At yesterday’s TfL Board Meeting “Crossrail Enhancements” were discussed, in a non-public session, and agreed. These enhancements were the extension of Crossrail to Reading, which will be officially announced today.

That Crossrail will be extended to Reading should not be a surprise. Indeed if you are a regular reader of our articles you have probably followed this ongoing saga for some time, and the only surprise is that it has taken so long for this announcement to be made.

Termminating trains at reading

Two DMUs at Reading that have probably terminated there and are waiting to go back to London. How long before they are replaced by 9-car electric Crossrail stock? Note the overhead line support girder already in position and designed to be as unobtrusive as possible when viewed from the platform. Thanks to Unravelled for this photo.

The Clues Started Appearing

For those looking for indications that Crossrail would go to Reading it did seem that there were a lot of pointers that on their own were not really significant, but which taken together made one think that, at the very least, the issue of Crossrail being extended to Reading was being actively considered. As long ago as last September the Maidenhead Advertiser reported that

Crossrail were unable to confirm whether a decision has been reached concerning talks to terminate the service at Reading.

A spokesman for Crossrail said it was a decision being reviewed by The Department of Transport and Transport for London.

Despite this, only a few months ago we began to wonder if Crossrail really would only reach Maidenhead. Slightly worryingly at the time, Network Rail announced the commencement of work at Maidenhead to build carriage sidings. These, it was universally agreed, would be needed if Crossrail terminated at Maidenhead but not if it terminated at Reading – where a new electrified depot is currently being built complete with copious electrified sidings. In fact work at this location (or the lack of it) turned out to be the first indication that it was crunch time for a decision to be made. The site was levelled certainly, but that was probably something that would need doing whatever use was subsequently found for it. No follow-on work was announced on the Crossrail website and all subsequent activity on the site itself was for a long time conspicuous by its absence.

Slough Roof resized

A glance at the roof at the west end of platforms 3 and 4 at Slough gives the only clue that there was once a very short bay platform for trains terminating from the west. There is no currently obvious satisfactory way of terminating such trains today.

Another factor which suggested the extension was coming was that, according to the Crossrail website, plans included “another TOC” providing a Reading-Slough shuttle. Normally it is a good idea to get the final track layout in place before electrification, yet Network Rail still seemed to have no track or signalling plans to accommodate terminating trains at Slough from the west – and it was not obvious how this could be satisfactorily done with the existing layout.

Due to all the above, we awaited with interest Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan’s lecture at the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). Sure enough Reading received a mention – albeit as an apparent throwaway remark: “Who knows it might even go to Reading when electrification is done”. As an LR commenter previously correctly pointed out: “A bit too much of a throwaway line to get excited about (on its own)”. Taken with growing evidence elsewhere, however, a picture was developing.

We’ve been here before but the situation has changed

For us here at LR Towers always looking for an easy story, it seemed time to start digging up the history of Crossrail going to Maidenhead or Reading from previous articles and repackaging it. The trouble with that is similar to the story of the economics student taking an exam and realising that the questions were the same as last year. He points this out, only for the invigilator to smile and reply “yes but the answers are different this year”.

So, with the benefit of hindsight we look once again the the history of Crossrail going to Reading, before looking at some of the issues that this raises – a few of which have only surfaced in the past 12 months or so.

If not Reading why not Slough?

Slough Bay Platform resized

The bay platform facing London at Slough. Currently far too short for 9-car terminating trains but there is no reason why it could not be extended.

From the outset it was originally proposed that Crossrail would terminate in the west at Reading. Indeed it was a bit of a surprise when prior to putting a bill before parliament Crossrail proposed that the service be cut back to Maidenhead. Maidenhead would not seem to have been a sensible option as a place to terminate the service if it was not to go all the way to Reading. Slough, for example, was getting on for being almost twice as busy if you included passengers changing from the branch service to Windsor & Eton Central. Furthermore, it also had a platform that was once used for trains terminating from the east. So why Maidenhead and not Slough?

Maidenhead Station resized

Maidenhead station relief lines platforms looking east towards London. The wide and long platforms are typical of the Great Western relief lines between London and Reading. The station already has a fifth platform (for the Marlow branch line) and the layout means it would not be easy to add a further terminating platform for 9-car trains without making transfer from the branch shuttle quite inconvenient. Nevertheless this appears to be what will still happen. A sixth platform is still planned but the location will not be ideal. This will enable platform 5 to become a through platform and platform 4 used for terminating Crossrail trains. Despite the announcement being made, only some trains will be extended to Reading and it appears that this awkward arrangement will still be necessary.

Maidenhead is only three stations and around six miles beyond Slough. One of those intermediate stations, Taplow, is so little used it is only marginally busier than the quietest station on the London Underground. In fact if it wasn’t for Iver, which is even quieter still, it would be the least busy station due to be part of Crossrail. Taplow is situated at the outer edge of the built up area of Burnham and is surrounded by sports grounds, a sewage works and countryside. Clearly this station is not in a category for which one goes to a great effort to improve the service.

Burnham, the other intermediate station, whilst much busier than Taplow, is also not heavily used by London standards. Only Maidenhead with around 4 million passenger journeys a year starting or finishing there, as well as people changing from the local branch line to Marlow, provides any justification for Crossrail to go beyond Slough but not as far as Reading. One could either, therefore, believe that Crossrail went to Maidenhead because the figures did stack up and justified it on its own merits or, just possibly, the intention all along was to go to Reading eventually but, as Sir Humphrey would say, the timing was not right.

One disadvantage of going to Maidenhead (and no further) was that there is nowhere obvious to terminate a train. As mentioned at the start, this is the place where real money would have to be spent that would be wasted if Crossrail subsequently got approval to continue on towards Reading.

The original reasons given for terminating at Maidenhead not Reading

Many reasons have been given in the past for the decision to terminate at Maidenhead as opposed to Reading. The four that were the most prominent were as follows:

  • Reading would be unaffordable because not only would the full cost of electrification from Maidenhead to Reading have to be borne by Crossrail, it would also have to pay for the substantial costs of immunising the signalling.
  • There was little point in going to Reading as the Crossrail trains would be all-stations stoppers and attract very little custom to and from London at the only two stations affected (Twyford and Reading). This is because by the time users were this far out from London they would prefer to catch a fast train and change at Paddington if necessary.
  • Maidenhead to Reading was a third of the distance of London to Reading, so by cutting out these two stations one also cut out a lot of the cost of electrification. One would also reduce the number of trains needed by two, which on its own would save at least £20m (and probably nearer £25m).
  • Going to Reading substantially increased the complexity and risk of the project, which threatened confidence on it being delivered on time. Furthermore, even if the case could be justified on strict cost-benefit grounds, it increased the cost of the final scheme which would reduce its chances of getting government financial approval. In other words, as the project could make its case without including Reading, why risk everything by including it?

The arguments begin to fall down

All these arguments have became substantially weakened by events and changing circumstances in recent years.

The argument that, by going to Reading, Crossrail would incur considerable extra costs was probably a very reasonable one in the days of Railtrack. Railtrack were a commercial firm through and through, and were well-known for quoting astronomical prices for infrastructure upgrades. These must have included a substantial profit margin. It would take not only the replacement of Railtrack by Network Rail, but also a few years of experience and growing confidence in their way of working, for this fear to go away. Once the planned electrification of the Great Western route was announced most of these costs disappeared anyway, or at least effectively got allocated elsewhere.

The claim that few people would use Crossrail services from Twyford or Reading to go to and from London, whilst possibly true, at least for Reading, is the argument that was probably always the weakest. It seems to be generally apparent even to non-railway people that in the peak period the flow of passengers to and from Reading from these stations is just as important as the flow to London.

The slow train is an OK train

Even ignoring the above, there is the opinion held by some – notably including Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan himself – that some passengers won’t care about journey time, and will accept the slower journey simply to get to their destination in London without having to change at Paddington.

Looking at the figures, there does seem to be some validity in Terry Morgan’s argument – at least as far as Twyford. Maidenhead is the westernmost Crossrail station for which we have published expected journey times to Paddington. This is given as a very respectable 37 minutes. It is 39 minutes in the reverse direction but this clearly includes some recovery time between Taplow and Maidenhead to ensure that the trains arrive at their final destination on time. In comparison the few non-stop trains from Maidenhead to Paddington in the morning peak at the moment typically take 24 – 26 minutes. There is one, exceptionally, that takes only 20 minutes but that is an HST starting from Worcester. An all-stations (except Acton Main Line) train currently takes 50 minutes.

So, if one were to travel to the city from the Thames Valley east of Reading, one of the worst case scenarios would see you having to change from main line to Crossrail at Paddington in less than about 12 minutes to arrive any quicker than one would if travelling on an all-stations Crossrail train. On top of this the all-stations train would probably pretty much guarantee you a seat for the whole journey, whereas one may well end up standing on both legs of the journey if one chose to change at Paddington for a faster service.

Even from Reading, where the time saving by changing at Paddington amounts to around 20 minutes before taking into account the time taken to actually change at Paddington, the Crossrail service will be attractive to some passengers who value a guaranteed seat all the way (at least on the morning journey to London). For many regular commuters a seat on a direct train may rank above any marginal time saving achieved by changing at Paddington.

Making the best use of capacity

The argument about Crossrail Ltd saving costs on purchasing trains when terminating at Maidenhead does not really makes sense unless it is seen solely from the point of view of costs attributable to Crossrail. One doesn’t have to be a railway expert to understand that if the four trains per hour per hour (peak), two trains per hour (off-peak), are extended from Maidenhead to Reading one can probably safely discontinue the existing half-hourly all-stations Reading to London service and also, as an added benefit, use the slots freed up for something more useful. Trains would potentially be utilised better overall, although the fact that non-Crossrail trains could probably be much shorter and require fewer carriages would be a factor against this argument. Clearly, once electrification all the way to Reading was a done deal, the situation might arise where the question to be asked would not be what is the extra cost of Crossrail going to Reading? but what is the extra cost of Crossrail not going to Reading?

That the writing was on the wall for this particular argument also seemed to become clear when the award of the Crossrail Rolling stock contract to Bombardier was announced which, although many did not notice it at the time, included an option for another 18 units.

Risk Management

The argument about risk to the overall project of taking Crossrail to Reading also became substantially weakened when Network Rail completed work at Reading a year earlier than originally scheduled. This they achieved by practically shutting Reading station for more than a week at Easter 2013, instead of the originally planned four days. They also have a very aggressive schedule for electrification, including full electric services to Oxford by 2016. This means that infrastructure changes at Reading are no longer likely to be on the critical path. Furthermore since, from Network Rail’s perspective, London – Swansea is effectively one electrification scheme, there is no longer any reason to believe that the risk factor for Crossrail suddenly rises when one gets beyond Maidenhead.

Who was pulling the strings?

One curiosity about the decision to only go as far as Maidenhead is that it was always presented by Crossrail as an internal decision borne about by pragmatism. In fact it seems that the invisible hand of government was there in the background, warning Crossrail off both Reading and building a station at Woolwich. As has already been highlighted though, if the intention was never to go to Reading one would have thought that Crossrail would have stopped at Slough. It is hard, therefore, not to get the feeling that at least unofficially Reading was always the ultimate long-term objective. If today’s announcement wasn’t a total surprise it was perhaps a surprise that it has taken so long to be made. Network Rail have been in favour of this at least since the publication of the London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy where they stated:

Option A1:
Extend services beyond the committed Crossrail terminus of Maidenhead to Reading

This option is recommended for implementation in 2018. This is primarily due to capital cost savings in infrastructure which would otherwise be required, mainly at Maidenhead. It would also provide passenger benefits and improve train performance on the route.

Putting Reading on the Crossrail Map

Changing the plan and terminating at Reading is bound to raise some issues. A little realised fact (mentioned earlier) was that, under the proposals to terminate at Maidenhead, the Crossrail off-peak service to its western outer limit was only intended to be 2tph. This would admittedly have been supplemented by a further 2tph involving other local services. No doubt many people will now be looking for at least a 4tph Crossrail service throughout the day to Reading. Just as Croydon Council heavily supported and encouraged the 4tph London Overground service to West Croydon to “put Croydon on the (tube) map” we can expect the council at Reading to be very keen to see their town featured on the Crossrail route diagram. Even in the unlikely event that no-one actually catches a Crossrail train all the way from Reading to London, and instead uses the fast services, the diagram will serve to publicise Reading’s accessibility from London. Crossrail will symbolise a frequent metro service and 2tph to Reading isn’t going to do it justice.

A question of accountability

The question of jurisdiction and accountability will of course also become far more relevant. With Crossrail terminating at Maidenhead one could just about accept the need for Crossrail to be run by TfL with no local input or say on the service. As my colleague John Bull has previously pointed out, Crossrail’s fuzzy jurisdictions are a potential point of contention between TfL and the DfT. Similarly, whilst Reading Council have been broadly supportive of the proposals one would expect them to have some sort of representation concerning Crossrail decision making and not be reliant on the Mayor of London to act in their best interests.

Fortunately this may in fact be less of an issue than it might at first seem. Despite the distance, Reading Council and TfL have a history of positive dialogue. Indeed for a time the two bodies were in negotiation to allow Reading to use Oyster as the smartcarding system for their buses, a plan which was ultimately vetoed by the DfT. Nevertheless there will no doubt be instances where their priorities diverge.

Branch Issues

Crossrail with branches

Branches at the western end of Crossrail. A decision will need to be made about the existing peak-hour through trains on these branches as well as who is in the best position to run them.

The question of accountability will certainly be relevant when one looks at the Henley-on-Thames branch (to Twyford) and the Marlow branch (to Maidenhead). These will effectively become Crossrail feeder branches as the vast majority of passengers will continue their journey by Crossrail in either the London or the Reading direction.

Both branches currently have a limited number of through trains to and from London. Henley has two departures in the morning and three arrivals in the evening. On the Marlow Branch there are none to or from Marlow but there are two departing from Bourne End in the morning and two arriving in the evening. One presumes that there will be a local desire to see these services retained but they will probably have to be short trains because of restricted power supply on the branches as well as short platforms. It would seem to be an inefficient use of train paths to allow these to continue in the peaks.

Whilst it is difficult to see the off-peak hourly service to Marlow being substantially altered after electrification it should be possible in future to run a half-hourly service (currently hourly off-peak) on the Henley-on-Thames branch assuming that electrification would allow the present end-to-end running time of 12 minutes to be reduced by a couple of minutes.

What could become very interesting and controversial is any proposal to treat these two branches as Crossrail feeder services, such as the rumoured plan for Greenford – West Ealing. With some justification the DfT could argue that really these branches ought logically to come under the Crossrail umbrella but this becomes very difficult to justify if Crossrail continues to be solely run by TfL. Nonetheless, it is tempting to wonder whether one – or both – of these lines will be shifted to Crossrail in the official announcement.

Oyster – or ITSO?

Finally, on the subject of issues raised, it was always promised that Oyster would be available at all Crossrail stations. Whilst Maidenhead was probably pushing the Oyster scheme to its limit, Reading will probably be seen as a step too far. If someone is commuting from, say, Burnham to Reading and using local buses at one or both ends, a London-based Oystercard really is not the appropriate smartcard solution. At the same time it would seem a retrograde step and certainly out of keeping with its image if Crossrail users were forced to buy paper tickets. Possibly ticketing will be the most contentious issue and probably one that was not envisaged when Reading was originally dropped from the scheme to avoid risk to the project. It must be remembered though that Crossrail is not due to reach the Great Western Main Line (GWML) until 2019, so they are quite a few years left for ITSO (a DfT-led smart card) to be successfully implemented in the Reading area.

What Next?

It is generally the temptation when one scheme is approved to look and think “what next?” Those looking for a change from a metro scheme to a longer distance solution (more like Thameslink) should bear in mind that, as already stated, the original plan always was to go to Reading. The town is an obvious outer limit to Crossrail services and it is hard to envisage any scenario where a good case can be made to go further westwards. It would make far more sense to develop Reading as a hub than it would to extend Crossrail services.

Extending from Abbey Wood?

The other temptation is to look at an extension from Abbey Wood. Abbey Wood, like Maidenhead, was not the first choice of terminus which was Ebbsfleet. Part of the reason for the decision to terminate at Abbey Wood was the same as for Maidenhead – to make Crossrail as a whole more affordable and more acceptable to parliament.

We really cannot expect any decision soon on extending beyond Abbey Wood. The situation is much more complex and would either involve a lot of sharing services with the intensive South-Eastern services or major new line building to double the line (i.e. four track) at least as far as Dartford. There is also the issue of the power supply, which is presently third rail and incompatible with Crossrail trains. Whilst various scenarios are possible one suspects that Network Rail are more than happy to bide their time and see how the idea of converting existing third rail tracks works out. TfL would no doubt be concerned about reliability and would probably like to see segregated tracks or, at the very least, have substantial say in the running of South-Eastern services before seeing Crossrail extended beyond Abbey Wood. One must bear in mind that, unlike Reading, nothing has changed here to justify a reconsideration.

At the previously-mentioned IET lecture Terry Morgan commented on extending from Abbey Wood and his unsolicited comments look at the issue with a fresh perspective. He is no dyed-in-the-wool railwayman, but someone with an engineering and project management background. One of his early achievements was at Land Rover with the development of the Land Rover Discovery model. Morgan is a man who only believes in railways when they do something useful – such as revitalising economies and basically enabling commerce to function. He is also well-known for strongly resisting “specification creep”.

Whilst making it clear that any extension beyond Abbey Wood should not begin until after the project has been completed and delivered, Terry Morgan expressed surprise that there had not been more campaigning in North Kent for Crossrail to be extended as an enabler to enhance the local economy. The implication was that he would like to see early progress made on this extension as soon as the initial scheme was complete and handed over.

There are, of course, other schemes for Crossrail being talked about, such as the idea of taking over some of the West Coast Main Line services into the Home Counties. This is believed to be favoured by the mayor and various proponents of HS2 (Network Rail included) who see this of benefit – either in the construction phase by re-routing traffic away from where the disruption is taking place or because an HS2 approach to Euston with reduced impact is then possible.

Another Route to Heathrow?

Of possible relevance to the future of Crossrail west of London is the Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH aka WRAP). Like all proposals related to Heathrow it is of course dependent on a decision on the future of Heathrow airport itself. In essence the scheme involves creating a tunnel so that trains can approach from the west. The proposal involves two trains per hour, non-stop, Heathrow to Reading and two further trains per hour to Reading calling at Slough and Maidenhead. Under current plans this would be built in Network Rail’s Control Period 6 (2019-2024). Given that Crossrail will by then already be serving both Heathrow (from the east) and Reading, as well as Slough and Maidenhead it might be decided that it would make operational sense for Crossrail to run this service. Yet again though we come back to the issue that if the service comes under the sole control of TfL, there will be no local accountability.

Alternatively Heathrow Express have made it clear that they are keen to run WRAtH. With Crossrail threatening some of their Paddington Heathrow revenue and the uncertainty of what happens after their concession expires in 2023 it is not surprising that Heathrow Express is looking for new markets and consider this one an as one particularly suited to the company.

Summing it all up

When all factors are considered one can see that, whilst the coming official confirmation and announcement will answer a lot of outstanding issues that have been raised, it also raises a lot more issues and opportunities. We at London Reconnections always did believe that we would be reporting on Crossrail developments for many years yet. Today’s announcement is just the next step for Crossrail, signalling the start of opportunities for yet more development rather than being the final part of the project. When it comes to Crossrail, it seems there is plenty still to come.

Unravelled has taken many photographs of Reading station during rebuilding.
They can be found here.

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There are 759 comments on this article
  1. Windsorian says:

    POP, a timely review of the possible XR extension to Reading. One question is the 2 x fast from T5 to Reading correct ? As the Grip2 v2 May 2012 study states :-

    Train service and operating costs –

    The proposed “Western Access” train service is 4 trains per hour (tph) between Reading to Heathrow, with all trains calling at Slough, and alternate services calling at Maidenhead and Twyford (but not both). The service is assumed to start in 2020. Journey time from Reading to Heathrow T5 is expected to be 25 – 26 minutes.

  2. Graham H says:

    Thank you for a very thorough and interesting article – forgive your readers if they have become so accustomed to this standard of offering that we sometimes forget to say this.

    One issue which is troubling operators is whether event he new Reading layout can cope with 4 tph terminating, maybe more in the peaks, particularly in view of the length of the trains and the possibility of some additional shorts from the east.

  3. ngh says:

    Another good LR article complete with the now normal pun laden headline!

    And common sense prevailing at last, albeit with a bit of politics to get us there.

  4. Windsorian says:

    @ Graham H

    It’s not just a question of whether the 4tph Maidenhead terminators will be extended to Reading, but there is also a question of a possible 4tph T5 – Reading WRAtH as well – if they all go to Reading that will be 8tph !

  5. Windsorian says:

    It appears all the responses are now fully Italic – has this been set as the default ?

    I liked it before when we could quote in Italic but main response was in plain teaxt.

  6. James Scantlebury says:

    Oops, there’s the first mistake I know of in my (now handed in) dissertation.

    I wasn’t aware that Heathrow Express had a concession! Oh well.

  7. Greg Tingey says:

    VERY interesting. I think that extension to Fartyswamp Central Ebbsfleet, or better still, Hoo Jn (for turnaround outside the constrained limits of Gravesend) is a matter of time – but it will have to be on separate, dedicated tracks, at least as far as just short of GRV.
    OTOH, with “Ebbsfleet New Town” in prospect, an additional high-cap train service that far out is going to be a virtual necessity, isn’t it?

  8. Castlebar 1 says:

    In the days of steam (until 1958), Reading got many terminators throughout the day, especially in the evening peak, all from Paddington. There was plenty of space, even though the engines had to run around their stock, needing the availability of a clear road at all times for this.

    This was because the Southern had their own station just to the south of Reading General, and there was very little through running.

  9. Tim Burns says:

    Interesting article and a welcome decision – sanity prevailing at last.

    The other question in my mind is the impact of “Paddingtom Terminators”, those services coming I from the east. Would these be candidates for some sort of extension to Reading? ,aye fastish via Heathrow?

  10. Graham H says:

    @Windsorian – thanks, I’d forgotten these “extras”! On the very best of assumptions 8 tph takes out one , but more likely two, long roads all day just for terminating services.

  11. Jeremy says:

    Could the last italic tag in this article be closed out?

  12. Jeremy says:

    Oh, it seems it has been!

  13. Andrew says:

    So Crossrail will go to Emerson Park, Lake (Farm) Park and Palmer Park then.

  14. Fandroid says:

    @PoP. I seem to be in typo spotting mode at the moment. In the wording in the caption to the Slough canopy photo, I presume the last word in the first sentence should be ‘west’, not ‘east’.

  15. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar1 – such feats of termination were possible in the days when the longer distance services were few and far between but now, with something like a planned 15 tph fasts calling in each direction, not to mention a number of residual outers and stoppers, things get much tighter!

  16. Windsorian says:

    @ Frandroid Evolution of station layout –

    There was another bay platform – at the west end of the station, between Platforms 3 and 4. Examination of the platform canopies at this point will reveal a gap where the canopies do not meet. This was where the bay platform track was, and the gap was to allow steam from the engines to escape. This bay platform was used for the shuttle service to the Slough Trading Estate Railway station on the Trading Estate. The bay was taken out of use when services to the Trading Estate finished in 1956.

  17. Jordan D says:

    Now, if someone sees some sense and ensures that Crossrail somehow serves LHR T5, instead of just T4, that would be a great next step … it’s not like there aren’t two platforms just waiting to be used for the purpose …

  18. Milton Clevedon says:

    I would watch out for the politics of through trains between Henley and Bourne End and Paddington becoming an issue, just as the impact of Thameslink on Wimbledon loop services became a cause celebre. It’s not the numbers of people, it’s their ability to get their point across at constituency and government level. Also the branches are serving high growth areas.

  19. Fandroid says:

    @Castlebar1. There still is effectively a Southern station at Reading. It has recently been expanded by one platform and consists of (in the new numbering), platforms 4, 5 & 6. These are served by the line from Wokingham and not by the main line from Paddington.

    There still is very little through running, although I believe the reinstated dive-under was designed for Gatwick trains. With the demise of Airtrack, these trains could probably stay in the
    ‘Southern’ platforms.

  20. Josh says:


    Distance wise, that is quite the extension.

  21. Fandroid says:

    @PoP. Two more typos.

    In the economics exam joke, ‘smiles’ should be ‘smile’.

    After the heading ‘The slow train……..’ 3rd para, 1st sentence. In ‘..Paddington in less that about 12 minutes..’, ‘that’ should be ‘than’.

  22. John Bull says:

    It appears all the responses are now fully Italic – has this been set as the default ?

    Nope just an errant italic tag in the main article. Fixed that and the typos. Thanks all!

  23. Fandroid says:

    Hmm. Heaving read that ministerial statement, I wonder if the article needs a re-write!
    4tph serving Maidenhead on a regular basis, with 2tph extending to Twyford and Reading. Planned FGW services to continue with 2tph semi-fasts Reading to Paddington, plus all the non-stop Intercity trains. Minimal infrastructure work required at Maidenhead and Twyford. (What about the branch connection at the latter?)

  24. John Bull says:

    Certainly interesting now that the details are out in full. I’ll probably wait for a few more comments from people about what that means, and then I’ll add an addendum to the article.

  25. Rob says:

    Huge operating benefits and journey opportunities are created by this change. But the longest journeys that will be made by CrossRail are getting longer. Is the decision not to have toilets on the trains starting to look, er, inconvenient?

  26. Milton Clevedon says:

    So conflict at Portobello to continue between Crossrail outbound to Old Oak etc, and FGW semi-fasts to Paddington terminus. Likely to be worse when more Crossrails needed to Old Oak for HS2, WCML etc. At what point will FGW local services have to be withdrawn during the 2020s, as foreseen in the 2011 RUS? Sounds like another deal needed in future between TfL/Crossrail and DfT.

  27. CdBrux says:

    Perhaps Heathrow Express could operate a Paddington (-> OOC) -> Heathrow -> Reading service (using WRAtH), or is that already the plan? Would provide some nice competition and choice for the Reading to London market.

    I ask as all comments I hear indicate separate services planned into Heathrow from London side & Reading side.

  28. Josh says:

    Dwelling on a throwaway point mentioned in the article, what is the distinction between a Crossrail and a Thameslink? Now that Crossrail is out to Reading, it is developing quite a reach.

  29. John Bull says:

    Perhaps Heathrow Express could operate a Paddington (-> OOC) -> Heathrow -> Reading service (using WRAtH), or is that already the plan? Would provide some nice competition and choice for the Reading to London market.

    To quote HeX directly:

    From 2021 we expect there to be western rail access into Heathrow. Between now and then we must prove we are the best operator to run services on this new line out to Slough and Reading. This is a crucial strand in the future plans for Heathrow Express.

  30. Southern Heights says:

    The press release is now on the Cross Rail site.

    I’ve always wondered why they’re terminating in Essex at Shenfield, Southend Victoria would make more sense.

    With regards to the South Eastern extension, I would expect that to re-appear on the horizon if a rebuild of Dartford Station is announced, if four tracking is to be implemented.

  31. Graham H says:

    @Cd Brux – alas for WRAth proponents, the time taken to do a side trip into the airport en route from Reading to London is such that you’d probably be run down not just by the next direct train behind but possibly even by the one behind that. More subtly, the finances of the WRAth link will be materially affected – put at its most simple, either you charge an additional toll for travel on the new link (in which case, through passengers will flock to the through services on grounds of price) or you don’t, in which case, the whole western part of the scheme has to be publicly funded as the fares revenue will be insufficient. Oyster at Reading will merely compound the funding issue.

  32. Windsorian says:

    Today’s announcement seems to have left the door open to possible WRAtH / WRAP service between Reading . LHR / Paddington; the Grip 2 study suggested 4tph.

    Someone posted a link for the WRAtH / WRAP proposal in the National Infrastructure Plan, which referred to a decision in September this year; but I cannot find it now.

    The the Airports Commission are considering the Heathrow Hub proposal for a GWML station between West Drayton & Iver as part of their two north R3 options.

  33. Castlebar 1 says:

    This always was inevitable, with Theresa May in a nearby constituency needing to be re-elected next year. Let’s see if she claims the credit in her election literature – – I shall be watching.

    @ Graham H Ah yes, the longer distance services. I have fond memories of standing on “Jacob’s Ladder” seeing the “Bristolian” and the “Welsh Dragon”, (a train named in anticipation of Glenys Kinnock??).

    But although there weren’t so many through pax services, there were massive numbers of through non-stopping freights, many coal and loose coupled goods, as well as the West Ealing milk trains. Those were the days

  34. Mark Townend says:

    Journey time penalty via the airport to Reading results in a HEX- WRATH time of arout 50 minutes from Paddington, broadly equivalent to projected all stations Crossrail services from Paddington low level, avoiding the airport via West Drayton. Neither service would compete very well with expresses on time between Reading and Paddington, but together could transform local services in the Thames Valley.

  35. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar1 – and not just Jacobs Ladder – some of us were lucky enough to have a classroom that overlooked the Wharncliffe viaduct and could watch the steady procession of Kings and Castles heading west – much better than irregular Latin nouns… There, that’s enough nostalgia from me.

  36. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ GH

    What school was that then? I thought such views were only possible from St Anne’s (the school that was said of it “The only thing that goes before the girls of St Anne’s is a push chair), or St Bernard’s (not likely, in view of your tailored language and articulation)

  37. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ GH

    Were you the kid who “borrowed” half a crown from me on Jacobs Ladder in 1957 and who I never saw since?

  38. Paying Guest says:

    @[email protected] H – and for me the Golden Arrow passing just the other side of the playing fields – hence 26= out of 28 in Latin.

  39. Walthamstow Writer says:

    A good article. I agree with MC that the through train to the branches question might become difficult once the locals start asking whether the “0708 to Paddington” will still be running in December 2019. I understand why PoP posed the “who runs what” question but I don’t like the idea of some form of hybrid control of the Crossrail concession. It’s preferable (IMO) that remains with TfL but I recognise the co-ordination concerns. Nonetheless the Overground has to live alongside Southern and will in future have to work alongside Greater Anglia. I don’t see it being an insurmountable issue for Crossrail to have to work alongside FGW and Greater Anglia.

    On the ticketing issue I suspect the constraints of the present Oyster system will have gone by the time Crossrail reaches Reading. Everything will have been switched over to what I term “dumb Oyster” with fares / validity worked out in the back room system. ITSO acceptance is within the system’s capability now but needs TOC by TOC commercial agreements to switch it on. Only Southern have reached this stage to date. I expect fares setting for Reading will remain with FGW and I doubt TfL will suddenly become “generous” with fares west of West Drayton. They’ll be based on whatever is inherited from FGW and I cannot see there being an extension of TfL’s generous concessions on the Freedom Pass (or for other groups) beyond the existing limits. I can’t see the London Boroughs wishing to fund pensioner journeys to Shenfield or Reading nor can I see local authorities west of Greater London being able to fund any form of rail concession on Crossrail for their residents. I guess the Mayor might demand TfL finds the funding for such a concession but I am sceptical. I do expect contactless bank card acceptance to be in place on all of Crossrail and probably on the connecting branches if the DfT can be dragged into the 21st century.

    I note the lack of comment in the official announcement about any extra trains being ordered. Clearly it doesn’t take 18 trains to run a half hourly 2 stop extension to Reading. Makes one wonder what the extra 18 trains in the contract option are for.

  40. John Bull says:

    Makes one wonder what the extra 18 trains in the contract option are for.

    In part, sorting out the other services out Shenfield way I believe.

    I think the plan is that basically everything that’s part of the Crossrail Concession will get new rolling stock.

  41. Mark Townend says:

    @Fandroid, 27 March 2014 at 10:11

    “Planned FGW services to continue with 2tph semi-fasts Reading to Paddington, plus all the non-stop Intercity trains. Minimal infrastructure work required at Maidenhead and Twyford. (What about the branch connection at the latter?)”

    Perhaps my Henley – Basingstoke idea?

    . . . could also be modified as per Timbeau’s suggestion to use a west connection into the Twyford bay with reversal, although that may need an additional train for 2TPH.

    Semi-fasts could switch to the main lines at my Richings Park intersection.

  42. PC says:

    One point regarding the Southern service is that Reading commuters are already choosing a longer journey time (and cheaper fare) to get to a part of London closer to their workplace. My understanding is that they are also more likely to get a seat. How many of these will transfer to Crossrail?

    Following on from Andrew’s post should we rename Crossrail the ELP line

  43. Castlebar 1 says:

    A good stroke of luck for a certain Theresa May, whose constituency is

    “…..its largest settlement is the town of Maidenhead in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Berkshire. It borders the constituencies of Reading East, Henley, Wycombe, Beaconsfield, Windsor, Bracknell and Wokingham.

    For the 2010 election the seat had electoral wards

    Belmont; Bisham and Cookham; Boyn Hill; Bray; Cox Green; Furze Platt; Hurley and Walthams; Maidenhead Riverside; Oldfield; Pinkneys Green in the Royal borough
    Charvil; Coronation; Hurst; Rememenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe; Sonning; Twyford[7]”

    Maidenhead, Twyford, Wargrave, Cookham, Sonning, Furze Platt…………never underestimate the power of prayer.

  44. Matthew Dickinson says:

    The main point of HEX over WRAtH is to replace the Reading Railair bus, and also to re-use the 4tph paths that HEX use between Paddington and Airport Junction, stepped back by one or two trains.

  45. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar – Manor House School, Hanwell – and no, I’d never have borrowed half-a-crown from anyone – far too large a sum of money to repay in the days when pocket money had reached the giddy heights of 1/6 (that’s 7 1/2p for those of you younger than 40). @Paying Guest – we all did well at Latin, thanks to the “terror” method of teaching.

    @Mark Townend – if one went for a Reading Metro (and there are complications with conflicting moves to link Basingstoke and Henley – an unlikely pair of contrasting settlements), the better solution is to link the Basingstoke services to the Waterloo service. In the days before Reading rebuild was even thought of, we did ponder in NSE, whether or not simply to plough through the existing station building to link the two bays and run Waterloo-Basingstoke via Reading.

  46. Snowy says:

    @ Windsorian

    Planning process for WRAtH to start 2015 rather than this year. Will still take about a year to progress through the planning process however from that date.

  47. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ GH

    Ah, Manor House. I’d forgotten that one. I was at Drayton Manor, Hanwell and we could hear things thundering across Wharncliff, but they were out of sight.

    Drayton Green was always interesting, with the then incredibly heavy use of the Greenford loop for loose coupled freight

  48. Graham H says:

    @Mark Townend – _ I really wouldn’t believe the propaganda put out by the WRAth proponents, if I were you. The current WTT shows that for Slough to West Drayton, a stopper takes 10 minutes, so probably about 7-8 minutes from Airport Junction to the WRAth junction. The current Airport stopper from Paddington takes 7 minutes from Airport Junction to T123 and 10 to T5. WRAth’s own estimate for travel from their junction into the airport is for 7 minutes. Add in a couple of minutes dwell times at the airport stations, and you seem to have a side trip time of around 19 minutes – that’s about 12 minutes longer than going direct,. With 4 tph to Reading that would imply the next direct was about to catch up the airport “Abstecker” – effectively reducing the Reading frequency to 2 tph for all practical purposes.

  49. straphan says:

    @PoP: Thank you for a very good article. I bet you didn’t write it all once the decision was announced?

    I also commend the fact that you highlighted the issues of accountability which are very relevant. Some Local Authorities around London are happy to cede the responsibility for setting rail services in their area to TfL, others (Kent!) put up a stand. Experience from the Metropolitan Line shows TfL does tend to put its constituents first… Given that London’s fortunes are inextricably intertwined with the local authorities in the area (both in terms of economy and in terms of rail) would it not make sense to create some sort of political umbrella body to tackle these issues of accountability? We could call it Rail South…

    I also wonder what the 18 extra trains are for… Having had a little bit of insight into TfL’s thinking I think they may be planning for (a) a takeover of HEx and (b) extension to the WCML.

  50. Mark Townend says:

    @Graham H, 27 March 2014 at 11:45
    “. . . there are complications with conflicting moves to link Basingstoke and Henley”

    The new final layout will grade separate this, crossing under the main lines west of the station

    “. . . the better solution is to link the Basingstoke services to the Waterloo service”

    I don’t think this is practical with the new final layout as planned, although I would refer you to my modification idea here:

    This could have allowed some through working on the Southern side, although platform length constraints west of Reading would have favoured linking Guildford local services to Newbury or Basingstoke stoppers. Running future 10 or 12 car Waterloo stoppers on to Basingstoke would be overkill and poor utilisation of rolling stock in my opinion, and in any case OHLE has now been confirmed between Reading and Basingstoke, so such a service would require dual-voltage trains, with a changeover somewhere. Connecting Basingstoke to Henley is not so crazy really, as it would provide a direct connection from Henley via interchange at Basingstoke to many upper crust South Coast, Hampshire, and Dorset destinations. Also for the local and interchanging working populations at both ends it could provide direct connections to the both Thames Valley Park and Green Park business zones as well as Central Reading.

  51. Paul says:

    Not clear from the above (a pols if it sneaked in somewhere) is that it is only 2 tph of the 4 tph that are extended to Reading.

    According to info provided to the GW passenger panel Maidenhead is still to be Crossrail’s western ‘operating base’ with the train crew facilities there and some unit stabling.

  52. Southern Heights says:

    @straphan: We could call it Rail South…

    Can I suggest Network South East?

  53. Anon says:

    PoP wrote: “Whilst Maidenhead was probably pushing the Oyster scheme to its limit, Reading will probably be seen as a step too far.”

    Maidenhead was well within the current bounds of Oyster – I’d have assumed that it would be in Zone 9*, being a similar distance away from London as Amersham and Chesham. Reading would have to have a Watford Junction-esque special zone, and you’d have to put Henley and Marlow on Oyster too – so yes, under the current system, Reading is rather difficult, adding at least 3 zones.

    *Heathrow – zone 6 or zone ‘H’, Iver, Langley – zone 7, Slough – zone 7 or 8 (or 7/8?), Burnham, Taplow – zone 8, Maidenhead – zone 9. Brentwood – zone 7 (and zone ‘B’s other station, Broxbourne too?) and Shenfield’s zone ‘C’ becomes part of zone 8.

  54. John Bull says:

    @PoP: Thank you for a very good article. I bet you didn’t write it all once the decision was announced?

    For the record, we wrote/posted once we had enough sources to confirm that the extension had officially been signed off as happening, with the official announcement actually coming after this ran.

    At time of writing we didn’t actually know that the announcement would be today – merely that it was clearly imminent. Just how imminent it was only began to become clear as I was editing it late last night!

    I note that mainly to explain this:

    Not clear from the above (a pols if it sneaked in somewhere) is that it is only 2 tph of the 4 tph that are extended to Reading.

    Which was a missing piece of our knowledge pre-announcement. I’ll update the article slightly now that more details are known to reflect this.

  55. Mark Townend says:

    I don’t know how the Reading extension modifies Maidenhead infrastructure changes, but one key attraction Maidenhead has as a termination point is the group of three full length through platforms on the relief side, although one is currently used exclusively by the very short branch trains. One of these platforms could be used instead as a Crossrail reversing facility (in addition to the shunt and reverse manoeuvres via sidings to west), and to allow this Crossrail proposed originally to create an additional independent west end bay for the Bourne End/Marlow branch.

  56. Paul says:

    If you hadn’t already seen it, the 2 tph detail is in the DfT’s ‘written statement’, linked at the foot of the DfT ‘announcement’.

  57. Graham H says:

    @MT – I agree that you couldn’t link B’stoke so satisfactorily to Waterloo via Reading now. I would however, disagree that it wouldn’t justify the train length – it’s not Bramley and Mortimer that were the targets but really Basingstoke to Thames Valley/West London and W/London to Solent.

    @Southern Heights 🙂

  58. Paul says:

    Mark @ 1244

    FGW passenger panel have been told this morning that Maidenhead infrastructure changes are all still going ahead. Last drawings I saw somewhere retained three platforms and a bay.

  59. AlisonW says:

    The continuation of the ITSO v Oyster issue is clearly annoying. Is the DfT stand purely about politics (ie anti-tfl), or is there some technological reason they consider Oyster should not reach further?

    On the Freedom pass front, coverage effectively ceases at the GLA border so neither Reading nor Maidenhead were ever to be covered.

  60. AlisonW says:

    hmmn. I’ve realised after posting that that it is only TOC services which stop at GLA border control; tfl lines continue to terminus. Under that rule Abbey Wood would be included but Shenfield and Maidenhead/Reading still wouldn’t as not TfL-owned metals.

  61. Anonymous says:

    @Graham H 27 March 2014 at 11:45
    “1/6 (that’s 7 1/2p for those of you younger than 40)”

    I think the less aged reader would have to be nearly 50 to remember using £sd. The 1/2p was demonetised thirty years ago.

  62. ngh says:

    Re Castlebar 1 27 March 2014 at 11:38

    Indeed the meeting of TfL, NR & CR with TM seemed to be very effective in keeping the semi-fasts for her constituents. It will be interesting to see what happens when the services start to fill up and there is pressure to up the total tph with a consequent rationalization of service pattern…
    (But that will probably occur after TM has retired.)

  63. Jeremy says:

    I think one of the potentially interesting parts of the release is that this bit: “It will also provide greater flexibility for future timetabling of services.”

    There seems to be a suggestion that the initial 2ph to Reading might not be the finishing point for these changes, but yet another stepping-stone.

    Is it possible that the 2 remaining FGW semi-fasts might wind up being Crossrail’s in the end? I guess, specifically, I’m trying to understand if these are due to be Paddington-Reading services or if they’re what will become of the slower Oxford services (that presently call at stations including Ealing Broadway).

    Having been a regular user of the line both from Ealing and also, in earlier life, from Radley station in Oxfordshire, I can see both sides of the coin here – for Crossrail users, it’s best that as much else is removed from the GW relief lines as possible. For Thames Valley commuters beyond Reading, the prospect of having to change at Didcot Parkway/Reading won’t fill anyone with joy.

  64. Jeremy says:

    PS: I guess what I’m really saying is that to me it doesn’t make much sense to have these semi-fasts to Paddington mainline unless they’re starting west of Reading. If they are starting/terminating at Reading, surely better to run them as Crossrail trains, even if limited-stop?

  65. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous1310 – time passes so quickly when you’re enjoying yourself…

  66. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ ngh

    My “mole” in that constituency (Hurst, who in semi retirement still commutes to the City twice a week), informs me that she is enjoying the profile of the meeting you refer to rather than the previous ‘high profile’ following her failure to deport Abu Whatzizname

  67. ngh says:

    Interesting note from BBC article:

    Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “I have requested Network Rail to look at the cost-benefit analysis of increasing the number of faster trains between Reading and Paddington.

    Presumably this means 110mph emus (i.e. rehomed 387s or new build) on non IEP GW (i.e. stopping beyond Reading) services rather than surplus 319s ex-thameslink as was the original plan?

    Or may be a change to the resignalling spec too?

  68. Christian Schmidt says:

    On WRATH and Crossrail, it should be borne in mind that all stakeholder to the west of Reading want this service to extend to Bristol and South Wales.

  69. straphan says:

    @Southern Heights: Way too old-school BR. Remember names and acronyms need to be re-invented, even if the purpose of the organisation remains broadly the same. Look at OPRAF -> SRA -> RE.

    @Mark Townend: Last time I checked there was a row of 6 or so sidings to the west of Maidenhead to stable units overnight. There was also a reversing siding meant to be located to the west of the station to allow a second location for reversing. I understand these will now be cancelled, with the platform providing sufficient opportunity for 2tph to reverse in.

    @AlisonW: It’s been a while since I (or Roger Ford for that matter) have delved into the details of smart cards. But as far as I understand, Oyster has got limited capabilities in terms of internal memory, etc. This is why even TfL is looking to move away from Oyster in favour of bank cards. The DfT has its own smart card system, ITSO, which hasn’t really moved much for years in terms of development.

    @ngh: I think that would be a sensible move, given that:
    – local services in the North will become more affordable if they use refurbished rather than new EMUs (and even more so if you strip a trailer out of the 319s while refurbishing them).
    – 110mph EMUs will eat up far less capacity on the GWML main lines than 100mph ones – and higher fares down here will help pay for them.

  70. Windsorian says:

    The long term future of the GWML stoppers +HEx will ultimately be decided by the need to free up Paddington mainline platforms; this can only be done if XR trains run (skip / stop) on the relief lines via the new XR underground station.

    @ Snowy: thanks for the NIP / WRAtH link Sept 2015

  71. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ CD Brux / Castlebar – How nice to see that the “tail is now wagging the dog” on Crossrail. Reading East MP Rob Wilson is now demanding a phase 2 of Crossrail to Reading with fast and semi fast trains plus toilets and catering because we can’t have Reading commuters travelling on slow Crossrail trains now can we? You’ll note the smiling Ms May on the photo on his web page and, of course, today’s announcement is virtually all his own work and let’s not forget to blame the previous Labour governments for good measure. He’d not have had anything to lobby for without a certain Labour London Mayor who gets zero acknowledgement. He also wants Crossrail to introduce price competition with FGW. So nice to have politicians grounded in reality isn’t it?

    If I was TfL I’d have my heads in my hands. On second thoughts can we now have a “Crossrail Cutbacks” paper to remove Crossrail from beyond West Drayton so London can have a nice frequent service and people out west can be left to the tender mercies of the DfT and FGW? 😉

  72. Windsorian says:

    “I have requested Network Rail to look at the cost-benefit analysis of increasing the number of faster trains between Reading and Paddington.

    IEP: Class 800 max. speed 140mph

    HEx: Class 332 max. speed 100mph

    XR: Class 345 max. speed 90mph ?

    Question – is a Class 345 capable of 100mph or is this impratical skip / stop ?

  73. c says:

    The 2tph semi-fasts: what are these? I’m assuming they are the 2tph Oxford trains which are fast (Slough/Reading) but others are thinking they are the Oxford slows?

    If there are to be three through platforms at Maidenhead, might an answer for Henley and Bourne End be that 2x 319s run down each branch, making local stops and then join at Maidenhead and run to Paddington, to cover off the peak direct trains?
    4 cars is probably overkill outside of the peaks, so getting some 2 or 3 car EMUs seems to be a plan (also for Valleys, NW etc?)

  74. Windsorian says:

    @ c

    WRAtH Grip2v2 May 2012 :

    “The Western Access service would replace the so-called “residual” services (2 tph Reading – Slough all stations, 2 tph Reading – London principal stations) that are currently planned as part of the post- Crossrail timetable.

  75. timbeau says:

    @PC and Anon 1235

    Twyford would be the least of your problems if Reading were Oysterised. It would surely be impossible to have both ends of the Reading-Waterloo line on Oyster without persuading SWT to accept it at Ashford, Staines, Egham, Virginia Water, Sunningdale, Longcross, Ascot, Martins Heron, Bracknell, Wokingham, Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle, and Earley. And given SWT’s existing attitude to any extension of Oyster, that’s not going to happen any time soon.

    Mention has been made of the Henley and Marlow branches, but I’m not sure Windsor & Eton Riverside has been mentioned. Apart from the absence of through services, the same question as to who operates them post-Crossrail also arises.

  76. stimarco says:

    Re. Gravesend extension…

    The plans for this have been lodged with various councils for some time now and are quite detailed. They definitely involve a new pair of fully segregated tracks all the way to Dartford, with no intermediate stations and including a long viaduct over the depot at Slade Green. (There are a number of flat junctions around there as the three existing lines from Dartford to London converge in the vicinity and there’s even a chord linking two of them to allow loop services.)

    At Dartford, the intentions are rather less clear as the present site is just too cramped to cope with the additional services, despite its recent refurbishing. It’ll either have to be razed to the ground and rebuilt from scratch with more platforms, or re-sited to a more suitable location for a larger station. As the existing site is also bounded by the Darent River and the adjacent Mill Pond, my money’s on the latter – possibly on the opposite side of the A2026 (“Hythe Street”) as the approaches here are bounded only by light industrial crud on their northern side, making widening much easier.

    Beyond Dartford, Crossrail was intended to continue over existing tracks to Gravesend, with some new facilities provided at Hoo Junction. However, the new housing planned for area between the Ebbsfleet and Bluewater areas might justify a new route via those instead, rejoining the North Kent between Ebbsfleet and Gravesend.

    Despite repeated mention of “Ebbsfleet” as a destination for Crossrail, there is no connection from that station to the North Kent line in the Dartford direction.

  77. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ straphan who said “Way too old-school BR. Remember names and acronyms need to be re-invented, even if the purpose of the organisation remains broadly the same. Look at OPRAF -> SRA -> RE.”

    Exactly right. There is always money available for the most important things, like changing the logos, re-designing corporate toilet paper for the boardrooms, etc. New acronyms are a certainty. (Arun District Council even has its own specially designed beer mats in the Littlehampton offices. No money for school crossing attendants of course, but to have our own beer mats, “Yes, of course”)

    @ Christian S

    Not only Bristol and South Wales, but I heard that even the residents of Devizes were getting mildly excited about future possibilities…………

    @ W W who aid “You’ll note the smiling Ms May on the photo………”
    Sorry, but no I won’t.
    I avoid looking at all photos of that woman, and I would never look at one deliberately in order to enhance my prospects of a good night’s sleep.

  78. Fandroid says:

    @timbeau. Don’t forget that the SWT franchise expires in 2019. So DfT can demand whatever it wants in terms of smartcard ticketing.

    @Mark Townend @Castlebar et al. Regarding the extension of Waterloo trains through Reading to Basingstoke. Don’t forget that reinstated dive-under to the east of Reading station. If trains were dual-voltage, they could use the north-side platforms and head on down to Bas at ground level by ducking under the new west-side flyover.

    @Graham H. We only feel the occasional need to go to Henley, and most Henleyites probably find even Reading a bit too much to cope with, let alone our honest-to-goodness 1960s new town here in the Hampshire Highlands.

  79. Fandroid says:

    You have to be realistic about how much impact this has in Theresa May’s constituency. The only wards that it will effect are Ruscombe, Twyford and Wargrave. Possibly Remenham too, but I bet most commuters from there drive to Maidenhead anyway. She will probably get more flack than praise when the impacts on the branch lines are properly explained!

  80. straphan says:

    @WW: That MP is literally taking the p*** on Crossrail isn’t he? Then again I don’t think he’s one of the more influential ones…

    MPs are generally a fun bunch. I went to see the Kent MPs about something else once. That was possibly the hardest consultancy assignment of my life – I had to spend a whole hour keeping a straight face and being polite to them. One of them, whose constituency is served by the Uckfield Line even stated the East London Line extension ‘ruined’ the Uckfield line timetable. Having compared the 2007 and 2013 timetables I could only find a few 2-3 minute retimings, but hey…

    @c: I think that is the plan indeed. Once the AC EMUs are taken off their current duties I’m sure most of them will be shortened to 3-car regardless of where they end up.

  81. Theban says:

    This seems a step backwards. One purpose of Crossrail is to relieve terminating services at the London termini. The new layout at Reading was intended to largely remove the need for local services to cross the main line on the flat. Unless the CR terminators use platform 16 (?) they will add new flat crossings. The problems at London termini are then transferred to Reading building up problems there in future.

  82. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ straphan, who said, “MPs are generally a fun bunch”. Really??
    I must have been very unlucky. They are not fun, but are very protective of their jobs and accompanying pension “rights”, yes, but ‘fun’, No.


    No. It will affect far more wards than that. Commewters in their cars from Hurst, Hither and Thither. People will want to use Crossrail, so clogging the station car parks and associated roads is a no-brainer. But that’s an issue to be put under the carpet until after the next election. House prices have probably increased there today already in anticipation. (As they will in Frome when they ditch their current LibDem MP next year, and the Tories promise more through services to Reading and Paddin’ton.)

  83. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – I thought so. My last employer had been persuaded to disperse its HQ to Basingrad (as it was known in the office) but never, ever, saw a need to send staff to Henley – and the HQ seeped back to London over time…

    @straphan – but dealing with Minsters hour by hour is even worse. The temptation to hit, or as we say in sheepdog trialing circles, “grip”, is very difficult to resist.

    @timbeau – at present, GW bidders are being left to assume that they will be running the Thames branches. Only the Castlebar Line and Romford-Upminster seem to have been dumped on TfL.

  84. Fandroid says:

    Interesting choice arises for commuters who currently use the SWT line into Waterloo from between Reading and Wokingham. From Reading itself, the train to Waterloo currently takes about 1 hour longer than a fast train to Paddington. With the potential for a through train to the City or Canary Wharf, would some of these folk reverse direction and then get Crossrail at Reading? Another alternative would be to drive to Twyford and catch it there, but Google Maps show the car park there to be fairly full anyway. Express bus opportunity anyone?

  85. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Theban, who said “The problems at London termini are then transferred to Reading building up problems there in future.”

    Well spotted. You’re well ahead of the game with that observation. You’ll never make it as a transport planner.

  86. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Theban

    In fact, upon reflection, Devizes doesn’t seem such a potty idea after all. In fact, I think there’s land there for stabling, etc, etc, and etc. No need to worry about being constrained there.

    (Crayons away now, and Mrs Castlebar wants a lift to Tescos again)

  87. Mark Townend says:

    @Fandroid, 27 March 2014 at 16:21

    Waterloo – Basingrad through the relief side, clogged with up to 8 reversing trains an hour from the east perhaps and goodness knows what other through semi-fasts and trains terminating from the west as well. meanwhile 2 x 12 car terminating platforms at the east end lie idle.

    @Theban, 27 March 2014 at 16:40

    They can always resume running the long slow stone trains through the main (not so fast) line side.

  88. Fandroid says:

    @Theban. I don’t think that 2tph Crossrail terminators at Reading are going to bring out the sweat on any rail operator’s brow. There are already 2tph terminating from the east, and that was the plan for the Crossrail leftovers timetable too. The trains doing the terminating will just have a different badge on the side (and no toilets!). And anyway, is a station with 9 through platforms going to struggle with 2tph?

  89. straphan says:

    @Theban and Castlebar1: I gather you are referring to the need for trains from beyond Oxford crossing over to the mains? Or – as a transport planner – I am indeed too thick to follow?

  90. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ straphan

    “I gather you are referring to the need for trains from beyond Oxford crossing over to the mains?”

    Errr, ‘No.’

  91. Fandroid says:

    I have been struggling to find a complete track diagram for the new Reading layout (including approaches). Can anyone provide a link?

  92. Windsorian says:

    @ Frandroid

    Does this help – see image gallery

  93. Theban says:

    There is a schematic of the new Reading layout on Wikipedia but it is far from a full track layout.

  94. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H – on the subject of office moves the Twittersphere was today suggesting that TfL’s third “hub” office, to replace 55 Broadway, will be at Canary Wharf. TfL has apparently secured good terms to use space vacated by Clifford Chance. This will place all the main TfL offices along the Jubilee Line – Southwark, Canary Wharf and North Greenwich. I assuming Tube Lines still have people located at Westferry Circus so that will be quite a concentration of people.

  95. Theban says:


    It looks from that as though platform 16 is scheduled for removal but I struggle to see the image properly on a tablet so I might be wrong.

  96. Theban says:



    Suppose a westbound terminating train filters left into a stub platform without crossing the eastbound line. To head back east it then has to cross the westbound line. It is why stub platforms are best interior to the ends of through platforms rather than off to either side.

    Crossing 2tph may not be a huge problem as someone pointed out but it is a retrograde step IMO because sooner or later Reading is likely to become a bottleneck.

  97. Stephen says:

    Extending Crossrail to Reading also makes sense from the point of view of East-West Rail. The draft service pattern has long shown half-hourly Reading to Milton Keynes/Bedford, operating all stops from Reading to Oxford. Assuming that they replace the existing London-Oxford stoppers west of Reading, that would have left the existing service operating solely from Paddington to Reading.

  98. Saintsman says:

    I love it when a plan finally comes together. Getting 2 or 4 Crossrails to Reading is really positive news!

    What continues to run on the Relief lines in the new electrified Great Western world is interesting, espcially how WRAtH (please) fits in. The fate and control over the Thames Valley branches are very important parts to this debate.

    The lack of toliets and “how hard the seats really are?” will be debated by many. (People cope with 1hr rural services etc without).

    Can we kick beyond Abbey Wood into CP7 at the earliest, in favour of “solving” the western Paddington terminators.

    @POP Thankyou for another excellent article

  99. straphan says:

    @Castlebar1: Thanks, you’re ever so helpful as always…

    @Theban: This is one drawing of the new Reading layout I could find:

    If this layout is correct, I don’t think Crossrail trains would bother too many people if they terminated in Platforms 13 or 14, which still leaves 12 and 15 for through trains onto the reliefs (if there are still any aside from freight).

  100. Windsorian says:

    Rob Wilson MP: Phase 2 Reading / Paddington Crossrail –

  101. Windsorian says:

    Note the link in the GetReading article to Wilsons Facebook page re letter from Stephen Hammond re NR’s Western Route Study due to be complete by October 2014!/RobWilsonRDG/photos/pcb.10152289516638794/10152289515888794/?type=1&theater

  102. Windsorian says:

    3 page Hammond letter – Click “next” top right

  103. Matthew Dickinson says:

    The FGW ITT contains the answers to the Oyster question: Network Benefits, Smart Ticketing / ITSO / Oyster / CPAY

    The Department and TfL have agreed a package of Network Benefits that CTOC will
    deliver as part of that concession. Bidders should note the obligations that apply to the Franchisee as a result of this agreement. Full details are provided in the data site with some key elements noted here.

    * all train services operated by CTOC will accept ITSO cards loaded with suitable
    products and CTOC will participate in and cooperate with the Department / ATOC
    interoperable smart ticketing schemes;

    * all train services operated by CTOC will also accept Oyster cards and associated

    * all national rail stations served by CTOC (including those operated by both CTOC
    and Great Western) will be required to retail and load both ITSO and Oyster
    products; and subject to satisfactory conclusion of the CPAY negotiations covering contactless technology, CTOC will participate in the CPAY agreement

  104. Fandroid says:

    Thank you Windsorian for the choice of Reading layout diagrams. The one that gives most information is that with the stage 1 and stage 2 circled. Many of the official diagrams are either too simplistic or only show the platforms.

    Trains on the relief lines approaching from the west cannot access most of the fast line platforms. By using the CrossCountry route beneath the main lines flyover, they can reach Crosscountry platform 7 and fast lines platform 8.

    Trains on the relief lines approaching from the east (including Crossrail) have four relief line platform faces to play with (12-15) but could also reach any other through platform (7-11) by crossing the fast lines.

    The Wikipedia diagram is out of date, as the stub platform (16) disappeared some time back. All final platforms are now in place, although some faces are still out of use as the final works are being carried out.

    The dive-under on the east side gives access from the Wokingham lines to three relief line platforms (13-15). As I surmised before, the lack of Airtrack trains coming in from Wokingham probably means that the Gatwick line trains will stay on the ‘Southern’ platforms (4-6), so leaving plenty of room for Crossrail and other services on platforms 12-15. That leaves the dive-under for early and late trains starting and finishing at the depot plus occasional freights.

    I’m still left wondering how IEP trains reach their sidings from the east!

  105. stimarco says:


    “Can we kick beyond Abbey Wood into CP7 at the earliest, in favour of “solving” the western Paddington terminators.”

    Why? It’s not as if both couldn’t be addressed at the same time. I doubt TfL would be funding anything to do with the GWML’s non-Crossrail services anyway.

    That said, Kent’s track record with infrastructure projects so far suggests even CP7 is optimistic. More like CP70.


    Devizes is often on those lists of “biggest towns without a railway station”. That said, the original route does run through an awful lot of bugger all; there’s a good reason why the GWR built the cutoff that made the line effectively redundant.

    I’d be more inclined to suggest a light rail solution of some kind linking Salisbury with Chippenham and Bath via Devizes, but not slavishly following the old formation. It could potentially serve Stonehenge too.

  106. whiff says:

    While this has been rumoured for a while it’s always a relief to get official confirmation. And thanks to Pedantic for the usual, and in thus case timely, excellent analysis of the issues. It seems clear from the comments above that there is still lots of uncertainty about what services will be provided west of Paddington but whatever the final outcome is, it will be a massive improvement, though even just having Hanwell and West Ealing 7 days a week is significant progress by itself.
    One small thing not mentioned is that Twyford is only partially step-free so presumably there will now be a conversation about whether to make it step-feee and who pays

  107. Andrew says:

    Readings new platforms always looked like a TFL set up with central turn back platforms. The other issue which worried people in the Thames Valley was the loss of a local service running all stations between Ealing and Reading requiring changes at Slough or Maidenhead.This now been protected and retained at every 30 minutes.
    Perhaps the next XR extension is from Shenfield to Southend to fit in with the old semi fast service which was all stations beyond Shenfield. It would justify ensuring Shenfield platform 4 (Metro turn back platform) or Platform 5(down Southend through platform) could be used as the Southend down platform maintaining the grade separated junction for fast trains.

  108. Fandroid says:

    @whiff. TfL should have read the FGW station information on Twyford before blandly stating in their press release that Twyford and Reading have step-free access. (No access to the Reading platform at Twyford – perhaps TfL think that direction isn’t important !)

  109. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ stimarco

    Thanks, Didn’t realise there were such lists, nor suspected that Devizes would be on it.

    I just wonder if all this ties in with some ‘plot’ (excuse pun) to build zillions of new homes, and this time trying to do a bit of unprecedented ‘joined-up-think’ by building new homes where there IS a railway, rather than putting the new homes where there once WAS a railway. I wonder. Lets try and discover if the housebuilding megacorps are buying landbanks for future building plots along that route. Then, perhaps there might be smoke and fire to the Devizes theory. The housebuilders do seem to be quite lucky in buying their land stocks even before the gov’ment even suspects there will be change of use for housebuilding there.

  110. Steve says:

    27 March 2014 at 14:46
    “Twyford would be the least of your problems if Reading were Oysterised. It would surely be impossible to have both ends of the Reading-Waterloo line on Oyster without persuading SWT to accept it.”

    The SWT franchise expires in 2019 so the new franchisee (God help us if it’s SWT again) could be compelled to accept Oyster, I would have thought.

  111. Theban says:

    @Straphan I largely agree about place forms 13 and 14. In fact they look to be designed for turnarounds. I still think though that having turnarounds at a busy hub station is suboptimal and turnaround one station after Reading would be better.

  112. Theban says:

    Is 2tph to anywhere on Crossrail / Thameslink type routes sensible or would increasing service elsewhere by 2tph to improve turn up and go a better use of paths? I don’t know. How should frequency be balanced against adding destinations?

  113. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Theban

    In fact, I wonder if Newbury is already on somebody’s radar.

    Newbury to “the City” would be attractive to some

  114. Jonathan says:

    @andrew – crossrail to Southend
    There are a few stopping services via gidea park to Southend at peak times. At one stage in the last 15 years there used to be an incredibly slow service from Liverpool street to southminster at off peak times that called at all stations from Ilford. Most with any sense would change when they could (ie at wickford) and get the fast service. This has now been replaced by a more frequent shuttle from wickford.

    I think a lot of people on the Southend Victoria line are just heading for the city so really wouldn’t benefit from an all stations crossrail service and in any case Stratford used to be a relatively easy interchange.

    Southend airport might appreciate said station on a famous map, but really too far!

  115. Saintsman says:

    London Midland’s 110mph project showed that running services at a similar speed can generate extra paths. First Great Western have started looking at 110mph (115mph) stock to squeeze more paths alongside the IEP Class 800/1 stock.

    Crossrail Class 345 stock is currently specified only at 90mph. Now the plan is to go to Reading should this speed be revisited to 110mph (115mph)? [Siemens Thameslink stock is so specified]. Airport Junction to Reading is around 20 miles so there is scope to see some improvement. But with only 2-4 services Crossrail benefits would be marginal. However if the Paddington terminators do go to the WCML- West Coast Mainline north of Watford then such an improved top end speed would likely become necessary.

  116. timbeau says:

    “The lack of toliets …….. will be debated by many. (People cope with 1hr rural services etc without).”

    Where? As far as I am aware the only rolling stock without toilets is used on inner suburban services in London, Glasgow and Merseyside (Classes 313-315,376, 378, 455, 456, 507, 508)

  117. Melvyn says:

    I first noticed this in the new April issue of Modern Railways which mentioned the secret YFL meeting and speculated on Reading extension . Then last night it was on both local London TV news programmes as breaking news on announcement expected on Crossrail to Reading announcement expected in morning.

    Reading is a more logical terminus for Crossrail given how important it is as an interchange station and it is also a destination station in its own right so commuters travelling to Reading will also benefit .

    Given the distance from Maidenhead to Reading with currently only 1 station at Twyford (sounds like its in Wales !) the question arises as to whether this line has long closed stations and whether any could justify reopening or are there any places a new station might be warranted ?

    Platform lengths on the branches seem to preclude use of 9 carriage Crossrail trains but given these are Artic trains like on London Overground perhaps shorter formations could be used to allow through services at least to Paddington mainline platforms as they would waste capacity and be to short to cope in Central London tunnels .

    As for TFL spreading outside London perhaps TFL should set up a board with representatives from Home Counties to overcome problems like the way Kent has prevented South East Londoners the benefits of overground services even though they would barely scratch Kent .

    On the subject of trains what advantages would arise if all local services from Paddington used same new trains as Crossrail with provision of toilets for longer distance trains to Oxford . Lengths could easily be shorter given they would be Artic trains .

    I have read that future trains will all be Artics to comply with new rules a move which if true could have a major affect on our railways .

  118. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Matt Dickinson – I hate to disagree with you given you’re typically more up to date on ticketing matters. The ITT for Great Western is nearly two years old and clearly doesn’t coverage the implications of today’s announcement. ITV London tweeted earlier today that there was NOT agreement yet as to whether Oyster would apply at Twyford and Reading. I can see why it will be difficult to Oysterise Reading.

    The ITT info is helpful in so far as it goes but it’s evident the SEFT delivery dates have not been achieved given the target dates in the ITT. It would be nice to know just what on earth is happening with SEFT but I recognise that’s “off topic” in this thread.

    Two other things from the ITT reference. The requirement to load and retail ITSO products applies to *national rail* stations on Crossrail. This begs the question as to how the stations in the central core are defined – are they NR, LU, TfL CTOC or some combination? It’ll be a bit odd for the busiest stations, run by LU or the CTOC, to not have this ITSO capability. It’ll mean no ability to resolve problems with ITSO cards if they aren’t defined as NR. The other interesting issue is the development of a Contactless Payment Card scheme for National Rail – lots more card clash to come! 😉

  119. MikeP says:

    @Stimarco re: Dartford rebuild. I was wondering if there’s room to rebuild the station to the other side of Hythe Street and taking land to the north as you suggest, and it seems there would be. A possible significant constraint, more to the western throat, would be the major substation west of Priory Road and south of the A2026. That would be extremely expensive to relocate.

    It’s difficult, though, to conceive of the recent investment in the main station building being thrown away in such a short period of time. With redevelopment of the “station mound” being on the cards, no work being done to the footbridge in the recent redevelopment and comparatively little on the platforms, things may be achievable between the new station building and Victoria Road – pull some platforms/track onto the current Station Road, slew Victoria Road north and extend the viaduct to the north. The cutting to the east remains a major barrier to 4-tracking, and getting under the A282.

  120. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau 0015 – you clearly need to watch more Assembly webcasts! Toilets get mentioned by politicians in every meeting with Crossrail reps. 🙂 They seem to rank alongside step free access as the key concern about Crossrail from politicians for some reason. Now you will get a swathe of Tory MPs coming along demanding the trains are respecified so people can have a pee while Crossrailing home to the Thames Valley after imbibing too much of their favourite tipple. After all “Mr Reading East” MP is bemoaning the lack of speed, frequency, toilets and catering and the ink is barely dry on the announcement and we’re more than 5 years from opening.

  121. Alan Griffiths says:

    Southern Heights @ 27 March 2014 at 10:46

    “I’ve always wondered why they’re terminating in Essex at Shenfield, Southend Victoria would make more sense.”

    What variety of sense is that?
    Off-peak 1/3 Southend Victoria trains stop at Romford. Sundays they stop between Shenfield and Romford. All others run fast Shenfield to Stratford.

  122. Windsorian says:

    @ Melvyn

    “…. distance from Maidenhead to Reading……. only 1 station at Twyford ……or ….. any places a new station might be warranted ?

    A decent Park & Ride site to the West of Reading would be useful for both Reading & London commuters. I always thought the Thames Valley Park area at the end of the A3290 / A329M was an ideal location with dual carriageway / underpass of the GWML.

  123. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Windsorian, Melvyn,

    I nearly suggested that [station at Thames Valley Park] in the article. It was as much an opportunity to an include another photo in the article as anything else. A discussion how realistic this would be, funding and the idea of TfL being potentially responsible for short journey to and from Reading, as a non-London hub, could have been interesting. The idea of park and ride did not occur to me but there is, or was, already a free bus that serves the area from Reading so the “ride” bit is already there.

    Microsoft have a set of offices there so I searched the web to try and find a picture of those offices to illustrate my point. Searching for “Reading Microsoft Office” in a well-known web browser has to qualify as one of my least successful web searches ever.

  124. Ian J says:

    @timbeau: “As far as I am aware the only rolling stock without toilets is used on inner suburban services”

    I believe the 313s formerly used on the Overground are now on the Coastway services along the south coast, despite their having what Wikipedia wonderfully refers to as “fewer on-board passenger facilities” than the trains they replaced.

    @PoP: “Searching for “Reading Microsoft Office” in a well-known web browser has to qualify as one of my least successful web searches ever”

    Technology companies don’t have anything as boring as “offices” – they like to convince their serfs staff that they are still at university, so try “Microsoft Reading Campus”.

  125. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Thanks Ian. It works. Well I haven’t got a photo yet but that does get me a link to the courtesy bus service.

    I don’t know why you crossed out “serf”. The standard term for someone who worked at Microsoft used to be “Microserf”. It was even used by the Microserfs themselves. Bit like the French ex-pats in London referring to South Kensington as “the valley of the frogs”.

  126. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Melvyn > > It is alleged, (and I will not be able to get confirmation elsewhere), by one of my contacts that “…………April issue of Modern Railways which mentioned the secret YFL meeting and speculated on Reading extension…….” was a secret meeting because IF there had been no immediate announcement for going ahead, the MP for Maidenhead would have, of necessity, kept a low profile, and it would have stayed secret. I’ll try and get confirmation from another source, unless someone else can get confirmation first.

    @ Windsorian who said “A decent Park & Ride site to the West of Reading would be useful for both Reading & London commuters”

    Looking a long way ahead, and also looking back to my posts of yesterday, I wonder IF this has anything to do with the Devizes rumours/speculation. IF speculative builders are now “land banking” in the area and along that route, Devizes itself could only ever be “Devizes Parkway” now. But it does seem to me that odd bits of a much larger jigsaw puzzle are beginning to produce a bigger picture. It does seem that “agents” are making enquiries for blocks of land there, and it’s not necessarily an “off the wall” idea for the long term. Recent announcements that more “New towns” are needed, didn’t say that they all had to be within a stone’s throw from the M25

  127. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Windsorian

    I would add that the largest building firms are quite happy to sit on these “land banks” for 20 years or more. They rarely, if ever, lose money on them. There are very many of these already scattered around the UK, and leased back to the farmers, so few know of the change of ownership. Sometimes, there are “confidentiality agreements” within the purchase, or “option to purchase” agreements.

  128. Greg Tingey says:

    ( pace other commenters )
    Has 6 platforms for 4 running lines & is the junction where the Sarfennd trains diverge … running CR1 past there makes little operational sense. Also, the present off-peak service is 6tph – identical to the proposed CR1 service. Thus, terminating CR1 there actually makes sense, with most of the SOV – LST workings not stopping anywhere between there & SRA & then LST. It ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Well, perhaps you should have tried “Offices of Microsoft in Reading” locate town England in advance search, with “Exact phrase” for the bit I’ve put in quotes!
    Ahem – ah I see Ian J has also come up with a solution.

    Not so much Devizes, as places that are on the line, but currently have a totally crap service to London – specifically Westbury & Frome – especially the last, or even, say Savernake?

  129. Windsorian says:

    @ Castlebar 1

    A while ago I looked at the Compulsory Purchase Act/Regs; land required for transport developments can be purchased at existing land use value and discounting any future development potential (if not already agreed).

  130. Fandroid says:

    The Thames Valley Park station idea has been around for a long time. The problem is that the business park is now fully occupied, so there is no developer around to stump up some cash. It’s also in Wokingham District, and the council is not so public transport oriented as Reading Borough is.

    For the geographically challenged, Thames Valley Park is east of Reading. There is a station that is well-sited for park and ride on the west side. That is Theale, first main stop on the Newbury line (after Reading West which is well within the urban area). That has access to the M4 and a 216 space car park.

    The reason that there are no more stations between Maidenhead and Reading is twofold. A large area to the southeast of Twyford used to be a lake (the Stanlake) and is still too soggy for building on. Just about all the rest is greenbelt. The area north of Bracknell, east of Twyford, south of Maidenhead and west of Windsor is amazingly sparsely populated.

  131. Windsorian says:

    @ Fandroid

    You are absolutely right – I should have written TVP is to the East of Reading NOT West !

    Wokinghan already has a P&R that reguarly floods; also it is on the SWT route into Reading and not on the GWML.
    The trouble with Twyford (GWML), is the narrow road accesses and limited parking. Ditto Maidenhead where you have to drive into the town centre for the station.

    The advantage of the TVP area is there are already many acres of surface car parks, which could be developed as MSCP’s

  132. Fandroid says:

    If you read the whole of the April Modern Railways article, the reason given for the secrecy of the briefing to the TfL Finance and Policy Committee was that the decision for the ‘enhancements’ had to be made by the full Board, which presumably was the meeting held earlier this week. Modern Railways actually speculated that the enhancements could have been one or more of five different things. Conspiracies are much more fun than boring old proper process but LR will always put us right.

  133. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Windsorian

    Agreed As you say, “Land required for transport developments can be purchased at existing land use value and discounting any future development potential”

    But the housebuilders buying/speculating land that THEY ANTICIPATE will eventually be used for housing, and thus it doesn’t fall into the same box. These firms are not industrial estate or railway developers, but housebuilders. First of all, they have to be speculators in order to spot, then buy up chunks of land. It is surely like betting at big odds, and when the bets come off, the returns are truly rewarding.

    They are not “land banking” for the land only to be turned into railway infrastructure or “park & rides”. They are betting for the very long term. Near where I live, a nationally famous builder got ‘options to buy’ from two farmers here (one each side of a railway), and now there is talk of an “Eco town” on the site, partly because there is a railway there already.

  134. Flare says:


    TfL’s three main offices on the Jubilee line? There’s Windsor House, home of the commisioner and far larger than Pier Walk and then there’s load of other TfL offices still between Victoria and 55 Broadway. Incidentally, they are doing a bit of refurb of 55 at the moment and moving staff back in there! All a bit of merry go round really.

    The Canary Wharf letting is about 2/3rd of the size of Palestra so pretty substantial.

  135. Tom Hawtin says:

    The Wikipedia article for Thames Valley Park (TVP) mentions a 1998 Reading Council plan for a station, though the link is dead. It seems the station would have gone to the east of the pedestrianised underpass (one a long from the A3290). The area is actually in the Borough of Wokingham not Reading.

    TVP itself is largely car parks. I guess there’s the opportunity to infill. To the south of the line, Sutton [Seeds] Park is largely logistics. Rush hour traffic into Reading is terrible. You can see the roundabout at the north of the A3290 has an unfinished exit. The plan was to tarmac up the Thames riverside, until it was realised that it’d make traffic in Reading worse.

    The TVP courtesy bus is rammed at rush hour, having replaced full Reading Bus double deckers. However, the peak is relatively narrow and the off-peak dead.

  136. Reynolds 953 says:

    As an observer who isn’t particularly knowledgeable about railways, could someone summarise for me what the Crossrail extension to Reading could mean in terms of increased passenger capacity from Reading/Maidenhead into London?

    Given Crossrail is costing billions and will make it easier for people in Berkshire to get the train into London, I have been somewhat bemused about the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham’s proposed plans for a M4 “flyunder” as they appear to be trying to make it easier for people in Berkshire to drive into London…

    I don’t suppose there is any chance of TfL encouraging the local authorities in Reading and Maidenhead to invest in car and ride facilities to encourage the people there to get the train instead of drive…?

    Or is there a roads lobby in TfL just itching to spend millions on “smoothing the traffic flow” on the A4/M4 as well…?

  137. stimarco says:


    “Dartford rebuild. […] A possible significant constraint, more to the western throat, would be the major substation west of Priory Road and south of the A2026. That would be extremely expensive to relocate.”

    A re-sited Dartford station would require some remodelling of the adjacent industrial estate and Victoria Road anyway, so I suspect relocating across the road in Victoria Industrial Park wouldn’t be met with much opposition. National Grid Plc. might be able to interest a housing developer into covering some of the costs as there’d be some land left over.

    “The cutting to the east remains a major barrier to 4-tracking, and getting under the A282.”

    There’s no need to widen to the east of Dartford: Crossrail would share the existing tracks to Gravesend under the current plans. Whether those tracks would get OHLE on them is a good question. Conversion of just this short section of track would be prohibitive on its own, but if the entire route were to be converted all the way out to the coast, it would make sense to build the Crossrail extension at the same time.

    I honestly can’t see a Gravesend extension happening before a decision is made on the future of 3rd rail electrification, so 10-20 years is likely to pass before we see the first sod turned by a smug MP claiming all the credit for the idea.


    I’m personally more in favour of sending Crossrail to Gravesend via Ebbsfleet (or, alternatively, sending the existing services via Ebbsfleet and giving the old route to Crossrail, to save construction costs.) The North Kent route to Gravesend from Dartford mostly follows the riverside edge of a chalk ridge that’s very steep in places and the surrounding topology makes providing north-south bus routes tricky…

    On its southern side, the ridge has been chewed up by chalk quarries that served the cement industry in and around Northfleet, so often presents sheer cliff faces rather than Kent’s usual rolling hills. If you’ve ever seen the geography around Bluewater shopping centre, you’ll have an idea of what the new housing developments are going to look like as they too will be in similar disused quarry sites.

    As the M2 is already struggling – and doesn’t actually connect readily with any stations other than Ebbsfleet itself – some additional transport infrastructure will be required if the development is to work. And that probably means rail: it’s cheaper to tunnel for railways than for roads as the latter must be wider to cope with the same traffic, and also have much more onerous health and safety requirements.

    So… either a new ‘loop’ route between Gravesend and Dartford stations, or a light rail scheme of some sort. (Most likely closer to the DLR in technology, rather than on-street trams.) Given that the Fastrack infrastructure was designed with potential conversion to light rail, some of the work is already done, although running right into Gravesend itself could be tricky: it might need to run above the existing railway, for example.

  138. MikeP says:

    @stimarco – I remember reading your comments about Fastrack elsewhere (surely not a cut’n’paste !!??). I did dig out all the decision-making that got us here some while ago (coz I thought “why not a tram?”), and KCC were quite adamant that given the unknowns (eg there was no thought of a theme park on the Swancombe peninsular 10 years ago) the requirement was for a network that was far more flexible than a tram could offer.

    I’m with you the likely timescale decision on Abbey Wood extension vs decision on wholesale OHLE conversion.

  139. Windsorian says:

    @ Tom Hawtin

    When there is such pressure on the greenbelt, acres and acres of surface parking is a waste of space, which could more productively used for Park & Ride (P&R) Multi-Storey Car Parks (MSCPs). A satellite view of TVP shows the existing surface car parks adjacent to the GWML and dual carriageway in the A3290 underpass area.

    @ Reynolds 953

    It’s not just the 2 lane Hammersmith flyover that is clapped out, so is the 2 lane elevated section of the M4. They both need replacing or XR from Reading needs a series of Park & Ride sites close to the GWML to encourage drivers onto fast & frequent rail services – which means a train every 5 – 10 minutes.

  140. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    Ebbsfleet station is in the Ebbsfleet River valley. (The river’s name dates to the 1600s; it was previously named the “Fleet”. The latter name even gets a namecheck by Chaucer.)

    It is not a swamp: although the original source of the river (at Springhead) has long since been tapped by Thames Water, shrinking the river down dramatically, it still provides drainage for the surrounding chalk lands. So “Fartyswamp” is a rather poor choice of nickname.

    Slade Green depot and parts of Dartford, on the other hand, really were built on extensive swamplands, as was much of the Lea Valley area.

    Contrary to popular belief, there really is a fair bit of (mostly low-density) housing around the station: there’s Northfleet on one side and Swanscombe on the other. It’s just that very little of said housing is actually visible from the station due to the topology of the area.

  141. ngh says:

    Re Saintsman 28 March 2014 at 00:06

    The potential 110mph requirement for the FGW EMUs post electrification is for fast lines usage optimisation i.e. 110 vs 125 for IEP initially i.e. Oxford services running non stop inside Reading. Fast line thinking in best done in terms of pace as that is more important than speed in visualizing gaps opening or closing between services.

    75mph = 1mile in 48.0s
    90mph = 1mile in 40.0s
    100mph = 1mile in 36.0s
    110mph = 1mile in 32.7s
    125mph = 1mile in 28.8s
    140mph = 1mile in 25.7s

    Notice the very small difference between 125 and 140mph (the killer is actually stopping distance going up but future signalling technology might help there)

    Decent acceleration is key for the Relief (slow) line capacity optimisation i.e. CR + FGW semi-fasts

  142. The Other Paul says:

    I can’t help thinking that, once Crossrail is up and running, more passengers will be switching to/from Crossrail at Abbey Wood than staying on the train into London Bridge and beyond. Crossrail is going to provide a faster journey to central London, and probably deposit most people closer to their final destination.

    So if that all comes to pass, wouldn’t it make the case for converting Abbey Wood-Dartford to Crossrail and terminating the London Bridge Service at Abbey Wood? Something that sounds unpalatable to most locals today but would make perfect sense in a post-Crossrail world.

  143. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Reynolds 953 – I’m not an expert of train formations or Great Western’s service but it looks to be that a proposed diesel shuttle from Reading to Slough would be replaced by 9 car Crossrail EMUs as a result of the announced extension. On the basis that the diesels might have been as long as 6 cars in the peaks and possibly shorter off peak then Crossrail clearly provides more capacity but not a massive amount. To my mind frequency is the thing that brings in demand and a x30 min headway, while not bad, is hardly “turn up and go”. At Reading it is the fast IC125s that are “turn up and go”.

    I think it is fair to say that there is always a road lobby. Its influence changes depending on who is in power. There certainly appears to be something of a “roads lobby” emerging from the shadows in Boris’s second term with the Roads Task Force plus certain more bonkers councils who think tunnels answer everything but can’t quite explain how you get the cars in and out of the tunnels with destroying areas on the surface. The elevated bits of road in Inner West London may well be hideous and clapped out and in need of attention but a rational solution (IMO) has yet to emerge. Depending on your viewpoint you might want more flyovers or tunnels or the whole lot shutting down and not replaced at all in order to force modal shift (reduction in total demand). The problem is that the A4 / M4 links to Heathow and everyone has multiple kittens and heart attacks as soon as *that* airport crops up in conversation. I fear it will take a very long time to get to an answer.

  144. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ The other Paul

    I agree. I think Crossrail will take many cross-London journeys as well as the into and-inter London ones. It might even take a bit of traffic off the M25 as getting from the western edge to the eastern edge will be so much easier.

    Let us never forget that the M25 was delayed so long because at one stage, there was perceived to be no need for it, as “surely, everyone is going to London”. Now, M25 traffic volumes prove that not every car going into London was going TO London, but was going THROUGH London. Your idea is a very sound one and enables some of the existing resources to have alternative uses, rather than for the supplementation/duplication of Crossrail.

  145. straphan says:

    I think that we need to slowly start putting a cap on the distance of extensions of Crossrail proposed in this thread. Please remember the decision was taken a longer while back that Crossrail would not be a second Thameslink, but something akin to the Underground, only using some mainline railway tracks and running a little outside of the M25.

    Extending Crossrail beyond Reading or Shenfield would only be to the detriment of passengers from those areas. Why on Earth would anyone from Newbury or Southend choose to have an all-stations train service into London replacing a much faster express alternatives run with rolling stock that is arguably more comfortable (or – as in the case of FGW HSTs – WAS more comfortable)?

  146. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ straphan

    Totally agree with you. But politicians/lobbyists/interest groups and others will always be there to “make a case”, or more usually, a special case, based on unique circumstances”

    Crossrail could end up being overloaded from day one, with immediate pleading for more trains, longer trains, more routes, extra tracks for faster trains etc., and soon be drowned by its own success, (the M25 on rails)

    We are in for interesting times.

  147. MikeP says:

    @The Other Paul. Your analysis will definitely be true for travellers to the Isle of Dogs, City/Shoreditch, northerly West End, etc. But for those heading south of the river and to the southern bits of the West End, like around Charing X, it’s less obvious. Especially considering the journey times of the semi-fasts.

    But you solution seems very sub-optimal – as Stimarco noted, the current thoughts are for a flyover across all the points and conflicts at Slade Green. Crossrail would get caught up in Bexleyheath line services and depot moves there. Also, it would mean the Gillingham services taking another route to London, if paths are available. I think it would make the stink over the TfL bid for SouthEastern Metro seem quite sweet-smelling….

  148. Windsorian says:

    @ ngh

    It’s 36 miles from Paddington to Reading, so what do you consider is the time advantage of running IEPs Class 800 on the fast lines at 140mph, without the limitation of 100mph HEx Class 332 ?

  149. Greg Tingey says:

    Steve Bell of the “Grauniad” always refers to Ebbsfleet as “Fartyswamp Central” – usually with derisive references to Boris thrown in as well ….

    The other Paul
    All very well, but you’d still need 4 tracks along that line in to Dartford.
    Remember that a lot of trains go round the chords to/from the Woolwich / Sidcup / Bexleyheath lines, as well as progressing to Dartford.

    Well, I agree – the moment we get actual through running Reading Abbey Wood, it will be full & as soon as Shenfield joins the party, it will be wedged.

    That works out @ approx 10 secs per mile & Reading is 36 miles = 360 seconds.
    Except you have acceleration & braking at each end ….
    A minute-&-a-half, say?

  150. P Dan Tick says:

    @stimarco. I think you may have been chatting to Mrs Malaprop. I suspect you meant ‘topography’, not ‘topology’ when discussing the Ebbsfleet area.

  151. straphan says:

    @Castlebar1: I also think Reading is really the very limit of where Crossrail could and should go to. An extension to Dartford or Ebbsfleet doesn’t sound too unreasonable either – albeit the cost may indeed be deemed unreasonable. But Newbury? Oxford? Southend? Toilets and catering on board? Please, people, let’s be serious…

    @Windsorian: since when is the GWML upgrade meant to enable trains to run beyond 125mph?

  152. Windsorian says:

    @ straphan

    since when is the GWML upgrade meant to enable trains to run beyond 125mph?

    My understanding is the GWML electrification / re-signalling will initially limit the IEP trains Class 800 to 125mph. However a further upgrade of the signalling to ERTMS will allow for 140mph and there is provision for the Class 800’s to be modified for 140mph.

  153. The Other Paul says:

    I think I envisaged Crossrail needing new infrastructure from Slade Green to Dartford – yes that’s a cost, but a much lower cost than additional tracks all the way from Abbey Wood. My point is not that everyone will be switching to/from Crossrail at Abbey Wood, but that the balance may tip such that a majority are switching, which would make such a change seem sensible.

  154. Anonymous says:

    Why did the TfL board have to deal with it in a SECRET part of its meeting?

  155. mr_jrt says:

    I personally think that Crossrail’s tunnels should be used for more than a glorified tube line actually, so I’d be quite content with an outer suburban service of Newbury-Reading & Didcot-Reading, Maidenhead, Slough, Hayes & Harlington, Ealing Broadway, OOC, Paddington using more Thameslink-like stock (with toilets!), combined with an inner-suburban Crossrail service using the planned stock running Reading-Slough, Hayes & Harlington, Ealing Broadway, OOC, Paddington.

    Separate from that, a metro service running to Heathrow, Windsor, and Greenford using a 6-tracked GWML. Probably using the short platforms at Paddington to terminate (hence why I propose it being operated as part of the H&C).

  156. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ mr_jrt

    Although (at unnecessary expense) you could extend the platforms at Castlebar and South Greenford to 3 or even 4 cars, you wouldn’t (a) be able to extend at Drayton Green because of the junction to the south and the bridge/tunnel to the north, (b) be able to squeeze in more than a 3 car unit into the Greenford bay,, and (c) a & b would fail every CBA method you chose to use.

  157. The Other Paul says:

    It’s on a much smaller scale to Crossrail, but over in Leipzig the new city tunnel carries some IC and regional trains as well as s-bahn

  158. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon 1507 – all TfL meetings that the public have a right to attend have a section where “confidential” business is conducted. This is permitted under legislation as there may be issues that require discussion where if the details were made public it could prejudice TfL’s commercial or legal position. It could also affect share prices for companies doing business with TfL and there is legislation that prevents disclosure of market sensitive information. You can be thrown in prison for breaking that law. There are also political and employment related issues where timing and co-ordination of decisions / announcements are paramount. The meeting is not “secret” – it just has a part from which the public and media are excluded. We did know that something about Crossrail was being discussed and when the discussion happened.

    I do think much more could be made public than is but I can absolutely understand why some things are confidential. I have been on the other side of the fence and been involved in confidential stuff and there are good reasons for it being so.

  159. Milton Clevedon says:

    2025 for GW ERTMS with removal then of ordinary signals on the GWML, according to Patrick Hallgate at the 4th Friday Club this lunchtime, appropriately at the Paddington GWR Hilton Hotel.

    At that date you could aim for 140/110 mph on the fast lines, and woe betide anything slower or stopping. So that’s also the cut-over point to move slower trains onto the relief lines (including HEX in peaks), with the GW ‘Borough Market Junction’ effect emerging in 2026, when Old Oak needs lots more Crossrail central area trains to OOC – and more still in 2027 with the emerging Crewe ‘hub’ (to relieve Euston). This is on top of WCML-Crossrail from about 2020, if you interpret Higgins’s HS2 slides carefully, which has its own pathing and perturbation essentials to address if it joins up 3 main lines.

    There will be a corporate tussle in relation to that, between TfL and HAHL and DfT/NwR, about who should own/manage/takeover HEX slots inbound to London/outbound via WRAtH to Reading (let’s call that REX), and the value of revenues and train slots along the GW relief.

    Lots more trains will then have to try to keep out of each other’s way on the GW relief lines section between OOC and Portobello – and (yes this must be the 19th Century) a FLAT junction and no extra pathing scope on that piece of railway. 90% PPM (GW objective for CP5)? You must be joking.

  160. stimarco says:

    @P. Dan Tick:

    Oops, yes. Oh for an Edit button…

    @The Other Paul:

    My earlier post was as much to point out that there are actual, solid, plans for this extension. It was always intended to extend to Gravesend at some point, but that section was put on the back burner early on due to the cost and, I suspect, the lack of a clear vision for Dartford itself.

    Abbey Wood to Slade Green is easy. The hard part, aside from modifying / re-siting Dartford station itself, is the high chalk ridge west of Dartford through which the railway currently passes in a deep cutting. It’s difficult to get a feel for the height of the ridge from Google Maps and its ilk, but you can get a sense of it from the bottom two photos on this page, which were taken from a footbridge across the tracks on the west side of the ridge (i.e. only part-way up.)

    To put those photos into context, there are already three routes to Dartford from London. All three converge on just three tracks into Dartford. The current approach to Dartford is already a capacity constraint. Adding a fourth route to the station absolutely requires widening of this cutting. And there are streets of housing at the top of the ridge.

    Some might suggest a pair of tracks for each route – i.e. eight tracks – would make most sense if you’re going to be spending this kind of cash on expensive earthworks, but even a five- or six-track approach is going to effectively double the current approach width.

    This is why I don’t think the substation mentioned earlier is going to be a big deal: compared to the civil engineering works involved at the cutting itself, as well as the doubled width of the embankment and bridges, it’s going to look like a rounding error on the final bill. That part of Dartford is going to be changed beyond all recognition by this project, and it’s going to be a project of epic, Reading station upgrade proportions.

    It’ll be interesting to see what solution the engineers come up with.

  161. timbeau says:

    “the question arises as to whether this line has long closed stations and whether any could justify reopening”

    It doesn’t – and Twyford is probably only there because it is the junction for the Henley branch. (and as the original temporary terminus until the cutting through Sonning was complete).

    “Platform lengths on the branches seem to preclude use of 9 carriage Crossrail trains but given these are Artic trains like on London Overground”

    Neither the class 345s planned for Crossrail nor the 378s on the Overground are articulated – i.e adjacent vehicles’ bodies share running gear. The only articulated passenger vehicles running on National Rail are the Eurostars and the Tyne & Wear Metro cars (the DLR units, and most types of tram, do so as well)
    In any case, articulation would make it harder to split a train, not easier.

    What S stock and 378s have is very wide gangways between cars. Why you think this would make it easier to create shorter trains I’m not sure.

  162. Matthew Dickinson says:

    footnote 4
    There will be a number of London Underground stations that CTOC will serve that will not be operated by CTOC and so these elements do not apply.

    so it seems unless things have changed since 2012 that the Core stations will not be required to sell ITSO.

  163. stimarco says:


    What’s needed is a telescopic railway carriage. That’ll solve the “short platforms” problem by simply making the train shrink and stretch to fit as needed.

    Or bring back Brunel’s 7′ broad gauge. You can cram more cattle commuters onto a physically wider train.

    Alternatively, we could try coupling carriages sideways instead of end to end. What’s the point of having all those tracks if you only ever use two at a time?

    I’m shocked – shocked, I say! – that nobody else has suggested any of these obvious solutions. It must be a conspiracy.

  164. Windsorian says:

    @ Milton Clevedon

    “….. 140/110 mph on the fast lines, and woe betide anything slower or stopping ….”

    very interested in what you wrote; would you please clarify this part ? Does it mean nothing slower than 110mph on the fast lines ? or something else ?

  165. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Matt D – Thanks for the clarification. I can’t wait for the politicians to twig that particular “gap” in the retail offer alongside the lack of ticket offices or travel centres at the very busiest Zone 1 stations. Of course the realisation will come too late for anyone to do anything about it!

    Thinking about it for a minute there must be something of a “moving feast” when it comes to specifying Crossrail’s ticketing system. If they’ve not yet gone to market to procure the system it can’t be long before they do and they’ve only got to consider Oyster, ITSO, SEFT, TfL Future Ticketing, technology change, NR CPAY, the retendering of TfL’s entire ticketing service, closure of LU ticket offices and associated process changes plus anything else I’ve no idea about. A breeze. 🙂

  166. whiff says:

    Has there been any explanation yet of why two trains an hour are still going to terminate at Maidenhead? All the arguments put forward by Pedantic in his article would seem to suggest all 4 of the trains per hour should continue to Reading.

  167. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ whiff

    I haven’t seen one, but logic tells me that it’s so they can be sent back to where they’re needed most (i.e. across London) rather than duplicating other services twixt Maidenhead and Reading. If fact, following that argument, they shouldn’t really be sent west of Slough, but “other factors” are obviously at work here.

    Already, there’s an argument that says Reading will now be crammed, so lets run them a bit further west still. And the “If you provide the service, people will use it” argument, will certainly apply

  168. Paul says:

    whiff @ 21:06

    I think because the ‘other’ 2 tph east of Reading (run by FGW or their eventual successor) will be through trains across Reading, potentially starting at somewhere like Oxford.

    If these (as seems likely) are to be 8 car EMUs anyway, cutting them short at Reading and starting another two Crossrail services at Reading will simply slow down a couple of train loads of passengers who’ll be trying to change across a platform at best, but with a wait at worst.

    An alternative is to run these to trains as all stations stoppers from origin as far as Reading, and then run them onto the fasts? But then what sort of stock would work it?

  169. Anonymous says:

    Dependent dude, not dependant. Different meaning.

  170. Alan Griffiths says:

    Greg Tingey @ 28 March 2014 at 09:00

    Shenfield ( pace other commenters )
    ” Has 6 platforms for 4 running lines & is the junction where the Sarfennd trains diverge … running CR1 past there makes little operational sense. ”

    Agree entirely with most of that, except:
    Shenfield has 5 platforms numbered from south to north and Crossrail will construct the 6th.
    1) from Southend Victoria & Southminster towards Stratford & Liverpool St
    2) from GEML towards Stratford & Liverpool St
    3) GEML from Stratford & Liverpool St towards Chelmsford and beyond
    4) terminating all stations service (after Crossrail, will become from Stratford & Liverpool St towards Southend Victoria & Southminster}
    5) from Stratford & Liverpool St towards Southend Victoria & Southminster (will become Crossrail terminating) and terminating all stations service
    6) Crossrail will build this at the north side, terminating

  171. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Saintsman 28 March at 00:06 – “Crossrail Class 345 stock is currently specified only at 90mph. Now the plan is to go to Reading should this speed be revisited to 110mph (115mph)? [Siemens Thameslink stock is so specified]. ”

    However, when I saw the Siemens Desiro Class 700 mock-up for Thameslink at ExCel, kitted out Cab A of 70001 clearly states “Max. Speed 100 mph”, so I wonder whether that is intended in practice, rather than anything greater.

  172. The other Paul says:

    With the depth of the Dartford-west cutting as it is I’d say a neat solution would be to build a slab deck above the existing railway and run the new tracks on top. There seems to be quite a bit of slope (or just foliage) on the sides – four tracks on the upper deck looks like it would be straightforward. The visible railway would probably still be below the sight lines from most of the houses on either side. There’s space for a gentle ramp up on the West side, and if the new Dartford station is too close for a full ramp down on the East it could be built in a split level arrangement, potentially facilitating some grade separated junctions as well.

  173. The other Paul says:

    @MikeP and others
    Further to Abbey Wood -> Central London journey times with Crossrail.
    Compare –
    Abbey Wood to Canon Street, fastest train today: 30mins
    Abbey Wood to Livepool Street-Moorgate on Crossrail: 17mins
    Abbey Wood to Charing X, fastest train today: 35mins
    Abbey Wood to Tottenham Court Road: 23mins
    (data from and

    So yes, possibly if you’re travelling to the area immediately around London Bridge, Waterloo East, Charing Cross or Cannon Street, it’s probably still going to be quicker the old way. But if you’re changing onto a tube or bus service at one of those locations anyway, chances are Crossrail will always give you a quicker journey. And let’s not forget that those are best journey times on the old network, whilst Crossrail will provide a consistent journey time and a likely off-peak minimum of 6tph.

  174. ngh says:

    RE Windsorian 28 March 2014 at 13:50

    Milton has largely answered the question but…

    Some quick calcs based on the NR route strategy nicely summarises the situation on the fast lines based on current journey times:
    Paddington – Heathrow Airport Junction 12miles average speed 76mph based on HST/Hex path.
    Heathrow Airport Junction – Reading 24 miles average speed 90mph based on HST.
    Which highlights the poor acceleration/deceleration of the HSTs.

    Which shows the key way to improve performance in the short /medium term is not to increase the max speed but to increase the acceleration /deceleration rate significantly* with new stock and remove the bottlenecks at Reading so trains can run nearer to line speed instead of getting caught in congestion – the max speed is a bit of a red herring for the time being until those 2 are addressed given the relatively short overall distance.

    * i.e. requires electric traction with lots of powered axles and rheostatic / regenerative braking for speeds from max down to circa 25-30mph

    To answer you later question Milton does indeed mean nothing slower than 110mph stock as I did several posts ago too.

    Re Graham F / Saintsman
    As CR stock will be on the relief (slow) lines there is no point in having a higher max speed as it will come a the expense of better acceleration in the core tunnelled section which is more important, the longest time the CR stock is at max speed will be between Twyford and Maidenhead for may be as less than 3 minutes at 90mph. Increasing the max speed to 100mph (assuming no degradation of acceleration to 90mph) might only speed up the journey by 6-7s after taking account of the extra time take to reach 100mph from 90mph etc. If the acceleration is compromised by increasing the max speed then there may be a negative saving in this journey time. 😉

  175. Windsorian says:

    @ ngh

    Thank you and very helpful. Using the Crossrail Ealing Broadway page –
    we have 9mins to Paddington plus 14 mins to LHR CTA (T1,T2, T3) = 24 mins

    Whilst using the Crossrail Liverpool St page
    we have 32mins to CTA minus 10 minutes to Paddindton = 22 mins

    Do you know where to find, or can work out, the Crossrail skip / stop proposal on the relief lines for Paddington to LHR ? I presume this would work in both directions ?

  176. Mark Townend says:

    @The other Paul, 28 March 2014 at 23:31

    Railtrack considered a double deck station arrangement at Reading back in the 1990s. The main (fast) lines with four new platforms would have flown over the entire complex, the track layout of which would have remained largely unchanged beneath. Closure of the the Royal Mail sorting office on the north side finally put paid to this idea. The RM facility had been built in the 1980s on land purchased from BR, formerly the GWR signal and telegraph department’s works and stores complex, and once it became available again, a wider station arrangement, all on one level with an improved entrance on the north side, became feasible. The old DMU depot in the triangle to the west of the station was difficult to access from the relief (slow) lines. Moving operations to a new depot facility to the north of the relief lines, in former freight and engineering sidings, solved this problem, and that freed up the space within the triangle for the various flyovers to achieve grade separation of conflicting flows.

  177. Fandroid says:

    Does anyone know how the 2tph semi-fasts between Reading and Paddington are going to fit in with the 4tph all-stations Crossrail services from Maidenhead inwards? Presumably the semi-fasts are to use the relief lines as well.

    Or is that the reason for not extending 4tph to Reading? If Reading-Maidenhead is 1/3 of the total Reading-London distance then the distance in which those trains have to avoid catch-up is significantly shorter, so it’s that much easier to fit faster services in on the same lines (than it would be if this restraint was present all the way from Reading). I suspect that my argument falls down if those semi-fasts stop at Twyford. However, I have tried to gain enlightenment from the current FGW timetable and have failed!

  178. timbeau says:

    “Shenfield… the junction where the Sarfennd trains diverge ”
    Surely a junction is the last place stopping trains should be terminating? fast trains go one way, stoppers continue onto one of the branches. Otherwise you need three separate services to the station in question.
    Surbiton is a good example – services from the “New” Guildford and Hampton Court lines continue to London as stoppers, whilst services from Woking provide the fast service. Branch passengers who so choose can get a faster service by changing at the junction.
    Wembley Park and Acton Town are other good examples.

    “Or bring back Brunel’s 7′ broad gauge. You can cram more commuters onto a physically wider train.”
    Surely it’s the loading gauge which matters here – Brunel mainly used the broad gauge to allow lower slung and therefore more stable carriages and locomotives (boiler set between rather than above the wheels). The width of the vehicles was only a little wider than on Stephenson’s railways – although the Class 165 Networker Turbos do take advantage of that extra width: one reason they will be difficult to deploy elsewhere when electrification comes, although Chiltern (built to Continental loading gauge as part of Watkin’s Victorian precursor to HS2) can also use them.
    (Watkin also had an HS1 – the South Eastern Railway, an HS1/HS2 link – the Metropolitan Railway, and was on the board of the Chemin de Fer du Nord, and made a start on the Channel Tunnel too. How different things would look now had his vision been completed?)

  179. The other Paul says:

    @Mark Townend
    Thanks for this interesting historical nugget. By “split level” for Dartford station I wasn’t necessarily thinking double deck, more that some of the platforms might need to be on a higher level than others following a double deck arrangement to get the extra lines through the deep cutting that @stimarco highlighted as a challenge.

  180. Fandroid says:

    @Mark Townend. That’s a very illuminating piece on the history of the Reading rebuild. My memory also tells me that in-between that double-deck solution and the current mainline flyover plan, there was an interim design. I remember this because there was some consternation locally that the Cow Lane underbridges to the west of the station were going to remain very restricted, and not improved from their cattle-droving origins! The flyover plan was then unveiled, and everyone was happy!

  181. Jeremy says:

    I thought that the idea was that the FGW Turbo sets would be primarily deployed to elsewhere on Great Western territory? Not that Chiltern couldn’t use a few extra sets…

  182. Fandroid says:

    I’m a mug for extra thoughts. Here goes. I went to Reading today and was struck about how crowded the island bay platforms 1 & 2 were. This used to happen previously, but those platforms have been rebuilt and are almost in their finished form now. If there is any ‘sparks effect’ from electrification, then there is going to have to be some crowd management at busy times, keeping departing passengers off the platforms until the arriving ones have cleared their train. The through platforms are now generously wide, but the ‘Westbury’ bay platforms are as mean as ever. I rarely use the ‘Southern’ platforms 5&6, but passenger volumes using those can be massive, so I expect there might be a similar (or worse) problem there.

  183. Theban says:

    I think platform width is a looming problem across the London network. Increasing frequency up to about 12tph can improve that but above something like that I suspect higher frequency may just worsen the problem. Within a decade or so I suspect the situation at East Croydon and on some platfors at Clapham Junction for example might become critical.

  184. Binny says:

    Southend definitely seems too far to expect people to travel on a stopping Crossrail train – especially when the c2c service is already about 10 minutes faster than the existing Greater Anglia service, but I wonder if there is a reason nobody ever mentions Chelmsford.

    While not as big as Reading, Chelmsford is a major town (and former capital city no less!) there is a definite sense, much as with Maidenhead, of stopping short at Shenfield when one or two stops further on there is a much more logical “centre.” Is there some big operational reason this could not work?

    It is also becoming clear that there is potential for developing Reading as a hub city almost in its own right. It is already a commuter centre for the Thames Valley, but as anyone who has lived there will know, suffers from major traffic overload. At present, most of the branches off the GWML are run as feeders to London. Could services be run – if there was political will to do it – from say Windsor or Henley that turned the “wrong way” and funnelled commuters into Reading or are the tracks simply not laid out to ever make this possible?

  185. Theban says:


    I have also being thinking about the potential of Reading as a hub, especially once it gets direct trains to Heathrow.

    I suspect though that the big problem is public transport within Reading to connect a suitably large area to the station to create the space for a viable hub.

  186. Theban says:

    Sorry auto correct changed that to Bunny

  187. Graham H says:

    @Theban – one of the enduring problems for Crossrail ( and even, as we all see, XR2) is the inevitable temptation to keep extending it out to the next traffic objective. The consequence of this- if it’s at all useful – is to load up further central core. “Load up” because through journeys are inevitably going attract more traffic than is there now. Extension to Reading – as this thread has probably concluded – will almost certainly cause people to switch to Crossrail there, even though it’s slower than the fast services to Paddington. And these people will stay on Crossrail (having got a seat at Reading) until the last possible moment, interchanging as late as possible. So, too for Chelmsford.

    @Binny -Chelmsford has never ever been a capital city (De bello Gallica refers…!) But you are right about reverse commuting into Reading – try getting a seat on the services from Gatwick in the morning peak!

    BTW, as I recall it, whilst Reading still has quite a good urban network (no sale of the municipal there!), Chelmsford hasn’t an urban network to write home about – nor much of a rural feeder network either.

  188. HowardGWR says:

    Some typos
    “was subsequently round for it.”

    and “dependant” (an old friend).


    Good article, thanks.

    [Corrected thanks. PoP]

  189. Windsorian says:

    @ Binny

    Could services be run…….from say Windsor or Henley that turned the “wrong way” and funnelled commuters into Reading or are the tracks simply not laid out…make this possible?

    Prior to Beeching, the Windsor / Slough line had a west facing cord; Wiki –

    The western chord, known as the “Royal” or “Queen’s” Curve, was little used except by excursion traffic and royal trains, (whence its nickname). It was closed through lack of use in 1964, and was used for a time to stable carriages, after which the track was lifted. All land west of the eastern chord was sold for housing…….

  190. Windsorian says:

    @ Fandroid (29.3.14 at 10:19)

    ….. how the 2tph semi-fasts between Reading and Paddington are going to fit in with the 4tph all-stations Crossrail services from Maidenhead inwards? Presumably the semi-fasts are to use the relief lines as well ?

    See bottom page 2 / top page 3 re: Western route Study to be published October 2014 –

  191. stimarco says:


    Chelmsford’s central station suffers from being on a high viaduct with just two platforms. There’s really no room to insert terminating facilities.

    It might be more viable to extend to the new Beaulieu Station planned a little further north as the outline planning permission for it shows a station with four tracks serving two island platforms. Terminating services there should therefore be much more feasible.

  192. Greg Tingey says:

    No COLCHESTER was the capital until Boudicca burnt it down.
    Chelmsford is a recent dump, I’m afraid – & the extra platforms will have to be at the proposed new “North” station – see other respondents for why.

  193. Anonymous says:


    The busy two track section between Shenfield and Chelmsford makes any extension of Crossrail to Chelmsford/Beaulieu Park unlikely. Extra slow services would reduce capacity for outer suburban and long distance services which is already limited. Therefore the situation in the east is not as easy as at Reading which has a four track railway all the way to London Paddington.

  194. Jim Cobb says:

    As someone who lives in Reading and works in London, I can confidently say that these new services are going to be extremely popular. Many people, including the Reading MP’s, seem to miss the point that Paddington is not the destination for most people travelling into London. Few commuters work near Paddington and it can easily take 20 minutes or more to change onto LU services, which then take a while to get into central London. Therefore, whilst XR will be slower to Padington, it will be quicker to places like Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon. Coupled with the fact that there are few spare seats on the 125’s in the morning, the XR services are going to be very popular.

  195. The letter Windsorian referenced is very, very informative. On could ask why an MP or the DfT is making the sort of decisions that are described rather than leaving them to Network Rail but that is another matter.

    The contents of the letter explain the rationale why we (and just about everyone else) got some of the details wrong and that this is not the end of the story – it never is. Still at least we grasped that is was all about replacing the proposed Reading-Slough shuttle with something more cost effective and nothing about providing a better service to the public – at this stage.

    Taking into account peripheral issues omitted, there really is enough for a follow up article but we will have to see if I find time to write it.

    I have resisted the general temptation to correct stuff we appear to have got wrong (still not 100% sure if it turns out we will be wrong) but what I have done is alter the wording of the rather long description accompanying the Maidenhead picture.

  196. Jez says:

    There is actually a plan by Wokingham and Reading Council’s for a park and ride site at Broken Brow which is located at the end of the A3290/A329M, Thames Valley Park and the River Thames. Then a bridge would be built and a new road taking it straight into Reading town centre following the railway line. Wokingham Council strategy paper–4DYBg&usg=AFQjCNHj73bUV8hfDlq9rL5BsJ85vKsWeg local news coverage &

  197. Alan Griffiths says:

    timbeau @ 29 March 2014 at 11:47

    “Surely a junction is the last place stopping trains should be terminating? fast trains go one way, stoppers continue onto one of the branches. …………….
    Surbiton is a good example – services from the “New” Guildford and Hampton Court lines continue to London as stoppers, whilst services from Woking provide the fast service.”

    1) It’s a lot further from Shenfield to Southend than from Surbiton to Hampton Court.
    2) Billericay to Southend passengers are used to their fast trains.
    3) I suspect there aren’t any paths for more fast trains between Surbiton and Waterloo; there are just enough for all the present fast trains inner of Shenfield.

  198. Windsorian says:

    Thanks PoP,

    Credit where due, it was actually Walthamstow Writer (27.3.14 at 14:10) who alerted me to the Reading MP Rob Wilson website with the DfT letter as an attachment at bottom.

  199. CdBrux says:

    @PoP: “One could ask why an MP or the DfT is making the sort of decisions that are described rather than leaving them to Network Rail but that is another matter.”

    The MP’s represent the people who pay, through taxation, for the majority of these decisions. The real question to me is more that the politicians, media etc… do not share well the advice and reasoning they get from the ‘experts’ (NR, TfL in this case) and also those experts are not so good at explaining the alternatives, costs, benefits and assumptions to the public.

    Ultimately I would expect NR, TfL to advise to the politicians the alternatives and make a reccomendation and the politicians to decide. It would in the long term benefit us all if this was a little more transparent. Ultimately those who end up paying for this can change the politicians, we cannot change NR management! And As Jim Cobb says “this will be very popular in Reading”.

    As someone from outside the railways I find forums like this very helpful to understand the details / problems behind the decisions and what could and could not work and especially why. It maybe wishful thinking but better information to the general public, presented in a non technical way, would help a lot.

  200. Devvok says:

    Ah, finally something I can comment on. Forgive, I can’t remember the names of people who made the comments (and I’m not going to scroll back through 200 comments!). Sorry for the long and rambling post.

    1) Yes, the A3290 was supposed to link into the central Reading ring road (at Vastern Road – you can still see the gap between the 2 carriageways for where the flyover would have landed to merge in to the ring road). A lack of funding, difficulties with Oxfordshire County Council (the Berkshire-Oxfordshire border actually comes down this far along the Thames before looping round Caversham), and finally an apparently historically important and protected footbridge in the way put an end to it. The footbridge was apparently by Brunel, and is a U-shaped “special” bridge – just to the west from the A3290 roundabout/underbridge under the GWML, going over the Kennet.

    2) A Park & Ride station at Thames Valley Park would be extremely attractive, as the central Reading station is the only option for people out this way. The road (A3290/A4 junction and west of it) into Reading from the east is terrible at best traffic-wise, with many people accessing the station. However, the vast majority of the parking at Thames Valley Park is privately owned by the office owners, not communal. No idea where you’d build a new multi-storey car park. Microsoft own several of the buildings there, but in true MS efficiency, 2 of the 5 buildings weren’t fully in use last time I was there. Such a station would see usage all day, and would see some significant passenger extraction from Earley and Winnersh (and some from Wokingham, with possibly a little from Bracknell).

    3) Added on, TVP is in Wokingham Borough; they like to whinge about trains and transport, but aren’t particularly pro-active about doing anything about it. See the gripes about Airtrack affecting the level crossings for evidence, despite such a service giving Wokingham a direct link to one of the worlds major aviation hubs. Clueless when it comes to promoting train travel.

    4) The Henley branch actually used to run Reading – Henley (hourly). The train would use the eastbound relief line platform at Twyford in both directions to reverse out of – the relief lines have a crossover to the west of Twyford for the train to access the correct westbound track when heading to Reading. I believe (not sure though) it was withdrawn due to GWML constraints – it was fairly well used when I used to use it.

    5) A Basingstoke – Henley service in itself wouldn’t be attractive, but if the stations at TVP and Green Park were actually built, it could actually be fairly well used, as well as saving on terminating platform space at Reading. On the relief lines at Reading, the 2 central platforms are for terminating as mentioned, the trackwork supports it.

  201. Paul says:

    Fandroid @ 18:48

    The immediately previous iteration of the west of Reading layout (in about 2008 ish?) was basically the same as now in plan view, but the fundamental difference was that the two main lines were in a concrete box underpass, with the west curve and what have become known as the ‘feeder lines’ (Eastern freight curve and up Westbury route) at grade or slightly higher.

    The main underpass would have had to close Cow Lane. By the time the final planning application went to RBC in 2011 the underpass had become the flyover as being built.

  202. Graham H says:

    @PoP – the letter is also interesting for what it doesn’t say. WRAth looks as if it will be publicly funded but that is not made explicit. The train services that might use it are carefully obscure. There is the ghost of an implication that it might turn out to be a prolongation of the infamous shuttle, but that may be stretching the drafting too far!There is no mention of fares, branches, service development, or any deal with TfL. No doubt others can think of other lacunae…

    @CdBrux – the decision making process is not transparent because there isn’t one. Rail investment hovers in a Whitehall corridor somewhere between DfT, ORR and NR, with a side order of ROSCO, and seems actually to be the result of Chinese whispers and wrestling under the bed linen. Minsters are very happy with this: it gives them control and flexibility; if you and I saw the alternatives, we might then also see that the eventual choice was less than rational. After all, Ministers want some room for manoeuvre when the Manchester heavy mob move in to some inconvenient ransom strip.

  203. Mark Townend says:


    The original iteration of the Reading remodelling design did indeed incorporate an underpass for the main lines, and you are correct that would have required closure of the Cow Lane underbridges. There was a scheme agreed with the Local authority however to build a new bridge under the railway further west, probably the narrow Scours Lane example rebuilt. A new link road from there towards the station to the north of the railway would have been constructed to replace the Cow Lane route and allow traffic from the west to continue crossing the railway towards Cardiff Road industrial estate and Caversham. North of the railway and west of the industrial estate there has never been any serious development threatening the fields and small leisure facilities there, and of course the fields here are used annually for the Reading Festival, as they were historically for WOMAD. The new road would have cut through this area, also affecting allotments, which were acquired for the scheme, abortively as it turned out. The old Cow Lane bridges were always a hot potato being tossed back and forth between the LA and the railways. Partly single lane and height restricted, they also had no pavements alongside, representing a significant road bottleneck and a very real danger to cyclists and pedestrians. An improvement here could allow HGVs and other large vehicles to access many parts of the town centre via Portman Road, avoiding the mainly residential Oxford Road running parallel. Although the Cow Lane road route would have been replaced and improved by the original scheme, it also removed all pedestrian and cycle access across the railway in this area, which would have been a major nuisance to many Oxford Road area residents, who used the route (dangerous though it was) to access the employment and leisure activities north of the railway, many within easy walking distance. That could probably have been solved by the addition of a complex ramped footbridge threading around the various railway levels, but the later design for the main line flyover emerged as an alternative fairly quickly and reconstruction of the original Cow Lane route and bridges, including pedestrian facilities, formed part of these plans.

  204. Fandroid says:

    @Paul & @Mark Townend. thanks. It all comes back to me now. I remember the link road on the north side idea. It seemed utter madness at the time to close off a potentially valuable route (Cow Lane) that would be used by large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists if only it was a bit safer. Even with that problem, it is used by residents of the fairly densely occupied Oxford Road area to access the River Thames itself, where there is a wide, quiet and pleasant area looking over to the Victorian/Edwardian mansions (plus nouveau-riche bad-taste replacements) on the north bank.

  205. HowardGWR says:

    That letter from Hammond didn’t move the transport issues forward (I don’t understand how others think it did) but I imagine the author thought it would do no harm to the re-election chances of his colleague. It’s what they do I suppose.

  206. Toby says:

    A dumb XR question: how many of the services will be turned back at Paddington, or short of Shenfield? The reason I ask is that there probably is a market for Norwich to Bristol direct, even if it meant stopping at each XR station in the tunnel. Being from Suffolk originally, I’d certainly be in the market for a Ipswich to Heathrow direct, even if it was hourly.



  207. Graham H says:

    @Toby – I dare say, and so XR slowly extends to run Penzance to Cromer and Shoeburyness to Haverfordwest. This is pointless and dysfunctional. What is XR for?

  208. Greg Tingey says:

    Most Ipswich trains stop @ Stratford …..
    Change for CR1 – for Heathrow, there.
    (Easier there than @ LST)

  209. timbeau says:

    The dwell times at the central stations for an intercity service using Crossrail would play merry hell with the service interval. A multitude of infrequently-served destinations would also result in overcrowding on the platforms as, at any given time, most people would not be waiting for the next train but a subsequent one. This is already a problem on Thameslink (especially on the narrow platforms at City TL), not to mention the down platforms at places like London Bridge, Vauxhall, Clapham Junction, Wimbledon and East Croydon.

  210. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – Hear Hear! And a very good argument for not having skip stoppery.

  211. Toby says:

    Fair enough – it is probably worth changing the stopping pattern for GEML mainline to ensure that there are adequate stopping patterns at Stratford for precisely these interchanges. Ideally, it would be great if these could be cross-platform interchanges in both directions, of course. I rather doubt that the platforms and infrastructure would support this, though.

  212. Mr Beckton says:

    One of the further issues is that, to handle what I believe will be a very heavy central London passenger load, Crossrail will be running its maximum service of 24 trains per hour, that is every 150 seconds. With services coming in from so far away, and being merged together to achieve this, it will take some considerable operating skills and reliability to achieve it. Any shortfall of trains is going to show up in platform overcrowding within minutes, and any extension of services and having different operating patterns being meshed together is going to compromise this. It’s already an issue I believe that Canary Wharf will be unable to have better than a service every 5 minutes in the evening peak westbound into London, because of the need to mesh with alternate Shenfield route trains.

  213. lmm says:

    @Toby I believe 10tph terminate at Paddington (but we speculate that they will eventually go to the WCML); I’m not aware of anything terminating short of Shenfield in the East. Not so long ago there was a direct Ipswich-Reading service (“Anglia Crosslink”) via the North London Line, though I believe it was closed as uneconomic.

    It does seem a shame that this cross-London tunnel is metro-only when LDHS and freight could also do with a cross-London route, but as others have said, an Intercity service takes long enough to empty (plus clean, refil water tanks etc.) that it needs what’s effectively a terminating platform. I’ve long wondered why more cities don’t follow the Warsaw pattern, which has a 4-platform central station where most people get on and off, but trains are terminated and turned around at the suburban West or East station on the other side from the direction they came. But for the moment it seems like terminating Intercity trains in (well-connected) termini and keeping Crossrail purely for the metro services is the best option.

    @Graham H It’s not necessarily wrong to extend Crossrail out if there’s a demand for crossrail-like suburban metro services along the way (which I could certainly see being possible west of Reading). Compare the Aberdeen-Penzance voyagers, which are not really intercity-type services and not the fastest way to travel from Aberdeen to Penzance, but it makes sense to connect up a bunch of reasonable regional services as a single long route. If Crossrail ran to (say) Swindon, I don’t think many people would be travelling Swindon-Chelmsford on an all-stations stopper with no toilets, but if there’s demand for suburban metro-type journeys between Swindon and Reading then it might still make sense to run the trains that way.

  214. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau / Mr Beckton – the point about people waiting on platforms is well made but you are going to have that with Crossrail from day one of the full service – especially westbound. You have 14 tph terminating at Paddington – given all our debate on the Thameslink thread about dwell times and throughput how on earth is Crossrail TOC going to tip out 14 tph at Paddington in no more than 40-60 seconds per terminating train? AFAIK there isn’t a third platform for terminators to stand in so that is going to need some deft operating practice. Clearly destinations are an issue heading east but it much less crucial given the higher frequency and consistent stopping patterns (I assume).

    Given the new westbound service pattern of 2 tph to Reading / 4 to Maidenhead, 4 to Heathrow and 2 to West Drayton (I might have that wrong) you will have people hanging around for 15-30 minutes for most destinations outside Greater London. You then will get the inevitable bunching at Paddington of people thrown off the terminating trains waiting for a service up the ramp to FGW land. Anyone who has used the RER in Paris will know that vast numbers of people do hang round waiting for their particular “4 character code” [1] train to appear. Let’s hope the platforms really are as roomy and spacious that Crossrail say they are.

    [1] RER trains display a 4 character “name” for the destination and stopping pattern on the front of the trains. The “names” are cross referenced on timetables and are displayed on platform departure boards plus repeater signs along the platform so you can instantly see the “name” when arriving on the platform. If you use the service frequently to the suburbs, as I have done, then you quickly adjust to the naming convention and learn what “name” to look for.

  215. Chris says:

    @Timbeau …although the Class 165 Networker Turbos do take advantage of that extra width: one reason they will be difficult to deploy elsewhere when electrification comes…

    Apparently the Turbo’s are not as difficult to gauge as many assume, IIRC due to the width of the stepboards which if necessary could be modified for use away from traditional GWR routes.

    …although Chiltern (built to Continental loading gauge as part of Watkin’s Victorian precursor to HS2) can also use them

    I believe you are confusing the GWR route to Birmingham via Banbury with the urban myth that the GCR was built to continental Berne Gauge, which I don’t believe had even been agreed upon at the time.

  216. Ed says:

    To @Theotherpaul looking at those times I’m less convinced than I was about the number changing onto Crossrail at Abbey Wood coming from Kent. Those times aren’t 100% accurate as they are off peak –

    “Further to Abbey Wood -> Central London journey times with Crossrail.
    Compare –
    Abbey Wood to Canon Street, fastest train today: 30mins
    Abbey Wood to Livepool Street-Moorgate on Crossrail: 17mins
    Abbey Wood to Charing X, fastest train today: 35mins
    Abbey Wood to Tottenham Court Road: 23mins”

    It’s a a bit faster in the peaks, and will be more reliable after London Bridge is rebuilt by the time crossrail opens. In the peak there are fasts via Greenwich which do Abbey Wood to London Bridge in 23 minutes. Add 4 minutes on for reaching Cannon Street, so 27m in total not 30m, and 8 minutes on for Charing Cross so 31 mins is the time not 35 mins. Those are hard to do at the moment with London Bridge congestion but that should be greatly reduced by 2018.

    So arriving at Abbey Wood on a train from Kent you can get to the City in 27 minutes, or you can change to Crossrail and be there in 17 minutes. But to save those 10 minutes you would have get off, walk over a (busy) footbridge to a different platform as the simple cross platform change was scrapped to save money. Then board and wait up to 5 minutes to set off. In the process the passenger would be giving up a seat they will almost certainly have coming in from Kent, and then possibly stand on crossrail. Even if they find a seat it is longitudinal and less comfortable. Many may think sod changing – the 10 minute faster journey will be pretty much negated.

    Off peak differences are a bit more, and less people will be going to the city so more changes as a % of passengers to crossrail I’d guess. But even then off peak crossrail may be just 6 tph whilst southeastern is 8 trains per hour (6 via Greenwich and 2 via Lewisham).

  217. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Imm – I think Graham H posed the right question – “what is Crossrail for?” You have to set the objectives and keep to them once they have been signed off by the people providing the money and political support. If people want to have Cross London inter-city or inter regional services then that’s a different project with different objectives and different requirements. The service offer is different, passenger expectations are different and therefore the infrastructure and assets needed to provide it are different too (all for good reasons). If someone wants to dig another two tunnels parallel to Crossrail and have new big platforms with all the facilities that inter regional passengers expect then I’ve no issue – go and create the business case and raise the money and get it built. I long remember the months and months of argument in Modern Railways and elsewhere about “metro” vs “regional” for Crossrail and the views from the likes of Michael Schabas claiming the regional scheme (Superlink) could be privately financed. I see from a simple Google search that plenty of material about that is on the web. We really do not need to go back and revisit all that again. Let’s finish building the line and get it running well.

    Crossrail 1’s concept is essentially an east west Metro service for Greater London but the problems of unbalanced demand to the west has diluted that concept as has political meddling and I fear we will see more if the Rob Wilson / Stephen Hammond letter is any sort of indication. I rue the day that we let politicians *solely* determine what the best railway service is.

    The lack of clarity about “what is it for?” is why I dislike the “regional” scheme for Crossrail 2. To me it is neither one thing or another. Is it genuinely regional and if so why it is stopping in Hackney or Tooting? If it is a service for London then why is it running to Epsom or beyond and to undefined places up the Lea Valley? I just can’t see why the likes of Lord Adonis and a load of other stakeholders are so suffused with delight about Crossrail 2. To me it’s a mess in the making that won’t work. If people are having “nightmares” about making Thameslink work with 24 tph how on earth do you make Crossrail 2 work with that demented spider’s web of service patterns / branches? This is what you get when you have no strategy for each mode nor a clear development plan for each. No one knows what each will do and how they will be developed in a coherent way alongside each other.

  218. Ian J says:

    @HowardGWR: I imagine the author thought it would do no harm to the re-election chances of his colleague

    Well, quite. Reading East (won by the Conservatives from Labour in 2005) and Reading West (won in 2010) are certainly ones they need to hang onto, and much more politically salient than Theresa May’s very safe seat or any of the branches. The letter makes it clear that Network Rail is expected to come up with its draft solution for the GWML services this autumn, then its final decision in April next year (ie. before the election) – I dare say we will hear much more such fulsome praise of the local member “winning” better services for Reading before then.

  219. Ian J says:

    @WW: I do agree with you about Crossrail 2 as currently conceived trying to be too many things to too many people, but to be fair I think you could have said the same about Crossrail 1 when it was at a similar stage of development: it had short-distance metro services (taking over the Richmond branch of the District), an excursion into deepest rural Buckinghamshire, and a third-rail branch to an unbuilt New Town at Ebbsfleet. Gradually the impractical bits got knocked off and a more coherent project emerged. Hopefully the same will happen to the next Crossrail.

  220. Rational Plan says:

    As mentioned by other Paddington is going to end up seriously crowded with all these terminating services. This won’t be solved unless trains can travel a bit further west so that they can drop off more of their passengers.

    Ideally you’d want them to go as far west as the common section of the Great Western Mainline, before services start to split or otherwise be curtailed. If there was plenty of Land then an extra set of Platform at Hayes and Harlington would be ideal, just before the Heathrow split and would cover the majority of commuter using the service.

    This would also mean far fewer people hanging around Central London platforms and the greater likelyhood of people catching the first train west and changing, if needed when the trains start to thin out of passengers.

    The problem of course is that there is not much spare land and that means and ‘gulp’ new underground stations in some locations. Te further East you terminate the trains the worse these problems become. But as a compromise extending the tunnel and building a new underground station at Ealing Broadway might have been worth the extra billion or so it would have cost.

    But in eight years or so there will be a new terminus surface station for the GWML at Old Oak Common. It will have the added bonus of a cross platform interchange on the slows for those outer suburbans that already stop at Ealing. It will be much quicker than the interchange at Paddington.

    As to the Off peak service problems of the Crossrail. I doubt that the proposed service level will survive very long. If TFL operate 80% of service in the daytime off peak, I can see the two Eastern branches soon having 10 tph.

    Nor will the poor level of service survive long on the Western branch. If the RUS is any indication, then HEX is a goner as a premium service and you could easily see 8 tph into
    Heathrow. I can also see 4tph becoming the minimum off peak service as far as Reading.

  221. Windsorian says:

    Update: progress at Reading / viaduct

  222. Greg Tingey says:

    CR2 needs to be a suburban & outer-suburban service(s) only – but not a “tube metro” either.
    So, on our side, no further out than Hertford East & Stevenage-via-Hertford North (extendador from Ally Pally)
    On the sarf side …. No further out than Shepperton / Leatherhead / Chessington Hospital (small extandador) / or ?? Perm any 2 from the “Southern” list

  223. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Ian J (23:35)

    It is certainly true to say that Theresa May’s parliamentary seat may well be secure for the Conservatives, but that did not guarantee that it was secure for her personally. She had a lot of criticism locally and nationally over a couple of perceived failings as Home Secretary, (failing to deport Abu Watzzizname etc), and she was deemed potentially susceptible to a UKIP protest vote.

    Now “Abu” has at last departed from our benefits system, and she has apparently delivered Crossrail to her constituents, it would now be true to state that her re-election is assured.

  224. Fandroid says:

    The Railengineer article illustrates that the Reading rebuild project is 1. A feast for big crane junkies. Some monsters have been there in close proximity to to travelling public. 2. A return in a big way to the railway engineering of the past, with huge amounts of local material being recycled into the civil engineering structures.

  225. c says:

    The discussion about Reading folk using Crossrail or not is missing a key element: Old Oak Common.

    This will have some/all fast GWML trains stopping at it, and will be a much simpler change than at Paddington. It will have a slightly lower frequency (due to Paddington terminators) but will still have the Heathrow trains too, and possibly one day WCML ones to equal Paddington. And possibly the Paddington terminators may be OOC terminators for the interim?

    I could see many folk from the far west changing at OOC to get onto Crossrail and avoiding Paddington.

  226. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Rational Plan – I don’t disagree with your logic about possible service expansion. However I suspect that HEX won’t give up their paths too readily. The other major unknown is rolling stock reliability and maintenance. It’s easy to say just shove up the off peak frequency but it depends on if you have the stock. The traditional approach is for some maintenance to be done off peak and Bombardier will have the trains under warranty for possibly up to the first two years of Crossrail services – depending on deliveries and deployment into service. The other slight unknown is what maintenance activity can be done where – OOC, Ilford or elsewhere. I don’t see anyone taking any decisions which invalidate the warranty provisions or which increase the risk of in service failures.

    I would also hazard a guess that whoever runs the TOC will want a fairly conservative approach to service levels and performance and TfL will want a reliable service with good punctuality from day one. All of this pushes us away from an approach which tries to squash maximum usage out of the rolling stock – at least for the first few years until people are comfortable with performance and the TOC is earning the money it expected. We shall, of course, see whether events force a change of mind set.

  227. Graham H says:

    @WW – you are surely right – an additional factor which will weigh heavily on the operator is any mileage-related thresholds that trigger increases in maintenance charges. This is already a problem for SWT and is the substantial reason why there are some 4 car trains running round off-peak when the traffic would justify a full 12. As usual, with the railway cost structure, it all depends on what is at the margin this week…

  228. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H – I had forgotten that rolling stock provision contracts have those “step changes” in them. I know that the SWT problem you cite also afflicts London Midland at weekends meaning they run short formations when, as you say, there is plenty of demand to fill longer trains. At least Crossrail stock is fixed formation but the parameters will just be set differently.

  229. Moosealot says:

    The question what is Crossrail for? is a good one. The 2tph Reading-Crossrail will, for reasons discussed in the article, be full if not on day 1 then within a couple of months. Increasing this to 4tph or more will only make matters worse because it would encourage longer-distance travellers to make a convenient change to Crossrail and get a seat at Reading rather than a less convenient change at Paddington.

    How trains that are already rammed at Reading is going to help the folks commuting from (say) Maidenhead to Slough, I’m not entirely sure… the intra-Thames Valley commuters would be best served by an all-stations service that doesn’t touch London. All stations Oxford-West Drayton would provide a better service and could use the Relief paths abandoned by Heathrow services at Airport Junction.

    For those who actually want to go to London, 2tph Slough should be sufficient plus 2tph further out (possibly skipping one or more of W Drayton, Iver and Langley). For reasons stated above, the ‘further out’ would do well to avoid Reading, but would need to call at Twyford. Given terminating on the main line isn’t ideal, there’s a branch line from Twyford to Henley, which – as a terminus – would be an excellent place for terminating services. Platform extensions to 240m at Henley, Shiplake and Wargrave are all possible, and the line is sufficiently lightly used that short working for recovery should be plausible outside the peaks with any remaining passengers being put on a minibus or taxi at one of the intermediate stations: the only other way that short working might be feasible on the GWML would be in an extended E-facing terminating platform at Slough.

  230. straphan says:

    @ c: This is assuming the interchange at Old Oak Common is less tedious than the one planned at Paddington – last time I checked the distance between the mainline and Crossrail platforms at Paddington isn’t going to be very far.

    @WW: Bear in mind:
    – Crossrail is going to be 7 1/2 minutes slower than HEx between Terminals 1-2-3 and Paddington;
    – Most HEx passengers are probably travelling to a destination on the Crossrail network anyway, and so would be changing onto Crossrail at Paddington anyway.

    I think that while HEx track access rights expire after Crossrail starts running to Heathrow, I am not sure there will be a sound financial case for HEx to continue to compete with Crossrail on that section – particularly since people will get a seat on Crossrail at least going ‘into town’.

  231. Rational Plan says:

    @ WW, as Straphan mentions HEX contract is due to expire in 2022/23? So While the management may burble on about opportunities to expand to the West etc, similar gung ho talk did not save Gatwick Express in it’s pure form either.

    I imagine a deal is in the offing with some fasts in the offing in the off peak, combined with airport being included in the travelcard. TFL would really like a few million people to transfer from the Piccadilly line.

    Also remember that there are 18 trains on option, that only needs to be tacked on to the end of the production run sometime in 2018/2019. If more trains are needed I doubt Crossrail will have to wait long for extra trains, a couple of years at most.

    Another thing to consider they have said that they could fit 30 trains an hour through the core, plus the extra carriages.

    There are literally dozens of MP’s constituency’s that Crossrail will serve. After making this £15 billion investment, why are not you fitting as many trains as possibly along it? will be the cry. The money will be found. Maybe that is Crossrail strategy make sure that the trains are always full so that there is pressure to fund more trains, rather than having a few years growth spare.

  232. Graham H says:

    @rationalplan – if the TOCs have anything to do with it, those 4 HEX paths on the GW mains will be used for extra intercity services – more people benefit, and more revenue raised than with HEX.

  233. straphan says:

    @Rational Plan and Graham H: The difference is that GatEx was a franchised operation from the outset and as such was subject to the whims of the esteemed inhabitants of 33 Horseferry Road, who eventually decided they deserve a seat on their commute into Victoria more than airport users paying a premium fare… HEx on the other hand is an open-access operation which has firm access rights until 2022/23 and are quite firmly in control of their destiny till then.

    I also agree that HEx should be replaced by additional Crossrail services (there is enough room for them and the WCML extension inside the central tunnel) but that sort of change is more difficult to force through on an open access operator than it is on a franchised one.

  234. Fandroid says:

    HEx makes money for Heathrow. Gatwick never owned Gatwick Express. Heathrow might be forced to give up HEx in 2023, but they own the track and tunnels into the airport. Expect a hard bargain.

  235. timbeau says:

    “Not so long ago there was a direct Ipswich-Reading service (“Anglia Crosslink”) via the North London Line, though I believe it was closed as uneconomic.

    It actually ran to Basingstoke, not Reading, via the west curves at Kew and Weybridge. Three hours end to end, with a hour for the Feltham to Stratford leg. Only sic trains a day, terminating in the east variously at Stratford, Chelmsford, Witham, Colchester and (in one case only) Ipswich. The slow crawl through west and north London and the low frequency meant it was not noticeably faster than the alternatives in practice. It provided some useful connections but not enough to make it a commercial success.

  236. P Dan Tick says:

    Ash! A gift for the alert pedant.
    @timbeau said ‘Only sic trains a day’ (sic).

  237. P Dan Tick says:

    ‘Ash’ (sic). The predictive text version of Aah.

  238. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ timbeau & lmm

    You are “spot on” about the already forgotten West London to East Anglia service

    Many times before, it has been said on these boards that “If you provide a service, people will use it”. Thameslink, the Overgound and the WLL all prove that is true.

    But there is another factor. Something else MUST happen before people use it. You must TELL them about it. People didn’t use the ClapJunc – Kensington Olympia “Kenny Bell” service because they didn’t know about it, (and I know there are {some strange} theories as to why it wasn’t advertised), and the same (not the theories) applies to that “Anglia service”. Similarly, a timetable has to be “balanced” in that there is no point in running a cross-country service that calls at A, B, C, & X, Y, & Z, if, on the way back, it calls at Z, Y, M, J, C & A, missing out X & B.

    I think that many Overground services have proved that if you put a route or service on the Tube map”, people will use it. Of course that leads to the “Conspiracy theory” as to why the Greenford branch isn’t on that map, although Heathrow trains can now be accessed via West Ealing

  239. Malcolm says:

    Of couse Castlebar is right about two of the necessary factors for a service to be used. It has to be provided, and it has to be known about. But of course a third is that it has to take people from where they are to where they want to be. This would not be the case (in sufficient numbers) to a through service from Bury St Edmunds to Horsham (a hypothetical example) however well it was advertised, and I reckon that the same snag actually applied to Anglia Crosslink, even if the towns it linked were arguably a touch less improbable.

  240. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid/straphan – the bargain may not be quite as one sided as Heathrow would like. They would have to convince ORR that the continuation of their open access operation was in the public interest over the allocation of the paths to a franchised or concessionary operation, and they are still dependent on XR for the other half of the present service. And, quite possibly, commercial realism will set in once the penny drops about through services to central London. Any deal would presumably be, in practice, around fares and train interiors (although that would be v difficult – as is currently being slugged out on the Gatwick front).

    @timbeau – I used that service once, during a tube strike, to get to Moorgate from Woking (changing onto the GNC at H&I). It was quite lonely in first class (staff passes being valid there!) but the free coffee made up for it. The train (a 170, as I recall) collected some strange looks as we progressed along the NLL. It was desperately slow and there were bags of pathing allowances.

    More generally, as I see we are going to be subject to grammasite attack, I will apologise in advance for any typos and won’t expect to see them raked over as a consequence – gout in the hands is a terrible thing….

  241. Twopenny Tube says:

    @ castlebar, 1mm, timbeau
    At the same time, or thereabouts, as the GE/GW through service, was there not a Shenfield – Milton Keynes run? This too arrived in a blaze of obscurity before fading into just a memory. I can’t remember any particular reason for its existence, other than perhaps dipping a toe in the opportunities presented by (newly?) electrified links on and off the North London Line.

  242. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Malcolm

    Of course you are right too, Malcolm regarding “a through service from Bury St Edmunds to Horsham”, but only to a point. For it’s success would depend on the other points it called at along the way..

    If that service were to call at Dorking, Leatherhead, and al the other important centres of population and /or commerce on its way to Bury, I bet such a service would succeed, IF if two other factors were also brought into the timetable.
    1: The service must make the same calls on the way out to two fixed termini as it does on the way back
    2: The service must be regular, preferably at the same minutes of the hour.

    If these two features are not there, you are already contributing to failure before the service starts. The one we are discussing did not even have fixed terminal points. How could it ever succeed??

    As to whether the service would make money, or, whether better use could not be made of a) the stock, or, b) the paths, these are questions to which I have no opinions or answers

  243. Paying Guest says:

    @ Graham H

    “gout in the hands is a terrible thing….” indeed, as is coffee in the keyboard, but at least the latter isn’t painful for the keyboard operator!

  244. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar1 – the answer to your question about whether it would make money or not depends to some extent on whether the service (Yarmouth to Barmouth or whatever) is admitted to the Fares and Ticketing Settlement. If it is, then it can be used for an ORCATS raid. ORCATS is the algorithm for allocating revenue on shared routes. As has often been noted, it isn’t actually necessary to convey any punters to attract revenue from the flow in question, it is sufficient to fulfil the various allocation criteria.

    @Paying Guest – ah, the coffee on keyboard ploy to persuade IT to give one a new computer! Always worked for me, although others preferred the “It was damaged in the o/h luggage locker during a flight” excuse – if necessary, that argument could be helped with some well judged dropping (the French “laisser tomber” is so much more precise here).

  245. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ GH > a very good point about ORCATS which I had overlooked. Thank you
    Carrying fresh air CAN be profitable, say the bean counters, and conversely rammed full cattlewagons (oops, sorry, Southern’s non BML services) apparently are not.

    Also, yes, I like the “French Connection” you use. It is so much more precise. The bon mot.

    I now anticipate the history books translated into French to say about Mrs T. May.
    “Elle fut bâtir Crossrail”

  246. timbeau says:

    Is it just me, or are everone’s comments still timed at GMT? is there any way of correcting this?

  247. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Yes we have this problem every year. I suspect that basically we are limited by what WordPress provides. I can see the problem though. Potentially you could be anywhere in the world and running absolutely any operating system that supports a web browser. So all we can sensibly display is Universal Time which we Brits still like to think we own and call it Greenwich Mean Time.

  248. Malcolm says:

    “Elle fut bâtir Crossrail”. or, rather more probably, ““Elle fit bâtir Crossrail”.

  249. Graham H says:

    Reminds me of my favourite Belgian tram magazine “Aux trams, citoyens”.

  250. Castlebar (Real Contra Crayonista) says:

    Reminds me of my favourite Belgian tram magazine “Aux trams, citoyens”.

    What other Belgian tram magazines are there?

  251. Graham H says:

    Don’t ask…

  252. Richie says:

    Very good article, but I suspect the real plan was always to run to Reading. Like any good project manager, the Crossrail team gained approval for a more simple scheme, proved they could build it and then extended the scope.

    I think the real issue is a version of Tam Dalyell’s famous question. For a new railway in England, all UK MPs get a vote. For one in Scotland (e.g. the re-instated Edinburgh – Melrose line) only MSPs get a vote.

    Transport projects for London & its commuting zone should be approved by local representatives – i.e. the London Assembly should be expanded with more devolved powers and TfL should become TfL&SE.

    A few questions, to increase the debate:-
    1) Should the line be further extended from Reading (36miles from Charing Cross) to Oxford (51miles) & Newbury (52miles) (to replace the current services from Paddington) ?
    2) Should the (Henley & Marlow) branches have direct Crossrail services ?
    3) Should services extended beyond Abbey Wood replace current services into Cannon St / Charing Cross ?
    4) Should services be extended beyond Shenfield (21miles from Charing Cross) to Chelmsford (30miles) and Southend (36miles) (to replace the current services from Liverpool Street) ?

  253. Graham H says:

    @Richie -Reading was indeed much more than a gleam in the eye when the current version of XR1 was being worked up; its truncation at Maidenhead was something in the nature of a bone to be thrown to the antis in HMT; as to your other points, I hope you will not take it amiss if I say in the nicest possible way, that they have been beaten to death in this thread over the last few days. Specifically on the matter of a SE ITA/PTE, that would work only if it were given fund raising powers, which are most unlikely to be conceded by any government of any colour, given their nervousness over the size of the London body and its potential to create high profile counter-politicians.

  254. stimarco says:


    I do agree that devolving local and regional transport problems to local and regional councils makes sense, but you still need something at a national level to help mediate when those councils inevitably clash.

    However, the GLA already exists to handle “Greater London”, which is itself a collection of many London Boroughs. There’s nothing to stop the county councils in the Home Counties getting together with the GLA to set regional transport policies, and the GLA (and DfT) already do this. The problem is that it makes planning a very, very slow process as that’s a lot of diaries to find mutually agreeable meeting times for, not to mention all the travel and other expenses involved.

    Look at any of the documentation regarding a project like Crossrail and you’ll see endless lists of “stakeholders” – not just councils, but also the likes of English Heritage, utility companies, and anyone else whose business and / or operations might be affected. Even a seemingly minor change can result in having to go all the way back to square one with many of those stakeholders in order to get agreement.

    Devolution can solve part of the problem, but not all of it. Because there’s a much bigger elephant in the room…

  255. NLW says:

    @ P Dan Tick 31 March 2014 at 13:54

    The biter bit?

  256. P Dan Tick says:

    @MLW. Indeed. Too flaming clever by half. I’ll put away my glitch spotting binoculars for a while.

  257. NLW says:

    And again ! I’m NLW 🙂

  258. Richie says:

    @Graham H – I’m sure some more beating would be good for the extension ideas. Maybe when each Crossrail train receives its 10th carriage, they will come with toilets 🙂 !

    I agree that the logical step is for regional government – e.g. for England to have, say, 3 parliaments based on London, Birmingham & Manchester with devolved powers (including transport). Many other countries have regional government (e.g. US, Germany, Australia), but I suspect I’m getting off topic.

  259. Castlebar (Real Contra Crayonista) says:


    Independence for Tooting!!

  260. Graham H says:

    @Richie – Fair enough! In that case, it might perhaps be helpful to reignite the debate by answering the points raised about extensions above. BTW I agree with you about loos on trains although not only the XR stock but also the depots and stabling have now been designed without toilets in mind.

    @NLW 🙂

  261. CdBrux says:

    any negotiation with Heathrow regarding HEX could be made easier if a 3rd runway is favoured there. Heathrow seem desparate for it, so I am sure they could be persuaded to do a deal on this (and WRAtH funding) in order to get it.

  262. stimarco says:

    Everyone is ignorant.

    There was a time when an engineer like George Stephenson, or I. K. Brunel, would tackle any project: designing a vehicle, planning a railway, or a bridge, or a major building. Back then, an MP could reasonably be expected to understand the basics of how a railway works.

    Today, everyone is a specialist. There are precious few polymaths or true generalists, and those we do have don’t tend to work in politics. There was, of course, less to learn in the past, which is the core of this problem: our capacity for learning is finite and we have long passed the point when it was possible to know everything.

    Nevertheless, there was a time when a politician looking into a new railway proposal could be expected to have some idea of what a railway actually did and how it worked. If they didn’t, they’d certainly know who to ask.

    In part, this is because, during the 1800s, an increasing number of MPs were businessmen and engineers themselves, rather than just landowners with farms. (Farming was becoming industrialised too, so even those landowners had an interest in mechanisation and improved transport infrastructure.) This was the same generation that brought us possibly the last truly holistic master plan for London: the so-called ‘Abercrombie Plan’. (It’s interesting to see the project discussed in context, as well as all the research done beforehand.)

    Today, hardly anyone is a generalist. Most politicians and ministers now come fresh out of university with either a degree in economics, law, or political science, and precious little – if any – experience of anything else. Few come from the worlds of business, industry or any other form of employment.

    But that’s also true of many careers now. Despite everything being connected, hardly anyone seems interested in those connections. Everyone is walking along increasingly narrow paths, oblivious to all the others that intersect it.

    And that’s why we have the problems we see today. It’s why there is such an increasing polarisation even in the wider population over so many issues. No longer do we appreciate the complexities and shades of grey: everything must be digital – yes or no, good or bad, black or white, follow or unfollow, like or dislike. Serendipity is something that only happens to other people.

    And this is why major infrastructure projects like Crossrail take so damned long to get any traction: They’re very, very complicated, rammed full of those connections and dependencies.

    But that’s what leaders are supposed to do: to look at those connections, those junctions where disciplines meet. They don’t have to be experts in each and every field, but they should know who the experts are, and enough about each field to be able to synthesise their knowledge and advice effectively.

    Every manager needs to know enough about what each of their employees actually does to recognise bullsh*t when he hears it. Few politicians and department ministers are capable of that. And that’s going to be a serious problem in future. And not just in the UK, either.

  263. Windsorian says:

    @ CdBrux

    …….regarding HEX could be made easier if a 3rd runway is favoured there

    In their Interim Report the Airports Commission announced that for both their LHR R3 options, they would be considering the Heathrow Hub proposal for a new station on the GWML between West Drayton & Iver.

    @ straphan 31.3.14 at 11:34

    Crossrail is going to be 7 1/2 minutes slower than HEx between CTA and Paddington

    But HEx is only 4 tph i.e. every 15 minutes; the July 2011 L&SE RUS proposed up to 10tph Crossrail to LHR i.e. every 6 minutes.

  264. Ian J says:


    Many other countries have regional government (e.g. US, Germany, Australia)

    And in each of those countries responsibility and funding for transport is split between federal and state governments, with all the arguments, game-playing and cost-shifting that implies – there is no way round it, really. At best this leads to a kind of creative tension and to more transparency in decision making, as it is harder to keep things secret when they are negotiated between two different governments.

  265. Ian J says:

    I should have added, the relevance to the subject at hand is that the DfT’s capacity to delay and wheel and deal and generally mess things up has probably been restricted a bit by the fact that it has to deal with TfL (answering to the Mayor and through him to London voters) on anything to do with Crossrail. Services on the rest of the GWML, on the other hand…

  266. Alan Griffiths says:

    timbeau @ 31 March 2014 at 13:45

    @Imm “Not so long ago there was a direct Ipswich-Reading service (“Anglia Crosslink”)

    Used it once. Slow. Once the Jubilee line linked Stratford (now the UK’s 6th busiest station) with Waterloo its days were numbered.

  267. Fandroid says:

    It’s not the politicians you have to worry about. DfT ministers tend to only last a month or two. So hinted promises to East Reading MPs will only survive as long as the letter writer.

  268. Windsorian says:

    July 2011 L&SE RUS page 148 Section 8.2.9

    ..Option A5 is therefore also of relevance to the connectivity gap, since as well as responding to the GWML peak capacity gap this option would also result in all terminals at LHR being served by Crossrail, rather than a choice needing to be made between the T4 and T5 routes.

    In addition LHR would be served by ten trains per hour from Crossrail Central London stations rather than the currently planned four.

    At peak times all of these would run skip-stop from Paddington station, with the increased frequency significantly reducing typical journey times for a passenger turning up at a central London Crossrail station – though this would not be the case for those travelling from around the Paddington station area.

    In addition both eastern branches of Crossrail would see direct trains to LHR, enabling both Canary Wharf and Stratford to see such trains rather than a choice needing to be made between these two as alternatives.

  269. Windsorian says:

    July 2011 L&SE RUS pages 105 – 111 Options A1 – 5 worth a read as these will no doubt be re-considered as part of the draft Western Route Study due for publication October 2014

  270. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I have allowed stimarco’s very long comment above because, although borderline, it just about remains on the topic of transport. However two subsequent ones commenting on that have been deleted as having no relevance to transport whatsoever. Please remember this is a website that is for transport issues and not controversial topics and opinions about life the universe and everything.

  271. CdBrux says:

    @Windsorian: I’m curious to understand more on the Heathrow Hub, the only thing a quick search gave me was a report (Arup I think) from 2009 and it included HS2 (the main line, not a spur) running through it. Now this is clearly no longer on the cards and I struggle to see the advantages.

    If I am coming from London or HS2 to get to Heathrow then I will get on a Crossrail / Hex train straight into LHR. One change, or even direct. If WRAtH is built then coming from the west I will make my one change at Reading to be delivered direct to LHR. So under what circumstances (the bit I am sure I miss) does a Heathrow hub make more sense as like the other two options it’s also a stop, and change to some other sort of transport? Are all / most GWML express services going to additionally stop at one or both HH & OOC?

    If HS2 mainline went through the Heathrow hub, and WRAtH was not built it would make more sense to me as I understand it.

  272. Greg Tingey says:

    Will only work of OOC has EIGHT platforms, to allow for overlaps, otherwise, all you’ve done is re-create the just-nuked Reading bottleneck.

    Yes. The overcrowding on CR1 W of Heathrow will have to be addressed, probably at the first tt-change (Dec 2018?) because the screams from the people W of Ealing are going to be loud & their MP’s & Councillors will want someone’s blood. [ As Rational Plan has also noticed ]

    Graham H
    Please don’t!
    We used to joke about Alston – Dalston or Turnham Green & Peckham (painful!) amongst other improbable routings.
    [ As is “abfallen lassen” auf Deutsch. ]

    We already have a model for this:
    Wessex, Kent (& Sussex), Essex (&Suffolk), Mercia, Northumbria, Cumbria, Powys, Gwynedd.

    Back then, an MP could reasonably be expected to understand the basics of how a railway works. REALLY? I suggest you (re)read Tom Rolt’s biographies of both IKB & G & R Stephenson, then! The fundamental ignorance, stupidity, prejudice & spite don’t appear to have changed a bit in the intervening 189 years…..
    Again: Despite everything being connected, hardly anyone seems interested in those connections. Nothing new here either. The still-sadly-missed Prof J E Gordon, author of the classic: “STRUCTURES – Or why things don’t fall down” was berating on about this over 35 years ago. Like why bridge-builders didn’t talk to ship-builders (He was, of course referring to IKB, & why his ships were so strong.)
    [ NOTE TO PoP: I hope I’m within the transport-related area regarding stimarco’s comment then!]

    Last word (!)
    On HeX:
    I admit that I really don’t like HeX, I think they are an expensive con-trick & should have their toys taken away from them.
    IF we are going to have an airport at Heathrow, which is another story entirely …
    THEN we should be encouraging as many people as possible to use decent public transport to get there ( & from there of course) including the operating staff.
    Because that is precisely what we are not doing at present.
    Which brings us back to the problem of long-term local, regional & national planning for transport, doesn’t it?

  273. c says:

    Windsorian – is the plan for T4 still (and always to be) 2tph only? With 8tph to T5? Seems a bit too little, surely 4tph would be reasonable, and 6 to T5. And all would serve T2/3 obviously.

    By the sounds of the other thread, LHR will also be getting a few more Piccadilly line trains too (and new ones at that) – exciting times for the airport. Without even going into WRaTH and the Staines plans (which seem to have died a death).

  274. straphan says:

    @PoP: I hope you will permit this one:
    In the two countries in Mainland Europe towards which the UK often looks with envy when considering local public transport – France and Germany – the fundraising is devolved, albeit using two very different methods.

    In France there is a tax called ‘versement transport’ (literally ‘towards transport’), which is paid by businesses to communes. It must be spent on public transport improvements. With French local authorities generally being small, larger cities often span across a number of communes – there is therefore a need for good neighbourly relations between communes in order to get things built. However, since building a tram line generally helps with votes for any local politician, lots of tram lines have been built. In 1990 there were two tram lines in the whole of France (Marseille and St. Etienne) – today there are 26 systems with two more being built.

    In Germany it is the local and regional (Land) authorities that have the most say when it comes to local public transport. The federal government does make a fund available for improvements to rail and tram lines, however, the projects usually only have to demonstrate they have a benefit:cost ratio of around 1.33:1 to get approved (benefits=costs + shadow costs required to raise tax for funding). Local authorities then group together to form rather large bodies to regulate fares and timetables for all modes.

    In the UK it is the central government that dictates funding for most public transport schemes. There are also different principles and regimes governing rail and non-rail public transport, mainly emphasising competition between the two, rather than integration. Schemes need to demonstrate very high benefit:cost ratios (typically 2:1 but even those don’t always get built) with benefit calculations always subject to far more scrutiny than cost calculations. As a result the largest conurbations without light rail or metro systems in Europe happen to be in the UK (Leeds and Bristol).

    @Windsorian: I would generally treat what RUS-s say with a pinch of salt. Network Rail does set out its vision for capacity enhancements there, but they are – frankly – part-plan and part-wish list. Remember, it is the DfT that sets out the minimum number of station calls and frequencies for franchisees, which Network Rail generally must approve unless there is no spare capacity.

    My assumption is that if Crossrail takes over HEx there will be an additional 4tph to Heathrow, making 8tph in total. Of these, 4tph will terminate at T4 and 4tph at T5. Given this intensity of service on the GWML reliefs (12tph in total with the Maidenheads) I doubt there will be much scope for skip-stopping. I also wonder where freight trains to Acton Terminal would fit into all this…

  275. Windsorian says:

    @ c

    The existing XR plan is from May 2018 they will take over the existing 2tph Heathrow Connect service, which at present terminates at CTA (Central terminal Area = T1, T2, T3); the present 4tph (HEx) shuttle from CTA to T4 will be discontinued meaning XR will have a 4tph service to T4.

    “The exact opening strategy for Crossrail has not yet been finalised but the current planning assumption is that Crossrail services will be introduced as follows:
    Heathrow to Paddington (mainline platforms) – May 2018 (when the Crossrail concession takes over the Heathrow Connect service)”

    I understand the possible 10 tph XR to LHR is made up of – up to 4tph to T4, up to 4tph T5 / WRAtH (Option J2) and up to 4 tph T5 / Staines (Option J3).

  276. Windsorian says:

    @ CdBrux

    I’m curious to understand more on the Heathrow Hub

    The two R3 Options being considered by the Airports Commission, both involve North runways closer to the M4 / M25 junction i.e. so closer to the GWML (at present only 4 km from T5).

    The original hub proposal was to build a new station on the GWML between West Drayton and M25, complete with a new LHR Airport T6, allowing passengers to check in and proceed directly to their departure satellite without going to T5 (West) or T2 (East).

    The remit of the Airports Commission includes surface access, so I presume they are considering an additional 36 mppa resulting from a new LHR runway.
    (mppa = million passengers per annum)

  277. Milton Clevedon says:

    All discussion to date about Heathrow access, to / from whichever direction, has been on the basis of air passenger / airport / aviation staff access plus those working in the airport’s vicinity. This also applies to modelling future demand.

    Once HAHL’s (ex-BAA) thralldom is mandated away / negotiated / compensated and the main line tracks under the airport are part of the national system, we can then all start considering Heathrow as potentially one of the largest public transport interchanges in the UK (or what’s left of the UK by then, if I recall reading a few of the disappearing posts above)! That’s in addition to the air- and catchment-related travel volumes already allowed for in modelling.

    The potential scale-change in demand without too much ‘airline-premium’ pricing – maybe just a zone or so to reflect added value – could be very considerable indeed, and allied also to marketing Heathrow as a major London & Home Counties interchange.

    Don’t know where all that could lead in terms of new links / through operations / cross-airport services covering many courses of the compass, but consider an Old Oak / Stratford / Clapham equivalent impact. This time the interchange will be on the cusp of Greater London zones and the M25/Thames Valley corridors where DfT / TOC pricing prevails – itself an interesting facet.

  278. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Absolutely not a problem. Informative, factual and relevant to transport.

    @Windsorian and others,

    Yes and this one area where I think the Evening Standard et al just don’t appreciate what is going on. But then why should they and, to be fair to them, their readers probably aren’t interested in any complexity.

    As I see it:

    In the original plan there was provision for a Reading-Slough shuttle. The main purpose of this was to provide a direct service to Reading (and also Slough) to various stations that would otherwise have lost out. Now I don’t think, once electrication was authorised to Reading, that anyone seriously believed that this shuttle would ever actually exist. It could be thought of a fallback position in the event of a subsequent agreement not being made. Incidently, I suspect many viewed the Victoria-Bellingham service that never happened as a similar situation.

    As confirmed in the letter from Stephen Hammond, this announcement was mainly about cutting costs. By extending 2tph to Reading one could eliminate the shuttle and the work that would be needed at Slough – whatever that might have been (it was never made clear what it was). It also has the advantage that it takes away 2tph from Maidenhead – Slough that really would not have achieved that much and the positive value of reducing the number of trains on that busy section of track outweighs the loss of service to relatively lightly used stations.

    I don’t think we should take the current proposal seriously as far as expecting it to be what will actually happen in 2019. What has basically happened is that the fallback position has been replaced by the current proposal.

    Curious is the lack of an announcement of an extra train to cover the 2tph to Reading in the peaks. Either they had already allowed for this in the announcement of the order (quite likely) or, possibly additionally to that, they are not expecting this to be the last time an expansion of Crossrail in some form is announced so there will be a future opportunity to take up options on extra trains.

    Note that the above suggests nothing has changed about the work needed at Maidenhead. It is rumoured that the platform alterations started last Christmas will go ahead. In a way that makes sense especially if platform 4 becomes a bi-directional through platform to assist in enabling fast trains to overtake a train calling at Maidenhead. Also, if there are further plans for enhancement, Crossrail and the DfT may realise they may well need all the depot space/stabling they can get.

    One could wonder why make the announcement now. As others have suggested, there could be a political element but there could also be a desire to establish the principle that TfL takes over the service – after all the TfL board had to approve this and that is what the announcement is all about. It would have been very embarrassing if the work wasn’t done at Slough and then the TfL board at a late stage didn’t agree to extend Crossrail to Reading.

    There is still an awful lot to be decided. Stephen Hammond’s letter emphasises locating suitable passing loops on the relief lines which backs up the LSE RUS also mentioned. Ticketing, or smartcard paying, arrangements for the branches, final timetable (does anyone really seriously believe there will only be two Crossrail trains to Reading per hour in the peaks?) are all issues that need sorting out. More important the letter establishes that the issue of services on the Great Western into Paddington will be looked at as a whole. Maybe the announcement was just to establish a baseline for the Crossrail service in advance of that review.

    At the same time the demand that has already come from at least one MP emphasises the need for fast a non-stop service from Reading to Paddington (or, one day, Old Oak Common, maybe) otherwise the service will be full up with commuters from Reading – which was not the objective. Alternatively one could look at semi-fast Crossrail services but one then gets the added complication of adding to the reliability risk. Also, whilst there is serious talk of Crossrail going to the West Coast Main Line and more trains to Heathrow, one does not want to introduce additional services to Reading only to have to take them away again in 2023. As the Wimbledon loop has shown, this would be very unpopular.

  279. Richie says:


    To borrow from the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb and summarise greatly – “when a system is very complicated (e.g. financial markets), the worst thing we can do is to add layers of complication (e.g. very exotics derivatives)”.

    A railway is a complicated system (especially when run close to its maximum frequency) and we can see that the simplest operation generally works the best. For example, the LU Victoria line, with driverless trains, no (passenger) branches, a single depot and a very simple stopping pattern is able to run at a very higher frequency (> 30tph).

    PoP’s previous article (on the Eastern end of Crossrail) shows how the current operating structure with two track authorities (TfL & NR), multiple operators and mixed traffic (freight, slow passenger, fast passenger) results in a more complicated system than is required.

    The key principle should be to simplify operations – i.e. make more services like the Victoria line.

    Looking at the western end of Crossrail, the railway operation is simplified if current FGW & HEx services are transferred to Crossrail, who become sole operator on the “relief tracks”, with FGW becoming sole operator on the “main line tracks”.

    My personal preference would have been for a widening of the Ealing Broadway – Iver (Heathrow Hub) section to 6 tracks with the Central Line extended and stopping at all stations. Crossrail would then have a more intermediate stopping pattern (e.g. Ealing Broadway, Southall, Heathrow Hub).

    In order to simplify (and hence improve) operation on both ends of Crossrail and the London Overground services (on the NLL & WLL), freight should be re-routed away from London.

    HS2 is a example of simplifying operation on the WCML, MML & ECML by transferring the high speed trains to a new sole-use line. The cost, at £50bn, is very expensive. A cheaper way to simplify operation on the WCML, MML, ECML, NLL, WLL & GOBL would be to re-open lines for freight only use. For example, Hitchen – Bedford – Northampton and the Great Central (Calvert to south of Leicester). For access to Barking, the proposed widening of the Lea Valley line could include freight only lines.

  280. Paul says:

    Crossrail Environmental Statement Vol 3 on Slough works:

    “The main stages of construction at Slough station are described below.
    • Realignment of the Windsor line bay track followed by widening of platform one. This
    will create enough platform width adjacent to the new footbridge.
    • Construction of foundations for widening platform five, and demolition of the existing
    end ramps on platforms three and four.
    • Internal alterations of the north and south station buildings and refurbishment of the
    original listed canopies.
    • Widening the eastern end of platform five, together with extension of platform three
    and four. Some trackworks will also be undertaken at this time.
    • Construction of the new terminal bay platform on the existing sidings north of
    platform five.
    • Construction of the new footbridge with lifts, at the western end of the station.
    • Introduction of signalling and OHLE.”

    …looks to me that a lot of that is about general station capacity and access improvements, but the basic ‘railway’ alterations were to provide a bay cut out of the west end of the existing up relief platform 5, with necessary track changes to allow a route back to the west, basically an additional trailing crossover.

  281. Paul says:

    Richie @ 1042

    ‘redirect freight away from London’ is fine for through freight trains, as discussed often regarding the NLL and Goblin for instance, but aren’t nearly all the GW freight trains delivering bulk construction material for west London, distributed via Acton Yard?

    Where can it be diverted to – further away resulting in more lorry traffic?

  282. Greg Tingey says:

    There is still an awful lot to be decided. Stephen Hammond’s letter emphasises locating suitable passing loops on the relief lines … Very interesting – I missed that. Persumably, given how, along grate swathes of the GWML there is space for 6 tracks, anyway (The two well-known constraints are Hanwell viaduct & W Ealing – Ealing Bdy) then these “passing” loops could actually be several/many miles of, effectively 6-track working. Which would improve capacity, flexibility, resilience & reliability, all at once. Provided it is suitably planned for, they don’t even have to do it all at once, either.

  283. straphan says:

    @Paul and Richie: Please also bear in mind the following: the only reason there are so many freights on the WCML is because it is the only mainline that is fully cleared to W10 gauge, which permits 9′ 6″ high containers to be transported on regular flat cars. This means that intermodal trains can compete with road only in that corridor, and that is also why there are so many rail-served freight distribution centres along the way (Daventry, Hams Hall, Trafford Park, Mossend, etc.). The GWML – when electrified – will also be gauge-cleared to W10-gauge, thus creating an opportunity for containers to be transported by rail out towards Bristol and South Wales. Whilst some of those container trains could be ‘persuaded’ to run from the Haven Ports via Oxford and Didcot (e.g. on the new East-West Rail link or via the W10-cleared route via Leamington Spa), flows to/from London Gateway will probably end up running on the GWML from Acton Wells.

    There are also freight flows on the GWML which cannot really be moved. Aggregates for Acton Terminal is one of these. Others include aviation fuel for Heathrow (towards the Colnbrook branch), as well as waste from Brentford sidings. These are flows that you will not be able to re-route or ‘get rid of’ easily (unless you ‘get rid of’ Heathrow of course).

  284. Mark Townend says:

    @Paul, 1 April 2014 at 11:21

    ” . . . Construction of the new terminal bay platform on the existing sidings north of platform five.”

    The Sectional Appendix shows Slough signalbox still in control through the area, although the former Slough IECC next door, controlling beyond Iver to Paddington has already been transferred to Thames Valley Signalling Centre at Didcot. I assume electrification implies complete resignalling through Slough before Crossrail can commence, so the old panel signalbox could be removed to make way for about 160 metres of new platform alongside the existing siding, with new junction connections to the west. If the old IECC building was removed as well, a greater length of platform may be possible, but that might still contain some equipment for Paddington-Heathrow and may well be earmarked to also contain replacement Slough equipment.

  285. Windsorian says:

    @ Paul

    Crossrail Environmental Statement Vol 3 on Slough works

    I’m not sure I recognise some of this, as a new footbridge (+lifts?) was not so long ago erected to the East of the old (listed?) footbridge.

  286. Windsorian says:

    @ straphan

    Others include aviation fuel for Heathrow (towards the Colnbrook branch),

    I’m pretty certain LHR has a pipeline up from the refineries in the Southampton area.

    One of the reasons High Wycombe consistently has cheaper fuel prices (petrol & diesel) is the nearby pipeline / fuel depot.

  287. Paul says:

    Windsorian @ 13:05

    The Crossrail environment statement is only a snapshot of intentions at around about 2007, during the bill progress, other projects have been along since, such as the DfT’s Access for All station improvements – indeed maybe Slough footbridge works were delivered as an Olympics bonus?

  288. straphan says:

    @Windsorian: Upon perusal of the WTT here:

    it appears you are right. There are a few paths to Colnbrook from Lindsey oil refinery, but the remainder is for aggregates traffic. Either way – there is still some traffic you cannot easily move without increased pressure on the road network.

  289. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP 1031 – I agree with you that there are probably a load of further “enhancements” in the pipeline. I wonder if we’ve been cleverly hoodwinked, by the Reading announcement appearing post the TfL Board meeting, into thinking that the enhancements paper only included one such change. I doubt that it did and I’d not be surprised if several recommendations were agreed in principle but which may depend on subsequent confirmation. Therefore things like more frequent services, faster build up of services, extra trains being ordered, options for longer trains may all have been signed off to allow procurement activities for the trains and the appointment of the operator to proceed on an agreed basis. Ensuring an audit trail is in place for all of this is essential to comply with TfL Standing Orders given there are three types of approval – authority to do, authority to procure and authority to spend. You need all three usually but they can be at different times. I also expect DfT’s governance process was followed in parallel hence the co-ordinated press releases, letters etc. Crossrail has *dual* sponsors so TfL can’t run off and do things itself at this point in time – it may change once the line is in operation.

  290. Windsorian says:

    @ Paul,

    maybe Slough footbridge works were delivered as an Olympics bonus?

    Yes, the foot bridge was done for the Olympics / Paralympics.

  291. Windsorian says:

    @ Richie

    …. the railway operation is simplified if current FGW & HEx services are transferred to Crossrail, who become sole operator on the “relief tracks”, with FGW becoming sole operator on the “main line tracks”.

    I like this idea, but we must not forget the freight movements to Acton Yard –

  292. peezedtee says:

    Pedants’ corner

    “In France there is a tax called ‘versement transport’ (literally ‘towards transport’), ….. today there are 26 systems with two more being built.”

    “Versement” is a noun, meaning a financial transfer or payment, and “transport” is being used here adjectivally, so “versement transport” is a transport transfer.

    There was already a tram system in Lille, so that makes at least three.

  293. peezedtee says:

    I meant in addition to Marseille and St Etienne.

  294. straphan says:

    @PZT: Thanks, French is not a language I profess to know (my thinking – ‘vers’ means direction so ‘versement’ must be something like ‘towards’). The Lille-Roubaix/Tourcoing interurban also appears to have slipped my mind.

  295. Richie says:

    @straphan, Windsorian, Paul

    I was thinking about cross-London freight traffic.

    Does the freight flow to Acton Yard need to come from the east, or could it come from the west (where, as per Greg Tingey, can be widened to 6 tracks once west of West Ealing) ?

    Also – loading gauge enhancement don’t seem all that expensive when compared to the Crossrail or HS2:-

  296. Rational Plan says:

    Network rail is also thinking about a fifth track, next to the existing slows, between Langley and Hayes & Harlington.

  297. Anonymous says:

    A few points for consideration

    Firstly as regards HEX – with the announcement that the Government wishes to construct a western facing rail link into the airport plus the desire to get rid of the HEX Paddington operation, I spy a plan. Basically the DfT does a deal with HEX and gives them the rights to run the mooted 4tph from the airport to Reading (which handily can use the existing HEX stock) in exchange for which HEX abandons its London based operation to Crossrail. Furthermore I can also see the ‘Heathrow premium’ remaining on ALL services to the airport for a further xx years the monies from which can be used to reimburse the airports owners for constructing the western facing link. Crossrail are happy it gets rid of HEX, HEX are happy – they stay in business, Heathrow are happy they get exclusive control of the Reading link for ages, the DfT are happy because they haven’t had to stump up the money to build it in the first place, NR are happy because it fits in with their RUS plans,etc. In fact the only losers are the travelling public for whom the only ‘cheap’ way of accessing the airport is the Picadilly line – but since when has that been a consideration for MPs

    Secondly as regards Crossrail’s scope (metro versus regional that is) – the big problem here can be spelled out in a single word, “Thameslink”. If Crossrail was the first attempt to connect two NR rail systems then people (me included) would have nothing to compare it too. This is important because what Thameslink has shown is that actually there is a significant amount of demand there from long distance commuters who wish to get right across London, not to mention a significant number of leisure passengers for whom the ability to avoid the tube is a significant draw.

    Furthermore if Thameslink has shown it is possable to link two long distance commuter flows (which use the very congested BML & MML) together, so it is only natural to expect that there is no technical or operational reason why Crossrail cannot be made to do the same. I suggest that had Thameslink been restricted to a South Croydon – St Albans all station stopper type setup, the metro option Crossrail went for wouldn’t be getting nearly as much stick from people. What makes things worse of course is that under he current Thameslink programme, far from reducing its long distance credentials the options taken actually extend it. With Kent inner suburban routes being excluded to maximise Cannon St services and the desire to keep everything coming from London Bridge on the fast lines as far as East Croydon, plus the addition of Peterborough & Cambridge in the north, the contrast with Crossrail couldn’t be more stark.

    “Crossrail line two” is therefore caught between competing strategies although if the same financing model that was used to deliver Crossrail one is adopted it is pretty obvious what the outcome will be. On the one hand you could say that with London council tax payers and business contributing at least half the cost, it does prevent the treasury doing its usual trick of abandoning projects for political expediency – we only have to look at NSEs & LUs failed attempts to get Thameslink 2000 or even the original Crossrail schemes off the ground to see that if it wasn’t for Londoners and TfLs contributions, the onset of the deepest recession in decades plus the Governments austerity drive would have in all likely hood spelt doom for the project.

    Crossrail two also suffers from the same syndrome as Crossrail one – in the sense of unbalanced branches at each end. At the SWT end there are a number of branches that could be chosen – however many have significant limiters. Things like the presence of level crossings, the slow lines being outside the fast lines causing terminating issues (i.e. Woking) all mean Crossrail two actually needs to spread itself quite widely on the south western axis. In the Lea Valley though we have an issue with not enough branches to spread the load (plus level crossings and a four track formation (note a formation doesn’t mean four railway lines are still pressent) that gives up far to early. It doesn’t help that Crossrail two actually intersects the West Anglia routes to far up (it can’t easily serve Chingford for example and connection to the Enfield Town route would be very problematic).

    There is also the issue of skipped stations – Crossrail one emerging as it does at Royal Oak and Stratford doesn’t bypass any stations on the traditional lines, plus it takes people to both the city and the west end. Crossrail two by comparison will miss Earlsfield and Vauxhall in the south west, while in the north east Cambridge Heath – Hackney Downs & Clapton – will be skipped at a minimum. Finally at least Crossrail two still serves the traditional termi of the GE & GW inner suburban services. Crossrail 2 bypasses the traditional termi of Waterloo & Liverpool Street which will inconvenience a significant number of existing commuters. Yes there will be new opportunities created but unlike Crossrail one, Crossrail two won’t be able to count on existing users in its predicted passenger figures.

  298. Fandroid says:

    @Anonymous 19.36. You cover a vast number of points, but I’ll restrict myself to HEx.

    I don’t really think that the western access to Heathrow could be deemed to equal the eastern one at any level. So, saying goodbye to a money-spinner (HEx) for something that might at best break even (WRAtH) is not a likely strategy on Heathrow’s part. If they ditch the ‘Premium Concept’ of a ‘luxury’ non-stop service for an all-stations bog-standard metro, then the premium fare will have to come down. We have Heathrow Connect there as a fairly good comparison. A single on that is £10.10 cheaper than a HEx single. They might be able to justify pushing that Connect premium up a touch due to the improved connectivity that Crossrail will give, but only by something less than £5 (guessing).

    We have already discussed the usage of the Reading Railair coach (not a lot of people!). The western Heathrow customers are quite different. A lot of high-end tourists and business people use HEx. For Reading it will mostly be local people. Still reasonably affluent, but a lot of them happily use their cars. I did when I regularly commuted out of Heathrow, parking in a business car-park and getting it paid for by the company. I lived close to Reading, but far enough out to make a drive to Heathrow more attractive than a drive to Reading station (at ungodly early hours too!). A HEx-scale premium just would not work on WRAtH.

    By the way, the Piccadilly line is OK for those who have the time, ie the low to mid scale tourists. An hour’s transfer on top of a long-haul flight is really just what is expected.

  299. GrahamH says:

    @Anonymous – I suspect that your Western HEX scenario is entirely plausible, alas.

    The difference between TLK and XR 1 – which you so rightly analyse – stems very much from their origins. TLK was invented because the Board believed that they could re-open the link for, effectively, nothing – no extra stock was required, the infrastructure was there and required only small spend to make it fit for purpose, and some new journey opportunities, and therefore revenues, were generated. So the basic initial service was simply sticking together the Midland suburban services and the SC London Bridge/Blackfriars group. Unfortunately as time went by much else was hung on it, but its essential character was already set in stone. XR started life as an LU driven scheme to relieve the Central and taking over the Met outers and has been scrabbling ever since to find enough traffic at the western end to balance the eastern flows. So – a metro scheme in origin.

    Neither stemmed from an overarching strategy for the London area and to a great extent, the strategists have been playing catch up ever since. The nearest we got in NSE days to a properly adumbrated strategy was Chris Green’s vision of the TLK/XR cross as an RER for the OMA area, putting most of the major regional settlements within one interchange of each other, but that was before the rats got at it…

  300. straphan says:

    @Fandroid: As a resident of South East London I can solemnly swear I have only ever arrived at Heathrow ONCE using the services out of Paddington. Journey times via the Piccadilly line (or even via Feltham + bus if flying from T4) are comparable, whereas the fares are much cheaper. I think the residents of North-East London (who live either on the Picc or on the Vic and can change at Finsbury Park) would do the same as me.

    I also agree with your comment regarding WRAtH and HEx. We have already established that WRAtH would most likely never wash its face, whereas HEx currently does so comfortably. I would expect HEx will simply give up running when it is no longer able to do so commercially, or when the ORR twists its arm into doing so (as outlined by Graham H above).

    @Anonymous: Crossrail 2 is not caught between strategies – it is very much a repeat of Crossrail 1 in its concept. There is no talk of running trains from Portsmouth to Cambridge or from Southampton to Stansted Airport and – as far as I am aware of – there never was. There are – of course – plenty of people (myself included) who would like to see the next tunnel under London to serve longer distance trains, but as long as it is TfL and not Network Rail in the driving seat it isn’t happening. And Network Rail itself – to my mind at least – has its hands tied by the DfT/Treasury in terms of investment far tighter than TfL – and there are far fewer people there with enough testicular (or ovarian – in these days of equal opportunity) fortitude in those two institutions to make this happen. Thameslink was lucky enough to be pushed through before privatisation and it only really happened because the alignment was already there. I would seriously doubt it would happen today.

    I’ll slap myself on the wrist before commenting about Crossrail 2 – wouldn’t want Mr PoP to get cross with me again about writing off-topic…

  301. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Anonymous

    Plenty of interesting, plausible points in your comments.

    It is the atomic particles aka service structures which however will drive how each scheme develops. Thameslink started and stays with a majority service pattern focused on longish distance commuting, Crossrail doesn’t. also TfL oversees Crossrail post-2019 (currently TfL and DfT are joint sponsors), Thameslink is an exclusively main line/Network Rail creation, and Ken Livingstone didn’t intervene much in it when he could have done. (Eg no Camberwell station even though that had been possible).

    The corollary is that each scheme might in due course need the inner / outer mirrored service image of the other, in order to play the fullest role on each corridor – but with another layer of infrastructure probably essential. I won’t take up the crayon challenge on that.

  302. Toby says:

    @HEx commentators

    I’m still confused about WRaTH – part of the connectivity argument was direct (IEP, presumably) connections to South Wales and the South West, which HEx-on-steroids doesn’t provide. Ok, I get that changing at Reading may be a little quicker than Paddington + HEx, but I always understood the argument to be as much about seamless travel to LHR as simply LHR – Reading.

    (You’d hope so, anyway, given that it is £500m…..)

  303. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anon 1936 – I broadly agree with your CR2 remarks. I would note that any station near Hackney Central covers off Hackney Downs so no issue there. Walthamstow Marshes is where the CR2 portal is supposed to emerge and I suspect there will be a big conservation battle about its construction. However it is worth pointing out that it would not be impossible with some clever construction to link in the Chingford Line if you wanted to. However what you do need *very soon* is a coherent plan about what you do want to do with rail lines in that area. It would be extremely easy to take some short sighted decisions which would land CR2 with huge costs or block some possibilities permanently.

    One final note is that some Assembly Members want CR2 to have a branch towards Barking and Dagenham. This would cover your point about balancing east and west branch numbers but quite what the respective demand would be I do not know. This extra branch rather suggests some sort of tunnelled alignment not far away from the GOBLIN route. If that was ever to come about then you could, theoretically, replace the eastern part of the GOBLIN with a CR2 branch in tunnel and have a nice freight only railway as far as Tottenham or Walthamstow. No crayons were involved in the creation of this post. 😉

  304. kruador says:

    Any suggestion of Crossrail taking over the Marlow and Henley branches – to say nothing of plans to run services beyond the branch lines themselves, or terminate longer-distance services on them – surely requires that they be electrified. That’s not currently in the plans. It’s out of scope for the GWML electrification.

    If the Henley line were to be electrified, that would be part of the South Oxfordshire Environmental Statement:\projects\Great Western&dir=%5cprojects%5cGreat%20Western%5cElectrification%20Environmental%20Statements%5cEngland%5cSouth%20Oxfordshire

    Nada. The Marlow branch line would logically be in a Wycombe District folder, but there isn’t one.

    Network Rail’s 2009 Electrification RUS calls them the ‘Thames Valley branches’ (I think) and assigns them as Tier 4 out of 5,

    It might be beneficial if it eliminated DMUs from the maintenance depots entirely, but I don’t think it will ever be justified on traffic grounds.

    I suppose there’s nothing stopping diesels running through the Crossrail tunnels, but I would expect the Crossrail operator to only lease electric units.

  305. The other Paul says:

    Personally I’d speculate that the 4tph on the GWML fasts west of Paddington will be seen as too valuable come the 2020s to leave for HEx alone. Therefore the only way that the HEx service could be maintained in something like its current form would be through onward extension via WRAtH.

    Now many may say that the obvious service for that would be Paddington-Heathrow-Slough-(Maidenhead)-Reading. However my view is a bit more outside the box. Running via Heathrow is likely to add a 15-20 minute time penalty between Paddington and Reading. This will probably compare to the stopping Crossrail services, but won’t have the no-interchange advantage. So a 15-20 min penalty on what’s otherwise a 25-30 min journey doesn’t really cut it.

    However a 15-20 min penalty on a longer journey is less significant. Taking it to the extreme, adding 15 mins onto the occasional 5 and a half hour journey from Penzance probably isn’t going to have the Cornish screaming in protest; the times vary more than that as it is and many will see a Heathrow stop as a benefit.

    Still, there isn’t much demand for extra services from Penzance, there won’t be wires for most of that route for a long time, and keeping average times low there is probably sensible; so somewhere in the middle seems more likely. Somewhere where extra capacity is needed, but not focused on Reading where there are faster services to choose from, perhaps places where more frequent, direct services would be appreciated even if they’re not the fastest East of Reading.

    I’d suggest Oxford stoppers as an obvious candidate. Having boarded a train and settled into a seat at somewhere like Appleford, you are today faced with a 1h45 journey to Paddington, a whole hour of which is East of Reading on a stopping route set to be served by Crossrail. Thus sending the through service to Paddington via Heathrow will probably be faster, even if some of the other stops are maintained! Those in a hurry who can be bothered already change at Didcot or Reading anyway.

    The Westbury/Exeter “semi-fasts” are another one to consider. There is considerable growth in the Berks and Hants commuter corridor, and several places which are poorly served today. A “Devizes Parkway” station and more through services to Frome could form the basis for new services where the 15-20m time penalty of Heathrow will be outweighed by the convenience of a through route.

    Then there are the GW branches with the current time penalty of changing. Marlow, Henley or Windsor to Paddington via Heathrow could be feasible. Heathrow-Windsor would probably be well-used by tourists.

    Finally there is East West Rail to consider. Service proposals have included variations of services from Reading running via Oxford to Milton Keynes or Bedford. Starting these services at Heathrow via WRAtH rather than Reading might make good sense, in the same way that CrossCountry serves Stansted from the North. An MK-Oxford-Reading-Heathrow journey might not compete with MK-Euston-Paddington-Heathrow purely on time, but for a family with luggage it would be a “no brainer”.

  306. The other Paul says:


    The government also wishes to electrify the Acton – Willesden freight line, and the Windsor, Marlow and Henley-on-Thames branches. It has also announced support for £500m rail link between Slough and Heathrow airport, subject to a satisfactory business case, with completion planned for CP6.

    Also, none of the words “Henley, Marlow, Windsor” nor the phrase “Thames Valley Branches” appear anywhere in the five year old NR RUS you linked to.

  307. Ian J says:

    @Toby: the promoters of WRAtH have never advocated through services beyond Reading. Various political announcements have been carefully vague in implying, but not actually promising, through services.

    To those cheerfully assuming Heathrow Express will disappear in due course: remember that Heathrow consider a premium city centre link to be a major competitive advantage for their airport. The expensive fares only make it more attractive for the expense account business class travellers who account for most airline profits, because they ensure that the trains will never be overcrowded. And the regulated landing fees Heathrow charges are based on its asset base, which includes the HEx trains and tunnels – in other words they can charge the airlines for the existence of HEx.

    I doubt Heathrow will give all that up without a fight. A more likely deal that they seem to be hinting at would be that Heathrow agrees to build and operate WRAtH (and add it to their asset base), in return for extending their rights to four fast trains per hour into Paddington beyond 2022. Now that Network Rail’s debt counts as part of the National Debt, that would be a tempting offer for the government.

  308. Chris says:

    @Milton Clevedon There are – of course – plenty of people (myself included) who would like to see the next tunnel under London to serve longer distance trains, but as long as it is TfL and not Network Rail in the driving seat it isn’t happening.

    That’s not the impression I have, and I don’t think the organisation in the ‘driving seat’ makes any difference to one ever coming about – linking long distance services under Central London makes no obvious sense IMHO.

    After all most are but a handful of trains per hour at best, are more prone to delays than commuter services, these delays are often of much greater duration, dwell times are significantly longer and such trains are not geared for metro-style operation. This can only lead to far less efficient use of any central-London tunnel.

    While reducing the stations to just a couple of major interchanges could mitigate these issues up to a point and save a lot of money, it also significantly reduces the benefits compared to a Metro-style scheme regarding tube relief and moving people within Central London – hurting both the BCR and any chance of funding from London itself.

    As far as I can see such a scheme would combine all the problems of Thameslink, but magnified significantly and at far greater expense, yet doing little to help relieve existing capacity issues in Central London. I really don’t think it makes sense, and it doesn’t surprise me that no such scheme is being seriously proposed.

  309. ngh says:

    Re kruador 1 April 2014 at 22:33

    TV branch electrification have been on the card for a while now, might I suggest you have a look at the current electrification plans rather than out of date documents..

    See page 95 of the CP5 delivery plan – document released 31/3/2014

    Thames Valley Branch Lines Electrification Details
    Project reference code: W003
    HLOS driver: Other electrification projects
    Operating route: Western
    Last updated: March 2014

    CP5 output driver

    Following approval for the electrification of the Great Western Main Line (GWML), there is an opportunity to also electrify the three Thames Valley branch lines (listed below) enabling a significant switch to electrified services for commuting from the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire catchments. This project is likely to increase the efficiency of services that currently make use of main line with direct access to London Paddington. It also gives greater operational flexibility and reduces inefficient use of diesel services ‘under the wires’ with the potential for increased capacity for services.

    The project will facilitate the introduction of electric train operation on the Thames Valley branches, replacing diesel trains for cascade to the West, providing additional capacity for both the Thames Valley and the West of England.
     4tph to Paddington see DMU replace by EMU.
    Scope of works
    The core works will involve 25kV AC electrification of the following branch lines as Phase 2 of GWML electrification:
     Twyford to Henley-on-Thames;
     Maidenhead to Bourne End and Marlow; and
     Slough to Windsor & Eton Central.
    This project does not include associated ancillary works necessary to enable the introduction and operation of electric trains and other electric traction (e.g. rolling stock
    clearance, depots / stabling works or platform lengthening as a result of the operation of Significant interfaces
     GWML electrification (GWMLe)
     Western Mainline Signalling Renewal (WMSR)
     Western Route track and bridge renewals programme
     Thames Valley EMU capability works.

    Activities and milestones

    Milestone Description Date Status
    GRIP 3 completion Single option selection December 2014 Regulated Output
    GRIP 4 completion Single option scope defined December 2015 Indicative
    GRIP 6 completion Infrastructure ready for use December 2017 Indicative

    It should be noted that an efficient profiling workstream is considering all electrification projects and the outcome of this workstream may result in reprofiling the delivery dates of some electrification projects.

  310. The other Paul says:


    linking long distance services under Central London makes no obvious sense

    Surely the fact that, as pointed out, Thameslink is well-used and highly valued by through passengers undermines your argument somewhat? What about the overcrowded hourly Southern service from MK to East Croydon?

    I’ll give you another perspective: I quite frequently travel Northbound on the Victoria line at about 11am, when there are still a good 24tph. Every day the NB platform at Victoria is crowded as my train arrives, and every day many of the people on it are burdened with large cases. And every day a good proportion of those get off at Euston and KXSP heading back to the mainline.

    A third thought; raised further up this very thread: Why is the M25 so busy all the time?

    Not everyone’s journey starts or ends in London. Shouldn’t providing better, faster links between other major centres be a key objective for improving the economy outside the Capital? Maybe people in Kent and Sussex want to go to Birmingham and Manchester too. Maybe the Surrey commuter belt is full of people who would take jobs in Birmingham if only they could easily get there? Maybe a business services company in Bristol would attract more Essex-based customers if only the journey were 3 hours instead of 5?

    Maybe the politics of transport funding would work more in the rail network’s favour if it weren’t completely useless to a significant proportion of those taxpayers who live and work outside London?

  311. Windsorian says:

    @ ngh, thank you and WRAtH is on page 97

    …..(tunnelling between T5 and GWML and construction of a new Up Relief Line) could start circa 2018

  312. Chris says:

    @The other Paul – Surely the fact that, as pointed out, Thameslink is well-used and highly valued by through passengers undermines your argument somewhat? What about the overcrowded hourly Southern service from MK to East Croydon?

    Neither are what I would describe as long distance or even ‘longer’ distance services; they are both designed primarily to meet the needs of relatively short distance commuters.

    The Southern service is low frequency and doesn’t extend far out of London. Thameslink is primarily a commuter service and the rolling stock is being designed accordingly – high density interior, wide doors, 100mph top speed, walk through carriages etc.

    They are certainly not Crossrail-type schemes, instead evolving through the use of existing infrastructure suitably upgraded without having to justify the cost of a new tunnel under Central London.

    Only suburban commuter services can realistically justify that kind of expenditure, given the operational issues of running low density, low frequency long distance services under London at massive expensive. It just doesn’t make sense.

  313. Theban says:

    Does anybody have any figures which show significant numbers of passengers at present use Thameslink to cross London without interchanging in London. Sat on them, the impression is that fewer than 10-20% of passengers cross London without stopping.

    Instead the major benefit of Thameslink is that it provides connections into the centre beyond the traditional ring of terminal stations and especially to the far side terminal station. So there are very significant flows from the south to St Pancras for interchange and from the north down to London Bridge.

    There is some fully cross London traffic but it is not a large proportion of passengers carried IMO. I suspect most of that is airport related. I can see demand for Heathrow from Essex on Crossrail but I doubt the cross London demand will be as high as some commentators above are suggesting.

  314. ngh says:

    And on p96 “TV EMU capability works”:

    “DfT have indicated that the initial EMU operations will utilise class 319 units operating up to 12-car in length over the following core route sections:
    Core routes
     Paddington to Oxford.
     Slough to Windsor and Eton Central.
     Maidenhead to Marlow.
    Twyford to Henley.
     Reading to Newbury.
     Reading to Basingstoke.”

    Up to 12 car Henley (240m as basis is 319s) CR is initially only 205m so may be CR up the branch isn’t such a silly suggestion…
    (or may be they they just copy’n’paste from LR 😉 )

  315. Jeremy says:

    @ngh: I think the key wording there is “up to”.

  316. Windsorian says:

    @ ngh

    “operating up to 12-car in length – Slough to Windsor and Eton Central.”

    HA, ha, very funny. We used to have some long platforms at W&E Central but they were sold off for the Windsor Royal shopping centre; today we have 2 car trains in Winter and 3 car in Summer because of the fair weather tourists. I would have thought Slough Platform 1 and W&E Central could be extended to 4 car at a push, but 12 car ????

    Meanwhile W&E Riverside has just started operating 10 car to Waterloo (58mins).

  317. John U.K. says:

    @ The other Paul – 1 April 2014 at 22:36

    Now many may say that the obvious service for that would be Paddington-Heathrow-Slough-(Maidenhead)-Reading. However my view is a bit more outside the box. Running via Heathrow is likely to add a 15-20 minute time penalty between Paddington and Reading. This will probably compare to the stopping Crossrail services, but won’t have the no-interchange advantage. So a 15-20 min penalty on what’s otherwise a 25-30 min journey doesn’t really cut it.

    I should have thought that the opposite would have been the case. Passengers for Heathrow from London or the west are not likely to be concerned about and increase in journey time bewteen London and Reading. They would prabably prefer not to be struggling with luggage amidst commuters, nor the commuters tripping over luggage.

    With the increase in direct services services between Reading and London, either Paddington or beyond (Cross Rail) and 4tph Paddington-Heathrow-Slough-(Maidenhead)-Reading it would seem to me to be eminently sensible to allow the notion to become engrained in the minds of the travelling public that the normal most practical rail route to H/row is change at Reading coming from the west, at Paddington coming from the east.

    If the Maidenhead stop is needed to serve passengers to H/row from Henley and Marlow, Im not sure why a stop at Slough is needed (not the obvious way to H/row from Windsor) but it might sem sensiple to call additionally at Old Oak Common?

    Does it really make sense to encourage passengers not wanting to alight at Heathrow onto a service berween Reading and Paddington?

  318. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ The other Paul ( re 1 April 2014 at 22:36)

    I think more direct FROME to/from London services are “a given” whoever wins the Somerton & Frome seat after the next election. The place is being marketed as “the alternative to Bath to live”, and has very noticeably gone “up market” over the last 20 years, particularly in the Selwood/Catherine Hill area. Frome will be a good revenue source for whoever gets the FGW franchise, and especially if there is a Heathrow link (which could be an attractive alternative to airport parking charges).

  319. Fandroid says:

    @John U.K. Im not sure why a stop at Slough is needed. Perhaps all those people who live/work in Slough and north of there might be interested?

  320. Castlebar 1 says:

    This article is copied from an Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, published some time ago:
    It indicates that with FGW main line electrification, there will be winners and losers, and those commuting from Pewsey consider that they will be losers. Perhaps these are the promoters of the “Devizes Parkway” idea.

    It seems (they allege) lack of seating could lead to lack of station if commuters drive to alternative stations just to get a seat to London

    The loss of a through train from Pewsey would be a disaster

    Passenger groups are putting pressure on MPs to fight proposals that could end through trains from Pewsey and Westbury to London.

    The concern is over the proposed electrification of the Paddington-Bristol line through Swindon and Chippenham in 2015 that will then carry all the direct trains to London.

    Passengers from Westbury and Pewsey, who use the Berks and Hants line, would have to use a slower diesel service and change at Reading.

    There are fears that any reduction in the current direct service from Pewsey to Paddington could affect the future of the station and would have a major effect on house prices.

    Scores of commuters get on the early morning trains to the city at 6.24am, 7.19am and 8.09am.

    On the platform at Pewsey on Tuesday commuters said they would fight to retain the through service.

    Tim Maltin from Wilsford, who runs a PR company in Piccadilly, and pays more than £6,000 a year for his season ticket, said: “This would be a disaster for me. It would make my five-hour daily commute into a six- hour commute and I think a lot of people who currently get the train at Pewsey will consider driving to Swindon or Andover instead.”

    Mother-of-two Kate Weir from Wilcot, who travels to London three days a week, said: “I am appalled by this proposal which makes a mockery of the government policy of environmentally friendly commuting and it must be remembered that people working in London bring a lot of revenue back to this area.”

    One traveller said: “If we have to change at Reading we will not be able to get seats.”

    Another passenger called out: “This will kill the trains here and could kill the station.”

    Some passengers waiting for trains to London this week said they would drive either to Andover to get a Southern Trains direct service while others from the Devizes area said they would consider driving to Chippenham or Swindon to use the proposed direct electrified trains.

    Devizes MP Claire Perry said she had joined forces with West Wiltshire MP Andrew Murrison and Newbury MP Richard Benyon in the hopes of persuading the government to tell train operators that they had to keep the straight-through service.

    Kate Freeman, who chairs the transport group of Devizes Community Area Partnership, has written to Mrs Perry saying: “We had hoped for a safeguarding of the through services along the Berks and Hants line.

    “Instead, by concentrating solely on electrification and service improvements along the Bristol-Reading/Heathrow-Paddington corridors the services between Reading and Taunton (the Pewsey/ Westbury line) have been squeezed out of any chance of improvements and the loss of all possibility of through trains.”

  321. Mr Beckton says:

    I think that the cross-London traffic on Crossrail will be even more significant than predicted. Canary Wharf to Heathrow is going to suddenly pick up; the most effective way to do this currently is Jubilee to Green Park, then the long drag on the Piccadilly, because that is actually as quick (and way cheaper) then change at Baker Street, change and long walk at Paddington, and wait up to 15 minutes for the next HEx to actually start. Because this is all so tedious and longwinded (especially for those from overseas) it forms a huge two-way flow each business day for the likes of Addison Lee. You only have to look at the company names held up on the cards by the chauffeurs at Heathrow to understand where many are going. If Crossrail can actually be faster than Addison lee that is where they will take the tarde.

    Stratford is likewise going to generate much. Epping, or even Norwich, to Heathrow, which currently are tedious and/or difficult with luggage, and quite likely to be car/taxi via the M25, are going to become more straightforward.

    There are a surprising number of “outward commuters” who live in London but work in the Thames Valley nowadays. I suspect the areas around the Crossrail stations will rapidly become targets for office developments. Slough is surprisingly tedious to reach from London, you can never be certain to what extent the stopper may, or may not, be overtaken by one of the irregular-intervals fast trains, and the departure screens at Paddington are no help.

  322. John U.K. says:

    @Fandroid 2 April 2014 at 08:40
    Im not sure why a stop at Slough is needed. Perhaps all those people who live/work in Slough and north of there might be interested?

    Point taken. I fear I was too much obsessed by interchanges. My main point was the final one of separating H/row passengers from London-bound /departing ones.

    However, would there be sufficient Slough-Heathrow traffic to justify a stop at Slough, rather than changing at Maidenhead?

  323. ngh says:

    Re Jeremy 2 April 2014 at 07:11 & Windsorian 2 April 2014 at 07:18

    Indeed “upto” at least they didn’t publish on 1st April”

    My thoughts would be W&E Central probably 4 car (stays as branch), Henley may be 8 car (to make any peak through services worth while), Bourne End etc. 4 car, Oxford 12 car

  324. Walthamstow Writer says:

    A little snippet from a conference currently under way that will affect Crossrail.

    “First ETCS Level 2 Baseline 3 deployment on GWML to go live between Paddington and Heathrow in April 2017” – comment made by Network Rail (tweet courtesy of Railway Gazette). The Crossrail operated “Connect” services will need to work with this new technology from day one. IIRC the signalling and control interfaces are viewed as one of the biggest project risks for Crossrail.

  325. stimarco says:

    @Castlebar 1:

    ‘One traveller said: “If we have to change at Reading we will not be able to get seats.”’

    They’ll have no trouble at all getting seats if Crossrail is terminating at Reading. So that’s that problem solved already.

    Also, I’m not sure why people who have deliberately chosen to live umpteen miles out of London – and, in Devizes’ case, quite a few miles from the nearest railway station too – are complaining that… they live miles away from London! Where you choose to live isn’t Network Rail’s problem: it’s yours. I swear, it’s like listening to children sometimes.

    Last time I checked, Wiltshire wasn’t even one of the Home Counties! Move closer to your current job, or get a job closer to home. Support new housing developments too, so house prices can stabilise at more reasonable levels.

    This isn’t rocket science.

    Considering all the emphasis these days on ecological soundness and low (carbon) footprints, it’s time people like the above realised they’re part of the problem. Although rail is more efficient than road in terms of space usage, there is still a finite limit to how much of it you can install. There are only so many tracks you can lay into Paddington, Kings Cross, etc. Nobody wants to concrete over London, but turning it into a huge maze of steel rails isn’t going to work either.

  326. CdBrux says:

    @stimarco: “I’m not sure why people who have deliberately chosen to live umpteen miles out of London – and, in Devizes’ case, quite a few miles from the nearest railway station too – are complaining that… they live miles away from London! Where you choose to live isn’t Network Rail’s problem: it’s yours. I swear, it’s like listening to children sometimes.”

    I can imagine this sort of thought process would make rail and other infrastructure investment quite easy. “Please go and live where we want to build a railway.” Indeed if they all lived in central London and could walk to their offices then Crossrail wouldn’t have been needed at all! Why didn’t we just spend £14bn on building loads of appartments around Paddington etc…?

    Unfortuantely once you have a service, and epecially if it is reasonably well used, it must be pretty difficult to replace it by a worse service. If I understood well the worry is that Bristol services will be prioritised vs their service? I presume you cannot be in favour of that as it will simply encourage more people to commute from Bristol Parkway to London which is even further away!

    If the railways were a fully private concern with no public subsidy and were not considered in part to be ‘for the social good’ then I could agree with you. However as people subsidise NR and most TOC’s through taxation they tend to have an interest in how the money is spent!

  327. @Walthamstow Writer

    re ETCS and Crossrail

    Interesting. Indeed the very subject of ECTS/ERTMS is critical to Crossrail but, I suspect, not regarded as such a risk as it was in the early days.

    It is a long story that I am only just beginning to understand. I think what happened at the start was that Crossrail got very nervous about ERTMS and originally decided it was not a mature technology. This probably was not as a result of reading Roger Ford but because of implementation along the Cambrian Coast Line (CCL), which was regarded as something that should be simple, was delayed. In fact implementation along the CCL was complicated by lots of things like level crossings and combining and splitting trains in platforms and a host of other irrelevant things to Crossrail.

    In what might seem to be a perverse decision they went for a form of TBTC for the core which given its early history on the Jubilee Line does seem a bit strange.

    The decision not to go for wall-to-wall ERTMS on Crossrail upset Network Rail a bit but they understood why they (Crossrail) did it. It is also an issue for the DfT as it breaches EU inter-operabilility rules even though they may be considered not directly relevant here. As a result, I am told the DfT are pestering Crossrail for a compliant migration strategy to ERTMS which Crossrail has failed to come up with. As I understand it, you don’t necessarily have to implement this strategy, you just have to produce one to show you are not being rebellious.

    At the end of the day Crossrail’s caution concerning ERTMS for the core section may well lead to completely unnecessary and avoidable interface issues simply because they, along with Roger Ford, thought that ERTMS wouldn’t work, or at least could not have been relied upon to work.

    Now here is where it makes no sense. Thameslink is due to open at the same time as Crossrail. And as Thameslink is building up to maxium capacity it will actually need to have ERTMS working before Crossrail has to have its non-standard signalling in use. So why is Thameslink, also a risk adverse project, happy to go along with ERTMS (even if the ATO part of it may be proprietary, I am not sure about this) and Crossrail not?

    Your piece of news makes this even more bonkers. Crossrail are implementing non-standard signalling in the core because they considered ETCS was not mature technology and they reckon it wouldn’t do the job properly. Yet prior to that they will have to have their trains working with ETCS (and in a tunnel as well – so that is not the issue).

    The kindest thing that can be said is that maybe, in retrospect, Crossrail backed the wrong horse.

  328. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – the comment about risk was made a long time ago but it stuck in my head. I believe it also one of the factors that drives the phased build up of services with the Great Western being connected to Crossrail last.

    You may well be right that the “wrong” decision was taken but no one can predict the future and you take decisions on the basis of the best available info at the time. Crossrail have opted to go one way and getting trains to “talk” across two signalling interfaces may prove to be that fabulous buzz phrase “a challenge”. I rather suspect Thameslink had no choice as a fully Network Rail run and funded project and it’d be caught by the inter-operability issue without any viable excuse for “avoiding” it.

    I wonder who will actually own and maintain the Crossrail tunnels – TfL or Network Rail? This might raise some interesting issues about maintenance, access and working across interfaces.

  329. Fandroid says:

    I’m not sure at all that the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald hasn’t constructed a straw man to have a swipe at. I haven’t seen any proposal that the Hants & Berks line services will be reduced. The only real likelihood is that the line will not be electrified beyond Bedwyn at best (all options beyond that have poor BCRs). There will still be a diesel service, or even a bi-mode service, on that route to Exeter via Taunton. They just have to lobby to ensure that the service level stays when the franchise consultation starts, not let rip about imaginary closures.

    @stimarco is a bit hard on them, but to be fair to him, the world beyond Hungerford is fairly thinly populated all the way to Taunton, and to some extent those passengers are lucky that GWR decided to shorten the express route to Devon and Cornwall. Without that, the nearest stations may well have been Swindon and Andover! No doubt they pay a handsome sum for their tickets, so let’s not be too begrudging!

  330. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Fandroid – I typed out a “these people must be daft” type reply to Castlebar earlier but deleted and went and checked the Great Western ITT Supplement A which sets out the minimum train service requirements (TSR). I am glad I did because bizarrely the TSR says that trains from Pewsey (and many other Berks and Hants stations) must only reach Newbury as a minimum. I would agree with you that it would be very unlikely that any bidder would offer such a service with enforced change to reach London but they do have the *option* to do so given through services to London are *not* mandated.

    I suspect the TSR, with its lack of guaranteed through services, is what is exercising the minds of commuters and MPs. The electrification only stretches to Newbury so you can perhaps see the “logic” of DfT’s approach in just requiring the connection at Newbury so that bidders can optimise the workings of electric and diesel rolling stock. IIRC Graham H has opined on this point previously. I suspect that bidders will recognise the commercial importance of through services and will offer them. Of course the brave new world of the DfT’s approach to franchising this time is less prescription and more flexibility for bidders. It remains to be seen if this will ever work given we’ve not had a full franchise competition under the new regime run to completion yet!

  331. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Fandroid

    I did see a BCR ratio you refer to, and I think it was “Electrification to Newbury” which came out at 0.31

    Parkways for Devizes, Loamshire or anywhere west of Newbury must be bonkers UNLESS someone, somewhere is being completely visionary and getting the railway infrastructure in before the houses/supermarkets/schools etc, thus requiring any future rail access to be squeezed in as an afterthought. That doesn’t happen in this country. We shut railways then build in the newly unoccupied space, creating sufficient population to require, (or even NEED): – – – a Railway!!

    Southwater in West Sussex is a classic if extreme example. (Worth a look as an example of what not to do)

  332. Rich says:

    @stimarco, your comment “Move closer to your current job, or get a job closer to home.” isn’t fair. Many people, like me, can only work in the industry in which they have experience in specific locations (in the UK, my job only exists in the City and Canary Wharf) and cannot live in close proximity to those locations (for legitimate reasons of cost, or lifestyle, for example). I would have thought that public transport enthusiasts would be positively supportive of such a situation, as there would be considerably less need for railways at all without it.

  333. Windsorian says:

    @ Castlebar 1

    I did see a BCR ratio you refer to, and I think it was “Electrification to Newbury” which came out at 0.31

    Arup 14.6.13 published a BCR of 0.31 to Westbury; for Bedwyn the BCR is 2.58

  334. Castlebar 1 says:

    Thank you Windsorian. I am pleased to be corrected. I knew I’d seen 0.31 but I did get the wrong “…..bury”.

    So, not so “bonkers” after all. I have slapped my own wrist.

  335. stimarco says:


    “Lifestyle” choices are still a choice. Every decision we make has consequences. Moving to the countryside means dealing with longer commutes if you don’t want to change jobs. That’s the consequence of that decision.

    I’ve done 2-3 hr. commutes in my time. I felt that my best “lifestyle” choice was to do whatever was necessary to ensure I never had to go through that hell again.

    The fact that you couldn’t find a property close enough to the City and / or Canary Wharf despite their being your only possible work locations is not the fault of the public transport infrastructure.

    Why is housing so expensive in London? Yes, it’s a major world capital, but that doesn’t excuse the multi-million-pound price tags on homes that most continental Europeans would point and laugh at. (Seriously, you want how much for that godawful little noddy home?) The UK has some of the smallest homes on the planet. Yet this isn’t Hong Kong or Tokyo we’re talking about: it’s a massive, sprawling mess of a city that has plenty of scope for more housing.

    Property prices are artificially high in the UK primarily because hardly anyone is building any new properties. That is why I disagree with twisting the rail network to serve people in a misguided palliative for a symptom, when it’s the root cause that needs the most urgent attention. And that simply will not be solved by transport infrastructure alone.

    I’m not just a “public transport enthusiast”. I’m a design and planning enthusiast. Railways are only a part of that process; housing is another.

  336. Windsorian says:

    @ PoP, re ETCS and Crossrail

    With Crossrail Tunnels only 50% complete and work not yet started on the installation of signalling, it begs the question on why not review the decision to use a different signalling system in the tunnels as compared with the surface sections? Particularly as the tunnel sections are not due to open until December 2018?

    Wolstenholme said the soft-starts meant the infrastructure would be eased in, in a staged manner. “So when we talk about December 2018, that’s the stage three opening. Stage one is taking on the existing Liverpool Street to Shenfield services with existing rolling stock. Stage two is putting the new rolling stock on the existing line from Heathrow to Paddington above ground. And stage three is to put that rolling stock below ground. “

  337. Slugabed says:

    Stimarco 17:42 02/04
    I would take issue with your contention that:

    “Property prices are artificially high in the UK primarily because hardly anyone is building any new properties.”

    …on a number of levels.Just today on the News was the (unrevelatory) revelation that the property price boom is essentially a London and Southeast affair,with prices in some other parts of the UK actually falling.
    An argument can be made that lack of supply is a factor,sure,but other factors include a surplus of money (either through credit,or as “investment in property by wealthy individuals” or corporations)
    I have read that there are more rooms-per-person in the UK now than at any time since the aftermath of the Black Death…if this is really the case,the problem is not a shortage of property but rather that it is in the wrong place,or if nicely located,is being used as a piggy-bank rather than as a place of residence.

  338. Fandroid says:

    Sorry, memory failure concerning the timing of the GW franchise renewal, and its consultations (ended some time back). I have a hazy notion that the franchise is going to be more of a management contract/concession than a ‘proper’ franchise, due to belated recognition of all the changes (line electrification, IEP, Crossrail, stock transfers and resignalling). That means that DfT can tell the Pewsey commuters to get on that rattly old DMU and change three times before arriving in London! (Or are those seats vulnerable to UKIP?)

  339. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Well yes, one would have thought the issue would have needed raising. The most reliable interface is the one you never had to install in the first place. So Thameslink plan to install ERTMS with ATO on an existing railway that they keep running whilst Crossrail reckon it is too risky to install on a new railway despite having almost a year built into the schedule for testing. Crossrail even has the luxury of a surface section (Plumstead – Abbey Wood) being potentially available for testing from an early date.

  340. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Fandroid – to be fair to you it is difficult to know what is going on with the GW franchise as the Government keeps changing its mind. It had to do the direct award to First Group just to keep the trains running. It then said it would go to the market and I assume that is what the ITT was issued for. Now the DfT are suggesting they wish to go for a five year direct award franchise with First. I *think* they’re consulting on this latter possible change of strategy. I can understand why they may wish to stick with “the devil you know” in the shape of the current FGW management team given the enormous amount of change that has to be managed as you point out.

    Of course the DfT never tell any passengers anything because they hide behind the operator. I have never known an operator turn round and say “your train service is specified in Whitehall. We only run what we are told to run.” They don’t even mention the infrastructure provider by name either so Network Rail are absolved of “blame” even when their assets break.

  341. Windsorian says:

    @ Walthamstow Writer

    Hansard 11th March Stephen Hammond re: GW Franchise

    The Great Western franchise agreement announced on 3 October 2013 is a new direct award agreement, not an extension to the old First Great Western franchise agreement. Its term is from 13 October 2013 to 19 September 2015. This agreement will see a premium of at least £32.5 million paid to the Department over the 23 months of the contract. A profit sharing arrangement is in place, but the details of this are commercially confidential. The actual premium/subsidy figures will be published by the Office of Rail Regulation on its website, annually in arrears. Revenue support is not payable under this direct award franchise agreement.

    For the period from September 2015 the Great Western franchise is planned to be covered by a second direct award franchise agreement, as the first direct award franchise agreement may not exceed two years under the relevant procurement regulations. The amount of net franchise payment and revenue support payable for this second direct award is not known since the agreement has not yet been negotiated.

  342. Anonymous 14 says:

    It looks as if the “Newham” lobby are mounting a rearguard action against the “Haringey” route.

    Could these comments be moved to the CR2 article?

    [I tend to agree. In fact I have simply deleted a couple of comments because I discovered the other day how ridiculously difficult it is to move comments. This is part motivated by selfishness. I do tend to sometimes look out for past comments when writing future articles. If one sticks in my mind it is often difficult enough to find it in the correct article let alone another inappropriate one. Apologies to those who had their comment deleted. PoP]

  343. The other Paul says:

    @John U.K.

    You’re missing my point about service via Heathrow. Of course the primary objective of running via Heathrow is to serve Heathrow. However, there are a limited number of fast paths out of Paddington each hour and currently four of them are used for HeX trains which – despite being profitable for the operator – run largely empty most of the time, whilst FGW expresses to/from Reading and beyond are full to bursting in the peaks. Additionally HeX occupies two full-length platforms in Paddington which also limits FGW capacity.

    So in years to come there will be increasing pressure to abandon HeX, to allow 4 additional fast trains per hour to Reading and beyond. My suggestion was that HeX could be maintained, via WRAtH, if it’s made into a through service to destinations where the time penalty of running via Heathrow is less of an issue.

    Of course people at Reading will board WRAtH Heathrow trains to go to Heathrow, but if they want to go to Central London they’ll probably wait for a faster direct service to Paddington, even if there is a through service. This will probably leave the WRAtH service just as empty as the HeX service.

    Unless of course the HeX service is extended via WRAtH and Reading to places like Pewsey, Devizes and Frome, where a through service will be attractive even if it is 15-20m slower than changing at Reading. Thus the crush out of Paddington is eased, the people of Wiltshire and Somerset (or wherever) are happy, and HeX is maintained.

  344. Mark Townend says:

    @The other Paul, 2 April 2014 at 23:31

    Another option for HEX and WRATH that minimises terminating at Reading General would be for the combined service to take over the Basingstoke shuttle with a new parkway station at Reading South for Green Park incorporating a third platform for turnback. Two trains an hour would reverse at Reading South, whilst the other two continued on to Basingstoke. That simple pattern would maintain 4TPH service from the parkway and a reasonable 2 TPH connection to the airport from the South Western main line, also bringing a direct connection from Basingstoke to Maidenhead, Twyford and Slough, and Thames Valley Park if a station was built there.

  345. Mark Townend says:

    @Mark Townend, 3 April 2014 at 00:02

    Further to my last comment, with the Basingstoke shuttle thus replaced, the crowding problems at the narrow west end bays 1 and 2 , as noted by Fandroid recently, might be solved by abolishing and filling in platform 1, perhaps also allowing 2 to be extended westward a little.

  346. Windsorian says:

    The proposed WRAtH from Reading to LHR T5 is 4tph semi-fast stopping at either Twyford or Maidenhead plus Slough in 28 minutes.

    It maybe worth remembering that BAA’s original Reading to T5 Airtrack semi-fast service was 2 tph stopping at Wokingham & Bracknell in approx. 45 minutes

  347. Ian J says:

    @PoP: I am told the DfT are pestering Crossrail for a compliant migration strategy to ERTMS which Crossrail has failed to come up with

    Indeed, Crossrail has one of only four derogations from the EU interoperability regulations for its signalling.

    However, I am not so sure that Crossrail has backed the wrong horse on this one. Firstly, Thameslink is due to use ETCS Level 2, whereas the derogation anticipates that Crossrail will eventually use ETCS Level 3, which doesn’t actually exist anywhere as a working system yet. Significantly, there is no deadline for compliance.

    Secondly, the derogation anticipates that ETRMS won’t be adopted until “tests to verify that ETCS implementation on Crossrail meets the performance requirements and availability rates, in particular as regards Automatic Train Operation, Platform Edge Door communications and Auto Reverse”.

    ATO will be covered by the Thameslink development work, but I am not sure that any railway so far has developed interfaces for the PED communications (presumably involving balises to check that the train has stopped close enough to the door openings) and Auto Reverse (presumably needed for the fast turnarounds at Paddington).

    So I can see why developing a migration strategy to ETCS hasn’t made it to the top of Crossrail’s to-do list yet. Perhaps the DfT could find someone from their own workforce who needs to be put on “special projects” to do it?

  348. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ W W 14:53 yesterday:

    “I typed out a “these people must be daft” type reply to Castlebar earlier but deleted and went and checked the Great Western ITT Supplement”

    “Daft”, No

    Uninformed, “Yes”, Unfamiliar with rail infrastructure, “Yes”, Well connected where it matters, “Yes”, Moneyed, “Yes”, Very protective of what they have (including THEIR seats on THEIR train service), “Yes”, Very articulate and vocal when necessary, “Yes”,
    Intolerant, “Yes”,

    “Daft”, No

  349. Greg Tingey says:

    Signalling / installation / testing ( 19.08, 2nd April )
    Yes, well, didn’t TfL/LUL try three different signalling systems in short order, rather than sticking with just one ( The second one, IIRC ) that, you know, actually WORKED?
    The apparent total lack of logic & project/system “management” does make one wonder.
    Which appears to have surfaced in the gloriously splenetic “reply” by P. Hendy in the current Modern Railways to a sarcastic prod in the March issue.
    I mean, what the hell is going on?

    the other Paul
    Interesting idea.
    But, it rests on the assumption that the current airport is maintained, of course. Trouble is if it is, then it will be expanded & Harmondsworth Great Barn will be demolished.
    Actually, WratH strikes me as a futile “paper” scheme that will probably never happen – totally irrationally, I just get that “feel” about it.
    Quite frankly, someone needs to get a grip on the LC-problem in SW London & revive an updated version of Airtrack.

    Ian J
    Yes, that seems odd & “not connected”, shall we say, to development elsewhere. Especially since we are led to believe that CR1 will not have PED’s in the centre-section (?) And, of course, the “fast turnarounds at Paddington” are not going to last – I give it a maximum of two time-tables) because of the ludicrous under-estimation of demand W of Ealing Bdy.

    Which bring us back to where we started from …….

  350. Richie says:

    @ GrahamH (1 April 2014 at 20:33)

    Agree with your comments.

    London & its commuting zone needs a clear strategy – i.e. one covering Network South East & TfL.

    NR has a limited strategy (Thameslink) which extends to the edge of the commuter zone while TfL has another (Crossrail 1 & 2) which extends to (roughly) the M25.

    In 1943, Forshaw & Abercrombie suggested as part of their County of London plan that “suburban lines be taken underground and connected to the tube network, and express lines provided”

    The response from the railway industry is shown in the 1946 report of the Railway (London Plan) Committee and is a good example of a joined-up plan with its proposed 9 cross-London rail lines and 3 tube network extensions.

    The commuting zone is much larger than that planned for in the 1940s, and those catching the train at Pewsey (for example) need to be included in a modern plan. At the moment they are not, because of TfL’s limited remit.

  351. Windsorian says:

    @ Ian J

    ….Auto Reverse (presumably needed for the fast turnarounds at Paddington).

    I thought the XR Paddington terminators were travelling on to Royal Oak for checking (sleepers!) before a regulated return journey; now on hold awaiting the OOC decision ?

  352. Windsorian says:

    @ Greg Tingey

    “…& Harmondsworth Great Barn will be demolished”

    I’m no suporter of a R3 at LHR, however the Barn is a side show. It’s of timber & peg construction and can be dismantled / relocated – just like some HS1 and probably HS2 properties in the way of progress.

  353. @Ian J,

    Thanks for that reply. Having raised the issue and now read your comment I can see the further complexities. I think it is going to take a long time for me to grasp the full implications of ETCS/ERMTS. I can see that we are back to this problem that no-one wants to be first. Other the other hand I can understand Crossrail’s point of view a bit better now.

    Given that level 2 ETCS is good enough for Thameslink (24tph on an existing less-than-ideal railway) but not good enough for a new railway built for the 21st century I have drawn my own conclusions as to why it is not good enough for Crossrail.

    Also makes one wonder if Thameslink could manage more trains if it was upgraded to level 3 in the future but I suspect that the answer is no because of dwell times, the stations being too closely spaced and the gradients.

  354. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Originally posted by Mark Townend elsewhere but crudely moved copied here to keep the ERTMS debate in one place.

    @Pedantic of Purley, 3 April 2014 at 08:15

    There should be a template ERTMS hybrid ATO system available to copy and retrofit fairly soon, following successful completion of the Thameslink core scheme.

  355. Thanks. Where is Uncle Roger when you need him to explain all this?

  356. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – You criticise LU’s choices on signalling systems but surely we have two systems which work – DTG on the Victoria and Seltrac S40 on the Jubilee and most of the Northern? Given that there will have been points during each project life cycle where there were significant questions as to the likelihood of a successful outcome then when do you decide which system is the “winner”?

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I’ve yet to see anyone set out an infallible way of achieving a competitive and legal procurement process which delivers a high performance signalling system that is upgradeable forever across a network with highly variable operating characteristics and which is guaranteed to be value for money with no supplier “lock in” risk. I’ve set out all those criteria because those are the things which are used as sticks with which to beat TfL and LU around the head. I am sure we will learn more about the SSR resignalling debacle in due course but I rather feel the true story is more involved than many of us appreciate. I have not yet read the letter which prompted Mr Hendy’s response in MR but you’d have to question whether the letters page of a national publication is quite the place to mount a personal attack on your previous employer. Sometimes a bit of discretion is warranted no matter how strongly you might feel.

    On Crossrail there will always be value in having “auto reverse” as part of the system if it speeds up turnrounds or reversals. This will benefit the efficiency of service recovery and mangement of engineering works as well as day to day operation. And since when were platform edge doors not appearing on Crossrail stations in the central area? Every drawing I’ve ever seen shows them being used at all underground stations. Are you aware of a development that the rest of us are not?

  357. Fandroid says:

    @The other Paul. Ingenious idea to give the likes of Pewsey a direct connection to Heathrow. It might just flatter them enough for them not to realise that the trains are slower! Problem is that there is no plan to extend the wires that far. IEP bi-mode would do the trick, but are there enough of them?
    @Mark Townend. It would be lovely to have 4tph to Reading Green Park, especially for us regulars at Madejski Stadium, but I always wonder how many spare paths there are between Southcote Junction and Basingstoke. Using up such paths for a 1 station journey might be regarded as wasteful. Remember that this is the Electric Spine from Southampton. Also, what us ‘stokers want is 2tph non-stop Reading General to Basingstoke, not the 1.5 tph we now get.

  358. Castlebar 1 says:

    @ Fandroid

    My comments (3 April 2014 at 07:36) had the Pewsey – Devizes – Marlborough “set” in mind. It is easy to rattles their cages. Many of these travel “up to town” on a Monday or Tuesday morning, work four days then return on a Thursday or Friday evening, staying in their “London flats” (which might be as far out as Kew or Richmond) whilst they work up there. Frome is now beginning to attract this market too, since getting a direct train to Padders. It is a very cash rich market, is one that rail companies like to tap into, but is easily upset. Making it change trains would be sufficient to do it.

  359. MikeP says:

    Pewsey – Devizes – Marlborough ?? Amateurs !! I know of someone who does this from the Quantocks. Buys his tickets months in advance. His pad is out in Mile End. He didn’t realise quite what the location was like when he took it on.

  360. Graham H says:

    If you come that far, worth buying the all line weekly Rover – very few peak restrictions.

  361. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H – no restrictions on FGW but the ones that do exist have ruined the All Line Rover product for me. I didn’t buy lots of them but the inability to head out early from Euston and Kings Cross / St P on fast services is ludicrous given the main cities served from these stations. It is certainly one reason why my main line long distance rail travel is now negligible. Other fares are too expensive or simply unavailable at short notice. I refuse to book 6 months in advance just to pay a moderately affordable fare.

  362. Mark Townend says:

    Some more thoughts on WRaTH to Basingstoke –

    The Basingstoke shuttle is probably the easiest flow to separate from the broader GW franchise, as its very self contained, never as far as I know having had any through workings to Paddington, that probably being a legacy of its previous operation by Southern Region using DEMUs before the new Turbos appeared under NSE. As for 4TPH, I imagined this to be between Paddington, Heathrow and Reading South only, with 2TPH continuing beyond to Basingstoke, hence the third platform at Reading South (for the stadium) would be required to accommodate the terminators. Beyond Reading South, the service would consume no more paths than the existing shuttle, leaving plenty of capacity for cross country and freight growth.

    A problem might arise at Reading station itself however. Whilst the new layout provides a pair of parallel tracks connecting across the layout between the Westbury Line and the Relief side under the Main lines flyover, each track is an independent bidirectional single line. The Relief line connection is labelled as a freight connection, so that implies a high frequency through passenger services on the axis has not been anticipated together with the long slow stone trains. The other track under the new flyover provides a grade separated path for fast trains from the Westbury route to join the Main side of the station, avoiding conflict with departing westbound fast trains heading towards Didcot.

    To address the bottleneck, track changes would be required to permit parallel movements using these two tracks between the Reliefs and the Westbury/ Basingstoke routes, allowing trains travelling in opposite directions to pass each other under the flyover. Indicatively, two additional crossovers would be required, one at the west end of the station and one at Oxford Road junction.

    See a sketch of the the layout changes here:

  363. Fandroid says:

    Weekly commuters are not really the sort of passenger that would get a TOC accountant very excited (except perhaps negatively), especially if they want to travel on the Monday morning peak. Friday isn’t quite so bad as the evening peak stretches out somewhat.

    I’m too lazy to check back through several hundred comments (possibly on another thread too), but didn’t Graham H point out a problem with a WRAtH/HEx train disappearing off the fast lines for a while, only to reappear out of the other side of Heathrow with an inconvenient lag time added? It would take some very nifty scheduling to slot that train into a gap created by the following WRAtH/HEx . A sort of skip-stop backward leapfrog.

    I’ll leave the solving of that one with the timetable branch of le crayoniste.

  364. Long Branch Mike 1 says:


    “the timetable branch of le crayoniste”

    Voici les timetablistes!

  365. Fandroid says:

    @Mark Townend. I assumed that WRaTH would use the fast lines west of Heathrow. That means that your Basingstoke/South Reading version could happily use platforms 7 and 11 on the present new Reading layout.

    When I worried about clogging up paths, I was thinking of the 2tph that would use paths from Reading itself as far as South Reading, then leaving empty paths from there to Basingstoke. But if they can squash in all the varied services, passenger and freight, on the two tracks between Oxford Road Junction and Southcote Junction, then perhaps I worry needlessly.

  366. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Long Branch Mike 1
    3 April 2014 at 19:38

    Perhaps cheminista, or horologiste, or, in the sense of carving a slot through other time blocks, a pistebasher (French – pistebasheur), or if enlightening the path of railway knowledge, just rayoniste?

  367. Mark Townend says:

    @Fandroid, 3 April 2014 at 20:04

    I don’t think stops at Slough and Twyford, and, or Maidenhead are at all compatible with main line running to Reading. Even if those stops were abandoned you’d then need a fairly well padded schedule via the airport to make sure you could always hit your allocated path when rejoining the mains, and you’d be missing out on all the potential airport business from those spurned Thames Valley towns as well. Ms May would probably not be pleased.

    With the terminators getting out of the way at Reading South they could be followed fairly closely from Reading by a faster train going non-stop to Basingstoke. That’s why I would be against all 4TPH going all the way, as it would eat up many more fast paths, and having some sort of skip stop pattern on this segment would be difficult to understand on what would have been formerly a simple service (the current shuttle).

  368. timbeau says:

    @mark T
    “The Basingstoke shuttle …………., never as far as I know having had any through workings to Paddington, that probably being a legacy of its previous operation by Southern Region using DEMUs ”

    It was originally part of the Great Western Railway (the Hampshire branch of the “Berks & Hants”)- whether it ever had through services I wouldn’t know.

  369. The other Paul says:

    By my incredibly back-of-a-fag-packet-with-a-crayon calculations the via-Heathrow fast would actually about fit the 15m additional time required to hit the subsequent slot in the 4tph at the other end.
    I’m looking at timetables and guessing that Hayes&H to Slough would take about 8mins in an HST, wheras Hayes&H to T1-3 to T5 to Slough would take about 22mins including stops, based on the publicised WRAtH timings.

    Problem is that there is no plan to extend the wires that far.

    No, though apparently a certain Mr Burns said he would look into it. The diversionary route via Westbury to Bath actually makes sense as it’s quite regularly used by HSTs AIUI. Also it would support the Bristol-Bath metro proposals. But I agree it aint happening any time soon.

    I think the via-Heathrow logic still works for the Oxford stoppers as I mentioned before. From the likes of Appleford the through journey time would actually improve via Heathrow relative to today’s service which stops at all the to-be-Crossrail destinations.

    Perhaps, notwithstanding Mark Townend’s Basingtsoke angle, East West Rail is the most interesting prospect for WRAtH? There doesn’t seem much value in running that through to Paddington….

    But one more thing to consider: As-is, WRAtH dumps people at T5. Which is great for BA in T5, but less good for anyone travelling via T1-3, and downright hopeless for T4. Who wants to change trains twice within the airport? It’d be quicker to stick with the RailAir coach. Yes, I’ve heard that Heathrow want to eventually ditch T4 in favour of more “toast rack” but I’m not convinced that will happen ahead of WRAtH. If T4 is still in play I’d say a through service for WRAtH is the only viable option for this reason as well.

  370. Windsorian says:

    @ The other Paul

    “…..a certain Mr Burns said he would look into it….” (BBC 22.11.12)

    A certain Mr Burns did look into it, and the 14.6.13 Arup report for Bedwyn gives a BCR of 2.58 but for Westbury a BCR of only 0.31

  371. Ian J says:

    @PoP: Given that level 2 ETCS is good enough for Thameslink (24tph on an existing less-than-ideal railway) but not good enough for a new railway built for the 21st century I have drawn my own conclusions as to why it is not good enough for Crossrail

    My perspective would be that ETCS 2 is considered good enough for Thameslink because Thameslink has also fitted a complete back-up system in the form of very frequent line-side signals. So if it all goes wrong then there is a fall-back to a proven system that is working right now.

    To achieve the same reassurance on Crossrail, you would have to fit conventional signalling in the tunnels. The cost of doing this for Thameslink was justified because of the long gap between Key Output 1 (which required a higher frequency through the core to allow the temporary closure of the Blackfriars bay platforms) and Key Output 2 (the full 24 tph service), but it would be hard to justify installing a complete conventional signalling system “just in case”.

    @Windsorian: I thought the XR Paddington terminators were travelling on to Royal Oak for checking (sleepers!) before a regulated return journey

    Fair point, although I’m not so sure about the checking – isn’t that just an issue for tube trains without proper gangways, where there is a risk that passengers will panic and try walk through the train and fall between the carriages. In any case it has to be done in the platform at the last station – hence it becomes difficult to terminate tube trains short at stations with only two platforms.

    If you fall asleep on Crossrail, I suspect you will just end up travelling back towards where you came from. But drivers will need to change ends in the sidings at Royal Oak (and then in the middle platforms at Old Oak Common, and then maybe one day at Bletchley). In fact I had an idea that the plan was for platforms alongside the reversing sidings at Royal Oak, which would facilitate stepping back if it were needed – as would auto-reverse.

  372. Ian J says:

    One issue that is hinted at in the article but on which I haven’t seen any concrete information emerge: what is the effect of this decision on Crossrail’s depot strategy? Will Crossrail use Reading depot for maintenance, and if so, does this reduce the need for depot space elsewhere, and especially at Old Oak Common? When Crossrail was planned, the OOC surroundings were semi-derelict railway land: now they are meant to become the new Canary Wharf. Is this still the best place for a depot?

  373. Fandroid says:

    @Mark Townsend. The problem is that HEx uses the fast lines as far as Heathrow. A service combined with WRAtH would best also use the fast lines from there to Reading, if the slotting in with vacant paths thingy can be solved. Otherwise the problem of 4tph unused fast line paths to Reading still exists. Some fairly mad multiple swoppings between fast and relief lines at Iver might be possible, but I suspect that’s a level of complexity that only Camden Town could emulate. There’s no need for a parkway-style station at Green Park. Theale would be a far more obvious place to create one of those (it already exists for one thing!).

    @The Other Paul. Whereas no-one would travel East-West rail from Milton Keynes or Bicester to Paddington, there are plenty (quite a lot) who would use it from Oxford to Heathrow. Stopping at T2/3 as well as T5 makes a vast amount of sense, and the train could adopt a HEx identity from there to Paddington.

  374. Greg Tingey says:

    WW – 3rd April
    Actually, the original questioner in “MR” for March, was just that – just a questioner.
    He noted that there was not a “Director of Engineering” post within LU. [ Shades of Railtrack – but that’s me, not him. ] He also noted that the “Director of Capital Programmes” was given a New Year’s gong …. and that there appeared to be an hiatus/gap in the relevant announcements/meetings schedules.
    All quite low-key but querying.
    None of which seems to explain Sir P. Hendy’s public explosion – or does it?

  375. Mark Townend says:


    Green Park seems to be back on – From the BBC, 3 December 2013:

    “New railway station plan for Reading’s Madjeski Stadium
    “. . . Plans for Green Park Station were put on hold two years ago, but the council now wants work on it to start within three years.
    “. . . Reading Borough Council is set to re-submit planning proposals for the stop next year.”

    I understood from a MR article last year that Network Rail and both train operators are working with suppliers to devise a dynamic driver advisory system, going beyond simple timetable and fuel economy considerations to better regulate merge conflicts at the existing Heathrow airport junction in real time. That could also be useful for merging the WRaTH service into the main line paths west of Heathrow, but if stops are planned at Slough and elsewhere, each such call would cost at least another fast path.

    The precision merging optimisation that such an advisory system could achieve, rather like ATO is supposed to manage, might allow capacity west of Iver to be enhanced beyond the nominal figure throughout for fast paths between Paddington / Old Oak and Reading, so the theoretical “wastage” of those paths west thereof is not really an issue.

  376. THC says:

    My very thought too Greg. I thought Mr Hendy’s letter was a rather disproportionate response, especially when it became an ad hominem attack on the correspondent. Perhaps these days he’s just more sensitive to what he considers to be personal attacks? Although if I was Mr Waboso in that situation, I’d be delighted if my boss came out all guns blazing in my support.


  377. Fandroid says:

    @Mark T. I know that Reading Borough Council want to keep the Green Park station idea alive. That’s why they are putting a few bob into keeping the planning consent alive. However, I don’t think that they are going to fund it. Although Network Rail seem to think that there is room in the timetabling for two more stations on the Reading-Basingstoke line (including Chineham near Basingstoke), that must depend on getting some acceleration due to electrification, as the current shuttles use up most of the time available and those few spare minutes are very useful in allowing some recovery from disruption. Otherwise, you can imagine the 2tph stoppers gradually getting later and later throughout the day until some ‘service cancellations’ have to be imposed to retrieve the proper timetable.

  378. Windsorian says:

    I’m not sure I understand the logic of HEx & WRAtH using the fast lines; at present HEx takes 15 mins to LHR CTA (T1,T2,T3) and T5 in 21 minutes.

    The XR “Journey Time Calculator” shows Paddington to CTA at 23 minutes; whilst it is 8 minutes slower than HEx – it includes 6 stops (Acton main line, Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall, Hayes & Harlington).

    NR in their L&SE RUS proposed a Xr “Skip / Stop service” to LHR, which suggests alternate trains will only stop at 3 intermediate stations – instead of 6; this should give a time saving of say 5 minutes.

    To me this suggests a Skip / Stop XR service to CTA on the relief lines of 18 minutes i.e. only 3 minutes slower than HEX on the fast lines. Is it really worth taking a 4tph HEx service from Paddington after XR commences ?

    or have I got something wrong ??

  379. CdBrux says:

    regarding the comments from various people around HEx using the fast tracks until Heathrow (and thus eating capacity for use of those slots beyond Heathrow), maybe there is a link there to the rail ministers hint about evaluating adding passing loops into that section of the line. Might they help overcome that problem?

  380. Mark Townend says:

    @Fandroid, 4 April 2014 at 09:34

    “However, I don’t think that they (Reading) are going to fund it (Green Park Station).”

    Maybe a directly airport connected development might be quite attractive to the private sector in the (allegedly) newly flourishing economy.

    “. . . the current shuttles use up most of the time available and those few spare minutes are very useful in allowing some recovery from disruption.”

    I used the service regularly between Reading West and Basingstoke a few years ago and found it conveniently fast, reliable and very busy as you have noted here before. Turbos at the time seemed to have to accelerate quite hard to keep time though and I think adding extra stops would definitely impact on reliability with the short turn-rounds, although better performance from electrics would help, probably enough for one extra stop but I’m doubtful adding two .

    The dedicated platforms at either end help, but five minutes can easily be lost on departure at each end due to conflict with other services running only slightly out of course and that might eat up all or most of the layover time at the other end. However, I certainly saw a few very fast turnbacks achieved at Basingstoke in the evening, and usually, barring a second incident, the service would have recovered by the next circuit.

  381. Fandroid says:

    @ Mark T. Yes, I am always impressed by how the Basingstoke-Reading shuttle recovers from disruption. Often I have stood at Basingstoke with the automated announcement telling me that the arrival is over 5 mins late. The regular passengers are always ready to board the whole train length (even when it’s raining hard!) so a quick swop of driver and guard and the train is away, roughly on schedule. My guess is that any intensification of service or additional stations will result in Mortimer and Bramley being dropped as stops for any late running service.

    I would love to have a direct Heathrow service. I just wonder about the Reading South at Green Park idea. Those two intermediate WRAtH services could go somewhere else. Now where else is 25 mins from Reading on its western side?

  382. Southern Heights says:

    @ The Other Paul

    The diversionary route via Westbury to Bath

    It makes perfect sense and my train used it last weekend, on the way back from Bristol. It could do with a bit of speeding up though…

  383. Fandroid says:

    @Windsorian. Your link (with commendable ability to spot all these papers) talks about Green Park Village. My understanding is that the proposal was abandoned, but I may not be fully up to date. That might be the reason for the moribund status of the proposed Green Park Station. Anyone travelling on that line in February-March will have been very aware of how much the Kennet Valley floodplain thereabouts is often used to its full capability as a ‘flood plain’ ! That casts a very heavy doubt on any further developments around there, and I am sure that was part of the reason for the ‘village’ being abandoned. The Great Western knew what they were doing when they kept the Berks and Hants Railway high up on embankments. The Green Park business park has a Dutch look about it, as the offices are positioned around several joined up waterways and lakes. The nearby Madejski Stadium is appropriately perched up on top of a heap of consolidated domestic rubbish!

  384. Mark Townend says:

    @Fandroid, 4 April 2014 at 14:39

    “Those two intermediate WRAtH services could go somewhere else. Now where else is 25 mins from Reading on its western side?”

    The Newbury stoppers are 31 minutes each way currently. With more intermediate stops for the given distance (6 in 17m 8ch, vs 3 for Reading -Basingstoke in 15m 33ch), perhaps better electric acceleration could save the required 6 minutes or so on this route. That would be a good result, adding Newbury, Thatcham and Theale to the list of direct airport connections. I would still run them on the Reliefs east of Reading though (using my additional parallel connections under the Main flyover) calling all stations to Maidenhead (including TVP if it ever happens) then Slough, and Heathrow-Paddington via the Mains.

  385. Paul says:


    To add to the above, the extra down relief loop to Westbury’s crossover is shown in an updated version of your source drawing in the Feb 2013 Modern Railways if you have access to a copy. This drawing is not too clear but I think it also allows for your parallel moves at Oxford Rd junction as well…


  386. Mark Townend says:


    Thanks for the information about the Reading layout changes. I haven’t managed to locate a copy of that particular MR edition yet. It struck me as odd the parallel moves were not catered for in the original design, as regardless of any possible passenger use it would give the flexibility to allow two stone trains to pass each other through the station and junctions, which although probably not scheduled normally, could be useful for service recovery in certain perturbation scenarios, avoiding a long slow train blocking the approach at one end or the other awaiting a path. I also believe a third track could be very useful through the cutting between Reading West and Southcote Junction, especially useful for Southampton freights crossing to or from the west curve.

  387. Fandroid says:

    Apropos of nothing really relevant. Here’s an intriguing Reading station image I picked up on a local politician’s blog.

  388. Paul says:

    Crossrail’s website has been amended to show the calling pattern changes following last week’s announcement:

    Too complicated to copy out the whole page of info, but the remaining GW 2 tph service east of Reading appears to only call at Twyford, Maidenhead, Slough, Ealing Broadway and Paddington

  389. Mark Townend says:

    @Paul, 5 April 2014 at 18:47
    “. . . the remaining GW 2 tph service east of Reading appears to only call at Twyford, Maidenhead, Slough, Ealing Broadway and Paddington”

    Except the 2TPH non Crossrail call additionally at Hayes and Harlington off-peak.

    The odd ones are the Reading and Maidenhead Crossrail figures. There are 4TPH for Maidenhead and 2 TPH for Reading both peak and off-peak, yet there are 4TPH shown at Taplow and Burnham peak as against 2 off peak, and the same applies at Langley and Iver. This could imply that of the 4 at Maidenhead all 4 stop at these stations in the peak which must include the 2 from Reading, whilst in the off-peak only 2 of the 4 call at the ‘minor’ stations, and I’m guessing but they are likely to be the Maidenhead termiators rather than the Readings so this could mean that in the peak journeys from Reading on Crossrail are slower in the peaks than off peak, and some journeys between Reading and these minor stops will require a change off-peak. An alternative explanation is that the figures in the table are ‘minimum only’ so actually Maidenhead gets 6TPH in the peak and Reading services are always limited stop. Could there be a typo here?

  390. Fandroid says:

    If we think of a symmetrical service with the same stopping pattern in both directions, then those extra stops on the peak Reading Crossrail services could be aimed at people who commute into Reading. That might not be the eventual reality, but the website info might be deliberately simplistic.

  391. Paul says:

    Mark @ 20:31

    The internet ‘wayback machine’ currently has the equivalent Crossrail webpage from Feb 14th, the only significant difference in the revised GW calls seems to be that the GW 2 tph called at Hayes and Harlington in both peak and off-peak.

    Those stations with the Crossrail service reduced to 2 tph in the off-peak seem similar, is this just a lesser known aspect of the earlier Crossrail timetable – i.e. that the off-peak was halved compared to the peak at the minor stations?

  392. Saintsman says:

    Windsor branch – why not?

    TfL are due to take over both the Greenford and Upminster branches. Each brings different challenges (well documented in a previous article). This includes Greenford electrification and intermediate platform lengths; Upminster branch, passing loop and signalling etc. However, TfL do have a track record of transforming unloved services in what is now London Overground.

    Branded and marketed, these 2 services, as “Crossrail Shuttles”, shown on the tube map and witha regular service frequency of 4tph, timetabled to connect with Crossrail core services. This should help boost passenger numbers through visibility and clear expectations.

    The Windsor branch (although Slough is 30km from Paddington) looks very similar. At 4.5km it is very similar in length to both (at 4km and 5.4km). Like Upminster it would need a passing loop (partial doubling) to achieve 4tph. With the addition of an intermediate station at Chalvey (with Park and Ride) then journey time would not be dissimilar. Further Windsor has a tourist appeal and having the name “on the map” must be beneficial. Slough will have faster services but core Crossrail should get some tourist reverse flows.

    Using the Greenford bay (83m) as the limiting factor all 3 branches could use 3-car 23m electric stock (Greenford currently diesel). A short formation 3-car Class 345 would give consistent identity with the rest of Crossrail. Standardising to the same formation length on 3 branches also has maintenance benefits.

    {For the record I believe the Bourne End and Henley branches should stay with GW franchise}

  393. Long Branch Mike says:


    Very interesting idea. TfL branding has been very powerful. Now if we can get Thameslink on the Tube Map as well…

  394. @saintsman,

    Yes interesting ideas. I am still not convinced the takeover of Greenford and Upminster branches will actually happen. Converting the St Albans branch to tram was all set to go until they actually got around to trying to implement it in a satisfactory way.

    At the time of writing the article (in advance of the announcement) it looked like the Henley and Marlow branches would only feed into Crossrail services so it seemed sensible to raise the issue of who should run them. The current plan retains two semi-fast trains per hour and the branches will probably feed into them so it would now seem less appropriate to have them as Crossrail Connect or Shuttle.

    Conversely I excluded Windsor – Slough because I presumed that this would connect to 2tph semi-fast trains. Now that there are going to be 4tph Crossrail trains proposed to Slough (peak and off-peak) and 2tph semi-fast to Paddington I am less convinced.

    So one issue would be which trains the shuttle trains connect with. If not the Crossrail trains then I don’t think the branch should be anything to do with Crossrail. If they do connect with Crossrail then, at the very least, there must be a case for showing the branch on the Crossrail route diagram given the number of tourists in London who might want to visit Windsor – and may not have realised how easy it is to get to.

    If electrification really speeded up the journey on the branch (I don’t know, I am not familiar with it) you might just manage 4tph without needing a second train.

  395. Milton Clevedon says:

    This new TfL press release confirms takeover of the Romford-Upminster shuttle, with 1 new train and Emerson Park to be managed. Romford will of course be managed by Crossrail.

  396. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    Thanks for that link Milton

    It specifically mentions the TfL takeover of Romford – Upminster, thus we must conclude that takeover of the Greenford branch was considered but rejected.

    “The Greenford branch” The problem nobody wants.

  397. Mark Townend says:

    Windsor branch:

    Currently 6 minutes running time for 2m 63 chains. Maybe a minute could be shaved off with electric acceleration but for a 15 minute interval service that would still leave only a 2.5 minutes turnround each end, perhaps possible given the self contained nature of the branch, but probably a horrible driving experience, rather like the drain, although with better views! ATO with a DLR style train captain could be a good solution.

  398. timbeau says:

    Windsor and Greenford, unlike the Emerson Park line, are still diesel so may be a better fit with whatever franchise operates the longer distance services out of Paddington which will still be diesel operated. (Although TfL will have some 172s going begging soon)
    But if Windsor Central and Reading both get Oysterised as a result of Crossrail, this has interesting implications for SWT.

    (Unless the lady trying to leave a train through the window was extremely thin, I assume her unathorised attempt at exiting the train was from an HST)

  399. timbeau says:

    @ castlebar
    Maybe the reason for the non-mention of Greenford is that, unlike Emerson Park, it doesn’t fit easily with the WA and Goblin fleet. Quite apart from not being electrified, any unit would be rather isolated from the rest of the WA/G/EP fleet. (It would either have to go through the Crossrail tunnel or round the North London line (assuming Acton ML to Acton Wells is electrified) – a nuisance either way. More sensible to hire in something based on the west side of London, e.g. from Chiltern or FGW. Or even, if the line is electrified, one of TfL’s own 378s (or maybe a 4-car set of 1992 stock?)

  400. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau / Castlebar – as we’re trading theories here is an alternative one. TfL tend to announce things when there is good news. There is no good news yet in respect of West Ealing – Greenford. The DfT are still pondering their navel about what to do with the Great Western franchise and this must be a key factor in the future of the service and who runs it. The time when TfL will most likely announce something about West London is when shiny new Crossrail trains are available to take over the more frequent Heathrow Connect service in 2016. At the same time the Greenford service is cut back to West Ealing. *That* is the time when TfL is likely to take over the route. There may even have been some arm twisting in the interim to get some cash to string some wires. If a suitable package of electrification, co-ordinated times with Crossrail run Heathrow Connect and a take over can be agreed then expect the news in late 2015. I’ve little doubt that is the end game but I doubt it is agreed yet. Part of the trade off will undoubtedly be something like “why have a diesel island just off Crossrail” when you can install the wires at negligible cost using established electrification resources. You also get the Class 172s from GOBLIN in 2017 to send to pastures north if (TfL) agree to buy a few extra EMUs for the Greenford Line. How’s that for an alternative conspiracy theory?

    I’m afraid I don’t see the Windsor line being moved to TfL control.

  401. Graham H says:

    @WW – a repeat, in effect, of the GOBLIN standoff, and for the same reason? (GW bidders are certainly thinking of subcontracting to Chiltern if nothing is done.)

  402. Windsorian says:


    The draft findings of the Western Route Study are due to be published in October and the final Route Study in April 2015; an ORR consultation follows(bottom p2 / top p3)

  403. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H – yes very similar but possibly without the same freight issues that GOBLIN has [1] and also without the same political pressure from the London Assembly and a vocal user group behind it. Nonetheless there is a certain elegance in wiring it and having a nice fully wired railway and branches from London to beyond Reading with shiny new trains running on it. I suspect industry pressure to avoid a “nonsense” with the Greenford operation may be going on but you know better than I if the industry is ever listened to by DfT.

    We do need to remember that the Assembly Transport Committee got very cross and wrote lots of letters to Treasury and DfT Ministers to support GOBLIN electrification. I’m sure their persistence and lobbying paid off. Having an aligned position with TfL also helped.

    @ Windsorian – yes I am aware of the next steps given I dug out the info from Mr Wilson’s website on the day of the Crossrail extension announcement.

    [1] I don’t know if the Greenford line has a lot of freight movements. Clearly the lack of wires on Chiltern doesn’t help if there are through workings. GOBLIN is surrounded by wired (or to be wired) routes.

  404. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ WW who said “I don’t know if the Greenford line has a lot of freight movements”

    Not many these days. The Brentford binliner traffic could, but there are 3 routes to Calvert. But 60 years ago, the Greenford loop had so much freight traffic (all loose coupled) that there was barely a path for the hourly passenger service. Most of the freight came down via Banbury (some off the GC at Woodford Halse), plus there was also Park Royal etc.

    But all gone now. There was a big Scrapyard (Cox & Danks) there at Park Royal. Large volumes of loose coupled trucks loaded with scrap metal went in, but for some reason, I don’t ever remember seeing any empty trucks coming out………….

  405. Mark Townend says:

    Actually quite a lot of freight and stock movements on the Greenford branch according to realtime trains, taking next tuesday for example:

  406. Westfiver says:

    The Brentford binliners go via the Greenford loop to Calvert. I see them regularly while on Perivale Golf Course.

    In the next year or two, the West London Waste Authority which operate the Brentford and Ruislip waste transfer stations, will be sending their waste to Bristol for incineration so the trains will be operating down the GWML – I assume they won’t be going via Oxford.

  407. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    I am pleased to learn of so much traffic for the Greenford loop these days.

    I remember the Park Royal steel stockholder trains, and in the 70s, I think the Olympia Motorail trains were ‘turned’ using the Greenford East chord. Never any coal traffic, but so much loose coupled van and flat wagon traffic (much for Acton Yard) that the branch was extremely busy, day and night

  408. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Westfiver – I wonder if that future waste traffic to Bristol creates a little opportunity for some infill electrification to provide “green” haulage of London’s waste? That is the sort of thing that Assembly Members (esp Green Party members) would want to see and where the Mayor might find some £s to help out.

  409. Mark Townend says:

    @Walthamstow Writer, 9 April 2014 at 22:36

    Electrification could also be useful for turning empty electric only IEPS from North Pole as they occasionally do with Old Oak HSTs now when following diversions somewhere in the west country they arrive with the first class at the wrong end.

  410. Greg Tingey says:

    Windsor … well, isn’t there a “private” business-proposal to link the two Windsor branches, via a tunnel?
    Turns up in the news every 6 months or so … what’s the current prognosis?
    Would mean – shock, horror, DafT having kittens, EXTENDING 3rd rail by
    4.46km ( = 2m 63ch )

  411. timbeau says:

    This one? –
    Given phase 2 suggests feeding back into T5, (i.e this is a WRAtH on the cheap) I think it is more likely to be electrified using overhead knitting at least as far as the proposed junction at Wraysbury and DfT’s knickers can remain untwisted. Maybe ac/dc stock would be used for any through services from Slough to Staines and Waterloo, or Waterloo trains woulkd contine to use Riverside, same-platform interchange with the Paddington – Heathrow – Windsor – Slough services being available at Datchet).

  412. Windsorian says:

    The WLR is alive and kicking, however its construction appears to rely on the erection of major new buildings (offices, shops & flats) on the Thames riverside area from the old Windsor /Eton bridge to Brunel’s railway bridge. To enable these new buildings on the sites of the existing Windsor town centre car & coach parks, the WLR is proposing to move Windsor’s parking problems to Chalvey in Slough – though whether SBC (supporters of WRAtH) will be happy is another matter !

    Central Windsor Neighbourhood Plan (now disbanded) 16.10.13

    RBWM Highways, Transport & Environment Overview & Scrutiny Panel 12.11.13$FILE/WLR%20presentation%20to%20RBWM%20OS%20Panel%2012%2011%2013.pdf

    The WLR have also proposed (Phase 2) a southern extension to LHR & Staines, possibly as part of an Airtrack-Lite proposal. However Wandsworth are now considering plans for a LHR link between Feltham / Ashford.

  413. timbeau says:

    “However Wandsworth are now considering plans for a LHR link between Feltham / Ashford.”
    And are budgeting – gasp – £10k to take things further.
    No details at all about how the level crossing problem would be solved, or for that matter how to squeeze more trains onto the Windsor Lines.

  414. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ timbeau

    For the last 45 years, I have never ceased to be amazed how little practical knowledge those who get themselves into positions of authority, actually have. A whole £10k eh!

  415. Fandroid says:

    Good old Bracknell and its MP. Living in a dream-world. They’ll never get a line from there to Maidenhead and the ‘high-speed’ Crossrail project. There’s the little problem of green belt for one thing. Speeding up the Reading -Waterloo services is another dream. It’s a victim of the Metroland effect. Once it was built and electrified so the houses and extra stations came too. It’s the Thames Valley S-Bahn. Stopping everywhere, until it reaches 4 tracks in London. They will have to be satisfied with longer trains (already happening) and possibly a higher frequency too.

  416. stimarco says:


    For £10K, I could solve the level crossing problem easily: just spot-weld the barriers in the ‘down’ position!

    See? Easy!

    I’d like to take this opportunity to inform the planet that I’m now available for professional transport infrastructure consultancy services, comedy writing and entertaining at birthday parties for people who hate their children. Cheap at twice the price!

  417. Windsorian says:

    and the Surrey Rail Strategy: Surface Access to Airports report 14th October 2013

  418. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – £10k – hmm, let me see, that’s about 2 man days of a very junior consultant (ie one who can read but not write).

  419. Graham H says:

    PS – I jest (just in case some were conned for a moment) – actually it would buy you about 1 week of a consultant who could both read and write. (thinking and analytic skills not included)

  420. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H – and I thought I was cynical about consultants! You’ve got me beat. 😉

  421. Graham H says:

    @WW Having had to earn a crust as one after ss BRB sank, I can happily misquote Dr Johnson with “Consultancy is the last resort of scoundrels”. The only defence for my actions would be to say that others were far far worse (especially the French) and at least I spent my time telling others “Do as I say, not as we did”. Retirement came as a great intellectual relief.

  422. Fandroid says:

    @Windsorian. I wonder which category of Graham H’s consultants Surrey CC felt they got from that Arup report?

    The biggest irony is that this firm is telling us that a Heathrow Hub station on the GW Main Line is the biscuit for Heathrow (with transfer by 21st century magic carpet to the actual terminals). However, for the poor folk of Surrey, any rail solution that doesn’t give them a direct service to the terminals from their home stations is a definite no-go. So a Crossrail or HEx extension to Staines or Feltham is dismissed.

    While looking at buses, it considers that the Heathrow-Woking Railair link might be extended to Guildford. Well, there is a perfectly good rail service from Guildford to Woking, 4tph taking 10 min at most, and connecting to much of mid and south-west Surrey. The problem is the awful service by National Express. I’ve given up using them, as they cancel coaches without telling anyone, and don’t give Railcard discounts.

    The report highlights the dreadful bus connections into Surrey from Heathrow. Then goes on to propose express services (similar to the X26 to Croydon) to places like Weybridge, Camberley and Guildford. Well, one could ask -where are the wonder-boys of private enterprise when you need them? ‘Poor’ old Surrey is asked to stump up the development cash (what just so the wonder-boys can take over the returns from anything that proves to wash its face?)

    Sorry, rant over.

  423. Greg Tingey says:

    No, you are correct
    It’s a mild re-run of the “railway conversion” loonies who complain about a rail “monopoly” & “lack of competition”
    Well, if you’re so clever, you can run a profitable coach-service, can’t you?

  424. MikeP says:

    At the start of the report I saw “Demand-responsive bus services” and thought “Oh, you mean taxis”. And indeed, what they meant was a taxi service – admittedly “formally” shared. Words fail me.

    I see Airtack soldiers valiantly on as “Airtrack lite”, although this report dismisses it. Airtrack and re-instating the Staines chord was going to solve All Our Problems in my days as an SCC member (1997-2001….) before all the level crossings were noticed.

  425. Windsorian says:

    @ Fandroid

    So a Crossrail or HEx extension to Staines or Feltham is dismissed.

    p4. Engage with stakeholders to develop a southern rail access to LHR that could facilitate the extension of Crossrail services into Surrey;

    p51. A rail link between Staines and LHR was the basis for the Airtrack scheme and is the basis for the AirTrack Lite scheme…… issues.
    ……. XR services are already planned to run to CTA & T4. This option would divert them through T5 to a terminus at Staines.
    The advantage of this scheme is not only the new direct link to LHR from Surrey, but the journey alternatives this brings to Surrey, which would divert traffic away from the heavily congested station at London Waterloo.
    For example, passengers on the Windsor Lines travelling to central London could
    change at Staines to take Crossrail services direct to Tottenham Court Road,
    Farringdon, Canary Wharf and Stratford.
    There may also be opportunities to further recast the timetable south of Staines to utilise the connections towards Weybridge and interchange with the South West Main Line services.
    This scheme also avoids the level crossing issues of the AirTrack schemes.

  426. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – I couldn’t agree more about the appalling bus/coach services to Heathrow from the south. At one time, we used to have the 436 to Guildford – slow but reliable (and not worked by RLHs any more, alas) but now, the coach to Woking takes you on a Cook’s Tour of the various termini before heading off for the nearest traffic jam (on a bad day, taking you into Chertsey too…). Extending that joke to Guildford would hardly be worth while – it would merely add another 20-30 minutes to a mode you wouldn’t want to know about.

  427. Fandroid says:

    For the Woking Railair service, I cannot understand why Stagecoach don’t muscle in and provide a decent service, with proper through ticketing and Railcard discounts. From Reading, First are not very imaginative, but their whole service is well integrated with the railway and more frequent.

  428. Christian says:

    Does anyone know the likely pattern of western branches to eastern branches? I imagine that people on both East branches will likely be interested in Heathrow terminators and completely unconcerned with Berkshire, whilst those on the Reading branch with be pretty focussed on Abbey Wood (for Canary Wharf), with no interest in heading NE.

  429. timbeau says:

    Heathrow to Canary Wharf would be the commercially important one, but operationally trying to tie in one service to be dependant on both the GWML and GEML is risking spreading disruption from one to the other, where Reading – Abbey Wood and Shenfield- Heathrow might be more robust

  430. straphan says:

    Last time I had contact with the timetable, the proposals were for Heathrow-Abbey Wood and Maidenhead/Hayes & Harlington-Shenfield, with the ‘surplus’ trains from the eastern end terminating at Paddington.

  431. HowardGWR says:

    It seems to me that the essential connectivity element to extending to Reading has been insufficiently applauded and could apply to other interchange locations at the similar distance that Reading is from the West End, City and Wharf (should one distinguish between City and Wharf or just say City?).

    This applause would be for the fact that travellers from western cities can reach outer suburban locations, as well as the above central ones, with a simple change at Reading (or vice versa). The same construction would usefully apply to Watford, Luton, Hitchin and ….. no need to specify all the way around clockwise, but hopefully the drift is caught.

    The difficulty for long distance trains, in that case, is, do they stop at inner locations like OOC, Finsbury Park and Stratford, as well.

  432. Transport Geek says:

    I can’t see why they can’t run fast trains missing out some stops between Reading and Paddington? Just like they do with Thameslink from Bedford or Brighton?

  433. timbeau says:

    TfL see themselves as running a metro-type service – that’s why there a very few “fast” trains on the Met now. I imagine Crossrail will be the same. Thameslink (in reality “Crossrail 0”)? – nothing to do with TfL – they won’t even acknowledge its existence on the Tube map.

  434. Greg Tingey says:

    Even though Oyster are valid on the slink inside the GLA boundaries, IIRC & a geriatric’s pass is permanently valid S Hampstead – Infanta del Castile, also IIRC.
    Very strange & really confusing for visitors

  435. timbeau says:

    I think you mean West Hampstead – South Hampstead is on the Overground.
    Not at all odd that Oyster is valid on TL within the GLA – it’s valid on all lines (except between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow, and between St Pancras and Stratford Unintentional – including for instance non-stop services from Waterloo to Surbiton, or Victoria to Bromley South.
    And TfL rather than Oyster fares charged on most NR services north of the river at least as far as the last interchange with the Underground (hence West Hampstead to Elephant) but south of the river hardly at all – Wimbledon, Richmond, Balham, even New Cross and New Cross Gate, from their respective London terminals all cost more by NR than by TfL. (as noticed on another thread, Upminster is an oddity as it costs more via Romford than on C2C via Barking)
    (I’m still a few years off having a greybeard’s pass)

    Oh, and by the way: there never was a person, or indeed a pub, called the Infanta de Castile – the Castilian royal family did use the term “infanta” for its crown princesses (just as it would be wrong to describe Prince Charles as the Dauphin of England). The Elephant & Castle was so called because the building sported the badge of its former owners, the Guild of Cutlers – the badge shows the source of the raw material for knife handles came, depicted carrying a howdah.

  436. @timbeau.

    TfL see themselves as running a metro-type service – that’s why there a very few “fast” trains on the Met now. I imagine Crossrail will be the same.

    But interestingly Crossrail trains will run fast through quite a few stations on the western branch. The Airport branch which takes over Heathrow Connect will be limited stop. More intriguingly, if you look at the proposed service level for various stations, the only way that the proposed off-peak service can be provided is if 2tph run all stations to West Drayton then Slough and then Maidenhead. In contrast to the Metropolitan Line, all Crossrail trains (except to the Airport branch) will be all stations in the peak but some limited stop in the off-peak.

  437. Crouch Valley says:

    Why is everything with crossrail now shifted to the west ? What about extending it east ? Southend for the airport, Wickford or Chelmsford ? It seems that the east ends up the poor relation on all these ideas. Even the Romford to Upminster line will be done on the cheap .

  438. Graham H says:

    @Crouch Valley (are you a bus company perhaps?!) – this is precisely what is wrong with public policy – the temptation to keep dragging XR out ever further merely leads to ridicule. If Chelmsford, why not Colchester; if Reading, why not Newbury or Swindon, and so on. The further you extend it, the more difficult it becomes to define it in terms of purpose and therefore service pattern, technology and fares. And so XR2 will run from Portsmouth to Peterborough, and XR3 from Brum to Calais…

  439. Castlebar 1 says:

    I see “Crouch Valley” has put “Southend” & “Airport” in the same sentence for a crossrail extension proposal. I am beginning to think the owners of Southend Airport are bribing people to keep putting this ridiculous idea forward.

    Let’s have a reality check here. Southend Airport is not a major transport objective that would justify the amount of money required. Does “Crouch Valley” have any idea how much this continually re-hashed “idea” would cost to build??

  440. stimarco says:

    @Crouch Valley:

    If Southend Airport wants Crossrail extended through their station, they’re more than welcome to front up the £millions needed for the extra trains and any signalling improvements. BAA as-was were expected to pay for their own “Heathrow Express” service and its infrastructure, so I don’t see why Southend Airport expects to be treated any differently.

    Chelmsford has no space for terminating trains: its station is on a high viaduct and has just two side platforms. The new station a little further east has more potential as a future Crossrail terminator, but I suspect Network Rail wants a 4-platform affair there primarily to allow fast trains to overtake slows. At the moment, the GEML is almost entirely two-track all the way from Shenfield to Colchester, which is quite a long run.

    (Before anyone raises their hand hesitantly and asks about Whitham: that station was built to serve two branches, not to provide passing loops. Although the Maldon East & Heybridge branch was closed in the 1960s, its platform has since been used for peak services starting / terminating at Witham, so passing opportunities are effectively nil. The other platform still serves the Braintree branch.)

    Shenfield has long been the ‘outer’ end of the urban metro services on this route. Passengers there, and to its west, expect a very frequent, stopping service.

    People at Chelmsford and points east are used to semi-fast and fast services, not all-stations stoppers. Many services call at all stations beyond Shenfield, but skip all those to the west of Shenfield with only one or two exceptions (usually Stratford and Romford in my experience).

    So, no. I don’t think Crossrail will end up any further east.

    The reason for the longer stretch to the west is simply because of an accident of history: many of the Tube lines – the District, Piccadilly, Central in particular – took over the urban metro duties from the Great Western Main Line a very long time ago, and those lines have become the focus for urban sprawl. The GWML was therefore always an ‘express’ main line for the most part. Even today, many of the stopping services are rarely more than 6 coaches long. (And they’re noisy diesels too.)

    Crossrail has to stop somewhere, but Slough is too close and Maidenhead was always a bit of political chicanery: Reading was the target all along. It’s a major junction and hub station from where you can get to almost anywhere else in England and Scotland, extending Crossrail’s effective catchment area well beyond Reading itself and potentially reducing some of the pressure on London’s own termini: why take a train all the way into London when you can get to the same destination from Reading?

  441. Ifran Ali says:

    And why can’t inner get a tube links to central london? All they ask for is just for a simple tube line or station in there area! Like camberwell peckham bow lewisham shoreditch chelsea hackney homerton stoke newington dulwich forest hill streatham wandworth dalston victoria park etc?

  442. timbeau says:

    It would not be impossible to extend the Shenfield Crossrail services to Southend Vic (calling at the airport), but I’m not sure the result would appeal to Southend commuters, with an all-stations service to central London instead of the semifast service they get at present. (It would be analagous to having the Bakerloo or Overground Watford line take over the LM route to Milton Keynes, or the Central Line to High Wycombe, or the District to Shoeburyness )
    There may be capacity issues as well if you are trying to get one service do the work currently done by the Shenfield all-stations and the Southend semi fasts.

  443. Chris L says:

    @Ifran Ali
    does it matter that there are few Tube lines in south east London if the the alternative lines provide a good service?

    I much prefer a train on the surface with more space.

    Major improvements are coming with Thameslink and Crossrail.

    A short extension of the Bakerloo line to Camberwell makes sense & probably as far as Denmark Hill for the hospitals.

    Otherwise longer trains on the main line offer better comfort & value for money.

  444. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Chris L / Ifran – the last time I looked several places on the hit list of places without the tube were served by the DLR and / or the Overground. While not running quite as frequently as some tube lines there are regular daily services to a consistent pattern of destinations. They all link to the Underground system through reasonable interchanges and are on the same farescale as the tube.

    There are obviously a few places with rail lines but poor or no stations (e.g. Camberwell or North Peckham). However there are still rail services albeit sometimes lowish frequency with complicated service patterns although it seems some people don’t realise this. If it’s not on the tube map then it doesn’t exist. I’ll stop now before we veer back into a whole load of much debated, much repeated issues that no one here has “solved” to the satisfaction of other posters.

  445. Could we please have no more response to Ifran Ali alias Ben Philips alias …

  446. stimarco says:


    I never said it wasn’t possible. I only pointed out that it’s not the taxpayer’s place to subsidise services for airports.

    I also pointed out exactly what you said later on: Shenfield is the end of the urban metro section of the GEML; passengers from further out expect semi-fasts and fast services instead and won’t be happy with stoppers.

    @Chris L:

    “does it matter that there are few Tube lines in south east London if the the alternative lines provide a good service?”

    It wouldn’t if that was indeed the case, but it isn’t. Southeast London (and particularly the Kent services via Lewisham and Greenwich) have a network with little to no segregation of services, so 4 trains per hour is pretty much as good as it gets.

    And there’s a limit to how much longer trains can become. We’ve had 10-coach trains for years already; 12 coaches are being introduced, but those will be rammed within minutes. Believe me, I grew up and lived in both southeast London and Kent: what they have is woefully inadequate and has been crippling the local and regional economies for generations.

    The freight flows to Angerstein Wharf don’t help either: that’s a branch off the same (rather slow) line that serves Woolwich and Abbey Wood. Good luck getting reliable clock-face timetables with that mix of all-stations, skip-stoppers and freight trains on a slow railway with no useful overtaking opportunities. They certainly couldn’t manage it when I was using it regularly a few years ago.

    Right now, southeast London and Kent really are suffering the equivalent of running fast and semi-fast services up the Piccadilly to complete their journeys into London. There is massive latent demand for this region too. So much so, that multiple infrastructure projects are required to cope with the likely flows.

    This is one of the reasons why Crossrail isn’t going to Gravesend immediately: it would be swamped before it even got as far as Dartford. Abbey Wood is a compromise: by the time you get there on a service arriving from somewhere east of Dartford, it’s changing to Crossrail or staying in your comfy(-ish) seat and continuing on to London Bridge is a much trickier call. If you could change at Gravesend, you’d be far more likely to change as the new Crossrail line from Dartford to Abbey Wood would have no intermediate stops.

  447. Anonymous says:

    Will Crossrail be a 24/7 service like Thameslink? If not then surely it should be.

  448. @Stimarco,

    Don’t forget you can already change at Gravesend for a train to St Pancras. And whilst I understand that they are well used they are not full.

  449. stimarco says:


    I’m aware of that service, but services to St. Pancras aren’t that useful at present. It takes a while for people to realise the potential and relocate accordingly – especially when the economy isn’t in great shape, yet even the little rubbish housing that is being built is still massively overpriced.

    Most people on that route are used to getting to London Bridge, Cannon Street and Charing Cross. St. Pancras may be quicker to get to now, but the need to change onto the Tube to get where they actually want to go makes that service a lot less attractive. Once you factor in the terrible interchange at St. Pancras / Kings Cross, it turns out you’re not really saving all that much time, if any. And you’re paying a premium for it to boot.

    The primary beneficiaries of HS1 Domestic services are those coming from much further out and travelling up HS1 via Ashford. The via-Ashford HS1 Domestic services are, in fact, very well patronised. HS1 actually shaves off a massive amount of journey time – well over 30 minutes, and more, for some destinations – which is more than enough to compensate for the need to change at St. Pancras.

    If Crossrail is eventually extended to Gravesend, I wouldn’t expect the HS1 Domestic trains via the latter to last long. They simply aren’t being efficiently used. I fully expect the high-level platforms at Ebbsfleet to eventually gain a westward connection to Swanscombe, allowing Crossrail trains to interchange at Ebbsfleet directly. (The old route via Northfleet could be retained for freight.)

  450. Greg Tingey says:

    HS1 actually shaves off a massive amount of journey time – well over 30 minutes ONLY because the “normal” services were deliberately slowed down – utterly disgraceful.

  451. As often the case, basically true but very misleading the way you have expressed it.

    Normal services weren’t actually “deliberately slowed down”. Normal services had additional stops added. An inevitable consequence of this is that journeys will take longer.

    You consider it utterly disgraceful. I consider it pragmatic in the circumstances. I don’t know the details but I suspect it was a means of providing a service to St Pancras whilst still serving most stations with a frequent service to the traditional London terminals south of the river.

  452. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey, Pedantic of Purley:

    Actually, I was referring to the via-Ashford HS1 Domestic services, which really do offer a big cut in journey times. That’s why they’re so popular, despite the ‘premium’ fares. They make much more use of HS1 itself, so can really stretch their, er, wheels on the way up HS1 to London at 140 mph., with only 1-2 stops at Ebbsfleet and Stratford International. Compared to the classic routes, this is most definitely a big improvement over what there was before.

    But this is true only for via-Ashford “Javelin” trains.

    The services that only join HS1 at Ebbsfleet don’t get anywhere near as much benefit from HS1’s speed. These services have to crawl through Chatham and Rochester at barely more than 20-30 mph. due to the line’s many sharp curves. Most of the North Kent Railway route has dated badly in this regard: as a “main line”, it ranks as one of the slowest in the country. Hardly any of it allows speeds much above 60 mph., until you get past the Medway Towns conurbation which is, frankly, a shocking waste of a 140 mph. Class 395 train.

    Thus the benefits of the HS1 Domestic trains via Gravesend and Ebbsfleet are much lower than those that join HS1 at Ashford. This is the route where the additional stops added to the original services really do bite, but given the constraints, I can’t place all the blame on Southeastern.

    There’s a fundamental problem with this region’s transport infrastructure – both rail and road – that will need major surgery to correct. Southeastern don’t have a franchise long enough to justify the kind of investments that Chiltern are making in theirs. This is a problem that requires a careful mix of both political and engineering solutions, but with Kent County Council still playing silly buggers, I wouldn’t expect anything to change for a few decades yet.

    (Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I personally support the TESTRAD proposal: it would be a huge catalyst for infrastructure improvements to the region. Even without the airport. The region needs a big, Docklands redevelopment-style kick up the fundament to finally get the balls rolling; nothing less is likely to work.)

  453. @stimarco,

    And to get to the heart of your point we have to look at the attitude taken when the line was built. A lot of railways, starting with the Liverpool & Manchester were basically point-to-to point railways. Little regard was given to serving intermediate communities. If they happened to be on route that was a bonus.

    Take the London – Brighton line. Basically the people have to come to the railway. Wivelsfield station is two miles away from the village it supposedly originally served. The biggest station south of London is Gatwick Airport yet the railway was probably built before the Wright brothers (nothing to do with buses) were born.

    In total contrast the railways to the Kent were planned to mop up any traffic they could. So major towns got served at the expenses of a slow route to Dover and the continent. Hence why HS1 can dramatically shorten journey times. Whilst existing routes suffered from longer journey times once HS1 came into being, I really don’t think anyone set out to do that as such. There would have been a significant time benefit using HS1 without having to resort to such tricks.

    We also get the occasional comparison of journey times from places in Kent (e.g. Sevenoaks) compared to an equivalent distance location elsewhere and disparaging remarks made about the way the railways are run in Kent. But, with the limitations of the third rail, the crowded network and the historical “problem” that the lines were built to serve towns where the bulk of the population actually lived at the expense of alignments built for speed, I think the network as a whole serves the county pretty well. It is surprising for a basically rural county how many people live within a mile or two of an open station meaning door-to-door times are probably not that bad.

  454. MikeP says:

    @PoP – The orignal slow route to Dover was thanks to Parliament insisting on only one terminus south of the river – the line from Ashford to Redhill is dead straight 🙂 , it’s just the long way round from there to London…..

    I’d say that after that, it was mad unbridled competition and inappropriate inteference by the politicians (the former arguably made worse by the latter) along with some tricky geography that laid the foundations of today’s Kentish mess.

  455. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Stimarco – I understand your combined frustration and passion in wanting to see an improvement to infrastructure in Kent. Do you seriously believe that the residents and politicians will really want to see more railways and big developments slapped in the “Garden of England”? Some houses, roads and a shopping centre in chalk pits in the “less posh” end of the county is probably OK so long as Kentish people benefit. I know you said it would decades to see a change of attitude but I suspect centuries is more likely!

  456. Mark Townend says:

    @Pedantic of Purley, 21 April 2014 at 16:55

    And another good thing about the Kent Rail rail network is that towns right across the county are generally well connected to each other as well as London, unlike other quadrants radiating from London where often only towns along a particular corridor are connected at all and many orbital connectors were either never built in the first place or, seen as minor branches, were closed in the Beeching era, or even earlier.

  457. Melvyn says:

    Its worth remembering how Kent prevented TFL from adding South East London services to the Overground because they are only concerned about long distance users and not residents of London .

    It seems an extension to high speed network would see line electrified and services extended from Ashford International to Hastings . See link below to modern railways site –

    A recent announcement to extend overground from Barking to Barking Riverside would be more useful if it was built to allow a new cross river link to North Kent lines .

    While a station on HS1 at Dagenham where it meets C2C could provide a useful Cross river link for Eaśt London and between Essex /Kent .

    As for Crossrail well recent talk has been about building a new connection to allow WCML trains to be diverted onto Crossrail freeing up space for Euston Station rebuild.

    I think the existing Croydon to Milton Keynes service via West London Line should become Thameslink 2 with more trains off WCML diverted via this route and maybe onto Brighton or another South Coast destination using more of the new class 377 dual voltage trains . Building a case to convert BML from DC to AC South of London .

  458. Pedantic of Purley says:


    The potential of linking the Marshlink line to HS1 is interesting and we may cover it in future as it has some relevance to London. However I would argue that it has very little to do with Kent. Don’t imagine that Appledore (last published annual passenger use less than 37,000) is suddenly going to get a direct service to St Pancras. The only other station on the line in Kent is Ham Street (annual passengers less than 100,000).

    Any tunnel under the Thames is very expensive. By comparison, the one station DLR extension to Woolwich Arsenal which made a pretty direct pass underneath the Thames at a narrower point upstream cost around £200 million at 2009 prices. Trains run every four minutes through it during the peak. You would have to establish that there is a demand, there is value for money and capacity to handle services. For example, there is not much point in this being an alternative route to the city if the Underground or line between Barking and Fenchurch St can’t handle the demand. You would also have to establish that this would produce a better case than extending Crossrail from Abbey Wood would. I am not saying impossible but undoubtedly very difficult.

    The BML south of Clapham Junction is full up so that idea would be a non-starter for quite a few years. After that any capacity improvements have already been identified with services to use them. I can see all sorts of other problems such as capacity of the WLL and the definitely-not-really-fit-for-purpose platform 17 at Clapham Junction. All recently built emu trains are capable of being easily adapted to dual-voltage and the original proposal was to initially convert East Croydon – Preston Park at some point in the future. I can’t see how this idea would build the case for AC conversion. Anyway why “build a case”? If it is worth doing then do it. If it isn’t then don’t. This seems like fudging a situation to produce a desired outcome. But it is only a desired outcome, arguably, because of the costs savings that can be made. But you don’t spend money on something just so that subsequently the benefits of a scheme, in cost savings, look better. If the objective is to save money then spending it to put yourself in a better starting position doesn’t seem very rational.

  459. Steven Taylor says:

    Just a quick update re Platform 17 at Clapham Junction.
    The staircase to the over-bridge is now completely straight, with no 90 degree turn at the landing. There is now more space at the bottom as well. However, the staircase has not been widened- I guess as always there is a limited pot of money.

    The other staircase will be re-sited off the platform by knocking a hole in the retaining wall and building a new staircase completely outside the `footprint` of the platform. This has not been started yet.

    Work has also commenced on extending the platform to take 8 car trains. These will only run in the rush hours.

    The big problem re overall capacity is the slow speed junction off the West London to the Down and Up local lines from/to Victoria. I seem to remember there was an idea around 4 to 5 years ago (not sure how serious) for the Crystal Palace Overground trains to be extended to Clapham Junction via Streatham Hill. Various pundits stated it was not really feasible because of conflict at this slow junction.

  460. Chris says:

    @PoP – it would be great to see a post about HS1 + Marshlink; it’s an idea easily scoffed and many have, but after giving it some thought it actually makes a lot of sense – in my opinion at least. I was certainly surprised to find out that London-Hastings is just as quick via Ashford than it is going direct through Tonbridge.

  461. Mark Townend says:

    @Chris, 24 April 2014 at 18:19

    As illustrated nicely here:

    (not one of my scribblings!)

  462. Graham Feakins says:

    Marsh Link – I attended a ‘drop-in’ meeting with Network Rail folk and others at Southwark Cathedral Library in Oct. 2012. A Southeastern project manager told me that, if A.C. electrification is pushed up the agenda for the Southern area, then the trial route on the Southeastern would be Ashford – Hastings: comparatively inexpensive as it would take its power feed from the Ashford end.

  463. lemmo says:

    Is there any potential to grade-separate the Brighton Slow / WLL junction at the east end of Clapham Jn? That would ease operation at a point where capacity is tightest.

    It might allow Pl.17 to be ‘retired’. Pl.14 would remain Up Slow, Pl.15 would become Up WLL and Pl.16 Down Slow and WLL. This releases some space to straighten the platforms, and even allow Pl.17 to be retained with doors opening onto platform faces both sides.

    This option is not even dependent on grade-separation east, but could make provision for that in the future.

  464. Jonathan Roberts says:

    Just to put the Ashford-Hastings scheme in context, here’s a link to a presentation summary of the report written last year for Railfuture, which addresses the ability of rail improvements to assist East Sussex economic growth.
    The full report is also available on Railfuture’s website.

    This report helped the creation of the East Sussex county rail strategy in November 2013, with the prioritisation of HS1-Ashford-Hastings electrification, and improvements on the Uckfield Line, becoming the county’s most urgent rail investment priorities.

    The report modelled St Pancras-Hastings as approx 73-74 minutes, at affordable speeds along Marshlink, but whether that or 68 minutes mentioned elsewhere, it’s still far quicker than any other option on any other route. It should get you the ‘Thanet-East Kent’ economic revival effect seen with Javelin services in that county – which is what the Ashford-Hastings rail scheme is all about.

    Collectively, the Hastings/St Leonards/Bexhill area is a relatively inaccessible and deprived area of the South East – for example it’s quicker to Birmingham, Bristol, Doncaster and Salisbury which are much longer straight-line distances from London – and the area is even harder to access if embankments collapse as happened this wet winter on the Tonbridge-Hastings ‘1066’ route.

    Patrick McLoughlin attended the Hastings Rail Summit in March 2014, and the photo in the link points to a Javelinesque future: . The LEP is bidding for funding to help pay for Ashford-Hastings electrification.

    I’m looking forward to the long-promised article(s) on the BML and East Sussex that PoP has mentioned!

  465. Steven Taylor says:


    I have lived at Clapham Junction for over 60 years and know the station very well. To keep this short, you really would not want to reduce platforms, nor in my view co-mingle WLL and Up and Down local trains before the junction. The existing WLL often hold heavy freight trains on Platform 17 prior to getting their designated path. This does block the junction for 5 minutes as the WLL is on a steep rising grade before the station with attendant curvature. The Milton Keynes service are often held in Platforms 16 and 17 for up to 4 minutes to regulate the service as well. You need to be cognisant that there are grade issues as well and the fact that Platform 16/17 goes from an embankment to a deep cutting over the platform length which makes alterations costly.

    The platforms were due to be straightened off the back of the now cancelled two towers development. There was going to be a land swap to enable Platforms 14,15,16 and 17 to be straightened. I cannot see this happening anytime soon. Money has been recently spent on extending Platform 15 to 12 cars and Platform 17 is currently being extended to 8 cars.

    Grade separation would be very expensive. The cutting just beyond the junction is about 8 meters deep and is very wet due to springs. Real estate around the station is very expensive and the adjoining old Peabody Estate is being rebuild currently.

    My view is that if you were building the station again, you would ensure all the platforms could take 50 mph running. But I cannot see much changing in my lifetime. And, most trains stop at Clapham Junction.

    By coincidence, I am researching an article at Kew National Archives/ London Metropolitan Archives on the LB&SC and WLL. Proposals to improve the slow speed junction have been mooted over the years etc. The West London line has always had curved platforms at this station, even when they had 7 feet broad gauge track!! And as the station was extended when the LB&SC went from triple track to quadruple in 1895, the curvature has steadily worsened, and increased again in 1908 when the platforms were re-arranged again.

  466. Mark Townend says:

    The Javelin to Hastings and Bexhill scheme could also be considered in conjunction with another proposal along the south coast, the Willingdon chord near Eastbourne. With faster services between Hastings and London running via Ashford, the focus on the Willingdon chord no longer needs to be on speeding up London to Hastings via Lewes, which could continue to reverse at Eastbourne as now. The chord could be used to speed up the Brighton – Ashford service instead, clearly also providing a more attractive journey time between Hastings / Bexhill and Brighton. Unfortunately that would remove the direct connection between Ashford and Eastbourne. Javelins could offer a solution however if they were extended to terminate at Eastbourne, more convenient operationally than Bexhill and also potentially offering a similar journey time from Eastbourne as Southern to Victoria, with the alternative choice of London terminals and new destinations and interchange opportunities there and en route. Additional local trains could operate between Brighton and Eastbourne to maintain a 2 TPH service. With OHLE, Marshlink Brighton trains could be taken over by dual voltage ex Thameslink 319 units, if they don’t all go up north, or alternatively some more modern trains could be converted or acquired. There is still the considerable issue at Ashford of how to connect HS1 to the Hastings line however.

  467. Rational Plan says:

    Noticed in Modern Rail that it mentions that Phillip Hammond has instructed Network Rail to investigate what extra tracks would be needed to allow express crossrail services from Reading overtake local crossrail services. It’s supposed to report by November about the costs involved.

    It’s interesting that the MP’s asking about this weren’t just fobbed off, but I suspect it will fall in the too expensive pile. But you never know what a government will decide!

  468. Westfiver says:

    If you read the Environmental Statement of the Crossrail Act, there was supposed to be a bi-directional loop between Iver and Airport Juntion, then the bay platform at Hayes was to become a through platform by extending it westwards under Station Road to join up with the up airport line. Both of these pieces of infrastructure would have provided an opportunity for express services to overtake trains in the platforms at West Drayton and Hayes. Looking at the plans for the Stockley flyover this doesn’t look like it is going to happen. I cannot find current plans for Iver/West Drayton or plans for the rebuilding of Hayes.

    And of course there already is a loop which could be brought back into use – i.e. the Greenford loop.

  469. Fandroid says:

    Totally offtopic, but continuing the thread as it veers that way:

    Could an HS1 service extended routinely to Eastbourne via Marshlink contribute to solving some of the BML capacity problems that BML2 tries to solve? I also wonder what residual services would remain on the Tunbridge Wells-Hastings route if the HS1 solution were taken seriously.

  470. Kit Green says:

    what residual services would remain on the Tunbridge Wells-Hastings

    I rarely resort to crayon mode, but perhaps that line will close. In its place there will be a reopening from TW to Eridge and Eastbourne (via Uckfield) to connect with the Javelin service.

  471. timbeau says:

    @kit Green
    I doubt the direct line would close – there are some quite busy intermediate stations on that line like Stonegate – and some of the passengers do pay!

  472. lemmo says:

    @ Steven Taylor, thanks for the detailed information.

    This discussion is perhaps saved for a future article on the Brighton Mainline or the WLL, but I only suggested reducing the platforms as a solution to the tight platform curves and the bottleneck junction at the SW end.

    There is potential to reconfigure the platforms and junctions to allow the WLL Up services to branch off at either the SW or the eastern end, depending on the availability of a path. That provides some operational flexibility.

    Grade-separation would indeed be expensive, but is a separate project from reconfiguring the platforms. It is likely to be necessary if passenger services to/from the WLL become more intensive, i.e. that the WLL is developed as a new strategic route.

    I understand the challenges posed by the gradients and curves, and this is another reason that the only sensible long-term option is to remove freight from this section altogether. Freight should be going around London, or pushed out to the Kew route. But that is also for another thread…

  473. Anonymous says:

    I cannot see how any HS1 service is going to go beyond Hastings to Bexhill (I appreciate that Railfuture have mentioned this – however, they have probably not thought it through), as you then start having issues with running the Charing Cross services to Hastings under OHLE.

  474. Fandroid says:

    @Anonymous. The Javelin class 395 trains are dual voltage, so would be quite happy on the 3rd rail between Ore and Bexhill and Eastbourne even. Should be no problem for any DC trains running in from the other direction.

  475. timbeau says:

    I don’t see why CX-Hastings services under OHLE would be a problem anyway – Class 375s are the same as class 377s (which were originally classified 375), give or take a coupling, a coat of paint, and in some cases a pantograph, and the 377s can and do operate under OHLE.

  476. Ian Sergeant says:

    @Rational Plan

    Except for Ealing Broadway, is six tracks from Paddington to Reading really that difficult?

  477. Mark Townend says:

    @Ian Sergeant, 26 April 2014 at 11:58

    Wharncliffe viaduct would be difficult and expensive. However if the purpose is to allow stopping pattern segregation on a moderately busy railway (i.e not ‘tube’ frequency), you don’t need 6 tracks all the way, only where the stopping pattern differs for a decent length incorporating at least two or three ‘minor’ stations hence facilitating overtaking manouevres by the fasts. At Ealing Broadway, an fairly important interchange, perhaps all trains on the reliefs could stop.

  478. Greg Tingey says:

    Except that, even now, there are trains on the “Relief” line that do not stop @ pf’s 3/4 …..

  479. Steven Taylor says:


    I fully concur that ideally the Southern Local and West London platforms should be straightened at Clapham Junction to raise the speed limit but we would be talking real money here which is just not available. I am really amazed that money has been forthcoming over the past 5 years to do improvements to the station, reopen Brighton Yard entrance and lengthen platforms.

    I perhaps should add that when I used to travel to Balham for school in the 60s, there was a single line connection off the WLL to Platform 15 and there used to be a like connection to Platform 14. You can still see the trackless bridge over Falcon Road. Platform 15 has been completely extended over the erstwhile junction, so this cannot be reinstated.
    I also remember when the old sub units used to hurtle over Falcon Junction into Platform 14 at about 35 / 40 mph!! – with brakes `slammed`on. If you were in the front carriage, traversing the reverse curve was quite exciting. If you stood up ready to get off, you really had to hold on tight.

  480. Mark Townend says:

    @Steven Taylor, 26 April 2014 at 19:20

    I wouldn’t say improving speed through the Brighton local and WLL platforms at Clapham Junction is much of a priority seeing as everything stops there, except the freights. Improving platform stepping distance would probably be the most compelling reason to attempt some some measure of straightening however. Raising speed through more gentle curves could in fact be counterproductive to stepping distance if greater cant applied then tilts a train further away from a platform edge on the outside of a curve.

  481. lemmo says:

    Thanks Mark Townend and Steven Taylor, useful info that I sense may be integrated into a future article…

    Running the risk that this post is deleted as we’re off-topic, the extension to Pl.14 is hardly monumental. The issue is whether there is space east of the station to provide the necessary new juntions and retain 12-car platforms. I believe there is.

    Also, remodelling the junctions would allow the double junction at the SW end to become a single junction which, with along with platform widening/straightening, may allow Pl.15/16 to be extended at the SW end. This is all achievable.

  482. Steven Taylor says:

    @Mark Townend

    I basically agree with your point. This is why SWT Up trains from Woking etc have to take the 15 mph route into Platform 7 loop platform (with no cant ) rather than Platform 8, where the track is heavily canted for 50 mph running.

    However, capacity is compromised where you have slow approach speeds to platforms and junctions. Trains can approach Platforms 4, 5 , 8, 9, 10, 11,12 and 13 at line speed or almost (at least 50 mph). If my memory serves, platform 6 and 7 is 15 mph approach. This all restricts capacity, even if the train is scheduled to stop.

    A fews years back, when it looks like a developer would pay some of the costs, Network Rail were quite keen to straighten the platforms. I fully agree with your point that straight platforms have less of a gap. My Dad, who is 88, struggles on Platform 17 with the very severe gap.

  483. Graham H says:

    @Steven taylor – I believe the alteration in cant will now take place (date not yet fixed). Actually, the problem and the solution has been known for years but because in the dis-integrated railway, the executant and the beneficiary are different entities, it’s taken this long for the parties to agree…

  484. Steven Taylor says:

    @Graham H
    Thanks for interesting post. Are you talking Platform 17 here, or to raise speed on Platform 7?

  485. Graham H says:

    @ST – 7 Worth another path (or an additional CJ call) apparently. (Was going to left for the next round of SWT letting, but as that is now receding into the future, it may get done sooner).

  486. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ Ian Sergeant
    26 April 2014 at 11:58
    Except for Ealing Broadway, is six tracks from Paddington to Reading really that difficult?

    I would say “beyond difficult”, and almost impossible on the grounds of (1) geography, and (2) cost. Nobody ever gives any ideas regarding costs of these “schemes”

    I suspect that the restriction is not just Wharncliff, but from west of Acton Yard to Southall. The cost would be serious £MegaZillions. This isn’t Chiltern countryside, but Ealing housing you’re talking about

  487. Chris says:

    @ Fandroid
    I also wonder what residual services would remain on the Tunbridge Wells-Hastings route if the HS1 solution were taken seriously.

    IIRC there’s usually two services per hour beyond Tunbridge Wells to Hastings; a fast service and an all-stations. I would suspect that only the latter could be justified should Javelin services be extended to Hastings.

  488. Fandroid says:

    @ Chris. I was wondering if through services to Hastings from London via Tunbridge Wells would cease entirely. Of course, Tunbridge Wells would still need to have a direct London service, but the BML2 vision of reopening the Tunbridge Wells West route and extending the Uckfield line might have a bit more capacity to play with at the London end.

  489. timbeau says:

    Wadhurst and Battle would be the biggest losers if the fast trains were withdrawn, as they would be left with only the stopping service. I would expect the 15 minute frequency to T Wells would continue, but with three tph terminating at there instead of only two as at present.
    Whether the TWW route can be reopened is an interesting question – apart from the complexities of reinstating the junction (wasn’t its original closure a consequence of conversion of the main line to take normal loading-gauge stock?) – I understand the formation hasn’t been maintained, and even built on in places.
    (And how would “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” react to trains rumbling past his house again after a gap of a quarter of a century?)
    BML2 seem to have overlooked that the Grove spur (between TWW and TWC), including the tunnel, was only ever single track. Widening the formation through the middle of T Wells to take double track would require compulsory purcahes of some very expensive real estate.

  490. Jonathan Roberts says:

    There is increasing demand (but not for full length trains) south of Tunbridge Wells towards the coast, for local travel, eg students to the Sussex Coast colleges such as at Ore. So I judge the 1066 route’s future is more focused on intermediate stations, post-HS1 to Hastings/St Leonards/Bexhill. There is currently a ridiculous 50+ minute gap southbound in the morning peak, just when people want to travel, which is probably driven by utilising stock the other way towards London.

    There are also seriously well heeled users of the service joining northbound at places like Robertsbridge, Stonegate and Wadhurst, with high capability for lobbying for their trains, as others such as Graham H know from the equivalent Portsmouth Direct Line catchment. So do not dismiss the requirements along the 1066 route, in both directions.

    Trying to link up TWW with Tunbridge Wells Central can be a long term objective. The key new links for Tunbridge Wells are probably several:
    – from TWW as a railhead, again towards Sussex Coast destinations, eg Lewes, Falmer and Brighton
    – from TWC towards Gatwick – difficult unless some miracles happen via Tonbridge and Redhill
    – from TW towards Croydon – most people currently use Eridge or Ashurst as a railhead, but a direct service from TWW might be feasible if Hurst Green-Uckfield were improved – the constraint that way would probably be the capacity through Croydon.

    A limited stop service to Brighton can be timed in about 50 minutes (even with slow running over the Spa Valley section). So one can aim for a service requirement of 2 trains – not too costly, and you might be able to use 2 of the existing Brighton-Ashford 2-car units.

    But I rather think that all this needs to be debated further in a ‘PoP-special’ new article about Brighton and East Sussex, as has been promised!

  491. timbeau says:

    Reading one of BML2’s latest releases, it seems their idea is to use BML 2 to provide additional services to T.Wells West via Elmers End and Oxted, to relieve the main line to TWC via Sevenoaks, with no through services between TWW and TWC. Doubling the Grove spur, and even opening out the tunnel, are suggested as future enhancements, but in the short term it suggests using the connection only as a shunting spur to allow terminating trains at TWC to reverse clear of the main line towards Wadhurst.

  492. Mark Townend says:

    @timbeau, 30 April 2014 at 17:48

    “but in the short term it suggests using the connection only as a shunting spur to allow terminating trains at TWC to reverse clear of the main line towards Wadhurst.”

    I don’t see much point putting the Grove Junction -Tunbridge Wells West connection in solely as a reversing facility, as there has been a siding constructed for this very purpose alongside the Wadhurst line recently:

    https:[email protected]/6023026306/sizes/l

    Google Earth has some nice historical imagery for the old connection, with aerial photography from 1940, 1960 and and 1990 in addition to the usual more recent ones. The right of way between junction and tunnel is still visible and clear in 1990, and comparing with recent years appears to have been disposed of piecemeal as extended rear gardens to the residents on the north side of Blatchington Road. The good news is there have been no new houses or other major structures built on this part of the route, although its likely significant compensation would still be needed to persuade the dozen or so well-heeled householders to give up their land voluntarily now (clearly depending on what the terms of the original disposals were). At the other end of the tunnel the constraints associated with the supermarket are well known.

    Single line through the tunnel, for half a mile or so in total, shouldn’t be too much of an operational inconvenience for a 2 or 3TPH service, after all short single sections on the Wadhurst line support a similar traffic level. However if there is a long term aspiration for double track, then perhaps the tunnel structure should be widened and relined to suit before reinstatement of any sort of service to avoid significant subsequent closures for that work later on.

  493. AlisonW says:

    As a general solution, where it is desired to reopen a single line would it be possible to first dig the route so as to effectively double-deck it, providing two lines within the same width? (obviously not easily possible where there is an existing single-track tunnel involved)

  494. Malcolm says:

    Double-deck railways. This solution would be very expensive, even where it is feasible. And it would not generally be feasible, because the typical railway line has underbridges and overbridges, often separated by less than a mile, so the result would be a ginormous switchback.

  495. Long Branch Mike (Long Barrier Manipulation) says:


    Yes that is possible, but costs much more obviously. So for a single line to be constructed as double decked, there would have to be a very good likelihood of double tracking for much more service in the future.

  496. timbeau says:

    here’s the paper

    See in particular Figure 3 (page 14) and page 17 – it seems the householders have an agreement to use the cutting only until such time as the railway needs it.

  497. MikeP says:

    @JR There are also seriously well heeled users of the service joining … at places like… Stonegate…

    At least one of those service joiners is not at all well heeled. Though they probably present as such on the platform/train.

  498. timbeau says:

    If he is able to meet an unexpected bill for £42,550 on demand, I’d say he was well-heeled.

  499. Mark Townend says:

    Perhaps he was treating the whole fare payment hassle/risk thing as part of his personal ‘hedging’ portfolio.

  500. timbeau says:

    “because the typical railway line has underbridges and overbridges, often separated by less than a mile, so the result would be a ginormous switchback.”

    In general yes – although in the case in point I think there are no underbridges.

  501. Melvyn says:

    It seems the DFT and TFL are working on ways to make the final stations on Crossrail step free – please see link below to TFL site

    This of course only deals with the remaining main rail stations on Crossrail which begs the question of any remaining tube lines at TFL tube stations that will still not have lift access which I think includes Central Line at Liverpool Street while maps I’ve seen for Crossrail still show Praed Street circle/District line as not fully accessible although platform to Edgware Road Station is already accessible .

  502. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Melvyn – the point though is that Crossrail is responsible for making *Crossrail* accessible. It is not accountable for making every station that it serves accessible from street to platform for every line. Clearly some of the very big rebuilds are providing such accessibility but they tend to be a combined LU and Crossrail scheme (e.g. Farringdon, Paddington H&C and Tottenham Court Road). I guess it’s possible that some places may have been descoped – we know the link from Crossrail to the Circle / District at Paddington has been removed and that may well have provided lifts between the platforms and the link tunnel through to Crossrail.

    Similar issues apply with “Access for All” funding. I see Seven Sisters NR will be made accessible but it won’t fund lifts down to the tube platforms. Ditto for Blackhorse Rd where the NR platforms are to be accessible but the tube side won’t be touched. Of course the funding responsibility is split – DfT for NR, the Mayor and TfL for LU.

    I see that Crossrail and Ealing Council seem to have come up with a new design for Ealing Broadway station that looks a bit more imposing than the original proposal. It also seems to provide more capacity judging from the press release wording.

  503. John U.K. says:

    @Walthamstow Writer 3 June 2014 at 20:11
    I see that Crossrail and Ealing Council seem to have come up with a new design for Ealing Broadway station that looks a bit more imposing than the original proposal.

  504. Jeremy says:

    Those Ealing Broadway pictures are certainly an improvement on the previous proposals. It seems a shame that there’s not improved provision for secure cycle storage as part of the arrangement, though.

  505. Westfiver says:

    All they have done is replace the original hideous looking canopy with another.

    @Jeremy – As for secure cycle storage, where in the station do you expect to put this – there is not space and haven’t the cyclists got enough space on Haven Green? The south east corner is covered with cycles.

    I am waiting to see the plans on the council planning website to see whether they have corrected the sub-standard, inadequate and incomplete platform canopies. As previously designed they were not proper platform canopies but covered walkways and shelters.

  506. Anonymous says:

    So will new lines from Twyford to Reading be needed, or does crossrail use existing tracks?

  507. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Looks like Crossrail are already flexing the assumed service levels out west. Extra peak trains for Hanwell. Looks like there is a bit of a campaign going on there about Sunday trains too.

  508. Chris says:

    I was surprised that they were proposing to have services skip Hanwell, so presumably that oddity has now been removed.

  509. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Chris – clearly we’ve had a long debate about service patterns, frequencies etc. I do wonder if we are starting to see a gradual move to more all stations services out west in recognition of the likely demand. Perhaps the bidding process for the operating concession is helping to shape TfL’s views of what is deliverable as bidders and Network Rail must be working together in order to demonstrate to TfL what is possible? They can’t put their bid numbers together without such engagement and testing the assumptions around the timetable.

    It’s a shame that there are capacity constraints that prevent high frequency services given the need to thread some many trains through the area.

  510. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Just a little heads up about new TfL papers about Crossrail

    Crossrail TOC –

    Crossrail Track Access –

    Just working my way through the first one – interesting aspects of what the Crossrail TOC will do and what it will manage.

  511. AlisonW says:

    WW – that first paper makes very interesting reading! I can also foresee any ‘passenger action’ is likely to be very expensive for the passenger concerned.

  512. Paying Guest says:

    Wonderful typo at section 3.1 of the first paper where we learn that TfL are required to “compromise” the Crossrail services.

  513. Ian J says:

    @WW: Thanks for spotting that. The papers confirm that Crossrail will be running the existing Network Rail stations it serves, except Shenfield, Slough, Maidenhead and Heathrow, and also running Paddington Crossrail, Canary Wharf, Woolwich and Custom House stations, with the other central area stations run by London Underground but with Crossrail platform staff.

    It is very interesting that the performance regime in the central section will be based on maintaining headways and capacity, like on the tube, and not on keeping to within 5 minutes of the timetable, like on other railways. So a gap of 3.5 minutes instead of 2.5 minutes between trains during the morning peak will cost the operator £165 if it is their fault, and £15 even if it isn’t.

    TfL takes the revenue risk, but also gets to claw back half of any excess profits the operator makes: unlike on National Rail services, there is no “collar” for unexpected losses.

    Bidders were asked to provide alternative prices for extending the service to Reading, for a year’s delay in introducing services, and also for the possibility of running through to Heathrow in May 2019 instead of December 2019 as planned.

  514. Greg Tingey says:

    #4.24 in the first document: The Operator will be responsible for the operation of ticket offices and ticket
    vending machines, and for undertaking revenue protection activities.

    What are they? Especially since LUL is abolishing all of them.
    Incidentally a queue of about 9 people at Walthamstow (Vic-line) ticket office when I came out @ ~14.10 yesterday.
    What will these people do if the office closes?

    And# 4.40 ticket queuing time – which is infinity, isn’t it?
    Oh dear.

    Isn’t there going to be an inevitable clash of standards/metrics/penalties between the “Timetable regime” over the ends & the “Headway regime” in the middle?
    Could lead to some interesting results, possibly.

  515. Graham H says:

    @WW – thank you for the links. The really interesting feature of the proposed performance regime and associated track access agreements is that, if they take the “headway” form set out, that will be a complete break with NR operating practice and a reversal of Railtrack’s stance that killed off the “Northern CrossRail” idea. Maybe NR intend to square the circle (no pun intended) by giving XR a free hand on the Reliefs to run an interval service whose headways are adjusted in real time, as happens on LU, leaving any other traffic to take its chance – that would have profound implications for the performance regimes for that “other” traffic, or, XR will have more paths available than it actually uses, to provide it with the necessary flexibility. Or perhaps, the flexibility is really intended to apply only to the XR freehold sections, although that’s not what the paper says.

  516. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I need to re-read the papers in more detail but I did find the performance regime proposals for Crossrail very interesting. The bidders will certainly have had a very interesting time modelling their risks and expected performance abatements alongside their operating strategies / plans to put forward a convincing case. The concept of a TfL owned “Crossrail Infraco” to maintain the core section of railway is also interesting. I guess it mirrors in part the concept on National Rail where the TOC does the “light maintenance and cleaning” and Network Rail have the more substantive maintenance responsibilities.

    Having done contract performance management I can see that the Crossrail team in RfL and the TOC and Network Rail are going to have a “fun time” (ahem) getting all their systems and processes established for what will be a different regime in part from that currently used on National Rail. It will certainly be interesting managing the various transition stages as the TOC’s activities build up and the nature of the services and regimes change.

    If the new regime is shown to work in delivering a high performance service one wonders if it will have ramifications for some TOCs operating Metro style services elsewhere on the network? The design of the regime also meshes very nicely with PoP’s past observations about the different nature of the Crossrail service depending on where you are waiting for a train. Note the remark in the paper itself about the different types of travel expecting on the railway depending where you are – Metro in the centre with constant demand while it’s a commuter and leisure railway on the branches. I think they might find they have “Metro” demands everywhere but we’ve done that debate before!

  517. Graham H says:

    @WW – your point about changes to NR systems is an interesting one which, to be honest, I’d not really reflected on. It is certainly possible for the same train to have multiple TOPS numbers as it moves around the system so it might, just possibly, be arranged for the next XR train to hit NR control to be given the next available TOPS number regardless of its origin as it arrives on NR metals (or for there to be a stock of”neutral” TOPS numbers associated with specific paths which are automatically assigned at the time of entry) , but whether the software would cope, I haven’t the foggiest!

  518. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H – I’m not familiar with TOPS or its workings. However I’ve waded through enough LU train delay reports, lost customer hours and station fault reports and argued the “commercial toss” to know there are some huge issues to get through. Even just learning how things actually work, what standards apply and how incidents are managed is a huge learning curve. For the people who will deal with the incident attribution they’ve got three signalling systems plus 3 rolling stock fleets to learn about (2 fleets short term only). Obviously Network Rail and TOC staff face similar issues too.

    Crossrail is a great big mix of ancient, new, cutting edge plus a few sack fulls of “operating history” thrown in. I’m sure Crossrail will want to establish its own culture but I’d be amazed that once it gets off TfL infrastructure it doesn’t run into “but we’ve done it like this on the Great Western (or Eastern) for 70 years” type issues. In the central area it also has to cope with LU operating practices in the stations although Crossrail TOC are providing their own platform staff in the central area. I assume a lot of work has already been done but there is a shed load more to do before trains run through tunnels in 2018. As I’ve said before here comes the hard bit – tunnels and concrete boxes are relatively easy stuff.

  519. Long Branch Mike (des acronymmes) says:

    TOPS Total Operations Processing System, a computer system for managing the locomotives and rolling stock (railroad cars) owned by a rail system. Originally developed by the American Southern Pacific Railroad, sold for use by British Rail and its successors.

  520. Malcolm says:

    There would seem to be an incompatibility between the (probably over-simplified and possibly just wrong) Wikipedia description of TOPS and Graham H’s comment of 11:46. In the Wiki version, a TOPS number is permanently associated with (and typically painted on) an item of rolling stock. The sort of reallocations of numbers which Graham mentions are clearly a different sort of number altogether. Perhaps Graham would be good enough to either clarify, or advise us muggles not to worry our pretty little heads about it!

  521. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – each train movement is allocated a code (these used to be displayed on the front of some electric and diesel stock at one time) indicating the class of train, the originating region, and a unique reference number. That code identifies the train as it runs around the region/zone/area; the WTT used to show these also. The train movement is then monitored via a system known as TRUST. Really clever hackers can cut into NR’s systems and see which stock is allocated to which train and how that train is running. We used to have basic TRUST display live outside Chris Green’s office, so he could begin meetings with his TOC managers with an intimidating “I see 3M54 is about 20 down again…”

  522. Malcolm says:

    Thank you Graham. My misunderstanding arose from only being aware of one sort of TOPS number. I would have called the 3M54 sort of number a “train number”, but clearly it is another flavour of TOPS number, and your earlier comment suddenly becomes clear.

  523. Long Branch Mike (des acronymmes) says:

    @Malcolm & Graham H

    Well spotted Malcolm, and thanks again to Graham for the explanation.

    To further explain the acronym, courtesy of Mr Wiki:

    TRUST (TRain RUnning SysTem TOPS) is a Network Rail computer system used for monitoring the progress of trains and tracking delays on Great Britain’s rail network.

  524. lemmo says:

    Interesting discussion re timetables vs headways. That’s why the Royal Oak to Old Oak Common section is so important, as it is where services will make the transition, and four-tracking this is likely to be necessary for resilience.

    Is there any indication yet whether some GWML Relief line services will still be routed into Paddington terminus?

  525. Ian J says:

    @WW: one wonders if it will have ramifications for some TOCs operating Metro style services elsewhere on the network

    I had heard that at one point headway-based operation was being seriously considered for the Thameslink core. If it works well in practice on Crossrail (a big scary “if”) then it could be applied there as Metro in the centre with constant demand while it’s a commuter and leisure railway on the branches sounds very much like Thameslink.

  526. Greg Tingey says:

    I would have referred to 3M54 (or even 1Z01!) as TRN’s
    Train Reporting Numbers

  527. Graham H says:

    @GT – Yes, and for the sake of completeness and to fill LBM’s mead of happiness, we ought also to mention TIPLOCs as part of the package of abbreviations. These are the codes for specific points on the railway such as stations, depots, sidings etc. [They are not, however, the same necessarily as the sites for the TRUST beacons, which has in the past caused a good deal of PR grief; for example, for many years, the TRUST beacon for LST was actually in the station throat, so trains were recorded as having arrived, even if they in fact sat outside the platform for some time – but then LST was weird: during work on the Anglia franchise, we found that NR’s signalling diagrams were actually wrong about signal siting; this required one of my managers to travel in and out of the errant platform several times peering out of the window to establish precisely where the signal was.]

  528. Mark Townend says:

    Don’t forget STANOX Codes!
    For anyone confused by these codes I recommend:

  529. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Mark Townend

    or more specifically

    [nostalgia alert]
    I was wondering “what the … is a STANOX?” then realised I had forgotten about something that was part of my daily working life for about three years.

    A STANOX dates back to the early days of TOPS. The field names of the crude database had to be six characters and only capitals could be used. Station was always, if possible, abbreviated to STA and number to NO. In the rare case of the abbreviation being shorter than six characters one padded with Xs. So STA NO X.

    These database field names were so indoctrinated into TOPS clerks that they had their own special language that slowly others started to grasp. The most fundamental field in the TOPS freight system was the CARINO which betrays its US origin. This was CAR I NO. It mean wagon (CAR), Initial (I) and Number (NO) or what we Brits would call a wagon number. Just occasionally the name was something comprehensible but that was generally regarded as an oversight.

    Because of the cost of memory, names were kept as short as possible hence the original limitation for STANME (STA(tion) N(a)ME) of nine characters. Of course because it was originally a freight system the “station names” weren’t usually stations at all but locations such as Tinsley Yard or Temple Mills.

    To show you how limited we were we tended to have tables (small amounts of fixed data) which needed to updated during a planned maintenance downtime and files (large amounts of dynamic data) e.g. the wagon file which would have a current STANOX for the wagon which in reality was its last reported point. The Location File that had information about every STANOX such as the associated STANME had to be a file because it was too large to be a table. This meant that to provide the “station” name on a report require a file access for each STANOX. As file access slowed the system down reports generally had STANOXs rather than STANMEs and the clerks quickly learnt to identify locations by number.
    [/nostalgia alert]

  530. Graham H says:

    @PoP – thanks, there’s a lot that we on the passenger side were unaware of… BTW, you will probably have given LBM a heart attack by now.

  531. Long Branch Mike (des acronymmes de nouveau) says:


    I go hors ligne pendant quelques heures and acronym hell breaks loose! Fortunately there’s a link that ‘splains em all.

  532. Mike says:

    “I would have referred to 3M54 (or even 1Z01!) as TRN’s Train Reporting Numbers” – the current Working Timetable term appears to be “Signal ID”, which sounds to me as if it ought to mean something completely different.

  533. Greg Tingey says:

    Given that, when Didcot are playing musical platforms @ Paddington, so that even that morning’s arrival print-out sheet is wrong … people have had to go to the actual train driver, & ask them for their TRN (& got a useful answer) to find out what has just arrived (!)
    I suspect that TRN is still in current use.

  534. Andrew Gwilt says:

    What about Crossrail to be extended from Abbey Wood to Dartford, Gravesend, Ebbsfleet and Swanley and from Shenfield to Chelmsford, Wickford and Southend Victoria.

    The new Class 345 Aventra would become the best trains ever plus they be dual voltage aswell.

    Shenfield would of consider investing more money (DfT, TfL, Essex CC) to build a new platform 6 for terminating Crossrail trains without causing any delays to other trains (including Southend Victoria trains using Platform 5).

  535. Graham H says:

    @Andrew Gwilt – I fear that the arguments for and against extending CrossRail even further have been recently flogged to death on this forum, this thread indeed. I doubt if any of us has the moral fibre and physical will to repeat everything that we have collectively said on the subject. For the detail, simply look back at the previous entries on this thread in particular. You might also care to look at the Crayonista thread, which will explain why we have -collectively – come to the conclusion.

  536. Greg Tingey says:

    AG & GH
    Extending to Gravesend, was, initially, in the plans (I think) – certainly to Dartford.
    However, supposed money-worries led to descoping & since then, the elected politicians of Kent have made it quite clear that they don’t want nasty socialist (even with a tory mayor) LONDON railways in their county – so they’ll have to do without. [ For the time being ]
    As for extensions beyond Shenfiled & Reading – forget it, & for explanations, follow GH’s pointer, please?

  537. Castlebar (Restore cash payment availability for women on London buses after 7 p.m.) says:

    I see talk of Sunday trains being restored to Hanwell, and even the possibility of the south entrance being re-opened. In the 1950s, I remember Hanwell as quite a busy station, but it could not be considered user friendly. How are they going to deal with wheelchair accessibility?

  538. Fandroid says:

    BBC speculation that the WCML connection for Crossrail (the only one) is to be (half) announced today.

  539. Castlebar (Peoples’ Popular Front for Ruislip L.U. Chord Liberation) says:

    @ Fandroid, > Yes. It’s already announced


    Proposals to extend Crossrail to Hertfordshire are being considered by the government, the transport secretary is expected to announce later.

    Extending the service would reduce journey times between London and Hertfordshire by up to 16 minutes.

    At the Crossrail site at Farringdon in central London, Patrick McLoughlin is expected to outline the benefits of extending the link.

    Business groups in the area said an extension would drive economic growth.
    ‘Long-term regeneration’

    Mr McLoughlin is expected to say the proposals would take the pressure off the Tube’s busiest sections and make it easier to improve Euston, which will have 11 new platforms built under proposals for the HS2 high-speed rail project between London and the West Midlands.

    Under the plans, stations likely to get Crossrail services will include Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Berkhamstead and Harrow and Wealdstone.

  540. Rostopher says:

    Could anyone enlighten me on why the extension would be to Tring? And not proceed another 3 stops north to MK, which is surely a much bigger traffic generator?

    That Tring would be the likely WCML crossrail terminus has been stated many times on these pages, but I haven’t grasped why this semi-rural halt would be the one chosen – unless it is simply the space afforded at the station for the appropriate works? The station and track capacity constraints that affect, e.g. the Shenfield branch would not seem to apply here or through to Milton Keynes.

    Apologies for kicking of the “extending the extension” discussion straight away but a recent visit to Tring station has left me very curious.

  541. Fandroid says:

    @Castlebar( Add a Phrase of Your Choice)

    In true modern political style, an ‘announcement’ has been announced. We await the words of the great man to be uttered from his very own lips.

  542. THC says:

    @ Rostopher – 08:32

    Tring stoppers are the suggested likely addition to the Crossrail stable based on current service patterns – 2tph in each direction off-peak, although this might increase if services are diverted over the new railway as there are 14tph projected to terminate at Paddington from the east. Despite being in the middle of the countryside, Tring has c. 500 car parking spaces and acts as a parkway station for much of north-west Herts and mid-Bucks.


  543. ngh says:

    Hmm sounds like DfT/HS2 want to avoid paying for big upgrades to the tube at Euston or be force contribute to CR2 from the HS2 budget.

    Bombardier will probably be happy at some point.

    SWT could end up with some more 450s by putting 3rd rail shoes back on some of the 350s.

    Some interesting implications for Old Oak Common plans.

  544. ngh says:

    Re Rostopher 7 August 2014 at 08:32

    It is an existing terminating point for WCML slow stopping services (i.e. CR service pattern), those that go further out to MKC or Northampton etc. are semi fast.

  545. Castlebar (Peoples’ Popular Front for Ruislip L.U. Chord Liberation) says:

    @ ngh

    Absolutely right. There has to be a point where the “all stations” end, beyond which fasts and semi-fasts take all the service. Any further out than Tring, and you are eventually heading for “all stations to Birmingham”.

    Tring is a good break point

    I wonder if it will tempt some current Chesham Met pax??

  546. THC says:

    @ Castlebar – 09:30

    It is bound to. When I lived in Wendover I knew a number of local people and others from the villages between there and Chesham who used to drive to WCML stations instead for their daily commute. A faster, albeit more expensive, WCML-to-Crossrail offering will undoubtedly tempt others to follow, especially as Crossrail will serve some of the same City destinations as can be reached directly by Metropolitan line services.


  547. Castlebar (Caisleán an Bharraigh) says:

    @ THC


    Now, looking ahead, I wonder if the Chesham branch could lose so much of it’s “peak travel” market to Tring Crossrail, the idea of running a Chesham – Watford shuttle, possibly run by Chiltern off peak could get back on someone’s agenda, for running near empty, long Met trains to Chesham off peak would seem rather extravagant if the local pax are going to drive to Tring for a faster service

  548. Mark Townend says:

    @Castlebar, 7 August 2014 at 09:30

    I think we may be facing another Maidenhead – Reading argument here with Crossrail: Tring – MK. As an intercity station, and perhaps increasing becoming an interchange hub in an East West Rail future, there will be a good argument for extension, not for people from virgin NW services to interchange for central London, but to offer the through central journey from MK itself and its local connections, and handle contra-peak demand into the MK area. Not every train needs to go to MK, say 2 an hour as proposed for Reading.

  549. Rostopher says:

    I stand swiftly and comprehensively informed RE: Tring. Thanks all.

    I just felt it strange there was such as certainty among the cognescenti here that I thought there must be more too it – after all, the semi-fasts to MKC only miss Kings Langley and Aspley. And given that Tring is surrounded by the Chilterns AONB, it couldn’t be that the additional space at the station was ripe for development for greasing wheels. Maybe another level on that large carpark as THC and Castlebar highlighted.

  550. ngh says:

    Re Rostopher
    Possibly the most ideal (outer) CR terminus is one that doesn’t have massive local demand as it makes service recovery simpler for example.

  551. Castlebar (Caisleán an Bharraigh) says:

    @ Rostopher

    Good wording, “another level”.

    That’s another issue and a very relevant one. Chesham and the topography of the Chilterns make new build/extension/alteration up there very difficult, but Tring, being in the valley is comparatively easy to “adjust” for future service requirements

  552. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mark T – I had much the same thought about the Maidenhead / Reading issue being mirrored by Tring / Milton Keynes. I can certainly see a certain Tory MP for Milton Keynes South regularly haranguing the SoS to get trains extended to Milton Keynes.

    I am beginning to wonder just how *many* options were contained in that famous Crossrail Options paper to the TfL Board. I dare say the SoS will say more later but I’m intrigued as to where the money will come from for this possible extension. I also wonder if it is part of “buying off” TfL’s objections to HS2. The other aspect is just how many options there are on the Bombardier contract.

    – extra trains to increase tph through the core?
    – extra trains for more services west of Paddington?
    – extra carriages to extend train lengths?
    – extra trains for the WCML extension?
    – extra trains to run beyond Abbey Wood?

    Obviously some of the above could be combined but Bombardier could be busy for a number of years.

  553. ngh says:

    Re WW

    I can only see MK happening post HS2 opening using released capacity.

    The SoS has apparently said but not of DfT Website yet that they want to send them to Canary Wharf which means some of the Heathrow /Reading Services will have to go to Shenfield???

    There aren’t enough Bombardier options

    The lengthening issue had occured to me as well as the 9 car (23m) CR services will be shorter than some of the WCML existing services. This also means that unless they go above 24tph in the core, expansion to Heathrow (Hex takeover)/ Reading etc would have to be by lengthening trains and extending the couple Paddington terminators of remaining first. Greater WCML frequency will help to begin with but lots of Overground Passengers will probably swap too (is this part of the aim to be able to withdraw the LO Watford services completely during the Euston rebuild? with Bakerloo, Met and CR WCML services taking the strain?)

    Re SE extension the current franchise extension to London Bridge completion may kill off any serious discussion for a few years.

  554. Anon says:

    Given part of the reason (the main reason) why Crossrail is going to Tring is to remove trains from Euston, surely extending to MK and removing an additional train (on top of 2tph and the peak Watford shuttles) out of Euston makes a lot of sense? Especially as it takes all the slow line traffic away from Euston.

    I’m not sure it would change demand at Chesham too much – certainly not enough to remove the town’s hard-won London services. Yes numbers will fall slightly, but you still have the large numbers of people in the town itself, plus most of the villages to the west (going down valleys/along ridges into Chesham is easy – going across them to Tring or Berko is hard – you basically have to go to Wendover, down the scarp slope, and along to Tring). Chesham to Watford is silly as Chesham doesn’t do much business with Watford – when it looks to Hertfordshire for big town needs, Hemel is much more dominant. Amersham, however, is more geared towards Watford.

  555. ngh says:

    Text of DfT announcement:

    Rail passengers in Hertfordshire could benefit from quicker services that are more direct into central London.

    In a move that would boost ambitious plans to redevelop Euston station for HS2, a feasibility study will look at how passengers from key commuter towns such as Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Harrow and Watford could save up to 15 minutes on their journey times via a new rail link between Old Oak Common and the West Coast Main Line.

    The proposed changes would see Crossrail services extended to the county, providing direct journeys into the City and the West End. It would mean passengers would no longer have to change at Euston, making it easier to get on with the massive job of rebuilding the station so it matches the standard of Kings Cross and St Pancras.

    The announcement came as Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited Farringdon station today (7 August 2014), where he met with the 100th apprentice appointed by Crossrail contractor Bam Ferrovial Kier to work on Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

    We are investing record amounts to build a world-class railway, so it is vital we seize every opportunity to make the most of these once in a generation schemes. That is why I have asked HS2 Limited to work closely with the Crossrail sponsors to look at extending Crossrail services to key destinations in Hertfordshire. Not only would this be a huge boost to passengers and the local economy, it would also provide flexibility when building HS2 into Euston, making sure we create a lasting legacy for the station.

    Stations that could be serviced by Crossrail include Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Berkhamstead and Harrow and Wealdstone. Any changes will not affect the timetable or planned service pattern for the existing Crossrail scheme which is scheduled to be fully operational by 2019.

    Initial analysis suggests 40% of passengers travelling into London from these locations finish their journeys within 1 kilometre of a Crossrail station, compared to just 10% within 1km of Euston. The link would have the added benefit of reducing congestion at the station, specifically for passengers using the southbound Northern and Victoria lines.

    The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

    I have always maintained that the renaissance of Euston is a fantastic opportunity for regeneration in our city and one we should not miss. Providing a new rail route into the capital for passengers from Hertfordshire will be vital for Euston to be properly redeveloped to accommodate HS2 and to maximise the delivery of new homes and jobs in London and beyond.

    More than 11,000 people are currently working on Crossrail at more than 40 sites. The new route will provide a major boost for commuters, providing a 10% increase in capacity for rail in London. Farringdon will be at the heart of that transformation with more than 150,000 people a day using the interchange to access Thameslink, Tube and Crossrail services.

    On his visit to the site, the Transport Secretary outlined the government’s work in improving infrastructure with more than £70 billion earmarked for transport over the next Parliament. This will include the biggest programme of road investment since the 1970s and the largest investment in rail since the Victorian era.

    The government is also forging ahead with its plans for HS2. The new north to south railway is vital to rebalancing the economy of the country and will provide more than double the number of seats between London and Birmingham, transporting the equivalent of the population of Nottingham every day.

    It will also release space on the existing railway which has huge potential for increased freight services – meaning fewer cars and lorries on our roads, cutting congestion and carbon.

    So it looks like it isn’t going to be the magic bullet for Tube capacity at Euston then based on those numbers.

  556. Graham H says:

    @Anon – and why not Northampton? Or Rugby All good commuter territories. The good burghers of MK (and these other places) will just love sitting on high density stock for an hour or so.

    To answer the point about why Tring – it’s simply a convenient point at which to turn the trains; it’s not a special traffic destination. It may well be sensible in terms of traffic offering and comfort to turn the service earlier (say, Watford) but that is in the too difficult basket without spending a lot of pelf.

    And to answer the question about going to Gravesend or even just to Dartford, at the time of construction, the XR project team, and their CEO in particular were implacably opposed to extensions beyond Abbey Wood on the grounds that that would import perturbations from the SE network.

  557. Moosealot says:

    @WW, Mark T et al.

    Current London Midland service is 2tph Tring and 1tph MKC, interleaved with the 1tph Southern service to West Croydon. Do Crossrail really want to be running a 1tph service? Extending the 2tph Tring to MKC is probably not viable as it would slow down the semifast LM services to Brum and beyond.

    Once HS2 effectively 6-tracks the WCML and the current WCML fasts become semi-fasts then the WCML slows could take more stoppers and at that point 3tph Crossrail + 1tph Southern to MKC looks quite viable.

  558. Castlebar (Ruislip Chord & FCUK LU) says:

    @ Anon 11:23

    “…….Chesham to Watford is silly……”

    Not if you look at the bigger picture.

    The bigger picture gives you Aylesbury and all that Chiltern area to Watford and thus Crossrail.

    Chesham to Watford is, and still would be pointless if it were only Chesham to Watford. But that is almost a myopic Beechingesque “take” on such a proposed service. A big overview on this picture makes it look remarkably different and you will be able “to see the wood from the Chesham Bois”

  559. Castlebar (Ruislip Chord & FCUK LU) says:

    @ GH and why not a “Weedon Bec Parkway” even? (No crayons required)

    “Not everything you read on the internet is true” (Abraham Lincoln). Apparently, this particularly applies to railway proposals and “ideas” for guided busways (which give me the same feelings as Brunel’s ‘Atmospheric Railway’)

  560. Melvyn says:

    The DFT has announced today plans to extend Crossrail to link up with the WCML to allow through running and thus reduce the number of trains serving Euston .

    Details can be found at –

    One obvious thought is doing this is it will reduce the ability to reach Euston from these stations affecting passengers wanting to go to Kings Cross or more importantly St Pancras International for connections onto HS1.

    This is the problem that comes from piecemeal developments instead of looking at the full picture . In fact this report mentions how far more passengers on services planned for Crossrail travel beyond Euston but with development of land at Euston and Kings Cross this area is becoming more of a destination in its own right and not just a series of stations along Euston Road.

  561. Graham H says:

    @ngh – this is one of the most hackneyed and irrelevant press notices I have ever seen (and I can assure you I have written many “good news” press releases in my time). It must deserve some award – “The Thick of It” prize perhaps. [Yes, I know an election is coming but if this is going to be the quality of the filboid studge to be pumped at us, I shall retire to Canton Graubuenden]. For amusement and because I have nothing better to do whilst waiting for the washing to finish, I have annotated the press notice…

    Rail passengers in Hertfordshire could [but no promises] benefit from quicker services that are more direct into central London.

    In a move that would boost ambitious [gratuitous value judgement but too good an opportunity to puff to be missed] plans to redevelop Euston station for HS2, a feasibility [no promises; feasibility studies are cheap] study will look at how passengers from key commuter towns such as Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Harrow and Watford could save up to 15 minutes on their journey times via a new rail link between Old Oak Common and the West Coast Main Line.

    The proposed changes would see Crossrail services extended to the county [well, only the western fringes], providing direct journeys into the City and the West End [repetition]. It would mean passengers would no longer have to change at Euston, making it easier to get on with the massive [so impressive] job of rebuilding the station so it matches the standard of Kings Cross and St Pancras [no guarantee it won’t actually be a concrete desert].

    The announcement came as Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited Farringdon station today (7 August 2014), where he met with the 100th apprentice [not relevant but a good insertion there by the Department for Skills and Enterprise – 8 points] appointed by Crossrail contractor Bam Ferrovial Kier to work on Europe’s largest infrastructure project [another and irrelevant gratuitous puff to remind us all that an election is coming].

    Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

    We are investing record amounts to build a world-class [ when I see the words “world class”, I reach for my gun] railway, so it is vital we seize every opportunity [Patrick McLoughlin as Action Man] to make the most of these once in a generation schemes [ we are determined to try and satisfy every pork barrel scheme this way]. That is why I have asked HS2 Limited to work closely [as opposed to remotely?] with the Crossrail sponsors to look at extending Crossrail services to [a few] key destinations in Hertfordshire. Not only would this be a huge [ an exaggeration] boost to passengers and the local economy [how is that?] , it would also provide flexibility when building HS2 into Euston, making sure we create a lasting legacy [oh God, the legacy word…!] for the station.

    Stations that could [but may not be] be serviced by Crossrail include Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction, Berkhamstead and Harrow and Wealdstone. Any changes will not affect the timetable or planned service pattern for the existing Crossrail scheme which is scheduled to be fully operational by 2019.

    Initial analysis suggests 40% of passengers travelling into London from these locations finish their journeys within 1 kilometre of a Crossrail station, compared to just 10% within 1km of Euston. The link would have the added benefit of reducing congestion at the station, specifically for passengers using the southbound Northern and Victoria lines.

    The Mayor of London Boris Johnson [let’s be nice to Bozza, after all, he may be my leader in a few months] said:

    I have always [always?] maintained that the renaissance of Euston is a fantastic opportunity for regeneration [how?] in our city and one we should not miss. Providing a new rail route [no not much of a new route] into the capital for passengers from [ the fringe of] Hertfordshire will be vital [no, the case stood up before this was thought of] for Euston to be properly [without the Tring starters going via OOC the redevelopment would have been incomplete?] redeveloped to accommodate HS2 and to maximise the delivery of new homes and jobs in London [ how?] and beyond.

    More than 11,000 people are currently working on Crossrail at more than 40 sites [so what] . The new route will provide a major boost for commuters, providing a 10% increase in capacity [ no, it’s the diversion of existing services, unless this section is about XR and has nothing whatsoever to do with the extension to Tring] for rail in London. Farringdon will be at the heart of that transformation with more than 150,000 people a day using the interchange to access Thameslink, Tube and Crossrail services [again, nothing to do with this particular aspect at all].

    On his visit to the site, the Transport Secretary outlined the government’s work in improving infrastructure with more than £70 billion earmarked for transport over the next Parliament. This will include the biggest programme of road investment since the 1970s and the largest investment in rail since the Victorian era [Once more…].

    The government is also forging [again, Action Man at work] ahead with its plans for HS2. The new north to south railway is vital [choose another vibrant word, please] to rebalancing the economy of the country and will provide more than double the number of seats between London and Birmingham, transporting the equivalent of the population of Nottingham every day. [Irrelevant. Interesting that the “Nottingham” has become the metric for rail use, just like the “Olympic swimming pool” for water management or the double decker bus for animal size].

    It will also release space on the existing railway which has huge potential for increased freight services – meaning fewer cars and lorries on our roads, cutting congestion and carbon. [All this from going to Tring?]

  562. ngh says:

    Re Moosealot

    I assume they would terminate the Southern service at Watford Junction in the future otherwise the service pattern becomes just too unreliable.
    I suspect they may want go for a Met shuttle option to Watford once the CR service has bedded in.
    Still nothing to hint about what they plan to do with the LO services on the DC lines though.

  563. Castlebar (Ruislip Chord & FCUK LU) says:

    @ GH

    and I just LOVE the continual rail references to Nottingham

    Nottingham being a prime victim of the closure of the Great Central by a previous Tory administration.

  564. CdBrux says:

    Looks like GH needs a strong dose of cynicism antidote!

  565. Doug R says:

    Quote: It will also release space on the existing railway which has huge potential for increased freight services – meaning fewer cars and lorries on our roads, cutting congestion and carbon.’
    What may possibly be driving this is the possibillity of using the Crossrail lines for the regular Nuclear Fuel trains that trundle through at night for reprocessing up north…

  566. Castlebar (Ruislip Chord & FCUK LU) says:

    @ Doug R

    Whatever. Unless there is complete naivety and ignorance of reality, there is always a hidden agenda when “releasing space”. Like with a vacuum, the laws of nature insist that void is always filled. “Released space” is unlikely to be “space” for very long. Your suggestion of what that hidden agenda might be……………..

    Watch this space

  567. Anon says:

    @ GrahamH re:why not Northampton/Rugby

    A total slippery slope fallacy. The MK terminators are basically Tring stoppers on the slow lines that go further (OK, they skip a couple of stops), whereas Northampton trains run on the fast lines through the Chilterns before switching over to the slow south of Leighton Buzzard whereas MK terminators run on the slow lines all the way. Given the point is to remove the slow line traffic from Euston to aid with the rebuild, it is a nonsense to not remove the slow line traffic from Euston. Sure MK is a long way (but so is Reading), but it’s the natural termination point of the stopping service on the WCML – note that the Southern trains go that far north too – Tring being a mere short-turn, to allow faster services to Leighton Buzzard and Bletchley. With MK Crossrail, you can probably reduce LM to a single platform for 3tph during the rebuild, rather than 2 platforms for 4tph – doubling the platform reduction at Euston!

    As for “The good burghers of MK (and these other places) will just love sitting on high density stock for an hour or so.” – it’s called the ex-Crewe, Northampton and Birmingham trains. Or even Virgin West Coast. The Northampton trains currently call at Leighton Buzzard and Bletchley, and I can’t see that changing.

    The London & SE RUS proposal for WCML -> Crossrail had some trains extending beyond Tring to MK.

    I guess another option for MK, and to remove that train from Euston is to increase the Southern service on the WCML to 2tph.

    @Castlebar re:Chesham – Watford

    Maybe I wasn’t clear – I was proposing Amersham – Watford instead. And perhaps I was a bit harsh with ‘stupid’ – ‘anachronistic’ is perhaps better.

    Chesham-Watford made sense in the ’00s, when Chesham getting all-day through trains was unthinkable as no-one would dare reduce Amersham’s London trains. However this is the 2010s, at its western end this scheme can’t just be about extending a pathetic shuttle that doesn’t now exist.

    I’ve talked about Chesham’s lack of ties, and Amersham’s ties, with Watford, but the most stupid thing about the idea of Chesham-Watford services nowadays is the removal of the hard-won all-day through Met services from Chesham to Central London.

  568. Castlebar (Ruislip Chord & FCUK LU) says:

    @ Anon



  569. Fandroid says:

    @Melvyn. those arriving via Crossrail (instead of at Euston) can easily access Kings Cross and St Pancras by changing at Farringdon and going one stop on either Thameslink or Circle/Met/H&C lines.

  570. StephenC says:

    I wonder if the presence of an Old Oak (OOC) to WCML link for Crossrail affects the viability of getting Southern into OOC itself?

    We have to assume that the newly built link will have a good junction to the WCML, by contrast with the current link that the Southern service uses. Building an additional connection from the West London Line to the four OOC Crossrail platforms would provide all that is necessary to truly link in the Southern service. One could even argue for Southern to be diverted to High Wycombe (with electrification via the mothballed direct route) – the loss of Southern to Watford would be mitigated by cross-platform changes onto Crossrail. Consider it a salami slice approach to getting a decent OOC station…

  571. Fandroid says:

    Does this proposal make Watford Junction an attractive place to stop a lot more long distance WCML trains (a bit like Reading’s capture of all GWML trains?) An interchange there provides direct services to plenty of London destinations.

  572. straphan says:

    @GH: I will print this and hang this on my wall next to a picture of a spinning disc juggler.

    I think Boris has fired a nice missile at the DfT, with a thinly veiled accusation that this would have been needed to make a post-HS2 Euston work anyway, but was never taken into account when costing it…

  573. Graham H says:

    @Anon -and these are the self same arguments that are dragging XR2 “just a little bit further”. My point is a simple one: the function of the XR service has really very little to do with long distance commuting. It is necessary to take a stand somewhere or the scheme will be rolled by the politicians – people who have no regard for the niceties of railway operations or business practice. Neither the services in the core – which is what matters – nor the rolling stock (nor the ticketing) is intended for long distance travel, indeed, it’s widely forecast that many Reading commuters will still prefer an InterCity ride to London. In particular, the XR stock will not be as comfortable for long journeys as any of the stock you mention. BTW, when I last looked MK was a good dozen miles further out than Reading – much the same as Brighton or Chelmsford -now there’s another possible destination…

  574. Saintsman says:

    I’m a regular on London Midland. I could just about cope with Crossrail stock to Milton Keynes (currently 1tph would be nice for a second), and would be suitable for the Tring (2tph) services.
    Milton Keynes is already further than Reading so please Crossrail should go no further. Northampton along with Rugby and Coventry needs better fast services (not slows). Hopefully HS2 will allow Virgin or London Midland to do this – one for another day.
    MK Southern Service is really useful so a second per hour is high on my personal list, but all depends on Clapham and then south.

  575. Mark Townend says:

    @Moosealot, 7 August 2014 at 11:47

    “Do Crossrail really want to be running a 1tph service? Extending the 2tph Tring to MKC is probably not viable as it would slow down the semifast LM services to Brum and beyond.”

    I suggested 2 TPH Which is reasonable presuming the new service should be more attractive to users from MK and its local connections, and might provide some relief to fast trains because of the interchange free central London journey. How you allocate capacity at MK is the issue. Clearly 2 TPH terminate at the moment, perhaps the Southern service would have to give way and terminate further south, or further north at Northampton. Alternatively additional south facing platforms could be provided at MK, perhaps needed anyway for EWR.

    Whilst acknowledging the capacity challenge I don’t see the LM semi-fast services would be “slowed down” as such.

    Something the announcement didn’t mention is the vastly improved connectivity created between the WCML corridor and Heathrow and the Thames Valley going west from London, Some potential journeys could be speeded up by over 30 minutes compared to going into Euston and transfering to Paddington or another CrossRail station by Underground. This is the key to turning Old Oak Common into a Clapham Junction style superhub. It is the crossing of major routes at these edge city locations that generates the extraordinary interchange potential.

    I think it makes a great deal of sense to incorporate the Watford DC line into Crossrail along with some slow line WCML services. Going into London the re-routed Watfords would take over the current WCML fast pair just after Wembley Central, abandoning the flyunder to Stonebridge Park. They would then join the Willesden Relief Lines via a new grade separated junction where they ramp up from their own main line flyunder from Wembley Yard South Junction. The Watfords would merge there with the longer distance WCML CrossRail services from the slows. The fasts and slows between Wembley and Harlesden would have to shuffle over towards Wembley Yard, which would need remodelling, no doubt sacrificing a small number of sidings. A new terminal for Bakerloo services could be built on the slow line side at Wembley Central.

    The future of Overground services between Willesden and Euston remains an interesting debate following diversion of the Watfords. One solution is a shuttle from the DC lines Bay at Willesden. This would remove all but one of the platform height incompatibility issues on the remaining section shared by tube and main line profile rolling stock. The problem station is Kensal Green, and that might be solved by not stopping the Overground trains there.

  576. @Graham H,

    it’s widely forecast that many Reading commuters will still prefer an InterCity ride to London

    I very much suspect that the planning relies on that being true. I think that the planners don’t want people at Reading to switch to Crossrail for long distance journeys. It is inevitable that some will – for example those who are going to Liverpool Street and value a seat for the entire length of the morning journey above speed. I am sure Crossrail will be able to cope with that. But it really isn’t the intention. I suspect it is more about providing better local journeys to Slough and local contra flow journeys to Reading.

    Remember there is still the RUS aspiration of a non-stop 12-car commuter service between London and Reading.

  577. Altnabreac says:

    I think this announcement was inevitable and increasingly necessary in order to make the HS2 Euston rebuild work.

    I was initially surprised that it was limited to Tring without the 1tph slow from Milton Keynes being included. However I can see the downsides of running Crossrail stock out that far and the operational difficulty of running 1tph onto Crossrail etc.

    When you actually examine the timetable the 1tph xx.47 Milton Keynes semi fast runs only 6 minutes behind the London Midland Birmingham – Northampton – Euston service that is fast to Euston from Leighton Buzzard. I assume that it will be relatively lightly loaded at Milton Keynes, Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard. In effect its main role is providing 1tph from Cheddington to Euston.

    If the hourly Cheddington call were added to the preceding fast Leighton Buzzard service then the xx.47 Milton Keynes could instead start at Tring relatively easily bringing Tring up to 3tph.

    The other question if looking at running 4tph from Tring would be the Milton Keynes – South Croydon Southern service which effectively runs in the opposite half hour to the Milton Keynes slow. You’d need to consider whether to cut this back to start at Watford Junction or perhaps run it fast Watford – Leighton Buzzard in a different time slot to free up the 4th Tring slow path.

    The 2011 London & SE RUS proposed a peak service of 8tph for WCML, 6tph for GWML and 10tph for Heathrow.

    So we need another 4tph from WCML to reach that suggested service. My guess is they would be 4tph from Watford calling Bushey, Harrow & Wealdstone & Wembley Central. This would allow removal of the 2 peak London Midland Watford – Euston services and could allow Tring services to skip stops south of Watford. These could either be peak only or 2tph peak, 2tph off peak.

    So a 6tph off peak – 8tph peak WCML service reduces Paddington terminators to 6tph peak and 2tph off peak. (Presumably wanted for Heathrow once the HEx track access agreement expires in 2023).

    But most importantly platform occupation at Euston is reduced during a Euston rebuild. My crude calculations suggest you are removing 3 out of 7 off peak London Midland services per hour and possibly around 5 out of 11 peak hour services (although a recast would be required to achieve this as only 3 of these currently start at Tring or Watford). The platform requirement for WCML slows could probably be temporarily decreased from 6 to 4 or even 2 if the DC lines and/or Sleeper are temporarily diverted elsewhere.

  578. timbeau says:

    “One obvious thought is doing this is it will reduce the ability to reach Euston from these stations affecting passengers wanting to go to Kings Cross or more importantly St Pancras International for connections onto HS1.”

    Plenty of options
    – change from Crossrail to HS1 at Stratford
    – change from Crossrail to the Circle Line at Paddington or Farringdon
    – change at Watford Junction for Overground or LM fast services to Euston
    or even
    – change at Watford Junction for the Metropolitan Line to Kings Cross via Croxley
    – change at OOC for the Overground to Stratford for HS1

  579. straphan says:

    @Graham H: I think the real reason for Crossrail going to Reading is that it eliminates the need for anything else (any other passenger trains anyway) to use the relief lines between Paddington and Reading. Remember that the initial GWML service pattern foresaw a 2tph all-stations Reading-Slough service, using DMUs (the GWML was not initially set to be electrified). Can you imagine what a waste of money that would have been? It would have carried more flies than people on most services…

    The Tring service is a logical inclusion, as it is reasonably frequent (takes away enough services from Euston), is operated with 321s (which can be either retired or moved on), and Tring is certainly no further away from London than Maidenhead.

    Milton Keynes would be a bit of a stretch and pointless from a passenger point of view. Nobody uses the ‘all-shacks’ service to get to London since it takes ca. 60 minutes to reach Euston, and there are already 3tph Virgin (JT 34 minutes), 1tph London Midland @110mph (JT 36 minutes), and another 1tph LM semi-fast (45 minutes).

  580. Greg Tingey says:

    Graham H
    And to answer the question about going to Gravesend or even just to Dartford, at the time of construction, the XR project team, and their CEO in particular were implacably opposed to extensions beyond Abbey Wood on the grounds that that would import perturbations from the SE network.
    I thought – & please correct me if off-beam, that, certainly as far as Dartford (where the station would have to be rebuilt, CR1 traffic would be on a separate alignment, thus avoiding said problem?
    Dartford – Gravesesnd would be more difficult, unless you sorted the Ebbsfleet/Northfleet stations err fiasco/inconvenience/ long walk/track twiddles [ delete as appropriate] as part of the spend.

    Doug R
    The “nuke” trains will continue to trundle, safely & impenetrably through Stratford, as usual. IIRC, CR1. like Thameslink is/will be barred to freight.

    I thought we all agreed that the “Paddington terminators” are not going to last long, because of the huge suppressed demand along the Reading line?

    I asked this on another thread, but … where/which route will be followed (what new curve) between Wembley C & Royal Oak for these new CR1 workings?

  581. timbeau says:

    “Milton Keynes would be a bit of a stretch and pointless from a passenger point of view. ”

    You could say the same about Reading. Something has to provide the stopping services between MK and Watford Junction, and since MK-Euston passengers don’t use them anyway (because there are faster services between those two points) why does it matter to them whether the stoppers go to Euston, Crossrail or Gatwick?

    “Nobody uses the ‘all-shacks’ service to get to London ”
    Of course they do – that’s why they are run. It is unfortunately often overlooked that not everyone on a train is going all the way from one end of the line to the other.

    Hence the curious obsession the press have with how XR2 would affect Twickenham – not much – or the announcements on departure from Waterloo that “this (all stations) train is scheduled to arrive at Guildford at 18.00”, when the only people on the train going all the way to Guildford should be the driver (who presumably knows when he’s due to get there) and the guard (who is making the announcement). Anyone else should be on the Portsmouth express, which will get there in half the time.

  582. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – maybe no one would travel on the slows all the way to Guildford, but plenty of them travel to and from the next inwards stations (London Road and Worplesdon). As with Tring, it just so happens that Guildford is a convenient place to terminate.

  583. straphan says:


    You could say the same about Reading. Something has to provide the stopping services between MK and Watford Junction, and since MK-Euston passengers don’t use them anyway (because there are faster services between those two points) why does it matter to them whether the stoppers go to Euston, Crossrail or Gatwick?

    On the GWML ,with Crossrail going to Maidenhead only, Twyford would have ended up being served only by a 2tph service to Slough (no capacity for those trains to continue to Paddington and cross over the Crossrail tracks on the flat). On the WCML, passengers from stations between MK and Tring will still have a variety of trains to either Euston or the WLL, regardless of whether Crossrail goes to MK or not.

    “Nobody uses the ‘all-shacks’ service to get to London ”
    Of course they do – that’s why they are run.

    Nobody from MK would use the all-shacks service to get to London if they have a frequent fast service that costs the same (Virgin are actually cheaper AND faster!). The all-shacks service is there to get people from the likes of Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard to work in Milton Keynes or London, but certainly only trainspotters and people allergic to air-conditioning (they run as 321s) would ever use it end-to-end…

  584. Anon says:

    Graham – that’s Tim’s point.

  585. Graham H says:

    @Anon – forgive me – I thought he was complaining about the all stations service; maybe he was only complaining about the contents of the announcements?

  586. timbeau says:


    yes – my point was that the existence of the announcements (and they are on almost every train leaving Waterloo) means that someone assumes that the only arrival time anyone on the train is interested in is that of the final destination – when in fact on many trains that is the one arrival time that no-one who has yet joined the train will be interested in.
    Similarly, if, say, a Shepperton train is cancelled, the staff often assume everyone on that train should be directed to the next Shepperton train, ignoring the Chessington, Guildford, Hampton Court etc trains leaving earlier which will be perfectly adequate for a significant proportion of the passengers.

  587. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – quite agree. The timing issue is probably yet another example of the perversity of the present performance regime which is based on r/t arrival at the terminus, not intermediate points.

  588. timbeau says:

    Re Map

    Is there something about the Junction Road – West Hampstead Thameslink connection that prevents R25 using it (and on to the existing connection to the Dudding Hill line), rather than all this new build?

    It occurs to me that, had rationalisation not been so much in favour in the early 1980s, the line we now know as the Goblin could have been very different. Remember that until the “BedPan” electrification, there was no such line (despite the TV drama “The Bletchley Circle” set in the early 1950s using the name). The western terminus was Kentish Town (and indeed there used to be St Pancras – Tilbury boat trains once upon a time) . Kentish Town was arguably a far more useful interchange than Gospel Oak – it is after all on the Northern Line.

    Well, what if that connection had still been there when Thameslink came along a few years later? It has always had an imbalance of routes north and south (the recent construction of Wilberforce Junction is an attempt to rectify this), and indeed some services from the south have terminated at Kentish Town for want of anywhere else to go. Would a Sevenoaks or Wimbledon to Barking service have been out of the question? (yes, I know there is already a service from Wimbledon to Barking)

  589. James Bunting says:

    [email protected]

    The Goblin was more extensive than you suggest. Looking at the May 1938 LMS timetable there were indeed a number of trains that started at Kentish Town, but quite a few from St Pancras, and even some from Moorgate. In the other direction they went to either Barking or East Ham. Some of the Barking trains continued to and from Southend. The most regular service was on Sundays, with a 30 minute service from Kentish Town to Woodgrange Park, then alternately to Barking or East Ham. Again, some started at St Pancras and/or continued to Southend, If this was still the regime with Thameslink added then it could have been a lot more than the the burghers of Ealing and Hammersmith who would have had direct trips to the seaside.

  590. Greg Tingey says:

    My maternal grandfather had a season ticket Walthamstow Midland to Farringdon (for Smithfield )

  591. Mike says:

    Mark T: at,%20philip%201.pdf there’s a proposal for Crossrail to take over the DC lines.

    I think it has good points, but it would require multi-current stock or converting DC to AC and would remove inner-suburban access to Euston, while getting rid of those pesky DCs.

  592. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: As with Tring, it just so happens that Guildford is a convenient place to terminate.

    Except that Guildford will have a lot more inward commuting than Tring does. The main users of Crossrail services at the Reading end will be people commuting into, not out of, Reading, and TfL will no doubt be grateful for the revenue – counter-peak trains into Maidenhead would have been almost empty, trains in Reading much less so. The argument for extending Crossrail to Milton Keynes likewise would be to get better usage out of the counter-peak trains by terminating them somewhere people want to go. The argument against would be whatever the cost of adding an extra bay platform or whatever at Milton Keynes.

    @timbeau: compare with the practice at King’s Cross where Cambridge stoppers get announced only as being to Foxton, which seems less literal-minded and more customer-friendly.

    Is there something about the Junction Road – West Hampstead Thameslink connection that prevents R25 using it

    Only that it has a flat junction onto the slow lines at a point where they are already at capacity.

    Part of the reason for the extensive St Pancras-Essex services was that the Midland Railway used to own the London, Tilbury and Southend railway.

    Well, what if that connection had still been there when Thameslink came along a few years later

    It would have been easier had the flyover that used to exist from the west side of the Midland Main Line north of Kentish Town to Junction Road Junction hadn’t been demolished.

    I’m sure one of the early incarnations of Thameslink 2000 involved the possibility of a Stansted service via the Goblin.

  593. Graham H says:

    @Ian J – I agree very much about Guildford, although I’d be surprised if 1 or 2 tph to MK met much of the reverse market.

  594. Greg Tingey says:

    A straw in the wind regarding further CR-construction.
    Hat tip to Ian Visits.

    Going back to the T&FGJtR & the TH&JtR & as a Walthamstow resident, I find the connection to Gospel Oak & Westwards much more convenient than the old one(s) to St Pancras & later merely Kentish Town.
    Of course this is after the opening of the Victoria Line, so getting t St P is a lot faster that way, than any possible earlier alternatives.

  595. timbeau says:

    @Ian J
    [the Junction Road – West Hampstead Thameslink connection] has a flat junction onto the slow lines at a point where they are already at capacity.”

    Indeed, but the proposed R25 route is full of such pinch points
    – Acton Wells,
    – Whitton/Twickenham,
    – Wimbledon (flat crossover from SWML to Wimbledon loop, not to mention the single track section through the station itself),
    – Peckham Rye,
    – Lewisham,
    – Sutton
    – Birkbeck to Beckenham Junction (not busy per se, but single track as Tramlink uses the other one)

    These would surely be no easier to fix than the Junction Road spur, but most suggestions gloss over these.

  596. Castlebar (Ruislip Chord & FCUK LU) says:

    Twickenham (previous question still unanswered) would be a major problem as reversals will be required to get to Whitton/Hounslow from Teddington and vice versa. Such reversals will also involve crossing each other’s tracks. Does Twickenham have the capacity for this? (and then try answering when the rugby specials are running).

    Do not use the word “just” in your answer, do not pass “Go” and certainly do not collect £200

  597. straphan says:

    @Graham H and Ian J: You both have fair points about trains going to Tring in the peak being empty, and 1tph not really cutting the mustard as far as commuting to MK is concerned.

    I am with Graham on this one. Sure, Crossrail trains will be empty for the first few stations, but there is quite a bit of track between Tring and Milton Keynes – 18 miles to be exact. I doubt the ORCATS share of 1 or 2 slow tph for tickets from the stations between Tring and Milton Keynes would make this Crossrail extension particularly viable. Especially since there would be nowhere to stable the Crossrail units, which would have to run empty to/from Old Oak Common each night and every morning.

  598. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Timbeau – yes loads of such junctions plus running on mostly existing lines and allegedly offering a “metro” service. The proposals make no sense whatsoever if we are being asked to believe there will be some sort of signalling upgrade plus some new bits of tunnel and then hey presto trains can run every 5 minutes round London. If we were doing what Paris is doing and building new tunnelled automatic Metro lines to give a real step change then I’d be more enthused even though they’d be very expensive. I tend to think of tube like frequencies when I see the “metro” term whereas I suspect others mean trains every 15 minutes!

    You rightly point out that there are far too many interfaces between orbital and radial services on lines / at locations where there is zero peak capacity today and you’d need massive expenditure to “fix” those junctions. Taking an entirely local example I really cannot ever see a 4-5 min frequency on the GOBLIN. We’ll be doing very well to get a 10 minute frequency with perhaps longer trains than the envisaged 4 car EMUs.

  599. timbeau says:

    The solution to Twickenham is one of the easier ones. For inspiratrion, just look further down the line at the arrangements for the Overground at Clapham Junction – i.e make it the “double terminus” of the loop, and make a virtue out of a necessity.

    There are several disused bays on the north side of the station (admittedly facing the wrong way, but they could be readily opened out to face west). Trains from the Kingston direction could terminate in one of those, returning back over the flyover to avoid conflict with other services. Services from the Whitton direction would terminate in the middle one of the three existng through platforms, thereby minimising conflicting moves. The Reading/Windsor line services (and possibly Shepperton via Fulwell, if I’m trying to sell this to you?) can readily be accomodated in the two remaining platforms.

    If Wimbledon is made the terminus of the outer loop, you not only allow the outer loop to serve Wimbledon, but avoid the need for an expensive cut off from New Malden to Wimbledon Chase. (Wimbledon itself would need some changes – at the very east chucking Tranmlink out on the street)

    Thus we could have services:
    Twickenham – West Hampstead – Barking -Abbey Wood – West Croydon – Wimbledon,
    Twickenham – Wimbledon – Peckham – Abbey Wood – (as far as you like: Barking probably).

  600. Castlebar (Ruislip Chord & FCUK LU) says:

    a) The bays to the north side of Twickenham station are not disused. They are used for specials to move rugby crowds

    b) All theory, not practical. Local knowledge?? “could”, “easily” and “readily” do not fit into the answer to this problem.

  601. Anonymous says:

    I would imagine that trying to connect Dudding Hill to the NLL via Junction Road Junction / Tottenham North Curve Tunnel 1 would be a complete non-starter. You’d have to cross Thameslink and the MML fast lines on the flat, which seems Ambitious given the intended Thameslink TPH. Some of the core services will head off through the canal tunnels from St. Pancras, but surely not enough to leave space for a useful amount of crossing traffic…

  602. timbeau says:

    I am familiar with Twickenham station. It is currently undergoing a remodelling, but as far as I am aware the track layout will be unchanged and it will be no easier (or indeed more difficult), to fit R25 in afterwards.
    At least it is possible to see what would be necessary to adapt the infrastructure there. One rugby bay might be spared, or a new platform added west of the road bridge (which is I understand the site of the orignal station) for use of trains off the loop.

    East of Norwood Junction is the really intractable bit. And I agree that, at Twickenham and many other places, any useful service frequency would play merry hell with any other services using the same lines*. Just for starters, I know the Kingston Loop is desperate for more (or longer trains), but how do you integrate, let alone justify the combined frequency for, both XR2 and R25?

    *but wasn’t the same said about increasing frequencies on the North London line?

  603. timbeau says:

    @ anon – if you think that’s bad, try getting R25 services from the Kingston direction across four tracks of SWML to access the Haydons Road or St Helier lines.

  604. Castlebar, a crayon free zone says:

    Three self evident, very simple truths:

    1) Reversals are time consuming
    2) Reversals delay the stock following behind it
    3) ToCs will have a lot to say about time penalties incurred because someone else’s reversing train was blocking a platform en route

  605. timbeau says:

    1. Unless you run round and round for ever, you have to reverse somewhere – even supposedly circular services like the Circle Line and the Overground’s orbital run back and forth. (and note if reversal at Twickenham is so difficult, why is XR2 planned to terminate there?)

    2/3. You don’t delay anyone else if you have a platform dedicated to the terminating service: that is why I suggested using one of the three through platforms at Twickenham, and one of the existing bays, for terminating services, leaving the other two running lines for through trains.

  606. mr_jrt says:

    I agree. The only way I can see that working is to dive down south of West Hampstead station into a new tunnel, then head for east of Gospel Oak. Bonus points for building underground platforms on the line at Belsize Park (for interchange) and Gospel Oak (solving the short platform issue, perhaps?).

  607. Anon says:

    Surely Twickenham station would get a rebuild with space to terminate 8tph+ as part of CR2, with R25 piggybacking on that terminal capacity?

  608. Fandroid says:

    Just an observation. I caught Heathrow Connect from Heathrow on Thursday at 12.30. It was fairly sparsely populated at the airport, but lots of passengers got on at Hayes and Harlington. The numbers increased as we progressed until it was ‘full & standing’ at Ealing Broadway. Enough got off there for the train to be comfortable again. I saw that many of those who got off headed for the Tube platforms. The train remained comfortably busy to Paddington.

    Not something I would have expected at that time of day. I don’t know if those prospective Tube passengers were heading for a West London destination (Westfield?) or were transferring to the Tube for West End destinations. If the latter, then Crossrail is going to change travel patterns dramatically, and not just at peak times.

  609. Greg Tingey says:

    You should see the AM peak inbounds discharging @ Ealing Bdy!
    Most of them head directly for the Central Line …..

  610. Mark Townend says:

    Unlikely that Crossrail trains will be stopping there, but Reading Green Park station to the south of the town on the Basingstoke line is back, with funding of £6.4m approved.

  611. Greg Tingey says:

    And, at the other end: CR1 to Ebbsfleet perhaps?
    An interesting indicator, especially given the re-announcement of many more rabbit hutches houses around Ebbsfleet.

  612. Fandroid says:

    It’s almost guaranteed that Reading Green Park station will just be served by the existing 2tph all-stations shuttle between Reading and Basingstoke. Timekeeping will probably go to pot, as the little bit of slack that there is now enables late services to get back on time with smarter turnarounds at each end. However, with wires up and ‘new’ stock, there might even be room in the timetable for a new station at Chineham too.

  613. Josh says:

    Just saw an article that the BBC are getting in on the action with the Paramount theme park at Swanscombe. So with Reading extension already done in the West, when will we start hearing about an extension in East to serve this honeypot?

  614. MikeP says:

    If our esteemed leader and his compatriot in Gravesend think there’s a snowflake-in-you-know-where’s hope of Crossrail getting extended to Ebbsfleet/Northfleet before the theme park’s scheduled opening in 2020 – I’m not touching what they’re smoking.

    I suppose they think that just because it’s been extended from Maidenhead out to Reading in the west, it’s just as easy to do it in the east.

  615. Edgepedia says:

    The route between Abbey Wood, Gravesend and onto Hoo Junction has been safeguarded since 2005, which was modified in 2009. as detailed here. Crossrail information paper C5 says that four tracks are required from Abbey Wood to Dartford, and stabling needed at Hoo Junction.

    A new bill is going to be needed for this four tracking. I thought new platforms would be needed at Dartford, but the area safeguarded (sheet 112) doesn’t give much space for this. It looks to me, looking at sheet 119, plan is to rebuild Northfleet station with a link to Ebbsfleet. Gravesend station was rebuilt with a third terminating platform at the beginning of this year.

  616. Anonymous says:

    This is undoubtedly off topic, but there seems something utterly perverse about the proposed theme park being regarded, for planning purposes at least, as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’.

  617. Edgepedia says:

    …(thinking about my lunch time comment)
    Abbey Wood to Gravesend currently takes about 25 mins, stopping at all stations. Therefore 4tph would need another 4 trains in service.
    Dartford to Gravesend to is about 7 miles, and I estimate there is another 3 to Hoo Junction. Is it worth converting the 65 trains to dual voltage, or just stringing wires for these 10 miles, leaving the dc rail in place? The second option would also mean that the HS1 trains could raise pantographs at Gravesend, or even earlier if they can do this on the move.

  618. Greg Tingey says:

    Since this is the current Crossrail discussion thread:
    Hanwell station second entrance re-opens, apparently

  619. MikeP says:

    @Edgepedia – ‘twould be madness to convert the Crossrail stock to dual-voltage, IMNSHO. I’d be surprised if there’s passive provision for such on it.

    The pathing between Dartford and Gravesend could be interesting because the present service between them is 2tph all stations and 2tph Greenhithe. Plus HS1 coming in, though that is between Northfleet and Gravesend.

    I’m not sure of the current state-of-the art on track circuiting for dual-supply tracks – historically it was problematic.

  620. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Anonymous 11th December

    This is undoubtedly off topic, but there seems something utterly perverse about the proposed theme park being regarded, for planning purposes at least, as a ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project’.

    Not really. It depends how you look at it. A proposed theme park would have major implications for various planning issues (electricity, water, sewage, flooding etc.). It would certainly have major implications for the road and rail network. So, arguably, very nationally significant. It is not the theme park which is nationally significant, it is the consequences of it that is.

  621. Mark Townend says:

    @MikeP, 13 December 2014 at 15:30

    There’s no real problem with signalling today – you can just use axle counters for train detection. The problem is traction return current from the DC system leaking and leaching into everything around it, finding the easiest return path to the rectifier. It’s a particular problem with dual electrified areas due to the different earthing strategies.

    In DC only areas, NOTHING is bonded to the rails or earth except:
    1. traction return current bonding, from rail to rail, rail to impedance bond, rail or impedance bond to substation or TP hut.
    2. track circuit bonding, from rail to impedance bond, rail or impedance bond to feed or relay cabinet.

    Hence with insulating pads on the sleepers there is no significant alternative path for return current to get back to substation under normal conditions. Faults on the other hand can result in spectacular signalling cabinet fires etc!

    In AC only areas, EVERYTHING metallic nearby is bonded to the traction return rail and any earth conductor and local grounding plates provided. As a necessary safety requirement to protect rail users and workers, ensuring no dangerous ‘touch potential’ voltage can arise on any exposed metallic surface relative to earth, this requirement cannot be overruled in dual system areas by a desire to maintain an isolated return path for the DC current.

    Think back to school Physics, and parallel resistors. Connect 470 Ohm and 47 Ohm in parallel and most of the current will flow through the 47 Ohm resistor, but some current will also flow through the 470 Ohm one. In dual traction installations, for safety earthing reasons, the alternative paths away from the rails are all deliberately made as low resistance as possible, hence it is inevitable that a fair proportion of the current will end up flowing that way. The AC traction current is fairly low and alternating which is not a significant problem, but the much higher DC currents can cause numerous problems, including stray current corrosion to all kinds of metallic structures and other objects nearby. The only way to reduce this effect (but never eliminate it) is to also make the desired path through the rails as low resistance as possible. This can be achieved by parallel bonding all the running rails together and even providing some additional strengthening conductors in parallel. That is easiest if train detection is achieved using axle counters instead of track circuits, as at Euston.

    It is best to avoid dual electrification as much as possible except at changeover sites, and for unavoidable short shared approaches to major stations or terminals. Euston has a tiny DC load with only three fairly short slow DC trains an hour to Watford. Combined with multiple parallel tracks all bonded comprehensively together, the resultant low resistance preferred return path makes DC just about acceptable there. High frequency 12 car DC services or DC heavy freight combined with AC on the same tracks? Not advisable.

  622. Graham Feakins says:

    Thank you Mark Townend for your useful reply.

    I suspect your answer would differ somewhat should one consider a tramway-style environment just with DC overhead supply, where it is, rather should be, usual to ground masts to avoid that dangerous ‘touch potential’ voltage.

    Tramlink of course has tram and DC third rail railway tracks running parallel to each other (Birkbeck-Beckenham Junction in particular) and I know special precautions had to be taken along that length.

  623. Edgepedia says:

    @MikeP, the Crossrail trains are specified as being capable of conversion to dual voltage, although there will be, of course, a cost for this. Thank you Mark Townend for that background. I guess this is why the Wessex Route Study Consultation (page 113) “assumes that it will not prove possible or practicable to keep in place the third-rail DC system as well as the AC system” between Basingstoke and Southampton.

  624. Paul says:

    All modern EMUs (e.g. Electrostars and Desiros) use 3 phase AC traction motors. These are supplied from the onboard traction electronics with 3 phase AC at varying voltage and varying frequency (hence the weird noises during acceleration).

    The 3 phase voltage is produced on board in traction electronics packs – but those devices have a DC input, which either comes directly from the DC third rail or is produced onboard from a transformer/rectifier which has a 25 kV input.

    So a nominally ‘AC only’ EMU still has what is known as a ‘DC link’ between its power collection stage and its traction electronics – because it is easier to do a single phase AC > DC > 3 phase AC conversion system. Hence making an AC EMU capable of DC pickup is relatively straightforward, as nearly everything needed is already there. Shoe gear, fuses and wiring is all.

    (The above is somewhat simplified, because the addition of regenerative braking into the supply means that the transformer rectifier must operate in reverse as a transformer/inverter as well…)

  625. Mark Townend says:

    @Graham Feakins, 14 December 2014 at 17:05

    In traditional 1st generation tramways, stanchions and other metal objects nearby were bonded to the running rails routinely, even subsurface pipes were sometimes bonded to the rails and to each other. That is is now considered poor design as it gives stray traction return current ever more opportunity to get into the earth and find its way into yet more utility pipes etc through the surface area of those objects.

    In modern 2nd generation tramways, the intention is to try and keep the return current confined as much as possible to the rails, so such metalwork is never connected directly to the rails for earthing purposes. The rails must be designed to remain insulated as much as possible from earth and any other metalwork just like main line 3rd rail.

    In the earlier 2nd generation systems in UK, steel mesh in street track slab forms was sometimes used, even provided specifically, as a conductive mat in an attempt to ‘mop up’ any stray current from the rails and keep it away from utility pipes etc. This is usually considered unnecessary today as long as the rail to earth insulation, rail to rail bonding and feeder design is adequate. Furthermore, the typical connection of such a mesh to the substation rectifier negative terminal via a diode appears to be counterproductive, promoting leakage, so has been removed in some UK sites.

    The problem with not comprehensively earthing at least one rail in a high voltage main line AC system is that without that measure the voltage on the rail itself can easily drift up to hazardous levels under fault conditions and that includes anything connected electrically to it, like a train’s wheel-sets, bogies, body-shells . . . and door-handles. There have been cases of AC locos and units rolling onto dry heavily rusted rails (good insulation!) in electrified sidings with the pan up, then staff being shocked severely getting in and out because the touch potential of the vehicle had risen to a dangerous level.

    Whilst the touch potential risk is not entirely absent and must be controlled by design, the lower voltage in DC (only) systems, whether 3rd rail or OHLE, controls that risk to a large extent itself, allowing the rails to remain safely unconnected to earth.

    The following document from the ORR is useful in understanding the issues for tramways:


  626. Greg Tingey says:

    And, of course, the physical effects on humans …
    Voltage will throw you across the room, but current (through the body/nerves/heart) will kill you.
    Touching something like 10Kv but sub-micro-amp current from an old-fashioned HT coil/magneto in a car would give you a belt, but no damage, 100mA hand-to-hand, through the body can kill, easily.
    – Hence people who have touched 25Kv on hot, humid, not to say sweaty days, have lived – admittedly with “interesting” scorch-marks over their skins.

  627. David Holt says:

    This is slightly adrift of the topic but quite closely related to it, prompted by Graham’s reference to adjacent third rail and Tramlink electrification systems. The relevance relates particularly to the PTS system and trackside personnel’s awareness of earth bonding arrangements (eg AC “red bonds”, and DC bonding and earthing).
    In the Sentinel PTS (Personal Track Safety) system, it is my understanding that DC endorsement and training refers specifically to third rail technology (eg Southern Electric and Merseyrail) and that AC refers specifically to 25kV AC technology. AC/DC endorsed Network Rail employees may therefore not have been trained for the working alongside the DC tramway which adjoins Network Rail between Deansgate Junction and Altrincham.
    Manchester Metrolink’s Sentinel cards are only endorsed DC even though the outbound tram track at Cornbrook Junction adjoins Network Rail’s 25kV AC tracks. In the near future the same will apply at Manchester Victoria East.
    Does Croydon Tramlink PTS DC training include third rail precautions and awareness as well as tramway DC? Complicated isn’t it? It seems to me that all this is a grey area just waiting for an incident to expose the anomalies.

  628. Greg Tingey says:

    Or higher-voltage overhead DC, as in Tyneside Metro: 1.5kV DC overhead – though I don’t think running an ex-LNE design loco there would be appreciated!
    There’s at least one place where 25kVAC & the “1500” are close by each other, too…..

  629. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Greg Tingey,

    It’s the volts that jolts, it’s the mils* that kills.

    *mils is short for milliamps

    When Tasers came in there was a cartoon in Private Eye.

    Q. What’s the charge, officer?
    A. About fifty thousand volts.

    Next issue there was a letter protesting that charge meant current so the answer should have been in amps.

    The issue after that someone pointed that current and charge are not the same and that charge is measured in Coulombs.

  630. ngh says:

    The impedance (Z) of the human body decreases with increasing voltage (due to cellular break down processes).
    Depending on the impedance, a certain amount of current will flow for any given voltage. It is the current that determines physiological effects. Nevertheless, voltage does influence the outcome of an electric shock. The most significant tissue damage is done by charging effects (Coloumbs), with DC you only get charged up once (unless very unlucky and hopefully at right speed and timing so it doesn’t interfere with fibrillation) with AC you would get charged and discharged 50 times a second which can cause far more charging damage which means AC as been regarded as more lethal (see the AC-vs-DC distribution systems “war” of well over a century ago for how far this point goes back. (excluding for some other effects DC can be worse…)
    Dalziel found in the early 1960s the safe envelope (very conservative definition) was Energy delivered <0.03Z or circa 15J if the impedance is 500 Ohms

    [Hence one of the reasons RCDs for general "mains" use are designed to trip before 0.2s at 30ma]

  631. Anonymous says:

    @PoP 13 December 17:44

    I must admit that I had not realised quite how much the NSIP legislation had been extended in scope in order to cover commercial projects. Legally therefore, it does seem to be the right planning mechanism for the scheme to be considered under, although the government has certainly stretched the meaning of the word ‘Infrastructure’ well beyond its dictionary definition.

  632. Anonymous refers only to [1]:

    NSIP [1] – Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, which define under The Planning Act 2008 large scale projects falling into five general categories (Energy, Transport, Water, Waste Water, and Waste).

    Included for completeness is [2]:

    NSIP [2] – NR’s National Stations Improvement Programme

  633. Mark Townend says:

    This was today. . .

  634. Anonymous says:

    Oyster at Twyford would be unworkable due to the station layout as the bridge at both northern and southern ends falls outside the confines of the station, but the lifts, part time only, don’t.

    On the Henley branch only Henley station is manned the others are ticket machine or ticket on train service, 6 cars is the max on the branch line due to platform length, and the direct services are always full by the time they reach Twyford

    Similarly on the Marlow branch, Marlow has on train ticketing as does Furze Platt except in morning peaks when and sometimes those too if the stationmaster is on holiday.

    There is a strong local lobby for the direct Henley & Bourne End services, and the fast Twyford-Maidenhead-Paddington services, so that when FGW cut them some years back, they were reinstated within 2 weeks! Twyford also has 3 fast evening HST’s one of which half empties at Twyford so it is a very busy station, around 1.2 million journeys not including the heavily used branch line, and Henley regatta week adds even more strain.

  635. Anonymous,

    Think more of Oyster at Twyford would be unworkable due to the current station layout.

    It also depends on your meaning of unworkable which sounds a bit strong. Given that Oyster has been implemented in some manner in just about every station in Zones 1 -9 I hardly think it is going to be defeated by Twyford. The solution at Twyford may be less than optimal but hardly unworkable and certainly not worse than some solutions in London.

    How is Oyster more unworkable than the situation at present?

    According to Modern Railways (March 2015) funding has been allocated for a passing loop at Bourne End “allowing operation of two direct trains per hour throughout the day”. I presume the “direct train” means direct (i.e. no change at Bourne End) from Marlow to Maidenhead and is a reference to the situation where, when a Paddington bound train starts from Bourne End, the “Marlow Donkey” makes a shuttle journey between Bourne End and Marlow, if I recall correctly.

    What is the betting that at some point the message will come out that you can have a half-hourly service on the branch line OR retain your through train (1 only per day in each direction planned after Crossrail opens)?

    As stated in the article, it beats me why they don’t really take a good look at the branch line to Henley and try to get a thirty minute service viable when it is electrified. They could at least attempt this in the morning peak with trains not stopping at Wargrave and Shipley in the Henley direction.

  636. Graham H says:

    @PoP – here’s a whimsical thought – why not equip the onboard TTI with a portable Oyster reader -half man,half gate, as it were? A MORAG perhaps – (Mobile Ontrain Reader And Gate)?

  637. ngh says:

    Re PoP et al,

    Henley Branch – they can do “30 minute” at certain points in Regatta week it just needs some staff at either end to encourage passengers to get on/off quickly for fast turnarounds and using the Up Relief Platform at Twyford for the second train.
    1 train when electrified should easily shave 1.5 to 2minutes off.

    Journey time is 12 minutes distance, circa 4.5miles with 2 intermediate stops.
    Most of the residents I know in the area drive to Twyford anyway…

    The rumour mills are current suggesting TSGN’s surplus 365s in a few years go to GW services

  638. Greg Tingey says:

    Or even more sensibly, operate a Maidenhead – High Wycombe service, with a Marlow shuttle?
    Um ……

  639. ngh says:

    Re PoP,

    “What is the betting that at some point the message will come out that you can have a half-hourly service on the branch line OR retain your through train (1 only per day in each direction planned after Crossrail opens)?”

    As long as that point is after the 1st Thursday in May, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  640. timbeau says:

    @anon 0219
    “Oyster at Twyford would be unworkable due to the station layout as the bridge at both northern and southern ends falls outside the confines of the station, but the lifts, part time only, don’t.”

    Don’t see that as a problem – the layout is similar to Teddington or Norbiton, with a bridge or subway open to the public, except they don’t have lifts. Oyster readers at the bottom of the stairs and at the entrances to the platforms are all that’s required

  641. Anonymous says:

    The volume of people getti no off the fast trains in the evenings would make barriers on the bridge or stairs not feasible, especially if the Henley branch were included in Oyster, as you would have to go out the barrier then back in to take a Henley train, when they leave as soon as all passengers from the evening HST’s , a lot of people, have boarded, and at that time of night there is usually only one member of staff at the station & it is unstaffed after 8:30 week nights much earlier in weekends

    Bourne Aend already has 2 platforms to enable the direct Paddington service with a shuttle to Marlow. During Henley regatta alternate trains do not stop at Wargrave in order to make sure that the service frequency is maintained

  642. Malcolm says:

    I think the discussion about Oyster at Twyford is suffering from confusion between Oyster readers and Oyster gates. Clearly readers without gates are entirely feasible, anywhere at all regardless of the layout. Some of the stations mentioned as comparators may be like that. Whereas a gateline may be easy, tricky or impossible, for reasons mentioned above, or for other reasons.

  643. Malcolm says:

    @ngh Your description of how the Henley branch is worked in Regatta week is a bit puzzling. If a second train is involved, then there will be no rush to get passengers on and off at Twyford, as the train will wait there until the other train gets back. Unless the two trains are flighted, two up trains then two down, but Henley has only one platform.

  644. timbeau says:

    Indeed, Oyster readers on the platform without readers were what I had in mind. Wimbledon has them for interchange between train and tram, for example

  645. timbeau says:

    Oops. Free-standing Oyster readers on the platform without GATES were what I had in mind! I imagine the same will be provided at Reading and Shenfield for people interchanging

  646. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Anonymous is talking about one branch then another in the same short paragraph which isn’t helpful. I can quite understand why you are confused. He also mentions that Bourne End already has two platforms (true) which enables a direct Paddington service with a shuttle to Marlow (true). However this is not the same as being able to run a two-train half-hourly shuttle between Marlow and Maidenhead without changing trains.

    Clearly a Marlow – Maidenhead half-hourly shuttle is a much better allocation of resources once Crossrail is open and I would suggest be of greater benefit to passengers than retaining the (by then one) through train. No doubt those that lose out will campaign for the retention of and even more through trains without regard to cost or the inefficient use of resources.

    Incidently, if I recall correctly, two trains used to be able to pass in the days when one of the guards operated the ground frame at Bourne End. I may have remembered incorrectly so don’t rely on that.

  647. timbeau says:

    “funding has been allocated for a passing loop at Bourne End”

    Bourne End is actually a reversing station, so a passing loop would be an unusual layout. The current two-platform layout has access to and from Maidenhead from both platforms, but the Marlow line is only connected to one of them. Thus trains cannot pass there – if two trains arrive from Marlow and Maidenhead, the latter has to use the platform with no access to Marlow, and has to go back to Maidenhead.
    In the days when the Whitby branch had two trains, they passed at the reversing station at Battersby which only had one platform: however it was long enough to take two trains at once (last in, first out, of course). That would only be an option at Bourne End if you were to re-instate the level crossing and demolish the new police station.

  648. Edgepedia says:

    I visited the branch last year, and confirming my memory of the stations layout from google maps, I think it would be possible to re-layout the junction at Bourne End so that Marlow trains could access both platforms, but this would restrict the length of all trains to 2 cars.

    Bourne End could still have a through London train in 2019; after all that’s what currently promised. However, I think that such a short-formation train taking up a rush hour path on the approaches into Paddington will be increasingly untenable in the following decade. One approach would be add cars at Maidenhead, but I expect that by 2030 Crossrail will have completely taken over the Paddington relief (slow) lines.

    I agree with PoP that two trains per hour on the branch would be the best use of resources. Planned for now, we could have a light rail solution with overhead lines energised at 750Vdc, thus dispensing with a heavy transformer on a 2-car train.

  649. timbeau says:

    Would a portioned working for Henley and Bourne End work? This would allow through services to both without the problem of short formations on the main line. Would the layout at Maidenhead (where the trains would join and divide) be suitable for this.

    “Light rail solution with overhead lines energised at 750Vdc thus dispensing with a heavy transformer on a 2-car train”
    Since such a train would be trapped on the branch, it would need dedicated depot facilities. Three-car ac units are not unusual, and even 2-car units have existed (Class 309/1, the French Z11500 class, etc).

  650. Edgepedia says:

    With the current layout, a train coming from London and dividing at Maidenhead for Bourne End and Twyford would need to cross over to the up platform, thereby blocking the up line for about seven minutes. However, I guess a connection from the down platform to the branch is not impossible.

    Anyone know what the options are for 2-car 25kV trains for the Great Western branch lines? Can the Class 313 or 319s be reconfigured, or will new stock be needed. It appears that the Siemens Desiro City is limited to 3-car minimum, but I could find a minimum length for the Bombardier Aventra or Hitachi AT100/AT200 series.

  651. timbeau says:

    You can’t reconfigure any current British ac emu to become a 2-car set without fairly drastic surgery, because the conventional position for the pantograph is on a non-driving car (a cabless middle car), and you need a driving cab at each end of the unit.

    Although most A-trains are of 3 or more cars, Wikipedia tells us that Hitachi has built a few 2-car A-trains for its home market – known as Kyushu Railways’ Class 810, East Japan Railways E257 and Seibu Railway’s 30000 type.

  652. Malcolm says:

    Well that puts the spanner well and truly in the Marlow-electrifying works, if nothing longer than two cars can reverse at Bourne End…

  653. Mark Townend says:

    @Malcolm, 28 February 2015 at 17:27

    “Well that puts the spanner well and truly in the Marlow-electrifying works, if nothing longer than two cars can reverse at Bourne End…”

    I suspect relaying the junctions with shorter modern geometry and judicious moving of the bufferstops might just allow a 3-car D78-derived unit to be squeezed in at approx 54m versus current 46m 2 car turbo. Replace the current crossover with a slightly shorter ‘scissors’ arrangement and you’d have a passing place for half hourly service. Use the diesel- converted Vivarail D-train concept and you could avoid electrification of the branch altogether, clearly at the price of through workings to Paddington, but tactically that could allow electrification resources to be concentrated on the late running main lines. From branch stations you’d still be getting a single change ride to central London Crossrail stops, so overall there’s little loss of convenience for most commuters, except those who work very close to Paddington. A similar approach could be taken on the Henley branch, with the alleged high acceleration of the D-train perhaps allowing half hourly service with only one train (perhaps a double unit to handle peak crowds on regatta days). The Windsor branch with high-performance stock might be able to accommodate a 15 minute or more likely a 20-minute interval service and then there are the Greenford trains of course. A small micro-fleet of D-trains on a ten-year TfL-Rail contract to run the lot perhaps based at Maidenhead with a small depot which could also administer the Crossrail stabling sidings there . . .

  654. Graham H says:

    @MT – hardly a cheap solution… particularly if a new depot, however small, is required.

  655. timbeau says:

    As far as I can see from Google Earth (which has a class 165 conveniently arriving at Bourne End to give scale), both platforms at Bourne End could take a three car set. the problems would be twofold:
    1. The platform at Marlow can only take two cars: but it looks like it could be extended.
    2. You cannot easily modify the junction at Bourne End to allow trains to/from Marlow to use the platform currently not so accessible without shortening it. Without that modification you are limited to either one train running the full length of the branch, or two separate ones – with everyone having to change at Bourne End for Marlow – which is inconvenient as there is no possibility of cross platform connection there.
    If you want to increase the frequency, a three car set (e.g a 313 or a 319 with the intermediate trailer removed) could run to Bourne End, with something like a Parry People Mover to work the “donkey”.
    Alternatively, note that Bourne End is not the mid-point of the line: there would appear to be room for a passing loop at Cookham.

  656. Greg Tingey says:

    All of this is down to the incredible short-sightedness in closing Bourne End – High Wycombe.
    Re-opening of which is getting progressively less likely/more difficult, as it’s necessity (?) becomes greater

  657. Milton Clevedon says:

    @Mark Townend

    Beware what you wish for!

    Local commuters value the through Paddington trains highly, on the Henley and Bourne End lines. Henley has the capability to be a significant railhead for the Chilterns, if there were more through trains.

    I fear though that most haven’t read the prognostications in the 2011 LSE RUS, where they might be doomed to more frequent shuttles, even if electric. Does this remind anyone of the Wimbledon-line politicks arising with Thameslink? Will local general election manifestos pick up the topic?

    With GW electrification costs now 60-70% higher than forecast, beware the missing masts on one or two GW Thames Valley branches. Are there any yet visible on Windsor/Marlow/Henley? None were expected on Greenford, anyhow. Roll on D-Stock, perhaps. Maybe some of those will then work close to their District Line home!

  658. Anonymous says:

    In Henley regatta periods only one train is used on the branch line as two would block the main line and then require a reverse towards Reading in order for the train to enter the bay, as it is through trains from Paddington to Henley have to be carefully timed in order not to hold up trains heading down the relief lines to Paddington

    On the Marlow branch the length of the platform at Marlow is an issue and room for extension doesn’t really exist, also the train runs slow Marlow to Bourne End due to several open crossings, known for accidents, have been on a train when this has happened. This means the only way to do half hourly service safely is the current configuration

  659. Anonymous says:

    The tourism and local politics issues will probably ensure that Windsor/Marlow &Henley get electrified

  660. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – the problem at Bourne end seems to be that although, in physical terms, a 3 car can just be accommodated, the current rules relating to junction standage permit only a 2 car set.

  661. Mark Townend says:

    @Graham H, 28 February 2015 at 18:31
    “hardly a cheap solution… “

    Fair point, even a tiny depot will need to employ a few people which is where the ongoing costs would arise no matter how simple and limited the facilities provided. A small sub-fleet of refurbed 31x 25kV units especially short formed for the branches and maintained at Reading would be more economic and preferable, assuming the electrification can be completed. If not a small number of turbos could be held on to rather than going elsewhere to replace pacers. One or two ecs runs in and out of Reading late evening and early morning could serve to collect and distribute the sets, as I assume must happen today with the turbos. Electrification would ensure a long term future for the direct Paddington services, but it will be interesting to see how loadings change following completion of Crossrail. I recall the Henley branch direct London service being reported as one of the most consistently overcrowded in the country.

    @Milton Clevedon, 28 February 2015 at 19:02
    “Local commuters value the through Paddington trains highly, on the Henley and Bourne End lines. Henley has the capability to be a significant railhead for the Chilterns if there were more through trains.”

    Henley could be a Crossrail terminus if the currently planned Maidenhead terminators were extended there, two trains per hour. Although the branch bay at Twyford is limited to 100m, (4 car turbo) other Platforms on the branch are longer:

    Wargrave – 148m
    Shiplake – 180m
    Henley – 170m

    All look fairly easily extendible to the 200m Crossrail requirement.

    Some other infrastructure work would be required, most importantly at Twyford to provide a double junction with the relief lines and a train’s length of double on the branch itself. A branch round trip takes about 30 minutes with a reasonable turnback allowance at the terminus so trains would be crossing at Twyford and the current single lead junction with both directions of through branch service sharing the Up Relief platform would be unsuitable.

    @timbeau, 28 February 2015 at 18:37
    “You cannot easily modify the junction at Bourne End to allow trains to from Marlow to use the platform currently not so accessible without shortening it.”

    Yes, that’s true but it might be possible to put in a slightly shorter ‘scissors’ that creates two platforms of equal length. The problem is perhaps that a tight turnout partway along the longer platform would probably result in the portion of the platform alongside being unusable due to the coping stones having to be cut back to cater for vehicle end swing to the extent that stepping distance would be excessive. However, a separate new platform section beyond the new scissors could be constructed out as far as the river bridge, accessed along the existing platform. In excess of 100 metres would be possible, and in an electrified future that could allow a four car through London service from Bourne End to run, with a ‘Donkey’ pulling up to the stops behind it in the old part of the platform, for easy interchange.

    @Greg Tingey, 28 February 2015 at 18:58
    “All of this is down to the incredible short-sightedness in closing Bourne End – High Wycombe.”

    Agreed one of the more unfortunate of closures, but the awkward arrangement at Bourne End is largely a result of the unexpected post-Beeching survival of the Marlow service rather than any rational plan for the wider area.

  662. Anonymous says:

    The former Bourne End to Loudwater route is now protected from further development in the vain hope someone might pluck up the courage to reopen, with all the associated demolition it would cause

  663. Caspar Lucas says:

    It is not completely impossible to make a case for local on-branch maintenance. I give you the Stourbridge Town branch.

    The requirement for justifying this arrangement is for savings achieved by implementing changes (in that particular case by changing both engineering and operational characteristics from heavy rail) to exceed the costs of local maintenance provision. This is dependent on local circumstances, of course.

    As an aside, I note that the Vivarail website also claims local maintenance provision as an advantage of their “Class 230” D Stock conversion concept.

  664. Graham H says:

    @Caspar Lucas – As you say, the case for small maintenance depots depends on local circumstances,although its noticeable that in Switzerland – the classic land of small independent operators – there has been a secular trend to amalgamate operators, standardised rolling stock, shared spares and – most importantly -multi-skilled staff. None of these things apply in the UK apart from the very limited and telling example of the Stourbridge line. I doubt if the Marlow and Henley punters would like the consequences of Swiss practices.

  665. Castlebar says:

    @ Anonymous 1 March 2015 at 17:51

    This conflicts with what I was told late last year.
    Is there a source for this info please?

  666. Anonymous says:

    i think I read it in connection with the refusal of a planning application on the route by Wycombe District Council

  667. Anonymous says:

    Another interesting aside about Twyford is that you have to walk across the branch line to get from the main car park to th platform, then go along the platform to the ticket office!

  668. mr_jrt says:


    Used a bit of my Google-fu and found this.

    So, not protected, per-se as I read it, but the application had so many flaws refusal was easy…

  669. timbeau says:

    @Mr JRT/Castlebar
    The decision does not suggest that re-opening the railway is envisaged – it suggests the trackbed is proposed for use as a cycleway

  670. Castlebar says:

    Thank you both Timbeau and mr_jrt

    I suspected the post by Anonymous on 17:51 on March 1st was pure supposition and the route is not at all protected for possible future re-opening after all. Your postings both tie in with my previous understanding, but that 1st March posting made me feel that I might have missed something.

  671. Slugabed says:

    BUT…(to look on the bright side) if the alignment is converted into a cycle route under one ownership,the alignment (such as it has survived) will not be further obstructed by buildings.
    The cycle-route presents a different challenge to eventual re-opening but is not the “game over