In recent months on London Reconnections we have looked at the future of most of the tube lines, with articles on the Metropolitan Line, the other Sub-Surface Railway (SSR) Lines and the deep tube lines. Some lines, however, deserve a look in more detail than others – and one of those is the Piccadilly.

We omitted the Piccadilly Line from the general look at deep level tube lines because it was worthy of at least one article on its own. In fact it will actually get the best part of two, because it is important to look at the various important developments without, as much as possible, the distraction of the debate on driverless trains. Here we look at the facts, and where possible leave the politics and educated guesses of whether the trains will actually have any staff on them to a follow-up article.

Early in 2013 we looked in great detail at the Northern Line. We warned that although we were pretty confident we could paint an accurate general picture of what is expected to happen, we could not be correct in every detail. This is not least because even if we are correct as to current thoughts and policy, it does not necessarily mean that these will be present in the final product. The same caveat applies to this article.

New Tube for London the Piccadilly Line

The Piccadilly Line Upgrade is not just another upgrade. Mindful of the fact that tube trains tend to stay in service for at least 35 years – and this length of time is getting longer – the decision was taken on the Piccadilly to really plan for the future. This covers every aspect of an underground line not just the trains. Effectively, the Piccadilly Line Upgrade is the intended output of a massive forward-thinking research & development project currently called “New Tube for London” (NTfL). As we saw in a previous article, this is supposed to be about a new tube specification for the Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Waterloo & City and Central Lines. Funding, however, is currently only available for the Piccadilly Line, so despite the grand title it is perhaps best to think of it as the Piccadilly Line Upgrade, with the other deep lines to perhaps follow at some point in the future.

It’s NOT just about driverless trains

Because the Piccadilly Line Upgrade is a forward looking project it is really driven by one factor – and although both the media and various political figures persist in thinking otherwise, that factor is emphatically not driverless trains. The feature which underpins just about everything about this project is energy. This is either in the form of minimising the electrical energy required to run the trains or getting rid of excess heat energy. Obviously these two facets are not unrelated.

That said, the driverless trains issue is important to the designers and the decision has been taken at an early stage to design the upgrade so that the trains are capable of being run in service without any member of staff on board. This is generally referred to as Unattended Train Operation (UTO). The fact, however, that the trains are capable of being operated in UTO mode does not mean that they will.

The Platform Train Interface

On modern transport networks once a system is designed to be UTO-capable then a mandatory requirement almost always now follows – the network or line in question should have platform-edge doors at all stations, including the above ground ones. Furthermore platform levels must be aligned with the floor level of the trains. This is certainly the situation in Paris with Ligne 1 and one suspects that some of our more astute readers are rapidly grasping the significant consequences that this means for the Piccadilly Line.

As if that were not challenging enough, a further requirement is that there should be no significant gap between the train and the platform. This is obviously going to be quite a challenge on a tube system famous for its “mind the gap” announcements. One where in a great number of cases simply straightening existing platforms is just not feasible.

Before we look at the trains themselves and the technology needed to support them, therefore, we need to look at some of the fundamental questions that will need to be addressed about the destinations of the future Piccadilly Line. For, as previously noted, those familiar with the line will have quickly seen that if we have platform edge doors there are going to be considerable problems at Ealing Common station (where the platform is shared with the District Line S7 stock) and the Rayners Lane – Uxbridge stretch of line, which is shared with Metropolitan Line S8 stock.

The Rayners Lane – Uxbridge Problem

Uxbridge Rayners Lane Prior

Originally, the problem at the extreme end of the shared line between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge was going to be resolved by the simple expedient of terminating all Piccadilly Line trains at Rayners Lane. When the disadvantage to passengers was quantified, however, it was realised that this would produce considerable disbenefits in terms of longer journey times. The extra time involved was not that great per passenger, but there were an awful lot of them.

Many people originally believed that terminating at Rayners Lane would be inevitable due to disability legislation and the need for step-free access onto the train. In fact derogation was successfully sought when the S stock on the Metropolitan Line was introduced, so there is no reason to believe that it could not be obtained for the Piccadilly Line stock. The question then was thus whether to pursue trains being UTO-capable, despite the disadvantage to passengers, or to abandon it.

There was, however, another problem. Great care was being taken with the new Piccadilly Line trains to provide appropriate doors at the ideal spacing – but as a consequence there was no way that these would be in the same position as S stock doors. With the doors on the two types of rolling stock destined to be out of alignment, platform edge doors effectively became a non-starter and consequently running trains on this joint section would seem to be totally incompatible with UTO.

The current thinking thus appears to be that the Piccadilly Line should be UTO-capable except for Rayners Lane to Uxbridge. If the Piccadilly Line is run as a UTO line, then for these stations it is expected that a DLR style train captain will need to be on board to supervise boarding and alighting. If UTO were to happen on the rest of the line it is not clear whether the train captain will board at Rayners Lane (westbound) or South Harrow (the previous stop), or whether this would simply mean that one was present for the entire journey (although this would obviously require a greater number of staff to achieve).

Uxbridge Rayners Lane Post

The Ealing Common Problem

Further south there is the issue of shared track with the District Line through Ealing Common station. This has been an operating nuisance for many years. In fact in 1949 there were proposals to lay additional tracks and rebuild Ealing Common station in order to provide segregated lines for the District and Piccadilly Lines between Acton Town and Hanger Lane Junction – the junction just north of Ealing Common station where District Line trains turn off for Ealing Broadway. This and a number of other schemes were rejected by the government of the day – most likely because there was not the money available, rather than because it was not worth doing in 1949.

If it were just a case of sharing the track then sharing with the District Line would not, on its own, have been that great an issue. Nevertheless, as lines get more trains per hour the opportunities for sharing track without delaying or disrupting services diminish. At the same time the consequences of delays become more significant and disruptive.

One solution would be to finally implement the 1949 proposal to separate the two lines, but it is probably much more difficult to do that today with increased urban development. Alternatively one could require each platform at Ealing Common to be permanently staffed with a train dispatcher who has to give authority for the doors to close and further authority for the train to depart. Neither of these two options is, however, currently the plan. Instead a radical solution is proposed – one that a first sight appears to verge on madness. Bear with us, however, for with further thought it is a solution that can be seen to make a lot of sense.

The proposal is that the Ealing Broadway branch of the District Line be transferred to the Piccadilly Line.

There are various reasons why this may seem, initially, to be a bad idea. Most notably:

  • The District Line will have only just been resignalled and now it looks like the branch to Ealing Broadway will need resignalling again.
  • Some journeys such as Richmond to Ealing Broadway would involve going all the way to Hammersmith to change.
  • Chiswick Park station would need to be added to the Piccadilly Line, which would mean platform height alterations and new points so the Piccadilly Line would call there. This would not be a popular move with most station users who would probably see their daily journey involving a change back onto the District Line at Hammersmith or Barons Court.
  • Ealing Common depot is the depot for the District Line on the west side of London. If the Piccadilly Line goes to Ealing Broadway instead, then the District Line depot will not be on the line it serves.
  • The Piccadilly Line serves Heathrow. One would not want additional branches on the Piccadilly Line if it meant lowering the proportion of trains that serve this busy transport hub.
  • The Piccadilly Line effectively already has three ultimate destinations in the west (Heathow Terminal 5, Heathrow terminal 4 and Uxbridge). A fourth would make operating the line even more difficult.

The counter arguments, however, put this proposal in a different light:

  • Given that this is a long term plan there is no need to re-signal the Ealing Broadway branch twice. For example, knowing the long term plan, one could continue to have District Line trains driven manually between Acton Town and Ealing Broadway until the Piccadilly takes over.
  • Subsequent to this strategy being adopted it now actually looks more and more likely like that either the same signalling system will be used for both lines or at least there will be a higher level of compatibility making this less of an issue.
  • The problem of longer journeys involving a change at Hammersmith and doubling back could be eliminated by stopping all Piccadilly Line trains at Turnham Green. This would also eliminate the current situation when Piccadilly Line trains only stop at Turnham Green at certain times.
  • The platforms for Chiswick Park could be relocated on the Richmond branch. Furthermore, by diverting all former District Line Ealing Broadway trains to Richmond the service from Chiswick Park would be much better than previously with double the number of trains.
  • The fact that the depot isn’t on the line doesn’t really matter. In west London many drivers book on and off at Earls Court so many shifts would be unaffected. There would be some “dead running” but this cannot be avoided.
  • One can only send a limited number of trains to Heathrow. Due to passengers typically being unfamiliar with the tube, possibly jetlagged, and also having a lot of luggage you are never going to be able to run that many trains to Heathrow anyway as the dwell times have to be longer. Even if the Piccadilly only runs a maximum 32tph there are plenty of trains to serve Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway.
  • In 2023 the concession for Heathrow Express expires. It is not currently clear what will happen then, but presumably the mayor would be free to run more Crossrail services to Heathrow – and without charging a fares premium. If that were to happen, and given that there is little chance of any significant capacity expansion at Heathrow in the short to medium term, then it could reasonably be expected that the number of passengers on the Heathrow branch of the Piccadilly Line would actually go down.
  • The number of trains required to serve Ealing Broadway will not be that great if passengers transfer to Crossrail, so it wouldn’t take many trains to provide an adequate service.
  • The fact that the branches of the Piccadilly line are imbalanced is irrelevant. If you run 32tph through the central area then you need the facility to turn round 32tph on the western branches regardless of what is happening on the east side of the line. You are not going to need more than 8tph for Uxbridge and they need to dovetail in with the 16tph on the Metropolitan Line to Uxbridge. There is a limit to what you can run to Heathrow so in practice you can also serve Ealing Broadway without other branches suffering.
Ealing Broadway with Piccadilly Line

The Underground Map in showing Ealing Broadway and surrounding stations in 2024?

The main advantages of Piccadilly Line trains serving Ealing Broadway instead of the District Line are:

  • It makes the Piccadilly Line completely independent of the District Line for normal daily working.
  • The District Line can run 16tph to Richmond in the peak period instead of the currently inadequate 8tph.

Turnham Green

Turnham Green has always had a strange and quirky history of being partially served by the Piccadilly Line. For many years this happened early in the morning and late at night when the District Line was running with extended intervals and on Sundays. With a much more frequent Sunday service on all lines (except the Waterloo & City of course) the all day service on Sunday was dropped.

As we have already seen though, the upgrade of the Piccadilly Line raises a couple of issues regarding stopping at Turnham Green. The first is that if the District Line no longer goes to Ealing Broadway then it would make some sense for Piccadilly Line trains to stop at Turnham Green as the first (or last) station served by both lines. This would avoid longer journey times for journeys such Richmond to Acton Town as well as reduce others such as Heathrow to Richmond. The latter could probably more sensibly be done by bus to Feltham and then main line train but for those relying on the Underground Map or with bulky luggage the Underground will always be the more obvious option.

The other issue at Turnham Green is platform edge doors. These are extremely expensive to install, so realistically you either have to abandon stops at Turnham Green or you have to make installing the platform edge doors worthwhile by having trains call there all day. It is likely significant that London Underground recently launched a consultation for views on additional Piccadilly Line trains stopping at Turnham Green. Whilst this was partially done because of local pressure to provide a better service at that station and the timing was probably not what London Underground would have liked (far too early), the idea in principle probably did not go down too badly at LU headquarters. It has the feel of similar consultations on direct services to Chesham or withdrawing the District Line to Olympia on weekdays – all part of the process of getting the pieces to fit into the final scheme.

BorisWatch spotted a local report that claims that the mayor has agreed that Piccadilly Line trains will stop all day “when the Piccadilly line is upgraded” which seems to support all the above, although this should likely be read as actually meaning when the Piccadilly Line goes to Ealing Broadway. In reality this would not be expected before both Crossrail provides additional relief for Heathrow traffic and all the old 1973 stock trains, with their less optimal performance capability, are withdrawn. On that basis 2023 is an optimistic estimate for this happening.

Sharing track with the District Line

Turnham Green is not the only station where there is some interaction between District and Piccadilly Lines. The Piccadilly Line currently has rarely used platforms at Ravenscourt Park (both directions) and Stamford Brook (westbound only). It would seem that that Piccadilly Line trains will no longer be able to call at these platforms under any circumstances, there being no economic way of them being upgraded. There is also currently the option for the Piccadilly Line and the District Line to share each others tracks between Acton Town and Hammersmith. There would seem no reason why this should not continue in future between Turnham Green and Hammersmith providing suitable junctions were installed at Turnham Green. The only restriction would be that Piccadilly Line trains would be unable to stop at any platform not equipped with platform edge doors.

Piccadilly Line – the trains

As we mentioned at the top of this article, traditionally railway carriages have lasted for between 35 and 40 years before needing replacing. Recently on the Underground we have seen this extend to 45 or 50 years due to a better quality build. At the same time a deep-level tube train has hardly changed at all in outward appearance other than the colour of the finish since the 1938 stock. A Victoria Line 2009 stock looks much the same. The doors are in the same position and are approximately the same width. The bogie and carriage layout is the same. The passenger air conditioning system is the same in both stocks – none at all. It has long been recognised that nowadays what you specify at the outset is probably what you are going to be stuck with for the next fifty years.

A Siemens promotional video of their potential offering for the Piccadilly Line. Because of the tight specification if another supplier won the contract the train would probably be very similar. This is all just window-dressing. The interesting and critical parts of the new train will not be visible.

As stated at the outset, there were two related factors that really drove the need for a radical rethink of what a tube train should be. Contrary to most people’s immediate thoughts neither of these are the need to operate without a driver. The critical factors are heat and energy.

When the tube was built no-one gave a thought to the extraction of heat. Quite the opposite. The tube was quite cool but at least not directly exposed to the outside weather and there was thus no real reason to consider it. Even as air conditioning became technically feasible in mainstream life, few people expected to encounter it in the UK and certainly not on public transport. In any case heat on the Underground really wasn’t a problem. There wasn’t much heat created with trains not as frequent as now – certainly not off-peak which was most of the day – and fewer passengers added their own body heat. The newly-built tube was also bored through cool subsoil and thus came with its own cooling system built in. The trouble is, after a hundred years use, that cool subsoil had now warmed up and is now helping keep the heat trapped in rather than removing it.

A multitude of factors thus mean that the need to extract heat can no longer be ignored.

Energy has also become critical. The obvious reason is cost. There would not be much point in spending large sums of money eliminating drivers if energy costs were higher and potentially easier to bring down anyway. For London Underground it was more than that though. There was also the ethical issue of minimising greenhouse gases. One can ethically source one’s electricity but that only stops someone else having theirs ethically sourced. Finally, removing excess heat from people and trains on the Underground is hard – so why not try to avoid producing the heat in the first place? Essentially any energy that isn’t recycled through regeneration will ultimately end up as heat and require yet more energy to extract that heat outside the tunnels.

One of the biggest contributors to the energy requirements of a train is weight, and a lot of the unladen weight of a multiple unit train is thus in the bogies. So a good way to start saving energy is to cut down on the number of bogies in the train. This has a double benefit because in the current traditional tube train there is absolutely no place available for the air-conditioning units – as clearly an air-conditioning unit is never going to fit in the roof of a deep tube train. Cut down the number of bogies though and it gives you some space under the floor. Of course it is not enough just to get the heat out of the train. It then needs to be got out of the tunnel and on the Piccadilly Line it is intended that around a dozen stations on the line are going to have big projects to remove the heat from the tunnels at that location.

The original idea was to have a bogie at each end of the middle carriage, with all the other carriages having a bogie located at the end furthest from the middle. The current thinking though appears to be that the bogie should be shared between the two adjacent carriages. Each end of the train would have a full bogie of course, so the number of bogies is one greater than the number of carriages rather than twice the number of carriages – a good saving.

This is a considerable saving, although it is worth noting that the carriages will be shorter at 10.7 metres long rather than the current 17.5m. The carriages need to be short so they can be wider as they will be less restricted by sharp curves. As is now swiftly becoming standard across the TfL network, the carriages on the Piccadilly will be walk-through and each carriage will have two wide double doors. It will be interesting to see what develops with the doors. If you make them wider that makes them heavier as well as causing them to take longer to shut (unless you close them quicker). Expect to see novel use of modern lightweight composite materials that we would tend to associate with aircraft not tube trains – especially on the doors.


Again, Siemens design is largely conceptual, but it gives some idea as to what we’re likely to see in terms of door arrangements and internal layout. Photo courtesy of plcd


Inside the Siemens mockup. Again, it gives an idea as to what we are likely to see. Photo courtesy of plcd

It will not just be the trains will be more energy efficient. All aspects of power supply will be looked at and critically examined. Energy loss in the conductor rails will be reduced by increasing the nominal voltage from 630V to a more standard 750V. By the time this happens this will not be new on the Underground, as by then the Sub-surface Railway ought to be operating at 750V and of course both the District and the Bakerloo work at 750V when running over Network Rail controlled tracks. Going from 630V to 750V might not seem that big a deal, but the transmission loss is inversely proportional to the square of the voltage – so it is more significant than may first appear.

On the Piccadilly Line there will, of course, be regenerative braking. But here it is taken a stage further. On other lines it is necessary for a train to be on that particular line and wanting to draw power to be able to take advantage of it. On the Piccadilly Line the necessary changes will not only be made to the substations but also to the substation feeders so that pretty well any train on any line can reuse the electricity.

Also on the power side it is known that there is an aspiration for the train to have sufficiently powerful batteries to get the train into a station if traction current is lost. This would considerably help in emergency situations where it is necessary to cut the power to deal with an incident (e.g. person under a train). Unfortunately due to the way the infrastructure is designed is it usually necessary to remove the power over a much larger area meaning trains are trapped and people are forced to walk through tunnels. Clearly the procedures would need rewriting as it is currently presumed that if there is no traction current then a train cannot move.

In 2013 the idea of battery powered tube trains seems a bit optimistic given the present energy density of batteries. It is true that the civil engineer has battery-powered locos on the Underground and has done so for many years but it would be impractical to carry the batteries found in those locos in a tube train just for the rare occasion when they are needed. What needs to be remembered though is that battery technology is advancing all the time and installing a sufficiently powerful lightweight battery in 2020 may just be feasible.

Calling time on “Mind the Gap”?

Another critical component of the Piccadilly Line upgrade is the need to do something about the gap between the platform and the train if the platform is not straight or very nearly straight. The proposed solution is to have some form of retractable spacer at critical locations.

This will be no small challenge. Dwell times are critical so this would have to be fast-acting. It would also have to be very reliable. Failure to engage would be a serious inconvenience, possibly causing trains to be unable to stop at that station. Failure to disengage would in fact be even worse and probably lead to the all services through the relevant station being suspended whilst the problem is fixed. This is probably the issue that the project team are most nervous of. Although it is a tried and tested system to a certain extent, such spacers are not commonly retroactively fitted to lines and it is only really Ligne 1 in Paris that has such a system fitted to an underground line built over 100 years ago. Having a retractable spacer clearly adds signficantly to the complexity as it has to be interlocked into either the signalling system or the platform-edge door control mechanism.

When will we get the new trains?

The intention is that the first of the new trains would appear in 2021. Given the radical nature of the project this appears to be a very ambitious timetable. It is supposed to be complete by 2024 and there are expected to be over a hundred new trains. They will have to be delivered with a cab because it is felt that it is unacceptable to not have a “driver” at the front if there are no platform edge doors – although for some reason this is not thought to be necessary for Rayners Lane – Uxbridge. Only when the last of the 1973 stock is withdrawn can the platform-edge doors be fitted and it is only when all the platform-edge doors are fitted that the cabs can be removed (or rather converted into a passenger area).

What is not known is what impact the retendering of the signalling contract for the sub-surface railway will have on all this. And of course no-one knows for sure how well the 1973 stock trains currently on the Piccadilly Line will survive old age. The project team therefore have the twin-challenges of getting this radical scheme right first time and avoiding any further delay. Given the concerns of delivering the SSR upgrade on time one will imagine that their progress will be scrutinised very carefully indeed.

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There are 437 comments on this article
  1. 0775John says:

    A small correction to a very interesting article. Ravenscourt Park not Ravenscroft Park in the “Sharing track with the District Line” paragraph.

    [Corrected. Thanks.PoP]

  2. AlisonW says:

    Instead of having retractible spacers retro-fitted to platforms wouldn’t it be more practical / efficient to fit them to new trains, a la london buses (only way faster)?

  3. Sykobee says:

    How will the Richmond District line services call at Chiswick Park, without building new platforms on the Richmond branch of the district line that runs just to the south of the station, over the roundabout outside the station (and at a significant height difference)?

    The overground also doesn’t follow this district line route, it diverges just after Gunnersbury, going to the west of the Gunnersbury Triangle, whilst the district line goes eastwards to the south of the triangle (and the north side of the triangle hosts the lines going through Chiswick Park).

  4. Greg Tingey says:

    Too many “complicated” new variables at one go?
    Maybe, maybe not – it will require very very careful control & oversight.
    OTOH, the Ealing – Rayners Lane service was originally part of the MDR, not the GNP&BR, wasn’t it?
    So, surely, the way to resolve both the majority of the platform height problems & edge-doors / train captains etc, is …
    to switch the Picc to Ealing Bdy & the District (line) “S” stock trains to Rayners Lane & Uxbridge.
    Or there other reasons, not mentioned here, that make this undesireable/unachievable?

    1] Is this a deliberate re-design of the “LR ” website?
    2] Rose & Crown tomorrow, or the 14th?
    [14th. Second Tuesday. PoP]

  5. Milton Clevedon says:


    A super article. The direction of travel appears to be to remould the railway to new technical factors, not to make those fit the present configuration of passenger services. (You’re actually suggesting LUL can’t do the latter, or afford to do it.)

    To me the crux of the issues arising is when the new railway respecification meets the future passenger demand coming the other way. We now have the Davies Commission pointing in 2 of its 3 interim options to Heathrow expansion. West London will also, along with other parts of London, share in the general expansion of the London economy – population and jobs. Crossrail is therefore being relied on in these proposals to be the deus-ex-machina ca. 2023 which will liberate the Piccadilly Line from its post-1977 thrall to Heathrow, via imposition of normal Oyster fares to the airport on Crossrail. Then the Piccadilly can do a drang nach westen and further reduce the District services – leaving the 4 tracking west of Turnham Green to Northfields worthless?

    Methinks this is a techno-vision, and at risk from real-politik.

    What if Crossrail/TfL/Mayor want to/need to/are required to sustain higher fares via Crossrail to the airport – none of the hard deals for substituting HEX are done yet?
    What if the West London economy keeps growing?
    32 tph is all very well, but expanding the Piccadilly NW corridor relies on (I guess) at least 6 tph to Ealing Broadway and say 8-10 tph to Rayners etc – so 14-16 tph. A handly halving of the Piccadilly service, but only if the Hounslow/Heathrow line needs only 16 tph itself?

    The overservicing of Richmond District with 16 tph – at least that seems to be overservicing by a large measure, even if ignoring the possibility that some Richmond Line users will be travelling via OOC to Central London from 2026 – points to a failure to maximise utilisation of available track capacity towards the Hammersmith and Earls Court pinch points along the District tracks.

    All the above commentary is not to knock the proposition, but to ask for other views on what this whole sector of London is likely to require in the way of Underground capacity over the next planning period to 2043 (Network Rail latest dates) or 2050 (Mayoral 2050 initial infrastructure plan emerging in late March 2014)? If the techno can be aligned with the geo and the politico, well and good, but I have my doubts!

  6. Chris says:

    Interesting article as always – many thanks. I read in a TfL document in the last few months that a Picc line upgrade could create *sixty* percent more capacity on the line. Certainly (as a daily user) I can see that faster, more frequent, more spacious trains would make a tremendous difference.

    The NY Subway used to have retractable platform extenders at South Ferry station, which (if I remember correctly) was the terminus of line 1, on a very tight loop. Something similar at the back end of Holborn platforms would be very helpful. Are there other Picc stations with large gaps?

  7. superlambanana says:

    @Alison W, the reason spacers are generally attached to the platform not the train is that they can then be more robust (i.e. heavier). With insufficiently robust bits of metal there is a risk that they will bend as people step on them and then fail to retract. Thus putting much thicker ones in the platform gives better reliability (as well as meaning the train doesn’t have to carry round the weight of the mechanism)

  8. swirlythingy says:

    “When will the we get new trains?” An interesting question indeed.

    I can’t help but think that some of the lateral thinking reported upon in this article is not nearly lateral enough. Apart from AlisonW’s point about how fitting retractible spacers to trains is not only more obvious but is already done on buses, how about taking another leaf out of the buses’ book and designing ‘kneeling trains’? Except in inverse, so the suspension can inflate to raise the height of the train where necessitated by platform height, and deflate where necessitated by tunnel size.

  9. Graham H says:

    @PoP _ thank you for a thought provoking article. On the question of savings in bogie weight, maybe I have misunderstood what you were saying but it seems that what are at present 6 car trains will become 10 car trains of the same length, but fatter in the Danish fashion. Surely, there is therefore only a saving of 1 bogie in all (now, 12 of them, in future 10+1)? Maybe a saving of only 2-3 % of laden train weight therefore – useful but not a killer item.

  10. Steve says:

    A really excellent article.

    Adding to the platform/train retracting spacer debate, I agree with @superlambanana. Case in point is that the wheelchair ramps on London buses are not exactly examples of reliability because they have to be lightweight and slim.

  11. Briantist says:

    @Pedantic of Purley: Thanks for the very interesting article.

    Someone on London Reconnections mentioned the idea of splitting the top bit of the Jubilee line at Wembley Park as an option to deal with the turnaround time at Stanmore.

    It’s about the same distance (5 miles) from Wembley Park to Rayner’s Lane as from Wembley Park to Stanmore.

    It would seem to make some kind of sense – line layouts permitting – to take Preston Road, Northwick Park, Harrow-on-Hill, West Harrow and Rayner’s Lane and transfer them to the Jubilee line. (Perhaps even making the Met non-stopping to North Harrow?)

    This would make sense if there were more Piccadilly trains doing Rainer’s Lane to Uxbridge, as per the article.

    Hope I’m not being daft….

  12. ngh says:

    Surely it wasn’t too long ago that Rayners Lane to Uxbridge on the Picc had a dotted rather than solid line i.e. no off peak?
    24tph (16 Met + 8 Picc) along that stretch sounds like over kill and also something very easy to remove to reduce the price tag later on.

    Heathrow stopping pattern on Piccadilly
    Initially Crossrail will be T4+123 with HEx retaining T5+123? Presumably then a even split in 2023 of T4 and T5 services with Crossrail after the end of HEx?

    With fewer Heathrow passengers arriving via the Piccadilly (and probably fewer trains?) would it make sense to split the Heathrow services with a local shuttle doing T5 to T123 and back (Using 2 trains for decent frequency given the dwell times etc) and all the to/from central London services going round the loop like they used to before T5 existed, which conveniently reduces the number of western destinations. (UTO makes the shuttle much simpler and easier as no need for the driver to change ends.)

  13. Briantist says:

    @Pedantic of Purley: I’ve tried to do a graphic of what I’m on about…

  14. Steve B says:

    Further to Sykobee’s comment:
    It wouldn’t be feasible to site a low-level Chiswick Park station east of Acton Lane – the eastbound track dives under the Acton Town lines immediately east of the road.
    A station on the west side of Acton Lane would be far too close to Gunnersbury station (comparable to, say, Leicester Square and Covent Garden and without enough traffic potential to justify separate stations (and remember Gunnersbury-Chiswick Park is an OSI).
    But how about a resited Gunnersbury station north of Chiswick High Road, with separate platforms for the District Line and London Overground? It could have entrances from Chiswick High Road, the business park on the bus works site and by footpath from Acton Lane/Bollo Lane. The downside would be the loss of the nature reserve.

  15. ChrisMitch says:

    @swirlythingy – having trains lower/raise themselves to the platform height is pretty impractical if the whole station stop is only 20-30secs.
    In general, it seems to me that some of these requirements for automating new rail lines are incredibly onerous and expensive – retrofitting platform-edge doors is just never going to happen IMHO. There is an argument for make do and mend (to a degree) with the existing lines surely, and save the driverless tech/full accessibility for new lines.

  16. Adam says:

    As the comment above notes, I’m not sure how Chiswick Park could realistically serve the Richmond branch. The lines have diverged already and I can’t see how you could connect platforms to the existing station building.

    On the other hand I’m not sure that many passengers would be annoyed by a Piccadilly service at Chiswick Park. Even if ultimately travelling to a District station, skipping Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park would make the journey almost as fast, even with a change of trains.
    But perhaps there are stronger reasons why TFL would like to avoid this. There would certainly be some irony if the years of campaigning for an extra Piccadilly stop in Chiswick end up with two stops rather than just one.

  17. Boriswatch says:

    “How will the Richmond District line services call at Chiswick Park, without building new platforms on the Richmond branch of the district line that runs just to the south of the station, over the roundabout outside the station (and at a significant height difference)?”

    Speaking as a local, there’s a longstanding rumour of a substantial redevelopment of the area south of Chiswick Park station where Sainsbury’s and the row of ugly shops on the High Road are – it’s not inconceivable to get any development of that contingent on providing a new integrated ‘Chiswick High Road’ station east of the road bridge, possibly with a rebuild of the latter for a bit of wiggle room. A wide island might work, although constrained by new buildings to the west and the flyunder for the eastbound track to the right. Chiswick Park’s current location, while a beautiful building, is a tad remote from the centre of Chiswick.

  18. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Interesting article with a fair few surprises. The one thing that doesn’t appear to be covered is those locations where there are compromise height platforms away from the Uxbridge branch. How are LU going to resolve places like Barons Court, Hammersmith and Acton Town where, IIRC, there are steps down into the 73 stock. I believe LU has looked at having ramped dips on platforms (the opposite of humps you get elsewhere). However I’ve never been able to work out how such a concept could ever be deemed to be safe given the risk of trips and falls on to the track. Is LU going to swallow hard and accept it has to reconstruct those platforms to match the new train design and cope with the difference in level between District and Picc platform heights across the width of the platform? Might be achieveable at Hammersmith but Barons Court (I confess I’m a little rusty about the PTI with the Picc at the latter location).

    I confess to being bamboozled by the idea of shifting Chiswick Park station. Isn’t there a nature reserve in the Gunnersbury Triangle which would surely have to be removed / interferred with to create new platforms? Can’t see the residents of Chiswick letting that one pass without a massive fight. Oh and there will be a determined fight to ensure that Chiswick Park station is not left to rot given its listed status.

    I was aware of an initial plan from a long while back to have some PEDs at certain Picc Line stations but that was part of early planning for the Capability Model targets for Review Period 2 with Tube Lines. Clearly thinking has moved on a long way since then. There are going to be some very interesting issues with having PEDs at almost every station on the Picc Line. The ghosts of English Heritage and Charles Holden are already clanking their chains and saying “no PEDs at Arnos Grove or Sudbury Town”. You may laugh but that’s a genuine issue that will have some “dying in ditches” to preserve LU’s heritage. Weather is the other factor that will hopefully cause some to ponder how PEDs or the lower height “platform edge gates” (as seen in Paris and Tokyo) would work in the open air bits of the railway. The Rayners Lane branch is particularly prone to unusual weather conditions in Winter – often gets more snow and ice than elsewhere and lasts longer as temperatures stay lower. Too many years of stations contract management showing there!!

    The other factor not mentioned directly is station capacity. If there is a big boost in capacity that then brings forth loads of extra demand then many, many stations simply will not cope – Finsbury Park, Russell Square, Holborn (on the fix list), Covent Garden, Leicester Square and continuing on right across Zone 1. That’s a lot of issues to fix with the factor that the provision of PEDs will likely reduce perceived platform capacity somewhat (people don’t queue right up to the edge of the PEDs). Lots to ponder on there.

  19. ngh says:

    Re Graham H 6 January 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Exactly, only 1 bogie saved.
    Current 6 Car (17.5 m) has 12 bogies, (2/car)
    Future solution of 10 car (10.7m) with articulation has 11 bogies (1/car+1)

    Unless there are decent weight saving elsewhere the total load /axle could increase which can lead to greater track damage (I’m assuming the new bogie design, traction motor mounting etc will be kinder to the track through so overall wear may go down.)

    If the cars are wider, seats thinner there may be a huge increase in standing capacity and hence fully loaded weight.

  20. Adam says:

    @ SteveB – An updated Gunnersbury would also give an opportunity to fix the current overcrowding issues there, which would be nice.
    There’s not a lot of space south of the tracks west of Acton Lane though, and I’m not sure if you could realign while keeping a straight section for the platform. And losing the nature reserve would definitely be unpopular!

    Another interesting question is what would happen to the Chiswick Park building. I believe it’s listed, and I’m not sure what use it would be if not an active station.

  21. TomP says:

    Wouldn’t it make most sense to make Chiswick Park the new interchange between the Piccadilly and District, if the station wasn’t axed altogether? It’s at the point where the two lines just about meet so would best shorten the route for those trying to get from Richmond to Heathrow or Ealing, and vice versa.

    You’d have to squeeze the new city-bound platform for the Richmond branch into the old AIM car park, extending under the roundabout in front of the station, and giving low-level access to the existing ticket hall. The hall is big enough to have single-run lifts up to the new Piccadilly stop and down to the District. As BorisWatch commented, there’s plenty of room on Sainsbury’s side for the Richmond-bound platform as part of a larger redevelopment. With a pedestrian bridge to the Business Park, Chiswick Park would also give decent access to the fastest growing passenger destination in Chiswick, bringing some relief to Gunnersbury.

    The generous ticket hall at Chiswick Park always seemed a little grand for the location and in fact was designed in 1931 to service the western extension of the Piccadilly. In contrast, Turnham Green’s tunnel and stairs can get pretty crowded with just District Line traffic at rush hours, and there’s much less room for expansion.

    More than 80 years’ late, Chiswick Park might become the station it was originally planned to be.

  22. Anonymous says:

    .. alternatively, compulsory purchase the car parks on both sides of Gunnersbury and turn these into platforms instead (they hardly seem to be used that much anyway)

    With the 20,000 seater new Brentford stadium getting planning permission for just down the road (subject to Boris and Eric not calling it in) and two massive new buildings at Chiswick Business Park, there will be a lot of demand for increased capacity at Gunnersbury.

  23. Mark Townend says:

    If Piccadilly takes over Ealing Broadway, the branch service alone could diverge just west of Turnham Green with a little reconfiguration of the junctions, then use the outer tracks to retain calls at Chiswick Park and Acton Central. Fitting the requisite equipment to the existing platforms there could be cheaper than providing entirely new ones on the District Richmond Line, and traffic from the neighbourhood towards Richmond is already well catered for at Gunnersbury nearby. Fast Heathrow services could continue using the through tracks in the middle at Chiswick Park, also calling at Acton Central. Empty S stock heading to and from Ealing Common could use either inner or outer tracks as expedient between Turnham Green and Acton Central although clearly wouldn’t be able to call at any of the platforms, all lowered as necessary for Piccadilly trains and equipped with edge screen doors or gates.

  24. Anonymous says:

    As time is a factor you could always raise & lower the platform, trains on mixed sections are unlikely to be running so closely together that the following train has to wait for the platform to change height, possibilities are a solid platform raised and lowered by air bags, or perhaps the platform could be constructed like a bridge and raised and lowered by hydraulics, entrances to tickets halls etc could have a pivoted ramp/drawbridge arrangement, so there would still be step free access.

  25. timbeau says:

    @Mark Townend – I think you mean Acton Town

    Looking at Google Earth, the platforms at Chiswick Park seem to be a similar length to the distance between the Acton Lane bridge over (not under, Greg!) the Richmond branch and the eastbound line’s diveunder. Probably slightly more room if an island platform is put in the “V”.
    It might even be possible to still use the existing booking hall, but with passengers going down, rather than up, to the plaforms.

    But however its done, i can’t see Chiswick Park serving the Overground, as you have it

    I don’t see the rather contrived arrangements for a train captain on the Uxbridge section lasting – “staff shortages” or simply late running will result in lots of trains being turned at Rayners.

    Nor do I see the proposal for the Jubilee to go to Rayners as being popular with Uxbridge commuters, who would not only lose their direct service to Baker Street etc but have in its place a connection at Rayners to the slower Jubilee line. If the new trains ever find their way onto the Jub, (so the platform doors would be compatible) it mght be possible.

    Swapping Ealing and Uxbridge between District and Picadilly might solve the Uxbridge issue, but it still leaves Ealing Common still with mixed trains.

    1. If all District Line trains go to Richmond, will there be room for the Overground?
    2. How can the Picc serve a fourth western destination without detriment to service levels on one of the other branches? Or do we envisage a much higher service level through the core? Would an Acton-Ealing shuttle serve the purpose?
    3. Another possibility – simply run the District non-stop Acton Town to Ealing Bdy: passing through Ealing Common (which will have platform doors!)

  26. Anonymous of Tring says:

    @Chris (6th January 2014 04:14 PM)

    I did a quick search on YouTube and you’re right, the NY Subway South Ferry station uses retractable platform extenders. Here’s one of the videos which shows them in action…


  27. timbeau says:

    “Acton Lane bridge over (not under, Greg!) the Richmond branch ”
    Actually it was Sykobee who said the new platforms would be above Acton Lane.

    Platform extensions- White City had a drawbridge at one time, to clear a siding.

    I wold assume if Picc and District are to be separated entirely (as would be necessitated by platform doors) that the trackbed would be raised at stations like Hammersmith, rather than some of the Heath-Robinson-esque airbags and other contrivances suggested above.

  28. Michael Edwards says:

    Wonderfully geeky discussion, thanks.

    On the rising/sinking trains issue (ChrisMitch etc) surely the dwell-time at EACH station is not relevant: the need to rise comes at the approach to a string of adjacent stations and the train would not need to sink again until approaching low-platform stations again. I speak from fond memory of Citröen cars with hydraulic suspension.

  29. TomP says:

    Anonymous (@5.30),

    An expanded Chiswick Park station, unlike Gunnersbury, would offer Chiswick Business Park a direct line to Heathrow. The owners might be prepared to fork out something for that, though I’d agree Gunnersbury is in desperate need of an upgrade, with or without a stadium to serve. And as Boriswatch mentioned, any developers of the Chiswick Sainsbury’s site would benefit from supporting a very well connected station on their doorstep.

    This excellent article begs the question of whether Turnham Green is the best choice for any new Piccadilly/District interchange. I think it’s far from clear that it is.

  30. Andrew M says:

    I don’t understand why we need to eliminate the gap. Can’t people be trusted to mind the gap, as they have been doing for the past 150 years?

    Presumably the danger is that a baby falls through the gap and the unattended train pulls off. In that case wouldn’t it be cheaper & easier to install baby-detectors rather than aiming for an impossibly small gap? Or just having easy-to-reach emergency stop buttons? Or by having station staff in the worst-affected stations? As mentioned in the article, shorter carriages would enable a smaller gap anyway.

    Here’s one idea to resolve the platform/gap/train issue, by making a small gap in the train itself into which the platform can slide. This compromises the structural stability of the train and could fail horribly if there’s even the slightest mis-alignment, but it’s worthy of consideration.

  31. Hertslad says:

    I’m really not sure sending the Picc to Ealing Broadway is the right solution: not sure the finished service levels would be suitable for either line (you can bet Wimbledon would cry out for some of those 16tph to Richmond, while providing a decent service for Broadway is bound to impact on the other branches), and this Chiswick Park reconstruction looks very expensive, the alternative to which is slowing down and overcrowding Piccadilly line trains.

    The problem with Ealing Common is the station itself – I presume trains can still share tracks with S stock, just not platforms. So why not focus on reconstructing Ealing Common? The station appears to be designed for four tracks anyway, with existing tracks existing behind the platforms’ walls. Alternatively, if reconstruction of the Uxbridge Road bridge is to be avoided, you could also consider shifting the platforms southwards slightly – may impact on depot access but otherwise there’s plenty of room – allowing the tracks to merge into two just south of the road bridge.

    It just seems to me that if you’re going to reconstruct a station anyway, you might as well reconstruct the one that allows you to keep existing service patterns.

  32. peezedtee says:

    @swirlythingy “fitting retractible spacers to trains is not only more obvious but is already done on buses”

    And also on Eurostar these past 19 years. They seem to work OK.

  33. Southern Heights says:

    Some observations:

    In general you would to avoid any kind of mechanical contraptions to raise trains or lower platforms (an idea that would send an Elf & saftey officer reaching for extra “closed” signs).

    Whilst it would be imperfect, the trackbed could be raised at Barons court, by adding ballst under the current track using a tamping machine. Heaven knows why they haven’t done this already!

    A nice side effect of having more articulations on the trains is that the gap problem reduces drastically, this in turn makes the platform extenders smaller, which means they can also be made lighter which will aid with reliability. I have been to South Ferry station and have seen them in action. I thought it was a clumsy mechanism to overcome what is essentially a planning mistake: stupid station location…

    On the whole it is good to see Tfl taking a good rational look at things, rather than continuing with style of: “We have a problem.”, “we have a spare bath-tub, can we somehow use that to fixit?” Style so often used in the past….

  34. Southern Heights says:

    @peezedtee: all well and good but the ones on the Eurostar only operate about 10 times per day, getting from Cockfosters to Heathrow, takes in a rather larger number of staions and the frequency of operation is about every 90 seconds. Different levels of reliability required….

  35. Long Branch Mike says:

    I like more and more the Siemens’ New Tube for London (NTfL) mock up at the top of this article. Very sleek, with the cool LU Roundel design of the front end.

    I say this as a tourist-cum-regular visitor, where such icons as the Tube Map, Dr Who type phone boxes, and red double deckers are still a treat to see after all these years.

    Similarly, whilst the New Bus for London’s design faults have been explored in the other LR article, its’ design is clearly ‘retro’ to the classic RouteMaster, which is also a treat to see.

    Design is very important to London, as I read (in a 2011 New Economy magazine article) that London is the most visited city in the world.

  36. Moleman says:

    @andrew M,

    Why should businesses and work places make themselves available to those with disabilities? TfL is a public utility, there is a moral imperative to make it accessible for everyone “as far as reasonably practicable”. We are being expected to work for longer to claim a pension, making public transport accessible and safe is a perfectly acceptable criteria. The Platform Train Interface is the biggest source of accidents, people have been injured and killed there for 150 years.

    Oh…,it’s also the law.

  37. Fandroid says:

    I am repeating myself, but it is relevant. There is a very modern heavy metro system which has UTO, no platform-edge doors (PED) and unattended stations as well! It’s the Nuremberg U-Bahn. Of course, it does have the advantage of being constructed with straight and level platforms, but its existence demonstrates that it’s not a universal rule that UTO systems must have PED. There are retractable extenders on the trains at each door.

    The boldness of the City burgers of Nuremburg does suggest that it’s possible to slightly relax the risk-averseness that seems to accompany any suggestions for UTO here. How about a slight modification to what we have on the Jubilee Line Extension? Low height platform screens (say at the normal safety fence height of 1.5 metres) with no doors, just gaps at the relevant positions with retractable platform extenders at those gaps? There could also be obstruction detection to check if there was anyone in the fence gap once the train doors had closed. It would remove one set of mechanical equipment that requires energy and maintenance and adds a breakdown risk. It doesn’t eliminate deliberate ‘person on track’ situations but it would cover all ‘down the gap’ possibilities.

  38. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Andrew M – I agree with Moleman’s comments. I have had a fair bit of involvement in PTI related matters on the Picc Line in the past. In doing so I’ve read a fair few Incident Investigation reports that make uncomfortable reading if you’re not a battle scarred Operations person. I’m a layman now but my view is that improvements will be expected. Given that an upgrade will typically require compliance with standards and the Law when you “intervene” on the assets involved (tracks, rolling stock and stations) I doubt very much LU could really persist with the current situation with awkward platform gaps, stepping heights and stepping distances. I also don’t see how you could have drops and climbs into trains that will be hidden behind platform edge doors. LU does have the ability to seek waivers but we must also bring in the political dimension.

    Politicians of all hues from the Mayor downwards now expect stations to be accessible and new trains, when part of an upgrade, to also be accessible. So will a range of groups representing the disabled, the elderly and parents with young children. Furthermore making the line accessible is also an aid for the many tourists laden with luggage travelling to / from Heathrow. Therefore this is a very signficant issue for the Piccadilly Line upgrade and not one that will be “pushed under the carpet”. The politicians will be along at every possible opportunity to *insist* on as high a standard of accessibility as is practicable. For some politicians this is a matter of principle based on their belief in equality. It only takes a few minutes reading of Mayor’s questions to see their insistence on all of the full assessments and consultation (as required by statute) being undertaken by TfL and also being published as part of the transparency agenda. I imagine some of the politicians will start asking questions of the Mayor to secure commitments to accessibility for the Picc Line upgrade. They do read social media and they do read this website so this article will already have set things in motion in their heads if not yet on their keyboards.

    You need only see the current debate about accessibility on Crossrail’s suburban stations and the fact that TfL, the Mayor and DfT have been beavering away for months to ensure it is delivered. It would very easily turn into a nasty political issue if it was not dealt with effectively. As PoP has pointed out it is not a simple or inexpensive fix but he has shown LU are thinking about to resolve the problems.

  39. AlisonW says:

    I’d been thinking a lot this afternoon about the different options for how to temporarily fill the platform-train gap, though I hadn’t considered the NYC subway version in the video above because I was under the belief that comb-type surfaces were banned as more likely to catch things in them (heels, wheels, etc).

    Most of the options fitted to platforms though, including that shown in the video, are either very slow or have serious side-effects from vibration at the extremes of travel.

    I also wonder whether people would actually keep off a comb section when the train is arriving in / departing. London is not New York!

  40. timbeau says:

    @Long Branch Mike
    “New Bus for London’s design faults have been explored in the other LR article, its’ design is clearly ‘retro’ to the classic RouteMaster”
    No it’s not – it’s an Alexander “J” type!

    is there really room for four tracks at Ealing Common?

    Solutions to Ealing Common in order of cost
    1. non-stop Piccadilly – downsides: fast trains passing platform: passengers from EC to Hanger lane and beyond have to travel via Acton Town
    2. non-stop District – downside: requires platform doors: passengers from EC to E Bdy have to use bus – but no other journeys unaffected and passengers protected from non-stop trains by platform doors
    3. Picc to E Bdy, track mods to allow calling at C Pk – downsides: Picc split four ways (or requires shuttle from Acton Town), (unless shuttle runs TG to E Bdy)
    4. 3. Picc to E Bdy, new platforms at Chisk Pk on Richmond branch: Ch Pk area loses direct services to west.

    I also wonder whether, since the loop intended built for T4 and T5 will now never serve T5, whether the T4 loop will be kept – with better interchange at T123, the HEx shuttle could be used instead – in the London-bound direction it would be quicket anyway.

  41. Anonymous says:

    In terms of raising/lowering platforms I was thinking in terms of Rayners Lane – Uxbridge and Kensal Green – Harrow & Wealdstone, as for ‘elf & safety, you need to avoid trap hazards, but treat it in the same way as a lift, so the whole structure moves – benches, fences, name boards etc. with the obligatory audible warning.

    Now that George Osborne has promised more cuts if re-elected perhaps Heathrow Express will be bought out (or extra runway is approved, or some sort of deal), and then Crossrail can serve Heathrow earlier, Piccadilly Line renewal become less urgent.

  42. peezedtee says:

    @PoP Very informative article.

    A few points:

    “the debate driverless trains” should be “the debate on driverless trains”

    “lowering the proportion of trains serve this busy transport hub” should be “serving this busy transport hub”

    “subsequent to this the strategy being adopted” should be “subsequent to this strategy being adopted”

    “railway carriages have last for between 35 and 40 years” should be “have lasted for”

    “and certain not on public transport” should be “and certainly not”

    “source ones electricity” should be “source one’s electricity”

    “seems a bit optimistic giving the present energy density of batteries” should be “given the present …”

    “this appears to a very ambitious timetable” should be “this appears to be a very …”

    I have not listed the many instances where a comma or a hyphen would have aided ease of comprehension, but will happily do so on request.

    [Thanks. Corrected. Obviously fatigue was setting in. I have added one or two commas but there is the danger they start getting excessive and the rules are not so clear. Believe it or not we have actually discussed what approach we should take with commas.PoP]

  43. Some one who knows says:


    Well I wouldn’t say it was a good or bad article but rather a number of ideas of ifs that we can all come up with and are guilty of thinking this way about anything if we dwell on it too much. Mostly creating unnecessary issues bigger than any to begin with if there were really any. Clouding practical common sense solutions if a solution is really required whilst wasting much time and money. Not all trains can go to all destinations so just lets do our best and accept there will always be sections of society that want, want , want regardless of what is reality.

    Stepping back to reality and not going for the new toys for the boys route i.e. ooh another new exciting train. But looking at what has been and what exists today.

    The base of it is a person wants to go from A to B mostly in relative comfort and in an acceptable time for an acceptable tariff (that has already departed). We have an amazing underground system yes which could do with a little tidy up here and there but what is available is very good.
    *Does it makes sense to not have a driver in front of a train? No it doesn’t, how long do you have..Main politics should keep separate and internal politics should be more professional and grown up.
    *Do we need platform edge doors ? No we don’t..
    *Do we need to look into altering the routes of lines/trains? Yes if it brings a constructive, positive step for the majority result rather than keeping the much bloated bureaucratic, expensive and time wasting movement that we have in the U.K happy.
    *Do we need all floors of all trains level with all platforms ? Actually no we don’t. Yes for the gap to be acceptable within reason but step back look at all the steps there are in this country we negotiate on a daily basis. The truth is we should be responsible for ourselves and if we are in the position that we can not be then there should be a person to assist whether it’s staff, fellow passenger or friend. Most accidents result from not being aware or responsible. The human race is supposed to be more educated but alas more coddled into it’s somebody else’s I want money and we are all feeding this thus the common sense which used to be majority is dwindling into our inward little selfish cloud..
    *The trains.. Well there have been many designs for tube trains over the past fifty years with most having a slanted nose, sleek design etc. In reality much of what has been the best of design has been achieved and this doesn’t include the slanted nose or snazzy front, Indeed it is good to take into account some of current technology only if it’s for positive, practical steps rather than a new toy or snazzy scheme for the sake of it.
    Current tube trains have 5,6, or 7 seats between each doorway. This is a proven design that does work, we will always have packed trains regardless of the internal layout. You notice on the current design there are approx. 12 seats. Regardless of how many carriages there are, apparently 10, though these are shorter and the over all train length will always be similar, 12 is not practical for the circulation of passengers within the train regardless of how wide the doors are. Crikey sort the hospital operating lighting out unless shades are issued at all stations. Who wants to stand up against somebody’s armpit with floodlights glaring down at you.
    So looking at it practically, yes by all means design a train which is functional rather than aesthetic. Look at all the designs of past and current trains and take all the really good design ideas from them those proven to work for all and apply them to the new stock. So as not have the continuous repeating of mistakes that our organisations seem to be stuck in because there is a naïve rush for something new…Take a deep breath.

  44. Robert Butlin says:

    Further to Fandroid 8:07pm Lyon Line D is also automatic with no platform edge screens – Mr Wikipedia suggests there is edge detection to prevent anything that falls on the track being hit. Rubber tyred trains presumably help as they’ll have greater emergency braking retardation.

  45. Mark Townend says:

    @timbeau, 6 January 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Indeed I did mean Acton Town!

    Here’s a little tube map extract to illustrate the idea:

    The point about Uxbridge not wanting to lose its fast direct service to Baker Street was the inspiration behind my Jubilee Uxbridge Express idea, which would add a few more stops as far as Baker Street, but would add direct service to the West End quicker than Piccadilly, Waterloo and London Bridge terminals, and Docklands. The platform height issue could then be solved but it’s unlikely the doors on the shorter cars of the new trains and the older Jubilee trains would line up on the shared section.

    I wonder if the Existing Jubilee stock could be moved to the Bakerloo to replace its ageing fleet and additional new generation trains ordered to replace the Jubilees so systems including doors could be made to match on the shared section to Uxbridge. The screen doors on the Jubilee extension through to Stratford would need modifying to match the new trains though!

  46. Bob says:

    Excellent article. How about sending the District Line to Northfields via the outside lines from Acton Town? This way Chiswick Park would still have a District service and Richmond would not get too many trains. Not sure if the more northerly eastbound Picc track approaching Acton Town has sufficient clearance for S stock though.

  47. Hertslad says:

    @timbeau – yes there really is (or at least was the last time I was there). Clearly the 1930s station rebuild was designed with future four-tracking in mind, with the current side-platforms ready to become island platforms. Behind one of the platform walls there’s even an extant track/siding. On the other side I seem to remember it being wasteland. Of course, it’s probably become luxury flats in the interim… But assuming that’s not happened, then the challenge remains Uxbridge Road bridge, which isn’t big enough. But shifting the platforms south would leave room

  48. Graham H says:

    @PoP – despite the fact that you’ve managed the hat trick of attracting a crayonista insurgency, an attack of grammasites, and an effusion of hierophants, I think you have summarised the arguments very helpfully for those of us whose detailed knowledge of the Picc stopped with the withdrawal of the 1962ts. Don’t be discouraged by the Anonymemes!

  49. Castlebar (Real Contra Crayonista) says:

    Crayonista Alert!

  50. Jackson says:

    South Ferry isn’t the only NY Subway station to use platform extenders, the southbound 4/5/6 uses them at Union Square for the middle doors, you can see them in action at around 5:00 in this video. Its a busy station on an extremely busy line, so presumably they work reliably.

  51. Mark Townend says:

    @Bob, 6 January 2014 at 9:39 PM

    Or take it further through Boston Manor (rebuilt with separate high and low platforms), construct a chord to the GWR Brentford branch and run the District Line through to Southall, with an intermediate station for the Ealing Hospital area.

  52. timbeau says:

    @Mark townend

    Wouldn’t it be easier to have all trains through Ealing Common call at Chiswick park, if only to avoid confusion for s/b passengers from the former for the latter. easier to separate the two branches at Acton Town too.

    @hertslad – having four platforms at EC is all very well, but unless the tracks stay separate from there to Hanger lane Junction, there are going to be complications in routing. (Sooner or later someone approaching EC from the north will be routed into the wrong platform!)

    If the crossing between sb Ealing and n/b Harrow services is done south of ealing Common, so each island serves one line, you could separate the flows altogether, (but might need single line working from EC to Hanger lane Junction), but s/b passangers will have to play “guess the platform)

  53. timbeau says:

    @someone who knows
    “Current tube trains have 5,6, or 7 seats between each doorway. This is a proven design that does work, we will always have packed trains regardless of the internal layout. You notice on the current design there are approx. 12 seats. Regardless of how many carriages there are, apparently 10, though these are shorter and the over all train length will always be similar, 12 is not practical for the circulation of passengers within the train regardless of how wide the doors are. ”

    Curiously, the external views, and the video, show a much shorer distance between the doors than the internal view – about seven seats instead of more than a dozen. Standard door spacing/size on Underground trains for many years seems to be about 1/3 of the total length: – nearer half on C stock (the theoretical maximum unless you go for something exotic like folding doors, or an up and over design!)

  54. Boriswatch says:

    “And also on Eurostar these past 19 years. They seem to work OK.”

    Your average Eurostar set stops rather less often than your average Piccadilly Line set, on a daily basis.

  55. Boriswatch says:

    ” its’ design is clearly ‘retro’ to the classic RouteMaster, which is also a treat to see.”

    Is it? I’m half-convinced the front end traces back to the RT, not the RM, which doesn’t have the red/black division shared by the Vanity Lardbus and the RT. Mistaking RTs for RMs is the classic non-Londoner-in-the-know mistake when watching old films, of course, and it wouldn’t entirely surprise me if Heatherwick didn’t know the difference either.

  56. Taz says:

    Wembley Park Jubilee platforms were fitted with ‘reversed’ humps to allow wheelchair access down into the smaller trains from the standard height platforms.

    The Fit for the Future plan promises 60% more Picc trains, which must be 36tph and full length trains in place of current 6-car trains. There is no mention of 60% more station capacity!

  57. Mark Townend says:


    Agreed – Map changed (V2) to show all Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway trains stopping at Chiswick Park.

  58. mr_jrt says:

    It’s a funny problem, the Piccadilly. Mainly due to the incestuous relationship with the District where the Piccadilly was effectively crippled at birth and took the District down with it. The choice to abandon the Deep Level District in favour of the Piccadilly not only constrains the District’s capacity through zone 1, but it also created the eventual need for the Chelsea-Hackney line – the Piccadilly was at one point routed down to Parson’s Green. This screw up was further compounded by later building the Heathrow extension to tube gauge rather than SSL gauge. Had those two mistakes not have occurred, then I suspect you’d have the more sensible arrangement of the District providing the express service from Heathrow and Uxbridge, and the Piccadilly perhaps serving the Wimbledon branch, as well as providing the local service to Richmond, probably to Ealing Broadway too. Essentially, the opposite of what we have now.

    It has been argued before that the Piccadilly needs to serve Heathrow due to providing access to the hotels of Russell Square and the KXStP complex, but I think that if the argument can be made for Crossrail to serve Farringdon rather than KXStP, so to for the other Heathrow service currently provided by the Piccadilly to no longer need to serve that hub directly. Crossrail will become the prime rail option for Heathrow travellers, not least because of the roomier rolling stock and more useful routing (I can’t imagine many fliers will want to jump off at Acton rather than somewhere more useful like TCR or Farringdon).

    What I’m getting at there through that jumble is that ideally the District should be operating S8s on extended fast lines through to Heathrow (and probably, out the other side through to Slough and down to Windsor, fully segregated from the GWML in lieu of WRAtH), as well as all stations Uxbridge to Acton Town, thence semi-fast through to somewhere beyond Mansion House, essentially mirroring the Metropolitan’s arrangements, with the Piccadilly providing the local service to Richmond (and maybe Hounslow too on the existing slow tracks).

    If it helps the analogy, treat Slough/Windsor as Amersham, Hounslow as Watford, Uxbridge as itself, Richmond as Stanmore, Acton Town as HotH, Wembley Park as Turnham Green, Earls Court as Baker Street, and hell, why not Hammersmith as West Hampstead (though the option of the Piccadilly retaining slow services to Hounslow kinda falls down as the Jubilee doesn’t provide the equivalent service to Watford – but point is it could if the Amersham and Uxbridge services stuck to the fast lines and the Jubilee took over the slow lines north of Wembley Park as mooted, just all the way to Watford instead of just to HotH).

    Meh…brain dumped.

  59. stimarco says:

    Re. the platform heights issue:

    Depending on the specific station, there are a few alternatives to those proposed. The first (and by far the easiest to maintain) applies to island platform layouts: simply add side platforms outside the existing tracks. The new platforms would be used for Piccadilly; the older ones for the SSL trains. Job done and no need for any fancy technology.

    Where that isn’t feasible, another option is to apply two technologies that have existed since the days of steam: moving ramps (originally used to get trains onto ferries at ports like Dover), and lifting bridges. I.e. lift the track. Both technologies have been proven in battle. There’s still a (non-operational) lifting bridge between Deptford and Greenwich stations in southeast London.

    The lifting bridge technology simply raises and lowers the track as required. As the track is only moving a few inches at most, this would take a few seconds at most.

    Ramps would be needed to link the static track to the moving section, with suitable interlocking to ensure trains only cross them when the track lift mechanism has been suitably locked into the correct position.

    As for PEDs: there’s no need for these to be the full-fat, full-height affairs seen on the Jubilee Line’s new stations. Gates would be sufficient for most sections, and ought to be easier to fix if they give any trouble as their motors aren’t trying to slam heavier, full-height doors back and forth every couple of minutes during the peaks.

  60. Taz says:

    The idea of trains moving on battery power to reach the nearest station if technology permits seems great. But trolleybuses managed similar in the 1930s despite the added rolling resistance of rubber tyres. They would shuffle around depots without overhead wiring, and could park at the roadside during power cuts. Ninety years of battery advances should make it practicable for all tube trains today.

  61. swirlythingy says:

    Have we discovered the one thing worse than uninformed fantasy railway line planning: uninformed mechanical engineering?

    Although I confess to feeling rather stupid at having missed the cheapest, simplest and most obvious solution for Barons Court, Hammersmith and Acton: raise the trackbed!

    PEDs aren’t entirely a health and safety or legal issue. One of their major roles is in preventing suicide, which is one of the biggest causes of delays and suspensions today. They also prevent people from being pushed onto the tracks, or from dropping things onto the tracks, or from ill-advisedly leaping onto the tracks to retrieve something they dropped onto the tracks. They also, of course, prevent accidents. We may not “need” them, but life undeniably becomes a lot easier with them.

    That said, I can’t believe it’s that difficult to design PEDs which can cope with more than one configuration of train. To take at face value the absolute claim that PEDs will and must forever be akin to the primitive designs on the JLE just seems like paucity of imagination. Since TfL have had no qualms in the past about promising air conditioning in the Deep Tube on no more than the basis that, by the time they’re ready to order, technology will probably have come up with a way to make it physically possible, I see no reason why flexible PEDs should be considered an insurmountable problem.

    Just as an example – I don’t think this would be terribly practical, not least due to the power required – how about a continuous barrier along the length of the platform, with no pre-arranged doors, which either lifted upwards or sank into the ground when the train stopped? Then the train doors could open wherever they wanted.

    Oh, and for the sake of clarity (although the discussion seems to have long since moved on now), I wasn’t proposing trains which raised and lowered at every stop, rather ones which could travel in either state and only changed height when they entered a section of line which required it. Michael Edwards has the right idea.

  62. A lot of the issues have been satisfactorily answered by others. A few points:

    Regarding Chiswick Park, remember that I am only reporting recent thinking. I don’t know if that was universal or whether there were dissenters. It wouldn’t surprise me if what happened was something different to what is written about. A lot can change in ten years. Not being very familiar with the area I can accept that, as things are, relocated platforms could be difficult. But, as some have suggested, it may depend on redevelopment.

    @Milton Clevedon and others

    Yes 16tph to Richmond does seem a bit excessive to me unless TfL know something relevant about future trends in this part of London that we don’t. I would have thought there would have been a case for splitting them evenly between Richmond and Wimbledon. On the other hand Turnham Green – Earl’s Court probably needs 16tph in peak hours and you have to terminate them somewhere.

    I am only reporting on what I have heard. I am not volunteering to argue the case for the proposal.

    The proposals as reported were before the Davies Commission reported but I don’t think that would make that much difference. Personally I cannot see more than 20tph going to Heathrow simply because you won’t get jetlagged tourists in a strange place with bulky luggage to board or alight very quickly. I understand that the Piccadilly Line tends to be busy all day with frequency not reduced substantially off-peak so I suspect sending a few trains to Ealing Broadway won’t actually make much difference. I believe we still have regular Northfields terminators so currently we are not using the capacity that is there today – this may be due to insufficient trains.

    Re: Bogies

    I hadn’t actually done the calculations but repeated the line given. However I believe that the trains will be slightly longer as there is no need for the whole train to be in the platform so the saving may be two bogies over what would otherwise be needed. Still only around 17% depending on how calculated but a useful saving nevertheless. As pointed out one doesn’t want to go to extremes or one risks unduly pounding the track.

    @Briantist and others with alternatives

    Regardless of the merit or otherwise of alternatives one gets the impression that nowadays those in charge are extremely reluctant to sever an existing well used direct (no changes) route. This is partly for fear of a political backlash but also because if people continue to make the journey it will take longer and the calculations give this as a serious disbenefit. I think time spend waiting due to changing trains is multiplied by a factor of 2 or 2½ in the LU modelling.

    In the same way I don’t think the people of Uxbridge would be too happy finding that their “all stations” Baker Street on the Met has become “all stations” on the Jubilee with its seven (at least) extra stops.

    Why switch the Ealing Broadway service then? you may ask. The answer is because it is presumed that many Ealing Broadway users by 2021 will be taking Crossrail and not the Underground to get to where they want to go so the number of people disadvantaged will be small.

    @ngh re 24tph excessive on Rayners-Lane Uxbridge

    I think this is also driven by the desire to avoid people having to change trains. Capacitywise they may be completely unnecessary but they do reduce overall journey time and the “premium” waiting time. I don’t think “peak hours only” has applied for more than twenty years when off-peak traffic was considerably less than today.

    I am sure that the Victoria Line could get away with running less than 24tph on a Sunday. But running 24tph means that the social benefit (lots of people spending slightly less waiting around for a train) is improved and justifies the more intensive service even if the trains aren’t anywhere near full.

    Off-peak on Rayner Lane – Uxbridge is only expected to be around 18tph (12Met/6 Picc)

    @Mark Townend. Don’t forget your maps, arguably, ought to include Crossrail as it will be up and running by the time any Piccadilly Line change happens.

  63. stimarco says:


    That diagram refers to one of a number of early, unrefined, proposals for the combined routes of three separate companies. The government actually refused permission for some of it, so it never had a chance of being built in that form anyway.

    In any case, the Great Northern & Strand Railway, the Brompton & Piccadilly Railway and the Metropolitan District Railway had no money to actually build anything at this point. It took Charles Yerkes and his fellow investors to actually make it happen by buying those companies up (along with what became the Bakerloo). By then, the route was pretty much what we see today.

    Considering the original plans for the Fleet Line (today’s Jubilee Line) had it continuing east from Charing Cross all the way to Aldwych before turning south and eventually terminating in Lewisham, it’s generally best to believe it when you see it. As we all know, drawing lines and diagrams on paper or on a screen is a hell of a lot cheaper than actually building the damned things.

  64. MuswellMetroMan says:

    From my northern viewpoint as a user of Bounds Green then Crossrail2 is more important than the western end

    But looking at such distant projects like Crossrail2 made me think how will Terminal 6 (Sipson) fit in, yes I expect it to be built 2029-2040 well within this upgrade period

    And what about Terminal 7 Short Haul (Northolt)

  65. Saintsman says:

    Another excellent article. Having seen the “Evo” mock up it looks like a real step change. Absolutely right to focus on energy consumption.

    Disappointed, by the proposed solution to the mixed running problem to Uxbridge. It does not seem particularly elegant to plan for the next 35+ years to run stock between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge with different floor heights. There may be a possibility for a derogation, but is this really acceptable to accessibility rights campaigners – given the timescales. If Piccadilly must continue to Uxbridge then removing the Met S8 stock and extending the Jubilee to Uxbridge is the logical conclusion. Then await the 1996 stock replacement to finally fit platform edge doors and final adjustment to heights. Personally I think this is a backward step. Further, irrespective of what will happen at Heathrow, running only 16tph 6-car equivalent to Hounslow looks stingy. So, on both scores there’s a thumbs down.

    I’d prefer to see the opposite solution. With Piccadilly fully withdrawn from Ealing Common and the whole Uxbridge branch and replaced with District services only. You immediately get common stock between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge (albeit in 7 and 8 car formations). The S7 would also give more capacity per train down to Acton Town. The problem is you cannot simply add another 8tph along the District core; they will need to come from somewhere. Sadly I would take them from Wimbledon. With Waterloo corridor under so much pressure this seems counter intuitive which is why, in part, I have advocated to fix Earls Court and in longer term a “Wimbleware” variant to Gospel Oak. Neither of which there is the money, nor are they likely to start until after several other projects that need to go first. Which leaves as a stop gap sending the 8 District Ealing Broadway services to Uxbridge and send the 8 Uxbridge Piccadilly to take over Ealing Broadway (more S stock required). With Ealing Common being District only, running Piccadilly straight through without stopping; not ideal.

    Potential to be a great train, but a bad plan keeping the Piccadilly Uxbridge branch. I would urge TfL to reconsider.

  66. ngh says:

    A significant reason for the full height PEDs at underground stations is to reduce air pressure problems. These aren’t an issue at suburban rail speeds in the open air hence PEDs at above ground open air stations could probably be shoulder height i.e. sufficiently height to make attempting to climb over a challenge but not impossible in a similar way to the platform fences at certain NR stations where one platform edge faces a fast line with services that don’t call at that station.

  67. An Anonymous Crayonista says:

    Much thought is given for Richmond passengers having to travel all the way back to Hammersmith to change for Heathrow – but what hope for poor Overground passengers? The Chiswick Park switchback manoeuvre, worthy of Radio 4’s Mornington Crescent game! If TfL are looking seriously at this part of the network they should be considering a new Piccadilly/Overground interchange just by the Bollo Lane level crossing – or better still, just re-route the NLL after South Acton to Feltham, and on to Heathrow. It would make so much more sense than the current tangle.

  68. Anonymous says:

    They’ll go for a reconstruct of Ealing Common to four platforms, and the switch the Picc and District destinations to Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway so that Rayners Lane onwards is all S stock.

    The one thing not mentioned is a possible reconstruct of Ealing Broadway that has been mused about over the years. With the Greenford branch going to TfL, allegedly, no doubt someone will be ready with a crayon to continue tube trains to West Ealing via some new tracks from the Broadway.

  69. ngh says:

    Re Pedantic of Purley 7 January 2014 at 12:27 AM

    What occurred to me afterwards if the bogie spacing is kept constant (i.e. 10.7m) the end cars (and the “cab” end) can be longer than the middle cars by about 2 to 2.5m at max width with even more length tapered beyond that i.e. the circular cab bit on the Siemens mock up and the coupler + buffers (anti climb devices or what ever they are called these days) etc.

    Current ’73 stock = 17.5×6 = 105m overall
    10car NTfL= 10.7m x10 (bogie pivot spacing) + circa 2.5m x2 (full width extra on end cars) + 1m x2 (tapered at the cabs) which is the equivalent of 6.5cars of ’73 stock.
    So a better bogie comparison would probably be 13 (6.5 x2) vs 11 (10+1)
    2/13= 15.4% saving

    The equivalent of an extra half car /train explain a fair chunk of capacity improvement.

    It might also be difficult to stop the articulated cars “steering” the shared bogies given the limited space at the car ends due to the walk through design for complicated suspension and bogie mounting.

  70. ngh says:

    Re Anonymous 7 January 2014 at 1:11 AM

    The one thing not mentioned is a possible reconstruct of Ealing Broadway that has been mused about over the years. With the Greenford branch going to TfL, allegedly, no doubt someone will be ready with a crayon to continue tube trains to West Ealing via some new tracks from the Broadway.

    From a previous article on the potential Greenford line transfer, the Red crayon brigade seemed to be out in force…

  71. stimarco says:


    (the system seems to be eating my posts)

  72. Paul III says:

    RE the number of seats between sets of doors. The photo showing twelve seats between doors was taken in the Siemens mockup, which uses a mirror to increase its apparent length. The mirror is located where there is a line on the floor six seats down.
    On the real train there won’t be any mirrors, and there would probably be another door where it is located.

  73. AlisonW says:

    Anon @ 01:11 said “The one thing not mentioned is a possible reconstruct of Ealing Broadway that has been mused about over the years. With the Greenford branch going to TfL, allegedly, no doubt someone will be ready with a crayon to continue tube trains to West Ealing via some new tracks from the Broadway.”

    Well, allegedly, Crossrail are reconstructing Ealing Broadway, though it seems to be mostly about the entrance and lift access to platform level rather than any overall re-work. As regards Greenford, there was much discussion in this parish some months ago (I presume the new search function should locate it) though iirc Crossrail (again!) will prevent access to the Greenford spur entirely, so no go there either.

  74. Mike says:

    Re the apparent discrepancy between door spacing on the external and internal views of the Siemens mock up, I think that’s because the further section of the internal view is a mirror image of the nearer section: there’s a mirror just beyond the first of the two windows, just before where the next set of doors would be. Since there will be 20 doors on a 10-car articulated train of roughly the same length as the current 6-car/12 door trains, door spacing must be closer than now.

    And re South Ferry on the NYC Subway, as the YouTube video says it is of the old South Ferry – it’s been replaced by a dead-end station with straight platforms, eliminating the gaps.

    Also in NYC, I can’t see any platform extensions on the Union Sq video – can someone identify the sequence showing them?

  75. stimarco says:

    Okay, third time lucky perhaps…


    I think there is some scope for a more flexible PED system…

    The trick, I think, is to go with a concertina action door system, similar to the doors on this old bus.

    On top of the upper guideway, you attach travelling motors that open or close the various segments in line with each train’s doors. These motors can travel for a reason: a motor that would be used to open the doors for one type of train can glide along the guideway and move its segment in sync with another motor for another type of train, returning to its original location when that train leaves. The couplings between segments can also be configured to connect / disconnect as needed to produce the opening points needed for each kind of train.

    Basically, if you know where the train doors will be for a type of rolling stock, you should be able to add suitable motors along the PED array to match it. When you add another type of rolling stock, you either (re)move motors, or add new ones, as needed and program the control software accordingly.

    Obviously, you can optimise the above: if you have similar rolling stock types, you can likely reduce the number of motors and, if there are sections of the platform where neither type of train has a door, you can fit something static instead.

    It would also be feasible to replace some, or even most, of the fixed segments with a collapsible structure similar to that used to cover the articulated connections on modern trains. (You can see such a structure in the video in the article.) Though I can’t imagine that would last long in the less salubrious parts of London.

    Note, too, that things like obstruction sensors need only be fitted to those edges you know will be exposed during opening and closing. Finally, if the segments can be made cheaply enough, maintenance and repair costs should be pretty low.

  76. Graham Feakins says:

    @Walthamstow Writer 6 January 2014 at 5:08 PM – “How are LU going to resolve places like Barons Court, Hammersmith and Acton Town where, IIRC, there are steps down into the 73 stock. I believe LU has looked at having ramped dips on platforms (the opposite of humps you get elsewhere). However I’ve never been able to work out how such a concept could ever be deemed to be safe given the risk of trips and falls on to the track.”

    This clip shows precisely what can happen when levels underfoot are not as expected!

  77. swirlythingy says:

    The “When will the we get new trains?” heading is still there. Or is it meant to be like that?
    [Sorry. Corrected Now. Thanks.PoP]

  78. ASLEF shrugged says:

    The first thing that sprang to mind regarding the Ealing Common depot issue is if the Piccadilly and District Line are using different signalling systems then would it be possible to run them in tandem over that stretch of line? I doubt very much that S Stock could be modified to handle both and even if they could it would probably end up costing a fair amount.

    I’ve never worked the District but I think the Ealing Common duties book on at Acton Town rather than Earl’s Court.

    I was talking to an RMT Rep recently who claimed that somewhere in EU legislation there’s a stipulation that any line using driverless operation must have trackside walkways in the tunnels to facilitate access in emergencies, the DLR being an example of this. If this is the case (and I’m not claiming it is, just what I was told) then driverless operation on the Piccadilly (or any other LUL line) becomes impossible. Conversely he told me that PEDs were not a requirement under EU legislation.

  79. Anon5 says:

    Crossrail could still charge a premium to and from Heathrow even if it takes over HEx services. Travelling to or from Sydney’s airport stations requires an extra fee even though they’re located on a commuter “through” line. Departing the airport you buy a paper ticket before entering the barriers or, for those travelling from the city, before starting your journey or before exiting the airport station barriers. Sydney is only just rolling out its version of Oyster but I imagine a simple extension ticket or extra deducted pay as you go fee would suffice.

  80. @ASLEF Shrugged,

    Ealing Common Depot. One of the many unanswered questions – unfortunately.

    Regarding booking on, that makes sense. Many people think that booking on is still done at depots – and only at depots. I just wanted to make the point that it is not just at depots or the nearest adjacent station to one.

    I keep hearing the walkway thing. I don’t think driverless comes into it. If you build a new railway tunnel, certainly a single track one, then I believe it has to have a walkway regardless. Examples are JLE and Crossrail. Conversely if it has already been built (regardless of driver/driverless status) it is not in itself a requirement and I believe it doesn’t preclude conversion to UTO. I cannot believe LU would have a large project team on this unless they we confident that this either wasn’t the case or the rules could be changed.

    I don’t think PEDs are an EU thing either. But, as others have suggested, running unattended in London’s crowded tubes without them is pretty much unthinkable and almost certainly politically unacceptable. Crossrail will have PEDs below ground and there are no plans to run that in UTO mode. Funnily enough the Chief Inspecting Officer (or whatever he is called) said a few years ago that after the Jubilee Line he would never permit PED again on a manually driven line. So it would seem you can’t have them unless at least ATO.


    The role model appears to be Paris. An intended link from “Ligne 1” seems to have disappeared – now put in and repeated here. It shows, in English, what was done on Ligne 1. As far as PEDs go expect something similar.

  81. Mike says:

    Anon5 – Sydney’s system is that the airport premium takes the form of a station access fee: the amount you pay is what would otherwise be the normal fare for travel, plus an extra amount to get in or out of the airport stations. I’m sure that that would be easy enough to programme into Oyster if the access fee applied to all services reached through a particular set of barriers, but it’s hard to see how it would co-exist with free travel on Heathrow Express/Connect between airport terminals.

  82. Sykobee says:

    “.. alternatively, compulsory purchase the car parks on both sides of Gunnersbury and turn these into platforms instead (they hardly seem to be used that much anyway)” – they’re used by the Chiswick Tower occupants, and they’re full every day. However the car park bridge is what is blocking decent access to/from the platforms at Gunnersbury, so solving that problem could lead to a solution to the Gunnersbury problem (especially if Chiswick Park district line traffic ends up being redirected to Gunnersbury).

    Actually, because of the capacity problems at Gunnersbury, Chiswick Park will have to remain a District Line destination, even if that means building new platforms on the Richmond Branch to deal with District Line traffic.

    Or rebuilding Gunnersbury slightly more north with exits into Chiswick (Business) Park (which only got permission because of both Gunnersbury, Chiswick Park and South Acton stations being nearby)… Gunnersbury is at capacity, even with the recent revamp.

  83. Sykobee says:

    @timbeau “”Acton Lane bridge over (not under, Greg!) the Richmond branch ”
    Actually it was Sykobee who said the new platforms would be above Acton Lane.”

    I didn’t, I said there was a significant height difference from the existing platforms, and by “Over the roundabout”, I meant laterally, not vertically – I was pointing out the access difficulties that would mean tunnelling under the road to link the current station with the new platforms that would possibly be constructed to keep District Line service at Chiswick Park (required, because of capacity problems at Gunnersbury).

  84. ASLEF shrugged says:

    PoP – as I mentioned I was told this by an RMT Rep so I’ve not actually investigated whether it’s accurate or not but I could actually quite believe that UL have managed to overlook it. Or maybe they’re banking on us leaving the EU and it won’t be a problem.

    To the best of my recollection the JLE doesn’t have walkways in the tunnels, there are walkways that access rooms beyond the platforms (I was H&S Rep for Canary Wharf and North Greenwich when they opened) but they don’t extend along the whole length of tunnel.

    Retro-fitting the Piccadilly Line with PED doors throws up lot so problems, firstly if the doors on the new stock don’t match up to the 1973s then the PEDs can’t be installed until all the old trains have been replaced. There are 70-ish 73s, delivery won’t be much more than one complete train per week which means driverless trains would be in operation for over a year before the PEDs could be fitted. There simply isn’t room to store 70 new trains in depots, for every new one that comes in an old one will have to be disposed off.

    As the Piccadilly serves Heathrow they won’t be able to close sections of the line for months to carry out the work, it will have to be done at weekends or during engineering hours which is going to take a very long time.

    At Leytonstone we cover the Waterloo and City, the four dead late duties finish after the last eastbound train has left Waterloo so they get a taxi all the way back to Leytonstone for their finish time. Similarly there’s a taxi on Sunday mornings for the first three trains out of Woodford and a taxi back from Loughton on a Saturday night, I would imagine the same thing happens for Ealing Common. Don’t forget booking on is a legal requirement and we also have to confirm with the DTSM when we finish a duty in a depot or siding.

  85. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @ASLEF shrugged,

    I thought I had made it clear in the article but maybe not. The new trains will be introduced as the old ones are gradually withdrawn. Clearly, because of the train door positions, you cannot have PEDs until the last of the old stock is withdrawn. Because the new stock will initially need a “driver”, or at least someone to look at the monitors and check it is safe to close the doors and depart, also to stop in an emergency if someone is on the track (though this doesn’t seem to matter on the DLR), you have to deliver the train with a cab. You can only remove the person on board (if you go this route) once the PEDs are installed though one doesn’t have to wait for all of them to be installed on the entire line – you can have sections of UTO working provided all the stations in that section have been converted.

    One of the lessons learn from other line upgrades is that the complexity of going from old to new needs to be thought about from the outset and be planned for at an early stage. The project team are aware of this and are extremely mindful of the problems of implementing the change on a live railway.

    I know I keep going on about it but you have to keep looking to Paris where they have converted ligne 1 without any major disruption to service – although they kept very quiet about their very late start on Sunday mornings. You will find engineers who have worked on the ligne 1 upgrade who now work for Crossrail and will probably move on to the Piccadilly Line after that. It can be done with minimal disruption in Paris and I see no reason for that not to apply here notwithstanding that Paris had the advantage that the door positioning was the same for the old and the new stock.

  86. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista Popular Front) says:

    One of the things that always escapes the Crayonista is “Cost”

    I totally and unreservedly accept that if we were starting now, with a clean sheet of paper, we would probably not have anything like the rail map and infrastructure in London that exists today. BUT WE DO> The cost of alteration could be more than “new build”. Plans for re-designing Chiswick Park, Ealing Common (in particular), Turnham Green etc, etc, would be MASSIVE. Would the cost benefit per “£” spent come anywhere near justifying spending that money? If money were an infinite resource, even I could understand some of the proposals. But money is not an infinite resource, and spending shedloads. (perhaps carriage loads is more appropriate) on projects at Ealing Common, THAT WOULD ACTUALLY MAKE SOME JOURNEYS (e.g. Ealing Broadway to Rayners Lane etc) MORE DIFFICULT, seems hard to reason.
    Then, you must consider that the money spent on this would have to be diverted from another project, perhaps one that has been “in the queue” longer.

    Imagination is a wonderful thing. So is practicality.

  87. Harjinder Singh - Southall says:

    If the Piccadilly line goes to Ealing Broadway it would make good sense to run District Line trains to Northfields.
    These trains could use the Northfield Depot, while Piccadilly trains to Ealing Broadway could use the Acton depot.
    There are four tracks between Acton Town and Northfields, so there is no problem of capacity and this would both solve the Richmond – Ealing problem and the Chiswick one.
    Heathrow Connect will be part of Crossrail, which should solve the present issue of empty trains from H&H to Heathrow.

    Harjinder Singh – Southall

  88. Anonymous says:

    “they’re [Gunnersbury car parks] used by the Chiswick Tower occupants, and they’re full every day”

    Not in my experience. I’ve always thought how remarkably empty they are.

    In any case, I have limited sympathy for building occupants demanding that amount of car parking space for a building above a tube and overground station…

    Those car parks come from different times, really.

    I agree there are capacity issues at Gunnersbury and it’s only going to get worse.

    The two new buildings in Chiswick Business Park will add another 45% office space bringing it up to about 1.8M sq ft in total (equivalent to almost one and a half One Canada Squares…)

    Planning permission has just been granted for the new 20,000 capacity Brentford Stadium 5 minutes walk down the road. OK, it is Brentford and they are currently in League One so 20,000 crowds are unlikely but stranger things have happened… Certainly the stadium management plans require extensive crowd marshalling outside the station and there is likely to be an additional application for a professional rugby team (possibly Wasps) to use the stadium as well.

    Then there are the 11 tower blocks of 910 flats and a hotel part of the stadium application as well…

  89. Greg Tingey says:

    Chiswick Park Station
    IIRC this is a LISTED building, so any reconstruction will have to retain, at the very least, the magnificent exterior. See also WW’s comments.
    AND: Steve B
    Oh, the mere downside of destroying the nature reserve!
    Not amused.

    Platform-Edge Doors
    Really? Retrofitting to existing stations? And the BCA is? And you want to spend money on what else besides? Chris Mitch & others have a very valid point here …

    You have to remember that the journey to & from Uxbridge is terminally slow & dreary, as it is (Bring back the Vine St Branch!). Said he, who commuted from Walthamstow to Uxb for over a year …..
    Your proposals make this even worse.

    Anon @ 17.30, 6/01/14
    Yes, the area immediately by Gunnersbury station is a wasteland – widening there would do no harm at all.
    AND Tom P …
    Actually, what Gunnersbury really needs is a repeat of the 1954 Tornado!

    Anon @ 17.35, 6/01/14
    Don’t be silly, please! The number of falls & injuries & compensation claims that your “idea” would provide doesn’t bear thinking about. The floor is supposed to be stable, remember?
    & @ 20.50
    You are seriously suggesting MORE LOUD “announcements?
    Nurse, NURSE!

    Yes, but it ONLY leaves Ealing Common with mixed-height trains – a much smaller problem, doesn’t it?

    I like your simpler solution for above-ground PED solutions. Now sell it to the H&S people?

    Some one who knows
    No drivers? On new-built lines, like DLR, not a problem – on re-constituted older lines, forget it.
    PED’s – as above
    Disagree regarding “level access” though – if you’ve even had a temporary injury or illness or disability, you’d be surprised at how hard some simple things can be. What must be avoided is making things more difficult for the fully able – & this has happened, & really annoys people, for good reason.
    Well said – you’ve put the problem in a nutshell. I note no-one seems to have seriously taken up my idea to remove (almost all of) the platform-height problem, by reverting to MDR S7 trains Ealing – Rayners ….

    Correct: “they” have got it exactly arse-about face / wrong way round [ Delete as applicable ]
    The LAST thing Uxbridge needs, at any time, are “tube-gauge” trains. As I said, it’s a slow & dreary enough journey already.

    Points on driverless / walkways / PED’s all noted.
    Hope other people note them too!
    And …le Metro is a larger loading-gauge & IIRC ligne 1 does not have quite such sharp in-station curves as the Picc (?)

    Oh, & of course.
    Vested Interests are in favour of keeping Heathrow.
    Whereas, it would not probably cost significantly more to build a proper, new airport, somewhere & close the damned thing down.
    This would then alter the problems we have been discussing here in a significant fashion, would they not?

  90. superlambanana says:

    Re requirement for tunnel walkways on UTO lines, I’d really like to see a source for that as I believe it’s probably a myth. I’ve read the standards IEC 62290-1:2006 and 62290-2:2011 which provide the specs for the system and required support equipment for UTO lines (and other grades of automation), and they don’t mention tunnel walkways.

  91. Christian Schmidt says:

    I don’t think the Uxbridge issue has been thought through – I just don’t think either terminating at Rayners Lane or saying, hey, we’re going to have door attendants and platform height issues for another 50 years is an acceptable solution.

    So what could be? As far as I can see, the Uxbridge line would need to be turned into 100% tube or 100% sub-surface. All sub-surface seems unlikely as this would mean District line services to Rayners Lane, which would rquire the Piccadilly Line to take over theRichmond service, which in turn would stop the Overground from getting there. (Oh where have all the platforms at Gunnersbury gone?)

    Tube would mean extending the Jubilee line, thought I guess Jubilee stock doors are also in the wrong position compared to the new Piccadilly stock? Still at least the platform height should work, and I guess out there you could get away with a few Nuremberg-style stations (which would mean no door attendend required).

  92. Christian Schmidt says:

    Oh, and as to Chiswick Park, are the cost of putting the station onto the Richmond line really smaller than the cost (to passengers) of (all/some) Piccadilly line trains stopping there? I somehow doubt it…

  93. Re: Chiswick Park relocation


    IIRC this is a LISTED building, so any reconstruction will have to retain, at the very least, the magnificent exterior.

    I suspect this is the reason that the entrance will be retained. We all know it would be much easier just to demolish the lot and build a separate station at a more convenient/useful location. And of course there is nothing preventing an additional entrance being built.

    I also suspect a factor in the proposal to relocate the platforms is that if they are on the District Line they won’t need expensive platform edge doors installed.

  94. Boriswatch says:

    “Yes 16tph to Richmond does seem a bit excessive to me unless TfL know something relevant about future trends in this part of London that we don’t”

    As referred to already Gunnersbury really needs a big uplift in capacity to serve Chiswick Park properly, plus the new Brentford stadium and associated residential development plus all the other new blocks in the area – ideally it needs a new platform (those car parks really are empty, by the way, my walking route to Gunnersbury goes past them) and a southern entrance.

    If you’re putting twice as many Districts through Gunnersbury it this becomes even more urgent, but there’s quite a bit going on in the area and the uplift in frequency could provide the justification for what would be a fairly big project.

    One thing that’s been skated over here – if only the Piccadilly stopping pattern exists west of Turnham Green and we have moving block optimising capacity, what’s the justification for four tracks from Turnham Green as far as Acton Town (I assume you’d keep four platforms there to separate Heathrow and Uxbridge/Ealing trains). Only having two tracks between TG and Acton Town offers the possibility of moving the flyover over the eastbound District track east towards TG (where there’s a disused bridge formerly used by coal trains) and making room for a two platform District Line station at the back of Sainsbury’s.

  95. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista Popular Front) says:

    @ Harjinder de Southall. who said, “If the Piccadilly line goes to Ealing Broadway it would make good sense to run District Line trains to Northfields.
    These trains could use the Northfield Depot,………”

    This is exactly what happened until almost exactly 50 years ago, (in fact then, they ran to Hounslow West which was the end of the line at the time.) I am all for finding ways of tinkering to improve existing infrastructure, for the costs are FAR less than ‘new build’. There is an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and I think some of the ideas/proposals for the western ends of the Picc and District fall into that category. We know your idea would work for once it was done, so it could be done again. But there would be howls of anger from Ealing residents which are probably above average on the articulacy and noise scales. But any “fix”, if one is needed, has to solve ALL the problems, so your proposal, though with some merits, is going to leave scope for future Crayonistas to find future opportunities to “improve” the west London LU & NLL networks.

    When asked for directions, an Irishman is alleged to have answered, “If I were you, I wouldn’t be starting from here”. But, “here” is where we are today, and any “fix” has to be absolute (i.e., total and permanent.)

  96. timbeau says:

    @MT – much better, although I don’t think ealing Common would still merit an interchnage circle, cf Finchley Cetral or Leytonstone

    The trains would be longer, an existing 1973 stock train is 17.5×6=105m long. If the new cars are 10.7m long ten of them come to 107m, a bit longer if the end cars are longer than he others, as the pictures show. So eleven bogies instead of twelve. Not a huge saving.

    Taz – trolleybuses did have batteries, but they took up a lot of space.

    I am quite uncomfortable about the idea of UTO in deep tube tunnels, with no way for another train to come alongside, or for staff to access it it using a walkway. Remember there will be no assistance from the following train drawing up behind, since that will be unstaffed too!

    Occam’s razor – the cheapest solution to Ealing Common is to have the District non-stop there.

    If you really want to avoid mixed stock on the Uxbridge branch, have the District and Picadilly swap Uxbridge for Richmond – this would involve a rearrangement of the flying junctions at Turnham Green – but there are several disused diveunders from previous layouts which could be pressed into service again.
    To avoid mixed stock on the Richmond branch you would have to terminate the Overground at Gunnersbury, or divert it to Kew or, by a reinstated curve, to either Acton Town or Turnham Green – (either of the latter would provide a much-needed Haethrow conmnection from the Overground, and TG would also have the advantage of maintaining a connection between Richmond and the Overground.

  97. Graham H says:

    @taz – 11 bogies not a huge saving over 12 – as per my post of yesterday, my estimate is around 2-3% weight saving on a loaded train. (Then there may be track wear issues – not everyone agrees with NR that articulation causes increased wear and tear but it certainly needs to be factored in.

  98. Milton Clevedon says:

    @timbeau 11:40 today

    Richmond is a real destination for the Overground with major SWT interchange flows. Also Kew Gardens as a traffic generator. So mucking with that is not on.

    All such ideas just demonstrate that the techno-fix approach creates large real-politik and practical issues, which haven’t yet been fully thought through, see my comment further above. A ‘nuclear button’ option to re-organise much of West London’s rapid transit is self-evidently nonsensical and hardly going to be afforded, nor value for money. I’m with C(CCPF) on that one.

  99. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I am quite uncomfortable about the idea of UTO in deep tube tunnels, with no way for another train to come alongside, or for staff to access it it using a walkway. Remember there will be no assistance from the following train drawing up behind, since that will be unstaffed too!

    We don’t know that. In fact there is a lot of things we don’t know. Why can’t that be done remotely too? The two things that typically delay getting people out of deep tubes are:

    1) a need to communicate to everyone what is going on and establish that they understand what is about to happen.

    2) A loss of power for whatever reason but usually because it had to be switched off due to a “one-under”

    And why just the train from behind? Why not the train in front? It empties its passengers at the next station, pick up a member of staff if necessary, and returns to assist. You can potentially do all these things and quickly if you have true central control. And if passengers can walk through to the rescue train you can potentially do all this with just one member of staff.

    I am not saying that this will be what will happen but compare this with today where you have to wait on the train whilst additional staff have to walk down the track from the nearest station to assist with an evacuation of people walking along the track. From the moment the incident occurred to getting all people out of the tunnels can take hours and generally the service does not fully recover for the rest of the day.

  100. Alan Griffiths says:

    Castlebar (Contra Crayonista Popular Front) @ 7 January 2014 at 9:19 AM
    ” spending shedloads”

    When did a shedload become a lot, as in enough to fill a shed?

    A shed load used to be a load that had been shed, as in fallen off the back or side of a lorry.

    Not one of the greatest triumphs of the English language’s ability to convert nouns into verbs and vice versa.

  101. timbeau says:

    1) a need to communicate to everyone what is going on and establish that they understand what is about to happen.

    2) A loss of power for whatever reason but usually because it had to be switched off due to a “one-under”

    With no staff on board, how do you achieve “1” if “2” has happened?

    Overground to Richmond – agreed it is inadvisable to muck around with it: there are no easy answers, and mixed operation to Uxbridge may well be the least worst from a user perspective, in which case the operators will have to live with it.
    (Mixed operation (Picc/Overground) to Richmond might be another option – only three stations instead of seven to handle. Of those, separate platforms should be possible at the terminus, so really only two and six. Platform staff, or remodelling, at Gunnersbury and Kew Gardens?)

    Simpler, if there is enough S stock: divert Ealing Broadway trains to Uxbridge, with a shuttle between EBdy and ECom (or Acton Town if there’s no room for a turnback at Elg Common)

  102. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista Popular Front) says:

    @ Milton, who said “Richmond is a real destination for the Overground with major SWT interchange flows. Also Kew Gardens as a traffic generator. So mucking with that is not on.”

    Not only is the accuracy of that statement absolute, the passenger interchange at Richmond is to both LU and the NLL and any disruption to either link would cause travellers a lot of problems. Termination of either service short of Richmond would cause some people to go nuclear on the matter.

    Another point, yes, access from the NLL to Heathrow isn’t easy now.
    Hindsight is the most accurate form of all vision.
    Would the benefit of hindsight kept the Acton Town – South Acton Line open with a direct NLL connection/service? I don’t think it is realistic to discuss this possibility now, but it proves/illustrates just how many rail cuts that took place in the 25 years post WW2 were short sighted. That tiny link, if extant, would solve many travel problems today. Harjinder’s proposal solves a couple of problems (e.g. Chiswick Park services), but there is a much bigger picture to consider with all NW, W, & SW London proposals, and I don’t think they should be considered in microscopic isolation.

  103. Pedantic of Purley says:


    If you don’t have the staff there in the first place and actions are taken remotely then clearly the problem of communicating with them goes away!

    Obviously one still has to communicate with passengers (remotely) but this is not safety-critical and one doesn’t need readback procedures etc.

  104. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar – that’s very dangerous talk; so far, S Acton has been clear of crayonistas… we will all blame you if there is a sudden insurgency.

  105. Anon5 says:

    Tenuous link to TfL but what is the new corporate logo about? Ditching the all-blue roundel in favour of upper case Transport for London in an awful font. It’s like we’ve gone back in time.

  106. Castlebar (Real Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ Graham H

    I agree. The Acton Town – S. Acton link has up until now, been a Crayonista Free Zone.

    Isn’t it ironic that should that link exist today, because of the connectivity to Acton Town – Heathrow services, it would probably be well used, > > especially if the old “shuttle platform” was used to terminate some NLL services from the east. I don’t think there would be any consideration to closing that route if it were available today.

    But I am happy to be wrong if I state that I don’t think that the link can ever be re-instated. I know it would mean rebuilding the Bollo Lane bridge and demolishing an office building. Anything else?

  107. Rich (no, not that one. Another one) says:

    RE: Mike @ 7 January 2014 at 1:43 AM

    The South Ferry station is temporarily back open for a couple of years (the new one got destroyed by Sandy, and needs a total rebuild), and i can confirm the moving platforms at Union Square: I change there at least a couple of times a week. They work OK, although you often have to wait 30seconds (sometimes longer) or so from train stopping until the platforms have moved and the doors open which can screw the service a bit: It is not unusual for 6 (slow) trains to run express south of Union Square – missing several stations – in order to make up time lost on the journey in general, or because it took so long to get the doors open at Union Square.

    As a former Chiswick Park/Gunnersbury resident and worker (if the new station goes in alongside the triangle, the s’bound platform would be outside my old office window where the car park currently is) i wonder if a simpler fix would be to just switch Ealing Bwy and Northfields: District on the outer lines to Northfields, Picc taking over Ealing Common full time plus Ealing Broadway. If you didn’t want to lose Northfields for Picc terminators, you could even just cut the District back to Acton Town, i suppose. That means no expensive station rebuilds at Chiswick Park or Ealing Common and the only direct connections lost would be E Bwy to Chiswick Park, Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park (assuming Picc trains will stop full time at Turnham Green post upgrade anyway). I’m positive that misses many things and it is really nowhere near that easy, but hey!

  108. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Graham H

    But surely a PRT link between Acton Town and South Acton might be merely a modestly priced and none-too-revisionist option, scarcely shaking the foundations of steel-framed verbal-storm-proof LR Towers? (Or do I see reinforced crayons holding up the edifice…?)

    The 1959-closed stairs and platform for the South Acton shuttle still exist behind advertising hoardings at Acton Town (whilst I still remember seeing the converted dual-cab F stock single car doing fair business on the link).

    Even if a PRT link is just notional, it might merit review as an Auntie Sally, to demonstrate one business case option in a future PiccWest universe, for a better interchange with the Overground closer to the crayonista-deluged Chiswick Park. After all, the DfT itself would require alternative options to be considered…

  109. Graham H says:

    @PoP – when has reality ever stopped your dedicated crayonista? (I did once use the S Acton shuttle in its last week – 10 year olds were allowed out on their own on the tube in those days – and was the only passenger on the round trip, being wholly out numbered by the crew and their bicycle; they were somewhat puzzled that anyone should go just for the ride, or indeed at all).

  110. Michael Jennings says:

    Mike: The “station access fee” arrangement in Sydney has prevented the rail link from becoming a useful way from getting from one terminal to another there, too. This is quite a shame, as Sydney is very like Heathrow in the sense of having terminals on opposite sides of a runway which are not otherwise easy to get between.

  111. Greg Tingey says:

    PoP @ 12.39
    That is a very dangerous idea you’ve let loose there, particulalrly if LUL/TfL get hold of it. They will be able to hector bully and order stranded paying passengers around, remotely, & not really bother or care about them. [ Even more obviously than they do at present. ]
    Remember too, the golden rule on LUL ( & some TOC’s ): “Issue orders & instructions as often as possible … but if we have screwed-up for any reason, say nothing at all.”

  112. Castlebar (Fulwell Chord U. K. Liberation Movement) says:

    @ Graham H

    I also was allowed out at age 10 to travel London with my 2/6d Red Rover, and can also just remember the South Acton shuttle. But I never remember seeing more than two people on it, and one of them was the driver.

    I’ve just seen a copy of a press cutting where a spokesman for LT says (in 1959) that just because the branch was being closed on Sundays, there was no intention to close it Mon-Sat. Yet it was fully closed within 12 months. Was the hidden agenda always some ‘nice new offices’ to house more LT bean counters and other paper shufflers??

  113. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar FCUK Liberator – I seem to remember that the shuttle required both a driver and a guard (I think, but wouldn’t swear to it, that there was a door control panel mounted on the rear wall of the cab at one end). So, there’s your second person!

  114. RichardH says:

    I would hope that by the time the implementation of driverless trains becomes a reality the technology to remote pilot trains (a la drones) will be in place. That would solve all the concerns about moving a (unmanned) rescue train up to a failure. It might even enable fixing the original problem in the first place. Especially since the solution to many train failures these days seems to be to press the ‘reboot’ button.

  115. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham H,

    Most definitely not. According to all the accounts it only had a driver. I know it is not the ultimate source for verification but Diamond Geezer is quite clear on that. The “train”* had only one carriage so was exempt for requiring a guard. I think this was ever so and, if I recall from reading it correctly, on the Waterloo & City in the 19th century (just) they ran single units without a guard.

    The other obvious source for details is

    And for those who don’t denigrate it, District Dave’s forum has a thread on it which includes the fact that it was driver only

    * since train is short for “train of carriages” it is arguable whether a single carriage can amount to a train.

  116. Castlebar (Fulwell Chord U. K. Liberation Movement) says:

    @ Graham H

    PoP has it on his 2:32PM posting

    It was OMO (No OPO in those days)

    And the re is the LT denial (sorry 1958, not 1959) that there was any intention to close the line. I am also reminded that in those days, we were in the “Five and a half day working week”, and I think that 12 – 1:30 on a Saturday was still an official ‘rush hour’, so timetabled accordingly throughout LT.

    Does anybody know, when did this officially cease??

  117. timbeau says:

    This article
    describes the South Acton operations in detail, and says that OMO was introduced in 1932. The fact that the door controls were in the driver’s cab, as recalled by Graham H, is not conclusive either way! They have also been there on all new trains built since the C stock.

  118. Graham H says:

    @PoP/Timbeau – thank you for the info about OMO on the S Acton line (I’m sorry that as 10 year old, one knew very little about such matters at the time).

    @Castlebar – I believe it closed on 28 February 1959 (my trip was on 23/2/59 in fact). Not sure that the 5 1/2 day week had any official ending – by 1969 when I started work, it was only a memory, although one colleague “forgot” to tell his wife and used the Saturday morning to visit his mistress – she didn’t find out until the late ’70s when, one Saturday morning, she telephoned his office only to speak to the janitorial staff… (The Drain kept a Saturday morning only schedule for long after that).

    @PoP “train” – you are right. The lawyers had the most terrible time (what a shame) when drafting the 1992 Railways Act because they had to define the word for the first time. Their initial attempts captured all tracked vehicles running independently including – ho ho – film crew’s camera trolleys. Just like 153s really.

  119. superlambanana says:

    @RichardH, remote driving from the control centre and remote reboot are both already available on existing commercial UTO signalling systems.

  120. Ian M says:

    If the District takes over Ealing Broadway, how about constructing a chord through the industrial site at the junction so a train from Ealing Broadway can travel North towards Rayners Lane and/or Uxbridge?

    All Northbound trains to Uxbridge then turn ‘left’ towards Ealing Broadway, make a stop there and quickly reverse and carry on North. Southbound trains do not stop at Ealing Broadway, going directly from North Ealing to Ealing Common. This arrangement has no conflicting moves across the flat junction, maintains a more frequent service to Uxbridge, maintains service to Ealing Broadway at current levels (around 8-10 tph), and maintains or improves all interchange opportunities (since a Southbound Piccadilly traveller wanting to go to Ealing Broadway would need to change to the Northbound anyway at Ealing Common under current arrangements).

    The only downside would be 10 minutes being added to the trip to Rayners Lane/Uxbridge. Certain services in the peaks for angry commuters could still skip Ealing Broadway if required.

  121. Castlebar (Real Fulwell Chord U. K. Liberation Movement) says:


  122. Paying Guest says:

    @Castlebar FCUK – well, we still had Saturday morning school in 1964

  123. Pedantic of Purley says:

    And just to nicely link up with another digression, the article cited by Timbeau was by Piers Connor. He has loads of freely available articles on the backissues page of the London Underground Railway Society as well as his own web page and a rather older dormant website plus he is the author of a number of railway books.

  124. Kit Green says:

    Castlebar, now sponsored by a clothes retailer.

  125. Castlebar (Real Fulwell Chord U. K. Liberation Movement) says:

    @ Kit

    Obviously Lakeland, as they used to make the very best coloured pencils

  126. Mark Townend says:

    Piccadilly sketches updated (V4) to show Crossrail:

  127. Tom K says:

    I could just rant on about how I feel health and safety is too much or whatever but if we really need platform screen doors for automatic trains (gap fillers are reasonable enough – plenty of countries cope with fully unattended trains and no PEDs though.

    My ideas:
    1) Trains captains (DLR style) on the whole Uxbridge branch from Acton Town, where the main problems are.
    2) Assisted dispatch at Hammersmith/Turnham Green/Acton Town/Ealing Common to keep the operational flexibility of shared running between Piccadilly/District lines during disruption. It will be harder to call at Ravenscourt Park/Stamford Brook/Chiswick Park if needed but staff could go to the platform if available to allow trains to call.
    3) Trains captains west of Acton Town, or maybe Northfields to allow trains to be turned there if there is a lack of staff. Means no need for extensive alterations to smaller suburban stations and conflicts over heritage.
    4) Trains captains west of Barons (or Earl’s) Court, avoiding need for specific platform staff. Could cause problems in event of staff shortages, although reversing in Hammersmith siding can occur quickly with full-ATO. Allows immediate track sharing between Hammersmith and Acton in the event of disruption.

    Diverting the Piccadilly to Ealing Broadway does leave the problem of ‘too many branches’ on the Piccadilly although would allow an increase in service to Richmond. 16tph would be excessive but I’m sure Wimbledon would appreciate even more trains. While many feel Heathrow won’t need that many extra trains I honestly think it will. The trains are full to capacity at peak times with most travelling from Hounslow as opposed to the airport itself. I can easily see the Heathrow branch needing at least 20tph peak in the future and the Uxbridge branch will need to keep a decent service at peak times…

    Keeping the capacity for Heathrow trains will also allow for possible future extensions towards Staines, Slough or Windsor. The Northfields/Southall District extension also looks interesting, but keeps the problem of Ealing Broadway and ‘too many branches.’ Similarly messing about with Chiswick Park too much seems impossibly expensive. Points at Turnham Green for trains towards Ealing Common to call would be relatively easy but again leaves problems with the number of branches.

  128. Mark Townend says:

    ‘Too many branches’ is not a big problem where the entire route network is largely dedicated to the larger line alone, not shared with other lines. Operationally the Ealing Broadway branch will be little different to short turnbacks at Northfields for instance, with the benefit of a better 3 platform terminus. Whilst there’s a junction conflict with the London – Uxbridge flow, at Acton Town the junction with the Hounslow route is nicely grade separated.

  129. Alan Griffiths says:

    I never had Saturday morning School and by Sept 1964 I was starting Secondary. How common was that?

  130. TomP says:

    Mark Townend (@6.30),

    I like your second PiccaDist redraw.

    It’s the cheapest option, avoiding what I agree would be a costly rebuild at Chiswick Park to stretch it to the Richmond branch, as needed on PoP’s original sketch. And unlike your first option, it swaps in to the Piccadilly a much busier branch interchange at Turnham Green in place of South Ealing, avoiding the delay of an extra stop on the way to Heathrow.

    I’d put my crayons down for it.

  131. Graham H says:

    @PoP and others – to come back to the Picc upgrade, for the moment, I am puzzled (not being a signal engineer) as to how the trains are regulated on the section between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge. I am assuming that the Picc version of UTO works in principle like the DLR arrangement in which trains run to a fixed programme, or series of alternative programmes which cannot be varied, whereas the Met will continue to be managed manually in real time. So, a Picc train continuing from Rayners Lane has no choice but to run to the timetable in order to be able to re-present itself on time to the UTO section after its visit to Uxbridge (or carry on running under UTO control, which amounts to the same thing) whereas a Met train can be held or turned as needed. This would appear to mean that when things go wrong, it’s the Met that must always take the hit.

  132. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Tom K
    That sounds like you might be considering non-stop PiccWest Heathrow expresses between Turnham Green and Osterley or Hounslow East, bypassing PiccWest or Districts all stations via Hammersmith to Hounslow Central (new reversing point) or a reversing siding in the old Hounslow West site? Then the PW expresses could think of going further, albeit outside the Boris zone. (Who pays?)

  133. Taz says:

    @ timbeau 7 January 2014 at 11:40 AM
    I was just making the point that if trolleybuses could shuffle around on battery power back in the 1930s despite their rubber tyres, it shouldn’t be that hard for trains to do the same today with battery advances over all that time.

  134. Mark Townend says:

    From a route setting point of view there’s no real difference between automated and manual trains. A control centre usually has an Automatic Route Setting (ARS) system fed with the combined timetable data for it to base its decisions on. The clever automatic regulation TfL seeks is partly a feature of the algorithms ARS uses to determine the precise timing of route setting commands through junctions. There are various custom rules defined for each junction such as standard route or train based priorities and timings etc, platform dispatch rules characteristics and how much delay to tolerate before switching to a particular alternative plan.

    For best optimisation some subsystem also needs to repeatedly calculate the optimum ‘recommended speed’ for trains approaching potential junction or station conflicts, regulating them as neccessary to avoid the sudden braking or unplanned stops that can add to journey time and exacerbate future junction conflicts, also without slowing down too much and needlessly blocking junctions behind or delaying closely following traffic. This is all separate from the signalling ATP safe speed being calculated separately trackside or onboard.

    Conceptually a modern ATO system provides an individual robot driver for each train that constantly works out the best driving strategy based on known static route and train characteristics, dynamic safe braking envelopes derived from signalling via ATP and where required any recommended speed optimisation for junction regulation, energy efficiency etc. That conceptual robot could equally be a human driving a modern train within similar constraints.

  135. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham H

    No idea. Writing what I think I know something about masks my extreme ignorance in other areas.

    Speculating, and it is just that, I came the the conclusion that the Met with more trains would take priority and the Picc would just have to “fit in”.

    Towards Uxbridge it is not a major issue. Picc trains just sit outside Rayners Lane (better still the overseeing master regulator carefully times its arrival there) until there is a slot. I don’t think anyone cares about the timetable – public or working – by the time a train has got to Rayners Lane. Most passengers will be alighting and will just want to complete their journey as soon as possible.

    From Uxbridge I would imagine it is similar. The Picc trains will have to fix in with the Met ones. Hopefully the SSR resignalling will allow a Picc train to follow much closer behind a Met train than now if need be. I wonder if they have to allow a minute or two slack between Rayners Lane and Hanger Lane junction that normally gets lost – just in order to be fairly sure it arrives on schedule at Hanger Lane junction. It would only take an extra ten seconds to be programmed into intermediate station stops to provide a minute of slack.

  136. Chris says:

    I really don’t see why Chiswick Park is a big problem – the easiest option would simply be to have Ealing Broadway/Uxbridge services use the former District lines between Acton Town and Turnham Green, calling at Chiswick, while Heathrow services continue to use the centre tracks. The extra capacity from the upgrade should provide sufficient services.

  137. Lazarus says:

    Gunnersbury Station: all those complaining about it’s restricted site and wishing to knock down the car parks to expand it should know that the station used to have 5 (yes five) platforms, which is where the space for those long, thin 3-storey car parks came from in the first place. I have a link to a wonderful old photograph of Gunnersbury but I am too much of a technophobe to work out how to paste it here. Help please?

  138. The other Paul says:

    I have to say I’m cynical about PEDs on the Picc, or the Picc being the first UTO venture for LU. It just feels far too complicated. Surely the obvious place to trial UTO is on the Jubilee where some PEDs are already in place and there are no messy branches or shared sections, or even on the Vic where it’d still be much easier and cheaper to get it working.

    Just because the Picc is “next in line” it doesn’t mean it makes sense to get all the ideas and new tech out at once. If the new “evo stik” trains have to have cabs for transition anyway, what’s the difference with retro-fitting the UTO kit onto other, simpler lines?
    That’s not to say the Picc doesn’t need the upgrade and new trains, it does, but I think the upgrade will be complex enough without trying to shoehorn UTO into it.

    On the platform heights front, I can’t help observing that the S stock is significantly lower than the A or C (and probably D). A stop at Ladbroke Grove will demonstrate this nicely (it is level with C stock and a ~6″ step down into S stock). How much difference actually remains between S stock and tube stock? I appreciate vertical space is an issue for tube stock, but if we’re procuring fancy new stock could the roofs be made thinner and the floors a bit higher to be a better match for the platforms?

    For Ealing Bway and Chiswick Park, I predict new platforms won’t happen but switches west of Turnham Green will allow Ealing route Picc trains to stop at the old ones whilst the Heathrow route trains speed on by. Not unlike Mornington Crescent perhaps, or the met from Wembley to Harrow.

    Now time to polish my crayons: For North Ealing to Uxbridge there’s another possibility, with a price tag but it would help solve the “too many branches” issue. I’m talking about the 14tph terminating at Paddington for Crossrail, some of which could fairly easily be routed onto the Uxbridge line just East of Ealing, still allowing the Broadway Picc/Dist service alongside. Yes there might need to be some gauge and platform length work to do, and probably re-electrification to OLE, but I’d take a wild guess that it’d cost about £150m, maybe £200m to make all the stations accessible as well. That’s a lot of money but fairly small change as far as transport schemes go. Run all the 14tph to Uxbridge and the Met can terminate at Rayners; Crossrail would offer a much faster route to all central destinations.

  139. Melvyn says:

    Has someone actually read my posts given I have suggested diversion of Piccadilly Line to Ealing Broadway for a time now but that was linked to having same size trains serving Ealing Broadway given opportunity of making all platforms level for tube trains thus improving accessibility.

    As for sending more district line trains to Richmond one needs to consider what effect this might have on the Overground that also serves this branch and whether Gunnersbury Station should be rebuilt with an additional 3rd line for northbound overground trains thus separating them from District Line with opportunity to add lifts at this station.

    Given how dated and inaccessible stations in West London are compared to Eaśt London surely this plan could provide an opportunity to upgrade stations in this area with step free lifts and modern stations like the DLR gives Eaśt London.

  140. Taz says:

    “The Piccadilly line will form the blueprint for a single train design that will be rolled out across the Central, Waterloo & City and Bakerloo lines over the next two decades.” (TfL Business Plan 2013, p.35) It is interesting that the Piccadilly and Central are at the head of the list since they have the least tunnel running of the deep lines, both under a third. If there were plans to reduce train staffing in open sections of line sometime in the future these would show the greatest benefits, with the Bakerloo & Jubilee having about half in tunnels. The new trains will bring capacity upgrades to lines such as the Piccadilly with its current six-car trains, and new signalling will allow a major frequency increase (60% capacity growth promised). However, what will they bring to the Central Line, already with frequent trains to full platform length? Perhaps only a 6% capacity increase. They do promise a major power saving which will reduce tunnel heating problems, and they will have air conditioning for the public. There will no doubt be efficiency savings with a standard train across lines.

  141. The other Paul says:

    The Central and District have completely separate platforms at Ealing Broadway so your idea of “making all platforms level for tube trains” doesn’t make any sense. The different platforms just need to be made the right height for the trains that stop at them.

  142. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @The other Paul,

    Fitting Platform Edge Doors with any necessary gap eliminators is extremely expensive. It is also pretty expensive even without the gap eliminators. You don’t want to do it twice if you can avoid it. So it will only be done in future for NTfL which has what is believed to have the optimal configuration for the doors and that won’t ever change. A lot of research has gone into exactly where to put the doors, how many and how wide to make them.

    UTO on the Victoria Line with the current stock is a non-starter for the above reason alone. Besides the Victoria Line is already up and running and working very well. The Jubilee Line for the same reason is also a non-starter. Don’t be seduced by the existing PEDs. They are only present at eight stations out of a total of 27 by my calculations. Also don’t be too seduced by the “no messy branches” idea. The Jubilee Line does have a messy branch (Charing Cross) as does the Victoria Line (Northumberland Park). True things are made somewhat easier by them not being in public use but they still have to be catered for and in the case of the Victoria Line the usage first thing in the morning is quite intensive.

    This begs the question as to the long term future of the Jubilee but my guess is they will just have to eventually write off the PEDs they already have and start again. They probably have a limited life even if it is a long one.

    Remember also you have to replace the Piccadilly line stock in the next ten years anyway. And, as I keep trying to remind people, this isn’t new untried technology. If you really want to see UTO being trialled, or more accurately in normal daily use, just catch a Eurostar to Paris and travel on Ligne 14 where it has been in place for years or Ligne 1 where a hundred year old line was converted without problems a couple of years ago and works fine.

    On the subject of platform height I think NTfL will have smaller wheels and a lower floor height. I didn’t report this as I am not sure. But I would imagine at the end of it all the height difference between NTfL and S stock will be much the same as between 1973 stock and A or D stock.

  143. Ian J says:

    On platform edge doors: apparently movable platform edge doors that can adjust to different types of stock are under development in Japan. No idea whether they have been installed in commercial use anywhere, but here’s an article from 2011:

    @Greg T: The curves on Line 1 of the Paris Metro at Bastille station are much tighter than anything on the Underground (Wikipedia says 40m curve radius versus 60m on the curviest bit of the Central Line).

  144. AlisonW (Continuity monorail faction) says:

    Lazarus: the position of the former Gunnersbury platforms can be seen well on Carto Metro.

    The other Paul: Gentlemen of my acquaintance have said they are prone to hitting their head on the older tubes and not on the new ones, hence reducing the roof-floor distance from the increase now arriving would seem a retrograde step.

    Tom P et al: Regarding Chiswick Park, it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of fantasy to have two stations! One serving the Picc to Ealing (ie existing plats, with fast services omitting the stop), and – by shifting the inbound line to fly-under nearer to TG (where there are already routes) – a pair of new platforms on the District, using subway access from the existing entrance.

    Crayons: I’d love for the Overground to roll into Turnham Green instead – I tried getting to Heathrow a few weeks ago (from Gospel Oak) and did the switch-back at Gunnersbury only to find that there are *very* long stairs down and up at TG, so I cancelled my trip and went into town.

  145. P Dan Tick says:

    Only schools that fancied themselves had Saturday morning school. My unfancy Grammar School (Dorking) didn’t have it in 1959, whereas Reading school still had it in the 1990s.

  146. Anonymous says:

    What’s the likely timetable for the upgrade and when might there be more detail on potential plans?

  147. c says:

    Is there any information on the basics, i.e. peak frequency through the core and max capacity?

    Also is there any info on how new trains/signalling/line speeds may impact journey times, particularly to Heathrow. Tubes are full all day and I don’t see Crossrail decreasing this too much, especially as I’m sure there will still be a significant price difference. Increased frequency to Heathrow would be good too.

    On to the West London crayon stuff:

    Surely it’s for the best to separate out as many lines as possible for good.

    Ealing Common is a problem here, and somebody’s suggestion of a four platform station was best and hopefully not crazy in terms of works. District keep depot there, Piccadilly keep theirs at Northfields.

    The Piccadilly could run to Ealing Broadway, and the District to Rayners Lane only – which would be rebuilt in some way. Possibly one platform would be enough. No more Uxbridge.

    A third platform at Gunnersbury to support higher frequencies – I doubt a dive under either from southbound Overground or northbound District would be possible. Overground to return to even 15 min frequencies – God forbid, with some peak extras.

  148. @Anonymous 08:39

    I have heard start of introducing new trains in 2021 and full implementation by 2024.

    As for more detail on potential plans it more a case of if you find any references then you tell us. The Piccadilly upgrade doesn’t seem to be at the stage where insiders particularly want to talk about it to railway enthusiasts. That is probably because much of it isn’t finalised but may also be because the project team is very busy. Of course it might be that the individuals involved are just not the sort that want to give up any spare time they have giving talks to railway people about what they are doing. And of course if details aren’t finalised they probably don’t want to give Bob Crow a chance to rant about some detail that may never happen.

    What effect, good or bad, the retendering of the SSR lines signalling contract would have on this is something about which I know nothing.

  149. The other Paul says:

    I take your points but I’m still not convinced; PEDs are expensive, I heard £1m per face quoted somewhere, this is a lot of money but relative to other aspects (step free access for example) it doesn’t look so high. I don’t think gap eliminators would be required for the Victoria, just platform raising, and I’m not sure if they’d be needed anywhere on the Jubilee either.

    On the Jubilee I count 5 active stations, 10 platform faces underground and 15 stations, 29 faces above ground without doors. The Picc has 26 underground, ie 52 faces, plus another 22 stations above ground with 51 faces, (including Ealing Broadway and extra platforms where appropriate but not West of Rayners or Chiswick Park). So 103 faces in total versus the Jubilee’s 39. Plus the additional requirement for gap eliminators at many Picc locations. Above ground where air flow isn’t a problem I suspect gates will be favoured rather than full height PEDs, this will be cheaper and have less architectural impact, but whatever way you look at it the scale of the project on the Piccadilly is clearly rather larger.

    Not going further with the Jubilee (or Victoria) because of some speculative distant future with new trains and doors in different places? I find this tenuous. The evo train design is still a concept, it’s not proven, built or even procured yet. The Jubilee trains will be good until at least 2040, possibly 2050. I can’t believe LU won’t be looking for UTO on all lines before then. It doesn’t make sense to not do something because of a speculative upgrade 30-40 years in the future, and it doesn’t make sense to throw away perfectly good trains because the doors are in a slightly less than optimal configuration. Likewise the Victoria trains could well be in service to 2060; why would LU want to hold back UTO until then?

    On the Picc, once you accept that you can’t implement UTO until after all the current stock has been replaced anyway, stock replacement and UTO become separate projects. The signalling is likely to support both UTO and ATO anyway so that the UTO becomes a future upgrade.

    Paris is Paris, there are many differences between ligne 1 and the Piccadilly, but the number of stations, number of junctions and overall length all stand out as major ones. It would easily be the biggest historical UTO conversion project ever attempted. I just think LU will progress with new trains and signalling for the Picc but opt for the lower risk of a shorter, simpler line for UTO. The Jubilee is much more like ligne 1.

  150. The other Paul says:

    Erratum – I think the Jubilee has 32 above ground platform faces at 15 stations, including the extra faces at Stratford and Stanmore. Not sure how I ended up typing 29!

  151. The other Paul says:

    Double erratum – It is 14 stations with 30 faces above ground. 10 PEDless faces underground and 15 faces underground already PED equipped.

  152. Boriswatch says:

    “I tried getting to Heathrow a few weeks ago (from Gospel Oak) and did the switch-back at Gunnersbury only to find that there are *very* long stairs down and up at TG, so I cancelled my trip and went into town”

    Two options:
    1) Get off at South Acton and walk to Acton Town, which isn’t far and lets you examine what’s left of the old shuttle (not much, really)
    2) Get off at Richmond and get SWT to Feltham, then a bus, to allow you to laugh at the provision for people from the south west of London to get to the airport by public transport.

    Turnham Green is a pig if you’ve got luggage, I remember struggling with my son (then nearly two) and baggage back in 2005 when flying to Naples. Really needs lifts, particularly if it’s to be a major interchange.

  153. MikeP says:

    Saturday mornings were reserved for detentions for the extra-naughty by the time I started school.

    My current employer was still requiring Saturday morning working once per month in the early 70’s according to those who started back then when they make their retirement speeches. Still, it has been around since the mid-19th century, which might explain that.

  154. TomP says:


    You describe precisely the option I outlined for Chiswick Park! But it will cost a fair bit. Also, selective stopping on the same line is really not an option, unless you’re willing to slow down the whole service to Heathrow.

    But closing the station is also not an option: it will be getting a footbridge to Chiswick Business Park (just bought by the Chinese!), to help get 10,000 people to work. That’s why I think Chiswick Park has to keep a District service and so a move of the District route from Ealing Broadway to Northfields is likely to be the best PiccaDist option on that score.

    This also opens up the option swapping the South Ealing Piccadilly stop for Turnham Green. The intense lobbying for the stop there has always ignored the inconvenient truth that a new stop would slow down the service overall. But a swap with South Ealing, with some relief to the present overcrowding on the Heathrow branch by Crossrail and improved Piccadilly capacity, makes a stop at Turnham Green viable.

    Turnham Green would then replace Hammersmith as the interchange between the Ealing Broadway and Heathrow branches. You are right, the stairs at Turnham Green are not adequate for a proper interchange for those wanting to transfer from east-bound to west-bound, though most changes would be across the platform, as at Hammersmith. There would need to be new lifts probably with an additional tunnel. But the cost would be orders of magnitude below a Chiswick Park rebuild.

    That’s why when I saw Mark’s second option, I put down my crayons.

  155. TomP says:

    Correction: Turnham Green would become the new interchange between the Richmond branch and all point west on the PiccaDist.

  156. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ MikeP

    Surely, in the mid 19th Century, a full 6 day week was normal?

    From what I have been told, we only moved to a five and a half day week in the 20th century, and in the ’50s and early ’60s, all banks opened on Saturday mornings.

    L.T. posters of the time told commuters to “avoid the crush hour” (as if they had any choice), and that was around mid-day on Saturday as office workers in the City returned to their suburbs. I THINK the five and a half day week was phased out in the mid-60s as once some employers offered a 5 day week, there was such mobility of employment then, it became hard for five and a half day week employers to retain their staff. So, by about 1970, the 5 day week had already become standard.

    LT bus timetables of the early 50s do reflect additional Saturday lunchtime volumes. Then, it was normal to rush home at lunchtime, grab a lunch that the wife had already made, then go shopping with her in the afternoon, or, grab the kids and take them to a football match (see football crowd attendance figures of those years).

  157. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @The Other Paul,

    I can totally see where you are coming from but I just don’t think it is realistic. The main objection to me is that it seems like UTO for UTOs sake. I don’t think more passenger disruption as it is implemented would go down well and I suspect the BCR would be rubbish. After all the service is ultimately run for the benefit of passengers and I don’t see how they gain from this.

    Also I very much doubt if Jubilee/Northern/Vic signalling and control systems are set up to run UTO though someone with better signalling knowledge may correct me.

    On both the Jubilee and the Victoria there are opportunities to run trains to and from depots without train staff on board but this hasn’t been pursued so I think the chance of a full conversion in the next decade or two is next to nil.

  158. Surely, in the mid 19th Century, a full 6 day week was normal?

    Indeed it was. What changed was the upper classes being shocked that none of the lower classes were visiting the Great Exhibition which had been relocated to Sydenham Hill. It was felt that as good citizens of the Empire they should be doing this. It was pointed out that they worked all week (shock horror) and of course to Victorians it was unthinkable to open the Great Exhibition on a Sunday. Cue, further calls for a half day on Saturday so workers could visit this showcase and good business for the railways with a station at both Crystal Palace (High Level) and Crystal Palace (Low Level) as well as the expansion of the temperate-leaning travel firm Thomas Cook who arranged many railway excursions to “the Palace”.

    Well I at least managed to get the topic tenuously related to railways again.

  159. Castlebar (Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ PoP

    Yes, I’d forgotten that Exhibition was such an important factor

    The five and a half day week also made weekly season tickets on the railways such very good value, because until the mid 60s, six round trips to the City were required. People tended to switch to “monthlies” afterwards because they were earning more and they had become ‘affordable’, plus the thought of using a weekly for ‘leisure time’ going back to London for an unnecessary journey to near where you worked Mon-Fri was not really a tempting nor attractive proposition.

  160. timbeau says:

    @The other Paul
    The idea of having a Crossrail branch to Uxbridge via North ealing is interesting, but the curvature needed to acheive it looks quite tight. I also think the gradients needed to pass under Noel Road but over the Central Line would be quite steep, and presumably youn would have to relocate the Ellen Wikinson school.
    A diveunder would be more expensive but possibly easier.
    You would also need to cost in the need to extend platforms at 13 stations to take Crossrail trains.
    Existing connections from the South harrow line and Uxbridge branch to Acton Town, Hammersmith, Hounslow etc would only be acheivable by changing at OOC and Ealing Broadway (or Heathrow) and beyond

    Paris Metro Line 1
    One important difference between this and the Piccadilly Line is that it runs in double track tunnels, making access to (and escape from) a stalled train very much easier to organise.

  161. Anonymous says:

    If TfL consider it worthwhile to have someone standing on the platform of every Boris Bus with minimal duties I don’t see why they would object to a ‘Train Captain’ rather than UTO. They would provide reassurance for passengers, particularly at night with all-night services in prospect, and are far more effective at dealing with emergencies both personal and mechanical. They can operate the doors from any doorway as on DLR and would save millions in capital expenditure. Is UTO intended purely to thwart Bob Crow?

  162. timbeau says:

    “Is UTO intended purely to thwart Bob Crow?”
    Quite possibly.

    “If TfL consider it worthwhile to have someone standing on the platform of every Boris Bus with minimal duties”
    But they don’t – most routes only have CSAs (and open doors) 12 hours a day, five days a week, and some routes (e.g the 148) will not have them at all – making the rear platform a complete waste of space and weight.
    As the 148 is so far the only NB4L planned to cross the river I have a theory that CSAs are former taxi drivers (reknowned for their reluctance to go south of the river), or possibly witches (who can’t cross running water: note that none of the planned routes make it across the Lea either)

  163. Milton Clevedon says:

    Interesting thaumaturgical theory there. When then happens on Borismaster routes crossing the Walbrook, Fleet, Tyburn, Westbourne etc? Are they protected by a time-immemorial ‘Shilibeer’ pact with the anti-Christ that anything is allowed on a London bus? (apologies to all non-cognitive entities)

  164. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Please can we leave discussions about the political implications and the unions to a follow up article. Yes, I know I mentioned Bob Crow first but it wasn’t with the intention of opening up that line of discussion.

  165. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Re: Crossrail branch to Uxbridge via North Ealing

    Was looked at in the days of Crossrail being planned. It was rejected as a business case could not be made for it and it is hard to see what is substantially different that would mean a different conclusion would be reached if investigated today.

  166. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Some one who knows

    “Well there have been many designs for tube trains over the past fifty years with most having a slanted nose, sleek design etc. In reality much of what has been the best of design has been achieved and this doesn’t include the slanted nose or snazzy front…”

    Slanted metro train noses are beginning appear, for better aerodynamic (and energy) efficiency. Bombardier’s Toronto Rocket subway cars have a sleek slanted nose (as well as walk-through design):

    A number of Paris Metro train types also have slanted noses:

  167. MikeP says:

    @PoP et al. – sorry, wasn’t clear there. My comment about my employer having history back to the 19th C was by means of explanation of them carrying on the 5.5 day week well into the 70’s, putting them well behind the curve. But I was quite unaware of where the pressure for the original reduction from 6 days came from.

  168. timbeau says:

    @Long branch mike

    Slopey noses are very good at sweeping air up and over the train, which is fine if there is room above the train to accomodate the air so lifted. In a close-fitting situation like a tube a slope will tend to concentrate pressure towards the top of the cab, rather than evenly over the whole surface. Instead, you want to push it ahead of you, so a flat front works best. (It also reduces the available space – the 1935 tube stock was perhaps the extreme example)

    The slope will help a bit in the open air, but at the speeds attained by Underground trains the effect is slight.

    (I did read that the aerodynamics of “pointy noses” actually have more to do with air flow behind the train, rather than in front – reducing the partial vacuum (slipstream) behind the train: look at how snow, muck etc builds up on a flat-backed vehicle (buses, lorries, 4SUBs) but not so much on a tapered vehicle such as a car or an HST

  169. Long Branch Mike says:


    Didn’t a recent or proposed Tube train design have horizontal slots down the sides to facilitate moving the air down the train more efficiently in tunnel?

    (Somewhat akin to the F-106 Delta Dart fighter having a coke-bottle waist pinch 2/3’rds along the fuselage to allow it to go through the sound barrier – a small change can make a big difference).

    In any case I agree with your comment, slant implementation is a design trade-off based on tunnel diameter, train diameter, amount of open air running etc.

  170. Paying Guest says:

    @Timbeau/LBM – Maybe a Concorde solution is needed with a slab front while underground which motors out into a slanted nose on reaching fresh air.

  171. utterlee says:

    I don’t really get this desire for UTO. It seems the costs for the technology, PEDs, gap eliminators etc is really really high, and it’ll be heavy technology that will need replacing periodically, when we could just have DLR style train captains.

    Plus from a safety and passenger point of view, surely it’s always better to have somebody onboard the train? I agree with the comments above that this totally crewless train ambition will never ever happen.

  172. Taz says:

    When the current Picc train design was in development there was enthusiasm for an articulated design with open car ends, which required shorter cars to get around curves. The previous trains were 7-car and to match that required 10-car articulated trains which meant 11 bogies instead of 14. However, at that time a major weight consideration was the car ends which kept the construction rigid. 14 car ends would be replaced by 20, offsetting most of the bogie saving. In calculations to minimise the number of articulated cars required, a study of length and width restrictions established that longer conventional cars would be possible. Thus the current 6-car design with only 12 bogies and 12 car ends, a saving on the older trains and only one extra bogie to an articulated train without all the extra car ends. They were around 9% shorter than the trains they replaced, which didn’t matter much at a time of falling demand. It is now critical, and modern materials must make the weight penalty of car ends much less significant. The shorter car design also appeared on the Northern, Jubilee and District Lines, only the last currently due to be replaced. So the first two still await a return to longer trains with 7% more capacity.

  173. Walthamstow Writer says:

    For those who might be interested here is a photo of Line 1 in Paris which shows the trains, the platform doors and also the tight curvature at Bastille station. The rear part of the train / platform which is out of view is on a tight curve.

    http:[email protected]/6969356379/

    I have a theory as to why UTO is being pushed but as it strays into PoP’s “banned” political territory I’ve got to keep my gob shut. 🙂

  174. 0775John says:

    @timbeau 6 January 2014 at 17:55
    “Platform extensions- White City had a drawbridge at one time, to clear a siding”.
    Is this the retractable platform end at the east end of Wood Lane (for White City) station constructed in 1928 and referred to by Jim Connor in his excellent book on Disused Underground stations? This was made of wood on a steel under-frame and was 35ft long x 6ft wide and moved back 4ft. It was operated from the nearby signal cabin and rolled back to allow access to the shed and so not used by passenger carrying trains. It was potentially operated up to 120 times in some twenty four hour periods and only ceased when the station closed on 23/11/1947. A couple of excellent photos of it in the book. too!

  175. lemmo says:

    Fascinating article PoP.

    Quick question: why was the route to Northfields four-track? It seems an extravagence even today.

    At the risk of being branded a crayonista, I would hope that the long-term planning (30-50 years) for the Piccadilly would consider how the overall shape of the network in London’s west is likely to evolve. Our articles on Old Oak Common and Earls Court emphasise the projected growth, the inadequacies of the existing network and the need for some fundamental changes.

    The Picc/District/Overground tangle deserves a rethink and, while potential extensions are likely to remain on the drawing board for at least a decade, they should be considered. What is TfL’s integrated plan for the area?

    Some interesting ideas re. potential District extensions. To me the obvious contender for an extension west is Central from Shepherds Bush via an interchange with the NLL at Acton Central and on to Northfields.

    I can’t see how a new interchange at Bollo Lane would work out. But new services spurred by the OOC development should improve the orbital options, as long as they can resolve the conflict with freight.

  176. Taz says:

    Whilst there is little detail available at present, we can perhaps make some guestimates. We shouldn’t be surprised to see an expectation of 36tph on the Picc in the 2020s, since this was even the target for the original (failed) Jubilee Extension signalling contract back in the 1990s and is promised for the Victoria Line in 2018 and the Jubilee Line in 2020 on the Fit For The Future line graph. Looking into the future the aspiration is for 40tph for Crossrail 2 Metro Option and also for LU in the Mayor’s Vision for Transport Strategy (June 2013, The Greatest City on Earth). The TfL 2013 Business Plan suggests that the Piccadilly Line signalling works will begin in 2019, with the first new trains in service by 2022. Peak capacity will amazingly grow by over 60 per cent. The current Picc service is 24tph, so plus 60% would be 38tph. I think it more likely that the initial service would aim for 36tph, or 50% more than currently. So from where would the other 10% come? Probably from full length new trains rather that the current six-car trains. That would add 7% capacity to all trains (plus more in the articulated connections between cars). 36tph at 107% of current 24tph gives 60.5% increase. (Howzat?)

    So what difference will this make to the service at local stations? A 60% peak capacity improvement from Arnos Grove to Acton Town for sure (but no mentioned capacity improvement for the stations!). Currently a quarter of the peak service reverses at Arnos Grove, a proportion linked to the number of reversing platforms at Cockfosters, so this is likely to continue. Trains entering Cockfosters depot at the end of the peaks will probably detrain at Arnos Grove and later continue empty to avoid delaying following trains at Oakwood. When PPP plans were announced the only definite track plan was to provide an additional platform at Oakwood for the 2014 planned line upgrade, but it was later announced as unnecessary since improved signalling could cope with the problem. So I think Cockfosters can expect 27tph compared with its current 18tph, also an improvement of 60% with longer trains. Going back to the Tubelines promised Picc upgrade by 2014, only 24% growth was announced with 30tph and no longer trains. Things have moved ahead with the ten-year delivery delay, but perhaps the PPP upgrades actually date back 15 years to talks in the last years of the old millennium.

    At the west end of the line I think that 32tph is a likely sustainable service, with the 4tph peak push-ins reversing at Northfields where local and fast lines permit them to detrain without delaying a following train. Half the remaining 32tph are likely to reach Heathrow, split equally between T4 and T5 compared to the current 6tph each, meaning a 43% capacity increase with the longer trains. It is on the north-west branch that some guesswork is required. The current 12tph (reversing split equally at Uxbridge, Ruislip & Rayners Lane) will be replaced by 16tph to service Ealing Broadway also, currently receiving 6tph. So there will be a cut in service overall. The West London Study of 2005 suggested that the Rayners Lane branch was over-serviced, and could spare some trains for Ealing Broadway. It has also been suggested that Crossrail will take demand from the District Line, allowing a cut in service there. If Uxbridge receives 8tph to fit with the Met 16tph, that leaves 8tph for Rayners Lane and Ealing Broadway. Ruislip is disliked as a reversing point as it is remote from the station so problems with the points there are slow to fix, and there is also significant empty running required, but nothing like the District Line to Ealing Depot under these plans! So assuming 4tph reverse at Rayners Lane (no need for an extra siding) and 4tph at Ealing Broadway, then compared to current service:

    Uxbridge – Ruislip now 4tph, est. 8tph plus 114% (double frequency with longer trains)
    Ruislip – Rayners Lane now 8tph, est. 8tph plus 7% (longer trains)
    Rayners Lane – Ealing Common now 12tph, est. 12tph plus 7% (longer trains)
    Ealing Common – Acton Town now 18tph (both Picc & District), est. 16tph Picc less 4% (longer trains)
    Ealing Broadway – Ealing Common now 6tph District, est. 4tph Picc less a third, but also smaller than surface stock so down 40% on current trains, down 45% on expected longer S7 trains, and down nearly 60% on planned enhanced SSR service. Perhaps this is not important since trains are not currently filled to capacity, but reduced frequency will lead to complaints of those not transferring to Crossrail services. If maintain current 6tph, which is less than proposed SSR 8tph, it means cutting the service south from Rayners Lane by 17% but longer trains means effective 9% cut on the current over-provided service – a train every 6 minutes instead of every 5 minutes.

    What effect the SSR signalling retender has on the Picc has yet to be seen, since the outline only mentions the need to deal with other trains travelling on the SSR. The Thales system on the Jubilee and Northern Lines requires all trains to be suitably fitted, which would be a problem with all the National Rail trains over the SSR. Bombardier had decided that the easiest way to deal with the Picc was to resignal the interworking sections and to fit the old trains with cab signalling for manual driving. A new contractor could presumably decide to retain conventional lineside signals for the Picc until the new trains arrive. The SSR resignalling will still include the heritage train fleet fortunately.

    Announced timing for the train order leaves little time for trials of the new concept. LU seems to have learnt little from their teething troubles with the new Victoria Line trains and the S stock despite having two years to shake down their first deliveries. The original talk of a prototype super-train by 2015 became an invitation to tender by then, and they are now looking at placing an order in 2017. The first train is expected in service in 2022 (in TfL 2013 Business Plan) and that is a production train per Modern Railways report of delivery 2021-2023. Maybe they have slipped a year, or 2022 allows for commissioning trials. So no more than five years from the initial order to the first train in service. I presume it will trial at Old Dalby and later on the South Ealing test track, but where on the Picc can they be tested? Ealing Broadway would provide capacity for a trial shuttle between there and Acton Town or Hammersmith once the new 36tph signalling is commissioned whilst the current 24tph service is still operating. Resignalling of the balance of the line could follow later before a full public service with the new train was introduced.

  177. Saintsman says:

    I have not seen anyone picking up the capacity implications of retaining a Piccadilly branch. True the “evo” stock will provide more capacity (fewer seats?) than the existing 1973 stock, although have not seen final tech spec to know the final net change. East of Acton Town when any branches have merged there is no Piccadilly capacity effect from the branch options. Not seen final core service frequency I’m guessing 33-36tph target (rather than a Boris 40)

    So Piccadilly to Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway. For Uxbridge the new stock gives a small capacity increase; with relatively low footfall then probably no (relative) overcrowding so no need to increase frequency. Ealing Broadway will have 8tph S7 stock with (256 seats, 865 total), swapping these for smaller “evo” likely to need 1 or 2 more ie 10tph to offer slight improvement in capacity – but these are extra. This means you are only left with an extra 1-4 for Northfields / Heathrow. So what of the District, it is a compromise where these 8 go. Sending them to Richmond maintains the Earls Court Turnham Green service level (Chiswick Park now Piccadilly) but is probably overkill on the branch. With OOC I’d like to see more LO to Richmond (needs other works), which more Districts would interfere with. If anywhere needs more District it’s Wimbledon at the moment, but this is at the expense of capacity in the western section, I’d let CR2 etc give this relief. Adding extra stops to Piccadilly and loosing the alternative tunnels is going to add to journey times – I worry. To complete to the picture to get only deep stock on shared Uxbridge branch then withdrawing the 16 Met S8 you would need at least 20 Jubilee (with 4% less seats). Which then implies Met takes over Stanmore. The longer running distances with smaller capacity trains surely must increase operating costs. I’m not a fan of these service pattern solutions.

    District to Uxbridge and Piccadilly swaps to Ealing Broadway. Uxbridge now gain more capacity (may not be needed) from larger S7 stock. Ealing Broadway still likely to need 10 “evo”, to give similar service. I would not suggest any more services than these 2tph, due to complication of shared track through Ealing Common. That leaves 7-10 extra for Northfields / Heathrow. Richmond stays as is – awaiting LO plans for OOC. Uxbridge keeps its Mets. Stanmore keeps the Jubilee (with higher frequency than met could provide). Looks like optimal capacity solution.

    District to Uxbridge AND Ealing Broadway. Needs other works, likely to include loss of Wimbledon District into zone 1 core, so needs to wait at least for CR2. You get 8 extra Piccadilly for Northfields / Heathrow. District now runs 8 extra from Turnham Green into Earls Court. Neither of which seem necessary on capacity grounds given the Piccadilly boost – so can wait. As this option removes Ealing Common dual running, when it is Piccadilly’s turn for 40tph this simplification can be revisited.

    Sorry for the length but numbers are important

  178. Greg Tingey says:

    Sainstman & Taz
    Thanks for the analyses ….
    The trouble is, as seen, this is intertwined with the problems of working/extending other lines in W / NW London.
    Specifically the log-term usage of the Uxbridge “branch”.
    Really, this hould have a single height / loading-gauge of stock working it, & at least one route in to central London being of reasonable rapidity.
    So, even if the Jubilee takes over Wembley Park – Harrow Hill, it makes sense for the Uxbridge line to have “S” stock on all its services & eliminates the step-up/step-down / disabled access problem over a large number of stations ( I’m assuming trackbeds would be raised at Wmbley Park, Preston Rd, Northwick Park… )
    The Picc then has Ealing Broadway, and a (?) rebuilt(?) station @ Ealing Common, with a pattern of appropriate internal service re-distribution, with a small increase in total as discussed in depth, above.
    I THINK that is the simplest solution, but others may disagree?

  179. glbotu says:

    A question.

    What journeys (and how many), would be prevented/made considerably more difficult by removing the Piccadilly between Uxbridge and Rayners Lane?

    Considering the 16tph Met Line between Uxbridge and Rayners Lane would a slight re-build of Rayners Lane be in order. From a mix of memory and Google satellite view, I believe there’s space for a track to the north of the station. Could this be turned into a Met only island, with the Piccadilly permanently terminating in the current Northbound platform. This removes conflicting moves between Met and Piccadilly and removes platform height issues, assuming we move the District to Northfields.

    Is this in any way feasible?

  180. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ glbotu

    There certainly was and perhaps still is, a local campaign to

    1) Terminate the Picc at Rayners, except for a few peak extras to Ruislip. (No Piccs would run beyond Ruislip)
    2) Divert most Centrals via a revised “Ruislip chord” to Ickenham, Hillingdon & Uxbridge
    3) As a consequence, this would release a couple of extra Piccs for Heathrow services
    4) As a consequence, fewer Centrals would serve West Ruislip station carrying fresh air.
    5) More Chiltern stoppers at both W & S Ruislip stations

    This would provide

    1) A direct service for Uxb, Ick & Hill passengers to Northolt, Greenford & Perivale (as well as White City, Shepherds Bush etc)
    2) Less requirement for a “Park Royal Interchange”
    3) Much relief for the A40 and the W Ruislip station car parking (some currently in street) as many would no longer need to drive to W.R. to get to the Central Line

    This was first proposed by local councillors back in the 1970s, but it hit the “LT,’Reasons why not'” brick wall back then. It was exactly the same time that re-opening of the WLL for passenger traffic was asked about, and got the “It was closed many years ago because of lack of patronage, so it would be no different now” response, as it seems there was no place for anybody with vision within London’s transport hierarchy then. (Graham H has already commented on this problem elsewhere stating that anybody planning any expansion of any railway during the Thatcher era, was unlikely to keep their jobs. Don’t forget, Mrs T didn’t want a Channel Tunnel for rail traffic, but wanted a road bridge).

  181. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Not sure if that exact scheme is feasible but terminating the Picc at Rayners Lane is definitely feasible and was the original intention. However, as stated in the article, when the benefit cost analysis was done which included the value of the time lost by passengers having to change it was decided that it would be better to continue to run the Picc all the way to Uxbridge.

    Personally, I think this is an issue where we rail enthusiasts tend to like to see a neat solution to problems affecting other people. I am sure Piccadilly Line users west of Rayners Lane would prefer the currently proposed solution.

    I think this is all down to the fact that railways attract interest from people who like a sense of order. The proposed solution to an ordinary person is rationally the most sensible but we (I include myself) can’t see it because it is, in our eyes, “messy”. I think what is going on in our minds is the never ending conflict between the pragmatists and the idealists. Present is the conflict between those who see the railway (or anything) is something for which one should aim for the textbook “best” solution and those who take the attitude that this is where we are now and this is how we can best improve it for the current users and never mind if it looks a mess.

    I am sure I can write a book on this and Stimarco could probably write a ten-volume tome giving a slightly different viewpoint (and Stimarco this is not an invitation to expand on this topic in great detail).

    Looking at it another way it is the good old “backward compatibility” issue that many of us face in our working and domestic lives. How much do design things to cause the minimum upheaval and how often do you “take the hit” for the benefit of future development? Bear in mind the former is preferred by current users and voters and the latter benefits generations to come.

  182. Moosealot says:

    Just for fun: look at the approach to Cockfosters station on Google Maps. Is that a 2-car ’73 stock emerging from under the signal gantry on the ‘up’ line?!

  183. ngh says:

    Re Taz

    Surely the Ealing Broadway branch will act as a feeder for Crossrail so morning peak traffic from Broadway (branch) to the City will decrease but District (or Picc) traffic into Broadway could go up massively necessitating more capacity (but in the opposite direction to current flow) as people chose Crossrail over District?

    Re Saintsman
    CR2 is unlikely to significantly reduce demand for City services from the Wimbledon Branch, currently a significant number of the locals cycle because they can’t get on the tube (or train in Putney) given the existing service level i.e. massive suppressed demand.
    It may also force the closure of Earls Court due to overcrowding every time there is an evening Chelsea or Fulham match as even larger numbers of fans would have to change at Earls Court.

  184. Anonymous** says:


    I was thinking just that. In fact, I’d go beyond just west London and consider the whole of the Western half of the capital, with CR2 dealing with the vast bulk of the south west. We have spare capacity due to crossrail (including on the central line), so the time is ripe for a serious look at how the network can evolve here, especially bring in some orbital routes where realistic, as local journeys are significant due to the strong commercial market in West London. Older questions – bakerloo past Queen’s Park/Willesden; Hounslow loop – should also be part of it.

    There is no money for a ‘big bang’ approach, but I don’t see why a framework – say, a 20-year one – that involves projects financed and managed separately cannot be done.

  185. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ ngh

    Your “Surely the Ealing Broadway branch will act as a feeder for Crossrail so morning peak traffic from Broadway (branch) to the City will decrease but District (or Picc) traffic into Broadway could go up massively necessitating more capacity (but in the opposite direction to current flow) as people chose Crossrail over District?” is only an assumption. It might actually INcrease as people from Acton etc use it to GET ON Crossrail to get to the eastern extremities.

    You cannot take anything for granted with transport planning these days except:>

    1) TfL will always prefer to find reasons why things can’t be done as opposed to reasons why they should

    2) Crayonistas will always propose something (they alone) “better”, even if bizarre in the extreme.

    No animals were harmed during the creation of this posting, but some crayons became a bit agitated, and their custodians even more so.

  186. Anonymous says:

    Presumably the new Piccadilly stock will have the same height from rail to door sill as recent tube stock such as 1995, 1996 and 2009. These have significantly higher floors than 1973 stock – hence the implementation of platform humps.

    Is there actually any significant floor height difference between new tube stock and S stock?

  187. JM says:

    Worth noting that from anecdotal viewing, an awful lot of people wanting the Eastbound Piccadilly take the first Met train east and get off at Rayners Lane so maybe a through service isn’t as justified as it might first appear. People know it will be quicker for them to take the first train.

  188. AlisonW says:

    can anyone point me at some numbers about where pax on the Rayner’s Lane – Uxbridge section actually _want_ to travel to / from? Is it predominately zone 1 or are there strong flows to Ealing, Hammersmith, or Harrow (for example).

  189. JM says:

    From experience, on the Met going east many people will be travelling to Zone 1 in the mornings and return in the evening. Although there are plenty who travel as far as Harrow (or Uxbridge) and I suspect in future Watford Junction too. If on the eastbound platforms at harrow-on-the-Hill you have a fast and a semi fast waiting, many change here from Baker St to Aldgate services. Anybody leaving in Harrow to work is normally like for like replaced by somebody boarding there for London.

    Not so sure about the Piccadilly although I suspect the farthest anyone travels is the Knightsbridge area as it is quicker to go via Finchley Rd to Green park otherwise. Suspect there will be large flows to Hammersmith as there are many local employers – not sure about Ealing as it only really passes through residential areas. There are also some large employers next to suburban stations IBM (Sudbury Hill), Diageo (Park Royal) which may mop up some of the pax. I’ve also known people living on the RL branch working at Heathrow using it changing at Acton.

    The Uxbridge side of the Met can also get busy around Wembley events as people will drive off the A40 and park at Hillingdon/Ickenham/Ruislip and get the train in. Same happens at Stanmore quite a lot too with people coming off the M1.

  190. ngh says:

    Slightly surprised that this hasn’t got discussed so far in an article focusing on the western Piccadilly line:
    Doing something about creating an interchange between Central – Piccadily near Hanger lane / Park Royal as it vastly improves connectivity…
    (A very old idea in the scheme of things)

  191. timbeau says:

    “The shorter car design also appeared on the Northern, Jubilee and District Lines,”
    Not the District – D78 stock is essentially the same as 1973 and 1983 tube stock in every important respect (except for the loading gauge!)

    @0775John – yes, I was referring to White City. The branch wasn’t used by passenger trains, but the main line was – hence the need for the platform.

    I very much doubt that trains between Ealing Bdy and Ealing Common are heavily loaded, so a reduction in capacity should not be problem. Reduction in frequency might cause a fuss though.
    Similarly, if the District trains to Ealing are diverted some to Wimbledon and some to Richmond, passengers for Gunnersbury, Kew and Richmond would have more trains, and Chiswick Park passengers would have transferred to the Picc, but the frequency between Earls Court and Turnham Greeen would be reduced. Without knowing loadings at individual stations I don’t know how many could be lost without adversely affecting actual loads.
    Can the Wimbledon branch take any more trains and, if not, what would happen to the Edgware Road services that would be displaced?
    CR2 may reduce demand on the Wimbledon branch eventually, but the Picadilly upgrade will happen long before any earth is shi[f]ted on that project.

    “The Picc then has Ealing Broadway, and a (?) rebuilt(?) station @ Ealing Common, with a pattern of appropriate internal service re-distribution, with a small increase in total as discussed in depth, above.
    I THINK that is the simplest solution, but others may disagree?”

    If Ealing Broadway and Rayners Lane branches continue to use different stocks, the simplest solution is not to rebuild Ealing Common but to have only one type call there (passengers to/from the other branch would have to double back to Acton Town). If one of those lines is to use platform doors, it makes sense for safety (rather than cost) for that to be the line that calls there, so that passengers are protected from the non-stopping trains by the said doors”.

    @glbotu, “What journeys (and how many), would be prevented/made considerably more difficult by removing the Piccadilly between Uxbridge and Rayners Lane [and sgegrating the two with a new met island platform]?
    “an awful lot of people wanting the Eastbound Piccadilly take the first Met train east and get off at Rayners Lane”
    This would remove not only the through service but the same-platform interchange as well – not likely to be popular.

    Someone a long way up thread queried the relative costs of fitting platform doors vs having attendants – unfortunately, budget controllers don’t look at things this way – one is capital expenditure and one is running costs. Far too often you often see nice shiny new facilities being opened by the local worthies, only to be shut down a few years later when the very same worthies decide to cut back on annual running costs which are a fraction of the capital cost of setting it up in the first place.
    If the customer assistant route is followed on the Uxbridge branch, I can’t see the service lasting long – whatever good intentions TfL has now, sooner or later “staff shortages” will cause more turnbacks at Rayners Lane, first unscheduled but later built into the timetable, until the service is so unreliable no-one uses it and it is withdrawn altogether.

  192. timbeau says:

    Oops – in my response to saintsman I omitted an “f” in the preantepenultimate word, making an unintentionally scatological comment – sorry!

    [I am sure you did it deliberately just to impress us with your long words! Now amended which helps it get past various naughty word filters.PoP]

  193. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ ngh

    Locally, this was discussed year ago to the extent that Guinness offered a big contribution to it when they were Park Royal based.

    But since then, they themselves have ‘gone away’, so a “Perk Royal interchange” is probably less likely than ever now.

  194. JM says:

    Diageo (formally Guinness and Grant Met) still have their HQ there and I believe there was/is a plan to build another 5/6 tall buildings on the site as part of a wider regeneration of the area.

    I think part of what went wrong with the original interchnage idea was that Piccadilly line platforms could not be moved north of the A40 as originally planned after none other then Prince Charles intervened (I think I’ve remembered that correctly). Hanger Lane was to have been moved further west to allow better access to the Brentham area of north Ealing south of the A40.

    If regeneration around the Old Oak project takes place I wouldn’t be surprised to see further regeneration around Park Royal including a new privately funded interchange take place.

  195. ngh says:

    Re JM 9 January 2014 at 15:12
    Park Royal is classified as an opportunity area and my thinking was that this might get people thinking seriously about improving transport in the environs after previous failed attempts.

  196. Tom says:

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter here – feel a bit out of my depth as I know very little about the infrastructure but just wanted to say this was a fascinating read. Very well done article.

  197. Westfiver says:

    I suggested in another thread many moons ago that Park Royal ‘interchange’ is where the current Crossrail scheme should have its terminus, instead of terminating all those westbound trains at Paddington. The super interchange created would have benefited the North West sector.

  198. ngh says:

    Re WestFiver

    Castlebar will now be along to snap your crayons in half!

    Very sensible suggestion (far cheaper than WCML option too) – though I suspect there will be far fewer Paddington terminators when the suppressed demand makes an appearance shortly after Crossrail opening!

  199. Greg Tingey says:

    Assuming all the Padders “terminators” are terminated there, because someone will, by then have spotted the anomaly, & done something about it …
    Then they will, likely still be turning stupid numbers around, several years later, because that would be admitting that they got it (the service pattern) wrong in the first place, wouldn’t it?
    And we can’t have that.

  200. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ ngh

    Not really.

    We Contra Crayonistas are against hare brained map creationists. We are ALL FOR using existing infrastructure to the best possible extent. (This is what the Fulwell Chord UK Liberationists also contend). If it’s there, use it properly without dreaming up bizarre unaffordable, impractical fantasies requiring ‘new build’ at HS2 type cost that could NEVER see the light of day.

    The crazy situation where the Picc and Central cross in two places (Ruislip and Park Royal) is madness. The lines are there. Something should have been done before now to make interchange easier. There is actually a case for both the Ruislip Chord and an interchange at Park Royal. Getting both would help people, but getting just one would be a start.

    No animals were harmed during the creation of this posting, but some crayons became a bit agitated, and their custodians much more more so.

  201. ngh says:

    Re Castlebar

    JB obviously hasn’t got the code enabled after upgrade yet;-)

  202. Graham H says:

    @ngh/castlebar – it’s an interesting speculation as to whether, if Park Royal Interchange had got there first, we’d have heard much about OOC (and maybe HS2 would have looked quite different) . Whoops, I realise I may have established a forward position that will be exposed to crayonista fire; my apologies. We will all retire behind the security of the present map.

  203. ngh says:

    sarcasm tag still not enabled 🙁

  204. Saintsman says:

    @ timbeau 14:34 Can the Wimbledon branch take any more trains and, if not, what would happen to the Edgware Road services that would be displaced? Short answer is no. If you go past High Street kensington you are faced with Praed junction problem one for the long grass

  205. stimarco says:


    Adding new stations to existing lines isn’t as simple as walking into IKEA and grabbing some cheap flat-pack Plåttførms off the shelf. There’s the small matter of the added journey times – to both lines, in the case of interchanges – signalling issues, station staffing, station lighting, PA systems, maintenance teams, cleaning, etc.

    The mere addition of a single station to a single line can have knock-on effects, such as requiring additional trains to maintain the same service frequency. You also need to balance that new station with the effects on existing travellers: not just in terms of longer journey times, but also the possibility that passengers further along the line may find the train to full to board as a result of all those new customers.

    There are only so many people you can physically cram onto a train. After that, your only option is either more frequent trains (hence all the discussion about UTO), or building additional capacity, which is what Crossrail 1 is basically being built to provide. (Its core is basically a “Central Line Express”, albeit with a kink up to Farringdon.)

    If your new interchange proves too popular, the cost of that station may well be dwarfed by the need to upgrade loads of other elements to cope with the extra demand. If that extra demand is apparent before you even plan the new station, you’d be mad to build it without first investing in those additional features and ensuring they all work together.

    Personally, I think a key problem with the SSL network is that it was designed originally as an early RER / Crossrail system. (Watkin himself described linking Manchester with Paris via his various companies and his Channel Tunnel project. And it was, for a while, possible to get from Southend to Windsor without using any of the major mainline termini.)

    I think the SSL network should be treated as an entirely separate system from the deep-level Tube network, and possibly given back some of their original RER-style character. The Metropolitan Line already does something like this. Despite being cut back substantially from its original Verney Junction terminus, it still has a clear mainline character for a much of its length north of Baker Street.

  206. Graham H says:

    @stimarco – if XR1 had taken its originally intended form, the Met’s outer services, and the Chiltern service to Aylesbury, would indeed have been transferred to the London RER aka CrossRail. LU got as far as identifying the sites for the necessary substations, stabling sidings and so on. I am not quite sure what prompted the change, which took place c1997* – probably political euphoria about the success of rail privatisation**, and the construction of HEX – by 2000, we were onto the GW instead.

    *At that particular time, BR was too busy winding itself up and struggling to keep the show on the road to take an active role in London planning any more.

    ** Roger Salmon explained to me very clearly, when we discussed the need for a planning department in OPRAF, that his only criterion for success was letting the first round of franchises; he didn’t expect there to be a second round as open access/competition would do away with the need for that. Ministers lapped that up greedily.

  207. Castlebar (Real Fulwell Chord U. K. Liberation Movement) says:

    @ stimarco

    I agree with your first and second paras, and am aware of that. It should be obvious to many.

    I like your “If your new interchange proves too popular, the cost of that station may well be dwarfed by the need to upgrade loads of other elements to cope with the extra demand.” Yes, I think this is exactly what LT were frightened of with the Ruislip Chord and the P R Interchange idea. It has been proven to be likely by the success of the WLL

    It could also be a factor re the current lack of use of the Fulwell Chord too…………….

  208. Long Branch Mike says:

    OPRAF being the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising, not Operations Planning of the Royal Air Force.

  209. Graham H says:

    @LBM – might be both, of course. Anything is possible with Whitehall acronyms: the MoD used to have an official with the title “Director of Finance, Army Territorial Services, and the old MoT had a Transport, Highways and Urban Development Directorate; special prizes were awarded to the Central Executive Staff Personnel Information Service (whose name changed very quickly indeed) and a WOrking Group on Local transport/TRunk road Balance, whose luckless chairman found that he was presiding over WOGLTRUB – he never guessed that the committee secretary, who hated him, had carefully set him up and issued papers with the acronym before he had time to see them …

  210. Fandroid says:

    @timbeau & @someone who knows. Did you spot that the interior view, supposedly of the Siemens mock up, has no doors at all on the car illustrated? No wonder they could get 12 seats in side by side. That’s the way to to pack ’em in! Perhaps it’s really a miniaturised class 444.

  211. Castlebar (Provisional Fulwell Chord U. K. Liberation Movement) says:

    OPRAF = Ongoing Park Royal Accessibility Failure

  212. Taz says:

    @ JM 9 January 2014 at 13:39
    “If on the eastbound platforms at Harrow-on-the-Hill you have a fast and a semi fast waiting, many change here from Baker St to Aldgate services.”
    So there shouldn’t be much complaint over Jubilee to Uxbridge providing there is always an Aldgate waiting alongside at Harrow!

    @ timbeau 9 January 2014 at 14:34
    ‘@Taz “The shorter car design also appeared on the Northern, Jubilee and District Lines, only the last currently due to be replaced. So the first two still await a return to longer trains with 7% more capacity.”
    Not the District – D78 stock is essentially the same as 1973 and 1983 tube stock in every important respect (except for the loading gauge!)’
    Well spotted – for shorter read longer. Shorter trains and longer cars – most confusing!

  213. timbeau says:

    @Stimarco 1949
    2nd and 3rd paras.
    The classic examples of this are the various proposals to extend the Drain, or to add a station at Blackfriars. Anyone who has ever tried to use it at 9am on a wet weekday, as I did yesterday, will know that the last thing it needs is to attract any more passengers to use it!

  214. Saintsman says:

    @Stimarco – I accept your new station arguements but raise you…

    Not for now, not for this upgrade, at sometime in the future, when it is appropriate, there are a couple of extra stations which would be useful. These should be kept in mind when Piccadilly fleet planning. Others have already commented on the Acton Town to Earls Court possible swaps.

    Harringay Green Lanes – Interchange platforms with existing LO station which passes directly above. Approx 750m from Manor House. Once Goblin has been electrified and 5-car services are running, then LO further integration will come up the agenda. Expensive and tricky so may take a while.

    York Road – Formerly on the corner of Bingfield Street, rebuild and re-open. With so much building north of the Regents Canal this would become a useful alternative to Kings Cross. Wait and see how a funding package can be put together in the next decade – (our friends at Google helping out?)

    [Before anyone raises it – There is no point in re-opening Down Street. As for Brompton Road I can’t see this reopening during the expected life of the future “evo” stock so forget about for another 50 years]

  215. Taz says:

    @ Anonymous 9 January 2014 at 12:39
    Presumably the new Piccadilly stock will have the same height from rail to door sill as recent tube stock such as 1995, 1996 and 2009. These have significantly higher floors than 1973 stock – hence the implementation of platform humps. Is there actually any significant floor height difference between new tube stock and S stock?

    I believe all tube stock floors are of similar height. The 1995/96 tube stock was maybe a couple of inches higher than the trains it replaced. All trains have traditionally been higher than platforms, and overhung the platform to conceal the gap. To provide level access for wheelchairs with new trains under the RVAR Regulations it has been necessary to install a short hump which also pulls the edge back alongside the train. There is little room beneath tube stock to lower the floors noticeably. The new SSR trains are nearly a foot lower than traditional trains and are narrower to stop beside platforms rather than overhanging them. There will be a need to adjust track levels slightly to provide level access. However, this has led to accidents with passengers falling into the gap at curved platforms such as at Baker Street which was previously covered by the train. The difference between Met & Picc to Uxbridge will be similar to now. The step up to S stock is less than it was to A stock, so track levels could be adjusted to halve the difference again, but would that help enough to justify the costs? Eventually there will be a need to avoid mixed use of platforms somehow.

  216. Ian J says:

    The Central Line platforms at Park Royal were meant to be funded by Section 106 contibutions as a condition of planning permission for the later stages of the redevelopment of the old Guinness site. Unfortunately the development wasn’t as successful as hoped and the section that would have triggered the funding never happened. It seems like a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation since the interchange would have made the development more attractive – the kind of situation where there would be a good case for the government to step in and guarantee loans perhaps? a more deserving case than the huge guarantees given to the Battersea branch of the Northern Line.

    More details on the project here:

    @Saintsman: A York Road feasbility study is linked to here:

    The problem is that the relatively small time saving for users of the station compared with walking to Kings Cross is balanced by the extra journey time for all the users of the line.

  217. Alan Griffiths says:

    Graham H @ 9 January 2014 at 21:31

    Not strictly public transport, but those acronyms remind me of the:
    Comprehensive Redevelopment Action Plan, produced by the
    Special Housing Initiatives Team.

  218. Long Branch Mike says:


    In Canada we actually had a Conservative – Reform Alliance Party for a year or so…

  219. Taz says:

    I have worked out a suitable running order for my suggested 36tph service. Because of the complicated split between branches it would only repeat every 30 minutes westbound, and provide uneven intervals to branches:
    Uxbridge, Heathrow 5, Ealing Broadway, Heathrow 4, Uxb, Northfields, Rayners Lane, H5, Ealing, H4, Uxb, H5, Nthf, H4, Uxb, H5, Ealing, H4 …..
    In ensuring that a Rayners Lane train was not followed by an Uxbridge train to allow extra time to detrain I realised that the current Uxbridge branch combined of 22tph would become maybe 28tph which would reduce the interval between trains by about 30 seconds. Would this be sufficient to clear a walk-through train? Would it be acceptable to over-carry passengers into the siding if they could not escape between the cars as has happened in the past? They would have to await release on the eastbound platform! Otherwise the long talked of extra westbound platform would be needed for only 2-4 trains per hour reversing.

  220. timbeau says:

    @long Branch Mike

    Many years ago, it is said that the rather upper class ladies of the Cambridge University Netball Team had to have it explained to them why they shouldn’t have the society’s initials on their team uniform,

  221. Moleman says:

    Remember the Great Education Reform Bill? Some student wags put up a gerbil for election to the student union in protest. Predictably it won. (I understand he’s now education secretary)

  222. stimarco says:

    After having a good long shufti around the western end of the Metropolitan / District / Piccadilly lines, I couldn’t help noticing the long stretches of track with no stations on them. This is a poor use of resources, and particularly of urban metro stock designed for frequent stops, not long, fast runs.

    I wonder if there might not be a strong case for a West London version of the DLR. (Or tram; I’m not that fussed about the actual form-factor.) By focusing such a system on the west London heavy rail network, you could reverse some passenger flows as it would then be much quicker to transfer onto, say, the GWML at Ealing Broadway and take a limited-stop Crossrail train for the rest of the journey into London.

    This would also remove some of the complexity on the SSR network and make it much easier to run more intensive services to the remaining branches.

    A number of the branches lend themselves very well to orbital light rail connections, which is something London lacks. The WLL and NLL provide some connectivity, but these are both heavy-rail metros, with stations set some distance apart. What these areas need is a system with a higher number of stations per mile.

    The advantage of this approach is that it encourages a more multi-centric pattern of development over time. Redeveloping Heathrow would also help hugely here as it has heavy rail express and Tube links already. (This is my main reason for advocating that airport’s closure. I appreciate that somewhere would need to be found for all those airplanes looking for somewhere to land, but that’s primarily a political problem, not an engineering one.)

  223. stimarco says:

    Oops, forgot two more acronyms: WLL, and NLL.


  224. c says:

    Ian J – exactly what I came down here to type.

    Brent Council eventually allowed Diageo to escape their S106 obligations on the Park Royal Central line platforms due to not being viable – a real shame.

    A better council might have gone on to campaign for it anyway (with Ealing perhaps) but I think both are more interested in parking and community/religious/diversity stuff than economic activity.

    With JRT’s Crossrail to Chiltern crayoning, the Park Royal interchange would be a great boost and focal point.

    Now, as with Willesden Junction – it will be left by the wayside as all the focus moves to Old Oak Common.

  225. straphan says:

    A few points, given I have joined so late in this discussion…

    – Please can all Crayonistas forget shoehorning Crossrail into this once and for all? There is indeed less demand on the western end of the line, with some trains envisaged to terminate at Paddington. This is only an interim solution – once Heathrow Express is consigned to history (within the next 10 years), and once the Crossrail-WCML link is built (which it most definitely will if HS2 happens), all the ‘spare’ trains will be spoken for. As origins/destinations, the WCML and Heathrow have a far better business case than Rayners Lane, Greenford, Ealing Broadway, or any other places suggested within this thread.

    – I, too, favour the idea of replacing the infrequent (6tph) District service to Ealing Broadway by the enhanced Piccadilly Line. However, the majority of Piccadilly Line trains will still need to go to Heathrow. Please do bear in mind that the Acton-Heathrow branch serves not just the airport, but also places like Hounslow and Brentford, which have had a massive increase in population and jobs over the past decade – and the growth is set to continue.

    – Given the specifics of LU, I doubt total UTO will be implemented – I expect we will have DLR-style ‘train captains’ on board for the foreseeable future.

  226. JM says:

    On the Picc Line stations in North London, was there not a plan to move across Manor House to the Vic and build a new Harringay/Green Lanes station? For the Harringay Parade area most people will still probably take the 29 to Finsbury Pk for a quick Victoria Line then schlep uphill to Manor House. Think you need a double ended Green Lanes/Harringey Parade station if you’re going to have one at all.

    And in an age of 30+tph tubes, why would extra stations cause so much of an issue relative to extra time spent travelling? Acceleration/stopping/deceleration would add, what, 2 minutes to a standard journey? Given dwell times at larger stations on most lines, what passengers will notice, particularly if a station like York Way could actually help take some local entry/exit traffic from Kings Cross possibly neutralising any time penalty. My Northern Line train can take anything from 20-30 minutes to get me from A to b depending on crowds or the Camden crossing wait. No one is clocking these tiny differences in journey time everyday.

    In many cases, reopening old stations isn’t bringing new people onto the network, just redistributing where they enter or exit the line each day.

  227. Graham H says:

    @JM -in practical terms, you may well be right, but what we are also doing here is playing a game. The currency to be used is journey time and – despite many warnings from laymen like myself – the economists insist on having no lower threshold of materiality when it comes to counting minutes saved. In BR days, this led to a number of nonsenses such as the claim that accelerating an InterCity train by, say, just 5 minutes would generate so much extra revenue. Matters were made worse, to pick up your second point, by the problem of consistency. So, spending a great deal of investment to achieve,say, a notional journey time between London and York of 120 minutes, but then actually running a timetable in which only one or maybe two trains a day actually achieved that, didn’t prevent the Board claiming the full financial benefits just as if the entire service was that quick. They always feigned surprised when we did the inevitable backcheck on investment projects and pointed this out…

    Railways are not the only guilty parties. Highway engineers, backed by claques at the IoD and CBI, claim enormous benefits from accelerating the journey of thousands of motorists by only a couple of minutes – as if each individual beneficiary was going to put that couple of saved minutes to economic use. Airlines, too, love headline push-out to coming on stand times and conveniently forget about everything else.

  228. JM says:

    @Graham H

    Thanks for that. I can understand the argument on the south London network if you only have 2/4 tph and time is more precious. Or even if a new station meant possible loss of revenue if across a zonal borderbut on the standard tubes? Still very interested to see if a Shoreditch Central Line station will happen after Crossrail is opened.

  229. Milton Clevedon says:

    @Graham H
    The number of potential additional stations that might get binned because of the value of time applied to existing (assumed inconvenienced) passengers is legion. There may be other reasons for not proceeding with a project, but marginal journey time – at any rate on a stopping service that stops a lot – is, err, marginal.

    I’m setting aside here the stopping/accelerating energy costs and possible train round trip time issues, those are part of the other reasons.

  230. Graham H says:

    @MC – yes, the marginal time is just that in the real world; in the gamesman’s world of investment appraisal, those marginal 30-60 seconds lost per passenger get grossed up by the trainload and then valued using the elasticity of journey time and the value of time to produce large numbers. In practice, the other factors you mention -especially energy and brake wear costs* – may be more important. Triggering an extra train set is usually a killer. But – in central London, it’s mostly been the fact that the trains are already full when they reach the area that prevents new stations – eg the Victoria branch up the Lea valley or the central station at Shoreditch/Spitalfields so eagerly sought by English Partnerships in the ’90s.

    *Brake wear/energy costs are not trivial – I asked my BR engineering colleagues to produce some figures in the early ’90s. Stopping a VEP and restarting it, then cost around £6, an HST by comparison £75. [In the VEP case, the target was the east Coastway services where a whole string of stations generated less than 10 passengers a day yet received an hourly service 18 hours a day, 363 days a year. Of course, the SC GM was horrified when we had the temerity to suggest that it really wasn’t worth putting on the brakes at these stations, and we would be quids in if we paid for taxis door to door for the punters].

  231. Long Branch Mike says:

    @ Graham H

    Ha! Found it.

    VEP – Vestibuled electro-pneumatic train, commonly called 4Vep, also known as Class 423.

  232. Long Branch Mike says:

    @ Graham H

    Brake wear/energy costs will be much diminished with regenerative AC braking.

    At the risk of starting another Guelphian tangent, I add this comment:

    Anecdotally I’ve heard of hybrid taxis having over twice the brake lifespan, due to regenerative braking.

  233. Graham H says:

    @LBM – yes. regenerative braking should cut these costs, as will lightweight stock, although regen is not an unmixed blessing on third rail: it does require being able to absorb the extra current in trains nearby, which is not always possible on quieter stretches (and contrarywise, it’s easy to write a timetable where too many trains start at once, which used to be a problem on the Guildford New Line, thanks to the exact spacing of the stations).

    VEPs etc – there are standard Southern codes for all the pre-privatisation stock; I would hesitate to list them all here – the VEGs and CIGs and their friends, not to mention their predecessors such as the BILs and NOLs – these ought to be available in the various enthusiasts’ publications such as those from Platform 5. There are probably upwards of 40 different classes involved.

  234. Graham H says:

    @MC and straphan – straphan raised some points which seemed to relate to this thread and reply to our exchanges, in the SSL thread; I replied there so won’t repeat myself here to avoid the charge of “Thorough”/”Boring”

    [Link here for Straphan’s comments.PoP]

  235. Anonymous says:

    @Taz 9 January 2014 at 23:53

    Thanks, but does anyone have the actual dimensions?

  236. @Graham H
    although regen is not an unmixed blessing on third rail: it does require being able to absorb the extra current in trains nearby,

    Which is often quite difficult because a sharply braking train as when entering a station will generate more electrical power than a single train can typically take advantage of. So it is important that the substations can send it back upstream. Many have now been upgraded to do this. But then there may be the scenario where the substations are “pumping” back more electricity than can be used. What is needed is to send this back to the grid at a higher level which is what will happen on the Piccadilly line after the upgrade. Back on topic again!

  237. Graham Feakins says:

    PoP: Are you sure that surplus regenerated power from the Piccadilly will be fed back to the (AC) grid as such, rather than via substations interconnectors at DC mode?

    This dates from 2008 but clearly explains the problems of “Regenerative braking on the third rail DC network”:

    To be fair, you do say: “On the Piccadilly Line the necessary changes will not only be made to the substations but also to the substation feeders so that pretty well any train on any line can reuse the electricity.” There’s nothing wrong with that, as the feeder routes can be used for new cables to interconnect nearby lines, especially within say ‘Zones 1 & 2″. I would have thought all this would be downstream of any high voltage AC supplies and certainly nothing to do with the National Grid as such.

  238. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham F

    My understanding is that for the Piccadilly the regenerated power will be able to be used on any underground line as stated in the main text. I don’t think it will be possible to go further back to whatever supplies the underground.

    I tried to cover all possibilities in the comment by stating “the grid at a higher level” without exactly specifying which level.

  239. Taz says:

    @ Anonymous 10 January 2014 at 17:50
    @Taz 9 January 2014 at 23:53 Thanks, but does anyone have the actual dimensions? for the latest stocks. The new Picc is a collection of design ideas, so we won’t know the actual dimensions for some years. The order isn’t to be placed until 2017 at the earliest!

  240. Ian J says:

    @c: although, to be fair to the councils, strategic interchanges like Park Royal are really more in the Mayor’s remit because they have London-wide significance. TfL seem to put out documents recognizing the importance of these kind of interchanges in theory, but when it comes to doing anything about it in practice…

    @straphan: agreed on Crossrail, and it’s worth remembering that Crossrail was originally meant to take over the Richmond branch and go on to Kingston, and that this was vociferously opposed by people in Richmond even though it would have given them a faster journey to central London. PoP’s point about changes that disrupt people’s existing journeys applies.

    @Graham H: I disagree that marginal time savings make no difference on routes where people commute daily. A saving of two minutes per journey, say, means twenty minutes a week more time at home instead of standing on a crowded train for a regular commuter – that’s a genuine social benefit.

  241. Taz says:

    I believe that the platforms from Hammersmith to Ealing Common are all at compromise height, as well as those on the Uxbridge branch. The new manual boarding ramps can only be used up into surface stock trains, as they would be unsafe down into tube stock. I believe they are secured between the train step and the platform edge. That is not possible with the smaller trains, so they are not wheelchair accessible even with a new ramp. How long will that be acceptable?

  242. Taz says:

    Back in the old days I don’t think LU training emphasised the difference between tube and surface lines. To reset the tripcock on a tube train it was necessary to get down on the track out of the front door in tunnel, climbing on the coupler. Try that on surface stock and you were heading for a big fall. To recover lost items from the track at tube stations I would step down between trains and easily step back up. When I first tried that at a surface station I was shocked by the drop and couldn’t easily get back up. I had to walk to the platform end to use the ramp. I’m sure those things would not happen today.

  243. ngh says:

    Re Pop & GF

    Regenerative braking…

    GF the article states that regenerative braking was effective over a longer range than thought, only coastway services being a potential issue.

    DC grids and voltage changing is now relatively easy
    The cross channel links to France / Netherlands are DC as are lots of the connections to offshore wind farms.
    See this from ABB to get an idea:

    (other suppliers such as Siemens and Alstom are available)

    The current technology on new installations is IGBT which is also used in the on-train traction electronics of everything recent (95TS, 09TS, S Stock, 375/6/7/8/9 395 444 450 etc -will have missed some). It is quite happy taking in AC or DC over a reasonable wide range and converting it into stable DC or AC (any sensible frequency) as required.

    A large chunk of the 3rd rail area is fed from a single HV feed with supply cables at intermediate voltages feeding the local substations so even most of the NR regeneration could be kept within the NR system.

    With Silicon based IGBT traction pack technology 20% overall saving is estimated for OHLE AC and suburban operation. With newer Silicon Carbide MOSFET traction electronics (tested in Japan but not yet used on the production trains) the electrical losses in traction electronics themselves are just 20-25% of those in Si-IGBT so the potential energy saving from regenerative braking goes up to 30% (benefits for reduced losses in the electronics both ways)

    With DC regen the trains tend to use higher voltage for putting current back into the 3rd rail i.e. 850V vs the nominal 750V so it can travel further with lower losses.

  244. MikeP says:

    I heard that Plessey Electronic Network Information Services got a long way up the management approval chain before someone called a halt.

  245. Alan Griffiths says:

    I wasn’t whether it was condemned or condomed

  246. Anonymous says:

    Well, I believe the use of such acronyms should be circumscribed.

  247. Taz says:

    “the carriages will be shorter at 10.7 metres long rather than the current 17.5m. The carriages need to be short so they can be wider as they will be less restricted by sharp curves.”
    If the cars are 10.7 metres with bogies beneath each car-end, that is around half a metre longer than the bogie spacing of the conventional trains on the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria Lines and the previous Piccadilly trains. So gaps at curved platforms will not be noticeably different and speeds around tight curves will be similar. The original space train concept for the Victoria Line was looking at even shorter cars to enable them to be wider for internal space and closer to curved platforms. With this in mind, is there thought of opening up the tightly curved tunnels at places like South Kensington in order to raise speed limits. I think this has been done on the Northern Line City branch in recent years. Train throughput is limited by a few pinchpoints along a line.

    There is more underfloor space for air conditioning equipment because in a similar train length there are three less bogies, and all the short areas under conventional cars ends are combined into useful space under the three additional cars. The current Piccadilly trains were not conventional, but introduced the idea of shorter trains with six longer cars. This slowed station dwell times due to a car less of doorways. The loss of nearly half a car length was partly offset by the loss of one inter-car gap. There were also few middle cabs compared to double middle cabs in the earlier trains, a remnant of service uncoupling during off-peak hours which was withdrawn before the fleet was delivered.

  248. Taz says:

    “it is intended that around a dozen stations on the line are going to have big projects to remove the heat from the tunnels at that location”
    I count only twenty stations in the central tunnels, so that is more than half of them. Any idea what a “big project” might be? A new vent shaft at most central stations would be a major land grab!

  249. Mark Townend says:

    On dear, I’ve had my crayons out again . . .

    The sketch is now at version 5 showing some further details of the District Southall extension idea, designed to be used initially as a transfer line and test track for Piccadilly train replacement. This all started from the recognition that with the Ealing Broadway branch being transfered to Piccadilly, with retention of Uxbridge or Rayners Lane services, South Ealing depot would no longer be of much use to the District, as it’s no longer on any passing route branch, nor is it possible to access the Richmond branch from there without first going into central London, so South Ealing might better become a Piccadilly depot facility. If the District was to go to Northfields, South Ealing could still be used by trains terminating short at Acton Town or reversing in the middle sidings London side of Acton Town, but equally a complete or partial swap could be made with Northfields, although South Ealing is not as capacious as Northfields. The need for additional space for the transitional Piccadilly fleet got me thinking about Southall, its existing freight yard, brownfield land availability and excellent connectivity for mainline haulage.

  250. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    1) Lots of people travel to/from Boston Manor – Heathrow. (Many airline employees live within walking distance of Boston Manor station) . Why deprive them of a direct service??

    2) You need to have a closer look at Brunel’s listed “Three Bridges” where the road goes over the Grand Union Canal at exactly the spot where the canal crosses the old GWR Brentford Branch. You’d never get away with any alterations to that.

  251. Mark Townend says:

    @Castlebar CCC

    1) There’s probably not room alongside the existing Boston Manor station for relocated two Piccadilly platforms as well as a depot headshunt, without widening the alignment and demolishing some adjacent property in Boston Gardens. Alternatively, Piccadilly platforms could be located in the depot yard the other side of Boston Road bridge, although such a staggered arrangement with respect to the older platforms might demand separate station entrances on either side of the road. Boston Manor entrance is just over 800m in a straight line from Northfields and many of those walking to the former may actually live no further from the latter, making their choice primarily to save a couple of minutes travelling time.

    2) If you search for Windmill Bridge Southall on Google images, there are some modern track level photos that show the original spare opening in the structure for the second track is still there and not blocked.

  252. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    Mark, No

    Most Boston Manor pax are local, or from Brentford / Hanwell.
    Most Northfields pax are from West Ealing / Little Ealing

    I know about the Windmill Bridge, but yo need one NR track and two for your Southall service. I think it is Grade 1 listed, and you will be unable to meddle with it.

  253. Mark Townend says:

    @Castlebar CCC

    Thanks for your input regarding local travel patterns. It would be possible to place new Piccadilly platforms on the new alignment through Northfields depot yard, to the east of Boston Manor Road.

    As to the branch, I envisaged a shared solution with the Southall – Brentford freights running over the same tracks as the District extension for approximately 3 km to a new junction where the Boston Manor connection joins the historic alignment. There are up to around ten daily separate freight movements over the branch today of which four are overnight between midnight and 06:00. Running in and out of the yard facilities at Southall, rather than a direct connection onto a densely timetabled NR passenger route, it should be practical to regulate these trains to fit in with an LU service of at most 6 District trains an hour. A reasonable District turn back allowance at Southall could help to absorb any unplanned junction conflict delay.

  254. Wolf Baginski says:

    There’s an angle to an on-train traction battery which seems worth a mention. They fit well with regenerative braking. With all the mods to sub-stations to get the most out of regen-braking, an on-train battery bypasses the need for such changes. The basic tech is also well-understood.

    That’s maybe an easier sell than reducing the cost of safely handling a man-on-line incident. Plus, it starts paying off as soon as the first train starts running. It might be that the batteries of today aren’t good enough to get a train out of a tunnel, but they will handle the braking. When the time comes around to replace the batteries, the capacity will increase. And even in the early days, just being able to move the train nearer a platform makes passenger evacuation easier.

    There are likely other advantages. When every train on a line has the system, will junctions be simpler without the need to maintain contact with the third-rail? Will a depot need so much live third-rail if the trains can be moved without external power, but will they need battery charger points?

  255. Anonymous says:

    Taz – 10 January 2014 at 23:58

    Thanks for the link. This gives an approximate idea but all of the dimensions are external. There is no reference to door sill or internal car floor height. However the difference would appear to be just over a foot. That would make for a severe crossfall or steps across the platforms at Hammersmith, for example.

  256. mr_jrt says:

    @Mark Townend
    Could you not use the current single line route under the M4 for the Southall-bound line and a new alignment as per your initial drawing for the Acton-bound one? You’d extend a 3rd line across the M4 and the river before joining the single line. You could take the opportunity to simplify the junctions at Northfields by retaining the track layout from Northfields (with the District on the outer lines) and then extending the southernmost line over to the existing Brentford branch. The river complicates matters greatly though, you’d most likely have to cross the Brent at the same level as the existing tracks, and diving under them east of the river would be all but impossible, so I suspect you’d have to take some of the golf course for a curve.

    An interesting concept nonetheless, I do like it, as usual. 🙂

    Getting another line to the GWML past the Ealing Broadway bottleneck also gives another option for a local metro service along that corridor leaving Crossrail to skip local stations 🙂

    Given the (admittedly rather large) funding, my personal pet project would be extending the District lines from Northfields (as shown in your proposal) to Osterley as a four-track section, then having the District diving down to a new double-track tunnel under the A4 to Hatton Cross, and the SSL enlargement of the tunnels from there to T5. With a couple of station changes further down the line, the District could then provide the fast service and the Piccadilly the local with the following service patterns:
    District: T5, T123, Hatton Cross, Osterley, Chiswick Park, Hammersmith, West Kensington, Earls Court then all stations.
    District: Uxbridge all stations to Chiswick Park, Hammersmith, West Kensington, Earls Court then all stations.
    Piccadilly: Either T5 or the T4 loop (if retained) all stations to Earls Court.
    Piccadilly: Ealing Broadway – all stations to Earls Court.
    Piccadilly: Richmond all stations to Earls Court.

    It’s be nice to build new Piccadilly platforms at West Kensington so the District could skip it (along with maybe Hammersmith, demand levels permitting), but the Picc is rather shallow at that point, so probably not doable.

    …and at a much, much, later date, the Central swapping its Ealing Broadway branch (perhaps with the Bakerloo?) for a new link to Richmond from Shepherds Bush via Chiswick Park where all three lines could then interchange.

  257. Mark Townend says:

    Another thought on regeneration. I recall talk of of flywheel storage some years ago, at substations rather than on the trains themselves, the theory being the energy recovered from a train braking for a stop can be stored fairly locally and reused by the same one accelerating away or another nearby. The advantage of flywheels is much better cycle life than batteries, with hundreds of thousands of deep discharges possible compared to thousands, and compared with vehicle batteries, weight saved on the train. High power flywheels on board trains are probably not suitable due to gyroscopic effects and catastrophic failure consequences, which would be better mitigated by a static chamber contained within the London clay.

  258. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ mr jrt

    “It’s be nice to build new Piccadilly platforms at West Kensington so the District could skip it …………..”

    Why would it be ‘nice’ ??
    How much would it cost ??

    “…and at a much, much, later date, the Central swapping its Ealing Broadway branch (perhaps with the Bakerloo?) for a new link to Richmond from Shepherds Bush via Chiswick Park where all three lines could then interchange.”

    How much would it cost ??

    I ask, because I just cannot see the objective/benefit of all that spend, especially if you want to add 2 x extra station (W Ken & Chis Park) to the Picc to slow it down. Am I missing something ??

  259. Mark Townend says:

    Forgive me for trying to answer for mr_jrt but I think he sees a certain lack of logic in the Picadilly tube trains providing express service in the Heathrow corridor whilst the larger District trains pick up the local stops. That contrasts with the Metropolitan corridor where the Jubilee tubes are the stoppers. In reality since the Heathrow tunnels were built to tube gauge, that arrangement is effectively locked in for the foreseeable future on the Piccadilly and District network, and improvements to airport access will necessarily concentrate on the the large profile tunnels connected to the Great Western Main Line in future, including possible additional services from the planned Western access line to the South one day if solutions to level crossing conflicts on the Windsor lines network can be found.

  260. mr_jrt says:

    @Castlebar, @Mark Townend
    As Mark Townend states, it makes more sense of the District to be geared with stock optimised for faster running, (abet at the cost of slightly worse acceleration) than the Piccadilly. The route is not excessively curvy by most standards, so should be able to handle a higher top speed than it currently has. It’s a crying shame when your route is limited by the rolling stock and not the infrastructure. Admittedly, TfL have seen it wise to specify the S8’s for a lower top speed abet with greater acceleration than their predecessors, but the heady days of the A stock rattling down the Met main line at 70mph should have been matched, IMHO, by similar services from Hounslow. If anything, had there been a larger batch required for multiple service patterns, then the S8s should probably have been geared for the slightly more conventional 75 or 90mph top speeds, but I can appreciate the issues with combining different acceleration profiles on the Circle, so it makes sense for them to not be too dissimilar to the stock providing the Circle service in lieu of options for segregating the two (the only options for which being the somewhat crazy expensive Deep Level District between Barons Court and Tower Hill, and extending the widened lines to Baker Street and building a new tunnel for Thameslink).

    But I digress. Any new construction would be expensive, regardless of what you built. West Kensington would be interesting as the tunnels are so shallow, so in theory it should be easier to build and link to the current station buildings, but it would still be hugely disruptive to the District service. Still, the Piccadilly tunnels were originally built with the District there, so it’s clearly possible to do so, abet there must be a good reason it hasn’t been done before. I suspect the gradient, personally.

    As for motivation, Mark’s bang-on. Slowing down the Piccadilly would be in lieu of a greatly enhanced District service. The Piccadilly would provide the local connectivity you highlighted to Mark, whilst the District would serve the longer flows between Heathrow and zone 1. Local users desiring a faster trip would simply change (i.e. depending on the service frequencies, Hounslow West back to Hatton Cross on the Piccadilly, thence express District to Earls Court and back on the Piccadilly. Much the same way I used to hop on the Jubilee at Stanmore, change to the Met at Wembley Park, then change back to the Jubilee at Baker Street. Saves a fair chunk of time and always works as service frequencies are so high.

    ..and yes Mark, it is sadly locked in. That decision is a deep regret of those involved as I understand it, but the 1970s were a difficult time for rail projects. Still, if capacity was required above and beyond what can currently be provided, longer trains would be more viable on express services serving less stations (less platforms to extend), and I think S8s are more likely than longer Piccadilly tubes as the SSL stations that do need extending are likely easier to extend than the deep tubes would be. I suspect a re-boring of the Heathrow tunnels would either abandon the T4 loop or have it revert to the pre-T5 arrangement for the Piccadilly. Viability would hinge on how much of a bottleneck the shared section beyond Hatton Cross was, how may services would need to terminate short to provide the capacity for the other line’s services, and whether the NR shuttle from T123 was sufficient to serve T4. Alternatively, you go for the far simpler route of boring new SSL tunnels alongside the existing Piccadilly ones. From what I understand, the route through Hatton Cross was quite difficult though, and the river made things even more awkward.

  261. mr_jrt says:

    Just thinking about my opening sentence there – apologies if I made it sound like Mark said that and I was agreeing with him – I actually meant that his interpretation of what I meant was correct. Apologies for any confusion. 🙂

  262. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mr JRT – I am sure the lawyers would love having to unpick and reconstruct the PFI contract, that specified the building of the junction and tunnels to Terminal 5, to allow for the tunnels to be rebored and whatever needs to be done at T5 platforms and turnback. 🙂 I’m surprised TfL haven’t bought themselves out of that PFI – perhaps the piggy bank hasn’t got £xxxm sloshing around in it anymore?

    From an entirely selfish viewpoint I would not favour the Picc being shifted out of Heathrow in favour of the District Line. I like the cross platform interchange at Finsbury Park which usually guarantees a seat all the way to the airport. I expect the loss of the Picc Line to the airport would not be popular in certain parts of Zone 1.

  263. Windsorian says:

    @ mr_jrt

    “I suspect a re-boring of the Heathrow tunnels would either abandon the T4 loop or have it revert to the pre-T5 arrangement for the Piccadilly.”

    In a 17th February 2012 interview in the FT, John Holland-Kaye (BAA’s then Commercial Director) floated the idea of moving T4 into the “Toast Rack” between the two main runways.

    From a pratical point of view this would involve T4 and the Eastern Engineering Base swapping locations. In effect it would rationalise Heathrow to two main Terminals West (T5) and East (T2) and up to 10 satellites, all at right angles to the North & South runways.

    With Northern (J2) and Southern (J3) Western T5 rail routes under review as part of the Davies (Airports Commission) inquiry into additional passenger capacity in SE England, now would appear to be a sensible time to review the Piccadilly line route(s) at Heathrow.

  264. Taz says:

    Isn’t the whole idea of District trains abandoning Ealing Broadway to allow them to boost the services on other busy branches, with a side benefit of avoiding mixed height stocks? I presume that empty workings for Ealing Depot would avoid busy times, and eastbound would work empty to Turnham Green to pick up passengers. But what would happen westbound? Would there be enough time at Turnham Green to clear the train without delaying the following one? This would need extra platform staff to assist at such times. Is it more likely that they would clear passengers at Earls Court whilst other trains worked around the opposite platform, and then run empty all the way to Ealing?

  265. David t-Rex says:

    Regarding the bogie issue, modern bogies will be no doubt be lighter. Read a good article on the rail engineers website about bogies.

  266. David t-Rex says:

    Edit: Er, I read a good article. (Must pay more attention)

  267. Long Branch Mike says:

    Just saw this notice for a half day conference May 21 on how will future transport improvements affect London ‘s growth. Tfl and Crossrail will among the speakers :

    NLA – Unlocking the Capital: How will future transport investments …
    Unlocking the Capital: How will future transport investments support London’s growth? In association with Transport for London > Home > Events

  268. stimarco says:

    Re. diverting the Piccadilly from Heathrow Airport…

    Wasn’t the Piccadilly chosen for this route because it serves the hotel district around Russell Square? If that’s no longer a key destination today, I can understand the desire, but if it’s still a popular choice for visitors, switching the LHR branch to the District would probably not end well.

    On the other hand, I have very mixed views on this: In my view, Heathrow Airport is in a damned silly place and really ought to be replaced by a better airport on a more suitable site. Like Gatwick, Stansted, or the proposed “Britannia Airport”* site to the east.

    * (This was the original ‘Thames Estuary’ airport proposal, and the only one that has ever made any sense. It’s also the only one with Doug Oakervee involved. Oakervee was the man responsible for Hong Kong’s similar ‘island airport’, Chek Lap Kok, which opened in the late ’90s. It’s probably not a coincidence that this is also the only proposal to actually get any GLA money for further R&D.)

  269. Milton Clevedon says:

    Moving Heathrow to, err, ‘Waterzone’ risks losing all the non-UK multi-nationals and UK intra-nationals who have located down the Thames Valley to be near to Heathrow. It is a particularly stupid own goal to try to destroy the West of London economy just as you are aiming to grow London globally with an East of London development zone, even if you have Mayoral elections in 2016!

    The interm report of the Davies Commssion last month says 2 options for Heathrow and 1 option for Gatwick, no-one else gets a look in. Ultimately that will turn out to be a political choice, but it certainly is NOT saying close Heathrow, which BTW has planning permission to go to 91 million passengers per annum, not the present 70mppa or so.

    So can we all kindly focus on the existing airports where they are, not a nuclear scenario? I don’t think the Bloomsbury/Russell Square hotel district has moved at all. If anything it’s busier, now that Eurostars serve John Betjeman International (sorry, St Pancras).

  270. Anonymous** says:


    The idea of the bakerloo taking over the central’s EB branch and going to Richmond via SB actually have some history, especially the latter.

    The rationale is that post-crossrail, the central line from EB will see a substantial drop in passengers due to the faster duplicated route of crossrail. At the same time, the bakerloo terminates a load of trains at Queen’s Park, which is rather a waste. Meanwhile, Richmond and around could do, apparently, with some quicker and more direct services to the West End and City, as well as an easier connection to CW.

    There is a lot of sense in first exceptions, especially with the Central/bakerloo swap. That would provide better W/NW links and acting as a valve on OOC in the future. Getting from, say, Wembley to Ealing via public transport is presently a frustratingly long journey as the 83 crawls its away, encouraging car use. It would also improving rail access to Heathrow and the commercial zones around it from that part of NW London. There is also an opportunity to provide a station next to Central Middlesex and the giant Asda. Hospitals are always good traffic generators, and the long-term aim is to redevelop Park Royal away from being a huge area of light industry and logistics.

    Of course, whether this is the best project to use scarce resource is another matter!

  271. HowardGWR says:

    @Anon 20.09

    I wish you had got your crayons out for that posting as I simply could not follow what was to be brown and what red, let alone green or blue! Could you try again if only just describing the stations one after another for each trajectory so then I can follow it on the map.

  272. Windsorian says:

    @ Milton Clevedon

    Generally agree with your comments, however two points should be made –

    1. Whilst Davies has agreed to consider 3 proposals, 2 at LHR and one at LGW, they have (just) left the door open for a possible Estuary airport.

    2. LHR does not have planning permission for 91 mppa; there are no limits imposed as to how many passengers it can eventually handle.

    The “Toast Rack” re-build of LHR is taking place under “Permitted development rights” which is related to new vs. existing building areas.

    Mr Vandermeer, the T5 Planning Inspector, made an observation that he thought LHR would eventually be able to handle 85 – 90 mppa; this was the middle range of pasenger forecasts submitted by BAA to the Inquiry.

    However Matt Gorman (BAA Director) told the GLA Plane Speaking Inquiry, that when T2 Phase 2 was complete, LHR would be able to handle 95 mppa.

    Vandermeer’s observation is not a legally binding limit, and LHR are free to carry on squeezing in as many passengers as possible.

  273. mr_jrt says:

    In their simplest forms:
    Queens Park to Willesden Junction (or OOC), (and probably extended in tunnels to segregate from LO), thence North Acton and surfacing to take the branch to Ealing Broadway. Alternative tunnelled routing via Willesden Junction and Ealing Hospital permits interchanging at old proposed Park Royal interchange site, but you’d essentially be in tunnel all the way beyond there to whichever destination you so chose, be it Ealing Broadway or somewhere else. Given that project is effectively dead and OOC has become “the plan”, I think we can let this one go. 🙂

    Shepherds Bush, Goldhawk Road, (new) Paddenwick Road, (new) Hartswood Road, Turnham Green, (surfaces and joins branch tracks) Chiswick Park (new platforms and interchange), thence Richmond branch. Provides relief for the local service between Turnham Green and Hammersmith by providing an alternative for their northern catchment areas, and removes the Richmond branch, freeing up District units (again, in the simplest form, to run to Uxbridge and Ealing Broadway, leaving the Piccadilly alone given the Heathrow tunnel issue).

    Authorised plan this is based upon shown here, but the density of stations is not required. An interchange with the H&C at Goldhawk Road replaces “The Grove”, Paddenwick Road makes sense, but I’d replace Rylett and Emlyn Roads with Hartswood Road – only one station is needed and the spacing works better, which is probably why the other end of said roads have Stamford Brook and Ravenscourt Park stations at the ends of them. The Heathwick terrace diversion is no longer needed as the former LSWR route is now available, as that’s what the underground is currently running over and can be taken off the District. 🙂

  274. Milton Clevedon says:

    Thanks for that airport info. Can’t remember where I saw the 91 mppa now though it stuck in the mind! Heathrow has to be aiming for bigger average plane-loads to get towards 90+mppa, as the runways are mostly maxed out apart from the mixed-mode option.

  275. Milton Clevedon says:

    The UERL acquired powers ca. 1920 to take the Central to Richmond via the LSW route from Goldhawk Road, by then disused. However the Hampstead Line extension to Edgware was funded instead using available government support under the Trade Facilities Act (which allowed the UERL to borrow capital cheaply).

  276. Littlejohn says:

    @Milton Clevedon.

    ‘Heathrow has to be aiming for bigger average plane-loads to get towards 90+mppa’.

    Aircraft have always got bigger and probably always will. In my plane spotting youth from the Queens Building Roof Gardens it was Viscounts and Ambassadors with whole plane loads arriving on a 4RF4. Now its 737s and A320s taking 3 times the load with half the cockpit crew. All down to economies of scale.

  277. Windsorian says:

    LHR likes to claim it is full, in order to justify a least one and possibly two new runways.

    However passenger loadings are published as passengers per plane (ppp) in which the annual number of passengers (mppa) is divided by the number of passenger flights, so –

    70mppa divided by 480,000 atms = 146 ppp
    95mppa divided by 480,000 atms = 198 ppp
    120mppa divided by 480,000 atms = 250 ppp

    The A380 is rated for 850 passengers in a single class or 525 passengers in a typical 3 class configuration. However the new BA / IAG A380’s are configured for just 469 seats.

    It’s not disimilar to the rail debate about train occupancy levels and how many empty 1st Class seats (fresh air) should be flown around the world. The scheduled airlines business models would have Ryanair & EasyJet pulling their hair out !

    The A320 family (A318, A319, A320 plus a new A321 next year) are designed for short / medium haul flights and the larger models substituted with minimum crew re-training.

  278. Littlejohn says:

    Windsorian. Not sure what you mean by ‘plus a new A321 next year’. The A321 has been in service since 1994 and so pre-dated the A319 (1996). What is coming (in 2016) is a re-engined version of the 319/320/321.

  279. peezedtee says:

    @stimarco “Heathrow Airport is in a damned silly place and really ought to be replaced”

    Everyone agrees that it’s in the wrong place, but that’s where it is, and whatever happens about future airport policy, it’s going to be there for a very long time yet. (Even if there is some day a new airport in the Thames Estuary, I can’t see Heathrow closing overnight.) As far as discussion of what to do with the Piccadilly line in the medium term is concerned, this is the only fact that matters.

  280. Windsorian says:

    @ Littlejohn

    I was just quoting from the Airbus web-site, which I provided the link to :-

    The industry-leading efficiency of Airbus’ A320 Family – of which the A321 is a member – will be further enhanced in 2015 with the service introduction of its new engine option (neo) jetliner versions.

    Personally I cannot get worked up over whether it is late 2015 or early 2016.

    Crossrail is due to operate to Maidenhead from December 2019; would anyone really be bothered if it was January 2020 ??

  281. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ peezedtee


    They built Stonehenge is in the wrong place too. Almost slap bang by a major road junction. Absolute madness to put it there, and loads of accidents as a consequence. Chicken and egg questions come to mind.

    I cannot see Heathrow EVER closing, and I’m afraid how ever badly sited it is, it is a fact that some people have got to get used to. If (big IF) a new hub airport is ever built somewhere else, Theifrow will still remain as an airport and thus sill require an LU service. People will still work there.

  282. stimarco says:

    @Milton Clevedon:

    Heathrow Airport sits on prime redevelopment land, so I have no problem with increasing rail capacity to the area. If anything, it’s likely to make it even more attractive for developers. That increased value can be used to pay for better infrastructure elsewhere.

    And, yes, any new airport would take many years to build, so LHR wouldn’t close overnight – I’ve never said it would.

    But this means the “businesses in the area will scream and stamp their feet” argument doesn’t wash: they’ll have years of warning about such a change and can plan accordingly. Nobody promised them that Heathrow would be there forever, so how they react to the news is their own problem.

    Furthermore, Crossrail actually works in an estuarine airport’s favour here: it’ll make it much easier to get to from that part of West London than to Gatwick, which appears to be the only other option being considered.

    Ironically, Gatwick is actually easier to reach from further west thanks to the cross-country services that serve both Gatwick and Reading, so it’ll be interesting to see what the proposed infrastructure improvements would be if Gatwick is chosen as London’s new hub airport. I suspect HS2’s Heathrow stub branch would actually make more sense in this context – extend it all the way to Brighton and you’ve also solved the BML’s capacity problems too.

    In light of the above, I’m not convinced by any of the arguments for diverting the Piccadilly Line away from Heathrow. Some minor upgrades to the infrastructure are all that’s needed for now. Once Crossrail 1 has had time to bed in, it’ll be much easier to work out where further changes should be made. Now is not the time.

  283. Littlejohn says:

    @Windsorian. Sorry, I obviously misunderstood what you were saying – ‘The A320 family (A318, A319, A320 plus a new A321 next year)’ reads as though the other models are extant with the A321 joining them in the future. You are quite right – the odd year is immaterial, particularly with aeroplanes where entry into service generally slips to the right anyway.

  284. MikeP says:

    @castlebar – I s’pose that’s the cue for the apocryphal American tourist quote heard at Windsor – “Beautiful castle, but why did they have to build it so close to the airport”.

  285. RichardH says:


    There is the added problem though that larger planes create greater turbulence and the headway between them has to be greater. So there’s a trade-off.

  286. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Windsorian – I suspect Network Rail, FGW and TfL would be very bothered if Crossrail’s introduction into service beyond Paddington was delayed. It’d create all sorts of timetabling and stock allocation issues if nothing else. 😉 I’d guess that the full introduction of Crossrail services will have quite a marked effect on timetables in various parts of the country.

  287. Alan Griffiths says:

    Windsorian @ 14 January 2014 at 13:03

    “Crossrail is due to operate to Maidenhead from December 2019; would anyone really be bothered if it was January 2020 ??”

    The Crossrail TOC is due to take over Heathrow connect from May 2018; December 2019 is the date for full service on the whole of the new and existing routes/

  288. timbeau says:

    @ian J
    “it’s worth remembering that Crossrail was originally meant to take over the Richmond branch and go on to Kingston, and that this was vociferously opposed by people in Richmond even though it would have given them a faster journey to central London. PoP’s point about changes that disrupt people’s existing journeys applies”

    As I recall the greatest opposition came from a few property owners who disliked the idea of a new flying junction in the North Sheen area which would require demolition of their houses. The replacement of a relatively fast service from the Kingston loop to Waterloo by a longer route via Crossrail was not universally welcomed – journey time Kingston to TCR would actually have been slower. (Perhaps Sheppetrton would have been a better choice – Castlebar for one would have approved!)
    But I think what actually ended the argument was the inability to fit any more trains over the Richmond – Twickenham section.

  289. Windsorian says:

    @ Alan Griffiths

    I would be grateful if you or someone could define the Crossrail opening timetable.

    My understanding is that Crossrail trains will initially replace the Heathrow Connect service from Paddington mainline station, before later moving to the new Crossrail underground station. Is this correct ?

    As for Maidenhead, my understanding is that it will not enjoy the new Crossrail service until December 2019. Is this correct ?

  290. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Castlebar (CCC)
    Stonehenge was built by Trust Hut Forte PLC – Primitive Local Catering. It was originally a chariot service station. Chicken and egg questions? well how do you want your chicken or egg cooked? Sunny side up of course (hence the sun check).

  291. Taz says:

    @ RichardH 14 January 2014 at 14:21
    There is the added problem though that larger planes create greater turbulence and the headway between them has to be greater. So there’s a trade-off.

    And longer trains need extra junction clearance time, so larger headways in a similar way.

  292. Mark Townend says:

    Headway distance = (some braking distance) x (some multiple based on signalling resolution ) + sighting (reaction time?) + overlap (emergency braking allowance) + vehicle envelope . . .

  293. Taz says:

    @ Windsorian 14 January 2014 at 19:48
    I would be grateful if you or someone could define the Crossrail opening timetable.

    An outline of Crossrail start-up plans was revealed in the TfL media release of 12 March 2013 announcing the search for a concession operator similar to Overground. From May 2015 current Greater Anglia stopping services between Liverpool Street (high level) and Shenfield will transfer to Crossrail using the current trains, which will be progressively replaced by the new trains in 2017. Heathrow to Paddington (high level) services will commence in May 2018, when the Heathrow Connect concession ends. Paddington (deep level) to Abbey Wood, the first new section, should open in December 2018 with Paddington (deep level) to Shenfield operating from May 2019. Full through service (including to Maidenhead) should begin from December 2019.

  294. Ian J says:

    @timbeau: See here for Jenny Tonge, the then LibDem MP for Richmond and parts of Kingston, arguing that Crossrail would be a huge benefit for Kingston but that the replacement of the District Line was opposed by her constituents in Richmond:

    She also said “Many people have contacted me since I first alerted my constituents to the possibility that we might lose the District Line if Crossrail goes ahead. They are absolutely appalled at the prospect and I have promised to do everything within my power to prevent it.”, and Susan Kramer (LibDem mayoral candidate, TfL board member, and at the time trying to win the Richmond Park constituency), said “If bringing Crossrail to Richmond means losing the District Line, then we don’t want Crossrail”.

    Amusingly, the exact same two LibDems can be seen walking both sides of the street by providing different quotes to a local newspapers in Kingston once the branch was dropped (‘not good news for Kingston residents “for whom Crossrail would have been a boon”‘, “Kingston people were given false hope of improved transport”).

    The Richmond branch was dropped following the Montague Review which specifically mentioned “significant local opposition at Richmond to the Richmond-Kingston branch (in particular as a result of the loss of London Underground services and the construction of a dive-under at Richmond station), the current major source of opposition to Crossrail.” Dropping the Richmond branch damaged the cost-benefit ratio of the entire project, but did reduce the total cost and risk.

    In the end the most succinct and honest view was expressed by Ken Livingstone: “My view on this is that if people don’t want a train line built, that’s fine, we will build it where people do”.

    Something to ponder before people get the crayons out to propose changes that disadvantage an existing user base (for example, diverting the Central Line away from West Ruislip).

  295. Castlebar (Continuity Contra Crayonista) says:

    @ Ian J

    Thank you for posting a very interesting and informative comment,

    It reminds me of a time years ago when some of the residents of part of “The Dittons”, didn’t want to be part of the London Borough of Kingston, so were offered the opportunity to vote themselves into neighbouring “Elmbridge” which is GLC/GLA extra-mural.

    I am told by a local estate agent that many are now furious that they have thus voted themselves out of “free pensioner travel”, and thus some of their properties are 25k-50k lower than they might be if free GLA travel was available to their intending house purchaser.

  296. timbeau says:

    I remember the debate at the time. I was actually surprised at who was for and who against: the district Line service to Richmond has never been particularly reliable (my suspicion is that LU see Gunnesrbury as the end of the world and anything that happens beyond there is not their problem) so Crossrail should have been a significant improvement. Conversely, as a resident of north Kingston I was less than enraptured at the prospect of Crossrail 1 coming here. Unless speeds were to be radically increased, in the time it now takes to get to Waterloo by SWT, Crossrail would only get me to Turnham Green: even if it would then continue all the way to Farringdon it seems unlikely that the overall journey would be much quicker. Moreover, the Crossrail trains would presumably require a reduction in the Waterloo services on the Kingston loop.
    One argument was put forward that the District Line would have to be withdrawn from Richmond because mixing timetabled Crossrail trains with untimetabled District Line trains would be difficult. Even if it were true that the District Line runs an ad hoc service, it has mixed with the (timetabled) North London services ever since it was first extended to Richmond in 1877 (the NLR connection from South Action having opened in 1869)

  297. Caisleán an Bharraigh (Castlebar) says:

    @ timbeau

    I note you say “untimetabled” District Line trains

    I agree, that many years ago, District Line services on the Richmond Branch seemed quite random, haphazard, and poor relations to Ealing services.

    But surely, “untimetabled” no longer applies??

  298. timbeau says:

    The “untimetabled” reference: I was merely quoting what was said eleven years ago by our last MP but one: even if the statement was valid then, things have improved. (Although what the locals will have to say about all-longitudinal seating in the S-stock remains to be seen…..)
    One thing I could add is that history is repeating itself with Crossrail 2, for which one proposed terminus is Twickenham, (via the Kingston loop). I am pretty sure that Twickenites, who can get to Waterloo in 23 minutes, will not be transferring en masse to a service which will only get as far as New Malden in that time, even if it will eventually reach Tottenham Court Road nearly forty minutes later (via Tooting!). This time it is Kingstonians who will see a benefit (especially if we’re going to the City, and can pile onto the Northern Line at Tooting – although I doubt people joining at Balham and Clapham will appreciate the extra crowds on incoming trains.

  299. c says:

    Would it be possible to have numbered posts to help track the discussion, and where we are? Would also be useful for addressing anonymous posters.

    [Could you please try and only put comments about issues in the “Site Update” article for the present. It is in your interest to do so since it would be very easy for them not to be picked up if posted here. Although between us we try and read every comment, John Bull may well not even notice this if buried in the comments for this article.PoP]

  300. Mark Townend says:

    @timbeau, 15 January 2014 at 12:24

    The Crossrail 2 Twickenham issue was part of my previous crayon reasoning which suggested swapping the Twickenham branch with Thameslink Wimbledon-Sutton, hence breaking the loop and making the now two separate Thameslink branches much easier to operate with conventional termini where suitable recovery time could be incorporated in the turnback layover.

    This would provide better orbital connectivity on Thameslink and with a new terminal platform at the London and country ends of Sutton station, accomodating Thameslink and Crossrail 2 terminators respectively, conflicts with other services there would be removed making room for more longer distance services to Guildford, Dorking, Horsham etc. With the additional Crossrail 2 central London service, Sutton could become an attractive interchange point for those arriving on the longer distance trains, possibly taking the pressure off Victoria or creating capacity on such trains for local express journeys on their final leg. A major issue with this plan is all Crossrail 2 and Thameslink trains sharing the same 2 platforms at Wimbledon (9 & 10) however I envisaged that perhaps 4 trains an hour on Crossrail 2 could terminate short at perhaps Clapham Junction or Tooting Broadway, whose paths through Wimbledon could then be used by the Thameslink Twickenhams.

  301. Caisleán an Bharraigh (Castlebar) says:

    @ Mark T

    As you will know by now, I have a general anti-crayon stance. But not when I see logic to the proposal as in this case, which you have obviously given a lot of thought to.

    I suspect that there is going to be a lot of cross pollination between this and the BML update thread which was suggested to be in the pipeline earlier today on another thread. After all, what goes on in S W London, as your maps indicate will be very relevant to discussions re Guildford, the Arun Valley, Dorking, Horsham, Sutton, West Croydon etc.

    A “joined up thinking”, overall plan is called for because of the knock-on effects that one action has on another.

    What I would love to see would be a proper strategy for all rail services in a 60 or so mile radius, thus a big arc, from central London, starting with the BML and swinging clockwise around to the Chiltern lines, and Oxford. But back in the real world………………..

  302. timbeau says:

    I would prefer CR2 (or Thameslink, following castlebar’s suggestion) going to Shepperton rather than Twickenham, with the loop service from Richmond also diverted to Shepperton (that’ll keep Castlebar happy!)
    To keep the Kingston-Twickenham travellers happy, (and in the continued absence of any bus route between those two centres which doesn’t still follow the ghosts of the trolley wires which wound their circuitous way between them until 1962) interchange between these services at Fulwell could be improved by remodelling as an island platform (and perhaps relocating a little further east?). Slightly more urgent, but less PR-worthy, would be a fix for the perennial flooding which do often closes the line between there and Hampton.

  303. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mark T – I rather like that plan for CR2 and Thameslink routes. If nothing else it puts some sort of logical “marker” down for what runs into CR2, what still goes to Waterloo and it gives an interesting CR2 branch to Sutton. I rather imagine a number of politicians would be very in favour of that Sutton service. I can see that Wimbledon might well be a bit of a problem if you assume 4 tph per branch – the working would have to be extremely slick to get 20 tph through there given two routes merge near the portal and the other side of Wimbledon. Plenty of scope for “service pollution” there.

    I think there might be concerns about the loss of the long standing Kingston loop service and what extra services would fill the gap from Twickenham to Waterloo.

    Slightly perplexed that London Overground seems to be running via Elephant and Castle. Oh and if we’re doodling for the future you should really have the Overground reaching Hounslow from OOC and Hendon 😉

    I do like the professional way you do these drawings / plans. Beyond my capabilities!

  304. Graham H says:

    @Mark Townend – I very much agree with what WW says about the need for a marker about the “legacy” Waterloo services – something conveniently swept under the carpet just now by TfL. Not so sure about extending TLK’s Wimbledon service, though. The unhappy truth is that that service is an orphan and the constraints on train length make it an unwelcome visitor to the TLK core network. Extending it doesn’t really solve the problem. There isn’t really any attractive alternative – converting it to another part of Tramlink and terminating it short of the central area would be desperately unpopular.

  305. Rostopher says:

    @Mark T

    I’d also like to add my fawning to the CR2 drawings. My particular favourite is the cheeky Victoria line extension to Herne Hill, which is snuck in amongst the changes to the heavy rail services. That’s the thing about thinking through things as a whole, it opens options that would not be possible in a single step.

  306. Mark Townend says:

    @Walthamstow Writer, 15 January 2014 at 18:09

    I usually make up a set of the standard curves for each diagram then copy and paste them, snapping them together like a model railway, joining them with variable length straights and the odd bit of ‘flexi-track’ where the standard elements don’t quite fit.

    The odd Overground route at E&C was the result of a LR discussion going on at the time I drew the map. In addition to possible Overground at Hounslow the orange line should also reach Richmond, and there are Northern Line mistakes around Waterloo and E&C, not to mention a complete absence of the extension. A new version must be due dreckly!

  307. timbeau says:

    Sorry, my previous comment was made after a misunderstanding of the map.

    If the Overground is going through E&C maybe the Wimbledon loop should be added to its portfolio – at least as far as Wimbledon itself. Observation at Wimbledon suggests the vast majority of users from the St Helier line do not go beyond Wimbledon but change there for the Underground or SWT, (from most stations on that line Blackfriars can be reached more quickly going the other way round the loop).
    How about terminating the Blackfriars- Wimbledon services in a new bay at the London end? A long way from the existing bridge, but the station is crying out for a second one anyway
    As I’ve suggested, the Strawberry Hill line might be best served by running a Waterloo-Richmond-Shepperton service to replace the existing Kingston loop service, with improved connectional arrangements at Fulwell.

  308. mr_jrt says:

    @Mark Townend
    I’d be tempted to leave CR2 in tunnel through Wimbledon and have it surface beyond Wimbledon West Junction, or even perhaps even Raynes Park Junction, if you wanted to eek out maximum capacity for CR2. Build a new flyover north of Wimbledon for the District line to reach 9 & 10 and cut that whole Thameslink branch, leaving Tooting to CR2 and Haydon’s Road to a Tramlink extension.

    Thinking further…if you splashed out at Richmond by redeveloping the entire bridge over the tracks (it being the primary physical obstacle) you could get 4 tracks all the way to Twickenham – the rest of the route is largely clear (garden ends and greenery, mostly) for 4 tracks all the way down to Twickenham Junction, St Margaret’s already has 3 platforms, and another side platform on the north western side might be doable, however if you run the District/Overground to Shepperton, passengers can just change at Twickenham for SWT services if needed, so you could use the “footprint” to get the four tracks through by omitting SWT platforms there.

    Removing the Strawberry Hill services from the lines though Barnes to Waterloo as intended by all proposals frees up a lot of capacity for more services on the Hounslow loop, or indeed, from further afield, as demand dictates, but projecting the District/LO does so by providing sensible local through journey opportunities. Get CR2’s tunnels to New Malden Junction and then you free up the SWML capacity on its slow lines as well…though one can’t help but suspect if you’ve gone that far out you may as well take the Hampton Court branch to finish the job of removing all the metro services.

  309. Ian J says:

    @Castlebar: an amusing story about the Dittons residents. One thing that does come across very strongly when reading about the concerns of people in SW London is that house prices are king. Any changes that might adversely affect any group of people’s house prices are basically dead in the water as they will fight them to the death.

  310. stimarco says:

    @Ian J:

    The problem with artificially maintaining house prices like this is that it is untenable over the long term. It’s also why the UK sees housing bubbles rising and bursting so much more often than elsewhere.

    This is arguably of greater importance than nailing new bits of infrastructure onto TfL’s maps. And, again, this is a serious political cock-up that appears to be considered not only acceptable by many in the UK, but even desirable.

    Property investment and development used to mean building more of the stuff, not simply carving out even more flats out of the same old properties.


  311. ngh says:

    Re stimarco
    For once I think we both agree on something, the problems is that housing (either owner / mortgagee occupied or buy to let) is the only leveraged investment asset class available to most of the population.

    High housing costs have and will damage the economy as everything becomes more globalised and we make the London/UK economy more uncompetitive due to a higher cost base.

  312. Anonymous says:

    The extension to the Jubilee brought an uplift of approx £5bn to properties in east London. Crossrail will be a bigger bonanza, if it isn’t already. Estate agents on GWML are trumpeting the benefits of electrification. Landlords who have invested nothing reap the rewards.

    Some say the answer is to move taxation from production to property- land value tax. Then rail would be seen as getting back some of what it gives us, rather than subsidy. Prices would take a hit initially and there’s the rub!!

  313. Anonymous says:

    Drat- I meant GWML.

  314. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous – prices will take a hit – but the only losers are existing owners, who would otherwise have a windfall. As AlisonW has noted recently in this forum, it’s a pity we don’t have a tax on development gains.

  315. Long Branch Mike says:

    UK has no capital gains tax?

  316. Graham H says:

    @LBM – not on domestic property, it doesn’t, and on commercial property, it’s usually possible to get the gains written down if you employ the right accountants.

  317. Caisleán an Bharraigh (Castlebar) says:

    @ Long Branch Mike
    Capital Gains Tax has had more loopholes than a fishing net. The rules changed from last 6th April, (the date in UK when the new tax year always begins), in an ATTEMPT to tighten things up, and “simplify” (ha ha). Below is how it works NOW, and more can be found on the HMRC website. Capital Gains was always different for individuals, than for companies and for “Trusts”. Many people used to set up Trusts and companies to defer or completely avoid CGT.

    Part of the HMRC website is copied below……. (where you can find out more)

    (This used to be so complicated that you could put a query to 10 advisers in a room and end up with 12 different answers, because by the time you went around the room, 1 would have changed his mind and another would have heard all the others speak and then thought of another avoidance idea).

    Capital Gains Tax on high value residential property – ATED-related capital gains

    From 6 April 2013 Capital Gains Tax applies to companies and other corporate bodies on disposals of UK residential property valued at over £2million. If a residential property which has been subject to Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) is disposed of some or all of the gains or losses will be ‘ATED-related’.

    This guide tells you who is affected and how to report ATED-related gains and losses.

    What are ATED-related gains and losses?

    Where a residential property valued at over £2million is disposed of and ATED was chargeable for some or all of the period of ownership, some or all of the gains or losses which arise will be ATED-related.

    The fraction of the gain or loss which is ATED-related will normally be the number of days for which ATED was charged as a fraction of the total period of ownership.

    The balance is the non ATED-related gain or loss, and is subject to the normal rules for chargeable gains. These may be chargeable to Corporation Tax or normal Capital Gains Tax or free from tax, depending on the status of the company.

  318. Caisleán an Bharraigh (Castlebar) says:

    Domestic property is exempt from all Capital Gains IF (and only if) it is your designated “main residence”

    That is why so many of our dearly loved Members of Parliament have “flipped” their properties in recent years, (some more than once), to “change their own main residence to/from their second/third homes.

  319. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Castlebar (Peoples’ Front of Fulwell Chord)

    Thx. Most countries are tightening up tax legislation to plug such loopholes, as they should. Having worked for a large accountancy, I’ve seen a lot of creative accounting strategies discussed and employed, which I found unethical.

    Keeping laws simple and clear reduces the need for accountants. Anyway I got off track.

  320. timbeau says:

    “Flipping” was also done for other reasons: for example because expenses claims were accepted for repairs to the “main” residence (so designate the more dilapidated one), or for travel between Westminster and the “main” residence (so claim for the one furthest away). As circumstances changed (for example repairs were finished on one house and you now wanted to do work on the other) you would naturally designate the other house to be the “main”.

  321. Castlebar (Peoples’ Popular Front of Fulwell Chord) says:

    Yes Timbeau quite right, and ‘Thanks L B Mike)

    The point is, and why it is thread relevant, vox populi are very protective and vocal when it comes to property related matters here in UK (see my posting of 10:16 yesterday about Dittons residents. People will vote illogically on transport issues if they think it will affect THEIR property prices. So Crossrail/Piccadilly/District changes/extensions etc need to be “sold” as “property price positive” if they are to have a chance. Disruption of existing travel patterns will only affect SOME commuters in the area, but they also tend to be very vocal (e.g., “Pinner Man” getting on to his MP and getting the Met timetable changed)

  322. Anonymous says:

    Graham H

    As I understand it development taxes do not raise nearly as much as a land valuation tax (LVT).

    Historically, development taxes were only payable on the sale of the property, thus providing a powerful disincentive to sell, and to wait on a more friendly government.

    LVT would be payable annually, based on the rental value of the property. At the same time other taxes, such as income tax, would be phased out.

    Desirable projects would be assured of a funding stream years in advance.

  323. Long Branch Mike says:

    Does the UK have Tax Increment Financing ? I recall this question being asked but not the response. TIF is used alot in the States now (US) for financing rail transit build.

  324. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous – you take the words out of my mouth. DLT only bites on (re)development; taxing on current value is theoretically much better (and gives all sorts of useful price signals to people to downsize/move house). It’s not without its problems, tho’ – remember the sheer difficulty of getting Rateable Values updated in pre-Council tax days. Very close to mediaeval taxation actually, when the Norman kings took a 1/10 of your assets from time to time.

    @LBM – No, alas. The French seem to have got it right (at least from the transport providers’ point of view) with their versement publique, although I notice even this far away, a growing resistance on the part of small businesses to pay.

  325. Anonymous says:

    Graham H

    “It’s not without it’s problems tho”

    Indeed – if an improvement has been made by the owner e.g. a £20,000 kitchen, it should be disregarded for the purposes of LVT.

    But the classic objection by opponents is on behalf of the 90-year -old widow, who bought her property during the Blitz and is property rich, but cash poor. These cases are a tiny amount of the whole and it is easy to devise ameliorative measures.

  326. Graham H says:

    @Anonymous – I agree. Of course, as with all taxation systems, there are unfairnesses and inconsistencies; the risk is that you eventually build up a raft of special cases and sticking plasters that leads to a call for radical reform. The biggest problem with rates as they used to be, is that there is too little evidence for rental levels, especially with older, “non-standard” properties and properties that rarely come on the market; this is why the 1964 (I recall) revaluation kept getting postponed until eventually Mrs T decided to seize the opportunity and introduce the Community Charge, although even there, my impression is that she championed it because there was no workable alternative, as she saw it, rather than because she actually liked the idea.

  327. Greg Tingey says:

    Can we PLEASE stop this (quite frankly, irrelevant) talk of land valuation & other property taxes on private homes?

    Otherwise, I’ll set “Her Indoors” on to you – she is a Chartered Tax Adviser & has very decided views on these subjects.
    There is also the point that land/property valuation taxes penalise people who have lived in properties for long periods, particularly in areas that have “gentrified”.
    They would then be forced out of their long-established ( &often much-loved) homes …. because, although their house is (say) valued at £0.75 million, they could not possibly be able to pay the tax(es) that would then be levied.

  328. Long Branch Mike says:

    Are there any Treasury readers? Perhaps they could chip in at this point…

  329. Paying Guest says:

    @ Graham H – I heard from a SPAD that what incensed Mrs T was her driver being unable to thread a way through a local authority housing estate due to the number of late model cars blocking both sides of the road which reinforced her conclusion that local services should be paid for by the individual who consumes them rather than taxing the property which might have one or 6 residents.

    It is the old argument of which end of the spectrum should one work – pay in proportion to resources consumed or pay in proportion to ability to afford it.

  330. Slugabed says:

    Paying Guest 01:49 17/01
    I think you are letting Mrs T off a little lightly by ignoring the partisan nature of the Poll Tax.For instance,I,in her pet borough of Wandsworth revelled in my yearly bill of £0 which neither reflected the resources I consumed nor my ability to pay.
    The fact that,in a relatively wealthy borough,such a stipend could be actually leviable spoke volumes about the underlying aims of the system as put into practice.

  331. Off topic warning:

    The issue of property tax and its potential relationship with transport planning in London is an important subject that would be worthy of an article if someone sufficiently competent to write about it was prepared to do so. It tenuously even has some validity in discussing the Piccadilly Line. That said, discussion in this context is about the limit that can be said to have some relevance here.

    If you have opinions on the practicality or fairness of poll tax, council tax, Mrs Thatcher or similar subjects that don’t actually relate to transport in London please find a more appropriate website to air your views. Future irrelevant comments here will unmercifully be deleted.

  332. Greg Tingey says:


  333. THC says:

    PoP and Greg in seeing-eye-to-eye shocker. I think I need to lie down! 🙂


  334. Anonymous says:


    Well they didn’t really agree: PoP recognises it as an important transport- related subject, Greg just wanted it closed as he and his partner don’t like the idea of property taxes paying for infrastructure.

  335. Castlebar says:

    @ Anonymous 12:08


    And worthy of yet another new thread!

    What I will say (and it’s nothing to do with property TAXES), is that when it was announced that the Picc would be extended from Hounslow West to Heathrow (it was finally conceded that the white elephant West London Air Terminal was also a dead duck), property prices shot up. This because so many air crew and airport workers lived in places such as South Ealing, Boston Manor (south Hanwell), Osterley etc. It was realised that the Picc would suddenly become overcrowded with air pax, but the advantage of through services to Thiefrow easily outweighed the disadvantages of not always getting on at Northfields and being able to get a seat. Local property and thus rental prices rocketed because of that Picc extension.

  336. Anonymous says:

    A new set of board papers for TFL’s Projects and Planning Panel has been released, one of which concerns the NTfL

    It says the dates for the completion of the upgrades are

    Piccadilly – 2025
    Central – 2030
    Waterloo and City – 2032
    Bakerloo – 2033

    And that the ITT for new rolling stock will be issued in early 2015, with the Piccadilly upgrade alone costing almost £4bn including risk

  337. ngh says:

    Re Anon 17 January 2014 at 17:05

    Some interesting numbers in the papers…

    Piccadilly +60% capacity 33tph
    Central +25% capacity 33tph
    Bakerloo +25% capacity 27tph
    W&C +50% capacity 30tph

  338. Long Branch Mike says:

    Similar to Anonymous 17.05’s posting, the Draft Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP. Yes FALP!)January 2014 Consultation is at:

    (sorry couldn’t get Acceptible Tags to make these links to work – fault at my brain most likely).

    As an appropriate tax comment, I do note for whomever may be writing an article on this consult that Tax Increment Financing is mentioned in 8.6A regarding development (but not transport infrastructure) of the NLE Battersea.

  339. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @ngh + others

    I found the dates more interesting. Or more precisely the relative dates. This is really more appropriate in RIP the Tube Inprovement Plan, Long Live New Tube for London but dates given for upgrade completion are:

    Piccadilly 2025
    Central 2030
    Waterloo & City 2032
    Bakerloo 2033

    So the Piccadilly may have slipped another year already and it seems that a decision has been made (or at least TfL now has a definite opinion) that the Central and even the Waterloo & City are to be completed before the Bakerloo.

    I say the Piccadilly may have slipped because one needs to be aware there will be a significant period between the last of the 1973 stock being withdrawn and the project being complete. The last of 1973 stock may well have to survive around 50 years since first train entered service in July 1975. For a train that is thought to need fairly urgent replacement that is quite a long time.

    The Central Line’s 1992 stock entered service in 1993 and will “only” be in service for a maximum of 37 years under this plan reflecting the fact that this was never a totally reliable train. Of course if you take into account it is also on run on the Waterloo & City then even this train is expected to give around 39 years service.

    Also the mention of “at least 33 trains per hour” on the Piccadilly whereas I had conservatively presumed 32 tph because 8 tph would fit in with the Metropolitan Line from Rayners Lane to Uxbridge. So even intervals on the western branches of the Piccadilly is looking unlikely.

    On a sort of positive note, every year that the project slips means that the techology needed for this upgrade will be more mainstream and less bleeding edge.

  340. timbeau says:

    “Rolling Stock procurement timescales for NTfL will be concurrent with those for the acquisition of additional trains for the Northern and Jubilee lines and London Overground.”
    This suggests rolling stock delivery may not be the last stage of the upgrade: can we really imagine 1972 stock – basically a 1960s design – still running in the 2030s when it would “qualify” for a bus pass?

  341. ngh says:

    Re PoP

    The dates are indeed interesting but if they are already assuming a significant refurb of the existing Bakerloo fleet including major structural work in the short term then they might as well recoup the investment…
    2033 puts it beyond CR2 potential completion and hence potential bakerloo extension back on the cards if it is last in the queue?

  342. Taz says:

    It is difficult to make sense of the expected capacity upgrade estimates. The Central Line trains currently fill the platform lengths and run up to 34tph. The expected 25% increase must be due to the new train packing them in with open car ends and lower floor to help standing by the doors. But that 25% increase doesn’t appear to feature in the other capacity estimates. I calculate it between 20% – 40%. Current tube platforms were made to fit the standard train of 7 or 8 cars. This future train will have more shorter cars, so if it fits the Piccadilly Line adding one new car will make it shorter on the Central Line!

  343. Paul III says:

    When would the green light need to be given for serious planning to start on a Bakerloo line extension for it to sync up with the new stock in the early thirties?

  344. Taz says:

    @ Paul III 18 January 2014 at 02:46
    When would the green light need to be given for serious planning to start on a Bakerloo line extension for it to sync up with the new stock in the early thirties?

    Current work on Crossrail 2 aims to be open by around then. The current London Plan lists “Bakerloo line southern extension; potential scheme and route under investigation” for Post 2022. The current draft alterations do not change that.

  345. Hancock says:

    Lateral thinking is what’s needed here:
    Keep the District to Ealing Broadway and Richmond as now.
    Run District line to Uxbridge instead of Piccadilly, and rebuild West Kensington station as an island platform, with a new route direct to Olympia and beyond. With the redevelopment of Earl’s Court due, there should be time, space and funding available.

    Hey presto lots of extra trains on the District line in West London, a restored all day Olympia service, all trains at the same height on all lines! Could also extend beyond Olympia to Willesden Junction.

  346. Tom Hawtin says:

    @Hancock I don’t think there’s much spare capacity on the West London Line. Nor can I see a practical route from West Kensington to Olympia without reversing.

    Without building anything (other than trains, depot, power supply, staff accom, etc.), I believe an Uxbridge-High Street Kensington service would fit opposite the Wimbledon-Tower Hill train. However, even skipping Earl’s Court and going straight for the Circle Line connection, there would still be objections over bringing too many people in for the capacity available going further into town.

  347. timbeau says:

    @Tom Hawtin
    To clarify – “Nor can I see a practical route from West Kensington to Olympia without reversing.”
    Although a cursory look at West Kensington reveals a spur off the eastbound, appartently heading towards the Lillie Bridge depot’s shunting neck close to Olympia, it in fact curves round over the top of the District Line to enter Lillie Bridge depot directly, from the north. Completing the triangle would require the demolition of the substantial buildings on the north side of the A4 (not to mention the flat junctions West Kensington and olympia

  348. Taz says:

    “an aspiration for the train to have sufficiently powerful batteries to get the train into a station if traction current is lost”
    Would only need to creep forward, so need only mild success in the current trial of full battery powered trains at Old Dalby:

  349. Taz says: gives useful info for Ealing Broadway, Common & Chiswick Park. Ealing Broadway is the most popular destination from Chiswick Park, which wouldn’t suit on the Richmond branch, although low user numbers. The top nine destinations from Ealing Broadway are all on the Central Line with Hammersmith at number ten. The loss of the District Line there would not seem important.

  350. timbeau says:

    I don’t understand your conclusions: you appear to be saying that you need the District Line to run to Ealing Broadway, but you don’t need it to run from there?

  351. Taz says:

    @ timbe 27 January 2014 at 10:05 @taz I don’t understand your conclusions: you appear to be saying that you need the District Line to run to Ealing Broadway, but you don’t need it to run from there?

    The Ealing Common Problem section above reports no District to Ealing Broadway; since the tenth most popular destination from there is the first on the District, and that at Hammersmith on the Piccadilly, I can’t see a lot of complaints. That para also suggests that Chiswick Park will move over to the Richmond branch. Since the most popular destination from there is Ealing Broadway which will need a change at Turnham Green using the long stairways down and then up, a cause for complaints. Much more convenient and cheaper to route Ealing Broadway Picc trains via the local roads to serve the current Chiswick Park platforms. This would need new crossovers west of the current Richmond junctions, either close to them to avoid slowing fast Picc trains, or just east of Chiswick Park to allow a District train to or from Ealing Depot to stand clear of both Picc and District lines.

  352. Castlebar says:

    How can Chiswick Park get moved to the Richmond branch?? Is that really a feasible, ‘doable’ proposition??

    I’ve seen this idea before, but I cannot believe it can be done

  353. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Funnily enough Chiswick Park to Ealing Broadway is one of the first things I looked at.

    In general it is quite surprising the number of quite short outer London – outer London journeys made on the tube. Makes the argument for outer suburban orbital services a bit more substantial.

    In the specific case of Chiswick Park to Ealing Broadway it is only 287 passengers per day. The key question I suppose is how many of them actually want to go to Ealing Broadway from Chiswick Park and how many do so because they can’t use their nearest station which is Turnham Green? Of course they could still get to Ealing Broadway from Chiswick Park if the platforms are relocated on the District Line. It is just that they will have to change at Turnham Green.

    I suspect they would have to do a more thorough investigation before making a final decision.

  354. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – TfL could, if it took a holistic view, solve some of the Chiswick – Ealing Broadway issues by actually providing a direct bus. This bit of London is bizarre in that obvious places do not have direct bus links probably the result of the historic pattern of tube services. Despite years of consultation effort and S106 funding being available the proposal to extend the E10 from Ealing Common through to Chiswick Business Park has been abandoned because of whinging from people living off Gunnersbury Avenue. It remains to be seen if the fall back option of extending the 70 comes to fruition.

    Easy options would be to run the 27 through Chiswick Park to Ealing Broadway or to hook the 427 down from Acton Central to Turnham Green or Gunnersbury. As these are high frequency routes it would not be cheap but if it saves a whole load of palaver with tube reconfiguration it might be the right thing to do.

  355. Taz says:

    @ Castlebar 27 January 2014 at 20:24 How can Chiswick Park get moved to the Richmond branch?? Is that really a feasible, ‘doable’ proposition??
    I think that was well covered in the first week of this debate – see above.

  356. Castlebar says:

    O K Taz

    I’ve taken a much closer look at this with ‘google earth’ etc, and I concede that perhaps the platforms could be relocated across the roundabout to serve the Richmond branch after all. At first, I didn’t think it would be doable, but now I realise it probably is.

  357. Taz says:

    @ Taz 25 January 2014 at 00:37 “an aspiration for the train to have sufficiently powerful batteries to get the train into a station if traction current is lost”
    Would only need to creep forward, so need only mild success in the current trial of full battery powered trains at Old Dalby.

    ‘Aventra will be an electric train, but how would it serve stations set off the electrified network? Would a diesel version be needed as well? So plans were made for an Aventra that could run away from the wires, using batteries or other forms of energy storage. “We call it an independently powered EMU, but it’s effectively an EMU that you could put the pantograph down and it will run on the energy storage to a point say 50 miles away. There it can recharge by putting the pantograph back up briefly in a terminus before it comes back.” This technology will be tested and developed this year in conjunction with Network Rail, using a Class 379 in East Anglia for trial purposes.’ see

  358. Long Branch Mike says:

    JR East’s first battery emu to enter service in March

    “THE first battery emu for JR East, which was delivered in January, will enter service in March enabling through operation on the partly-electrified line between Utsunomiya and Karasuyama.”

    I await with charged (ahem) breath, but hopefully I will not become incapacitated…

  359. Taz says:

    “an aspiration for the train to have sufficiently powerful batteries to get the train into a station if traction current is lost”
    This will help speed passenger evacuation in such events. It will also help when occassional trains become gapped, standing over complex track layouts without a pick-up shoe on a current-rail. So will it also allow the simplification of current-rail layouts at such locations, which will save money and make for safer track work. And could most current rails be removed from depots for the same reason?

  360. Taz says:

    Comment 17 January 2014 above gives latest proposed line upgrade years. Given the time to develop a new type of tube train, and then a programme to introduce those based on line priorities, it appears that current Piccadilly Line trains must last until around fifty years old and Bakerloo Line trains until near their sixtieth year. Is it realistic to expect to maintain current services with the current fleets for all that time, whilst demand continues to grow? The recent experience with the Metropolitan Line fleet mainly serving around fifty years was not typical. The line is the least demanding of its trains with long stretches of country between many of its stations. There was also a large spare train holding for much of its life, and only half-length trains operated outside the peaks for the first half of its life.

    The Piccadilly Line trains have performed well, and that line has lots of outer-London stretches with well-spread stations, so perhaps they can be expected to continue for another ten years. But the Bakerloo Line trains have to continue for around another twenty years with intense in-town use on a twisting route with a small spare trains holding. The recent depot collision resulted in a revised timetable to save one train, so how will they cope with diminishing performance and increasing maintenance requirements for another twenty years? No fleet has ever survived for such a time; maybe only a few trains on light duties. One can only hope that they have retained a large spare parts holding from the recently withdrawn Victoria Line trains, which were of similar design.

  361. Castlebar 1 says:

    ……….and the BBC have announced that the £53 Million is going to be pumped 100% into the defence budget and nothing will go to Transport

  362. Chris L says:

    TfL website shows that they are seeking interest from potential manufacturers for new Tubes for London

    100 trains for the Piccadilly line
    100 trains for the Central line
    40 trains for the Bakerloo line
    10 trains for the Waterloo & City line

    Invitation to tender early next year.

  363. Graham H says:

    10 for the Drain is a very interesting number – to replace 20 cars?

  364. Anonymous says:

    RE: W&C: But why not call it 2.5 trains then (relative to the rest of the order)? It’s either a mistake or incredibly ambitious..

    I can just about imagine an eight train (peak) W&C in a full auto future – with a hot spare and one in maintenance making up the ten perhaps – but ten in service would surely be too many. If it suspends – and when the Drain goes wrong, it goes wrong very quickly – you could have every platform full and three trains stuck in tunnel each way, that’d be unpleasant…Plus the stabling nightmare: For ten trains you’d need to restore 4 road and electrify 8 road, and you’d still be outstabling in every platform every night!

    I can’t see 10 working even with UTO, PED’s and a safe means of evac (overhead traction?) …but I also can’t see how they could type 10 and mean 5??

  365. Greg Tingey says:

    Wasn’t there something somewhere in all this ..
    Suggesting that the track/depot layout @ Waterloo was also going to be remodelled?
    As in Anon’s …you’d need to restore 4 road and electrify 8 road,… etc?
    Would that, perhaps make sense?

  366. KiburnKid says:

    out of curiosity how many train sets run on the Bakerloo now? Likewise with Piccadilly and Central.

  367. Timmy! says:

    KilburnKid @ 4 March 2014 at 17:12 – I wondered the same as 40 seems too few but TfL website says 32 are required to be available for the current Bakerloo service (so no extensions planned. Maybe). That seems quite low in comparison to other lines until you check the line lengths…

    The Piccadilly line currently needs 79 trains for the peak service, the Central line has 85 trains and the W&C 5 trains.

  368. KiburnKid says:

    what’s interesting is that the Bakerloo runs at peek 24tph to QP in addition to 6tph to H&W today but future plans have the Bakerloo running at 27tph.

  369. Taz says:

    “There would be a further review of the proposed timing of the Waterloo and City line upgrade to see if doing it ahead of the Piccadilly line upgrade would decrease the overall risks in the programme. It was agreed that the train procurement exercise would include provision for an evolutionary as well as a revolutionary design.” TfL Finance and Policy Committee meeting on 23 January 2014

  370. Mark Townend says:

    @Kit Green, 15 April 2014 at 14:13

    To summarise this automated metro had screen doors at all underground platforms, but infra-red obstacle detection only at other stations. Trains are stopped often for false alarms from rubbish, even snow, so they hope for a 25% reduction in disruption by fitting the doors at all platforms, and that will give them capacity to increase services, presumably to meet growing demand.

  371. Anonymous says:

    When I lived in London, on the buses whenever a disabled person wanted to enter, a ramp would come out from beneath the door why won’t they do the same with the london trains rather than worry about a platform edge door

  372. stimarco says:


    Platform edge doors have nothing to do with wheelchair accessibility.

    Also, how would the train know there was a wheelchair user, and which door they wanted to get on at? Or are you seriously suggesting fitting such ramps to every single set of doors on a train? Each coach can have as many as six on a Tube train, or four on a mainline service!

    Remember, buses only have one such ramp fitted, usually to the centre doors. And buses only have doors on one side of the vehicle. Even so, those ramps do add a potential point of failure: if it gets jammed in its extended state, the bus can’t move. A Dartford train would have something like 48 such ramps! The probability of one of them failing on a particular trip therefore increases hugely.

    Wheelchair users can ask for a ramp to be positioned for them by a member of staff at the station itself.

  373. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Anonyous 08:17

    Just to clarify.

    On the Underground, whether or not you are in a wheelchair will make no difference or next to no difference in future at most stations. The aim will be for gap-free level access for all. As stated in the article, retractable spacers will overcome any gaps due to curved platforms. The title of the article should give a major clue as to what the situation in future will be and the picture heading it should make it clear there will normally be no gap.

    The floor of the train will be level with the platform and normally the gap will be minuscule. This already happens now with S stock and on deep tube stations with a temporary “hump”. The hump is temporary as it will be removed when new lower stock is delivered.

    In the case of the very few London Underground platforms in the suburbs needing to handle two sizes of stock and the situation on National Rail refer to stimarco’s reply.

  374. ChrisMitch says:

    Is the platform hump temporary even on the Victoria line, which has brand new trains? I have often wondered why they raised just part of the platform, instead of raising the whole platform.

  375. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Well temporary for the next forty years or so. If you raise the whole platform it is expensive and you start to get issues with passages etc. And one thing already learnt from the New Tube for London is you need to get the train floor lower to provide some space in the roof for equipment. Also if you can get the wheels smaller you can save weight. This needn’t be at the expense of ride quality as they are so much better at aligning the rails perfectly and keeping them that way (by means of rail grinding etc.) At least that is how I understand it.

  376. Graham Feakins says:

    @ PoP – Smaller-radius wheels can present their own problems with unexpected distortions and stresses, resulting in greater maintenance. Moreover, the long-accepted practise is to minimise (‘permanent’) rail wear, so that the wheels are designed to accept wear instead. Rail grinding and welding-up is accepted as an unnecessary evil but it is far preferred to re-profile wheel sets. For example, the wheels for the Thameslink Siemens Desiro Class 700 will have a 6cm diameter difference between new and worn!

    Transfer your comment to tramways and you will see that to deal with the wheels is far preferable to relaying street track; indeed, it is a surprise to some (clearly becoming “the few” as time passes) to see Sheffield and others relaying its tram tracks which ought to have been designed for some 40+ years of life. The science of rail/wheel interface has clearly a long way to go (rather, remember!).

    Also, the Thameslink core station platforms will have humps near the middle of each platform to accommodate wheelchair access for the 8 & 12-car sets in the centre of each train (requiring different stopping points). I doubt that will be so temporary, either.

    “Also if you can get the wheels smaller you can save weight. This needn’t be at the expense of ride quality…” – Well, I haven’t noticed that much yet with low-floor trams, which can give the impression on running on stone setts, especially at crossings. Then look at the comments in ‘Modern Railways’ on the far superior ride quality of the IC125 stock as compared with any other running today; Chiltern have splendidly realised that as the most recent example.

  377. Graham,

    As ngh would say, oh the danger of giving the short answer. Basically no disagreement with you although you are rather lumping different causes and effects into the same pot.

    You seem to be working on the premise that the wear should be on the wheel and not on the track. I get the impression that the modern philosophy is that the wear should be minimised by getting track and wheel near perfect so that neither wears unevenly and you get a smooth ride as a bonus.

    What I should have said instead of “rail-grinding etc.” is that rails are generally laid to a far higher standard and accuracy than ever before. On existing track one might have to resort to rail grinding to achieve this retrospectively. This now happens on the Underground when previously they would have probably just left the not-perfect track in place.

    You can quote different rolling stocks and their comfort level but you can also look at it from the other perspective and look at different track. I am not at all convinced that the superior ride of Chiltern railways is down to their rolling stock given that much of the railway has been recently relaid on both the main line and the Met where it runs over LU tracks. I will concede the 168s were far better than A stock over the same track but then the S stock (with smaller wheels) also seems far better than the A stock and just as good as the 168s. It might also be pertinent to consider where IC125s with their fabulous ride quality tend to run these days. It is primarily on a line once referred to as Brunel’s billiard table.

    To take two examples, just days after Tanners Hill Flydown was laid and brought into use the ride on the “down” (London Bridge – Lewisham) route through that awkward set of tracks was incredibly smooth with no wheel squeal and only the tiniest amount on the up. And around Borough Market Junction the ride is so much better than it has ever been historically. Apart from improved comfort there is again very little wheel squeal whereas the area used to be notorious for it.

    On Crossrail they plan to lay the tracks to a very high standard of accuracy and keep it that way. The will have on train monitoring to detect any imperfection however slight and will have the equipment to rectify it whilst the problem is only small. I believe the same thing is or will be starting to happen on the WCML with the monitoring equipment put on a few Pendolino tracks.

    Another thing they are starting to do is to really sort out imperfections in the permanent way properly by getting the foundations right. Hence nine days to relay Stoats Nest Junction because the had to sort out properly the historically poor quality of the underlying ground rather then just replace the junction like for like and keep adjusting the alignment when, inevitably, it is compromised.

    I see the problem of trams quite differently. With a modern railway one can mechanically carry out micro-fine adjustments to a track that is probably was as near-as-possible optimally laid. Tram track generally has to follow the road and there is generally absolutely no opportunity for cant. So you are onto a loser from the start with the lateral forces on the track probably actually being far greater than on a high speed railway. Worst of all, if these deficiencies are known about there is generally absolutely nothing one can do without causing considerable disruption.

    Here we get to the classic problem of Tramlink, well known to you. For the purposes of our discussion this is basically an off-street railway with a relatively small amount of street running in Croydon Town Centre. Now does one maintain this like a tramway and end up having to replace the wheels all the time or does one maintain it like a railway and keep the bulk of the track in good order and take the hit of any problems in the town centre bearing in mind this can be (and is) mitigated against by using manganese rails?

  378. Graham Feakins says:

    @ PoP – Your final paragraph on Tramlink – Well, they didn’t install a massively-expensive wheel lathe at the depot for no reason (some £4m+ from memory). The only reason they have had to replace worn rail and lay manganese rail at some curves is because the original curvature and alignment was, how shall I say, laid with little experience in the first place. In any case, one ought not to rely on manganese steel for tram rail because the track brakes are ineffective over it and hence the warning signs to drivers approaching such. I think your comment bears that in mind but it ought not have been needed.

  379. Graham H says:

    @Graham F – one of my tramway engineering colleagues commented at the time that the track had been so poorly laid that it could not resist the braking forces and had begun to creep down Shirley Road

  380. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham Feakins,

    The lateral forces on tram tracks with tight corners are enormous and the civil engineering has to take account of that. They get away with it on the DLR because they put enormous cant (tilt) into the track that is simply not possible in a tram track laid in the road. I have certainly heard from many sources (not just you) that we have lost the art/science/engineering of laying tram tracks in the road* and a lot of existing tram systems in the UK suffer from this which does not bode well when advocating more tram systems. We do it expensively and don’t do it right.

    However, none of this as far as I can tell, has anything to do with the size of the wheels. I hesitate to disagree with you on a point concerning trams but I suspect the superior ride quality of the Bombardier trams compared to the Stadler ones is down to the suspension on the former (partially high floor) compared to the latter (low floor and obviously very short of space down below) and not the wheel size which would only have a marginal impact.

    *This doesn’t however explain why they had to rip up and relay a lot of the track laid in Norwood Country Park within a year or two of opening.

  381. stimarco says:

    @Pedantic of Purley:

    Tramlink’s construction was done very much on the cheap. They realised how cheap when, after the track through Norwood Park (and elsewhere) began to degrade rapidly, they pulled it up and realised that they’d just dumped some ballast onto the untouched ground and laid the tracks on top. No attempt had been made to sort out proper drainage or stabilise the ground. Which is a very bad idea given the ground conditions.

    These sections had to be rebuilt properly (at considerable expense) only a couple of years after the system opened.

  382. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Graham H – I wonder whether your colleague is the same senior LU chap who used to turn up every week in a Croydon pub tearing his hair out because even the original track on the New Addington route was laid so far ‘out’ that the LU tamping machine, which they hired, required usually more than a dozen ‘passes’ to get the track anywhere near right, whereas on LU, some one or two ‘passes’ were all that were needed on relaid track. Great guy.

    @ PoP – Regret that I have to disagree. Lateral forces on sharp curves are not usually enormous because of the comparatively slow speed and light weight of the tram. Yours is precisely the misconception held by heavy rail engineers, as opposed to their tram track colleagues (on the Continent). What those over here often fail to get right, however, is the tram rail profile (grooved) designed for such purpose because there is a common blindness these days as to the purpose of the check rail, only slowly being overcome. So bad has been that misconception that the check rail is often (and wrongly) described as the “keep”, viz. to keep the asphalt out of the tram track groove, rather than to act as a check rail, with deliberate flange-back running of tram wheels on it through curves. It is thus essential to get the grooved-rail profile and tyre profile right.

    From that it flows (I hope, to keep this brief!) that smaller-diameter wheels present a greater problem and only recently an engineer in the field told me that he foresees a constant problem with 100% low-floor trams because of that, which he doubts will ever be solved.

    Your approval in a previous comment of e.g. the smoothness at Tanners Hill made me smile because, again, such could be witnessed back in the 1960’s in Switzerland and Germany. Now it’s there, it has to be well-maintained or we’ll be back where we were.

    Back, on the Piccadilly even, wasn’t there a (failed) experiment with small-diameter wheels in the 1970’s?

  383. @Graham Feakins,

    I openly confess as to not being aware of the check rail. Maybe that is because I cannot recall ever having seen one on Croydon Tramlink. That is unless it is built into the metal groove that is the rails – in which case surely it merely transfers the problem to another part of the rail? A check rail that is replaceable without having to dig up the track would make a lot of sense to me. I can understand that if there was one it would make a considerable difference.

    And yes the speeds are much slower (and I presume that such forces are proportional to the square of the speed – they normally are) but in contrast the passenger loading can be very high. None of this five standing passengers maximum stuff. The bends can be very sharp (and uncanted). You also tend to have a much higher frequency than the average location on a railway.

    I have to show my ignorance of basic mechanics but I still don’t understand why the size of the wheel itself should be of more than marginal significance. I can totally understand how an unsprung or under-sprung low floor tram can cause a problem but not because it has small wheels.

  384. Graham H says:

    @Graham F – my colleague (from Scott Wilson days) was Martin — (and here, I confess to not remembering his Irish surname – hope he will forgive me if reading this). I’m not sure what his background was, so it’s entirely possible he had passed through Tramlink (and LU) – in fact, to judge from his anecdotes, he must surely have done so.

  385. Fandroid says:

    Concerning smooth track. I once stayed in a small hotel on the Italian Riveria in the early 1990s, right next to the main coast line south of Genoa. I was amazed to see full freight trains go by in apparent total silence. I then realised that perhaps the Italians had mastered the art of tracklaying and that my normal experiences in the UK reflected a much lower standard.

  386. timbeau says:

    Small wheels – I would guess the issue is to do with contact areas – the smaller the wheel, the greater its curvature at the perimeter, and thus the smaller the contact patch (or the greater the distortion), resulting in greater forces at the wheel/rail interface. The wheels also have to rotate faster, which must have an effect on the bearings.

    Surely the point of any check rail is to prevent excessive side to side movement (hunting) of the wheels, and this is more important on a tramline both because it is often not possible to cant the track at the optimum angle, and also because even a very limited side to side movement will cause the wheels to come into contact with the asphalt, paving, or whatever is the road surface between the rails, with the danger that the hard flanges will bite into the relatively softer material. A greater degree of hunting is acceptable on plain track, which can be limited by the flanges bearing against the inner face of the running rails, so check rails are only used at critical locations like pointwork or exposed viaducts where crosswinds could be a problem.

  387. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Graham H – Yes, Martin. I have his LUL card somewhere. It was an Irish pub he frequented at West Croydon, so that fits, too!

  388. Graham Feakins says:

    @ PoP – The answer is complex and made worse for some because most was written pre-web days or is in a foreign language; however, to keep things simple, all grooved track in paved areas of Croydon automatically comprises the check rail, opposite the running rail. The whole is sometimes referred to as girder rail. The intention is to overcome as best as possible the inevitable lack of cant. Whether or not the check rail in e.g. Croydon was ever designed to work as a check rail is another matter but it should have been. It certainly did, I guess unintentionally – and wore down tremendously on the 1st Tramlink generation grooved rail, as indeed did its opposite running rail head, e.g. through the curves crossing London Road into Station Road at West Croydon.

    In such a way, the wearing effect is shared between check and wheel flange back but normally guiding the wheels smoothly through a curve. There’s no hunting (or shouldn’t be, as timbeau envisages – unless you try out Manchester Metrolink!). Check rail wear on curves can easily be flash-welded up again to the correct profile, rather than replace the whole rail.

    Of course, simple but reliable rail foundations for street track are essential (using ‘track ties’), otherwise one can find the rail ‘rolling’ out of gauge on curves. That’s been known over here, too. Been between Harrington Road and Birkbeck recently on Tramlink?

    None of this perhaps directly helps to answer your small-diameter wheel enthusiasm but just bear in mind that the same bit of wheel/flange has to contact the rail that many times more over a given distance. Given the Thameslink Class 700 example I quoted on 21 April (the wheels for the Thameslink Siemens Desiro Class 700 will have a 6cm diameter difference between new and worn!), there’s even a limit anyway to how small a diameter can be achieved – and to what purpose? Because of the additional wear, some 12 instead of 6cm of wear might need to be factored in. If traditional tube stock can cope with wheels running under folks’ bums on seats (and significant space has to be made on battery buses for the batteries), then we are probably just about ‘alright’ as we are, aren’t we?

  389. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Graham Feakins,

    Well that is starting to make sense. One wonders how much damage to the tram cause has been done by the failure to have a showpiece modern system that worked properly from day one and continues to do so.

    I don’t have a small diameter wheel obsession as such but compromises sometimes have to be made. A wheel should be as large as possible until you get to the point where it seriously compromises something else that is important which (going back to the Piccadilly Line and New Tube for London – at last!) is the need for level access.

    There is also the fact that wheels are heavy and if smaller are potentially lighter and energy saving which (in the context of the Piccadilly Line and getting rid of heat) is also a factor which leads to compromises being made.

  390. timbeau says:

    Talking of getting rid of heat – a small wheel also implies a small brakes disc, or less contact area for tread brakes. It also means a low axle which, although making more room “upstairs” limits the size of traction motor (or gearbox if the motor is not axle-mounted)

  391. Graham Feakins says:

    @PoP – Well, here’s hoping that the doors for level access aren’t above or close to the wheels. I think ‘”smaller” in terms of weight saving will have to come from aspects like features known as wheel spokes. Whatever, the wheel tyres will have to be fit for purpose as well as the rest.

    As I’m sure you know, some have been banging heads against bits of tramway infrastructure to get the likes of your message across for some generations now. It takes a lot of energy and one can just about see the light – and then there’s another c-up. Worse, it only takes a tiny, defective aspect of the whole for the antis to magnify the problem to give the concept a bad name throughout the land.

  392. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Talking of getting rid of heat – a small wheel also implies a small brakes disc, or less contact area for tread brakes.

    But not very relevant if regenerative braking is used.

  393. timbeau says:

    All braking systems require an energy sink – a generator if we are using re-gen braking (Yes, I know the generator is also the traction motor). And unless we have all-wheel drive, the unpowered wheels will also need brakes of some kind.

  394. Moosealot says:

    @PoP and others: Little wheels

    Regenerative braking is never 100% efficient. The amount of heat generated will be less than in a pure friction brake environment but it will still be there. The size of the wheels/brakes is irrelevant: a train of given weight at a given speed will have a certain amount of kinetic energy (1/2 mv^2) which will need to be dissipated for it to stop, no matter what the wheel/brake size is. I would expect disc brakes of any size to be able to ‘beat’ the adhesion of wheel to rail so smaller brakes would be unlikely to lead to reduced emergency brake performance.

    Large wheels deal better with bumps than smaller ones. Imagine a profile such as a kerb which has a flat/smooth approach and then a sudden rise which then continues in a flat/smooth fashion. The bump experienced by passengers begins when the leading edge of the wheel hits the top of the kerb [point A] and ends when the axle is directly above the top of the kerb [point B]. The larger the wheel’s radius, the further back from the bump the axle is at point A, thus the impulse of the bump is spread over a longer time and is less violent. In extremis consider a shopping trolley attempting to mount a kerb vs. a bicycle.

  395. straphan says:

    @Graham Feakins: But isn’t the issue with 100% LF trams really about them not having bogies? Arrangements, where the wheelsets are (a) attached ‘firmly’ to the segment of the tram and (b) where segments with wheelsets are then attached to segments without wheels (ze Germans call these ‘Multigelenk’) are the worst offenders in terms of ripping up the track primarily because the force these exert on the track in curves (where the track – and the inside edge of the rail in particular – ‘guides’ the vehicle through the curve) is much higher than with conventional bogie trams.

  396. straphan says:

    Going back to the issue of automation, platform-edge doors, and what not: RATP Paris have just announced that the M14 (automatic, driverless, unattended, with PEDs) is to increase its frequency to 85 seconds in the peaks. This means about 42.3 tph!

    Is there any railway in the world with a more frequent timetable?


    Ian Visits – More moves towards driverless trains on the Underground

    “A document has been published by the RMT claiming to have been sent to managers outlining plans to move towards driverless trains. The document does not say anything that is new, but does flesh out some of the details…”

  398. Greg Tingey says:

    PED’s on the old Piccadilly line sub-surface stations is going to be interesting & possibly claustrophobic, especially given that some of them are anything but straight, in any plane.
    I’m assuming PED’s only on actual under-ground UndergrounD stations, if you see what I mean?

  399. @Greg,

    I understood that it was intended to install PEDs on every single station platform except Rayners Lane – Uxbridge. Paris has them on some surface stations.

  400. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – you need to consider that PEDs may not actually be full height doors as we have on the JLE. Typical practice in Tokyo on older lines, including with curved platforms and structural pillars near the platform edge, is to have half height structures with sliding doors / gates controlling access to the trains. Singapore are also installed these on older, open air stations. A fair while ago LU was considering limited use of PEDs on the Picc Line at those deep level stations where trains could terminate (e.g. Heathrow and Wood Green) to allow better control and facilitate auto turn round on the trains. Clearly, thinking about the upgrade and full automation has moved on somewhat since then.

    Although I don’t think PEDs are impossible on the tube and can see why LU are thinking about them they do introduce several layers of complexity and performance risk. They need to be rigorously maintained as do the interfaces between them and the train and signalling kit. Obviously they do help reduce other risks like suicides and most “stuck in the doors” incidents.

  401. Anonymous says:

    The BR line near where I live is operated by two types of train: Class 455 (built by BREL in 1985) & Class 450 (built by Siemens in 2003). On the Class 455s the trains wait for approximately 35 seconds at a station; 5 seconds train stopped with doors closed, 20 seconds doors unlocked passengers boarding/alighting, 5 seconds doors closing & 5 seconds train stopped with doors closed; on the Class 450s, the trains wait for approximately 10 seconds longer because it takes 10 seconds to open & close the doors instead of 5 (probably because they are plug doors). The D Stock train doors take only one second to open/close. Trains in France don’t wait for a few seconds: the doors open straightaway. The 9 Stock on the Victoria Line has an alarm before the doors open. On the New York Subway, the doors closing alarm is similar to the doors opening alarm on the D Stocks; this is confusing. I’ve strayed off topic haven’t I. My question is this:
    Why do British trains have to wait for about 5 seconds before opening the doors?

  402. timbeau says:

    @Anon 0448
    I understand the delay is the time the guard takes to check it is safe to open the doors – in particular that the train is stopped at the right point on the platform. On DOO trains this delay doesn’t happen because the driver knows where he stopped the train.

  403. Abramacho says:

    Rather than have the Piccadilly line travel to Ealing Broadway have the west Ruislip central line trains do it instead and on the west Ruislip branch have the district line trains travel from the east via old oak common. This will solve the problem described in this article, link Ruislip, Greenford and Park Royal with OOC and link OOC with Victoria via the WLL

  404. timbeau says:

    Not sure what you’re suggesting – are you suggesting all Central Line trains go to ealing Broadway and the district somehow take over the West Ruislip branch? Not sure how that would connect to Old Oak, unless you are planning on a long diversion from Turnham Green via Acton Central and some very tight bends to reach North Acton. A connection between Piccadilly and Central near Park Royal would miss Old Oak.

    Also not sure how Acton Town to Ealing Broadway would be served.

  405. Abramacho says:

    District line trains would reach west Ruislip by extending the Olympia branch to OOC through the west London line and then go up to west Ruislip.

  406. TeyTey says:

    @Abramacho you have to rebuild Olympia and Shepherd’s Bush to get the District pass them due to capacity on the WLL.

  407. Abramacho says:

    I propose a simpler solution to the problem actually. Have the Piccadilly line to Uxbrige be transferred to the district line and transfer either all the Wimbledon line trains or Richmond line trains to the Uxbridge branch of the district line. Or transfer the Ealing Broadway trains to the Uxbrige branch. The spare Piccadilly line trains should then go on to Southall via Ealing Hospital on that spare stretch of track.

  408. Castlebar, - ओ३म् - in a crayon free zone says:

    @ Abramacho

    I strongly suspect that you have no local knowledge.

    “The spare Piccadilly line trains should then go on to Southall via Ealing Hospital on that spare stretch of track.” What spare stretch of track are you referring to? (No need to answer)

    [Indeed, Abramacho has been made aware of the necessity to back up any suggestions with fact. Further such comments not based in fact will be removed without warning. LBM]

  409. Abramacho says:

    @Castlebar, look on the map there is that track which travels South East from Southall Station north and East of Osterly sports club and west of the Brent River Park and Elthorne Park Extension before crossing the M4 and then the Piccadilly line before ending just north of the Great West Road, otherwise known as the A4

  410. Graham H says:

    @Abramacho – this grand plan seems to leave Wimbledon without trains?

    I think the branch line you are referring to is the freight only Brentford branch – still required for the waste transfer traffic apparently. BTW if this is indeedthe line you meant, it is single track, and joining the Piccadilly to it would miss the major – only -traffic objective (as you yourself note, the northern half ofthe Brentford branch still runs through countryside, albeit managed countryside. ) There is a reason why it lost its passenger service before the war…

  411. Castlebar, - ओ३म् - in a crayon free zone says:

    @ Abramarcho

    I have no need to look at any local map. I lived there for very many years and probably walked over every inch of that area.

    That is why every proposal I haven’t made for that area, hasn’t been made for very good reason.

  412. Abramacho says:

    @ Graham H – with regards to the goods line, Assuming you are right ,we could just instead have the Uxbridge branch Piccadilly line trains be transferred onto the Heathrow Branch. As for the Wimbledon branch, I only meant removing the Wimbleminster services not the Wimbleware ones. So to solve the Ealing Common and Rayners Laine problems with the district line, I would transfer all the Wimbleminster services onto the Uxbridge branch, replacing the Piccadilly line trains there.

  413. Castlebar, - ओ३म् - in a crayon free zone says:

    @ Abamacho

    Please don’t assume Graham H is right. He is. He also lived near there too. We really do know that your proposal deserves no oxygen. Sorry if this is not what you want to read, but your “suggestion” crosses the threshold from “impossible” to “preposterous”

  414. Graham H says:

    @Abramacho – worse and worse – you think the good burghers of Wimbledon will like losing their service to Town? BTW the place you have in mind for the District is Rayners Lane (Mr Rayner was a shepherd there about 1900 apparently).

    [I am cutting off further comments from Abramacho. LBM]
    [I was just about to state that this clearly is not worthy of discussion and any future comments from Abramacho would be deleted. I see LBM got there first. PoP]

  415. Fandroid says:

    Mighty moderators to the rescue. A dangerous crayon outbreak was reported in the Brentford area, rapidly spreading to affect much of London from Uxbridge and Wimbledon to Upminster. Castlebar and Graham H almost succumbed in their gallant attempts to fight the outbreak, but LBM slashed in with his scissors in the nick of time (closely backed up in a fine exhibition of teamwork by PoP.)

    [All in a day’s work. Thanks for the support. LBM]

  416. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – we aim to please (well, sometimes!).

    BTW I must apologise generally to other users of the forum if my comments have been somewhat costive today – the housemaid’s knee has been especially bad (just can’t get the staff…)

  417. Castlebar, - ओ३म् - in a crayon free zone says:

    @ G H

    Well give the housemaid’s knee (and any of her other parts as necessary), a good rub down with “The Sporting Life”, and she might be fit enough for a full day’s work again tomorrow.

  418. Alison says:

    There are clearly fundamental problems with the Acton Town junction with east bound and west bound trains stopping almost every time before getting into Acton Town.

    The suggestion of moving Ealing Broadway to the Piccadilly Line would add further problems as the Heathrow branch cannot currently cope with demand.

    As there is only one track each way between Acton Town and Ealing Common, the only credible solution is for this track to be District Line only (serving Ealing Broadway and Rayners Lane).

  419. Anonymous says:

    Surely Crossrail will help relieve the Heathrow branch?

    Add to it that the new trains will have more capacity inside them, and the frequency ought to increase in the core with new signalling and trains, and serving Ealing Broadway looks a bit less weird.

  420. Anonymous says:

    PS – the arguments you make about problems on the Heathrow branch with serving Ealing Broadway with the Piccadilly can easily be remade about the District line.

    “The suggestion of moving Ealing Broadway to the Piccadilly Line would add further problems as the Heathrow branch cannot currently cope with demand.”

    can be changed to:
    The suggestion of moving Rayners Lane to the District Line would add further problems as the Wimbledon branch cannot currently cope with demand.

  421. Alison says:

    Anonymous – your point about the Wimbledon to Edgeware Road line highlights a common problem of track sharing and divided lines creating bottlenecks.

    The recent controversial extension of the circle line to Hammersmith (creating further track sharing problems) would have been avoided if the circle line was extended to Wimbledon and this branch removed from the District Line.

    Creating a station on the Picadilly line junction with the London Overground line (between the existing Acton Town and Chiswick Park stations) would allow the District line to Richmond be removed.

  422. timbeau says:

    “Creating a station on the Piccadilly line junction with the London Overground line (between the existing Acton Town and Chiswick Park stations) would allow the District line to Richmond be removed.”

    Not unless you increase both the frequency and the length of the Overground trains going to Richmond to cope with the crowds – those District Line trains to Richmond are BUSY.

    Removing the only Tube service in the borough of Richmond is not going to make you any friends in politics either.

  423. Dr Richards Beeching says:

    @ Alison

    Mr timbeau is correct.

    Cutting Richmond off from the District Line would be suicidal, career ending, and possibly inviting death threats. It might be an “idea” in theory, by in actuality could not and will not happen.

    The letters pages (note the plural) of the Richmond & Twickenham Times are already full to bursting every week “without provoking them further”. If I were the person in authority who made such a decision, sitting on a wasps nest might be preferable.

  424. Anonymous says:


    As the original Anonymous, I wasn’t talking about the Edgware Road – Wimbledon route, just the Wimbledon branch south of Earls Court. It has high demand, like Heathrow, but you argue for removing branches on the Piccadilly to feed the Heathrow branch, while adding them to the District.

    Your T-Cup restructing stuff suffers from the same issues that timbeau has addressed wrt Richmond: creating a railway that looks good on paper, but ignores the passengers for whom the railway exists for. Not only would you have not increased the frequency between Hammersmith and Paddington, but you’d have decreased it on the busy bit between Earls Court and Wimbledon!

  425. Anonymous says:

    Actually, what people that live on the Picadilly line really need is a new chord linking us DIRECTLY to Ealing Broadway from all of the stations on the Rayners Lane branch. Then we could change at Ealing Broadway and take Crossrail into London, which would be much faster and more comfortable. Thinking that Crossrail will reduce demand between Ealing Common and Ealing Broadway is absurd. Even with that annoying, timewasting change it will still be the fastest way to get to Liverpool St, Canary Wharf or anywhere else in the City or East London.

    What has always been bad about the Picadilly line is that it crosses the Central Line, it crosses the mainline / future Crossrail Line and there is no interchange with either of them, so passengers are forced to endure a long tedious loop southwards and an extra 20 stops before they can change onto either one or get out and walk for 20 minutes to make the connection. So much money is spent on these big projects but how about providing connections between the lines that are already built? If a station was added near Hanger Lane and a chord was added to Ealing Broadway, that would halve journey times into London from here for a hundredth of the cost of building a new line.

  426. Mr Beckton says:

    Old topic here, couple of comments.

    For those who like the thought of the “gap filling” extenders as in New York, they are a mechanical nightmare. As they are foul of the loading gauge when extended they have to be interlocked with the signalling, and are renowned for going wrong and sticking, when service to the platform has to be suspended until fixed. Dropped litter jammed in them (chewing gum is a classic) is one of many problems. They only work if there is an alternative track to divert trains to. Elimination of them was one of the drivers behind the big remodelling of Line 1 at South Ferry.

    There’s lots of description above of alternatives for Ealing Broadway or Chiswick Park, but nothing about Acton Town losing its District Line service altogether.

  427. 100andthirty says:

    Mr Beckton

    The NYC gap fillers are ancient and massive machines. You can be assured that nothing like this will appear in London. However gap fillers are necessary in some places reliable mechanisms with means to address the jamming risk are being developed.

    With the Piccadilly to Ealing Broadway proposal, the only District trains serving Acton/Ealing would be those to/from the depot.

  428. AlisonW says:

    If you want to mess around with the lines between Turnham Green and Ealing (choose one) then also bear in mind that the LO line doesn’t interconnect well either, meaning no easy link to get out to LHR (unless you like lots of lots of steps).

    ps. Ooh, another Alison!

  429. richard says:

    Has anybody suggested cutting the Acton to Rayners Lane Piccadilly line, so that Picadilly just to go to Heathrow.
    The district line does Ealing as now but also for Rayners Lane. Change at Rayners Lane to metropolitan to go to those parts of London or change at Acton Town for Piccadilly to central London, (or from) ie now but on District? Not sure of what lines from Ealing to Rayners Lane might be possible in short time spans.

  430. Anon E. Mouse says:

    Trust me, that idea is nothing new. The main problem with it is that there isn’t enough capacity on the District line to handle both the Ealing Broadway and Rayners Lane branches, the reason for that being the bottleneck at Earl’s Court (you can only send so many trains through there).

  431. Greg Tingey says:

    Rayner’s Lane (Or Uxbridge) to/from Acton Town regular shuttle, every 5 minutes – i.e. 12 tph ???

  432. Timbeau says:

    It would probably require Ealing Broadway – Acton Town to be reduced to a shuttle. A pity the opportunity to continue to South Acton , improving connectivity between the Overground and Heathrow, is no longer possible!

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