail 2, a new underground line from north-east London to south-west. If HS2 goes ahead, Crossrail 2 is proposed to serve Euston, but it is at an early stage of development and there could be a gap of up to 10 years between High Speed 2 and Crossrail 2. The Mayor’s position is that Crossrail 2 must be brought forward in time to be in place when HS2 Phase 2 begins operation. This would imply either slow progress with HS2 Phase 2, or very rapid progress with Crossrail 2, and for the duration of any gap between the two, the Tube lines serving Euston would be threatened with very severe overcrowding.

    3.6 Even if Crossrail 2 comes with HS2 Phase 2, the Committee is concerned that there could be severe overcrowding at Euston in the initial years of HS2 Phase 1 operation – the forecast number of rail passengers arriving at Euston in the morning peak in 2026 is 33,600, 44 per cent more than currently. This would be to the detriment of existing London transport users, and would undermine the attractiveness of HS2 to its own market. The Government should better co-ordinate strategic transport infrastructure investments so that demand and supply remain in balance across the network, and pinch points are eased, to a much greater extent than seems likely given current plans.

    6.10 Also, the Heathrow spur has not been given the go-ahead and may not be, if the current review of aviation capacity for the UK does not designate Heathrow as the main hub airport. This raises the question of whether decisions on the HS2 route should be deferred until there is more clarity on the future of aviation capacity – expected following the report of the Davies Commission in 2015.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> end of quote <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    It seems that momentum is building to defer the Parliamentary stage of HS2 to allow a longer, more considered gestation of plans. That would point to interim measures to relieve pressures on the WCML, such as the review of peak period fares (possibly imposed by the ORR) and possible rerouting of some daytime freight. Looking further ahead, it would look to the strategic role of the electric spine, together with the Oxford – Birmingham route, and the possible use of the Leamington Spa – Coventry – Nuneaton route in place of the WCML for freight coming north on the "spine".

    As an interim relief measure, being able to direct Wolverhampton – Moor St – London trains through OOC and on to Paddington would be most helpful – so the NNML (GW&GC joint route) link at OOC must be retained and indeed upgraded.

    As others have pointed out, it's now possible to do business while on the train, so absolute speed is no longer the key criterion. It's capacity that must be provided. Yes, in the fullness of time, a "GC" gauge route from London to the North will be needed. I think there is a broad consensus on that. The aim would be to avoid losing that consensus by hasty planning, and premature implementation.

    So while I'm not an HS2 skeptic, I am an HS2 Ltd current plans skeptic. While I see that restoration of the GCR with good arrangements at the London end will provide a lower cost interim solution, and support such a development – it will NOT replace the ultimate need for a new Line. Yes, for part of the route, the new line could be alongside a restored GCR, and indeed if so would create an opportunity to build the new GC gauge infrastructure in stages while operating "Classic Compatible" trains.

  150. Malcolm says:

    DWDU asks whether we agree that “smart money is for train reversal and passenger facility servicing … to occur away from extremely high-value real estate – implying an outer urban location beyond the primary traffic target”.

    I have thought about this. I think it is worth considering, but at the end of the day it is unlikely to work out cheaper. Yes, cleaners and such are using high value land to do their stuff. But the alternative, running empty out to Dagenham or wherever, delays the turnround by at least 20 minutes, possibly much more, with expensive consequences for train utilisation, and occupies lots more expensive land for the extra empty carriage tracks.

    Also, with the present arrangement, there is some scope for delay recovery. If a train is late arriving, cleaning can be skimped – not ideal, but probably better than letting the delay knock on for the rest of the busy part of the day.

  151. Castlebaar says:

    @ Ian Sergeant

    Thank you. They were similar to my own thoughts. Stratford-Honeybourne might become relevant and brought in to the equation at some future date whereas south-west of Honeybourne, a different scenario applies and would be irrelevant to London.

  152. Will2 says:

    @Paul C

    Thanks for that. You’d like to think the lessons of yesteryear with Docklands will be remembered. Multiple connections to embed the development story as early as possible. So long distance rail, cross London tube, localised light rail, as well as suitable arterial road and freight access.

    I do believe that the closure of the prison is vital from a branding perspective and ensure the uplift in land prices ripples over the development site. And as @Milton says, bringing projects such as the Imperial Uni development at White City into the fold should help maximise fresh private capital into the wider area. For a scheme that’s already pretty ambitious, I find myself strangely concerned that the ambition at this Vision stage is not even greater…

  153. Ian Sergeant says:

    Note that the prison is Grade II listed. Conversion to a hotel anyone? It’s been done in Oxford.

  154. DW down under says:

    @ Malcolm

    The continuation beyond would place the HS2 stock at Dagenham (or Temple Mills, or maybe somewhere southside) for reversal. At Dagenham, incorporation of an interchange for the development area there is feasible as the trains will be stationary anyway.

    For late-running trains, yes the cleaning and re-stocking might have to be skipped – and the train even reversed without ceremony at the Central area stop. That would, of course, remain feasible.

    @ Windsorian

    You raise an interesting question. Should OOC have International facilities, as well as St Pan Int, Stratford (UnInt) and Heathrow? Answer: probably not. It implies passengers on HS1 trains by-passing StPanInt to disembark at OOC. Why would they do that – only if OOC offered better connectivity (and more convenient) than StPanInt. As OOC will, it implies that the current forecast of 3tph on the HS1-HS2 link might be seriously flawed and that just adds grist to the mill for a Euston Cross or other Cross-London route to replace StPanInt altogether.

    And then, why would Heathrow need to service trains from the Continent. Does HAL really expect to attract such “hub” traffic? Hmm? Didn’t see anything in the HS2 work done by Arup on Heathrow that showed how Border Agency requirements would be met, nor facilities that allowed International rail passengers to access the International side of Customs/Immigration at Heathrow 5 bypassing British controls (ie “transit passengers.”) If they could do that, HS1/HS2/HAL/Euro-operator(s) X, Y … together would be on to a possible winner.

    Anyone see the need for a strategic approach? Can anything really be decided before Davies reports?

  155. stimarco says:

    @Rational Plan:

    “There is nothing wrong in making access to Heathrow easier, it is our main global hub and is going to remain so.”

    Ah, Mr. FUD! We meet again!

    There is everything wrong in nailing ever more infrastructure onto Heathrow. It’s a dying airport. It is expiring. All its owners can do is prolong the agony, but Heathrow is going nowhere at all. And what’s worse is that they bloody well know it: they’re deliberately trying to muddy the waters so they can keep paying their shareholders. That’s all this was ever about.

    * Heathrow has just two runways, is running dangerously close to capacity, and will never, EVER, get a third or fourth runway. It is already a lame duck of an airport, and has been for years. Frankfurt, Paris and others are already eating Heathrow’s lunch. Sorry, but its days as any kind of “#1” hub are over.

    * Heathrow is not “our” airport, unless “we” are either Spanish, Qatari, Canadian (Quebecois), Singaporean, American, or Chinese. There’s not one single British-owned group with shares in Heathrow’s owner: FGP Topco Ltd. Not one.

    As nobody has ever promised Heathrow’s owners that their cash cow would continue to provide them with fat profits for all eternity, there is no need to worry about having to bail these shareholders out, because every business has an element of risk and, unlike Northern Rock, Heathrow is not “too big to fail”. Shares can go down as well as up; past performance is not an indicator of future performance; read the small print, etc.

    Even Rome’s Fiumicino airport is getting two more runways by 2021! (See? There are some advantages to having an airport that isn’t surrounded on all sides by urban sprawl and other major infrastructure!)

    Heathrow occupies prime land ripe for redevelopment and, unlike London’s Docklands, Heathrow already has lots of public transport infrastructure.

    “No Thames side mega hub will be built, if it was so, we’d live in a world where 3 new high speed lines were under construction.”

    Why in the name of Lord Adonis would we need to build 3 new high speed lines? The HS1 stretch between St. Pancras and Ebbsfleet has a maximum line speed of 143 mph, which doesn’t even count as “High Speed” these days.

    This is what I meant earlier by FUD.

    The Testrad report (led by Doug Oakervee) is the only such project that I consider viable and I am therefore only referring to this. (No, Foster + Partners, a pretty 3D CGI render of an airport plonked on the isle of Grain is not a viable proposal: it’s “egotecture”—a transparent, “LOOK AT US! Our buildings are ever so SHINY!” PR stunt.)

    Doug Oakervee was the project lead for Hong Kong’s “Chek Lap Kok” International Airport which—surprise, surprise—was built in large part on reclaimed land, involved new road and rail links, and opened well over a decade ago. This airport replaced the infamous “Kai Tak” airport that gave us all those lovely photos of airplanes flying low enough to be able to see into residents’ apartments.

    In short: this team has literally already built such an airport and it can be seen running right now, today, in Hong Kong. They’ve got a track record. I think it’s therefore fair to assume that they’ve done their homework.

    Try reading their report, (which, incidentally, is dated November 2012, suggesting they know something we probably don’t).

  156. Windsorian says:

    @ DW down under

    Now that DB have approval to run the Siemen’s Valero D through the Channel Tunnel, it begs the question whether this 400m trainset (2x200m) could be split in the UK to serve 2 different destinations, before reforming for the return journey.

    Either Ebbsfleet or Stratford (Int.) would seem suitable for splitting incoming trains for St Pancras and somewhere near to Heathrow; OOC would seem too close to St.Pancras to justify such an operation. I don’t think you would need an International passenger terminal at Stratford to simply split / join euro-trains.

    From what I’ve read (Mawhinney et al.) it is hard to justify LHR as a terminal destination, which is why the Heathrow Hub idea (GWML station between West Drayton & M25) may eventually be seen as an attractive way of syphoning off euro-travellers to / from LHR, HS1 and HS2.

  157. Milton Clevedon says:

    Exactly – a room of your own with special Worm-wood panelling!
    Recommend all try out the new improved Oxford Jail for hospitality.
    Wouldn’t say the same for Reading, too much notoriety at the fin-de-siècle, and far too many noisy trains?

  158. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ DW down under 02:39PM, 14th July 2013
    Wrong perspective!
    You don’t need a Euston Cross or whatever to have an international stop as there’s something already upstairs and stopping those trains would get in the way of all others. Stratford desires international trains but has to find a commercial basis for attracting them (incl. Border Control costs), meanwhile OOC can ‘aggregate’ users from the whole of HS2 if there’s no biz case to run trains from elsewhere north of London. So the odd one out is , funnily, Heathrow.

  159. Castlebar says:

    If you are correct, it would be wonderful t return the Heathrow site to the rural village of Heath Row and the orchards that were there until 75 years ago, but illegally razed to build that ****d* airport.

    Somehow though, l think we are p1551ng into the wind. A) I cannot imagine that airport going, and B), if it did, the concreting industry would have an alternative use for it, e.g., warehousing for all the cheap tatt we are importing from China > > for which they would then need another airport!

  160. Castlebar says:

    My 4:14 p.m. comment was mainly for stimarco, but in such hot weather, one sometimes forgets……


    The man also got a cushy gravy train seat at the Football Association. No knowledge, but the right connections, and it was “Buggins Turn” (see wiki)

    This man was responsible for getting Luton Town expelled from the Football League. Now, in Luton, on November 5th, they no longer burn Guy Fawkes but the burn Mawhinney effigies instead. And they would for real if they could catch him. He has proved the principle that if somebody is useless, shuffle him elsewhere with a promotion, but just get rid of him somewhere else out of our way.

  161. Mark Townend says:

    A sketch showing my GWML to Euston ideas, at least as far as the arrangements at OOC are concerned. Note also my alternative cheap WLL terminus at the new NLL station on the existing route, accessed via new low level platforms at Willesden Junction. I think it not worth diverting the Southern services to OOC, assuming Crossrail will be linked to WCML, but these would nevertheless also benefit from stops at the new LL platforms at Willesden Junction.

  162. Greg Tingey says:

    Also OOC is a good place for HS3 going to S Wales & Plymouth (!) Given the trundle that passes for a semi-fast service that way these days, with all trains stopping @ Reading / Swindon / Stoke Gifford & quite a few @ Didcot as well ….

    Yes, seriously, start RIGHT NOW on making proper plans for a completely new airport & turn Heathrow into development land …. the moolah to be made is eye-watering!
    Nor do the trains (on HS1) where is the fastest (normal) train in Britain?
    On the GNR/NER of course!
    Sir Nigel & H A Ivatt & P Stirling would be proud…

    On “Testrad” – fascinating – further out & further South than “Boris island” ….

  163. Lemmo says:

    @ Mark Townend, some interesting ideas there, some of which I touch upon in Part 2, thank you for drawing up all up.

    One thing the diagram clearly shows is what can be done if you move the IEP depot.

    How would you graft on the proposed scheme with an Overground station and loops on the south side? If you could do that then you can lose the WLL-NLL chord at Willesden Jn high level, which means you can straighten the NLL high level at Willesden Jn.

    Your rearrangement at Acton Wells Jn prevents a Hounslow to MML service, but it does emphasise the need to relieve what will become a very busy junction.

    The proposed Crossrail WCML branch will try and thread its way from the central Crossrail platforms beneath the Up Crossrail GWML and onto the Chiltern alignment. Your arrangement is simpler in a way, but does not allow for reversing trains at OOC, and does not lend itself to a phased build whereby the WCML service can be developed as a later stage, extending from the reversing platforms at OOC

    But the stand-out for me is the option of using part of the alignment of the old GW goods lines from North Acton beneath the GWML. Could this route not also be used by Overground from WLL on to the WCML, or Chiltern?

  164. Flare says:

    After! I think there have been 3 main versions of the HS2 remit now, the one i quoted was the latest which was 2013.

  165. Ian Sergeant says:


    …does not lend itself to a phased build whereby the WCML service can be developed as a later stage, extending from the reversing platforms at OOC

    Interesting one. You wouldn’t want to build more platforms than necessary, as this takes up land which has a high value (unless you build on top of the station). There is an argument which says that the rebuild of Euston requires the diversion of WCML slow trains on to Crossrail 1 to happen first – but a counter-argument which says to build phase 1 to Old Oak then look at where to go next. But I think you need those platforms anyway. Reason: what happens if there is an incident in Central London? You need somewhere for customers to disembark under those circumstances. Those to whom it is imperative to arrive into London will find a way; others will turn back and go home.

  166. Ian J says:

    @DWDU: “It seems that momentum is building to defer the Parliamentary stage of HS2”: Momentum in the London Assembly, maybe. Calling for a deferral is a great way for the jumped-up local councillors of the GLA of fudging the question of whether or not they support a project that their parties all support, but which will demolish the homes of some of their constituents. Meanwhile in the actual Parliament up the river the HS2 legislation is proceeding as expected with overwhelming support from MPs.

    The purpose of the Mawhinney report as I saw it was as a clever move by Adonis. Remember that at the time the shadow Transport Secretary, Theresa Villiers, was deriding the OOC proposal as “Wormwood Scrubs International” and saying that HS2 had to go via Heathrow (she was also saying that GWML electrification was unaffordable by the way). Adonis knew that if it became a Labour-Conservative fight then when the Conservatives won the next election they would end up making the wrong decision just out of spite, so he commissioned Mawhinney to make the case knowing that they would be more likely to listen to a Tory. Adonis’ scheme has prevailed and Villiers never did become Transport Secretary.

    Now if only the Tories had taken up the hint Adonis left them by commissioning that review of IEP…

  167. Windsorian says:

    @ Ian J

    “Calling for a deferral is a great way for the jumped-up local councillors of the GLA of fudging the question ……..”

    This is the GLA submission to the HS2 Design Refinement Consultation –

    They are not opposed to HS2, but are calling for a further 4.5km (2.8 miles) of tunnelling.

  168. Ian J says:

    @windsorian: “They are not opposed to HS2”: Neither do they say that they support it. They say that “We continue to support the principle of high speed rail”, which is not the same thing as supporting HS2 as it stands.

    They also express concern about value for money while calling for more tunnels in the Colne Valley and a fully tunnelled HS1-HS2 link: I assume the irony is completely lost on them.

  169. DW downunder says:

    @Ian J: I don’t think the irony is lost on them. They clearly point out that given the relatively short gestation of a complex project of this magnitude and cost, there will be a raft of further legitimate issues to address. These can only add costs – such as the extra tunneling they seek. So, in the light of that, they are asking that the Cost-Benefit analaysis be reworked and re-examined.

    What is proceeding in Parliament is the provision of resources for the detail work that will enable accurate calculations of costs and benefits, environmental impacts during and after construction, and underlying demand.

    I am personally moving to the school that says more capacity is a higher priority than more speed, but that shouldn’t preclude higher speeds.

    If for example the raison d’etre for the route is 320km/h operation without tilt, and it’s shown that 320km/h isn’t necessary to achieve the priority outcomes – then where does that leave the route?

    If the raison d’etre for the line is additional capacity between the North-West and the South-East, with a desired co-outcome of reduced journey times to better compete with airlines to in turn release space at London airports for Intercontinental routes and thus defer the cost of building a new Hub airport …. then a route that supports squadron operation of fast tilting trains at (say) 260km/h on older alignments might satisfactorily fill the bill.

    With the value of time argument underpinning the current business case, and this now being shown to be a tenuous assumption, the idea that perhaps more time is needed for the gestation of the concept has increasing support.

    My view now is that mid-range fast trains (which have better energy outcomes than extremely fast trains) are most appropriate for the bulk of British “high-speed” operations with the primary exception of Anglo-Scottish routes. In essence, I’m moving to the “let’s build the classic compatible” element first, then retrofit a faster straighter element as part of a staged plan to eliminate time-absorbing bottlenecks on the initial stage.

    This would put the LGV stage out to completion north of the Manchester/Leeds axis around 2040/2045. But, because the project reconstructs lines on existing formations to support multi-pantograph operation at 260km/h, Britain can have increased capacity to Birmingham within about 3 years (electrification) and to the East Midlands and Crewe within about 4-5 years. That’s a lot quicker than HS2’s current schedule.

    So what’s preferred: lesser but enough, sooner with less risk; or faster, later with uncertainty and risk?

  170. Ian J says:

    @DWDU: You are missing the point, which is that the influence of the GLA Transport Committee on central government transport policy is minuscule. You seem to be suffering from confirmation bias: their attitude happens to appear to coincide with your own opinion (partly because, in classic political style, their stance is calculated to give the impression of agreeing with as many different people as possible) and so you see it as important evidence of “increasing support” for your own beliefs.

  171. Greg Tingey says:

    Re … moving main London Airport & “testrad” …

    VERY interesting ?
    Big enough?
    I wonder

  172. DW down under says:

    @ Ian J

    We shall see, in the fullness of time.

    Meanwhile, it seems to me that the Hybrid bill, if introduced to Parliament this year, could spend a lot of time in Committee(s).

    The GLA seems to be echoing Boris’ line, and Boris seems to carry much more weight in the scheme of things.

  173. DW down under says:

    Thanks GT for the link.

    If Boris’ view that expanding Stansted to a 4-runway configuration is a relevant alternative to the Isle of Grain concept, then that raises quite a few transport connectivity issues. Probably greatest of all will be how to efficiently connect HS2 passengers to Intercontinental flights?

    And next would be, if Stansted is enlarged, will it be a solo Hub, or will London end up with 2 Hub airports? On that hinges the future aviation role for Heathrow.

    And if Stansted, then how does the rationale for OOC stack up – and more to the point, how does the HS2 route stack up. Should HS2’s more east-west element occur further north thus avoiding the Chilterns altogether?

    And again, if Stansted, then is there any point in aiming for Continental rail (HS1) International Transit traffic. That would require a GC gauge link from Stratford (e.g.) to Stansted – and a network of destinations available from those trains for non-transit passengers. A whole lot of questions!

    The estuary proposal with the landside facilities at Ebbsfleet seemed to me to neatly provide for the HS1/2 connectivity (assuming a decent link between the 2) and International Transit traffic, as well as being an excellent terminus for CR1. But if it doesn’t stack up for other reasons, c’est la vie.

    As I’ve said before, there’s too many strings intertwined to firm up specific designs right now (OOC or HS2 – and hence CR2). That is one reason why I am of the view that HS2 needs a longer gestation and some interim measures are needed for the southern end of the WCML sooner rather than later. The freight forecasts (which I’ve just scanned) suggest frightening levels of freight activity aimed at the WCML if no interventions were made.

  174. Malcolm says:

    HS2 does not need a “longer gestation”. It is already more overdue than any she-elephant ever known.

    There is no need to wait for a resolution of the airport issue, because most of HS2’s passengers will be quite unconnected with any airport traffic. And anyway the existing plans for HS2 can and will be modified, if necessary, before, during or after construction, to adapt to whatever airport configuration we finish up with.

    Meanwhile the WCML is rapidly approachiing saturation. And we are placed with well worked out plans for its relief – plans which will also bring us (albeit a bit late) into the European high-speed-rail world. We cannot afford to dither any more.

  175. Windsorian says:

    Please don’t think that Heathrow expansion or Boris’s ideas for main hubs in the Thames Estuary or at Stansted are the only options on the table.

    Gatwick have plans for a second runway, with a ring of at least 3 two runway airports around London –

    I think this is what the Competition Commission envisaged in 2009 when it ordered BAA to sell both Gatwick and Stansted.

    This would not stop the continued growth of passenger numbers at LHR – 70mppa at present, 90mppa by 2024+ and ultimately 120mppa when the Toast Rack re-build is complete.

  176. Rostopher says:

    Adding to the side-discussion on airports and the role of Heathrow:

    I can’t follow why people seem so fixed on an airport to the South or South-East of London. Whilst and hour going west or east makes no difference if you are in London, it makes a significant difference for the 50million other people in the UK.

    The Policy Forum did a well researched and (and subsequently well backed) paper on the options for new aviation capacity in southern England. It reckoned an optimal location was somewhere near Oxford but that a westward expansion of Heathrow was recommended.

    Incidently, it also called for closer integration of trains and airport terminals, in the manner of the “international” trains that might bypass customs that others have called for above.

  177. Lemmo says:

    A gentle reminder that this is a thread ostensibly about Old Oak Common and its inherent challenges, with an eye to the broader strategic policy context.

    Here at LR we do follow the discussions and aim to identify gaps. Airports may be one, but for now we’d prefer it if one of the previous airport posts was rediscovered and its discussion refreshed.

    If airport policy is part of the OOC story then we’d be grateful if you could elaborate how.

    HS2 is clearly part of the OOC mix, but for now I think we’ve exhausted the should-we-shouldn’t-we question. The more taxing one for the planners is how you deliver such a complex integrated project at OOC when the key components remain undecided. This provides its own design challenges, and there’s still much to discuss around this…

  178. Malcolm says:


    That report was produced, not by the “Policy Forum”, but by Policy Exchange, a well-known conservative think tank. Not that that make it necessarily wrong of course, but we ought to know where ideas are coming from.

  179. Malcolm says:

    Oops! Sorry Lemmo; you’re quite right. We had wandered off rather a long way…

  180. Castlebar says:

    Let us not forget that the merits of FILTON, near Bristol, was recently discussed on these boards. Wonderful rail connections in all directions, especially Bristol of course but also Swindon and all of the M4 corridor to London.

    However, it would seem that the land was more attractive to developers than remaining as an excellently strategically located airport.

    Today on the BBC Wales news web, the following headline is worth a read “£20m land sale passed to fraud office” and l cannot help but wonder if this sort of similar deal has led to the decisions on Filton.

  181. Moosealot says:

    HS2 does not need a “longer gestation”. It is already more overdue than any she-elephant ever known.
    However, to extend the simile: a longer gestation is preferable to an albino calf.

    Given the cost, we will get one attempt at HS2. If it is a failure then there will be no further HS rail development in the country for a generation or more, so it must be got right first time. I remember the Cambridgeshire Busway; the principle arguments for it were that the buses would have leather seats and onboard wifi (both later removed as a cost-cutting measure), as if these couldn’t be fitted to regular buses on regular roads. I am concerned that arguments for HS2 are not arguments for high speed, just for more/different capacity.

    The problem with rail travel from the West Midlands is not that it needs more capacity and better provision for people to work on trains. HS rail is not required to do this. Relatively minor capacity works from Wolverhampton and Birmingham Moor St to OOC and Paddington via the Chiltern line and NNML will be eminently feasible once Crossrail is in operation and at a very attractive BCR.

    From Manchester the main problem is the price. This can be fixed by allowing competition between providers rather than handing one company a monopoly and then taking it away from them and giving it to another company and then handing it back to the first company. A sensible track access scheme would fix this without needing to build a separate railway in order to generate competition.

    From Leeds – which is the service I use relatively frequently – there isn’t really a problem. Competition from Grand Central keeps a lid on prices and while the services are busy, overcrowding isn’t too bad and while speed improvements are always nice to have, it’s already faster than road or air if going to central London. Enabling schedules with fewer stops would both relieve overcrowding and reduce journey times but would need to be made up for with capacity for extra trains to cover the intermediate stations that are no longer called at.

    It may surprise readers of my posts on this subject to learn that I am very much pro high speed rail. My concern is that HS2 is going to be a white elephant that the anti-high-speed lobby can use to “clearly demonstrate” that *any* high speed rail project is a waste of time/money/etc.

    It would be better to skip the high speed conventional rail step entirely. Apart from HS1 which is required for interoperability with continental high speed stock, there is no current high speed network to integrate into. The UK should plan to build a maglev-or-equivalent network over the next 40 years. We would need to buy in a certain amount of technology – probably from Japan – but there would be an enormous first-mover advantage in terms of development and manufacturing in the UK were this to go ahead; experience in Sunderland and Swindon demonstrates that Japanese management and a British workforce are actually a really good combination for engineering and manufacturing. Although something as far-sighted as that would be way too much for the political class to cope with.

  182. Malcolm says:


    I do not agree. Further detail omitted in response to Lemmo’s request (above) to get this discussion back on track.

  183. Steer says:

    I am a little surprised by all of the talk of airports on this thread. Whilst I understand that OOC is often talked about as the interchange for Heathrow, and that Arup and friends want HS2 to go via Heathrow itself, the fact is that Heathrow is only a very minor part of the OOC story.

    OOC is needed as part of HS2 in order to improve dispersal in London. This isn’t surprising, since otherwise you are looking to focus the vast majority of intercity travel to London on Euston – travel patterns that currently are accomodated by Euston, St Pancras and King’s Cross. This concentration of passengers on Euston would be bad enough, but we’re also forecasting a significant increaese in overall trips. It is therefore very sub-optimal to focus 100% of this on Euston.

    OOC is a neat solution It means that passengers travelling to London whose final destination is on an east-west axis accross London are able to use OOC and then Crossrail (or Overground potentially), and passengers whose final destination is on a north-south axis accross London can use Euston and then the Victoria/Northern/CR2. Taking account of points made above that not everyone will use public transport for their ‘final leg’ after HS2, one would expect these passengers to use Euston, as it is more central.

    HS2 Ltd’s modelling of station choice shows a roughly 1/3 2/3 split between OOC and Euston. That’s the reason for OOC. All the passengers choosing it would do so because it’s quicker and more convenient than Euston for them, which takes a lot fo strain off of Euston, and improves the potential benefits.

    The airport thing is a red herring. The demand for travel to an airport at London is a tiny fraction of the demand to trave from Birmingham to London, or Manchester to London, or anywhere else in fact. This is why the proposed phase 2 ‘spur’ to Heathrow is a joke option that will never be followed up on. There’s just not enough demand for it, when compared to the demand that could otherwise fill the paths that an airport service would take up.

    Far too much of the debate nationally about HS2 is about airports. They don’t matter. Not when it comes to HS2, at least.

  184. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how much of the driver for the planned HS2 dedicated route, as distinct from upgrades of the WCML, is the desire/need for a better terminal in Birmingham than New Street can ever be. The Curzon Street proposal will have extremely suboptimal connection capabilities compared with New Street (or even Moor Street – or the proposed East Midland and Sheffield HS2 stations). Is a Brummie version of London Conmnections having arguments for Birmingham International as the main connection hub, and the shiny Curzon Street terminal primarily for passengers to/from the city centre, parallel to the OOC/Euston split at the London end?

  185. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Lemmo – given Boris’s pronouncements this morning on Aviation policy also referred to new high speed rail links and Crossrail being used to give a 29 minute journey time from OOC to the Isle of Grain I fear OOC and Airports do have a connection. It’s just not the one we expected.

    This Twitpic from the BBC’s Tom Edwards gives a glimpse from the presentation.

    The link into Waterloo and London Bridge looks a bit interesting!! I fear certain posters may need to be tranquilised given the potential for great excitement about these red lines on a map 😉 I can’t find copies of this map on the relevant TfL pages nor via the Mayor’s website.

  186. JM says:

    Sorry if I go off topic but I wanted to see how the other OOC article panned out before commenting specifically on that.

    On HS2 and airports though I did want to add the below as people are discussing it in detail.

    On Heathrow and airport capacity, I think the idea of a superhub can be overstated. Most people travel from their local airports (about 65%) and figures for transfer traffic show you that most transfer routes via Heathrow are short haul to long haul (so Europe to outside or vice versa).

    Where we are sited in the world, transfer traffic (held up as driver for a hub as point to point routes alone cannot satisfy demand for the route) will genuinely only flow a certain way in the future. No one flying Asia to Africa or vice versa will fly through Europe, particularly as the Gulf airlines generally offer more bang for your buck.

    Given the disruption, planning and political fudging involved with any decision, a dual hub (not in the Heathwick style) might actually offer the best value. Particularly on the basis that, for arguments sake, Heathrow is aimed at the Africa/Americas routes and another site at Asian/Oceanic routes. If core or future core operators to US/Europe/Turkey/UAE/Singapore and the BRICs were allowed access to use either (or both – there is a BA flight to NYC every 2 hours I seem to recall), both sides of the city have easy access to international air routes and airline alliances could co-ordinate their operations to serve both locations on key routes . All you would need consequently, is one new runway which probably rules out anything in the Estuary. Provided access time from the central is similar, I don’t think there is a clear advantage to using either. Lufthansa currently offer you pretty much a dual hub concept already, albeit from 2 cities and New York and Tokyo operate on a similar model (New York by alliance, Tokyo offering dual access to Narita and Haneda for premium routes).

    I suspect that, whatever is recommended by Davies, for political reasons Heathrow will be retained in some shape or form. The economic and social effect on west London and Berkshire could (COULD) be devastating – hundreds of thousands of jobs from hospitality to food processing to UK/Euro hq’s are cited where they are because of the airport. I haven’t seen any clear idea of how to deal with the potential fallout from that.


    From the information I have seen, even those pro HS2 still advocate incremental improvements to the WCML and ECML in the short term as recommended by things like the optimised alternative. Their argument being, we need that anyway but what do you do in 20 years? My personal view if Hs2 goes off the boil then what Govt is going to touch any kind of transport megaproject for a generation seeing as we baulked and cancelled two in 5 years? Given what is likely to be spent on the railways elsewhere and how ringfenced expenditure is elsewhere, it isn’t a relatively large sum of money.

    And as for Euston being where it is, well to be frank, is there any central location that is ideally located? You can just as easily argue for better local links from the south. Certainly, options for CR2 can give you this.

    I can see why the LA and the Standard and others are either against or slightly reticent about HS2. They look at the BCR for Londoncentric projects or increased airport capacity and see this project as a giant spanner in the funding works. Although is there any political will for Old Oak redevelopment or Cr2 without HS2? Doubtful.

    DW, interesting points, both on Euston and the point of the investment but the fast options have the potential to deliver more than just speed and capacity. How many more new journeys could be made , what it can do for the international profile of regional cities particularly as high speed rail would have a natural advantage over roads or other rail given the level of romanticsing about them. Everyone knows the TGV, everyone knows the Shinkansen. Not many know the Euromed unless you’ve used it. We have nothing faster than that.

    It can also drive macroeconomic thinking for the next 2/3 generations. The argument always refers to brain drains to London but as there is a massive London bias for the top pool of talent in most industries already, I don’t know how HS2 makes this worse? Whole core industries are not going to up ship overnight, increasing their cost base for a perceived higher skill set. Invariably the opposite will happen, particularly if the Treasury or BIS incentivise. The effect of the BBC moving to Salford will, in 20 years, create more independent, affiliated and post production media enforcing the industry in the city. If London continues to grow, we have 10 million Londoners by 2030 and why not 12 or 15 in another 30 years? Any good quality of life cannot be sustained outside the most expensive areas. Good local governance is the first thing to drive a renaissance in the north, particularly if London is devolved more power but integrated high quality infrastructure isn’t that far behind. It will have to be built eventually.

  187. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    What Boris wants is utterly irrelevant: his pocket empire has no authority whatsoever outside the GLA’s official borders, which means he does not get to dictate where (or even if) any new / expanded airport will happen. All the GLA can do is prevent further expansion of Heathrow itself. This is why we have multi-tiered levels of government: relocating the UK’s main hub airport will, by definition, require authority well beyond that of a local or regional authority like the GLA.

    The future of Heathrow is therefore, correctly, being examined by central government, not by the GLA alone, and it is Westminster that must pick up the neglected baton of leadership and ownership of air transport policy.

    Boris Johnson is nowhere near the buffoon he pretends to be: That “Testrad” report I linked to was paid for by the Mayor of London. If the Tories want Boris re-elected as Mayor of London come the next election, they’re going to have to give him what he wants: the right to get rid of Heathrow once and for all—and leave a lasting Tory legacy. (Remember: this is all about the politics, not engineering.)

    My money’s on the location the GLA have been paying for reports about for the past few years already: ultimately, it requires negligible land-take, nobody would need to be kicked out of their homes, and it could also include some of those desperately needed cross-river links that the region has been screaming for. Having a new airport nearby could be a price well worth paying for that.

    Now, back to the topic…

    The OOC project under discussion in this article would not be made redundant if Heathrow closes. Clapham Junction is nowhere near Gatwick or any other airport: its value is in the journeys and interchanges it offers. OOC will be no different, assuming it is built properly. If Heathrow is indeed earmarked for closure, that means it’ll be redeveloped. It already has excellent connections with London, so it’s likely to sprout new buildings much more quickly than the Docklands project did. Furthermore, in the case of a new estuary airport, Crossrail will provide transitioning ex-Heathrow workers with an easy commute.



    Maglev makes no sense as a drop-in replacement for HSR: HSR already exists, provides much the same speeds, and is a hell of a lot cheaper to build, operate and maintain. Aerodynamics also become a limiting factor: the faster you go, the more energy you need to push the air out of the way. And the graph is not a line: it’s an ever-steepening curve.

    Furthermore, all trains need to allow for human comfort: we can only take so much acceleration and deceleration. Trains don’t accelerate or brake anywhere near as quickly as, say, a Maserati, because passengers might be standing up, walking through the train, visiting the bar, etc. In a car, they’re expected to be sitting down and wearing a three-point seatbelt.

    That means you need to allow a minimum amount of time to reach your top speed. A faster train will take longer to reach that speed, and will have travelled further as well. It will also need more time (and distance) to slow down.

    Maglev cannot accelerate any more quickly if it’s carrying human cargo: the humans won’t like it. So that means it can’t offer anything over HSR at conventional line speeds in the open air. Too fast and the noise alone will make it unviable.

    Therefore, maglev needs to find its own niche. A niche no other technology can compete with. In my view, maglev’s future is in ultra-high speed “Vactrain” systems that could theoretically reach as much as 4000 mph. At these speeds, you wouldn’t build such a system between London and Birmingham or Leeds: England is just too small to justify a national Vactrain network.

    Even if a Europe-wide network were to be built, I doubt very much it’ll be calling at OOC.

  188. Moosealot says:

    OK, HS2 is only part of the argument around OOC, but – like Crossrail 2 – it seems to be dependent upon it. This is probably political insofar as if the government are going to go ahead with HS2 at any price, it becomes a project that other things can be tacked onto. This type of thinking can distort benefit:cost ratios and lead to misallocation of resources.

    The question is whether an OOC interchange is viable if it weren’t for HS2… I’d say ‘yes’, especially if it were to become a light rail hub as StephenC proposed although I would be tempted to have a light rail spur linking OOC to Willesden Junction to create a super-station and avoid having to torture the WLL round some crazy curves. This would connect GWML services to the orbital rail network for the first time as well as any Chiltern services which were rerouted to Crossrail or Paddington.

  189. Moosealot says:

    Agree entirely with your comments re. Boris and his airport.

    Brief as horribly off topic… Buses manage acceleration rates of 3mph/s (=1.3m/ss, 0.14g) and far higher deceleration rates with people standing and on seats facing in all directions. Provided the change in acceleration (i.e. jerkiness) is not too harsh, the human cargo can cope quite well. At that rate, it would take about 2&frac14; minutes and 7&half; miles. The trouble with conventional rail is that acceleration curves fall off pretty quickly as the transmission cannot handle the power required to overcome internal resistance, push through the air and continue to accelerate rapidly at higher speeds. Maglev does not have those constraints. Yes, evacuated tubes would be overkill, but a rapidly-accelerating 400mph system would make enough of a difference to intercity journey times to be worthwhile. And one of those could easily call at Old Oak Common!

  190. Anonymous says:


    ” the power required to overcome internal resistance, push through the air and continue to accelerate rapidly at higher speeds. Maglev does not have those constraints”.

    Strictly speaking, Maglev is a suspension system. The advantage of maglev is that in a wheeled vehicle the rolling resistance depends on the speed and the weight, whilst in a maglev system it depends only on the weight.

    Most projected maglev systems are combined with a linear motor propulsion system. These do still have internal resistance (both convnetional and linear electric motors rely on the same electromagnetic effect, and back-emf is common to both) and, absent an evacuated tube, are subject to air resistance.

  191. Greg Tingey says:

    Windsorian & others.
    The last thing we need is a bigger Stansted.
    It should be CLOSED & a very pleasant part of Essex returned to peace, quiet & superb boozers …..
    Some variation on “The Estuary” is so obviously the correct way to go, it’s almost certain that’s what we won’t do, I’m afraid.
    Failing that, Blackbushe/Farnborough ??

    Well, some people don’t appear to have too strong a grip on reality, do they, but then they’re a Journo & a Politico, so what do you expect?

    But, Boris is aiming at Camoron’s job – at which point it becomes highly relevant, I’m afraid.
    Agree with you about SOMEWHERE in the Estuary(ish) see my remarks above.

  192. Castlebar says:

    Can somebody please remind me (1) Why the original Maplin Sands idea was dropped, and (2) Could developments since then, made the original reason why Maplin was aborted, now a viable proposition again?

    The reason l ask is that l still cannot quite get why the Gov’t have been so keen to consign Filton to the concrete mixer and rabbit-hutch housing. With its superb rail connections to Swindon, Reading and OOC (that is why my question has relevance), it seems incomprehensible to dismiss Filton when some of the other proposals l am now reading about, wouldn’t get to London any quicker, and especially to OOC & W. London

  193. Graham H says:

    @anonymous of 0339 – unless your maglev is in a vacuum, it will still encounter air resistance even if it avoids rolling resistance. IKB would not be proud of you.

  194. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Graham H 5:27PM, 15th July 2013
    At least IKB had a good try with the Victorian equivalent of vactube, with his atmospheric railway of 1940s. Has anyone calculcated what the acceleration rates were if not deceleration? Yes and rates, not rats who ultimately saw off the first high speed traction system!

  195. peezedtee says:

    @Ian J “the jumped-up local councillors of the GLA”

    I am not sure that I see how they are any more jumped-up than many MPs. Some of them seem to be rather sharp and well-informed.

    At least GLA members are elected by a vaguely democratic voting system, and when I vote for them I know that my vote will have some effect, which is more than can be said for Parliament.

  196. Graham Feakins says:

    And here is this evening’s news on Boris from the BBC, providing comments concerning West London and Kent etc.: “Airport capacity: Boris Johnson announces three proposals”:

  197. Mark Townend says:

    @Lemmo 09:14PM, 14th July 2013

    “One thing the diagram clearly shows is what can be done if you move the IEP depot”

    I believe the new IEP depot uses only the western part of the old Eurostar facility. That clearly makes sense as that’s where the better facilities are, but I wonder if all or some of the operations could be moved subsequently to the eastern half with suitable upgrades, which the site appears able to acomodate assuming the land already hasn’t been disposed of already for some other purpose.

    “How would you graft on the proposed scheme with an Overground station and loops on the south side? If you could do that then you can lose the WLL-NLL chord at Willesden Jn high level, which means you can straighten the NLL high level at Willesden Jn”.

    The WLL to NLL HL connection is used predominently by WLL Overground trains which terminate at WJ currently. In my plan those trains would go via the new WJ low level platfroms to terminate at OOC in the bay at the new NLL line station. The remaining traffic on the connection is fairly infrequent freight, which might be accomodated on one of the existing curvy viaducts, whilst a straighter viaduct carrying a longer platform is constructed alongside for the Richmond bound NLL.

    “Your rearrangement at Acton Wells Jn prevents a Hounslow to MML service, but it does emphasise the need to relieve what will become a very busy junction”

    Assuming the route for these trains is via the NLL, further improvements to Acton Wells Junction together with platforms on the Dudding Hill lines could suffice if I understand this correctly. See . . .

    “The proposed Crossrail WCML branch will try and thread its way from the central Crossrail platforms beneath the Up Crossrail GWML and onto the Chiltern alignment. Your arrangement is simpler in a way, but does not allow for reversing trains at OOC and does not lend itself to a phased build whereby the WCML service can be developed as a later stage, extending from the reversing platforms at OOC But the stand-out for me is the option of using part of the alignment of the old GW goods lines from North Acton beneath the GWML. Could this route not also be used by Overground from WLL on to the WCML, or Chiltern?”

    I provided 4 platforms on the north side of the GWML. These could be configured with additional turnouts to also provide a centre reversing facility. My down crossrail to WCML track is designed to be compatible with the GWML fast (main) lines dropping down into a tunnel to Euston (or there would need to be some other flyover or similar east of Old Oak Common) The grade separation for the WCML junction could just as easily be accomplished entirely on the north side of the GWML as you describe.

    Actually using the old GW bridge alignment alongside the Central Line under the GWML would take a route heading towards Paddington or the WLL a long way south of the depot curving deeply into ‘the scrubs’, probably unpopular with locals and environmentalists and taking any (curved) platforms situated alongside them a considerable distance south of the GWML and HS1 facilities. Preferable could be a more east-west new underpass emerging into another low level station box parallel to and immediately south of the large depot maintenance building. The depot might lose some of its sidings in this scenario, but that might be fairly compensated by providing additional facilities at the east end of the former Eurostar complex.

  198. HowardGWR says:


    Yes Filton would have been the ideal SW regional airport with its key location adjacent to M4, M5 and rail E-W and N-S.

    But i am afraid it is not sufficiently central for GB, besides which, any national airport has to be within a half hour of central London (by some means, Crossrail seems to be ideal).

    On Mawhinney report, only one in ten HS2 pax were estimated as being destined for Heathrow which is why OOC was recommended for the airport link, rather than sending HS2 trains to Heathrow.

  199. stimarco says:


    There’s a big difference in a rapid acceleration up to the typical “cruising” speed of a London bus of around 20-30 mph., and a rapid acceleration of a maglev to its typical cruising speed of three or four hundred miles per hour. The former lasts maybe a few seconds at most as the average speed of most buses is so low. The latter would involve eternal minutes of hanging on for dear life from the nearest handrail.

    (Also, remember that yer actual coaches require all passengers to be seated today, and to wear seat belts too. That’s because coaches tend to have far fewer stops and are typically faster than urban buses.)

  200. stimarco says:

    Re. the BBC article linked to earlier…

    ‘Deputy leader of Hounslow Council, Colin Ellar, said: “Closing Heathrow is sheer lunacy.”‘

    Why do people keep saying this as if nobody had ever, ever moved an airport somewhere else before? Again, I must cite the relocation—almost literally overnight, I might add—of Hong Kong’s own airport. (Yes, it had some software glitches for a while, but so did Heathrow’s Terminal 5.)

    Some people had to relocate. Others chose to work elsewhere—most of Heathrow’s employees aren’t in the “highly-skilled” category and it’s not as if cleaning an airport is much different to cleaning in an office block—while a few more chose early retirement.

    Nobody died. Not least because—get this—you can plan for this sort of thing well in advance!

    You’re going to have years of warning: you can’t build a brand new airport overnight. Whether it’s Stansted, Filton, the Thames estuary, or Crystal bloody Palace, the one thing the new / enlarged airport is not going to be is a sudden, unexpected surprise.

  201. Anonymous says:


    At least IKB had a good try with the Victorian equivalent of vactube, with his atmospheric railway of 1940s.

    You’ve not been reading that bit on my blog where Paddington Bear meets IKB on Christmas Day have you? Brunel was an amazing guy, but even he couldn’t invent something 80-odd years after he died 😉

  202. Duxford says:

    @Castlebar 05:22PM

    1. The army weren’t too keen on cleaning up the munitions they’d been firing into the sea for the last 50 years.

    2. Maplin Sands is a water bird sanctuary of great international importance, and some species may have been wiped out in Europe if Maplin went ahead

    3. The airlines were very concerned about bird strike

    4. Meteorological records suggested that fog could shut the airport up to 60 days in the year.

    5. The most important – the price of oil rocketed in the early 70s and the demand for flying was suppressed by the increase in aviation fuel costs. the airport would have run at a loss for several years.

    6. The cost of the airport and the required infrastructure increased rapidly and the country was close to being broke (relatively) and the treasury took fright at the price they would have to pay for what they considered to be an expensive luxury.

    7. A very vocal and well connected anti-Maplin group was formed and a number of papers came out against Maplin

    8. British Airports Authority didn’t want it – what was wrong with Heathrow, Gatwick and that unexploited piece of real estate they owned called Stansted.

    There probably were some other reasons but the above were enough to kill it. The general mood in the country was that we couldn’t afford it because of the burgeoning costs, and I’m beginning to detect a similar attitude nowadays to HS2.

  203. Ian Sergeant says:

    Apologies, 18:48 comment mine….

  204. Castlebar says:

    @ Duxford 6:55 pm

    many thanks

    Your list is excellent

    So comprehensive an argument against in fact, that l wouldn’t put money on the Maplin idea turning up on somebody’s radar before much longer when the “reasons why not” have been misfiled somewhere and are long forgotten. Maplin and Boris Island have the same sort of “feel” about them.

  205. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Anonymous 06:48PM, 15th July 2013

    Er well if anyone could, IKB would been in the front queue, but perhaps I mistyped 1840s (or was it 1480s – Guess plantagent gauge would have had to allow Norman French shipping sizes?)

  206. Anon of 1559 says:

    @ graham H 17:27
    “unless your maglev is in a vacuum, it will still encounter air resistance even if it avoids rolling resistance. IKB would not be proud of you.”

    I think that’s what I aid: “linear motor propulsion systems …ABSENT an evacuated tube, ARE subject to air resistance.”

    @Milton Clevedon 17:46, Anon 18:48
    ” IKB’s ……. atmospheric railway of 1940s” A century earlier, surely?

  207. stimarco says:

    @Milton Clevedon:

    Oddly enough, the “atmospheric railway” isn’t dead.

    @Castlebar and Duxford:

    Points 1, 3 and 4 don’t really apply to the Thames Estuary proposal. (The report I linked to answers these questions quite comprehensively, as well as most of the others.)

    Bird strikes were a problem for the Maplin Sands proposal because it was on land.

    Birds don’t tend to nest on water, so an airport built on artificial runways that don’t have any extraneous and inviting greenery on them won’t attract many birds in the first place. Said runways would be sited some distance from the nearest land, so bird strikes therefore become no more likely than at Heathrow (which, it’s worth noting, has a lot of large open green areas and even major reservoirs very close by.)

    As for fog: again, in the 1970s, ILS and autopilot technologies were still quite basic and being able to see clearly out the window was much more important in that age of fly-by-hydraulics aircraft. However, a modern airplane can land itself entirely automatically, using GPS and ILS alone, under almost all but the absolute worst conditions. What the pilot can or cannot see is therefore irrelevant except in the most extreme edge cases.

    Frankly, I’d be more worried about a volcano eruption. There are two that are being watched with pitiless eyes: Katla (Iceland), and Vesuvius. Both are already somewhat overdue. Which reminds me: I’ve seen Herculaneum, but still not gotten around to seeing Pompeii.

  208. Graham H says:

    @Anon – yes ,I see that it was moosealot, not you, who was proposing to defy the laws of physics. Sorry!
    @moosealot – remind me: an acceleration of 3m/sec/sec is something like the equivalent of 0-60 in about 8 sec? If so, there would be many car manufacturers who would be pleased with it and probably every bus builder in the land. And I for one would not like to be standing up at the time – probably wouldn’t like the rain of unsecured luggage and pushchairs that would be flying around, either.

    @Milton clevedon – the only reference I can find to the actual performance of the atmospheric system is to a reference to an accident on the Dublin-Dalkey line c1850, when the “chariot” ran without a train and averaged over 60 mph to the terror of its crew.

  209. Greg Tingey says:

    Mark Townend
    Totally impractical – the “New Line” @ Willesden LL are still out on a limb, Acton Wells is a maze of flat junctions (!) & there’s no connection to the GWML/Xr1
    Forget it.

  210. Duxford says:

    @ Stimarco

    Actually Point 1 does have its equivalent off the Isle of Grain in the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery, which still contains a sizeable amount of ammunition including “Blockbuster” bombs. Although the likelihood of low flying jets set the wreck off is small, there is some risk and it will probably have to be cleared for the piece of mind of the residents of Sheerness etc..

    As regards your comments on birds, yes they don’t nest on water but if the area is a major feeding ground for birds then they’ll still be there in large numbers. In the case of Maplin, Foulness Island is a major overwintering ground for a several species of birds and the habitat destruction would have been disastrous for those species perhaps leading to extinction. I don’t know the situation at the Isle of Grain but I’m sure the RSPB won’t be too happy about loss of coastal habitat and the likes of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace are very powerful lobbies to take on.

  211. Castlebar says:

    I didn’t appreciate that this really is a “Chicken & Egg” situation

    What seems to be the question is “What comes first, the proposed railway or the proposed airport?”

    That’s where the real relevance of this thread emerges, for surely, OOC takes a lower profile if a new major airport (or air hub to satisfy a few), is built in Kent or Essex (or in the estuary, or in the North Sea)

  212. Anonymous says:

    @Graham H “remind me: an acceleration of 3m/sec/sec is something like the equivalent of 0-60 in about 8 sec?”

    Moosealot (at 1432) actually said 3 mph per sec, (which, as he said, is about 1.3 m/s/s) – equivalent to 0-60 in 20 seconds – which would be impressive for a bus. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. A number of factors – increased air resistance, higher gearing, etc, mean that acceleration falls off with speed: watch the agonisingly slow crawl up the scale when Top Gear try to get the last few mph out of the latest million-pound supercar – it may have got to 60mph in 5 seconds, but it takes a lot longer than 15 seconds to get to 180!

    That said, i would not be at all surprised if a bus could do 3m/s/s from rest, for half a second. 12 mph from rest in half a second? Maybe. 25mph in one second? probably not.

    Here is a picture of a bus accelerating at about 9m/s/s (Routemaster fans of a sensitive disposition should look away now)

  213. Graham h says:

    @anon Yes, I would expect an s-shaped acceleration curve. Routemaster suicide – most distressing… Mind you, one had to take much greater care crossing the road once the Routemasters were re-engined.

  214. Moosealot says:

    @Graham H et al.
    I wasnae attempting to defy the laws of physics, captain!

    (1) There is significant internal resistance (friction) in the transmission (drivetrain) of a conventional wheeled vehicle.
    (2) The same drivetrain is the limiting factor in how much tractive effort can be applied to the rail (i.e. bigger motors are easy, it’s the rest that isn’t)
    (3) A Maglev would be limited only by the amount of electricity that could be supplied, the acceleration that it’s occupants could weather and the limits to its structural integrity. I never claimed there would be no aerodynamic resistance, but that the superior propulsion system would be able to transmit enough force to counter said resistance and still be able to accelerate smartly.

    While we’re on the subject of physics, humans are pretty good at managing constant accelerations. Walking at a constant speed at a train accelerating at 1.33m/ss (0.13g) is equivalent to climbing or descending a 1:8 gradient. Where people have trouble and have to grab hold of stuff is when the change in acceleration (i.e. units m/sss) is high. When a tube trips out while accelerating away from a station, it is not the change in speed but the sudden drop in acceleration that upsets everyone: i.e. a change *to* a constant speed, but a sudden one.

    I quoted 3mph/s = 1.33m/ss for a bus on the basis that it takes about 10 seconds to get to 30mph. This acceleration is not constant so there will be points where the bus is accelerating faster than this, and their deceleration is much more rapid (try being behind one on a bicycle when the driver stands on the brakes). Extrapolating acceleration at low speed when limited by the power handling of an engine/transmission is not valid: my car will accelerate to 60mph in just under 7s, but takes well over 20 to get to 120mph.

    Finally: a Maglev from Tokyo to Nagoya will be opening in 2027 with a top speed of 311mph. The distance (286km) is marginally shorter than London-Birmingham-Manchester and will cost ¥5.1tn (£34bn).

    I will say no more about maglevs here lest people think I have a dangerous obsession, and it hasn’t really got much to do with OOC other than that it would be great if they stopped there…

  215. Moosealot says:

    Castlebar 08:11 – precisely! The country needs a transport strategy and doesn’t have one. While I suspect OOC interchange would still be viable without HS2 but the BCR would certainly be lower. If LHR were to close, there would be enormous redevelopment which would improve OOC’s status but if LHR were to limp on as a secondary hub then the OOC interchange would be less valuable. A fully thought out transport roadmap would tell us all these things and sensible secondary and tertiary investments could be made, but alas such is not the case.

    Anon 09:28 – thank you. You must have posted between me starting to reply and hitting ‘submit’.

  216. Si says:

    Castlebar: “That’s where the real relevance of this thread emerges, for surely, OOC takes a lower profile if a new major airport (or air hub to satisfy a few), is built in Kent or Essex (or in the estuary, or in the North Sea)”

    Actually, it doesn’t really. Most traffic for the north isn’t going to Heathrow: OOC is far more about access to Docklands, alternate accesses to the West End and City, and access to West London. Obviously Heathrow is a factor in the location, however it seems more to be a handy side effect of interchanging with Crossrail at one of the largest brownfield sites (with all that redevelopment potential) in London than a deliberate idea to serve Heathrow without making the route longer, hillier, curvier and more destructive than necessary.

    Euston HS2 is more in doubt with the airport issue – building ‘Euston Cross’, and extend the line to the new airport is much more likely (but still highly unlikely) than radically changing the route of HS2 between London and the Midlands, avoiding the Old Oak Common area and the very useful Crossrail interchange it provides, in order to serve the new airport.

    Old Oak Common (for HS2 north/GWML west access to the Airport via the new High Speed line) is explicitly on the maps of each airport plan that were in the Standard. Old Oak doesn’t rely on Heathrow.

  217. Delenn says:

    Si has just said what I was thinking.
    If a new hub airport was built in Kent, I think the HS1 plan is thought through.
    If a new hub airport was built at Stansted, would HS2 go north east from Euston (or elsewhere), therefore missing out OOC completely?
    (Those in the Chilterns suddenly like a new hub airport rather more I think!)

  218. lmm says:

    Given the discussion regarding terminating arrangements I feel the need to mention Warsaw. It has eastern and western suburban stations and a through central station; trains from the east terminate in the western suburban station and vice versa. As a result the central station can manage with only four platforms.

    It’s effective but I get the impression it’s quite unpopular; certainly getting out with suitcases at the central station can be a stressful experience. I’m not sure a non-totalitarian government could get away with such a thing.

  219. JM says:


    re Stansted, highly doubtful given the route to Birmingham it would have to take. If Stansted was the option, what might happen is a direct high speed route for the airport which, much longer term could be extended up to Toton if there were ever any capacity constraints on HS2 once operational.

    The Isle of Grain proposal includes an orbital 4 track railway around the M25 planned to include HS2 and freight. If this were taken forward, you don’t need HS2/HS1 link and you miss OOC. Alternatively you build HS1/HS2 and build a link from HS1 at Stratford to Stansted although you would have far fewer train paths. I have no idea what would cost more.

    There is every reason if utilised properly, OOC can become a destination in itself much like Stratford/Docklands over 30 years. I don’t think the airport question is particularly relevant provided OOC is well served (including the Bakerloo,Metropolitan/Jubilee/Chiltern and East Acton, not just Crossrail and Overground). People generally use their local airports. People going long haul generally drive to the airport. And it does provide some incentive for established businesses in west London to stay there if Heathrow goes.

  220. Mark Townend says:

    @Greg Tingey, 07:08AM, 16th July 2013

    New WJ LL platform(s) could be connected by a new stairwell and liftshaft dropping down from the straightened and lengthened HL platform at its southern end. Thus fairly easy interchange would be provided between WLL & NLL and to get to Bakerloo / DC lines would entail a walk along the length of the new HL island platform; that could be made sufficiently wide and unobstructed to accommodate this. If only the WLL OG trains were to call at WJ LL on their way to OOC NLL, with the Southern trains diverted to OOC via a connection to the south of GWML, then a simpler cheaper single platform arrangement could suffice, with significantly less change to the existing junctions and a little more freedom as to where exactly the platform could be situated.

    Acton Wells has standard left and right hand ladder junctions across 2 pairs, hardly a maze! Either or both could be doubled and (if double) might be simplified a little by partly equipping with fixed diamond crossings. I think at least 1 additional track across the Central Line bridge is justified to minimise freight interaction with NLL services.

    The connections between the Acton Wells ramp and the GWML are assumed to exist off stage left beyond Acton Main Line where I believe Crossrail intends to create a grade separated junction.

  221. stimarco says:


    The Japanese have had their own maglev research program for some years; it’s “invented-here” technology for them (and it’s also completely incompatible with the system developed in Germany and currently in use in China. One involves wrapping the train around the track, the other wraps the track around part of the train, so it’s not even as simple as a gauge conversion!)

    That compatibility issue is also the main reason for not bothering with maglev as a substitute for an HSR in the UK: You can’t run “classic-compatible” trains off a maglev line and into, say, Liverpool from a junction at Manchester, because maglevs can’t run on traditional railways. This means any and all stations you intend to serve must have brand new maglev infrastructure built for them. You need to build the entire route, all the way into Scotland, as one gigantic mega-project. And the UK has a very poor track record for those of late.

    HS2 makes more sense precisely because its construction can be chopped up into easily-digestible chunks for the ignorant little bean-counters in HM’s Treasury. No maglev option would ever get past the Treasury approval stage.

    Not that I wouldn’t mind a maglev line myself, but, politically, it suffers not only from the above, but also from “Not Invented Here” Syndrome: we didn’t invent the technology, so the economics don’t work. Siemens and their ilk would make the profits and there’d be no competition to speak of. How can you realistically put a maglev network out to tender when there are only two technologies and two companies on the planet able to build it?

    The UK’s tired of being first and making all the expensive mistakes that go with it. Whichever technology we pick—German or Japanese—might not be compatible with whichever system is adopted in, say, France in future, so we’re taking a huge gamble that the other EU nations would follow our lead. Converting 7′ gauge railways into 4’8.75″ gauge is a relatively easy task, but how do you ‘convert’ a German Transrapid system to a Japanese JR Maglev system? They may use most of the same principles, but their implementations are very, very different.

    Maglev technology is clearly viable, but it needs a common, international standard before it can be adopted across the planet. Politically, there’s no other way to make it happen.

  222. Greg Tingey says:

    Moosealot @ 10,21 … & everybody et seq

    This discussion may turn out to be totally irrelevant if Elon Musk is correct again, that is. Could be very interesting.

    People going long haul generally drive to the airport Sure about that – leaving your car in a remote car-park, unattended, rathe than in it’s usual place?

  223. Windsorian says:

    @ Steer (12.30pm -15th July)

    1. Is the revised cost of Route 3 now > the route proposed by promoters of the Heathrow Hub (HH) ?

    2. Do you consider a time delay of 3 minutes a major factor in route selection ?

    3. What is the point of terminating any HS1 trains at OOC ?

    4. Will international facilities ever be built at OOC?

    5. How many of the 250,000 bums on seats at OOC will actually transfer to the minor rail routes ?

    6. Taxpayers will fund HS2 Euston expansion; why not leave promoters of OOC & HH to build their own stations ?

    7. How much should developers of the Park Royal Opportunity Area (868 heactares) contribute ?

    8. Do you support modal shift from air to rail for mainland domestic and near continent travel ?

    9. Will you be sharing your views with the Airports Commission ?

    10. Should HS2 Ltd introduce plans for OOC before a transport study has been carried out and published ?

  224. Ian Sergeant says:


    1/3 2/3 split between OOC and Euston

    Is this data in the public domain? I suspect that you would see very different results between peak and non-peak traffic.

  225. Graham Feakins says:

    To get a sense of perspective concerning acceleration rates, the first generation trams of today’s Croydon Tramlink have a set maximum acceleration of 1.2 m/s/s (with a maximum speed of 80kph) and a set maximum braking of 2.75m/s/s.

    These values were set lower than the actual capabilities of the trams to ensure passenger comfort and safety especially taking into account the number of standing passengers (design standing capacity 208, with 70 seats).

  226. Graham H says:

    @Graham Feakins – indeed; the last time I was involved in specifying rolling stock- admittedly 15 years ago, but humanity hasn’t changed much in that time – we set 1.5m/s/s as the max. (Hence my exchanges with moosealot ).

  227. Snowy says:

    I suspect that maglev discussions are somewhat in the realm of ‘off topic’ however if anyone has been interested by the discussion have a browse of this website:

    They were advocating maglev instead of HS2, whilst they’ve removed a lot of interesting stuff following the HS2 decision it still contains some good comparisons.

  228. stimarco says:


    1: Cost inflation applies to all project proposals, no matter who made them. Feature creep is an inherent problem with any government-led project. The Heathrow Hub proposal will simply become proportionately more expensive than the Route 3 option.

    2. Compared to diverting the line via West London in the first place, instead of going directly to Birmingham?

    3. Connectivity. Interchange at OOC for HS1 Domestic services would open up Kent to a lot more destinations. Right now, it’s a bugger just to get to anywhere other than London or the Kent Coast. Hell, France can be easier (and quicker) to get to from some parts of the county!

    4. No reason why not. I suspect passive provision will be made initially, but the facilities and space required isn’t particularly onerous. Unlike airports, you keep your luggage with you at all times, so there’s no need for two separate sets of security screening equipment, or miles and miles of conveyor belts.

    5. Insufficient data. Nobody knows what the final service patterns will be yet. Nevertheless…

    The GWML isn’t blessed with many useful interchanges at present. Crossrail alone will definitely change the travel patterns of the line’s users over the next generation or so. Even the regeneration of the area around OOC is expected to take a good 10-20 years to complete, so nobody’s expecting OOC to become as popular as Clapham Junction overnight.

    Even if OOC doesn’t see much interchange initially, that will change over time, but new travel patterns need to be enabled before they can be adopted. However, the rate of change in travel habits, and the general utility of OOC, will also depend on the quality of the station’s interchange facilities too. A poor interchange will take longer to encourage new travel patterns.

    6. Taxpayers fund everything. Do you think businesses and corporations magic money out of thin air? Ultimately, it’s always the public who pays. Whether directly through taxation, or by simply buying stuff that makes money for businesses, who then invest that money into projects like these.

    Furthermore, OOC is a requirement for HS2. It’s not really viable without an interchange here as the GWML serves a large area to the west and south-west of England that would otherwise have to change twice to get to Euston in anything like a reasonable time. As the GWML is going to be upgraded via electrification, we’re likely to see an increase in patronage. Rather than have every interchange passenger clutter up the LU network to get to Euston for HS2, it makes rather more sense to have a dedicated interchange.

    In effect, the GWML’s electrification will turn it into an “HS3 Lite”. That name might never be used, but the intent behind that electrification scheme is to beef up the GWML’s capacity and speed up journey times too. Unlike the WCML, which is kinkier than a career politician, the GWML was very much built for speed from the outset, so has more headroom for line speed improvements.

    7. As much as can be justified.

    8. I do. I can’t speak for @Steer though. Not that this will be an issue for years yet; HS2 won’t eat into air travel’s market share until it reaches Scotland.

    10. OOC final design might be better handed over to a local “OOC Development Corporation”. However, HS2 and Crossrail are pretty much set in stone insofar as their core routes are concerned, so there’s no reason why a similar approach to the Thameslink station under St. Pancras couldn’t be used: build the station boxes, tunnels, viaducts and earthworks, but let the “OOCDC” pay for the actual fit-out and build the Overground connection(s) if desired.

  229. long branch mike says:


    I agree that maglev is off topic. can we have a ruling from the Moderator as such?

  230. stimarco says:


    I remember that site. It’s basically a front for the German Transrapid group.

    Their own documentation claims they can build a new network at a per-km. cost of half that of HS2—£30 million / km. vs. £60 million / km. for HS2—but the actual track isn’t the main cost here: Euston’s reconstruction alone is a whopping £1bn. all by itself. Given that a maglev line needs stations too, those additional costs won’t disappear. At best you’ll shave maybe 1/4 off the base cost, but that’s also assuming the NIMBYs don’t demand the maglev line also be built in tunnels, like HS2.

    It’s those tweaks and changes that have inflated HS2’s costs so much. And NIMBYs don’t care what magical trick you use to move your trains: if it isn’t over a century old, it’s a monstrous carbuncle and has no right to be visible to the naked eye.

    You also cannot build a maglev line in phases. It is completely incompatible with the thousands of miles of existing railways in the UK, so you’d need to work out where the line will go and build every single inch of it before you can start the full service. Want the line to serve Liverpool? You’ll need to build a maglev line into Liverpool too! If you stopped the line at Leeds, Newcastle would get very little benefit. With HS2, you can drive the trains off the high-speed sections and onto whichever destinations you desire.

    Were HS2 to be built as a maglev line, there could be no talk of through services to the continent: you can’t drive a maglev train onto HS1 and through the Channel Tunnel.

    This alone is reason enough to rule out the technology.

    HSR may not be the quickest technology on paper, but it’s more than fast enough for a country like the UK, where most of the population is squeezed into the south-eastern corner of the larger of the two main islands anyway.

  231. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I agree that maglev is off topic. can we have a ruling from the Moderator as such?

    Off-topic but in reality the best thing is often just to let each side have their say and let the thing fizzle out. If however it gets to the point where it is a major distraction and everything that can usefully be written has been written then I for one will take action.

    On the subject of acceleration: I think until relatively recently the issue was the power of the motors. Nowadays, as people have pointed out, the comfort factor is more relevant as the motors are not usually the limiting factor. Also acceleration is more important in peak hours. I believe the DLR has a peak acceleration limit (set in software of course), an off peak-limit and an emergency limit which is the maximum people can generally tolerate and is only used to get the timetable back on track after a delay. Its the same with lifts. The max acceleration for Welsh coal-miners was something far in excess of what the general travelling public could tolerate.

  232. minstral says:

    Mark Townend – looking at your plan the big problem is going to be convincing the rather large numbers of WLL customers that they have to change trains at Willesden Junction as a lot of them have got very used to getting through Stratford train.

  233. Graham Feakins says:

    PoP – For the Croydon trams, whilst comfort is one aspect of acceleration/deceleration rates, the primary concern was trying to balance, especially when in emergency braking mode, the risk to passengers on board falling over and injuring themselves, against the danger ahead. As those who have travelled on those trams will know, even the full acceleration rate is just about on the limit of travelling comfort when standing or moving about the tram. They make good hill climbers, too and leaves any bus ‘standing’.

  234. Greg Tingey says:

    Crossrail alone will definitely change the travel patterns of the line’s users over the first two years of operation or so.
    That line has huge amounts of suppressed demand at present.

    GWML won’t GET actual improvement is Bristol / S Wales journey times until they change the service pattern, so that every half-hour you have a train to B or SW, but they alternate (like the Leicester/Derby trains now do) with one .. first stop Bath or Stoke Gifford & the second with Reading/Didcot/Swindon/Chippenham stops.

    Graham Feakins
    That was always a feature of trams.
    Which is why, for reasons of “fashion” getting rid of both Glasgow & Sheffield’s traditional trams was a very bad idea.
    I believe Sheffield was getting through two or three bus-clutches a DAY in the first weeks/months of tram-replacement, back in 1961 (?) And the winter of ’62-63 stuffed Glasgow’s buses…..

  235. Lemmo says:

    So the aim is for 20tph in the peaks on the GWML Fast lines, and that’s regarded as the limit. For the GWML Relief lines it is 16tph. The capacity is limited by the need for intermediate station stops on both Fast and Relief lines.

    Would there be benefits in an Up Up Down Down formation from, say, Southall outwards?

    How might this improve capacity, operational resilience and a more regular service pattern?

  236. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I think I read in the RUS that even after Crossrail the GWML is going to be limited by platform capacity at Paddington. Remember the long distance trains need re-bowsering and the buffet restocking as well as needing time for alighting, boarding and a margin to avoid knock-on effects. You know, “We apologise for the train’s late departure. This is due to its earlier late arrival”. Also Heathrow Express (if still running) needs two dedicated platforms so there is alway a train ready for boarding. So I don’t think re-organising the tracks would help that much and would also involve upgrading a lot of platforms to make them fit for purpose.

    Of course there are a couple of recently refurbished platforms at the north of the station that aren’t used by trains from the main line but could be. All you have to do is figure a way of re-routeing the Hammersmith & City line into new platforms elsewhere! Oh, and find the money for it.

  237. JM says:


    Well in reality, I suspect most people get dropped off by loved ones. If you have 2 or more bags in a travelling group, would that group really use public transport? The trains are too small (Picc), too infrequent (HCon) or too expensive (HEX). And in western Europe, LHR arguably has some of the best transport connections to it’s main city.

    About 14 odd million use the stations at Heathrow. 70 million fly through the airport. Given around a third of those are transferring, even if every train passenger was flying, it’s still
    roughly a third. I don’t think it’s worth chucking anything up to 15/20% of your seat capacity on HS2 or CR1 for more bag space. Particularly if the service on the latter is at max capacity in 20 years, overcompensating for what will be a 1/4 of the route in west London ( or half in the estuary).

  238. Moosealot says:

    I commuted from Slough for nearly a year in 2011-12, so I’m pleased to hear they’ve fixed the H&C platforms which were horrendous. Do they have enough tubes coming in the mornings peaks now or would that be too much to ask? I agree with Greg that there is huge suppressed demand: I usually caught 5-car 165s which had to leave people on the station. Even on IKB’s as-flat-as-possible railway, they struggled to accelerate due to the mass of PiXCs, 10-car EMUs will be full within months.

    Not sure about running out of capacity at Paddington though.

    If the aim is for 20tph on the main lines and we assume 2tph per platform, there’s no problem as 1-11 will all handle full-length trains so there’s a platform spare. If HEx is still going then that will take up 4tph of the main lines so we have platforms 1-5 + 8-11 for 16tph of longer distance services which is still 8 platforms x 2tph plus one spare platform for recovery.

    If platform 12 were used for 2tph Birmingham Moor St services via the NNML (which it’s on the right side of the station to do), that it is slightly shorter than 1-11 shouldn’t matter. The much shorter platforms 13-14 would remain available for any non-Crossrail slow services if such beasts exist (all stations to Oxford? Bourne End/Henley throughs?) 3tph per platform is easily doable for such services even with recovery time: I would have thought it likely that 12tph end up going through from Crossrail, so platforms 13-14 wouldn’t be fully utilised.

  239. Anonymous says:


    “I commuted …for nearly a year in 2011-12” “Do they have enough tubes coming in the mornings peaks now? ”

    The pedant in me would insist that the only tube there has ever been at Paddington is the Bakerloo, but taking the intent of your question, the “Tcup” extension of the Circle doubled the frequency on the Hammersmith branch at the end of 2009 – I don’t think there has been a significant change in the timetable since then.

  240. Paying Guest says:

    @Greg 07:41

    “GWML won’t GET actual improvement is Bristol / S Wales journey times until they change the service pattern, so that every half-hour you have a train to B or SW, but they alternate (like the Leicester/Derby trains now do) with one .. first stop Bath or Stoke Gifford & the second with Reading/Didcot/Swindon/Chippenham stops”.

    Have I read this correctly? Are you suggesting that Swindon gets an improved service by going from 4/hr to 2/hr and Chippenham from 2/hr to hourly?

  241. Graham H says:

    @PoP and others – apparently, the latest GW franchise spec is silent on the subject of HEX’s future. Bidders seem to be assuming therefore on the assumption that it will be integrated into XR, along with HCon and that they can gain some extra fast paths – perhaps 2 tph. But – there will be a terrible fuss from HAL if they lose their dedicated service (as at Gatwick with the demise of of GATEX).

    Swindon? Again, my spies in the smoke filled bidding offices suggest that Swindon is “over-trained ” at 4 tph and cutting out two 2 tph will permit some Bristol/SW non-stops. {Having had the misfortune to have to visit Swindon rather more than anyone could possibly wish, I must say that the traffic isn’t there for 4 tph – perhaps 20-30 boarders, and 10-20 alighters per train at most during the middle of the day.) This is perhaps unsurprising as Swindon has not accumulated many major white collar offices, compared with, say, Reading, apart from NR and FGW. The problem with the GWML is that – as usual – there has been a steady accretion of additional stops so that the timetable comes to look more like an outer suburban route than an IC line; this is all very well – there’s a great deal of long distance commuting on the line, of course – but it does mean that the major generators (B/SW) get a slower service than they deserve commercially.

    I agree with moosealot’s assessment of Paddington capacity; the only fly in the ointment would be if the next franchisee is as slack in turnrounds as FGW, who sometimes seem to think that 45m is the minimum.

  242. Anonymous says:

    @Paying Guest
    “GWML won’t GET actual improvement is Bristol / S Wales journey times until they change the service pattern, so that every half-hour you have a train to B or SW, but they alternate (like the Leicester/Derby trains now do) with one .. first stop Bath or Stoke Gifford & the second with Reading/Didcot/Swindon/Chippenham stops”.

    Have I read this correctly? Are you suggesting that Swindon gets an improved service by going from 4/hr to 2/hr and Chippenham from 2/hr to hourly?

    No, Bristol and SWales get an improved service at Wiltshire’s expense (Swindon also has the every-other-hour Cheltenham/Gloucester services).

  243. Anonymous says:

    @ Graham H

    You said “……….. as Swindon has not accumulated many major white collar offices, compared with, say, Reading…..”

    This isn’t exactly true. Swindon did accumulate them. An example was Allied Dunbar. They built 3 buildings there in the 70s/80s, (wasn’t one over the station??), but that company no loner exists. It was not alone. Other companies moved their admin and paper shuffling departments to Swindon too, but it particularly appealed to the grade of staff and management who have fallen victim to “the great cull”. Also, it was a bit too handy for the M4 for those living in Epsom, Wycombe etc., to have to go to Paddington or Reading to get to Swindon Head Office for their weekly roasting, by train. The white collar revolution of the 60’s – 80s, turned into a white collar near extinction around the Millennium, and many of those who remain with such jobs can now often work from home

  244. Moosealot says:

    Electrification and faster-accelerating stock would shave several minutes off the journey time, as would increasing the mainline speed between Airport Jct and Reading.

    Taking away services from intermediate stations is not an option and there are no spare paths into Paddington. AIUI, Paddington services via Didcot (even if some don’t call there) are:

    Oxford: 2tph fast (some extended to Worcester), 1tph all stations to Didcot then fast, 1tph all stations
    South Wales: 2tph via Reading, Swindon and Bristol Parkway
    Bristol TM: 2tph via Reading, Swindon, Chippenham and Bath, 1tph continues to Weston-Super-Mare
    Some additional trains to Cheltenham Spa

    I wonder if you could get away with running fast Oxford and Bristol TM services coupled and splitting at Didcot, raising the intensity (to 4tph from 2x 2tph) so that Oxford and Bristol TM get a more frequent service with the same capacity. 2tph of the Temple Meads trains could run calling at Swindon only, 1tph continuing to Weston-S-Mare so that service is faster by virtue of not calling at Bath Spa and Chippenham. It may be possible for those trains to skip Reading as well, running non-stop from Paddington to Didcot. The South Wales trains can now run non-stop from Paddington to Bristol Parkway without anyone suffering any loss in service frequency.

  245. Anonymous says:

    @minstral, 01:57AM, 17th July 2013

    Quite right, I was working under a misapprehension. Back to the drawing board . . .

  246. mr_jrt says:

    @Mark Townend
    Been out of the loop for a few days, but I wanted to congratulate you on your plan as shown in oldoak1.pdf – it’s great. I love it. I’ve mentally merged it with willesdenjn1.pdf, and the only thing I don’t like is the down WCML platform being sandwiched between the Chiltern line and the GWML on the other side of the station from the other Crossrail platforms. I can see why you’ve done it – a single flyover, but it doesn’t work for me. Replacing the southernmost Crossrail loop line with it is my preference as it gives cross-platform interchange between both routes.

    You’ve got me thinking too – the WCML has 6 tracks between Willesden and Primrose Hill. If, say, the Bakerloo were to take over the DC lines from Queens Park or Kensal, and Crossrail the slow lines, then why not send Chiltern AND the GWML into Euston? Hmm. Intriguing. (I’m imagining the HS2 works could permit the work required to achieve a 6-track classic approach).

    The LO section is almost perfect though. I’d be tempted to add in a Wormwood Scrubs station on the eastern side though. Your routing makes having three stations viable on a single line, and is indeed the only way you could – so I’m disappointed the idea didn’t occur to me, actually!

  247. Mark Townend says:

    I think many advocating missing stops in the M4 corridor heading for south wales and the west really don’t appreciate the amount of traffic to, from and between those stations, particularly Reading. Part of the attraction is the frequency of service which would risk being drastically cut if the skip stop ideas were adopted to improve journey times to the extremities of the network. It is by no means certain that the journey time cut would attract sufficiently more long distance punters to offset the intermediate fares that would risk being lost, the majority of which are actually far more likely than London commuters to be able to mode shift to their own private cars, hardly a progressive outcome.

  248. Graham H says:

    @moosealot and others – yes, of course electrification should reduce the impact of stopping compared with the dire present combination of HSTs and FGW station management, and, of course, adding “just one little extra stop” here and there doesn’t amount to much – surely? But we (the punters from SW and Bristol) shall shortly face the situation where there are no fewer than 6 intermediate stops in 100 miles (Bath, Chip, Swin, Didcot, Reading, OOC) and even if each stop costs only 3-4 minutes after electrification* , that’s 20 minutes or more added to Bristol-London journey times, quite apart from the actual cost of stopping in terms of fuel and brake wear. 20 minutes added to journey times (in effect a 30% addition to what could be achieved non-stop) is a major discouragement and therefore, cost in terms of lost fares to the two very large markets involved. The service needs a drastic recast to meet all these different needs.

    I suspect therefore that we shall bidders offering something like:

    – 1 – 2 Bristol nonstop (inc 1 x Taunton/Exeter)
    – 1 SW nonstop (maybe with parkway added)
    – 1 S Cotswold
    – 1 B&H (+ 2 Newburys)
    – 1 SW stopper
    – 1 -2 Bristol stoppers
    – 1 N Cotswold (if not provided as part of the Oxfords)
    – 4 Oxfords
    No HEX

    The joker in the pack is just how many freight paths will be required in the future.

    * No one yet knows just how fast off the mark the IEP will be

  249. Pedantic of Purley says:

    The joker in the pack is just how many freight paths will be required in the future.

    That’s a load of rubbish. Or rather many loads of rubbish.

  250. ngh says:

    Suppressed demand & Crossrail filling up in the west.

    LR straw poll time…

    What will TFL do to alleviate the inevitable over crowding west of Paddington within 24 months of Crossrail being full opened?

    a) nothing for at least a decade i.e. wait until Eastern extension to Gravesend ( or beyond to Boris Airport) is opened and/or HS2 construction i.e. services are extended up the WCML instead leaving the GWML services over crowded until HS2 phase 1 is open.

    b) order more 10 car trains to enable services that effectively terminate at Paddington to be extended further west to Maidenhead

    c) order more cars so that the services can be extended to 12 car i.e. retain same service patters and frequencies

    d) wait till the HEx deal comes to an end in 2023 (i.e. the 25 years are up) and get some new additional CR rolling stock to take over the HEX paths. (At this point the HEx infrastructure works and rolling stock will have been more than paid off so HAL will presumably want the most frequent service possible as there won’t be much of a time difference between HEx and CR Heathrow services if you include changing at Paddington for onward journeys from HEx.
    (with the airport Junction changes will HEx services be moving to the relief (slow) lines? thus slowing down HEx?)

    e) combination of b, c, d

  251. Minstral says:

    Both at Heathrow and Gatwick a reappraisal is needed in what the Airport really needs in terms of service to London. Both operate on capacity commuter routes where there is much needed extra trains for the bulk of the customers.

    Yes, its good to give airport customers nice trains that are empty but at the cost of the majority of customers using the tracks, no.

    For Heathrow it seems obvious to use an extension of Crossrail terminators to extend from Paddington 4 times an hour, perhaps with reduced calling stops, just OOC when built and Ealing Broadway for connecting traffic??

    I don’t think a Crosseail solution will hurt Heathrow as the majority of well to do businessmen on expenses will be in Taxis anyway, but more passengers will use Crossrail as it goes through central London where they want to be without any changes at Paddington

  252. Anonymous says:

    The trouble with the interesting proposal

    is that it does not cater for the large passenger flows to/from HS2/Crossrail and the WLL.

    There’s only one terminal platform, and trains go to WJ before going south.

    And Watford-Euston passengers have a long walk to the south-side WLL platforms at WJ.

    (It would help if the Station Approach Road at WJ were closed, to avoid the new NLL bridge having to clear it.)

  253. Long Branch Mike says:

    @ngh Strawpoll

    a) unfortunately. Too much backlog of projects all over & not enough money.

  254. Moosealot says:

    I would expect Crossrail to take over the 2tph Heathrow Connect and increase frequency to 4tph. HEx is a completely different beast as it requires space for baggage which Crossrail won’t. A possible 16tph routing on the GWML reliefs might be (timings from Paddington Crossrail):

    hh:00 OOC, Ealing Broadway, all stations to Slough, Maidenhead and Reading

    hh:04 OOC then fast to Slough, Maidenhead, Twyford and Reading. Overtakes hh:00 at new passing loop*

    hh:08 all stations to Heathrow

    hh:11 OOC then fast to Slough, Burnham, Taplow, Maidenhead and Reading. Overtakes hh:08 at new passing loop* Switches to main lines between immediately after Airport Jct to overtake hh:00 using mainline path of exiting HEx, returns to reliefs immediately E of Slough

    *new relief lines passing loops easily constructed on railway land at triangular junction with Greenford branch between W Ealing and Hanwell

    This can be repeated every 15 minutes to give 16tph to OOC; 12 tph to Slough, Maindenhead and Reading; 8tph to everything else in Greater London, and 4tph to all other stations. If better uses can be found for Crossrail trains, the hh:04 train could start from Paddington pf13/14 and be extended all stations beyond Reading to Oxford.

  255. Castlebar says:

    You say:
    *new relief lines passing loops easily constructed on railway land at triangular junction with Greenford branch between W Ealing and Hanwell

    I SERIOUSLY question the word “easily”. T B H, I do not think your plan will work but will welcome others telling me l’m wrong, and why. Crossing the relief line to put a train into a loop is asking for trouble I M H O, and holding a train to path it into a loop so that it can itself be overtaken by the train it is holding up, is l think a non-runner.

  256. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Castlebar 7:07PM, 17th July 2013

    I agree with your concern. Crossrail is justified partly by journey time savings.

    The Crossrail draft timetables were already very difficult before OOC was invented, with likelihood of waiting times upstairs at Portobello Jcn and downstairs at Paddington Crossrail to flex from a timetable with margins upstairs to an evened-out headway service through Central London. With OOC there are notional estimates of up to 1-1½ minutes flex in the transition area – not welcome but maybe unavoidable.

    And now various aspirants in these columns want to add more delay minutes (= negative journey time valuations) – no thanks! That’s even if there was space, which I suppose there might be somewhere.

    Suggest the London & SE RUS (July 2011, sections 7.3 and 7.4 Gap A, pp103-111, see Network Rail website) is mandatory reading before any further offerings are made on this subject.

    And, by the way, throw in Crossrail-WCML trains, and there could be a queue for the head-banging session among GW timetable planners, who at least in the short-to-medium term have to thread in (possibly post-GW electrification) HEX and certainly Reading-London semi-fasts, with added complications at Portobello Jcn. So I’m awaiting the Lemmo view in Part 2 on OOC-Kensal-Portobello issues.

  257. Greg Tingey says:

    Correct – which brings us back to 6-tracks as far as airport junction … to be put in just as the vile Heathrow closes down & the new estuary airport open, whoops.

    The much-improved service on the Bishops Bridge platforms now means that the “UndergrounD” access to Padders is (in theory) much better – however, the current, supposedly improved layout is a total pig if you want a “local” train from pf’s 12-14.

    Paying Guest
    Because the services to the principal locations [ Bristol, Newport, Cardiff ] are pathetically slow, because we are using 130mph-capable HST’s as interurban dmu’s, stopping at 30/40 mile intervals. I mean, what’s the point?
    See also Graham H’s posts.

    OK, you’ve got it!
    So Padd S Wales, first stop Stoke Gifford, immediately followed by a Reading / Didcot / Swindon etc and also with some of the intermediate S Wales stops [ Bridgend, Port Talbot ] transferred to the “semi”
    Ditto for Bristol & Weston Supermarket – oh and you could alternate the semis, too so that it would go something like:
    S Wales fast, Bristol semi, Bristol fast (passing before Didcot), S Wales semi, etc ….
    You have to remember the Oxford, Worcester/Hereford, Cheltenham etc trains as well + the still diesel W of England services will also have to fit in & allowance made for their lower acceleration rates too.

    Mark Townend
    Reading will have, if not an extended Xr1 service an electric one, coming in from Oxford, with both all-stations & semi-fast services, probably @ 1/2hr intervals, calling Oxford, Didcot, Reading, Maidenhead, Slough, H&H?, Ealing Bdy. Not a problem.

    I suspect a combination of b/c after a couple of years’ delay – i.e about 2020 – unless they go for “d” because Heathrow is going to be closed down [ We can hope ]

    Why not do it the easy way & put the semi out in front of the all-shacks?
    I mean the GE has been doing this for years.

  258. Mark Townend says:

    Greg Tingey, 07:48AM, 18th July 2013

    You assume I was thinking about traffic between Reading and London. Clearly that’s significant, but I’m also considering the large demand between Reading and the west, the station being such an important gateway for the Thames valley, large areas of the south and two of London’s airports avoiding central terminals. I believe every IC train stops there presently and I think that’s justified now and in the future. Didcot calls could be withdrawn easily from Bristol trains if a Bristol – Oxford service was reintroduced, perhaps extended over EWR through to Milton Keynes, and express London service could be maintained by stopping some Oxford fast services at Didcot. The new(ish) down main platform at Swindon means calls there are less time consuming than they were historically and most trains stop there now. I understand extra Bristol TM trains identified in the stalled GW franchise spec were to run fast via Stoke Gifford using the south wales main line as a second ‘fast’ pair of tracks so they could overtake other slower services on the Bath route. Elsewhere too much variability in stopping patterns will waste capacity.

  259. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Passing loops are very much out of favour. They might have made sense in days of relatively infrequent traffic and great disparity of speed (think unfitted freight and passenger express running on the same line).

    The big problem today is one of capacity. Passing loops make capacity worse. If you want to maximise capacity (assuming perfect signalling) then run everything at the same speed which is the speed of the slowest train. You have to think in terms of train paths. As soon as you have a train in passing loop it has occupied two train paths – the path it used up prior to the loop and the path it used up after coming out.

    Even with freight the objective is “keep it rolling” as it only takes a couple of diversions into passing loops to potentially add hours to a journey which is a very inefficient use of resources. If you make the loops sufficiently long then often you effectively you have a four track railway for quite a distance. It’s one of these cases of “do it properly or don’t do it at all”.

    That said, passing loops, or refuges, do have a useful role to play in a modern railway. The can be very useful, especially in intensively used complex railway systems, to keep the empty coaching stock from getting in the way of passenger-carrying trains.

  260. Paying Guest says:

    Greg T

    Now add and source in the replacement Bristol centric commuter serv ices to replace the already rammed ones you have just chopped by 30%.

  261. Graham H says:

    I don’t know whether people stayed up to watch Newsnight last night, but there was a short piece on HS2 showcasing a study by Chris Castles (who used to head up PWC’s transport consultancy) which claimed that the BCR ratio has now sunk to less than 1, mainly because the better journey times do not lead to longer working time because, these days, people can work on the train anyway. There were also interviews with an I-speak your weight machine masquerading as a Minister of the Crown – he had real difficulty articulating two syllable words – and Alison Munro. So, although there was little new, it does show where the next line of attack is going to come from. Chris, although he is (or was when he did some work for me) a man of many quirky prejudices, is not likely to be wrong in his point, which has serious implications for justifying any new IC improvements; it would be nice to see his figures.

    The item also confirmed a current cost prediction of £43bn – a figure that includes a 30% “optimism bias” mark up by HMT. [There was a matching sound bite from a pantaloon academic who claimed (a) that on the basis of studying a century’s worth of large infrastructure projects, they always turned out more expensive – really? HS1 anyone? – and therefore the £43bn figure would go up – so, 2 mark ups for optimism bias?]

  262. Mark Townend says:

    @Pedantic of Purley 09:01AM, 18th July 2013

    Also useful for freight in particular as ‘holding lanes’ when transferring from one track or route, awaiting a forward path onto another.

    A modern suitably powered intermodal freight cruising at up to 75MPH non-stop can often keep up with 100MPH express passenger services with regular stops every so often, as on Great Eastern. Heavy haul is a different case, with Wiltshire aggregates seriously getting in the way of Plymouth expresses and being looped routinely.

  263. Graham H says:

    The problem with freight isn’t just that it is generally slower (and very much slower off the mark) than a modern passenger unit, it’s that it really doesn’t fit in with nice clock face passenger timetables. Historically, freight has run on a turn up and go basis, with the box saying “OK, nothing in front, now keep going ” in effect. FOCs claim, with some justification, that this is because they have to fit in with fairly random events such as ship arrivals, or factory production issues and given the slower speeds and acceleration of freight trains, the last thing one wants to do is stop them once they are under way. At some stage, the nettle is going to have to be grasped. The Swiss have already done so with the Alpine tunnels : “present your train on time or wait for the next path in the cycle.” If the same discipline were imposed on UK FOCs, a surprising amount of capacity would be released on key routes such as ECML or WC, where the WTT is stuffed with optional paths. The price for that is, as Mark Townend says, more holding points. The NLL is a good example – once a freight has left Thamesside, there is not much choice but to let it run all the way to Willesden; similarly on the WLL, where there are even fewer recessing points – the CJ box seems to use the running lines from the WLL to the Brighton side as a holding facility on many occasions.

    Heavy haul is the worst case – look at the metals up from GWML to the WLL at Acton Wells to see the polished track where a 66 has slipped struggling to start from a red.

  264. Castlebar says:

    To get us back on track, (the tracks between Hanwell & W Ealing) where Moosealot proposed passing loops for OOC, CR, and anything else, l can clearly recall from my ageing memory that the base of that triangle is/was such a passing loop.

    It was always (only) used for loose coupled, unbraked freights.
    It was only used FROM the west
    Once a freight was in there, it could wait for up to an hour to get a path out
    Often, these had less than 3 miles to run to complete their journey as many were destined for Acton Yard, and there was also heavy coal traffic for OOC and Raneleagh Yard
    The amount of loose coupled freight on that stretch of line was phenomenal in those days, FAR greater than any freight traffic on those west of London lines today.
    There was also a MASSIVE amount of freight on/off the Greenford loop (some from Park Royal, but the bulk of it was from the GW new line, some even from the GC and Woodford Halse.
    In those days you also had the West Ealing milk dock traffic to contend with and West Ealing coal yard which was on the SOUTH side of the GW mail line(!!)

    Since those illustrious times that passing loop has been redundant. It might still be extant. It was never used for passenger traffic in a slow or semi-fast to be overtaken by a fast, and l certainly cannot see that happening at any time in the future. ………..And for traffic leaving OOC or London, “Definitely Never”

  265. ngh says:

    re Graham H 02:18PM, 17th July 2013

    * No one yet knows just how fast off the mark the IEP will be

    DfT seem to – See the table at the bottom for journey times (this is todays press release about IEP batch 2)

    Great Western

    Column 1 = Typical journey time today from / to London Paddington
    Column 2 = Journey time on class 800 series from / to London Paddington
    Column 3 = Time saving

    Reading 25 23 2
    Oxford 58 53 5
    Worcester Shrub Hill 139 120 19
    Cheltenham Spa 135 112 23
    Bristol Parkway 81 71 10
    Bath Spa 87 79 8
    Bristol Temple Meads 105 83 22
    Cardiff 121 104 17
    Swansea 178 159 19

    that’s 20 minutes or more added to Bristol-London journey times, quite apart from the actual cost of stopping in terms of fuel and brake wear
    Surely all the non emergency braking on the sections to Bristol and Oxford will be electrical (as most electric traction today) and also regenerative?

    As a 9 car IEP will have 131 more seats than the max of and FGW HST, they appear to be adding capacity by “longer” trains rather than more services.

  266. Castlebar says:

    @ ngh

    Yes, “Longer trains” is certainly the fashionable buzz phrase of the moment.
    Perhaps they will provide the “satisfactory outcome” (last year’s buzz phrase) we are all looking for

    Please, “How long is the next train??”
    A: “12 coaches”

  267. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham H,

    A lot of points in what you write.

    Freight and passenger traffic isn’t a good mix. Effectively you have to decide whether you are operating a freight railway with, probably, some passenger traffic fitted in or vice versa. North America clearly went the freight route as have large parts of Australia. Beeching clearly wanted to go that way. In general, we in the UK don’t seem to (yet) have a sufficient critical mass of freight to justify its own tracks let alone its own routes.

    I do wonder if the NNL is a bit like European airspace. You can’t take off and are kept waiting at Schiphol because a landing slot isn’t yet available at Heathrow. Or isn’t freight that advanced and they let the train depart Thamesside anyway?

    I also wonder if 3 track railways are far more useful for mixed freight/passenger lines. Effectively the third track is a long freight loop for use in either direction. 3 track railways are not that useful for passenger services because what goes out generally comes back within a relatively short time. To get vaguely back on topic, I wonder how much an intermittent fifth track would help on the line out of Paddington to the west of Action Yard.

    Regarding the Swiss I am not sure what you say is entirely true. Maybe for the moment for the Gotthard until the new line is completed. But for the Lötschberg I believe it is a case of “you turn up on time or we send you on the old (higher level) route”.

  268. Graham H says:

    @PoP – You are right – the problem of “turn up and go” starts right at the loading bays – despatchers are only too keen to see the dock freed up for the next ship or batch, or whatever. [I recently studied – for some Japanese investors – a dedicated freight line in India; quite apart from the business case which was worse than poor, the Indians proposed to feed freight on and off the line without any sort of holding facilities; given that the line was single with loops and supposed to be full on day 1, it wasn’t clear why the whole thing wouldn’t collapse within about 2 hours of opening. I believe the Japs took their money elsewhere.]

    A propos the BLS – diversion over the hill is a severe penalty (and a good one to enforce time keeping) as there is not only a substantial time penalty but the likelihood is that the train would need additional (unplanned) traction.

    I would go further than you about the 3 line solution – I would build not HS2 but re-open the GC as a freight only route starting at the East-West link and running up to Yorkshire, and use it to remove freight from both EC and WC. Cheap – no stations – say £25m a mile for 200 miles + something for avoiding Nottingham and Leicester (no need to visit the city centres there) . Say £5-6 bn to do the job. Tweak EC and WC to deliver 140 mph running (£4bn?) and hey presto, HS2’s job done for a quarter of the price. Alright, maybe slightly slower than a maglev, but as HS2’s critics are beginning to say, the value of time saved is pretty low.

  269. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar – that’s not a joke, alas; my son, who spent a year as the station manager at Guildford reported numerous questions along the lines of “When does the 5 o’clock train leave? “

  270. stimarco says:


    “Yes, “Longer trains” is certainly the fashionable buzz phrase of the moment.”

    Given that this is exactly how the rest of the bloody planet runs its trains, I’m curious as to why it’s considered such a no-no in the UK.

    Quite why the UK insists on running its national network like a glorified extension of the London Underground, I’ve no idea. It is most certainly not normal from an international context.

  271. mr_jrt says:

    …because it’s more useful to (and thus, more attractive, and thus, more used by) the public when you don’t have to wait long for a train?

    Are you seriously arguing something like a 2tpd 24-car service is better than 24tpd 2-car services?

  272. Castlebar says:

    mr jrt

    You certainly have a point

    The public want a turn up and go service as per LU services.

    Therefore, the usual 4 or 8 car trains at frequent intervals WILL attract more paying bums on seats than an hourly 12 car service.

    London Transport proved this absolutely 50 years ago when they reduced frequent Green Line coach services to Routemaster coaches on some routes. Yes, more seats per hour, but fewer people were prepared to use them because of the increased service gap. Now there are no seats at all as the service subsequently atrophied.

    Lessons still to be learned by some

  273. Snowy says:

    @ Graham H

    That would be a rehash of the central railway proposal back from 2003. Didn’t get very far for a multitude of reasons one of which was that Nimbys dislike new rail lines soley for freight even less than they probably dislike new high speed lines! You’d have even more of an ‘outcry’ than HS2 is getting!

  274. Anonymous says:

    A different take on what HS2 might mean for the rest of the network

  275. Fandroid says:

    Responding to Stimarco’s comment about the UK being out of step : The UK system would be a great help in Germany’s Rhineland. I regularly face having to get from Köln to Düsseldorf Airport in time to check-in and go through fairly serious security procedures. However, I cannot guarantee my journey start time within 30 mins or so. DB offer two double-deck RE trains per hour on the route with timing gaps of roughly 40 mins and 20 mins (not untypical on DB) . Regular IC and ICE trains go at random intervals from Köln to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, but (a) they cost more & (b) they don’t serve the airport. There are direct S-Bahn services, but they are grindingly slow due to their all-station stop pattern, and the frequency is never better than 3 tph. (And the RE trains can be absolutely rammed at any time of day too!)

    For a prosperous region with 12 million pop, you would expect something a bit better. Give me the British obsession with very frequent services any day!

  276. Graham H says:

    @Snowy – 2003? That was then, before we had the current HS2 proposals in front of us. My point in putting up the “clay” of “FS1” was to demonstrate the lack of any strategic vision for the rail network, its purpose, or its economic and land use context. Instead, we are faced with a series of stand alone projects such as HS2, East-West, Electric Spine and so forth which merely fit where they touch. The debate in this forum about OOC shows only too clearly the effects of this “adventious” approach to planning, accompanied by a desperate scrabble to make all the newly-discovered bits of the jigsaw fit with each other. “Ready, shoot, aim” as they say.

    @stimarco – I’m sorry to say I’m old enough to remember Dr Beeching. His first suggestion for Leeds was that it was served by a daily 24 coach train from London… (although I suspect that even he had his tongue firmly in his cheek at the time). Perhaps more to the point in view of Fandroid’s German example, is the practice of a number of German tram operators in the sixties and seventies in which longer and longer trams were introduced to enable offpeak and evening services to be steadily reduced, even to hourly in some cases. [The RheinHardtBahn was a notable case ].

  277. Castlebar says:

    @ Graham H

    I also remember Beeching’s one 24 coach train a day proposal for Leeds

    I don’t think he had his tongue in cheek at all. I think he meant it.

    It fits in with some of his ideas for the SW of England (no trains west of Salisbury, etc)

    Thank goodness that there were still some blokes like Gerry Fiennes still around. “He tried to run a railway”

  278. Moosealot says:

    Presently off-peak HST services call at Slough or Maidenhead which is hardly a good use of the main lines or the express rolling stock. The fast lines would ideally be used only by 125mph+ services that don’t stop before Reading.

    Off-peak HST services to Slough are 14-17 minutes Ex-Paddington and peak fast-to-Slough DMU services exist that are timetabled at around 23 minutes and occasionally manage it. The Heathrow Connect service is timetabled at 20 minutes from Paddington to Hayes & Harlington, probably 22 if a stop at OOC is added, so to keep Slough/Maidenhead trains within shouting distance of their current times they will need a 10-minute headway which isn’t possible if you need to average one train every 3-4 minutes.

    A through train would catch up with an all-stations one with a 3-4 minute start at somewhere around West Ealing; Hanwell, the next station is about 3/4 mile away so the stopping service would be travelling at low speeds, therefore stopping in a passing loop would not present a significant time penalty or use any additional paths. I hoped it would be obvious that a passing loop would be created by slewing the Up relief to the North and putting the down loop in the middle rather than forcing a conflicting move but apparently it wasn’t. A grander scheme involving significant modifications to W Ealing and Hanwell stations and widening a road bridge East of Hanwell would allow a mile-ish long bidirectional through line which would allow a little additional flexibility; combined with the freight loop between Iver and West Drayton, it may be possible to get one freight; one all-stations Heathrow; one Ealing Bdwy, H&H, all stations to Reading, and one Slough, Maidenhead, Reading into a 15-minute pattern. Unused freight paths would allow for recovery.

  279. Castlebar says:

    @ Moosealot

    Isn’t Hanwell station and the viaduct either Grade 1 or Grade II listed??

    If so, there’s notalot you can do with the basic structures there

  280. Mark Townend says:

    I remember there was a scheme years ago, before HEX was dreamed up, to provide a long bi-directional ‘dynamic loop’ between the slow (relief) lines between Hayes and Langley. The section around West Drayton was later partly resurrected as a ‘right turn lane’ in association with the aborted ‘LIFE’ freight terminal proposal on the Colnbrook branch. A new scheme could take 3 tracks from airport junction through Langley station (now the oil sidings have gone) and possibly all the way to Slough.

    A fast train on a bypass line really needs to be able to skip 2 or 3 sequential stopping train platforms so neither train risks any delay at the re-merging junction. With 4 aspect signalling a following fast can ‘close up’ on a stopper, running on double yellows at near full speed to some extent just before the diverge point which might allow shorter loops to be useful to segregate stopping patterns. ETCS with more flexible block lengths might allow this effect to be exploited to a greater extent.

  281. Graham H says:

    @Mark Townend – another way of doing this, but without the infrastructure investment , is to flight the trains – the downside is that you lose nice round clockface times, but apart from a 4 tph Oxford service, that might not matter so much.

  282. stimarco says:

    @Fandroid, Graham H, et al:

    If you’re going to continue running the UK’s “nationwide metro” service pattern, you’re going to need a bigger, more resilient, boat network.

    France, despite its underinvestment problems with its “classic” network, has around 30000 kilometres of track (including 1900 km. of TGV). The UK has about half that total, while its public insists it should be running trains to everywhere in the country at 2 tph. or more.

    This is not tenable in the long term: something has to give. As others have pointed out, freight is a terrible fit for such intensive service patterns: Either you need fewer, but longer, trains (with reliable timekeeping, so you can avoid the German problem mentioned earlier), or you need to build more physical infrastructure. Either way, someone’s going to have to pay for it. HS2 is only the beginning.


    Airport strategy:

    Some posters have mentioned the Cliffe project, which I have no truck with: the only viable (and technically plausible) “Thames Estuary Airport” project I’ve read about to date is the original Testrad Jubilee Airport project proposed by the team led by Doug Oakervee. (Note that this project has been supported by the GLA for some time now, including funding.)

    An airport at Cliffe makes absolutely no logical sense: it merely replicates Heathrow’s mistake to the east of London instead. (Yes, it’s technically outside the M25, but for historical reasons, the M25 passes a bit closer to London on its eastern side than on its western side. Cliffe isn’t much further to the east of London than Heathrow is to its west.)

    Unlike the Testrad project, the Cliffe airport would be built on existing land, which is mostly marsh, with some wetlands too. It really is more susceptible to fog, bird-strikes, and offers the same poor flight paths over London and noise pollution. Furthermore, the area between Dartford and Gravesend is seeing tens of thousands of new homes built as part of the Thames Gateway initiative.

    The “Jubilee Airport” proposal, on the other hand, is far enough out of London that flight arrival and departure paths will cause far less noise. (And, yes, for the umpteenth time, the Testrad report does also explain why issues like bird strikes and fog are no better or worse than at Heathrow. Doug Oakervee clearly has form with major infrastructure projects.)

    (Re. the SS Richard Montgomery: this shipwreck is decaying quicker than expected and it seems likely that it will need to be dealt with once and for all sooner, not later. Certainly long before any construction might begin on a new airport. It matters not if a new airport is built in / near the river, or whether Stansted or Gatwick are expanded instead: that ship has to be sorted out regardless.)


    Meanwhile, back in Old Oak Common…

    I think an interchange station here makes sense whether Heathrow remains an airport or is replaced by spires of glass and concrete. The GWML has no major interchanges like the WCML’s Willesden Junction, the ECML’s Finsbury Park, the GEML’s Stratford and the southern networks’ Clapham Junction. Adding a decent interchange at OOC would fix that gap in the GWML’s service provision.

    OOC might make it easier to have fewer long-distance services calling at Reading, which could help with timetabling.

    (Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if fewer services from Paddington ran beyond Bristol Temple Meads after electrification: it might be more logical to only run through services from London to Plymouth and beyond during off-peak hours only, with peak-hour services from the extreme south-west terminating at Bristol TM instead of running under the wires all the way to Paddington.)

  283. stimarco says:

    On freight…

    Does anyone know if there has been any research into a “Freight Electrical Multiple Unit” concept?

    This might not be viable for some types of freight service where frequent shunting is needed, but for the “merry-go-round” bulk freight runs, where the same train basically runs back and forth between the same two locations, there might be some logic to fitting the hopper trucks with powered axles to improve traction and overall performance of the train. Granted, you wouldn’t want to fit a pantograph to every other hopper, but running a power and control bus along the train wouldn’t be the safety problem it is on a traditional passenger EMU, so that might be an option.

    Eliminating the need for a dirty great big locomotive or two at the head of the train could also reduce track access charges as the weight of the power plant would be effectively spread all along the train.

    I expect there are probably big problems with such an approach, but I’m curious if anyone has done any R&D on such a concept. I’ve certainly never come across any.

  284. timbo says:

    “but running a power and control bus along the train wouldn’t be the safety problem it is on a traditional passenger EMU”

    No? a nice big electric park next to 30 tons of coal could be interesting.

    There is an obvious problem with electric traction and freight, which is that the wires get in the way of loading. And 3rd rail in a goods yard creates its own problems.

    As far as I am aware no MGR services, at least in the UK operate on electric traction. the only exception was the traffic to Fiddlers ferry over the Woodhead line, but these only used electrics locos for the middle part of the run.

  285. long branch mike says:


    Canadian Pacific Railway is a world leader in using diesel distributed power (locomotives placed in the front, middle, & sometimes the end of freight trains). Mind you some of rational for this is to cross the Rocky Mountain range. Nonetheless, sophisticated computer modeling has been researched on the effect of distributed power to improve efficiency and speeds going over hills & around curves. For the latter, the distributed power reduces the lateral forces on the track in curves.

    I can look up articles & links for this if anyone wishes.

  286. stimarco says:


    Coal isn’t that easy to ignite. If it was, steam locomotives would never have been able to use it due to the early models’ tendency to emit lots of sparks with their smoke.

    Also, last time I checked, coal-fired power stations tend to have coal sitting around in piles waiting to be burned. In all the years of coal-fired electricity generation in the UK, not one instance has been recorded of an electrical spark causing a major conflagration.

    However, you do raise a valid point about traditional electrification systems.

    A hybrid system might be viable though: the driving unit(s)* could provide the connection to the OHLE above (and / or third rail below), and also include a diesel generator to provide sufficient power to shove the wagons around the coal mine / power station loops when the wires aren’t available. The loading and unloading phases tend to be done at relatively low speeds, so you wouldn’t need a full-on diesel locomotive to provide the necessary power.

    * (One at each end might be useful.)

  287. Graham h says:

    @stimarco – freight d/emus? The Germans acquired a fleet of these from Windhoff a few years back but couldn’t make the concept work in logistical terms (the initial concept was to replace WLF operations with these, setting off as individual vehicles from the yards, and joining into trains at convenient points). NR’s MPVs, technically, are lineal descendants of these.

    Not sure what you had in mind by a “nationwide boat network” but I agree with you that more investment in the system is inevitable to maintain service intervals. The question is whether it is better to do that by buying additional passenger capacity or by getting rid of freight to achieve the same effect. Do not bad mouth a more frequent service – if that’s what the public pay for through their subsidy, then it’s up to the specifiers to procure it.

    One issue that needs considering is the effect on frequency of the introduction of track access charges. Before the infrastructure was re-capitalised in 1994, the cost of running a train was dominated by crew and fuel. The cost of running extra trains rose according to their numbers. After re-capitalisation, 40% of all train service costs were track (of which only about 1/3 varied according to volume of service), 40% was rolling stock leasing charges (of which less than half varied with use), and only 20 % was TOC operations of which less than half was crew. All in all, suddenly, less than a quarter of industry costs varied with the volume of train service; running marginal trains became a good bet, particularly if there was a crew and train that was otherwise unused – in fact, in 1995, we calculated that the marginal GATEx would cost as little as £75 to run (basically, the fuel) and a marginal LTS, £50. Given that the frequency/volume elasticity seems a good deal higher than admitted by the PDFH, are you surprised that TOCs had every incentive to run additional trains. [The adoption of cost pass through access charges has damped down the effect more recently, as has the sort of maintenance deals noted elsewhere in these columns, but the die was already cast 15 years ago].

  288. stimarco says:

    @Graham H:

    “Not sure what you had in mind by a “nationwide boat network” “

    Odd. The “boat” should be appearing crossed-out. I know I put the “strikeout” tags in and checked it in the preview. [TEST: This sentence be crossed-out. It appears crossed-out in the preview.]


    That aside, no other country seems to run its rail network this way, and none of their users seem to complain. We’re happy to run multiple trains per hour between cities like London and Newcastle or Glasgow, yet no airline comes close to offering such frequencies; why should our trains? Because a general public ignorant of the economics of running a railway says so? Is that really a way to run national infrastructure?

    And it’s not a new thing either: the UK has been running short, frequent, trains between towns and cities more than 100 miles apart for generations—far longer than the last 15 years or so. I’ve been travelling both in the UK and abroad since I was a child, and I was aware of the differences as far back as the late ’70s.

    That track access charges have artificially skewed the economics in favour of running ever more frequent, and short, services doesn’t change the fact that it’s an inefficient use of the infrastructure. Trains are most efficient when transporting large quantities of stuff—coal, aggregates or people—in bulk, over fairly long distances. Perhaps it’s escaped the public’s attention, but not even urban metro networks built using traditional rail technologies tend to make a profit. Why do they expect a national system to do so?

    However, if this is indeed what the public want—and nobody appears to be actually asking them, while also ensuring they can make an informed decision—they really need to stop moaning and whining about how much it costs to run such an unusual service pattern over their national rail network. They only have themselves to blame.

  289. stimarco says:

    @Mod(s) / Webmaster:

    The “strikeout” tag doesn’t appear to be working. (See above for details). It works fine in the preview, but doesn’t appear in the final post.

  290. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Yes, unfortunately some of the features get removed at the point where the post is updated. I was told that this was for security but it ought to be shown in the preview and in any case I cannot see why strikeout doesn’t work. It is the same for underscore. Wait until John Bull is a bit more in circulation and send him an email.

    If I update a comment in the admin area strikeout doesn’t work but underscore does – not that it is any consolation to you, stimarco.

    To add to the confusion, <del> works OK which is functionally identical to <strikeout>.

  291. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: “Tweak EC and WC to deliver 140 mph running (£4bn?)”: Given that it took £10 billion to get the WCML from 110mph to 125mph, £2 billion per line seems massively optimistic.

    I do hope that everyone here comparing the cost of their own pet schemes with the £42 billion of HS2 (often, I notice, rounded up to £50bn for effect) has remembered to add on the 30% optimism bias for a fair comparison. Past experience suggests that upgrade projects on existing railways carry more risk of overrun than new lines on greenfield sites.

    @stimarco: “France, despite its underinvestment problems with its “classic” network, has around 30000 kilometres of track (including 1900 km. of TGV). The UK has about half that total”: Mainland France is also, as it happens, about half the geographic of Great Britain, which suggests that the network density is about the same. A distinctive thing about the British network is that there is a higher proportion of 4-track railway than most countries which makes a more intensive service possible. You say that “This is not tenable in the long term”, yet then you say that this has been the case for “far longer than the last 15 years or so”: so it sounds to me like British service patterns are in fact sustainable.

    “and also include a diesel generator to provide sufficient power to shove the wagons around the coal mine / power station loops when the wires aren’t available”: Alternatively, save the cost of lugging around a diesel engine with you that you are not using all the time by using a separate small diesel locomotive that stays in the sidings. Even the Swiss, with their fully electrified network, have a use for diesel shunters.

    “no other country seems to run its rail network this way, and none of their users seem to complain”: You mean apart from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan.

    Actually Japan is a good example of how extremely frequent long distance services can in fact be profitable. If the marginal cost of running more services is less than the extra revenue they bring in, why wouldn’t you run them? In other words, why would you put a premium on maximising efficiency over maximising total revenue? Have track access charges artificially skewed the economics, or is it the mindset that the track and rolling stock are “free” because they have already been paid for that has encouraged underutilisation of assets in the past?

  292. Graham H says:

    @Ian J – as I recall, the savings between PUG1 and PUG2 were relatively small, so reversing that decision should be correspondingly small, and on other routes, the infrastructure will take 140 mph (Remember the 140 Club?) but NR Group Standards are more cautious than their predecessors.

    BTW, you will not find me guilty of rounding up the HS2 cost.

    @stimarco – You are wrong when you say that the UK has been running high frequency services over long distances for many years. Right through into the ’60s, and even the ’70s, most of what are now the intercity routes and the Regional Alphaline services had at best hourly intervals, but often with long gaps, with extensive portion working; the change took place in the late ’70s (ie well before track access charges altered the financial signals given to train operators; the advent of access charges has merely reinforced something that had already happened).

    Do other railways behave similarly to the UK? Besides, those cited by Ian J, one might usefully add Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Czecho… in fact, most of Europe apart from Spain (where rail was a basket case until very recently), France (twice the size for the same population, as Ian points out), and Italy (fast becoming a rail basket case).

    Why do it? Well, the punters vote for it with their feet and have done so since well before the present practice of buying volume aka yield management. The growth in loadings on the ex Alphaline routes have been especially marked.

    Does it fly in the face of railway economics? No. In the railway business, like many others, there is a balance to be struck between prices, costs, and quality and that balance can be struck at a number of different points but with the same business outcome (crudely put, a successful business can equally be Tescos or Fortnums). In econo speak, there is a series of indifference curves between the different production factors. Long distance train travel strikes a different balance compared with, say, commuter or metro travel, and each will therefore use a different combo of prices, quality, asset utilisation, and so on. There is no inevitability that rail technology and economics will always favour long distance travel. As recent UK franchise experience shows, it is, in fact the long distance TOCs which have fallen over, and the commuter TOCs which have started to pay premiums. [Incidentally, this was already beginning to be visible in the business plans that BR were drawing up in the years before privatisation ].

    Is the analogy with air travel useful? No. The economics of air travel are considerably different to rail. For starters, air travel consumes infrastructure when taking off and landing but obviously not in between, and that rate of consumption is invariate to the distance travelled. Rail consumes infrastructure according to distance. Again, fuel costs loom large in air operators’ calculations; with rail much less so.

    All these critical points apart, it is difficult not to agree that the different types of useage need to be separated as far as possible in the same corridor. The advantage of conventional rail (as opposed to the unmentionables beginning with M) is, however, that often facilities can be usefully combined with synergies (ugh) in areas such as depots, stations, and technical support.

  293. Greg Tingey says:

    The fast lines would ideally be used only by 125mph+ services that don’t stop before Reading. … and only about half of those, actually – first stop Bath or Stoke Gifford!

    Listed? Didn’t stop BR from knocking down the buildings at Hanwell, did it? ( After a minor fire ) And you can always build a n other viaduct, parallel to the existing, can’t you? Money permitting, that is, ahem.

  294. Paying Guest says:

    @Greg T

    The fast lines would ideally be used only by 125mph+ services that don’t stop before Reading. … and only about half of those, actually – first stop Bath or Stoke Gifford!

    That one won’t fly. Too many influential people commuting in 1st class from Wiltshire who won’t stand for 1 tph

  295. peezedtee says:

    @Graham H
    I like your plan to reopen the Great Central for freight and to tweak WCML and ECML for 140mph, all this instead of HS2. I have no idea if your cost estimates for these are right or not, but one other problem is that the whole industry seems to have become hostile to any major main-line upgrade schemes because of the unhappy experience of the last WCML upgrade, not just in cost terms but because of the huge disruption while it was going on. Has anyone studied the way that project was handled in order to learn lessons from it on how to do it better (and cheaper)? Or are there never going to be major whole-line upgrades again? (If the latter, what on earth are we going to do about the Brighton main line if, as seems to be the consensus here, BML2 is a non-starter?) How do other countries manage this?

  296. peezedtee says:

    On the subject of high-frequency (“turn up and go”) long-distance trains :

    Not I think mentioned so far here, but it has been pointed out several times in the railway press that the whole idea of regular-interval turn-up-and-go services, such as we now have on London-Manchester, seems to be incompatible with the “book well ahead if you want to be able to afford to travel at all” state of affairs brought about by so-called yield management — at any rate as long as these advance tickets tie you to one specific train named on the ticket. I have also come to realise that “yield management” seems to be about maximising Virgin’s profits, whereas with air travel it is supposed to be about maximising the load factor. As keeps being pointed out (especially by opponents of HS2 who don’t really believe there is an insuperable capacity problem with the existing network), quite a lot of Virgin trains to Manchester are actually nowhere near full.

    From a commonsense passenger’s point of view, it is obvious that the peak fares are far too high and the very cheapest fares (£19) rather too low. At all events, if your ticket says that you have to get the 10.20 train or lose your money, it is of absolutely use to you that there also happens to be a train at 10.00 and another at 10.40. So maybe “turn up and go” is relevant only to the small proportion of pax who are businesspeople on expense accounts?

  297. Mark Townend says:

    @Graham H 07:11AM, 19th July 2013

    “different types of useage need to be separated as far as possible”

    Or on the same tracks different service types need to be matched as far as possible by their average speed to use paths most efficiently (and assuming suitable filter/holding lines are provided at interface junctions and stations so they can actually be used) e.g. the case I mentioned earlier: fast intermodal and regional passenger. A freight haulier might want to use 60MPH wagons or traction however instead of 75MPH, or can’t provide sufficient power to keep up over the hills. This consumes paths just as much as additional services. Similarly a passenger operator might wish to tweak top speed up from 90 to 110MPH, eating paths. Path charges really need to take this into account, at least on the busiest parts of the network at the busiest times.

  298. Anonymous says:

    @peezedtee, 10:02AM, 19th July 2013

    Don’t forget outside the peaks, which admittedly have been stretched over the years, there are walk-on off peak and super off peak fares which are not train specific and are pitched somewhere in the lower middle fares range. These correspond to the old BR saver and super saver fares. Unfortunately the time based validity can lead to severe overcrowding on the first train after the evening peak period heading out of London, often after several previous services have left only moderately loaded shortly before. Perhaps in the future there may be more variability in train specific fares bought right up to the time of departure. That could work very well with frequent service – i.e. catch the next but one train in half an hour and save some money.

  299. Chris says:

    @peezedtee – Reopening the GCR would be little cheaper than building an entirely new line from scratch, what little you save from earthworks in open countryside you lose being tied to an old formation, having to compensate and mitigate for all the residential development that’s grown up on or alongside it.

    You’d be better off starting from scratch, allowing far more freedom to avoid sensitive or residential areas while allowing it to serve those that actually have the most pressing need for extra capacity – the extra cost of then building it as a high speed line are more than justified by the far greater and wider reaching benefits.

    After all, a freight or mixed-use conventional mainline much of which only competes with the MML would do little if anything about increasing passenger or seat capacity into or through Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London, and while it did serve Nottingham and Leicester the formation has been lost to development.

  300. Slugabed says:

    Chris 11:23 19/07
    The difference,of course,is that the old GC formation is “brownfielld” land as opposed to the acres of greenfield land (preservation of which is acknowledged to be at a premium) currently threatened by HS2.
    What would be,I wonder,the difference in land values between a) buying up the houses which stand in the way of the GC to Nottingham and b) buying up the threatened houses in Camden and then all the land purchases necessary to get HS2 all the way to Birmingham?
    The beauty of Graham H’s proposal (ex GC line re-opened as a freight corridor) is that there is no need to engineer for high-speed running and the formation is generous enough for OHLE and modern containers.It would provide relief for at least three other mainlines which,we are told,are at or near capacity.

  301. stimarco says:

    @Graham H:

    I’ve actually used the services in Switzerland. There are some frequent services in the northern, (flatter), part of the country, but once you hit the mountains, it sure as hell isn’t “turn up and go” on most lines, although they are certainly punctual. You’ll see more trains using the Gotthard and other cross-country tunnels, but that’s because these are mainly through services to Italy, often from other countries like France and Germany.

    Italy’s rail services also have many international routes that just happen to stop at places like Milan or Turin on their way to Switzerland, Austria, France, Belgium, Denmark or Germany. This is true of many ‘crossroads’ nations: it’s not that there is necessarily huge internal demand for services between, say, Berlin and Munich, but that there are many national and international services that just happen to pass through them both.

    The UK has negligible ‘through traffic’: almost all its rail demand comes from within its borders. HS1 is very much an edge case there. HS2 may change this to an extent, but the planned, half-baked single-track link with HS1 will inherently limit access to and from the continent.

    You can get to Copenhagen, Rome and Venice direct from any of Paris, Berlin or Prague, among others. No need to change train if you get the right service. Most individual EU nations are not closed, self-sufficient and fully self-contained like the UK when it comes to transport infrastructure.

  302. Graham H says:

    @Mark Townend. Indeed, BR’s OR department demonstrated the mathematics of maximising capacity back in the late ’80s. The best option is for every train to have exactly the same performance and stopping pattern. A glance at the graphical for, say, a metro, shows that clearly. Freight is a great consumer of capacity simply because it is so slow to accelerate, even if it can keep up once it has got going. The EU regulations concerning access pricing do envisage an extra charge for using scarce capacity but so far that hasn’t been implemented in the UK. On the contrary, freight charges were set at a nice round £100m at the time of privatisation in a specific move designed to make the freight businesses attractive and hassle -free. Charges have developed a little since then but not radically enough, passenger operators might argue.

    @Chris – the utility of re-opening the old GC formation is that it relieves all the northbound main lines, not just the MML (just as the old GC passenger services attempted to compete with GN, MR, and LNW.) I would be the last to argue that putting it back would be trouble free and it would certainly require remediation to ward off the nimbys, but it probably wouldn’t be necessary to extend it south of Calvert, where it could pick up traffic from Felixstowe bound for the north/midlands. That may be rather further than dragging the trains over the NLL, but as just noted, access charges can be tweaked legitimately to steer the traffic away from the congested spots. [Picking up the Thamesside traffic is more problematic as the mileage increase is significantly larger, but again, freight has a low value of time but a high premium for reliability and that should form the basis of the pitch to the FOCs.

    @peezedtee and others – it’s far from clear that the much vaunted Virgin yield management structures have actually increased the yield per p/km. in 1992, WC’s turn over was £400m = £ 700m or thereabouts at today’s prices. Virgin’s revenue is about 50% bigger but their train/km are nearly double and p/km are up perhaps 50% also (it’s not straightforward to compare figures over 20 years because the basis of calculation for pkms has changed). The business covers pretty much the same clutch of routes. This suggests to my rotten cynical mind that they are getting about the same yield per pkm but having to work twice as hard as BR to get it. So much for 20 years of sophisticated yield management and commercial hardheadness.

  303. Mark Townend says:


    “the planned, half-baked single-track link with HS1 will inherently limit access to and from the continent”

    The dedicated single tunnel all the way from OOC to Primrose Hill would also be very poorly utilised compared to the pair heading to Euston, with perhaps only 6 trains and hour (if any at all) compared to up to 20 an hour in the other 2. All this extra tunnelling to avoid a junction cavern under Camden where the connector could join the two Euston tunnels and significantly reduce the single track length. As I’ve said before if we are going to the trouble of building extra tunnels from OOC lets bring the GWML to Euston as well and create the London superhub for all long distance intercity and international rail services.

  304. RichardB says:

    I have been fascinated by the debate about the need for frequent services. Interestingly enough the practice of numerous frequent services was apparent to foreign visitors (especially American ones) in the mid nineteenth century. The late Jack Semmons in his book The Victorian railway explores this feature in one of the chapters. It is also interesting to note that this was viewed with approbation by contemporary overseas commentators.

    Arguably it is in part a legacy from the independent companies which operated before 1914 but I think there are much more modern drivers for this – one example was the decision by BR to run two trains per hour from Kings Cross to Newcastle which was a tacit recognition that there was sufficient suppressed demand to merit this increase in the service and boy were they right.

    I feel contributors who criticise the aspiration and delivery of frequent services especially when they are more than one an hour miss the point. In the UK the view is now taken that our railway network exists primarily for passengers as opposed to freight and given the relatively small distances that freight can operate within the UK this is probably a rational outcome as freight seems to be most cost effective and profitable when it can run unit trains for long distances. The USA is an excellent example of this model. I know some capacity exists for longer distances using the channel tunnel but it is pretty small beer.

    I recall an article I read some time ago when Canadian National (CN) owned EWS railways now DB Schenker. The senior managers for EWS were invited to a senior corporate management team meeting in Canada during which it was impressed upon them that CN was a huge railroad outfit and operated 250 trains a day and occasionally 300 trains per day. This would also have included VIA operated passenger trains. The EWS managers were then asked about the scale of operations in the UK namely how many trains per day operated on the UK’s much smaller network. It was emphasised that they wanted to include our passenger trains in this figure. The answer was about 18000 per day. I only wish someone had recorded the impact this answer had on the audience! It was clearly unexpected and we now have well over 20000 trains per day on our network as the figure has increased since this question was posed.

    The public do expect a high frequency and arguably given we all contribute via taxation to the public subsidy of the railways this is not an unreasonable aspiration. The Beeching concept of one heavy train to Manchester and Leeds did not work then and is frankly risible now. Where I do feel there is scope for criticism is the dependence on excessively short trains. We should never have ended up with trains of two or one coaches. Depending on demand I would suggest the absolute minimum should have been five coaches for any service with longer rakes for more heavily patronised services.

    Cross Country is an excellent example where they decided to replace lengths of seven coaches for ones of four or five coaches albeit with a higher frequency. This was a serious error of judgement as anyne eho has had the misforture to travel on Cross Country can tell you. Another example was the original decision that Pendolino trains would consist of eight coaches an order which was rapidly changed to nine coaches and more recently increased to eleven coaches for about two thirds of the fleet. Interestingly enough the original Stagecoach bid for the franchise was for eleven coach trains which shows a certain prescience on their part which was not shared by Virgin who were awarded the franchise. Stagecoach subsequently became minority partners. I can’t help feeling that the decision to have a fleet of 10 coach trains for Crossrail is another such error and I suspect the need for an additional order to make each rake 12 coaches will become apparent within 12 months of implementation.

    Of course in the good old days if you were rich enough and faced with a long wait for a service you would then demand a private train for the princely sum of £25. Rolling stock availability was such that the companies could respond to such demands. There is at least one example when an aristocrat on being told that he had missed the train merely responded with “Fetch me another” and for £25 an engine and two coaches were swiftly provided.

  305. Graham H says:

    @Stimarco – so have I, almost every year since 1957. I have open in front of me the Swiss timetable for 2013; for example, Zuerich-Chur twice an hour + a stopper from Ziegelbruecke; or on a rack line, Visp-Zermatt, half hourly; Rapperswil- Arth=Goldau twice an hour. These frequencies, from typical Swiss secondary routes, compare with those over much of Britain, deep rural lines excepted. Same story in Belgium, Netherlands etc etc – but not France where you’d be lucky to see three trains a day (or rather 3 buses pretending to be trains*) other than on the LGVs and the old Ligne Imperiale

    I don’t believe anyone was claiming that the UK, nor anyone else, had universal turn up and go services, merely high frequency ones like eg Switzerland or the Benelux countries. Turn up and go fares are something else of course, as other posts on this thread have discussed.

    *That is if you could actually find the timetable published anywhere!

  306. Mark Townend says:

    @Graham H

    “Freight is a great consumer of capacity simply because it is so slow to accelerate, even if it can keep up once it has got going.”

    Hence the case for electrification of key freight arteries. I really want to see a successful growing freight industry alongside the passenger railway, but the hauliers must play their part and invest in modern electric traction. They stand to gain significant efficiencies in stock and staff utilisation from faster transits and longer trains. I remember Ed Burkhardt (in the news again recently under very unfortunate circumstances) in the early EWS days saying our fast passenger railway environment helped push freight efficiency and performance positively compared to his familiar N American experience.

  307. Chris says:

    @slugabed – the earthworks of the former line through open countryside can hardly be described as ‘brownfield land’ and good luck convincing those affected otherwise – whether you are using sections of the former GCR formation for a high capacity freight line, or HS2 as is currently planned, people will be upset, demand compensation and require expensive mitigation. A new formation avoiding, as far as possible, residential and sensitive can be both cheaper and kinder to the local environment.

    IMHO the idea that a freight line could relieve the WCML, ECML, and MML is a fallacy – how many freight trains do you see on the fast and slow lines during the peaks? How many paths would removing them actually free up for passenger services, seeing as those freight trains don’t run into the congested termini of Euston, New St, Piccadilly etc?

    Railfreight is important and more capacity needs to be provide BUT such traffic is only a very small proportion of overall services using these congested mainlines, especially during the peaks. Removing such traffic would have little effect on journey times or capacity for long distance services, would not allow longer or double deck trains, would not increase capacity at the various termini, could not cater for all freight flows using sections of the ECML/WCML/MML… need I go on?

    If there is any case for reopening the GCR as a freight line, it would have to be based on generating new traffic. It certainly isn’t a replacement in anyway for HS2.


  308. Chris says:

    @Mark Townend – the current plan makes perfect sense IMHO; a single track tunnel from OOC avoids the maintenance liability of underground junctions, the single longer bore is simpler and should therefore be cheaper than providing the caverns and tunnels needed to provide access between the up and down Euston bores and the Primrose Hill line *and* allows services between HS1 and OOC to operate independently from HS2.

  309. Moossealot says:

    Yes. Note I said don’t stop before Reading, i.e. they may or may not stop at Reading.
    Hanwell – my proposed loop would be East of Hanwell and not affect the viaduct.

    @Mark T
    The freight loop to the North of the relief lines from West Drayton to Iver? Extending it to immediately East of Langley requires works to one bridge over a minor road, which would be fine. Through Langley would require a complete re-build of the station and losing half the car park. Immediately West of Langley station there’s a road bridge in a dip, the same road goes *over* the canal less than 50m away and there’s a junction in the middle, so extending the bridge would require some serious earthworks for the road. Once you’ve done that, an industrial estate backs right up to the railway: the first building in the industrial estate is the Virgin Media telephone exchange which is going to be difficult and expensive to move. Not having worked near West Drayton station for 5 years, I don’t know quite so intimately how difficult it would be to extend the loop further East, but I imagine ‘quite’.

    @Paying Guest
    Are we talking about peak or off-peak timetables here? 1tph off-peak to London would probably be sufficient, possibly supplemented by another 1tph terminating at Reading (or Maidenhead?).

    Why route Devon & Cornwall services via Bristol? All reasonable times are made via Pewsey, ideally without stopping there (or at Castle Cary or Westbury either).

  310. Chris says:

    Some interesting comments from a recent Select Committee hearing into HS2 –

    First up is Crossrail’s Terry Morgan

    “…It may not be obvious, but at Old Oak Common we have had to work with HS2 quite heavily, because when HS2 comes along, there will be a new interchange station at Old Oak Common to interchange with Crossrail and it is really important that we do nothing that frustrates the plans for HS2. [b]We have done a certain amount of work in terms of design changes to ensure that we facilitate the arrival of HS2 at some stage in the future.[/b] The relationship is very strong. By working together, we have made some changes to the design at Old Oak Common for the better.”

    Then Tony Berkeley had this to say about how HS2 Ltd reacted to his ‘Euston Cross’ idea

    “We have had several meetings with them. First, they said they liked it, because they thought about it 10 years ago—I suppose that is a good start. They then said they had looked at it, and the costs were much too high and it would take too long”

  311. Greg Tingey says:

    Paying Guest
    If half the Bristol / S-Wales trains don’t stop @ Reading. the others will, & all the Oxfords & probably the Cheltenhams & Worcestors, & of course there’s that funny, twiddly line along the Kennet valley that goes to, err, Exeter?
    Don’t be silly!

    Study how it was done between Kings X & Newcastle, 1966 – 85 !
    A tweak here, a shave there, a re-alignment at a 3rd location, etc ….

    Richard B
    I always thought it was £25 + £/- per mile? ( OR was is £1 a mile? )
    Dr Watson was never forthcoming on how much he & Holmes were charged for “specials”.

  312. Paying Guest says:

    In terms of demand we are talking peak and shoulder period – say 0630 – 0900 leaving for Paddington and 1700 – 2000 evening return departures from Paddington. Agree that middle of the day 1tph would be quite adequate. But the original case raised by Graham H was the need to shave off minutes between Bristol and London, presumably peak as well as offpeak. Deleting stops @ Reading, Didcot & Swindon which already have frequent services would go a long way to achieving this without reducing the service to 1tph after Swindon en route Bath.

    @Greg T
    Suggest you read the comment before bursting into print. Which trains stop @ Reading is hardly relevant to Wiltshire commuters. Between London and Bath there are currently 2tph.

  313. Greg Tingey says:

    Paying Guest
    IF you are talking about Bath, than you would have an unchanged service … 1 next stop Padders, & one stopping @ Chippenham, Swindon (Didcot?) Reading / per hour.

    btw: – my comment on Victorian “specials” got mangled & truncated… It should have read: …
    …. it was £25 + 1/- per mile? ( OR was that £1 a mile? ) the former most likely, since the “parliamentary” rate was 1d per mile & first-class rarely exceeded 4d per mile, if ever.

  314. Slugabed says:

    Chris 2:19 19/07
    Unless it has been turned over to agricultural or other use,”Brownfield” land it certainly IS for planning purposes,regardless of its appearance.This description applies to derelict industrial or railway land in general.

  315. timbeau says:

    @Greg, Paying Guest, etc

    It’s not just about Reading commuters. Reading is an important interchange station (at least as important as the proposed OOC one). If the fast trains from Bristol and South Wales etc don’t call there, any passengers between Bristol/South Wales and the south of England (e.g Gatwick, Southampton, SW London, Oxford) will either have to use the all-stations services to Reading or go via London (or Westbury).

  316. timbeau says:

    @Greg, Paying Guest, etc

    It’s not just about Reading commuter traffic to London. Reading is an important interchange station (at least as important as the proposed OOC one). If the fast trains from Bristol and South Wales etc don’t call there, any passengers between Bristol/South Wales and the south of England (e.g Gatwick, Southampton, SW London, Oxford, the Heathrow coach connections) will either have to use the all-stations services to Reading or go via London (or Westbury).

  317. timbeau says:

    @Greg, Paying Guest, etc

    It’s not just about Reading commuter traffic to London. Reading is an important interchange station (at least as important as the proposed OOC one). If the fast trains from Bristol and South Wales etc don’t call there, any passengers between Bristol/South Wales and the south of England (e.g Gatwick, Southampton, SW London, Oxford, the Heathrow coach connections) will either have to use the all-stations services to Reading or go via London (or Westbury).

  318. timbeau says:

    @Greg, Paying Guest, etc

    It’s not just about Reading commuter traffic to London. Reading is an important interchange station (at least as important as the proposed OOC one). If the fast trains from Bristol and South Wales etc don’t call there, any passengers between Bristol/South Wales and the south of England (e.g Gatwick, Southampton, SW London, Oxford, the Heathrow coach connections) will either have to use the all-stations services to Reading or go via London (or Westbury).

  319. Paying Guest says:

    @Greg T
    And that is a 50% reduction in service for London commuters from Chippenham and also for the Bath/Bristol commuters from Chippenham.

  320. Paying Guest says:


    Absolutely, but I didn’t want to further complicate tghe argument for Greg T!

  321. peezedtee says:

    @Greg T “Study how it was done between Kings X & Newcastle, 1966 – 85 !
    A tweak here, a shave there, a re-alignment at a 3rd location, etc ….”

    — Yes, but the WCML is a lot curvier than the ECML, no? That’s why it already has tilting trains. The question is, how much more capacity can be got out of the WCML by that kind of gradualist, piecemeal approach?

    And would it worth the expense and disruption?

    I do not know the answers to these questions but I hope somebody does. I would like to know how seriously we should take the anti-HS2 people who are proposing that kind of alternative solution.

  322. Graham H says:

    @Chris – I suspect you may be misunderstanding what I had in mind in suggesting “FS1” aka the old GC north of Calvert J. A dedicated freight line should be able to offer about 12-15 paths an hour. At the moment, on the bottleneck parts of EC, WC and MMl, there are probably fewer than 10 freights actually passing (as opposed to the multiple paths that freight reserve) at any one time per hour. The concept is to get all those ten off the passenger routes; as you see, there should be comfortably enough room on FS1. The question of congestion at Euston is not relevant – the fast tracks out of Euston can carry 19 tph (20 with a flyunder/over) and in any case freight doesn’t go there. Removing freight altogether from WC would enable the infrastructure to be operated as a pair of 140 mph lines and a pair of 110s, thus sorting out the mix of 140/110 paths. The 140 lines should be able to take 15 trains comfortably, maybe 18. As the likely requirement is for 4 x Brums, 4 x Manchesters, 1-2 Liverpools, 2 Scottish and 1-2 Blackpools/Chesters/Stokes there should be a comfortable margin including the odd unused path for recovery.

    Others have raised the question of whether it is only tweaking needed to bring WC up to 140 mph. It actually may be even cheaper. The infrastructure will take 140 now and ECTS2 appears to require only some reprogramming. The stock is ready. Only NR are reluctant to sign it off until the safety case is put in front of them; just now, no one has an incentive to do so (or have been mugged by DfT to prevent the HS2 pitch being queered). I agree that more is needed on EC – re-quadrification – and eventual new OHLE and signalling, but those are needed anyway ere long. As to MML, electrification will bring London- Nottingham times down to 90 minutes. Toton is planned to be 70 but leaves you facing 20m of tram travel to access the city centre.

  323. Anonymous says:

    @Graham H, 12:36PM, 20th July 2013

    “The infrastructure will take 140 now . . . “

    Maybe quite an increase in rail wear and consequent maintenance cost particularly on all those curves?

    “As to MML, electrification will bring London- Nottingham times down to 90 minutes”

    Might be even quicker on the ECML via line speed improvement and electrification from Grantham.

    “Toton is planned to be 70 but leaves you facing 20m of tram travel to access the city centre.”

    Plus interchange time. Alternatively maybe 10 minutes travel time to Midland station on a heavy rail train. I think all trains east of Nottingham post HS2 should be diverted to also call at Totton whether going towards Chesterfield, Derby or London.

  324. Mark Townend says:

    @Chris, 02:47PM, 19th July 2013

    I understand the point of view. If the single track tunnel is to go ahead however, I think there needs to be a significant length of double track between the junction with HS1 and the Primrose Hill portal. At the OOC end, the number of platforms probably gives sufficient space to hold and regulate traffic but at the St. Pancras end the nearest holding point would be Stratford. The HS1 and HS2 junctions are also likely to be supervised by 2 separate control centres, so coordinating movements across the single line could prove difficult. Ideally HS1 should be able to stack a queue of trains independently onto the westbound track clear of the mainline into St. P forming a flight ready for passage through the single bore. Although there is much talk about only 6 trains an hour total, with efficient flighting the throughput could be considerably more, perhaps 8 an hour in each direction, with a long break only at direction change between the convoys.

  325. Chris says:

    @Graham H – I understand what you’re getting at, but ‘FS1’ simply wouldn’t achieve what you think it would let alone the step-change in track and seat capacity on our existing north-south mainlines HS2 is being built to deliver.

    What restricts track capacity today during the peaks is not the relatively limited amount of freight (is there anything even approaching 10 per hour each on the southern sections of the WCML/MML/ECML during the peaks? I find that hard to believe) but the need to cater for fast, semi-fast and slow passenger services, all with different stopping patterns, on only two pairs of lines – higher line speeds without addressing these conflicts would, if anything, exacerbate the issue whether there was the odd freight train or not.

    What HS2 produces is an extra 18 paths per hour PLUS, by effectively giving each service type their own pair of tracks, it reduces the conflicts between them and thus allows more of the theoretical capacity to be used. Simply removing a handful of freight trains during the peaks does not even remotely compare.


  326. Chris says:

    @Mark – In an emergency a HS2 service could await a path through Camden by waiting/reversing in a spare platform at St Pancras, which has its own connection to the NLL, though I suspect the platforms at Stratford will be more than sufficient given the likely number of through trains and the reliability of HS1.

    That said, if a dedicated place to hold trains *did* become necessary, the link between the NLL and HS1 portal appears to have room for double track which google maps suggests is long enough to ‘loop’ a 400m train.

    Either option, combined with the ability to hold a train at OOC, should be more than enough.


  327. Graham H says:

    @Chris – if you can produce the sort of service I indicate on a pair of 140s and a pair of 110s, what more are you looking to run on WC? There’s even scope for running 140s to Manchester and Brum every 10 m, however unlikely that may seem. 24 stoppers an hour between London and Brum? I think not. Nor is MML remotely full. I could see an argument on EC, where a couple more fast paths wouldn’t come amiss but for £43bn, you could comfortably afford to build a Welwyn tunnel.

  328. timbeau says:

    @anon 1306
    ” I think all trains east of Nottingham post HS2 should be diverted to also call at Totton whether going towards Chesterfield, Derby or London”

    Totton is near Southampton – that would be some diversion. I think you mean Toton.

    ……. and west of Nottingham, not east.

  329. Chris says:

    @Graham – Track capacity is already an issue for the WCML, especially for long distance services as Blackpool and Shrewsbury have just found out – by the mid 2020’s this is predicted to be true for seat capacity as well.

    What you seem to be proposing, that far more of the theoretical capacity during the peaks can be used by removing the odd freight train using the slow lines and increasing the maximum linespeed, is not credible – you’d free up few if any extra paths, while higher line speeds increases the impact of station stops and speed restrictions on following services.

    As for you’re remarks regarding MML and ECML capacity, the capacity issues being addressed by HS2 are *long term* – but as the WCML is going to be the worst affected that is where the benefits of HS2 are concentrated.

  330. Graham H says:

    @Chris – let me try again… what I am proposing is to remove the present capacity-consuming mix of trains on the fast lines, so that we have only 140 and only 110 trains on each pair. There may not be that many freight trains, but they do consume capacity disproportionately, for all the reasons that others have discussed in these columns. So, a cascade, if you like of semifasts onto the slow pair of tracks, to clear the fast pair. Doing this means that you can run 18 (maybe more ) fast trains including let us say, 4 Brums, 4 Manchester, 2 Liverpools, 2 Scotsmen and if you like 1 each Blackpool, Stoke, Chester, + somewhere else and you’d still have 2 spare paths.

    What additional destinations do you want and how many more tph do you foresee to the existing destinations? Even long term? It’s hardly credible that Blackpool (one of the poorest places in the UK) would justify 1500 seats to London every hour. That implies 1% of the population going to London every hour. Ditto Chester/North Wales, a city the size of Guildford (4tph) , but 7 times further away from London. Only if you believe in perpetual growth (are you a member of the government?) can you believe in a future in which the entire population of Chester travel to London four times a week (and catch 20 flights a year from Heathrow…). Long term? Shmong term? repeat, in terms of train operation, line capacity is maximised when all trains do the same thing. Having a two pairs of lines that provide for that achieves that objective; the price is to remove the non-conforming paths by means of a cascade – in this case, freight falls off the end.

    Anent MML and EC, HS2 doesn’t really address the former (an unattractive offer to any of the main centres of population), and there are better, cheaper solutions to the latter.

  331. Greg T ingey says:

    Timbeau’s triply-repeated comment …
    Actually, won’t there still be the ludicrously-overcrowded hourly cross-country services, which reverse @ Reading to shamble off to Basingstoke, etc?

  332. Mark Townend says:

    @timbeau, 04:48PM, 20th July 2013

    That was me being anon. before and getting my easts, wests and very souths muddled up – apologies to anyone confused thereby!

    The sentence should have read:

    I think all trains west of Nottingham post HS2 should be diverted to also call at Toton whether going towards Chesterfield, Derby or London

    (Note a new south to east chord at Trowell could help achieve this)

    @Chris, 03:36PM, 20th July 2013

    The viaduct connecting HS1 to NNL was definitely built for double track. Here is a layout idea for making the most of that . . .

    Note whilst I have not widened the Camden Rd bridges beyond what has already been proposed, I have extended the 3 track section slightly west of the junction to accomodate clear overlaps out onto the WCML freight connection for greater flexibility in this busy area, and I have provided generous standage clear of the single line for holding HS connection services with simultaneous parallel running on and off the connection from HS1.

  333. SAINTSMAN says:

    A bit more joined up thinking – Please forgive the length of post

    1. There is plenty of space at Old Oak Common (OOC) for a Chiltern station (just not yet).

    The track bed coming down the Ruislip Corridor (which needs to be returned to twin track), enters the OOC site crossing Old Oak Common Lane at the same level as the GWML etc. It arrives to the north of GWML tracks.

    The GWML- Crossrail 1 station with 8 platforms should be expanded, to accommodate 4 – 6 extra (terminal) platforms for Chiltern. To the north, HS2 station and the ‘greenway’ prevent a much larger station. The problem to the south is North Pole depot, which becomes available in 2032. As this land is scheduled for high density development, there should be no reason why this cannot still be built, just above this new track alignment and the extra platforms. So, ensure proper passive provision (especially in relation to LO alignment and station), then build the extra platforms as part of phase 4.

    The way the OOC station throat will work means these extra southern platforms would serve GWML. The original platforms will need juggling between Chiltern and Crossrail 1. Much will depend on where and how the Crossrail 1 Watford extension leaves the site. Track alignments all need careful design to passively provide for these changes.

    The added benefit is the GWML- Chiltern- Crossrail 1 station effectively gets closer to the LO station.

    2. Ruilsip Corridor Opportunity

    The consultation placing HS2 Ruislip corridor into tunnel is a very welcome debate as it leaves the existing tracks available for classic rail. As the Central line already has a suitable service along this corridor, it is not immediately desirable to TfL (LO services). However, Chiltern suffers from capacity at Marylebone whilst Paddington’s slots, freed by Crossrail 1, should be kept for GWML.

    So OOC looks a sensible place for a new Chiltern terminus. I can see why HS2 would not want Birmingham services routed here as it would adversely affect loadings. However Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford and Aylesbury via High Wycombe are all good candidates; OOC would allow improved services to each. I would drop South Ruislip from these services and replace this with (limited) stopping at Greenford. Other contributors have suggested diverting the High Wycombe stopping services into OOC, I see these as best suited remaining via Northolt.

    There could be a problem with dispersal, with Chiltern customers needing to transfer to Crossrail 1 and LO which are both likely to have high peak loadings, so there should be a focus on their longer distance services.

    With the North Pole land and station extension unavailable until 2032 then OOC services need to be carefully phased. Getting the other players to agree will be difficult, but a new Chiltern terminus, to such attractive destinations would be a major asset to London.

    3. Crossrail 1 extension to Watford (and beyond)

    Crossrail has a preference to run on dedicated tracks as this prevents delays spreading from other services. Terminating at OOC (or before) does not seem a rationale use of infrastructure. Diverting 8tph toward Watford makes sense. However, it seems incredible that with all the careful design so far, that anyone is seriously suggesting taking Crossrail onto, even part of, the Dudding Hill line, mixed with freight and desired LO services – a pinch point avoided elsewhere.

    My preferred option is to take this extension from OOC by tunnel. Getting over HS2 and avoiding the Chiltern lines are major hurdles. I cannot find any official tunnel option maps – would be grateful if anyone has one. My solution is to run parallel (just south) with Chiltern out of OOC, quad the bridge over Old Oak Common Lane and then descend into a portal in the land between the lines just south of Wells House Road. You would need a suitable location for this tunnel to cross (over) HS2. This parcel of land has relevance to the ‘greenway’ from North Acton, so will need some landscaping sensitivity.

    The location of the northern tunnel portal needs some in depth cost studies. The North Circular is a key barrier to be crossed. In the tread below I’d like to see Crossrail 1 using Wembley Central (extended) platforms 1&2. To get there, the furthest location for the portal is behind Lyon Park Avenue (near underpass). A shorter tunnel option is to emerge in the extensive railway lands to the north of WCML (some remodelling) bridge the North Circular and then use the existing DC underpass.

    A tunnel option is more expensive but potentially generates wider benefits and quicker journey times.

    4. Crossrail 1 Extension on the wrong tracks

    Having a relatively isolated Watford DC line restricts WCML flexibility, which will eventually need a resolution.

    Converting the DC lines will need significant investment. It’s really a matter of when, not if this will be converted and who pays.

    The London RUS suggests that Crossrail 1 extension should take over some slots on WCML slow lines. I can’t see need for 8tph+ Crossrail services and 3tph LO on this route. Withdrawing LO service makes sense but leaves the DC lines underutilised.

    Switching Crossrail 1 onto the DC lines from Wembley Central has the potential of increasing WCML slow available slots. These are highly valuable, as long as they could be used at Euston post HS2 rebuild. I acknowledge the Crossrail 1 service (and route) north of Bushey needs careful consideration.

    5. Bakerloo truncated but dedicated

    This has direct impacts on both Bakerloo Line and LO services. Bakerloo could be truncated at Wembley Central. Work would be needed between Stonebridge and Wembley Central to provide a Bakerloo dedicated track. With new Bakerloo platforms squeezed in the northern side of Wembley Central.

    The withdrawal of LO from Watford, would still require LO services to operate through south Hampstead and Kilburn High Road unless you want to abandon these stations. One option is switch some NLL services at Willesden Junction down a new alignment onto the DC line. Such a LO service would continue to share track with the Bakerloo to Queens Park. When Euston rebuild starts then these services should be diverted into a reopened Primrose Hill and onto Camden (NB This requires wasteful HS1-HS2 link to be tunnelled elsewhere). This shared section remains a major constraint to Bakerloo service frequency, a long term solution is offered in ‘NLL a better way’

    6. OOC and London Overground

    I do think the LO planners have done a good job in the options and potential phasing of the OOC LO station (s).
    a) As hard as you try, the WLL route from Clapham to Willesden Junction, despite the tight curves and long loop around the site, as they propose looks the best. It is extremely important to have the LO station parallel to Crossrail 1. I would also build and retain the Option 2 western LO station as this will aid dispersal. With a little more thought a pedestrian link could also be provided to a new station serving Dudding Hill (when needed). I would also add the proposed North Pole Road station on the southern approach to the site.
    b) I’d like to see a new LO service between Brent Cross Cricklewood (development site) and Hounslow, using Dudding Hill and NLL through Acton. For this route I would settle for a station in the Victoria Road area, with short walk to WLL western station and then through to HS1. This is unlikely to happen if the Crossrail 1 extension uses this route instead of tunnel.
    c) For NLL Richmond to Stratford service option 2 looks a good solution until later phases can be funded.

    7. NLL a better way

    I disagree with Option 3’s focus on retaining LO NLL from Richmond to Willesden junction high level. This creates a horrible viaduct taking valuable land AND reduces the remaining areas value. It also recreates the conflict when the WLL and NLL merge at the Willesden High Level junction, which if frequencies increase could become a bottleneck.

    Taking a more holistic view. Build the option 3 alignment from the west into the OOC LO southern interchange but then continue parallel to GWML.

    Kensal Gas works site (Kensal Town) would dearly like a Crossrail 1 station. Whether this eventually happens is for another debate. Continuing the NLL from the LO OOC southern interchange creates an opportunity to extend LO into the Kensal site. Picking up the earlier points of Crossrail 1 taking over Watford DC lines, giving Bakerloo dedicated tracks to Wembley Central and finding a way to serve Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead.

    A solution to all these would be to take the LO NLL from Kensal Town to Queens Park by tunnel. The northern portal would be within the railway footprint allowing a direct to the existing LO Queens Park platforms. Such a tunnel would need to cross under the Grand Union Canal and avoid HS2 tunnel. Bakerloo Line would then take sole possession of the tracks between Queens Park and Willesden Junction low level, with the dedicated tracks running to the new platforms at Wembley Central.

    With the rebuild of Euston the LO would then pass to a reopened Primrose Hill station (with interchange for Chalk Farm Northern Line) and then to Camden Road. The HS1-HS2 link is a shameful waste of these tracks and should be routed elsewhere.

    @ Lemmo – congratulations on an extremely well crafted article.

  334. Greg Tingey says:

    Very interesting
    However, are you aware that, even now, the Watford-Euston services are very well loaded?
    [ I used to commute either Highbury & Islington OR Euston Harrow for many years… ]
    A 15-minute interval or 10 minute interval (6tph) along that route (or equivalent S/SE of Willesden would probably fill right up, right away!
    One needs to take this into consideration.
    Problem with terminating “Chilterns” @ OOC is the absolute need for a transfer & further journey for inboubd ( & outbound ) passengers on that route …. um.

  335. Chris says:

    @Graham – what I am proposing is to remove the present capacity-consuming mix of trains on the fast lines, so that we have only 140 and only 110 trains on each pair

    South of Rubgy there isn’t any real mix of fast and semi-fast services on the fast lines; what constrains capacity is the different stopping patterns of non and limited stop Virgin services, capacity constraints elsewhere on the network such as through Coventry, all while having enough padding to cope that are inevitable with long distance services interacting with other trains the length of the country.

    Removing a few freight services from the slow lines, which are already host to slow and semi-fast services, is not going to produce any great increase in capacity for reasons i’ve already explained – it’s certainly not the stepchange in long term provision that HS2 can provide.

    What additional destinations do you want and how many more tph do you foresee to the existing destinations? Even long term?

    That isn’t what I’m arguing for. What I want is for the railway network to meet increasing demand by shifting the growing inter-city traffic onto HS2 while using the existing network to better serve local, inter-regional and commuter traffic.

    As for Blackpool or Shrewsbury I think the applications were pretty daft especially without electrification, but ultimately the main benefits come from along the route – no one is proposing running them non-stop to and from and the capital, so if Blackpool can make a case over Lancaster or Preston for example then why not.

    I do agree that line capacity is maximised when all trains do the same thing, but removing a few freight trains and increasing the line speed does not do that – differing stopping patterns for the various long distance fast, semi-fast and slow services are the real culprit.

    The answer would be to give all services using the slow or fast lines the same stopping patterns, maximising track capacity as you’d get on the Underground, but you can’t do that on the WCML for obvious reasons – the next best thing IMHO is to broadly separate fast, semi-fast and slow services onto their own lines as HS2 can effectively allow.

    @Mark – While that is a possibility, a third track for the NLL would probably prove more useful over time than extending double track HS1 link west of St Pancras Way. I don’t know what overlaps would be needed, but I think there is room between said road and the HS1 junction for a 400m train to be held.

  336. Chris says:

    Apologies, if someone could fix the errant em tag i’d be very appreciative!

  337. It is nice to be be very appreciated.

    <em> to start the emphasis, </em> to terminate it.

    In practice <i> and </i> do the same thing which is to italicise the embedded text.

  338. Chris says:

    @Greg – While the Watford-Euston services are well used now, the Bakerloo is sure to benefit from the Crossrail interchange at Paddington – that, and it’s eviction from Euston by HS2, will make it’s retention hard to justify despite the loss of services to Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead, which both have nearby tube alternatives.

    With Bakerloo modernisation expected in the coming years, a LUL takeover of the DC Lines looks a distinct possibility.


  339. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: “ECTS2 appears to require only some reprogramming”: Really? As I understand it any increase in line speed over 125mph requires cab signalling, which the current trains on the route do not have. Railtrack (with the acquiesence of the DfT) thought that it would be easy to introduce such a system, which is a major part of the reason Railtrack no longer exists. We will never know what PUG2 would have cost because it had to be abandoned: clearly any cost estimates produced by Railtrack or the DfT in the 1990s should be ignored given how spectacularly wrong they got the cost of PUG1.

    As a more general comment, the problem with comparisons with the 1980s and 1990s upgrades to the ECML and WCML as alternatives to HS2 is that (with the exception of elements of the WCML upgrade which proved undeliverable at reasonable cost), these upgrades have already happened. BR and Railtrack naturally did the bits which offered the best return for the investment: further upgrades will involve diminishing returns because they would need to tackle the bits that were too expensive or difficult to do the first time around.

  340. Minstral says:

    Some excellent suggestions coming through. A couple of thoughts to consider.

    The WLL is not Clapham to Willesden anymore, it runs through to Stratford and a very large number of passengers use this service. Hence suggestions to stifle it at Willesden will be met with significant opposition. It would be easier to stop Richmond services at Willesden as passengers joining at Richmond have alternative of changing at Clapham as well.

    Extending Crossrail beyond OOC runs the risk of creating a lot of services arriving overcrowded at OOC being joined by significant numbers of HS2 customers and probably GWML customers creating a problem that doesn’t exist today. We seem to suggest extending many overcrowded routes without thinking what happens to passengers wanting to get on at current stations (eg extending Victoria line south of Brixton)

    I can see a lot of the HS2 travellers using OOC in preference to Euston as it has better links for them. To Canary Wharf, to the City and to Heathrow and Gatwick.

    The comments suggesting a lot of Euston travellers walk from Euston is probably true but I suspect these will be arrivals from the local and outer suburban services that will remain at Euston rather than the long distance trains using HS2. There will also presumably be existing WCML services still arriving at Euston.

  341. Will2 says:

    Lots of comments here on western extension options for crossrail up to Watford or Milton Keynes etc… But what about taking the heathrow branch further south?

    In a future where OOC isn’t just an interchange but a commercial destination and Heathrow is a sunny utopian garden city, could a bit more be squeezed out of CR1? I.e. to bring additional direct suburban services to potentially two huge new employment areas. Rebirth of the old Airtrack idea to Woking perhaps, bringing much of the SWT network within direct easy reach of a HS2 station to boot (assuming CR2 regional to Euston goes ahead).

  342. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian J
    further upgrades will involve diminishing returns
    De-kinking or totally rebuilding (i.e. new line/alignment) between Burnmouth & Cockburnspath might be pushing it, but needs to be done…..

  343. Mark Townend says:

    @Will2, 02:56AM, 21st July 2013

    It always seemed odd that BAA never proposed to combine the Heathrow Connect service with the Airtrack project, even though that might have saved resources and platform space at Heathrow T5, enabled Airtrack to serve CTA directly and brought additional through traffic custom. OOC, HS2 and CR1 provide an opportunity to revisit these ideas. HS2 could gain direct connection to Staines, Woking, Guildford, Sunningdale, Bracknell etc. and these places would get direct service to CR1 central destinations. These services would be useful whether or not Heathrow airport itself survives.

  344. Anonymous says:

    @will2 0256

    I have long thought that there would be many benefits from a extension of Crossrail from Heathrow in tunnel to Feltham. Easy rail connections for airport passengers and workers to Windsor, Bracknell and Staines; relief of overcrowding on the fast Reading trains into Waterloo; better local links between Feltham and Heathrow/Hayes/Southall/Ealing and regeneration benefits to Feltham itself where property prices are low. Add in a station at East Bedfont where this is a substantial residential population currently served by bus links to Hatton Cross on the Piccadilly line and the benefits are even wider.

  345. Graham H says:

    @Chris – actually you and I are arguing over whether the bottle is half full or half empty. I agree entirely that the current stopping pattern on WC is both wasteful and confusing for the users. Offering a standard pattern on each pair of tracks would free up capacity. The choice of destinations from Euston is irrelevant – I merely gave a slate that replicated what HS2 is presumed to be offering, but what is actually run doesn’t matter: it’s the principle that matters. Clearly, trains starting from places like Blackpool could call as much as they liked until they hit the busy part of WC. Rationalising stopping and speeds as between the pairs of tracks should yield you 24-30tph on the slows – plenty of capacity to run, say, 8 Northamptons, 8 MK stoppers and 8 Trings on the southern section.

    I am, if anything, even more pro rail than you but I think that one should be cautious about seeing HS2 as a sacred cow symbolising the growth of the system and not therefore to be criticised. The past history of government investment is littered with these totemic creatures which have proved to be of very doubtful value, or an expensive solution to the problem, or a mere vanity project for the politicians – without too much cudgelling of memory, one might mention British Leyland, TSR2, Concorde, CLNT, the Humber Bridge, O2 etc etc. Rail has attracted more than its fair share of these creatures – building both WIT and Stratford International, Pacers, the IEP sets and so forth. It does the rail industry no good to have its investment showcase projects based on wonky (or, even, no) analysis. In the long run, rationality should win if projects are to command credibility.

    @Ian J But you already can (and did until Railtrack got cold feet) As I say, remember the 140 club. As to puggery, it is vital to distinguish between good estimates and poor project delivery. The PUG 1 estimates were not unreasonable but no one could have foreseen how incompetent Railtrack would be in project managing its implementation. That’s why HMT invented “optimism bias” (well, they could hardly call it “project management incompetence”). The evil that people do lives on after their demise, alas.

  346. @Chris

    While the Watford-Euston services are well used now, the Bakerloo is sure to benefit from the Crossrail interchange at Paddington – that, and it’s eviction from Euston by HS2, will make it’s retention hard to justify despite the loss of services to Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead, which both have nearby tube alternatives.

    With Bakerloo modernisation expected in the coming years, a LUL takeover of the DC Lines looks a distinct possibility.

    Oh dear. This little tube line seems to now be Haykerlooed from both ends. Or should that be Haykerwatted or Haykerjuncted?

    What makes you think that more people will alight from southbound Bakerloo line trains at Paddington than board? Surely in 2019/20 there will be lots of West London and Berkshire Crossrail users who will now take advantage of the connection to board the Bakerloo? As will the increased number of passenger using Paddington. So my interpretation would be that this would be an argument to strengthen the Watford DC lines as presumably these could be relatively easily extended from 5-car to 6-car or even 10-car to relieve a busier Bakerloo line. Which goes to show two people can look at the same scenario and come to completely different conclusions – Haykerloo again!

    So my interpretation is that a LUL takeover of the DC lines is even less of a possibility than it was before if that were possible. And that is even before you look at Network Rail/Virgin proposals to close the WCML every Saturday night/early Sunday morning for a long time (possibly in perpetuity) between Watford Junction and Euston in order to upgrade/keep the track in good order. The idea is that the DC lines will be used in some way. Either to drag the existing trains on the DC lines, use dual voltage stock for affected trains or simply terminate the long distance services at Watford Junction and transfer passengers to a local overnight DC lines service which would run fast to Euston. Sorry, but I see tube trains running to Hayes sharing the track with BML2 between Catford Bridge and Elmers End as a more likely possibility than the Bakerloo taking over the DC lines.

    Whilst on the subject, it was recently very quietly announced that proposals to install a travolater or similar moving walkway in the planned passageway linking Crossrail and the Bakerloo line at Paddington were abandoned. This was never part of the original plan but TfL had agreed to investigate the suggestion.

  347. Will2 says:

    @Mark Towned @ Anonymous

    We’ll see in the passage of time I guess. I’d have thought a 3rd runway would only get through the approval process if the air pollution issue is mitigated as far as possible – reducing road journeys is a huge part of that equation.

    Disappointingly Heathrow are a bit vague on the above ideas in their Davies submission:

    strongpolicysupportfromNetworkRailandstakeholders. A new southern rail link into the airport would provide rail access to key catchments in South and South West London, Surrey and the South Coast. Heathrow is committed to working closely with Network Rail and other key
    local stakeholders to identify the optimum route alignment for connecting these
    important catchments to Heathrow.”

    Incidentally, I look forward to the blog post on the proposed connections in the Foster airport submission. In the presentation they make it all seem so easy. And maybe it is versus building an £Xbn HS2 tunnel from OOC to Heathrow.

  348. Chris says:

    @Graham – What you are suggesting is unworkable, you can’t operate the slow lines with a frequency as great as if not greater than the Crossrail core especially if you want them to operate at up to 110mph. How many platforms would that need at Euston anyway?

    As for a standard stopping pattern, like any mainline the current mix of service types restricts the number of services you can run but they exist for a reason – giving the biggest traffic flows better services and faster journey times is not wasteful or confusing, it’s precisely what people want.

    As for HS2 being above criticism, of course not, but that doesn’t mean all criticism is valid especially when it’s clear that someone hasn’t taken the time to understand the rationale behind aspects of the scheme they disagree with, or want it cancelled because it clashes with their ideas.

    While I think the route of HS2 is the best compromise, I support the overall concept because clearly at some point the only way to meaningfully increase track capacity is to build more of it – the WCML has got to that point. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t squeeze more services on the existing network, but the short term benefit isn’t justified by the cost, disruption and ugly compromises necessary.


  349. Windsorian says:

    @ Mark Townend

    “It always seemed odd that BAA never proposed to combine the Heathrow Connect service with the Airtrack project”

    Perhaps they have been considering abandoning T3 as part of their “Toast Rack” rebuild of LHR ??

    Airport thinkers should be aware of the “constellation” proposal by Gatwick and Friday’s support in principle by West Sussex County Council for a R2; this could impact on BML2, CR2 and all HSR proposals.

    I think it is a pity that @ Steer did not come back in response to my 10 questions (5:44PM, 16th July) about OOC / LHR ?

  350. Windsorian says:

    Correction: woops, should have said T3 and T4 as part of their “Toast Rack” rebuild of LHR.

  351. Anonymous says:

    @windsorian on the 10 questions I think the key one is how many would use OOC if it was available and my answer would be a very high % especially if proper connections were created. These connections include a full and viable Crossrail service both West to Heathrow and to Central London and Docklands (as why go to Euston if most central London destinations were available from OOC), upgrading Overground connections opens up South London and much of North London, and rerouting the District line up from Earls Court gives an alternative route opening up Victoria.

    Can Euston offer this range of destinations without Euston Cross, probably not. Plus it will take extra time to actually reach Euston after OOC, so to TCR and similar destinations it would be faster via a proper connecting station at OOC. Also Euston has no direct service to Canary Wharf which is now an important employment destination.

    The pragmatic side of me also realises that the money would not be available to upgrade the Overground or other services to OOC if the Euston terminus is built, leaving a Hodge podge of half useful connections. These upgrades would also help many current and future commuters on other parts of the upgraded services giving wins from HS2 for ordinary Londoners too.

    The other advantage of OOC as a terminus is that it will create investment in run down area of London, create new job opportunities and help general growth.

  352. Windsorian says:

    @ Anonymous 1:04PM, 21st July

    How many of the 250,000 bums on seats at OOC will actually transfer to the minor rail routes ?

    I was not thinking about the HS2 / Crossrail connection; I agree with HS2 Ltd / Steer this may be 1/3rd of HS2 passengers; it was the high cost of the other minor rail connections that caught my attention; I get the impression some are putting forward un-costled ideas without any supporting passenger numbers.

    I remain un-convinced that OOC must be the only connection between HS2 and Crossrail; this could also take place at a Heathrow Hub station on the GWML between West Drayton / M25. Such a hub station would be a superior interchange for LHR, HS2 / HS1 +Crossrail, as it would justify an international station / terminal which OOC may never.

  353. Graham H says:


    – unworkable? Suggest drawing it one the graphical. It’s not speed that determines the service interval but dwell times and acceleration/deacceleration curves (ie how quickly does the train behind run down the one in front). On that basis, 30tph would be feasible if only NR didn’t have this fixation with ATO above 24 tph.

    – not market conformable? Wouldn’t the good burgers of Rugby rather have an hourly or twice hourly every hour than a cluster of services and random gaps? There is no evidence to suggest that the present “Hinkende Takt” on WC is anything other than an operational convenience.

    – I haven’t taken time study the thinking behind HS2 and would like to see it cancelled because it doesn’t agree with my thinking.? Setting aside the implicit rudeness, I am only too well aware of the thinking behind HS2; I am also well aware of the thinking of some of my former colleagues who ran the route about better ways to squeeze more capacity out of the line. You must understand that many of the lessons that BR learnt quite painfully about, for example, the flighting of trains, were abandoned by Railtrack on the deliberate grounds that that was then and not part of “modern” thinking – a point that was put to me very clearly by senior Railtrack managers. HS2 is one, and only one, solution to north-south capacity problems and if I was advising prospective investors or the Treasury, I would expect to see a rigorous discussion of the alternatives. I haven’t seen that yet (the XR2 problem all over again). I don’t hold out a special brief for my idea – there are others even less intrusive involving a rewrite of the current timetable – with a bit more time I could identify the relevant articles in eg “Modern Railways”.

    – Euston is full? It is certainly under pressure, but there are a number of fixes available – for example, replacement of the LOROL service to Euston with a re-extended Bakerloo and re-use of the Wood Platforms – the argument here being that Euston is not in itself the main end destination for many of the LOROL users. (See discussion in this forum passim) Less time spent on train prep at the London end wouldn’t hurt either (the improved frequencies and changes to on-train catering should make that easier anyway). Again, there is no discussion of the issue in public.

    I guess we would all have greater confidence in HS2 if hadn’t emerged from the same context as franchise specification…

  354. Chris says:

    @PoP – To be clear I’m talking about a Bakerloo takeover in the context of HS2, which is expected to prevent the Overground service operating into Euston.

    Even if it could be diverted via Primrose Hill given the constraints of the HS1-2 link line, the Overground would become a lot less attractive for those heading into Central London around the time that Crossrail makes the Bakerloo much more attractive.

    I can’t really see a huge capacity issue tbh, any takeover of the DC line would surely require modernisation including ATO while changes to travel patterns would at least partially cancel each other out.

    For example, while Crossrail will no doubt increase the number of suburban passengers through Paddington it also allows them to head east and south via Bond St and TCR. While any takeover of DC Line services would increase those using the Bakerloo, I’d have thought a good majority of those that used to prefer travelling via Euston would want to head east via Crossrail.


  355. Mark Townend says:

    Here’s another idea for Watford DC lines:

    Connect to NLL at Willesden then run (limited stop) via West Hampstead to Gospel Oak and new connection to Thameslink at Kensal Green forming a new inner suburban Thameslink branch. Section Willesden to Queens Park to become exclusively LU Bakerloo line terminating at Willesden or diverted to OOC. Beyond Queens Park to Euston intermediate stations closed, lines converted to AC overhead (using overhead suspended conductor rail system) and connected to slow lines to become additional reliefs. Hence Euston bound passenger services can bypass freights queuing on the slows to get onto capacity constrained NLL.

  356. timbeau says:

    @Greg T 1917 yesterday
    “Actually, won’t there still be the ludicrously-overcrowded hourly cross-country services, which reverse @ Reading to shamble off to Basingstoke, etc?”

    My point was the difficulty of connecting into these, and other services, from South Wales and Bristol if the Reading stop is omitted from GWML services

    @PoP 1105
    “Surely in 2019/20 there will be lots of West London and Berkshire Crossrail users who will now take advantage of the connection to board the Bakerloo?”

    Why would there be significantly more than do so already? – indeed many could in future change at Bond Street or TCR for destinations also served by the Bakerloo

  357. Chris says:

    @Mark – If there isn’t the capacity to extend the GOBLIN west I don’t think such a service could be accommodated on the NLL – trying to reliably operate a service traversing both the NLL and Thamelink via multiple flat junctions would also be a major challenge.

    As for the DC lines, using the redundant sections as freight loops is an attractive idea I’ve pondered myself, but is apparently prevented by the loading gauge of the tunnels – these being of traditional iron tube construction could not be easily enlarged.


  358. SAINTSMAN says:

    @ Greg “are you aware that, even now, the Watford-Euston services are very well loaded?”

    Yes, I use this line. But it really depends on which bit you mean. Giving Crossrail 1 extension to DC lines generates 8 tph extra 10tph car services for the loss of 3 4-car – which should solve capacity for the section Watford to Wembley. With these services running I’d hope some more outers on the slow lines can run to Euston – easing their congestion. Coverting the DC will give more flexibility. Then upgrading the Bakerloo and dedicated tracks would give a huge boost in capacity from Wembley to Baker Steet and beyond. I hope with sufficent investment all the deep lines can approach similar service levels of over 34tph, Bakerloo can’t get to these levels if if shares track. As a note of caution I do worry how you can create a suitable turnaround at Wembley Cental for this frequency – the Victoria can do it. (it is an OOC thread)

    Extending the Bakerloo north again – seems an awful waste. 8tph Crossrail (or more) should easily be enough and offers more comfort and more destinations. Let the deep lines do what they do best,

    With mega developments at OOC and Kensal it seems logical get their help in funding a joined up tansport solution which in turn makes their developments more attractive.

  359. Mark Townend says:

    @Chris, 8:21PM, 21st July 2013

    “As for the DC lines, using the redundant sections as freight loops is an attractive idea I’ve pondered myself, but is apparently prevented by the loading gauge of the tunnels”

    Hence the idea to send some or maybe quite a lot of the slow line passenger services via the ex DC tubes whilst retaining the existing slows for the larger gauge freights.

    Capacity/synchronisation issues across NLL and flat junctions noted.

    Perhaps suggesting DC lines to CR1 as well as WCML slow line mid/outer suburban?

  360. Chris says:

    @Mark – When suggesting something similar in the past I was told that the loading gauge in the tunnels isn’t even sufficient for OHLE unfortunately, otherwise it would certainly be useful.


  361. @Chris

    I’m talking about a Bakerloo takeover in the context of HS2, which is expected to prevent the Overground service operating into Euston.

    In that case it then follows that you have to consider what the situation is in 2025 just before HS2 opens. What happens in 2018/19 is irrelevant. So presumably by implication you are suggesting that the Bakerloo will be resignalled with ATO all the way to Watford Junction and passengers are going to travel from stations just south of Watford all the way to central London with a diversion via Paddington in “Deep Tube” rolling stock. Mmm.

    Sorry but I just don’t buy it.

    The obvious thing seems to be to extend some of the Crossrail terminators onto the DC lines. OK there is a power mismatch issue (DC v AC) but sorting that out surely is simpler and more realistic than (re)extending the Bakerloo line all the way to Watford Junction?


    “Surely in 2019/20 there will be lots of West London and Berkshire Crossrail users who will now take advantage of the connection to board the Bakerloo?”

    Why would there be significantly more than do so already? – indeed many could in future change at Bond Street or TCR for destinations also served by the Bakerloo

    The L&SE RUS and other indications predict massive increases on the routes into Paddington. More than any other route. So lots more people mean if the same portion transfer to the Bakerloo then the Bakerloo would have an increase in passengers. Of course, as you and others imply, this is complicated by the fact that a proportion of people will switch to Crossrail so it is not easy to arrive at the true situation that would occur.

    The problem is that you would need to make sure there was sufficient additional capacity on the Bakerloo for the people who use the DC lines who are forced to use the Bakerloo line against their will. Will this be there in 2026? Personally I doubt it even if you are correct about current Bakerloo line travellers switching to or remaining on Crossrail.

  362. Snowy says:

    @ Graham H & Chris

    Network rail published what I thought was quite a good look at alternatives to HS2 & felt that HS2 was the best option.

    Which alternatives do you think should have been/be investigated further?

  363. Anonymous says:

    Graham H – some of your references are a bit beyond me: could you expand on CLNT, WIT, Wood Platforms?

    Thank you!

  364. Ian J says:

    @Greg Tingey: “”further upgrades will involve diminishing returns” Really? Morpeth? Leamside?”:

    Yes, really: improvements that far north only benefit Edinburgh and Newcastle (in the case of Leamside) passengers, whereas work that has already been done further south (like the Hitchen flyover) benefits Edinburgh, Leeds, York, etc trains. The further you get up the line, the less benefit you get per pound you spend (of course future stages of HS2 beyond Stage 2 will have the same problem: just look at how the expansion of the French and Japanese high speed networks has slowed to a crawl now they are getting to the really far-flung bits). At the busier end of the line you are left with the really tricky and expensive problems like Welwyn.

    @Graham H: “The PUG 1 estimates were not unreasonable but no one could have foreseen how incompetent Railtrack would be in project managing its implementation”: How reasonable is an estimate that requires the development of a completely new signalling system that doesn’t exist? Or that outsources project management to a wholly untested brand new private company like Railtrack? It sounds a little as though you are trying to absolve DfT for responsibility for the whole mess. I think it is very significant that Adonis created an arms-length company to develop HS2 rather than let the DfT get involved. And of course Crossrail is being (successfully so far) delivered by TfL not the DfT. But if the DfT lack the competence to oversee the two biggest transport projects in a generation, (and they also lack the competence to run a franchising system, as we have seen), then you have to wonder what it is for at all. It is interesting to see that the government want to free the Highways Agency from the DfT as well: maybe Britain doesn’t actually need a national Department for Transport at all?

    To drag it back to the topic at hand: one of the failings of the current DfT is that, unlike TfL and the Mayor, it seems to have no interest in land use policy, which is why all the initiative on what happends at OOC seems to be coming from the boroughs and the Mayor. In the past the likes of Michael Heseltine and John Prescott were able to bring together land planning and transport: no signs of such coordination in the current lot at Westminster.

  365. Chris says:

    @PoP – The Overground is not expected to run into Euston due to the rationalisation of the WCML up Camden Bank, to make way for the HS2 tunnel portal and approach lines.

    This will be almost certainly occur early in the construction programme to maximise the worksite, so 2018/19 if not earlier.


  366. Graham H says:

    ‘@Anon – WIT=Waterloo International Terminus, CLNT = Central Lancashire New Town, Wood Platforms are those used by the Euston dc services (presumably because they were surfaced that way when opened.
    @Ian J – actually, I agree with every word you say about DfT. The internal disaster there occurred with the loss of skills in controlling nationalised industries from the early ’90s onwards – those who had the expertise simply left and their replacements were very much the Third XI. Coupled with a succession of unusually ineffective Secretaries of State, Treasury retreads as Permanent Secretaries, and greedy but naïve banking and legal advisers, disaster was pre-programmed.

  367. Greg Tingey says:

    Graham H
    It’s even worse than that.
    I actually know a senior CS @ DafT – who really knows railways, having worked for BR, & various rail maunfacturers …
    He did his best to stop IEP, he was against the insane “part-electrification” supposed programme, he knew busways were a disaster …
    What happened?
    They do have the internal expertise & they steadfastly refuse to listen to it…..

    Ian J
    So, no-one South of Newcastle goes through Morpeth, right? Wrong.
    This one would/should be really easy & take, what (?) 10 mins of the Newcastle – Edinburgh time.
    The real bugger is Burnmouth – Cockburnspath: you really notice the train slowing down & going round all the twiddly bits along that stretch.
    IF we wind up not building HS2, then something will have to be done – & in both cases it isn’t an “upgrade (WCML-disaster style) that’s needed, it’s a “cut-off” in both cases – which is much cheaper.

    In the meantime, what can ( & what will) be done between here & Doncaster, to ease congestion & possibly, shave a few more minutes off the schedules?
    Second Welwyn viaduct & new alignment – only if HS2 doesn’t get built.
    Peterborough has already been dealt with.
    Offord – again ?
    Newark flat crossing?
    Grade-separation @ Doncaster N. Jun?
    Platforms on the “new” up slow lines, as I suggested, right back @ the beginning?

  368. DW down under says:

    long branch mike @ 07:33PM, 18th July 2013: “@stimarco … Canadian Pacific Railway is a world leader in using diesel distributed power (locomotives placed in the front, middle, & sometimes the end of freight trains). Mind you some of rational for this is to cross the Rocky Mountain range. Nonetheless, sophisticated computer modeling has been researched on the effect of distributed power to improve efficiency and speeds going over hills & around curves. For the latter, the distributed power reduces the lateral forces on the track in curves. I can look up articles & links for this if anyone wishes.”

    Why single out CPR? “Locotrol” and early equivalents have been in use for perhaps 40 years now. More recently, the term distributed power has come into favour in place of mid-train power, because the number of locations within ever lengthening trains has increased.

    North America is not alone in use of DP, either. The Pilbara region of Western Australia has used it for several decades. It’s now in use on both standard and narrow (Cape) gauge on the W.A. “public” rail network, and in Queensland on the electric hauled coalies. In South Africa, you have 50kV 50hz AC electrics working in multi with diesels together all working in DP mode on trains over 3km in length (on Cape gauge).

    What Britian could do to improve freight performance is to fit up a considerable number of Class 92, 66 and 57 class locos with DP equipment, then head-and-tail most freight. All locos so fitted probably would require additional batteries. The DP gear would be operational whether the train was under the wires – where the 92 would provide the power but the 66 could be at the front, driving – or on a diesel “island” where the 66 provides the grunt, but it could be the 92 that is at the front. Not only does this address “last mile” issues, it also allows maximum freight speed on electrified main lines (where this is network capacity critical) and minimises shunting requirements (to the point of almost eliminating them on many routes).

    Even where a reversal is needed, having a usable cab at each end of the train reduces the time requirement to the walking distance for the driver. 775m ~ 10 minutes.

    Certainly food for thought as a strategy. Top-and-tailing is of course already used with nuclear waste flasks and with charter special passenger trains – not to mention that the good ol’ HST is an example of “distributed power.”

  369. DW down under says:

    I notice that commentators have picked up a sense of reticence to upgrade existing lines.

    Before I explore this further, can I ask what the electrification of GWML and MML, Liverpool – Manchester and generally in the NW amounts to – if not upgrading?

    What is relevant to OOC is that the NNML + GC route directly points at its eastern end into OOC.

    The other point I would want to make is that the GC would be a restoration of a railway that is not currently running. The NNML will need work done, if the GC route is activated.

    Graham H’s idea of using the GC as a freight route is interesting. I had mused about the freight being routed via Oxford and the former GWR to Leamington Spa then via Coventry to the WCML. That way, freight would not run on the “best” parts of the old GC – those between Quainton Rd and Rugby. This section has curvature that would support tilting trains at speeds that would be sufficient to meet Britain’s needs for the next two or three decades.

    On the cost of HS2. While the cited cost has now been put at around £43b including optimism bias, what is unknown yet is the impact of the latest round of details – whether additional environmental amelioration costs will arise (per the comments of the GLA), whether additional compensation claims arise when tunnel operation vibration issues are taken up (per the local response to the NLE) and the big one – an acceptable arrangement from Acton through to Stratford is achieved and costed.

    So those suggesting $50b might be grasping at straws somewhat, but for the reasons given there’s grounds for suspecting it’s closer to the outcome.

  370. DW down under says:

    Mark Townend @ 10:21AM, 19th July 2013: ” @Graham H 07:11AM, 19th July 2013 “different types of useage need to be separated as far as possible”

    “Or on the same tracks different service types need to be matched as far as possible by their average speed to use paths most efficiently (and assuming suitable filter/holding lines are provided at interface junctions and stations so they can actually be used) …

    “… Path charges really need to take this into account, at least on the busiest parts of the network at the busiest times.”

    Mark: the ORR stood back from this position in line with a higher national agenda (perhaps even the hint of a strategy) to transfer freight from road to rail. Therefore the path pricing arrangements for FoCs are nowhere near full cost recovery, yet.

    Perhaps the ORR’s position could be refined so that freight routes that don’t consume paths on the lower WCML or other congested places are “strategically priced” while the high demand paths are “full priced?”

  371. Pedantic of Purley says:


    @PoP – The Overground is not expected to run into Euston due to the rationalisation of the WCML up Camden Bank, to make way for the HS2 tunnel portal and approach lines.

    This will be almost certainly occur early in the construction programme to maximise the worksite, so 2018/19 if not earlier.

    I still don’t get it. We are now in 2013. So you are suggesting that the Bakerloo line goes to Watford Junction in 2019 if not earlier? What stock are they going to use? Don’t forget Sir Peter has stated that London Underground will never again order underground stock with a drivers cab.

    Surely if this was going to happen then we would have heard about this as a serious possibility but this is the first I have heard of it. I certainly have not read about it in any official or official-ish source. If this were a serious contender and would be implemented by 2019 then surely it would appear in the TfL plans for spending over the next few years?

    Then there is the issue of platform heights. This would all be classified as “new” so no hope of grandfather rights. Do you seriously think that the rail regulator is going allow Metropolitan stock on the Croxley Link to Watford Junction to share platforms with Bakerloo Line trains at Watford Junction and Watford High Street? Or are you suggesting that the Croxley Rail Link isn’t going ahead?

  372. Belsize Parker says:

    The most interesting implication of this thread is the need for a decent OOC interchange between existing ‘orbital’ services and Crossrail, wholly independent of what happens to HS2 in the ‘political marketplace’. From my narrow perspective, it boils down to a choice of getting to Heathrow via (a) the Northern Line and the TCR Crossrail interchange or via (b) an airconditioned, soon-to-be-five-car NLL/WLL train to OOC and an as-yet-to-be-specified Crossrail interchange there. Needless to say, (b) wins hands down, even when it’s not 30 degrees outside. If I could connect at OOC to a limited offering of longer-distance destinations (GWML, quasi-Chiltern to High Wycombe/Oxford?) so much the better. Waiting to see who blinks first in a £43 billion game of NIMBY-chicken seems all but irrelevant from a Londoner’s viewpoint. That said, Graham H’s thoughts on reopening the Great Central to freight combined with Greg-T-style piecemeal improvements to the WCML (grade-separation at Colwich and Stafford/Crewe avoiding lines?) certainly look like the beginning of a ‘Plan B’.

  373. Chris says:

    @PoP – I’ve been careful to avoid saying it’s 100% confirmed because it’s not, but clearly having been suggested in the past by HS2 Ltd who plan to reduce Camden Bank to four tracks and abolish the platforms used by the Overground to extend those adjacent, something will have to give. TfL may be banking on their Crossrail WCML link to free up capacity into Euston, but I’ll believe it when I see it…

  374. Anonymous says:


    “This would all be classified as “new” so no hope of grandfather rights.”

    why? 1972 stock has run to Watford Junction before. Have the platform heights been adjusted since 1982?
    Careful timetabling would be needed if it is necessary to ensure that whatever other stock is brought in to augment the service is kept south of Harrow though.

    However, I think the Bakerloo solution is unlikely as it does not address what happens to South Hampstead and Kilburn High Road. Presumably those local users for whom nearby Swiss Cottage and Kilburn Park are acceptable alternatives already use those stations, so the current users would be inconwenienced by the new arrangments (and could SwC and KPk cope with the extra numbers?) . It is also unlikely that people used to the nce shiny new Overground trains would take kindly to swapping them for tube trains, even if the 1972 stock, is replaced by then
    (It will, I think, be the oldest emu stock in use on the British mainland once the C stock has gone)
    Surely a more likely scenario is an Overground diversion via the Primose Hill connection- with access to Euston either by changing at Camden or H&I or, if Primrose Hill is re-opened, via an OSI to Chalk Farm. Unless the NLL east of Camden could cope with the extra tph, this would require either a turnback facility to be provided at Camden Road or a reduced service through Kentish Town West (maybe by diverting some services over the Goblin?)

  375. Greg Tingey says:

    And “reducing Camden bank to 4 tracks” is pure, total idiocy.
    Even madder than taking out the extra pair immediately N of King’s X was.
    Do these complete, utterly useless tossers NEVER learn?

  376. Pedantic of Purley says:


    My understanding is that for grandfather rights to exists it has to be continuous use. I don’t think the fact that the physical structure is in place is good enough. So, for example, when London Underground decommissioned the Metropolitan bay at Liverpool Street then wanted to use it again they found that they couldn’t because it wasn’t compliant. It might have been in use for 100 years but a break from use meant that was irrelevant. There is even mechanical signalling stuff on the Bluebell railway that is authentic and probably uses 100 year old parts but has to have modern electrical bits added behind the scenes to comply with modern rules because technically it is a “new” installation.

    On your second point, yes, potential solutions such as you describe seem far simpler, more obvious and logical to me.

  377. Pedantic of Purley says:


    I hadn’t heard of that I have to admit but will put it in the same category as Network Rail’s suggestion (that actually got into their RUS) of extending the Docklands Light Railway to Hayes. In other words no serious thought given to it, no consideration of the overall picture, no establishing whether the organisation that would be lumbered would agree to this, no concept of the practicalities and just an unrealistic hope that they can dump their unwanted problem onto someone else.

  378. Will says:


    Regardless of the other issues, platform heights ought not to be an insurmountable problem. There are enough terminus roads at WJ for the Bakerloo and Metropolitan to have their own dedicated platforms. Not quite so easy at WHS, but it should be perfectly feasible (perhaps even without going outside the existing footprint) to add side platforms at a different height from the island platform, so that each track is double-faced.

  379. THC says:

    @Will, PoP

    At the risk of dragging this even further off-thread, WHS is built in a brick-lined cutting so side platforms would be an expensive challenge to surmount. If a derogation on mixed stock usage was not forthcoming, might inverted boarding ramps (that lower rather than raise part of the platform edge) provide a solution to allow ‘S’ and 1972/Evo/whatever stocks to work together?

    PoP – on an even greater tangent, I recall that you are/were working on a Met/Croxley Rail Link article. In which case this article – – may be of some interest. I am not ashamed to admit that I wrote to anyone in authority that might listen about changing ‘Ascot Road’ to ‘Cassio Bridge’ and it looks like my pleas have not fallen upon deaf ears.

    All a long way from Old Oak Common, of course…


  380. Will says:


    It is a long time since I was last at WHS, but my recollection is that the island platform is exceptionally wide – certainly a lot wider than other island platforms on the same line, which on the face of it suggests the possibility of incorporating at least one side platform by cutting back the island platform. And carto.metro shows a recently-disused trackbed on the down side of the station, which, if correct, suggests possibilities there. Though I will naturally defer to those with better/more up-to-date local knowledge.

  381. mr_jrt says:

    Just to chime in briefly – There is a lot of green space to the north west of WHS between it and the ring road now, so widening the cutting is quite doable. Taking the opportunity to rebuild the station and the weak road bridge probably wouldn’t go amiss either.

    Ideally, along with 4 platforms it’d be nice to have a booking hall under the ring road and a conversion of the pyramid into the most unique station ticket office on the network 🙂 It’d help remove the isolation from the shopping area the station currently has (two road crossings, one of which being a busy ring road) which should help increase usage.

    Gist being there that you could move the junction to north of WHS, giving the Met and DC lines their own platforms.

  382. Will says:

    On closer examination, I don’t think carto.metro is showing a disused trackbed after all – the dotted line seems to be intended just to show the general alignment of the Croxley link rather than specific track details. So probably the existing footprint isn’t large enough. But as mr_jrt says, expanding the site north-westwards shouldn’t be a problem, and may be desirable even if the Bakerloo doesn’t make it back to Watford.

  383. JM says:


    Agree with you on CR1 an the DC lines rater than using Ruislip lines (lots of trains going to the same places). Bakerloo could terminate at Wembley Central to the east (2 platforms I reckon) where currently the space is used for crowd management from Wembley venues and still use its current depot. I think there is a better argument for stopping MK/Northampton/Crewe trains here too for the links offered. I would even split the western Bakerloo in half between Wembley and Ealing Bdy via Old Oak if you can hit 30 r more tph aswell – could give a further route option to the south with the increased frequency if a southern extension ever does happen.

  384. mr_jrt says:

    I’m still more inclined to send the spare Crossrail services to High Wycombe (Princes Risborough/Aylesbury) and the Bakerloo to Ealing. All a damn sight cheaper than getting Crossrail to the DC lines, let alone the slow lines. 🙂

    An enhanced LO service on the DC lines will more than suffice (I’m thinking something like 4tph Watford to the Lea Valley Lines, and 4tph Harrow to Stratford).

    Shunt the freight off onto the Goblin from Camden Road-Stratford and then things get interesting as you could have my preferred ELR extension for something like 4tph Watford to New Cross, 4tph Harrow to Crystal Palace and 4tph Willesden to West Croydon (giving 12tph Willesden Junction-Dalston Junction) on a segregated southern pair, and an intensive NLR service on the northern pair. The bottleneck of course just moves from Camden Road-Stratford to Willesden Junction-Gospel Oak though, so not all roses. Having a ELR service on the southern pair might give scope for running the NLR non-stop between Camden Road and Canonbury, which might actually help freight weave through…

  385. JM says:


    I guess my reasoning for the DC is so Harrow and Watford get good direct service to Old Oak Common and any development/jobs etc incremental to HS2 development – a catchment area larger than what you get long the Chiltern, unless you go out past High Wycombe. And then (as with extending CR1 to MK/Tring you get into the situation of putting 90mph trains on a line made for faster trains)

    Other than Bushey and Watford Junction, the platforms already appear long enough. Given you may have to contend with the Met line (and more platform space) being required, you could possibly dive under the WCML just south and build terminating platforms next to the Abbey Line, leaving you the opportuntiy to improve access or frequency on that. There is also the possibilty for development on the north side of Watford Junction.

    Given the amount of capacity you have to play with, you could still run 4tph service up to the Chiltern junction, maybe to Uxbridge. The case for a link between the Met and the Central at Ruislip must be strengthened with Old Oak although a route between Chiltern and Met would be more difficult aswell as extending platforms at Uxbridge.

    With Queens Park, maybe a North London Line (Wembley to Stratford) interchanging with Bakerloo (which could have a portal west of Queens Park) would work. Lot of displacement from peoples current journeys though.

    As far as the freight goes, I’d rather find a way of moving it off urban lines altogether. If a freight/HS2/HS1 link either through London or north/south of it could work, it would kill two lowish volume birds with one stone.

  386. Mark Townend says:

    Not having found any illustrations of the proposed Crossrail1 to WCML link, I created my own . . .

    This shows a route diverging from NNML at Victoria Road, then curving in tunnel under various industrial sites before emerging onto what appears to be unused brownfield and running alongside the Dudding Hill Line. Just past Acton Canal Wharf Jn the new line diverges towards the WCML and joins the Willesden Relief Lines around Willesden No. 7 Jn. Where the new route and the DHL run parallel they would be at different levels and there there would be no track connections between them so services on the 2 lines would run entirely independently with no interaction.

    A straighter and faster route between CR1 and WCML might be possible further west, but I can’t envisage any effective alternative affecting so little property. At Willesden it looks like there is just enough space to squeeze past the National Grid substation, with the new line following a former alignment accessing (I assume) the old power station on the south side of the canal ; low level rail bridges remained in place over the canal next to the DHL bridge there until recently.

  387. SAINTSMAN says:

    @Mark Townend 7.30

    I like your thinking we are on a very similar page, the old alignment next to Dudding Hill Line is very tempting and a simple way to cross Grand Union for the Crossrail Watford extension -, it keeps the tunnel costs down. ( I think this is ex power station track bed- would be good to know for sure).

    A personal tweak, I’m keen to use Ruislip corridor for Chiltern, who would eventually get OOC northern platforms, which puts Crossrail extension slightly to the south. So I’d want to start dropping as soon as you cross over Old Oak Common Lane to get under the Ruislip Corridor tracks. Which puts your Victoria Road portal further back – so a play with the tunel curvature.

    Even then it makes things a wee bit tight for gradient and radius, so you could make a case of starting earlier by dropping under Old Oak Common Lane as well – but this does mess with the station throat phasing, pesky North Pole again.

    My other worry is how Crossrail threads its way to Wembley Central. I’m a fan of using the DC lines north of here. Personally I’d add run two new dedicated lanes through the depot lands. Would also factor another North Circular viaduct into the equation (although this would more likely be used by a different service to allow a juggle)

    Given it is Crossrail and they really should not botch things at this satge I’d love to understand the planners thinking on this rather than second guessing, Longer tunnels could give you a straighter faster route but at what cost. I agree the effects of longer tunnel options further west are likely to have more impact over a wider area.

  388. Greg Tingey says:

    North of Harrow (& Wealdstone) used to have Bakerloo trains, all the way to WJ, of course – so what’s the problem?
    Ditto, between H&W & Queens Park, where dual-usage presently exists.
    ( Or is it the “break of usage” that PoP refers to? )
    Meanwhile, IF direct DC trains are going to cease going down Camden bank, then they will have to go (at least) as far as Camden Town – which means awful conflicts at that junction, which mean that it will have to be 4-tracked, doesn’t it?
    And probably a re-opening for Primrose Hill, too.
    I know central line trains run to Epping, but IMNSHO this is NOT a good precedent, & the WJ service should remain “OvergrounD” with the “tube” stock continuing to terminate @ H&W.
    Extending little, tiny, camped small-daimeter tube trains out into the sticks is a bad move – we’ve already had the discussion on capacity of these compared to an 8-car full-size unit, haven’t we?

    No, the hole is NOT big enough @ Watford High St. At all.

  389. Graham H says:

    @Greg Tingey – the real shame is that Broad Street closed. A proper frequent Broad Street from Watford service would have been a much better bet than keeping the Euston leg, but the BR Property Board spoke* … Until the ELL extension, re-opening was at least theoretically possible as the throat of the old station remained and there would have been room for perhaps a four car set to terminate – with snappy turn rounds, 6 tph would have been possible perhaps).

    Putting the Bakerloo back would – my LU spies used to tell me – re-laying the fourth rail north of Harrow.

    * and the service was run down accordingly.

  390. mr_jrt says:

    @Greg Tingey

    Yup. Grandfather rights only apply if the rules change whilst you’re already doing something – if you stop doing it, then you can’t start again.

    @ Graham H

    Quite. The 4-track alignment of the viaduct would have been quite helpful here as the ELL could’ve used the eastern pair and the BS service the western pair.

    I still view the short-sightedness of the Broadgate development with utter confusion…by all means Broad Street should have gone….but why-oh-why didn’t they extend Liverpool Street westwards for a lot more capacity and then built the new developments in the air rights?!?!?!

    …and indeed. You’d need to relay the 4th rail. One of the reasons I keep pushing an ELR extension from H&I, in fact. Restore the northern pair through Camden as AC, then restore the DC rails from west of PH to H&I and you have a 3rd rail line all the way from Watford Junction through to the southern region.

  391. Castlebar says:

    @ JM

    You said “The case for a link between the Met and the Central at Ruislip must be strengthened………….”, and this is true.

    The local council (L B of Hillingdon) pressed years ago for a chord so that many Central Line trains would use a short chord after Ruislip Gardens and then call at Ickenham, Hillingdon & Uxbridge. Picc services would generally terminate at Rayners, with a few peak hour services only as far as Ruislip. This would free up a few extra Picc trains for the Heathrow service. A minority of Central Lines would still serve W Ruislip, but so would more Chilterns.

    This was on Hillingdon Council’s agenda, but it never seems to have been on LT’s or LU’s. IMHO, it is such a logical idea that l am astounded that its never been done. It actually seems to be the case that they have tried to prevent it, yet l cannot understand their seeming hostility. L B of H might have given up on this now that they have tried for so long and got nowhere with this scheme. I no longer live in the area, so am out of touch with any recent developments.

  392. JM says:


    Surprised they never used it as leverage for supporting (or at least accepting) HS2. Lots of people travel outwards on the Metropolitan in the morning to Uxbridge relative to most of the tube lines

    I don’t think it’s that simple. From memory only 3 Piccs an hour go to Uxbridge – if the Central line doubled the frequency there, you would plausibly have to cut back the Met frequency as the station is only three platforms. Although Ealing Bdy Central platforms manage 10/12 tph with 2 so maybe it can be worked around.

    Plus there’s the platforms at Ickenham and Hillingdon.

    I think if you have 12/14 extra Crossrail paths to use and linking to the WCML is too difficult, an option could be to take over the Central Line to West Ruislip, diverting half the service to Uxbridge. You could have huge new depot at the current Ruislip location. I think it’s much harder to justify without Old Oak and more difficult building from the Chiltern around Ruislip depot. You would also need to rebuild North Acton with cross paltform interchange. Only issue with all stops service might be the journey time to Zone 1 from Uxbridge. I don’t think I’m ever going to think running CR1 out through the Chilterns is a good idea unless it had a destonation in itself the size of Reading at the end.

  393. Anonymous says:

    “a chord so that many Central Line trains would use a short chord after Ruislip Gardens and then call at Ickenham, Hillingdon & Uxbridge.”

    Such a chord already exists but is not suitable for regular and frequent passenger trains as it is single track, and passes through Ruislip depot, crossing both its access roads on the flat. Redesigning it for regular use would not be easy, and there are also issues about how many Central Line trains could be accomodated on the Uxbridge line, (there are very few Piccadilly line trains to be displaced) whether flying junctions are needed at one or both ends of the chord to maintain the service frequencies, and the incompatible signalling systems of the Met and Central, and the absence of “grandfather” rights for 1992 stock to use the intermediate height platforms on the Uxbridge branch.

    Doubtless it could be done, if money were no object.

  394. mr_jrt says:

    High Wycombe apparently has a population of 93,000, which isn’t something to be sniffed at. Sure it’s not Reading’s 145,000, but it’s nearly 2 thirds of it.

    Brentwood (of which Shenfield’s a suburb of) is only 73,000.

  395. Malcolm says:

    I really don’t understand the timing of this discussion about where to send CR1 trains north-westward. The track, and train-ordering, are surely by now at a stage where logically the routes should be decided. Especially in view of the fact that some of the possibilities (all?) are going to need some construction work. And each possibility will have a different impact on the number of trains needed, and in many cases knock-on effects on other services. It seems weird to me.

  396. Fandroid says:

    @mr_jrt. Reading’s population always comes out as artificially low, as Reading Borough boundaries date from around 1912 and haven’t changed much even while housing continued to be built all around. That means that large chunks of the Reading conurbation are administered by Wokingham District and West Berkshire Councils and the population is counted in their statistics. Back in the 1980s, when I was looking at local demand for water supplies, ‘Greater Reading’ pop totalled about 250,000. It’s probably higher now, as the town centre has been seriously repopulated since then, and the periphery has continued to be built on.

  397. Greg Tingey says:

    Fandroid – it’s like the artificially low figures for London, then?
    Inside the M25 + 12 million (approx) ( ? )
    Official figure for “London” – approx 8 million

  398. ngh says:

    Re Malcolm 05:46PM, 23rd July 2013

    I really don’t understand the timing of this discussion about where to send CR1 trains north-westward. The track, and train-ordering, are surely by now at a stage where logically the routes should be decided. Especially in view of the fact that some of the possibilities (all?) are going to need some construction work. And each possibility will have a different impact on the number of trains needed, and in many cases knock-on effects on other services. It seems weird to me.

    The initial routes are fixed, the construction of the necessary infrastructure is under way and the rolling stock procurement (based on those routes) is well under way (lets call this phase 1). The policy with CR1 has been not to make changes after final approval in contrast to thameslink.
    What is being discussed here is the add-ons to CR1 in the Northwest (lets call it phase 2) which would be done completely separately to the CR1 work already under-way and would probably only start after construction of phase 1 is complete and is fully operational so there is no scope creep or room for contractors to charge more for variations…

    In a similar vein, the CR1 route from Abbey Wood to (beyond) Gravesend is safeguarded and might be a phase 3 at some point.

  399. Littlejohn says:

    A quick shufti at the West Berkshire stats ( ) shows that 16% of West Berks residents live in the suburban area adjoining Reading borough. Based on the 2011 Census this is about 26,000. Beware taking statistics at face value.

  400. DW down under says:

    Snowy @ 10:57PM, 21st July 2013: “@ Graham H & Chris – Network rail published what I thought was quite a good look at alternatives to HS2 & felt that HS2 was the best option.

    Which alternatives do you think should have been/be investigated further?”

    An alternative centred on the existing disused/part used GCR alignment between the Akeman St link and the Wigston/Leicester area, with a new link from that alignment through SW Rugby to pick up the WCML just north of the existing junction for the Trent Valley line. Coupled with this is an upgrading of the former GWR line between Wolverhampton-Moor St – Warwick – Kings Sutton and thence via either High Wycombe (for fast through trains) or Oxford for regional service trains.

    Coupled with these, a more intensive service between Birmingham and the North/North-East via Crewe, and possibly also Shrewsbury/Wrexham with local bottleneck fixes to suit.

    The final element in the package is the Tonbridge – Redhill (new chord) – Reading freight route and quadruplication of Reading – Didcot on the GWML.

    Freight flows were identified as a principal weakness in NR’s review of 2 alternatives. In this package, freight that formerly travelled via the WLL and WCML will now use the Redhill chord (and yes there are issues we have discussed about that line and extra traffic over its level crossings) and run through Reading onto the new slow lines to Didcot, thence to Oxford and Leamington Spa. For traffic wanting the WCML further north, an upgraded link from Leamington Spa through Coventry (with grade separation works) and thence to Nuneaton has been proposed.

    New traffic from the Thames Gateway port development at Shellhaven will require a separate freight strategy. All existing routes from Stanford-le-Hope point towards the GOBlin and thence MML or WCML. From the MML, via the Dudding Hill line, freight could be directed onto the GWML – but like the WCML, this would be at its most congested point.

    Any route avoiding London to the north would require new greenfields construction as well as restoration (where possible) of some pre-existing routes in Essex, Cambs and Lincs. However, by running a “squadron service” of tilting fast trains on a 30-minute cycle (so that some intermediate stops can be serviced) on the restored GCR in place of those operating via Central Milton Keynes and Rugby today, paths for more freight, regional passenger and commuter trains would be released on the WCML.

    The point has been well-made here that maximisation of a line’s capacity is achieved by having the same stopping pattern apply to all trains on each pair of tracks. The proposal is to have both pairs on the WCML become 110mph, while the GCR will become 160mph and the High Wycombe – Bicester – Warwick – W.Mids route would become probably 140mph. Whether quadruplication of this route in Warwicks and the W.Mids would be needed/justified would be part of the analysis.

    Sorry if this is too much detail, but after reference to the NR study of alternative routes, and the question: what other alternatives are there – it can only be a package. So let’s call this one “the GCR/GWR joint lines” package.

    As for the East Midlands and North East, restoration of a freight route further east (ie through Lincoln) plus quadding of the WAML, together with 140mph signalling for the ECML, 110mph signalling and track upgrade for the Hertford Loop so that outer suburbans can be pathed that way without too much time penalty should go a long way towards helping. Grade separation and level crossing elimination would also form part of this 2nd package. Let’s call it the “Deltic” package. The package must include improved links from the WAML to the GOBLin for freight, especially off HS1 at Dagenham Docks and from the Thames Gateway port. The only link at the moment is the Seven Sisters Chord, which we are reliably informed by Greg T is a squealer, a 10mph section, and a very awkward place to accommodate a significant freight flow.

  401. ngh says:

    HS2 and potential Watford DC Lines diversion from Euston and on to the NLL.

    To make this work properly without impacting other services, be it existing Overground services or freight on the NLL it would appear that:

    – The former 4 track section (currently 2 track) between Camden Road West Junction and Camden Road East Junction needs re quadding. OHLE on all line for freight.

    – New Bridge and demolition of 2 industrial units near Camden Road West Junction to provide separation of services to/from the west on the 2 pairs of lines on the re quaded section above.

    – Sorting out the 3 track section at Westbourne Road tunnel (just west of Highbury and Islington) to 4 track?

    – A suitable Eastern Terminus: Stratford probably not enough capacity east of Dalston? Therefore either Dalston with a bit of rebuilding or Highbury and Islington?
    [Dalston being ideal as it is CR2 station so would need another big rebuild]

  402. Belsize Parker says:

    @ ngh

    You might also wish to add ‘proper escalator interchange with the Northern Line at Chalk Farm via a reopened Primrose Hill station’ [maybe both stations could be renamed ‘Roundhouse’ post-rebuilding?] for passengers who previously connected to the Tube at Euston. Naturally this would push up the cost and make for some spectacular overcrowding in the peaks, but I can’t see how else you can placate the ‘I just want to go to London’ lobby up the DC lines.

    Either way, somebody needs to make a very firm point that the current cheapskate HS2-HS1 ‘link’ plan (essentially snitching one of the two tracks through Primrose Hill for the benefit of international through trains that the Border Agency probably won’t allow to run anyway…) is a non-starter. It is surely the ultimate ‘long-distance operators don’t care about local services in London’ insult. You couldn’t run *any* sort of service from the DC lines to the NLL via a single-track shared with freight. So you might as well put away all your graphics software and simulations of three/four-tracking through Camden Gardens until you can persuade the Powers-that-be to upgrade the ‘link’ to a proper Berne-guage tunnel (or drop HS2 altogether, of course).

  403. Anonymous says:

    “restoration of a freight route further east (ie through Lincoln) ……………….Grade separation and level crossing elimination would also form part of this 2nd package.”

    Notably in Lincoln itself – the problems caused by the extra rail traffic diverted through the city because of the landslip near Doncaster is an indication of why this matters.

    Electrifiucatoin of the Joint Line would also allow extension of some FCC (or Thsameslink) Peterborough services to Lincon, giving it a regular direct service to London (well, Kings Lynn merits an hourly service, so why not?)

  404. Greg Tingey says:

    Not quite – there is the other S Tottenham-WAML curve, to the S&E which is quite capable of taking large freights, & does so. What might be needed is restoration of the W-to-N curve, which would be easy.
    Quite frankly a completely new line diverging just before PItsea & passing to the West of Basildon to join the GEML is a better option, OR, possibly – double Grays-Upminster, insert a S-E curve to the East of Upminster, then new line through narrow unbuilt-on corridor to join GEML @ approx half-way between Harold Wood & Brentwood.
    But that would conflict with Xr1 services, so the former option is probably better.

  405. Graham H says:

    @DWdu and Greg T – maybe the answer for the Thamesport -north freight is to take it east before turning north, via Bury and Cambridge? A longer route of course, but getting rid of freight from the NLL and GOBLIN would be a huge gain, probably by adding a congestion premium to access charges. As noted elsewhere, freight operators won’t be concerned so much with the increased journey time as with improvements in predictability. One difficulty with the present structure of access charges, however, is that freight pays to use the system as a whole – maybe in future it should pay by section of track? [The downside of that is that it opens up a horrible can of worms for passenger services on rural branch lines if applied to them also].

    @Arkady – yes, there are plenty of other (very dull) forums to discuss macro -economics!

  406. mr_jrt says:

    @Belsize Parker
    The solution to the potential overcrowding is to also restore slow line platforms at Willesden Junction. That way the only additional passengers joining the Northern Line are those from Kensal Green, Queens Park, Kilburn High Street, and South Hampstead. More than viable, it’s just obvious!

    @The others re: freight

    Yup, the Ideal is new build Pitsea to Battlesbridge, to restore the old line from Woodham Ferrers to Witham, then rebuild the rest of the Braintree branch (via Stansted instead?). Then you don’t impact the GEML at all and the freight can access the electric spine via Ely, Peterborough and a new chord at Manton, even without further EWR developments, though obviously a restored route from south of Cambridge to Bedford is going to be a LOT better.

  407. High_Wycombe_for_CR says:

    Mr Jrt, arguing that High Wycombe is as sensible a terminous for crossrail as Reading writes:
    “High Wycombe apparently has a population of 93,000, which isn’t something to be sniffed at. Sure it’s not Reading’s 145,000, but it’s nearly 2 thirds of it.”

    According to the 2011 census Greater Reading (the continuous built-up area) has a population of 318,000. Wycombe is under 100,000. Reading is also an important commercial centre, and the second largest rail passenger interchange outside London. Trips to High Wycombe is unlikely to generate anywhere near as many journeys as Reading. In fact, this is why many people are convinced that crossrail should be extended
    to Reading.

    If the journey times are not too much slower than journeys on the fast lines then some Reading-London passengers may also prefer to trnsfer to the crossrail trains from the express trains: electrification
    may well aid this.

  408. Mark Townend says:

    Here’s my north-east London freight solution . . .

    Withdraw Gospel Oak – Barking passenger service!

    Close Existing stations South Tottenham – Woodgrange Park entirely.

    To broadly replace the eastern part of the GOBLIN service, extend Victoria Line in tunnel from Walthamstow Central via Whipps Cross, Snaresbrooke (Central interchange), Redbridge (Central interchange), then surface route following the N. Circular road to Barking with a branch to Ilford main line for alternate trains.

    To replace the western part of the GOBLIN passenger service, a new South-East connection at Kentish Town would allow a Thameslink inner suburban service to run via Upper Holloway, Crouch Hill and Harringay Green Lanes, then via a new West-North chord to Severn Sisters and all stations on to Cheshunt.

    With many passenger stops and services removed there would be far more paths available for freight on the GOBLIN line through to Willesden.

    To increase capacity further build a new connecting line east – north between GOBLIN and the West Anglia Main Line. then expand to 4-track all the way through to Broxbourne and the Hertford East branch junction. Provide double track through Ware station then a new connecting line north of Hertford to access the Hertford Loop and hence the ECML from Stevenage. Between Tottenham and Broxbourne freights would share the fast lines with express and semi-fast West Anglia trains, giving plenty of capacity on the slows for frequent stoppers to both Liverpool Street and Stratford.

    At Tottenham, a short chord option for the connecting line is not possible. A 1km northern option would have to avoid all the new housing near Tottenham Hale, and join the WAML before the Victoria Line depot access ramp at Northumberland Park, affecting much commercial property. A southern option, much longer at around 2.5km , could skirt around the east and south of the reservoirs then join the WAML at Coppermill Junction, where the 4 track section would commence.

    At Hertford, the 4km link would branch from the Hertford East line just west of the A10 overbridge, skirt the Hertford suburb of Bengeo and join the Hertford Loop near the village of Waterford.

    Together with my previous East Thames Crossing idea and with the creation of a separate freight pair from where that joins the LTS all the way through to Barking, this proposal would provide a fast through route to the north for freight from new ports on the north Thames bank and from the continent.

    At Kentish Town, reconstruct the station on the east side of Kentish Town Road bridge to provide 12 car platforms.
    At Gospel Oak, move the NLL station south to the point at which the line crosses the MML on a wide structure. Provide a pedestrian connection between the west end of the new Kentish Town platforms and the re-sited Gospel Oak to maintain interchange.

    At some point in the future I will create a series of sketches to illustrate the proposals.

  409. Mark Townend says:

    @High_Wycombe_for_CR, 03:31PM, 24th July 2013

    “If the journey times are not too much slower than journeys on the fast lines then some Reading-London passengers may also prefer to trnsfer to the crossrail trains from the express trains: electrification
    may well aid this”

    Crossrail really needs a second tier of service to go further out on the GWML than already proposed. A limited stop service, with better quality stock incorporating toilets would be much more attractive from Reading and beyond than merely extending the all stations offering. Also turning back at Reading is not efficient as the layovers would eat up much of the capacity on the relief line side being provided as part of the development much better used at this complex junction for regulating through services including freight. Hence I would combine such Crossrail semis with the stopping services to Didcot and Newbury – that might significantly reduce the numbers interchanging at Reading from those existing services onto fast Paddington trains providing real overcrowding relief.

  410. mr_jrt says:

    I’m not suggesting it’s as important as Reading and shoudl be served instead of it, I just grabbed my figures quickly from Wikipedia. It’s an online discussion forum, not a court case, so Wikipedia is more than sufficient 🙂

    Points being that a) that’s the current population. Provide a better service and it will probably help it grow, and b) it only has to be a fraction of the 14tph that are spare that go to High Wycombe. Reading hasn’t even been factored into most of the service diagrams out in the wild and it will have fast services calling at it regardless. Ignoring the option of Reading just getting the Maidenhead terminators extended to it, lets assume it gets 4tph from the pool of 14 spare services get projected there. That still leaves 10 tph free, so send 2 tph up to Princes Risborough (Or Aylesbury), turn 2 tph at High Wycombe and 2 tph at Gerrards Cross and then you still have 4 tph to start from OOC without overburdening any particular station with terminal facilities.

    Not exactly a glut of air trains you’re throwing around there, either. All roughly the same tph as is currently provided, just longer, faster trains. If demand picks up, you can always project another couple of the remainder.

  411. mr_jrt says:

    @Mark Townend
    Agreed, that’s exactly what I’ve always had in mind for Crossrail. Outer suburban services from Newbury/Didcot to Reading then semi-fast, and inner suburban services from Reading to Slough then semi fast, with my desired new metro service providing Slough(Windsor?) to Paddington.

    …on the Chiltern side the equivalents are Oxford/Bicester North to Princes Risborough then semi fast as the outer suburban services and Princes Risborough to West Ruislip then semi fast as the inner suburban services…with the Central line as the metro down to Park Royal.

  412. Castlebar says:

    Agree with Mark & mr jrt

    Using Reading to turn regular services blocks the platforms for through services and you end up with the same problem you had before the station rebuild and £Millions spent on it. Better to turn some services further out where they won’t impede.

    I’ve even had it suggested that as commuters are starting journeys from further and further out of London, putting a new stick back to Devizes as a terminus for some of the current Newbury/Kintbury traffic could make long term sense even if it isn’t obvious in the short term. Anyone else heard this? Any merit in it?

  413. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar – don’t know about Devizes, But at least one potential operator is considering starting back at Hungerford.

  414. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Back to the off-topic subject of compromise platform heights.

    It is hard enough at existing stations.

    See this application for an exemption.

  415. SAINTSMAN says:

    @Mr JRT I hear your passion for the Crossrail 1 extension to go to High Wycombe not Watford.

    For me Euston will suffer slightly more from capacity than Marlyebone. For Euston getting as many AC tracks as practical is a priority, so Crossrail onto DC (to give AC) and better freight paths (and possibly additional freight only sections) helps give Euston sufficent capacity. That does not mean that Marylebone is not important.

    If you roll the clock forward and we get to Crossrail 3 then the logic would be NW-SE (Crossrail 2 NE-SW), which implies a “Super Met”. For me it would be in NW, Aylesbury via Amersham (with Cheshunt as a spur) and the Uxbridge Met branch, both joing and dropping into tunnel at West Hampstead. The Met as we know it becomes Baker Street (terminus) to Watford (or possibly up the Abbey line) – a step towards boosting sub surface central London capacity. (I’m aware more steps are needed but have been brief). This is a long way off as Crossrail 2 needs pushing first, then securing the various extensions to Crossrail 1.

    On this timescale it does not exactly help Marylebone, which is why I’m keen on Chiltern to OOC. One of my three favoured routes would be Aylesbury via High Wycombe. As an extra service it deals with the Risborough shuttle and picks up some of the outer passengers to relieve Marylebone capacity. Which I hope deals with your concerns, in part.

    And yes dumping x tph of Chiltern customers at OOC to interchange is not ideal but nor are Marylebone connections. However a combination of LO and Crossrail 1 expansion capabality should be sufficent for interchanges until Crossrail 3 gets funded.

  416. Ian J says:

    @Pedantic: Thanks for posting that link.

    Telling quote from that document: “Manual Boarding ramps were not assessed as the required information was not available at the time”. So the lengthy report into the options for dealing with platform gaps, which considered all kinds of highly expensive physical works and disruptive changes to service patterns, did not consider the simple solution which is used at every accessible National Rail station, including on the London Overground.

    They later say that they considered using manual ramps at Uxbridge, but “The use of a ramp at Uxbridge could have given people a false impression and expectations of their use at other stations on the Metropolitan line and network as a whole. This inconsistency might have lead to confusion and additional stress”.

    However, ramps were then used at other locations during the Olympics and Paralympics and turned out to work fine, so now they are proposing to introduce them after all… no later than August 2014.

    It’s a nice lesson in how sometimes the simple organisational solution beats the expensive technological or infrastructural approach (as the Germans like to say: first organisation, then electronics, then concrete: ie. first try to fix how you run the system, and only if that is not enough change the signalling, and only if that is not enough then build new infrastructure).

  417. Littlejohn says:

    There has been a lot of prior discussion on other threads about Newbury (and beyond) services to Paddington. To recap: the service suggested by mr jrt (04:25PM, 24th July 2013) already exists. Trains starting from Bedwyn are semi-fast Newbury to Reading (only stopping at Thatcham and Theale) then non-stop to Paddington. Alternate trains are Newbury – Reading stopping at all stations. What happens to the Bedwyn trains after electrification is still unknown. The Newbury MP was quoted a few months ago as saying he had had positive talks with DaFT about extending electrification beyond Newbury so suggestions that trains might start from Hungerford or (more likely I think) Devizes are credible. Of course, the advent of 5-car bi-mode IEPs (have I got the terminology right?) means that what will really be necessary is a suitable place to change power source.

    As an aside, while the day time half hourly service from Newbury is reasonable for a mid-sized market town, the evening service, particularly at weekends, is very poor and dependent on connections that don’t always appear. Waiting 2½ hours at Reading is no joke. People are increasingly driving to Basingstoke where the service is so frequent that you don’t need a timetable; it really is turn up and go.

  418. Castlebar says:

    Thank you both Graham H & Littlejohn

    Now it makes more sense to me.

    And l now see the logic of having a Devizes stub so that the TOC can have a depot on its own turf, with a comparatively “easy do” restored connection off the B&H, reconnecting Devizes to the national network and not having to worry about other TOCs on their patch.

    Quite a long way out, but sensible, and l am aware of people who lived out in the sticks near (south of) Bath who preferred to get the Waterloo service from Bradford on Avon. So, not just a pipedream, but it seems Devizes might be a possible long term objective after all.

  419. Moosealot says:

    I’m all in favour of running Crossrail up the Chiltern, but Prince’s Risborough is the only sensible terminus. Extending 2tph to Aylesbury is just-about feasible on the single track but there would be minimal recovery time. The intermediate stations at Monk’s Risborough and Little Kimble look (on Bing maps) like they could take platform extensions reasonably easily but would the costs involved in doing that plus electrifying an additional 10km of track be worthwhile? I’m pretty sure the bay platform at High Wycombe wouldn’t take a 10-car train and the geography (it’s built on the side of a very steep hill) precludes extending the station without considerable expense. 2tph all-stations and 2tph semi-fast to Prince’s Risborough, retaining the diesel shuttle to Aylesbury for the time being would represent a significant improvement on current services at minimal cost.

    Coming back to OOC, if the Wormwood Scrubs site is going to be redeveloped, is there potential to have a developer-funded Central line spur from White_City-Wormwood_Scrubs-OOC-Willesden_Jct à la Battersea? Some trains would be a shuttle, others run through. This would help link Willesden Jct and OOC which is going to be essential if a true West London hub is going to be developed there.

    While looking at the Central Line, if it is plausible to run from Ruislip Gardens through the depot to Uxbridge, West Ruislip LU station could be turned over to Chiltern to terminate an intensified 4tph ‘inner’ Marylebone all-stations service without blocking the main lines. It would use most of the Marylebone slots freed up by putting the ‘outer’ High Wycombe/Prince’s Risborough services through Crossrail. This would resolve the underuse of Sudbury Hill, Harrow Road and Northolt Park, providing vastly improved journey times into Zone 1 over the Piccadilly from nearby stations.

  420. Anonymous says:

    @Littlejohn and others

    “trains might start from Hungerford or (more likely I think) Devizes are credible”
    How credible is reponing the Devizes line? It appears to have been built on to the SE of the town

    ” Aylesbury via Amersham (with Cheshunt as a spur)”
    That’s a pretty long spur – unless you mean Chesham

  421. Littlejohn says:

    @ Anonymous. Yes, I said Devizes but I was thinking Westbury. Sorry, mind in neutral. My point was that Hungerford is not really enough of a traffic objective to justify electrifying the additional 10 miles from Newbury and in any case this wouldn’t solve the Bedwyn problem. I am also unclear how the West of England IEP services will operate post-electrification. I assume (but I don’t have the technical knowledge to be sure) that you have to be stationary to switch from electric to diesel. Some Plymouth/Penzance HSTs stop at Newbury but most don’t. The logical place to effect the changeover is Westbury; this would also provide electrification to Bedwyn.

  422. Mark Townend says:

    Westbury electrification could also allow electric aggregates haulage. No need to electrify to the local quarries – diesel haul portions from those to Westbury yard and form into electric haul ‘supertrains’ to Acton Yard, where trains would be broken up and portions worked to various London and south east terminals using appropriate traction.

  423. mr_jrt says:

    Apoligies for the thread drift, but an enhanced Chiltern metro isn’t viable to serve those stations due to the need for Chiltern mainline services to reach Marylebone. Either those have to go to OOC (or Paddington), or some other solution needs to be found.

    My proposal is to look at the end and have a branch of the Jubilee from Neasden – restoring the former 4 track formation (which didn’t reach all the way to South Ruislip). Serving this with the Wembley Park terminators provides an initial service without being detrimental to the Stanmore branch (and still serves Wembley via Wembley Stadium station). Moving the Met stop from Wembley Park to Neasden provides the interchange options, and importantly, if you’re doing that kind of work to the station you can move it closer to an interchange with new platforms on the Dudding Hill route, probably by building the new station on the other side of the road bridge to minimise disruption, further enhancing the interchange hub.

    Result being that you end up with a great Jubilee line/Met/LO hub, room for the Jubilee line to burrow under to Neasden Junction west of the new platforms, and an enhanced service to the three most-neglected stations in London 🙂 You also have options for extending this new branch at the other end as tube tunnels are cheaper than full-size ones (Perhaps to the Greenford branch?)

  424. Moosealot says:

    I had envisaged the Chiltern Mainlines switching to Paddington. Once most of the local services are shifted onto Crossrail and the Greenfords cut back, there will be plenty of terminal capacity there. If OOC is built, that interchange opportunity would be another reason to run the Chiltern Mainlines into Paddington. Almost every time I take that route, I try to work out if a third track would fit onto the alignment from South Ruislip to Neasden and think the answer is ‘mostly’ – this would allow mid-distance Oxford/Banbury semis to pass the inners.

    I always get concerned when people suggest replacing proper trains with tubes. After your proposed works around Neasden, the journey time to Baker Street from Wembley Stadium-Northolt Pk would be no faster than taking a proper train to Marylebone and walking, more cramped not air conditioned and with little potential to increase capacity with longer trains. Extending beyond Northolt Park would be tricky as the line is on an embankment almost all the way to South Ruislip so there is little potential to get into a tunnel – even if that were possible, there would be a nearly 180-degree turn at a radius of curvature of around 300m to get to Greenford.

    Integrating a main line station into Neasden tube station would give even better interchange options. There would have to be some land take to the South to make room for platforms and through line(s) and the road bridge would have to be rebuilt but neither are insurmountable obstacles, and would be a jolly sight cheaper than a junction with the Jubilee and give far better service options.

  425. Paul says:

    The contrary view is that soon after most of the the GW locals transfer to Crossrail, the high numbered Paddington platforms (ie the short ones alongside the LU station) will be significantly rebuilt so that all platforms in the mainline station are full length, so there’ll be fewer, but longer platforms.

    Then with the increased number of trains with IEP and electrification plans, there’ll be no room for hypothetical Chiltern services at all.

  426. Ian Sergeant says:

    @Anon 10:39 25/07

    Re Devizes – it seems to me that it is not impractical to build a station on the edge of the town. However, I can’t find any suggestion of it on the Internet…

  427. Castlebar says:

    @ Moosealot

    Hi, I’ve looked on the internet too, and can see nothing on the internet about re-opening a spur to Devizes either. It seems it might only have been only local aspirational talk

  428. Castlebar says:

    Sorry, my last post was really for Ian Sergeant, not Moosealot

  429. Mark Townend says:

    @Ian Sergeant, 05:20PM, 25th July 2013

    There may be a good case for a Devizes Parkway station (on;y a couple of miles from the town centre) on the main line served by a potential Westbury service.

  430. Castlebar says:

    Thank you Ian.

    So my local informant was right, although he neglected to mention “Parkway”. I don’t know if this is relevant to the thread as Westbury seems to be an extreme outer distance for Crossrail starters.

    I KNEW Wootton Bassett is earmarked for re-opening, and was very pleased to read about the other proposals. Thanks.

  431. Graham H says:

    These exchanges are actually a very good illustration of how difficult investment decisions are in a disaggregated railway. .NR have no plans to electrify beyond Pewsey Newbury and they go there simply out of “tradition”. It takes a TOC or two to decide there is a business case for extending the wires to Hungerford or even further but whether or not that will happen depends not on the intrinsic merit of the business case but on who wins the franchise.

    – but we all knew that the system was designed to stop things happening anyway…

  432. Anonymous says:


    I’m normally with you on preferring proper trains (see: my opinions on replacing LO to Watford with the Bakerloo), but I’m sure taking a tube train with, say, a 6tph service from Sudbury Hill for a few stops then changing to a fast Met service would be preferable to waiting 40-odd minutes for a Chiltern metro, so in this case I think it would still be pretty damn quick.

    As for Greenford, it’s just a vague notion. Could be West Ruislip, could be Uxbridge.

    For Greenford though, given how much of the route is paralleled by the Picc (which is why usage is so low), diving into tunnel after Sudbury and Harrow Road station, beginning your loop to point south and then serving the tube Sudbury Hill station in tunnel, then heading for Greenford with more underground platforms and surfacing on the branch could be sufficient.

  433. P Dan Tick says:

    @Graham H. I suspect you meant Newbury when you wrote Pewsey.

  434. Graham H says:

    @PDT sorry, yes I did mean Newbury.

  435. Moosealot says:


    Platforms 1-11 at Paddington are already as long as they’re going to be: they’re limited by the shape of the site as it curves to the West. Removing Platform 13 would allow 12 to be lengthened to nearly as long as 11 currently is but there would be no benefit al all in removing 14. Once Crossrail is taking the vast majority of slow traffic, the limitation at Paddington is not platforms but the capacity of the fast lines West of Old Oak Common. Assuming the platforms can manage a leisurely 2tph, only 10 are needed to handle all 20tph that the fast lines can throw at them which leaves two-and-a-runt over. Chiltern mainline services are currently 2tph which would require one of these and are currently short enough that they may fit in Platform 14.

    preferable to waiting 40-odd minutes for a Chiltern metro
    Which is why I was suggesting 4tph all stations Marylebone-West Ruislip using the freed-up slots from the GX/HW/PR services now going via Crossrail.

  436. Castlebar says:

    @ Moosealot

    I agree with you regarding 4tph all stations Marylebone-West Ruislip, This would enable most, if not all Centrals to divert to Uxb after Ruislip Gdns as per previous comments. Piccs to Rayners only, with a few peaks to Ruislip (only) = job done! Better services for all except for those wishing to travel from W Ruislip to R Gdns, but vast improvements for the majority.

  437. Si says:

    “Better services for all except for those wishing to travel from W Ruislip to R Gdns, but vast improvements for the majority.” Worse service for all those travelling between west of Rayners and Piccadilly line destinations. And it isn’t as if that service is pointless – they would have already cut them all back to Rayners and use the trains to run more intensive service elsewhere on the Picc if it wasn’t in high demand.

  438. Castlebar says:

    Si, I think your comment displays a lack of imagination.

    Is it the end of civilization to change trains at Rayners, (which many do anyway)? Whereas many more Uxb, Ickenham & Hillingdon pax would be advantaged by having access to the Central where currently there is none. I really despair at such lack of consideration for the bigger picture.

  439. mr_jrt says:


    I take your point, but for me it still a) duplicates the existing Met service from Neasden to Marylebone/Baker St, and b) wastes precious platform capacity at Marylebone, so a Jubilee branch works better for me. By all means send it to West Ruislip rather than Greenford or wherever, but Chiltern Metro’s a non-starter for me.

  440. Si says:

    Castlebar – it isn’t the end of civilisation, I never said it was: stop seeing everything in hyperbole.

    I was merely questioning (the hyperbolic statement of) “better services for all except…” – removing the service to Uxbridge and forcing all Piccadilly passengers to change at Rayners is not improving those journeys is it? Rather the opposite.

    I fail to see how pointing out how suggesting that making service worse for a considerable number of passengers (who already see the 3tph service as one that needs improvement) isn’t making it better is anything but having consideration for the bigger picture – something which you lack when you suggest ‘better services for all’ and then attack me for having the temerity to suggest that these passengers affected by your proposal matter.

    As for ‘lack of imagination’ – it really takes a lot of imagination to think that people will thank you for improving their journeys by forcing them to change at Rayners, rather than (if they time it right or get lucky) have direct trains. I’m quite glad I have a lack of completely left-field ideas like that.

    If you want imagination: While the fairly expensive infrastructure improvements to make the through-depot line usable for 6tph+ passenger service occur, rebuild the Ruislip siding to be in the middle of the pair of tracks. Two options then:
    1) keep current Piccadilly service pattern, terminate half the Mets in the Ruislip siding. Central line will take the London passengers anyway, so 4tph Uxbridge to Harrow and Wembley will do. Bonus of reducing Uxbridge terminations by 1tph over a plain Met and Central only.
    2) extend Piccadilly to Ruislip (OK, a small number of trains in the peak will probably have to short turn at Rayners to keep stock numbers the same, but the change should be roughly stock neutral) and terminate it there.

  441. timbeau says:

    Given that the Central’s West Ruislip branch and the Piccadilly’s South Harrow route follow very similar routes, there may be a significant number of existing users of the Picc’s Uxbridge service who would find the Central Line service more convenient – an Ickenham – Hanger Lane commuter would no longer need to choose between a long walk to West Ruislip or a long walk from Park Royal. That’s not to say everyone would be a winner, but just that the proposal would not disadvantage all existing Piccadilly users on the Uxbridge line.

  442. Si says:

    Indeed, timbeau, but Castlebar claimed that everyone, save those travelling West Ruislip – Ruislip Gardens, would be a winner, when that isn’t the case.

    As has often been said, it would be really good to get some figures on Central line to Uxbridge (and knock on effects) – at the moment everyone is flying on speculation alone as to whether the link would be worth it, or just something that sounds useful but wouldn’t be worth the cost.

  443. SAINTSMAN says:

    @ Moosealot – I take you points re Paddington platforms. If you roll the clock forward and a combination of WRATH for Heathrow and Crossrail 1’s potential success, then hopefully all the Relief lines’ capacity will be used by Crossrail 1 (24-32tph is potential. For me this is a golden opportunity to allow Paddington to concentrate on long distance services and Heathrow Express (HEX). Which may require, a more intensive solution for the fast line. But this does leave Greenford as the joker in the pack, unless this can be squeezed in with Crossrail services and so to platform 14, then some other solution needs to be found (I’m personally left with District line as the alternative). It would also potentially mean Marlow AND Henley served by shuttles only, into Crossrail. I can’t see the capacity to do anything significant for Chiltern (Marylebone) at Paddington hence my pushing of these to terminate at OOC (or Kensal). A 10 long distance platform and 2 HEX seems to be the result of a successful Crossrail.

  444. stimarco says:

    If extending the Bakerloo (or any other deep-level Tube line) is increasingly being frowned upon due to the tiny gauge, there might be alternative approach: recycling the Tube line by keeping the stations, while replacing the tunnels.

    You could bore the big, hairy-chested, mainline-sized tunnels either side of the existing infrastructure, then fill in the old trackbed in the old station tunnels and punch through to the new platforms beyond. The old tunnels can then be backfilled, so they can rot away over time without causing any subsidence. (Alternatively, they could be leased to utility companies for pipes, fibre-optic cables and the like: instead of filling in the old trackbed completely, you just slab over it, leaving the space beneath for said utilities.)

    As the mainline trains would be longer and faster, you could also justify uniting stations that are sited close by (e.g. Charing X and Embankment), and skipping other stops entirely (e.g. Edgware Road and Marylebone*) to straighten out the route and speed up journey times.

    Why the Bakerloo? Because it has, if memory serves, the second shortest tunnelled section in London after the Waterloo & City (which is basically just a people mover that just happens to use Tube technology—there being no other choice available at the time). For once, the Bakerloo’s terminus at Elephant & Castle is a feature in its favour: with less to convert, it’s an ideal choice for such an experiment.

    Converting the Bakerloo to heavy rail has multiple advantages, not the least of which is that it could easily take over the Watford DC lines in their entirety, freeing up capacity at Euston. As these are already electrified using the same 3rd-rail technology as much of south London’s rail network, and the DC tunnels cannot be easily converted to OHLE, you don’t have the complexity of dealing with two different electrification systems.

    A second LUL branch, such as the Metropolitan line north of Baker Street, could be mostly taken over (and adapted to allow 3rd-rail stock) to balance a couple of branches at the south-eastern end. Removing most of the movements from the flat junction east of Baker Street would release capacity on the northern half of the Circle for more H&C services, for example. You can then happily extend the New Bakerloo / CR3 / Thameslink II route out to Lewisham, take over the Hayes line, and maybe send additional services over the southernmost Dartford route too. As trains will be full-sized, there’d be no issue over capacity and slow speeds.

    * (If Chiltern’s route were connected by a new pair of twin-track tunnels—one for stoppers, the other for fasts—under London to, say, Victoria, it’s unlikely that retaining Marylebone station for rail services would be necessary. The ‘fasts’ tunnel could extend right out to Croydon given that it would need no intermediate stops barring one at Clapham Jct. And there’s the missing part of the BML2 proposal right there.)

  445. stimarco says:

    Of course, it’s always possible that I’m talking bollocks again. It’s been known to happen.

  446. Mark Townend says:

    @SAINTSMAN, 11:17PM, 27th July 2013

    “It would also potentially mean Marlow AND Henley served by shuttles only . . .”

    Fairly unlikely there will ever be a case to extend platforms on the branches to be suitable for full length Crossrail trains. Other alternatives could be:

    1. Join 2 half trains at Maidenhead to form a full length Crossrail train (not possible with the single unit trains in procurement now, but the further orders neccessary for more widespread service could be different )

    2. Change service patterns on both branches to run to and through Reading, using a new east-north chord at Twyford, and reversing in the new bay at Maidenhead proposed by Crossrail. Henley – Basingstoke? (High Wycombe*) Bourne End – Basingstoke?

    3. Henley as 2 above and (High Wycombe*) Bourne End to Slough (reverse) and Windsor$

    * With High Wycombe connection I assume a new alignment from Bourne end to a new junction on Chiltern ML near Loudwater which could also incorporate a London facing chord allowing Marlow to gain a direct London service to Marylebone.

    $ Windsor branch could be incorporated in the ‘Windsor Link’ proposal, allowing trains to run through to Southern destinations and Heathrow.

  447. Castlebar says:

    @ Mark T

    I understand that one of the local authorities has rolled over to a property developer regarding land between Bourne End & Wycombe, in spite of protests by locals and the other local authority, who wanted the route protected

    @ Si We shall have to agree to disagree. No further comment from me.

  448. Castlebar says:

    @ Mark T

    re your last point

    I understand this exact Windsor link proposal is being taken seriously, with one ‘merged’ station where the coach park currently sits

  449. Greg Tingey says:

    Trouble with the Windsor link proposal is that they have sold off & built over the S-to-W alignment just to the W of Slough station …..
    Though, I suppose, with electric unit traction, a reversal in the Slough bay, with the driver changing ends, isn’t really a problem?

    [Unnecesary insulting adjectives removed. Do you do this to annoy me Greg?  PoP]

  450. SAINTSMAN says:

    @ Mark T your comment on ” It would also potentially mean Marlow AND Henley served by shuttles only . . .”

    Sorry my use of language was poor. I meant that if/ when Crossrail 1 frequency increases, then it would take over all the capacity of the GW relief lines (with Greenford branch being the joker). I agree that the Henley platforms and Marlow / Bourne End service pattern and platforms make these very unlikely candidates for Crossrail 1 branches. This would leave these two lines with a mere rump service with all trains terminating as they reach the mainline (ie simple shuttles only). Normally I’m a strong supporter of through running as this helps the business case for the branch. However the logic of the Crossrail 1 extension from Maidenhead to Reading, seems to dictate the demise of the remaining through services as it moves towards higher frequencies. Sending either branch away from London to Reading might be possible from a mainline (relief) capacity perspective, but the way their junctions join the mainline, even this option is highly unlikely.

  451. Greg Tingey says:

    No, because it was a very, very stupid & shortsighted move.
    And, I’ve just seen another one, probably even stupider & I think other people will think it’s utterly daft as well:

    According to August’s “Modern Railways” they are going to permanently cut OOC – Greenford as part of HS2 – presumably because “no-one will ever need it again”.
    I mean, really, how terminally (pun!) stupid & short-sighted is this?
    Who makes these idiot “decisions” ??

  452. Castlebar says:

    @ Greg T

    I saw that too.

    It is SO stupid that l thought it had to be a mis quote.

    Perhaps it isn’t

    “Who makes these idiot decisions”? Idiots. Unfortunately, they are idiots who have somehow got themselves into decision makers’ seats.

  453. Anonymous says:


    Reversal at Twyford is certainly possible – maybe at Maidenhead too?
    There may also be capacity at Paddington for the odd peak hour service, even it it can’t go down the hole.

    Would it be possible to join and divide services at Maidenhead after the remodelling for Crossrail? (I’m not sure whether it’s possible now) or maybe at some point further down the line like Slough. (In the olden days, there also used to be a direct Paddington – Windsor service)

  454. Pedantic of Purley says:


    If you go around calling everyone idiots all the time then sometimes you will be shown up to be very, very wrong. I sometimes let the comments remain because I think it actually says more about you than the people you are so quick to criticise.

    Thank goodness you weren’t making critical decisions in World War II and people who were more open-minded were.

    Who are these idiots who think we can land on the beach at Normandy when it is well protected by the enemy? What kind of total idiot wants to bounce a bomb on a reservoir in the heart of Germany from a height of 60 feet in an aeroplane and try and destroy a dam whilst under enemy fire? What cretin thinks you can parachute into enemy territory, capture and bring back parts of a radar station and then successfully rendevous with the Royal Navy to get back to England? Plan a shipborne raiding party to sail up to the very heavily defended port of St Nazare and attempt to blow up the enormous dock gates. Are these people insane? Land six wooden gliders right next to two guarded bridges in enemy held territory and not only capture them but hold onto them for hours before any relief arrives. Are the people who plan these things totally insane? etc, etc.

  455. Anonymous[Greg Really] says:

    Totally different decision-tree & set of operating circumstances.
    Comparing apples with bananas, in fact.

    In the meantime, I take it from your comment that you think that permanently severing OOC – Greenford is a good idea?
    Thought not.

  456. @Greg,

    I accept that the situation I described is somewhat different with different decision criteria. I was just trying to make the point that because something initially sounds daft it doesn’t mean it is daft.

    I have the honesty to admit that I don’t really know enough about the implications of severing OOC-Greenford to know if it is as good idea or not. At the moment I have no opinion on the subject. There are a lot of factors involved including how likely it is one would want to reinstate it and what the alternatives would be should that be desirable. Also, how vital it is to HS2 or whatever to sacrifice it.

    The impression I (and quite frankly a lot of people) get is that you rush to condemn things like this as if it is killing a sacred cow. Its the same with flat junctions or removing any section of existing track. To of these you seem to take an unconditional intense dislike regardless of circumstances and condemn anyone who approves of these. Sometimes these things can be the sensible option when also considering other factors.

    Sometime junctions and even lines must be sacrificed for the greater good. I approve of abandoning the Widened Lines and destroying Farringdon junction. I also even think that it is the right thing to do to remove Battersea Park Junction in order to length platform 3.

    What I cannot accept and neither can a lot of people is that just because you personally disagree with something you think you have the right refer to people who disagree with you as idiots. I think that some of your ideas are non-sensical but I try to argue against them in a rational way and not resort to mud-slinging. You seem quite unable to accept that other people can reasonably hold a contrary view let alone that that view might turn out to be correct.

    The feeling I am getting more and more is that whilst at one stage people could laugh off your Mr Angry approach this is no longer the case and people do not like your completely unnecessary insults. I personally am finding that I feel I need to check the site more often than I would like to just to keep your extreme comments in check.

  457. timbeau says:

    As I understand it, the Crossrail depot will get in the way of the new North Line, but access to the NNL will still be possible from Paddington by way of West Ealing and Greenford, although the facility to turn a train round would be lost (there is, I believe, still the possibility of reversing on the triangle at West Ealing.

  458. Lemmo says:

    Apologies to all for the delays to Part 2. I’ve underestimated how much is involved in an overseas move, and overestimated my unemployability, so I’m up to my neck in it.

    Yes the Northolt route is being cut-off, by Crossrail, as there’s not enough length to swing the line into the new station, or enough width to provide platforms. But salvation lies with the potential WCML extension, which will have a grade-separated junction onto the Northolt alignment before swinging north. The Northolt route could connect into this.

    The real problem is further up the route where HS2 want to build ventilation shafts. I, like others, are dumbfounded at this.

    But look back up the thread to Mark Townend’s marvellous diagrams, and you’ll see an idea that sparkles with promise, which we’ll be developing further in Part 2.

  459. Greg Tingey says:

    You are reading & implying things that I never said or stated, I’m afraid.
    To use the examples you quote:
    I agree re. widened lines between Farringdon & Moorgate – it is a pity that no suitable re-use, by LUL seems to have been thought of – or maybe it is the usual problem – money.
    Disagree re Battersea Park, since a better (but more expensive) solution would be to extend the p/f’s south, rather than build over a very useful diversionary/alternative route. But this ties in with capacity issues between Victoria & Brixton, as well, doesn’t it?

    If you are correct, & I see no reason to suppose not, then this is very short-sighted.
    Marylebone won’t be able to take too many more train services, will it? And rail ridership is still increasing & likely to continue & there will be extra spaces available in Padders platforms, especially the high-numbers, so cutting off the direct route does seem very penny-pinching, given the vast amounts of money being proposed as to be thrown at HS2.
    Perhaps a minor redesign of the layout would permit at the very least a single-track connection, approximately on the old alignment.

    Interesting – but that does not solve the problem of additional GW/GC joint route services coming into Padders, does it?
    As for the “ventilation shafts” bit, I agree (suprise!) that this is plainly totally loopy (oops, pun again!)

  460. Ian Sergeant says:


    The big challenge I have – and I suspect the same is true of others – is that your valid arguments are lost in what can appear as prejudice. You know as well as I do that Bournville is a model village, so a dismissal of Birmingham as a whole as a ‘colllection of heterogeneous semi-slums’ cannot be true. Your argument regarding the line from Old Oak to Greenford holds merit, but it’s lost in the personalisation of the argument. The planners need to meet requirements, and they have met those requirements in terms of the delivery of HS2. I suspect no-one mentioned a requirement to maintain the line from Old Oak to Greenford at the time. The planners are not idiots – they have met their requirement.

    Detailed planning of the delivery will drive out anomalies such as these. Inevitably, change requests increase cost, and there will be little appetite for such increased cost on HS2. What we need to lobby for is the ability for the formation to be restored by a separate project. I agree that requires careful placement of ventilation shafts, but the way to ensure this happens is by careful, rational argument.

  461. Anonymous says:

    Indeed – even if you genuinely believe the decision-maker is an idiot, he is unlikely to share that opinion. If you tell him that is your opinion of him, it is likely to colour his view of the validity of any other opinion or suggestion you might want to share with him.

    So let’s cut the ad hominem remarks, shall we?

  462. Greg Tingey says:

    [Deleted. Gratuituous referring to people as idiots.  PoP]

  463. Moosalot says:

    I was in London last week and used the Chiltern line to get from where I was staying in. I conducted a very unscientific poll based on talking to other passengers and the consensus appeared to be that they were generally happy with the service they currently had; when I asked if they had a choice between their current service and a route via Crossrail, there was a preference for the Crossrail route provided it did not impact upon reliability and provided they would still be able to get a seat.

    Nobody I spoke to was actually headed to Marylebone, they were all making onward journeys.

  464. Ian J says:

    Further to the discussion of Euston on this thread: Camden, the Mayor and TfL have released their draft Euston Area Plan at

    It is mainly focused on replacing the housing and commercial space lost to the extended Euston station with development over the approaches to Euston, but also includes consideration of how to improve pedestrian links in the area.

    Comparing pages 2 and 3 of the pdf give a good idea of what is planned, and on page 9 there is a rendering of how the Euston Arch could be reinstated.

  465. HowardGWR says:

    @Ian J

    I have now read the report ‘Central London Rail Termini’ that you recommended, thank you. Looking at the bubble diagrams of where pax are destined beyond each terminus, I don’t see any being destined for Canary Wharf (which is not even on the diagrams). Yet other correspondents here are often referring to ‘Wharfers’ being (e.g.) people arriving at Waterloo and changing onto the Jubilee (see page 132). Very far away western destinations are shewn but not the eastern docks ones.

    I’ve obviously missed a vital point here; I wonder if anyone can help.

    Another point is that it was very noticeable how great a proportion of pax choose a work place near the terminus to which they travel (W and C being a notable exception). It’s either that or people choose a place to live in outer London, based on how they can most easily commute to work, i.e. the job location ‘rules OK’?

    In connection with the article, i think we must accept that OOC is presently envisaged, not with commuters primarily in mind? Looking forward to Part 2.

  466. timbeau says:

    “Another point is that it was very noticeable how great a proportion of pax choose a work place near the terminus to which they travel ”

    I think this is skewed a lot by many commuter routes offering a choice of terminus – Charing Cross/Cannon Street is an obvious example and the Thameslink route is another but there are less obvious ones – many GE lines commuters for the West End will not be picked up in a census at Liverpool Street because they have switched to the Central Line at Stratford. Similarly, many Aylesbury line commuters heading for the City will bypass Marylebone, Tilbury Line commuters for the West End may find it easier to switch at West Ham rather than Fenchurch Street, and there is the two way crossover of commuters between Southern and SWT at Clapham Junction.
    It should not therefore be surprising that the termini with the longest average onward journeys are Euston and Paddington, for there are few realistic alternatives for London Midland and FGW commuters. They also serve some of the longest routes, and therefore proprtionally more of their travellers are not regular commuters.

  467. Ian J says:

    @HowardGWR, Timbeau: Something that is sort of implied but not very clearly stated in the report is that the figures in the diagrams are only for passengers with a final destination of central London. See for example on page 15:

    “Chapter 2 presents detailed analysis of onward travel in central London, looking at the modes used and the distances travelled by passengers between the termini and the end of their trip in central London.”

    Implicitly they seem to define central London as the Central Activities Zone shown in the map on page 16.

    I do think that historically it was the case that people often chose where to live based on what terminus was close to their workplace: hence the “stockbroker belt” of Surrey with convenient access to the City, etc.This pattern becomes harder as people work for shorter periods for each employer and as more households have two main breadwinners, but the beauty of Crossrail 1 is that one route hits all three major business districts (the City, the West End and Docklands).

    As Timbeau mentions, many railways did try to maximise their market by offering a choice of City and West End routes to commuters – even the GWR had services to the City over the Metropolitan, and the LNWR had services into Broad Street. The decay of these services and growth of the kind of outside-zone-1 interchanges timbeau mentions (you could add West Hampstead for Thameslink passengers heading to Docklands, and Lewisham and New Cross (Gate) for South Eastern passengers) does suggest that the longer term trend is towards changing between more frequent services rather than less frequent through services.

  468. Greg Tingey says:

    Especially for Pedantic
    & anyone else who is interested.
    It seems, as usual, I was ahead of the curve, & I won’t be thanked for it …Unfortunately, most “FT” articles are behind a paywall, but I have a print-copy of an article:
    “Sir Humphrey is Useless & our ministers are worse”
    By Anthony King, Financial Times, 6/7 July edition (i.e. the weekend edition – always well worth a read.)
    Which encapsulates all my usual moans, in a much better way that I usually do.


    Oh dear, oh dearie, dearie me …..

    I told you so!

  469. HowardGWR says:

    Those interesting comments (thank you) only reinforce my view that the OOC question is one of interchange for longer distance travel (airline, HS) and to a much lesser extent in strategic policy, commuting opportunities.

    In other words, I hope Lemmo will be looking at the essential differences for ‘reason to travel’ when Part 2 emerges. The opportunities for dispersal of arrivals / collection of departures in Greater London, is an important consideration. Is OOC a well-chosen place to feed the longer distance journeys and disperse their arrivals?

  470. Ian J says:

    @HowardGWR: I agree to a certain extent, but I would make a few comments:

    – if the plans the Mayor and boroughs are pushing come to fruition, Old Oak Common will itself become both a major destination and origin point for commuting, thanks to the enormous amount of development being planned. It could end up as a combination of the offices and high-density housing of the Isle of Dogs with the transport connections of Stratford.

    – while dispersion of long distance journeys is important to the functioning of HS2, in sheer numbers short distance travel will always dominate travel patterns in London.

    – to some extent these things support each other. Every long distance journey starts and ends with a short distance leg. The capacity provided for peak hour commuters also provides attractive journey opportunities for leisure travellers, business travellers etc.

  471. Greg Tingey says:

    OOC & interchanges …..
    This ties in with an up-coming & imminent decision that needs to be made. If only because no decision is itself a decision:
    As to whether, or not, to extend Xr1 to Reading – the sensible & obvious move to make … but which involves altering (& possibly increasing) the money-spend.
    It requires a decision, AIUI, not only by the Xr1 team, but (ARRRGH!) from DafT.
    Any predictions?

  472. Mark Townend says:

    @Ian J – 23:38, 14 August 2013

    – to some extent these things support each other. Every long distance journey starts and ends with a short distance leg.

    Hence the genius of having 2 London stops for HS2. The combined single interchange possibilities could be immense, especially if a good covered pedestrian link is provided to Kings Cross/St Pancras to access Thameslink, East Coast and HS1 Domestic services, not to mention Continental routes.

  473. HowardGWR says:

    @Mark Townend

    I became slightly confused about the ‘2 london stops’. Do you mean all trains stopping both at OOC and Euston? Does the ‘Two Lords’ solution affect this proposal at all?

    By the way, thanks for coming back with replies. I am still uncertain what the travel pattern is for Wharfer commuters, as that London report does not deal with them.

  474. JM says:

    Daily Mail report this morning QPR and Hammersmith & Fulham discussing a proposal for a new stadium on or around the Old Oak site.

  475. Walthamstow Writer says:

    The Mayor’s answers for Dec 2013 give a little glimpse into what is happening with the proposed Hendon to Hounslow Overground service. (question 2013/4840 refers). I’ve cut and pasted the question and answer below.

    Q – Do you acknowledge that an interim Hounslow-to-Hendon London Overground service, without involving Old Oak Common at all, should be studied immediately?

    A – As you know I am keen to facilitate orbital travel between different parts of outer London.
    TfL has previously looked at the possibility of a Hounslow–Hendon service but, without substantial expenditure on major infrastructure works, implementing such a service would necessarily entail reductions to some London Overground and South West Trains services. Given the popularity of those services, I could not support taking any step that would reduce them.

    Major works may be justified if the new route serves an interchange with Crossrail and HS2 at Old Oak Common, because of the extra passengers and new journey opportunities this would provide. I have asked TfL to consider again such a service in the context of my 2050 Infrastructure Investment Plan.
    In tandem, the London Borough of Hounslow is undertaking a new assessment of the feasibility of introducing a Hounslow–Hendon service, building on TfL’s proposals for an Overground station at Old Oak Common. TfL will look at the outcomes of the Borough’s assessment with interest.

  476. Anonymous says:

    ‘This will become redundant when the Intercity Express (IEP) depot opens on the south side of the tracks at North Pole, alongside Wormwood Scrubs, and when Crossrail takes over Heathrow services.’ Where is your evidence for the idea that Heathrow Express will not be running Heathrow services? Of course I am aware that Crossrail will be running some services into the airport but the way you have described this is as if Heathrow Express will cease to exist – care to elaborate?

  477. Fandroid says:

    @Anonymous. 19.04. To whom are you posing your question? It helps if you identify the poster, and remember that the last post prior to yours was in late December.

    If you read the many other threads on this site you will see that everyone here is well aware that Heathrow wishes to continue operating Heathrow Express. The big debate has been around what will happen when their access agreement to the fast lines into Paddington expires ( My memory has gone, but I think that’s in 2023).

  478. Savoy Circus says:

    I’ve only recently come across London Reconnections and i’m very impressed with both the material and the discussion

    Having read through all of part 1 and all the comments i would like to make some observations before advancing to parts 2 and 3

    I realise the rest of you reached this point a year ago!

    First a bit of pedantry

    “Multiple route options are possible, including to the Dudding Hill and Acton Central routes, but all incur the cost of substantial new build:

    Northwards to Willesden Jn on a large viaduct across the IEP depot, mainline and HS2 stations, then over Regents Canal to the industrial land before joining the existing NLL-WLL chord”

    The canal is the Grand Union Canal (Paddington branch) – the Regents Canal starts at Little Venice and continues east from there (crossed by the WCML near Camden Lock). The original name was Grand Junction Canal which is evocative for railway folk!

    Secondly, one of the things i got from reading the article and the discussion is the importance of finalising the plan (even if its a series of future modules to be provided for) as soon as possible to avoid expensive scope creep later

    This is very difficult at a site with so many physical possibilities and uncertain funding streams

    We need to capture as much as possible of the increase in land value to fund the infrastructure (that supports the land value – maybe MTR can help)

    By the way the hardest thing i find thinking about the site is the different levels.
    North Acton (which looks like a little Manhattan these days) is high up and if you walk towards London from Gypsy Corner (the last but one junction on the A40 going towards London) the city is spread out below you (you can follow the route of the GWML from the Trellick Tower and the Kensal gas holder)
    Whereas when you walk (northwards, from East Acton) up Old Oak Common Lane the road passes under first the GWML and then the NNML (Wycombe Lines as it says on the bridge) but later after passing the HST depot you find you are looking down on the whole site. All a bit confusing. Is there map anywhere that shows contours?

    Thirdly, i think the potential of services operating on the Brighton Main Line/West London Line/West Coast Main Line axis should not be overlooked. One of the purposes of HS2 is to unlock capacity on the existing main lines for the development of demand that is currently suppressed. The existing Southern service is a case in point.

    Fourthly a question – why is it (historically) that the WCML and GWML end up so close to each other (just separated by Kensal Green cemetery and the canal at their nearest point)? Is this the obvious route from London to both the west and north-west?

  479. Ian J says:

    @Savoy Circus:

    Is there map anywhere that shows contours?

    The 1938 OS 6-inch map is a bit out of date (Central Line to Ealing Broadway still under construction and an “airship garage” on Wormwood Scrubs!) but shows just enough contours that you can see how the land falls away from north to south.

    why is it (historically) that the WCML and GWML end up so close to each other

    I’m not sure why, but I do believe there was at one point an intention that they would share a common terminus in London, but the two companies couldn’t come ro an agreement.

  480. timbeau says:

    @Ian J/savoy Circus

    The WCML follows that course – close to the Grand Union canal – to keep away from the higher ground to the north – note also the almost parallel routes of the Midland and Met through the West/South Hampstead area. The GWML is on a more direct route.

    The original design of Euston station was made with the intention the GWR would use the western half of the site, hence the construction of the Great Hall on what was originally the west (departure) side of the original L&B/LNWR station. This became a major impediment when the LNWR needed to expand the station onto the empty plot (being constrained by Eversholt Street on the east side) as it put the Great Hall in the middle of the expanded station, and was why it eventually had to go.

  481. Anonymous Duck says:

    @Savoy Circus:
    The best I can find for your purposes;
    is google flood map uk
    goto EA Live Flood Warning Map and
    click on Map layer
    scroll down to ordance survey
    zoom in
    and you will get contours in metres

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