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As a public project with Department for Transport ownership (albeit in this case jointly with TfL), Crossrail is subject to a number of elements of public project governance. One of the most interesting of these is regular reports, during the implementation phase, by the National Audit Office (NAO).

These reports are intended to provide some insight as to whether the project is being run effectively and as to whether costs are being controlled by the DfT. Indeed my colleague Pedantic probably described these reports best whilst looking at the last NAO report on Thameslink last year:

[The report] has the feel of a half-term report on the subject of Thameslink and the progress or otherwise being made by the pupil, young master DfT. As a half term report it will not count towards his final end of term assessment, but raises issues and weaknesses as well as the good points. Master DfT would be wise to address the issues which are raising concern if he wants a good report at the end of term.

It is to Crossrail, not Thameslink, that the NAO have now turned their critical eye and it is probably fair to say that, broadly speaking, this first report contains no real surprises. Were this truly a school report it is tempting to think that the verdict would be “B+ Good but can do better.” Overall, the conclusions are that Crossrail is on time, on budget and well governed.

That is not to say, however, that the report (which you can read in full here) doesn’t contain some suggestions and warnings. It also contains some interesting comments on financing – most notably in the level of contribution that the DfT are now expecting to receive from Heathrow Airport towards the project. Although this doesn’t affect the overall funding package it will be surprising if this is not the element (indeed perhaps the only element) that receives whatever coverage of the report appears in the mainstream media over the coming week – coverage of TfL’s concrete calamity allowing.

For those for whom the thought of a Friday reading Civil Service documents – no matter how well written – is an unpleasant one, we have extracted the key points from the NAO report below.

The Reading question

That Crossrail might be extended to Reading is a question that has remained the elephant in the room since practically the beginning of the project. The NAO report rather succinctly sums up some of the reasons why this question continues to be asked:

The Crossrail route currently terminates in the west at Maidenhead; the sponsors are considering whether it should run to Reading. The Department expects that this change would result in a slight reduction in the construction costs of the Crossrail programme, largely because some works at Slough and Maidenhead would no longer be required. The cost of electrifying the Great Western Main Line and of redeveloping Reading station is being paid for as a separate project. In addition to the relative costs and benefits of each option under consideration, the Department will need to consider the impact on the programme schedule

This is not a subject that we will look to cover here in detail, for the “Reading Question” deserves (and will shortly receive) a fuller write up of its own. As can be seen, however, the report confirms what has largely been an open secret – that extending to Reading remains, even at this point in the project, something under active consideration for TfL, the DfT and Network Rail.

Getting things going

Although Crossrail’s gestation period was a long one (the 1974 London Rail Study being generally regarded as the point where it all began), since the passing of the 2008 Crossrail Act the project has continued at a brisk pace. This is all the more impressive in a world where infrastructure projects can occasionally become as much about hitting “key milestones” as about delivering the work that those milestones represent. This is something that has not gone un-noticed by the NAO who suggest one reason why Crossrail has avoided the kind of milestone bloat that has occasionally infected other large-scale projects during their planning stages:

Either sponsor could withdraw from the programme and the programme could be cancelled up until the final review point, which concluded in April 2011. We believe that this stopped the review points from becoming a formality and meant that real progress had to be made.

Whilst there are no doubt a number of reasons for the rapidity of Crossrail’s advance – including a clear and overwhelming desire on the part of TfL to strike whilst the financial and political iron was hot – the NAO’s suggestion that the combination of two project owners, both with the ability to walk away, proved beneficial is certainly an interesting one.

Getting the governance right

According to the report, getting up and running was not the only time that the status of Crossrail as a joint project has proven beneficial. It also suggests that the presence of TfL – an organisation less prone to the significant senior management (and obviously political) turnover at the top that afflicts the DfT – has acted as a stabilising influence on the project at a senior level:

As with other Department for Transport programmes, the Department’s senior representatives overseeing the programme have changed frequently, reflecting the number of programmes that the Department is sponsoring and a scarcity of staff with the right skills and experience. The impact of this has been lessened, however, because a small number of departmental staff have worked in rotation on the Joint Sponsor Board. In addition, there has been continuity in Transport for London staff on the programme, and Crossrail Limited’s senior team has a strong track record.

If this is truly the case then it is something that is well worth bearing in mind for future large-scale infrastructure projects, both in London and beyond. Experiences with Thameslink and, increasingly, with HS2 would suggest that change continues to be a disruptive influence from a DfT perspective – one of which they are, in fairness, aware.

Show me the money

Something the NAO report does rather nicely is highlight where the money for Crossrail is actually coming from, and how well it is doing at meeting its financial targets.

crossrailfunding

Funding Crossrail. Note the expected Heathrow funding contribution in the DfT column.

Here again the news is largely positive – especially given the general tendency (or at least the expectation) that “mega-projects” such as Crossrail will overrun. In line with industry best-practice, Crossrail uses a probability-based approach 
to forecast final cost, and monitor risk. Using this approach, project costs are currently forecast to be at or below £14.51 billion, with a 95 per cent probability. That would bring Crossrail in under the available funding for infrastructure of £14.8 billion, something that in these more financially restrictive times bears bolding and bodes well for the chances of future potential infrastructure projects within the capital.

It is not, however, all entirely good news – at least for the DfT, who appear to have failed to extract as much of a contribution as hoped from Heathrow Airport Ltd (HAL).

Airport Tax

Heathrow’s potential contribution to the Crossrail project has always been a contentious one. The airport operator had originally argued that it should make no contribution at all. At first glance, this may seem a relatively indefensible position given that Crossrail will run to Heathrow. Other companies and institutions across London, it could be argued, were being asked to contribute far more (proportionally speaking) for far less in the way of direct benefit.

Look deeper, however, and Heathrow’s argument was not without merit. The clues to why can be found in the airport services that Crossrail will absorb – Heathrow Express. In recent years Heathrow have invested considerably in both this service and the infrastructure and corresponding future-proofing that it required – the vast majority of which Crossrail itself will take over and benefit from. Heathrow thus argued that a further contribution to the project was unfair as they had already contributed indirectly, a claim that wasn’t entirely false.

Nonetheless, in 2008 the DfT indicated that it expected Heathrow to contribute £230m to the Crossrail project, a figure it argued was based on the further economic benefits that Crossrail would bring to Heathrow. This contribution was subject to the approval of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Heathrow Airport’s regulator but, as the report explains, this proved to be a considerable over-estimation of what both HAL was prepared to pay and what the CAA would sanction:

HAL later determined that, with Heathrow operating at or near to capacity, Crossrail would bring no net benefit to the airport, but made a provisional allowance of £100 million in its final business plan. In summer 2013 the Department made a counterproposal of £137 million. In January 2014 the CAA determined that HAL should contribute £70 million.

This, then, appears to be the ultimate outcome. The DfT initially hoped for a £230m contribution from Heathrow, but this has proved to be decidedly optimistic. HAL’s final contribution will instead be £160m short of that.

Getting complex with accounting

In a time when every transport penny counts, this would appear at first glance to be a major problem and no doubt questions will be asked – Where will the money to make up that shortfall be found? Will the “tax-payer” be left to foot the bill?

The truth, however, is that this is less of a problem for Crossrail than it might seem. A clue as to why this is the case can be found in the NAO report’s description of the issue (bolding ours):

The Department currently expects that one-third of the private sector funding it negotiated for Crossrail infrastructure will not actually be received (Figure 9 overleaf). The Department negotiated agreements worth a total of £480 million, although it is not clear how the expected City of London Corporation contribution was calculated. These contributions are now likely to total £320 million, 67 per cent of the Department’s expectation. This leaves a potential shortfall of £160 million which the Department will need to meet, from funds it had already set aside for the purpose.

Building large infrastructure projects over a number of years (fourteen of them in Crossrail’s case) is always a risk and forecasting their final cost is an even riskier business. It is for this reason that Crossrail, like all projects of its size, included a considerable financial contingency – money beyond the “best guess” cost to ensure that should expenses increase – for whatever reason – that there was a reasonable chance that the project would not be significantly disrupted.

For the funding agency concerned this extra allocation is considered part of the budget – more importantly it is treated as money already spent once the project is committed, regardless of whether it is ultimately used or not. It is this that ensures that Crossrail will not be left with a financial shortfall as a result of the Heathrow decision, but also this that ensures that the DfT must not now find an additional £160m from somewhere else. For the DfT had already allocated £5.2bn to the project – enough to cover its direct contribution (£4.8bn) and the contributions from both Heathrow and the City of London. The reduction in the Heathrow contribution simply means that the Department (or rather the Treasury) will now ultimately receive less money back in the end. Disappointing, certainly, but as the opportunity to redistribute that money had never been planned for, nothing else (directly at least) will suffer as a result.

Maintaining the savings

One thing the change to the Heathrow contribution does highlight, however, is just how important it remains for Crossrail to stay on top of its project costs. Contingency is there for a reason, but its use should be avoided unless absolutely necessary and overrunning it completely is a bad thing indeed.

As was indicated above, and as the graph below rather nicely demonstrates, this is an area where so far Crossrail has performed rather well. Even taking the Heathrow shortfall into account its final costs are trending well below the £14.8bn total.

crossrailcosttrend

Crossrail’s forecast final costs

The NAO report rightly highlights, however, that Crossrail cannot afford to rest on its laurels. Generally speaking the cost of work carried out remains higher than its initially estimated cost, something that the NAO have indicated Crossrail need to bring under control.

actualcostcrossrail

The NAO’s estimated CPI for Crossrail

Meeting the Deadline

Finally, the NAO report highlights that Crossrail needs to remain vigilant about delivering both milestones and the overall project on time. Broadly speaking it believes that so far Crossrail has largely succeeded in doing so.

crossrailmilestones

Crossrail’s milestones

The report highlights, however, that initially tunnelling was delayed (although it is worth noting that it has progressed at a considerable pace since, with almost two thirds of Crossrail’s tunnels now complete). It also highlights that Crossrail is still failing to meet some of its targets, although it is improving.

crossrailprogresstargets

Crossrail’s progress against targets

Overall though Crossrail’s confidence in meeting the December 2018 target for the opening of the Central section remain high.

crossrailconfidence

Crossrail’s confidence in delivering on time

Future Challenges

The NAO do suggest though that a number of potential risks are worth watching – in particular the procurement of the rolling stock (which was delayed due to fallout from the Thameslink rolling stock tender) and finding the operator to take on the concession:

Crossrail will not be fully operational for another six years. Risks remain in a number of areas. For example:

awarding the contract to manufacture the trains, by April 2014. Failure to do so could result in delays to services starting and a reduction in benefits. This process has suffered delays as a result of the decision to change the method of funding, but the sponsors are focused on achieving this date;

operational planning is crucial to Crossrail’s success. Crossrail Limited’s plans for integrating the programme are well advanced relative to other rail projects we have recently reviewed, and there is a clear assurance process in place. A director of operations reporting to the chief executive was in place from 2006 to 2008 during the early development of Crossrail plans and operations staff have been in place throughout the programme. Crossrail Limited recruited the current operations director in early 2013, increasing the focus on this critical area in advance of the appointment of the operator; and

aligning Crossrail with other rail services – including Great Western, Anglian and South Eastern services. This work is led by the Joint Sponsor Team, working closely with the Department’s Crossrail and franchising teams.

Overall, however, Crossrail and (in particular the DfT) will likely be broadly happy with the report. Where it matters, it seems the NAO believe that Crossrail is solidly on target. What TfL and the DfT need to do now is focus on making sure the next report says the same.

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There are 330 comments on this article
  1. Ady says:

    In a way I can understand Heathrow’s point. When plans for Crossrail were made the expectation was that Heathrow would be getting a new runway. Now that project has been canceled they don’t need Crossrail, so why should their contribution remain the same.

  2. Sleep Deprived says:

    As far as Heathrow are concerned, they get much better links into Central London and a direct link with Canary Wharf, which are both very useful for the business market. Also most people expect a third runway at some point, I’m sure Heathrow do as well.

    Also, as happy as the DfT will be about the report, one would assume TfL are even happier. It’s a useful case study (assuming it continues to go well) of where the DfT could allow more devolution of transport projects.

  3. timbeau says:

    It would have been instructive to show Figure 8 with the boxes proportional to the figures: in particular revealing the overwhelming contribution from the business rate, which alone almost equals all the DfT-side sources of funding

  4. Greg Tingey says:

    AIUI there were at least two precursors to even the 1974 LRS for CR1.
    One was one of the “Deep-level express” tubes to parallel the Central Line, 1936-38 or 39, & another was a semi-serious suggestion by the LNER, floated by George Dow, at least in diagrammatic form ….

    The airport operator had originally argued that it should make no contribution at all. To which the obvious answer is that you can just do without a service, & stew in your own juices.
    It might actually have been a better outcome, with a major CR1 branch going up the ex-GCR/Met lines instead ….
    And still, the management at that ghastly hole refuse to acknowledge or support the idea that a decent rail link to their wasteland would actually benefir large numbers of their own (& associated) workforces, enabling them to get to work on a rapid public transport system, rather than by car. I think the word is: “Blinkered” ?

    I also note that extending to Reading might actually be cheaper than terminating @ Maidenhead. Is this a precedent for going to Gravesend / Hoo / (Strood?)
    Or will the “Kent/Bromley effect” cut in, so that the locals demand a better service, but then immediately reject any sensible offer(s) made?

  5. Fandroid says:

    “money already spent once the project is commissioned”

    Do you mean “committed” here? In my project management days, “commissioned” usually meant the process of getting the completed infrastructure to function as specified. Admittedly “commissioned” has several meanings, but in this context “committed” would be less ambiguous.

  6. Pedantic of Purley says:

    the NAO’s suggestion that the combination of two project owners, both with the ability to walk away, proved beneficial is certainly an interesting one.

    Of course it doesn’t always work like that. It was rumoured that the UK wanted to walk away from the Channel Tunnel commitment but felt unable to do so because of the international repercussions especially as they had done this before during the abortive previous tunnel which was cancelled after getting less than a mile under the Channel. Meanwhile it is supposed to have subsequently emerged that the French would have wanted to abandon it at an early stage too but dismissed the idea because it was a joint venture.

    See the Wiki entry on the Abilene paradox to appreciate how this works.

  7. Fandroid says:

    Given that the ‘voluntary’ private sector contributions are likely to amount to about 5% of the total (I exclude supplementary business rates) I hope that their influence on the project is limited to a proportionate amount!

    Do we think that HAL are writing off their investment (and recent upgrade) in Heathrow Express? Note that the latter came top in ‘customer satisfaction’ recently. Fairly easy I guess if you run a simple shuttle, and most of your customers are not travelling at their own expense!

  8. Walthamstow Writer says:

    While construction works can be risky I’d argue that the riskier elements of the project are yet to come. Getting everything fitted out and systems integrated and working to an acceptable performance level can be a big and risky undertaking. Getting the trains and signalling / control systems working is probably the most difficult aspect as I believe was acknowledged when the rephased project programme was announced. I hope that Crossrail have given themselves plenty of time so as to avoid the inevitable “pay us lots of money or else we go on strike” tactic from key trades when they see they can delay achievement of “immovable” public deadlines (see the Dome and JLE as past examples). It also remains to be seen how well Network Rail perform in delivering their obligations to time and cost especially as there is a lot of criticism of the limited station improvements.

    I am suprised about the Heathrow contribution and also the role of the CAA in its regulatory role. I note also that the City of London contribution is effectively financed by allowing the Corporation to retain £10m per annum of Business Rates.

    Is it not the case that Heathrow Express will *not* be absorbed by Crossrail? It is the Heathrow Connect service that Crossrail takes over and (I think) gains an extra 2 tph into the airport. I thought Heathrow Airport have retained rights to run HEX into the 2020s and who knows what they will do beyond that? I also recall reading a linked report (I think posted on LR comments in the past) that says that the fare premium is maintained so Crossrail will not vastly undercut HEX’s or Heathrow Connect’s fares. I have tried in vain to track down the report link but it was very interesting reading.

    Did the LR editor stay up all night to produce this article or did he receive an embargoed copy of the report? Impressive speed of production either way.

  9. Greg Tingey says:

    WW
    In reverse order.
    HeX’s “Premium” service gets up my nose, I’m afraid, particularly given the apparently-low passenger numbers ( By London standards, anyway )
    IMHO the sooner this lunacy is stopped & it becomes an Oyster-valid service, possibly with a £1 “premium” for that little link per journey, the better.
    I know nothing of the delays to the construction of the mumblebum doom ( Now known as the O2 arena? ) but, IIRC, one prime cause of “trouble” on the JLE was when fitters out @ London Bridge emerged to the surface, to find themselves well inside a “security” cordon, because there was a bomb-scare in progress & no-one had bothered to tell them – & what’s worse, they weren’t allowed out for some time.
    They were a little miffed at this, to say the least, & took what they deemed appropriate action.

  10. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Walthamstow Writer,

    Getting everything fitted out and systems integrated and working to an acceptable performance level can be a big and risky undertaking.

    A fact that is now well known. Terry Morgan, chairman Crossrail, has a fantastic slide showing all the complex systems that have to be integrated in Crossrail. It is why they have given themselves a year – basically all of 2018 – just to test the thing. My gut feeling is that UTO will assist a lot in repetitive testing during this phase although I haven’t heard it mentioned as such. And just to reiterate, there are no plans to run a live passenger-carrying Crossrail in UTO mode.

    Even the London Overground to Clapham Junction was “ready” six months earlier so they could test it with various scenarios but probably not “what happens when quick setting concrete gets into the equipment room”.

    Someone senior on Thameslink once said to me ( I paraphrase): Construction is easy. It is all more-or-less predictable using well-established methodologies. Integrating is harder because you are always working close to the limits of technology and yours is bound to be a different scenario not replicated anywhere else in the world. Getting the timetable right is really, really difficult.

  11. answer=42 says:

    @WW
    If I have understood correctly, the ownership of the Heathrow airport tunnels reverts to the state (hence presumably NR) around 2023. The agreement that underlies HEx terminates (I believe) at the same point. This does not, of course, preclude the continuation of the HEx service beyond that date.

    (To go slightly off point). What I find slightly shocking is that Heathrow Airport was not required to fund WRAtH or something of that nature as a condition for constructing Terminal 5. Alternatively, you could say that funding Crossrail itself should have been a condition for T5.

  12. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Did the LR editor stay up all night to produce this article or did he receive an embargoed copy of the report? Impressive speed of production either way.

    I am pretty sure a bit of both.

  13. John Bull says:

    You’re right Fandroid – I’ve changed it to “committed” to be less ambiguous.

    @WW my current understanding is that Crossrail will eventually absorb HEX in some way as well once those services expire. You’re right in that Connect goes earlier though.

    To be honest that section was slightly more verbose and explanatory about all that originally but I cut it back for the sake of brevity – maybe I should expand it again.

  14. JM says:

    Taking Greg’s comment a bit further, I’d rather Heathrow area had its own Zone 6A or something with premium fare (in my possibly over simplified way, the cash difference going to Heathrow) and every Heathrow service becomes a stopper. Speaking as a frequent flyer rather than any crayon drawer. Going to T5 from central London can be frustrating, the Picc is too slow, HEX too expensive although excellent when you actually do use it. As is Connect.

  15. Jeremy says:

    I hope that sanity prevails at the Western end of Crossrail. Specifically, that:

    - extending the service to Reading, not building facilities at Slough and Maidenhead, and purchasing the couple of extra trains required can happen. The simpler the eventual service pattern, and the fewer trains terminating at Paddington (from either the West or the East), the better.

    - Heathrow Express services do ultimately get rolled into Crossrail and run down the relief lines. I believe it would be a passenger benefit, as few journeys truly start/end with Paddington. The paths that would be freed up on the GWML fast lines would be valuable, allowing more fast services from Reading and beyond to reach Paddington’s platforms, which will be less crowded too.

  16. Graham H says:

    @Jeremy – so far as HEX is concerned, the prospective GWML bidders are already on the case, which will lead to some interesting internal struggles within DfT.

  17. Alan Griffiths says:

    John Bull @ 24 January 2014 at 10:48
    ” You’re right in that Connect goes earlier though.”

    My understanding of service dates (copied from the Crossrail website) is:
    1) 10 May 2015: Crossrail TOC takes over Shenfield service
    2) May 2018: Crossrail TOC takes over Heathrow Connect service
    3) December 2018: Abbey Wood to Paddington, without integration with any existing service
    4) May 2019: Shenfield to Paddington
    5) December 2019: full service
    The first two dates are linked to franchise changes, the later three to construction, train delivery and testing progress. To run Abbey Wood to Paddington in December 2018, they have to have enough of the new trains.

  18. Fandroid says:

    The problem with Oyster and the Heathrow premium is that the Piccadilly stations already exist there and are in zone 6. To make the premium work with Oyster, readers (and automatic gates ?) would have to be installed at the HEx stations and they would have to be in their own mini-zone 6a.

    The Piccadilly T 1,2&3 station has gates, but they are all of the wide variety. HEx’s own central terminal station has a long narrow-ish pedestrian approach tunnel and gates in that would probably have to be staggered. (Or are Crossrail trains that serve Heathrow going to have ticket inspectors as currently exist on Connect and HEx ? )

  19. Windsorian says:

    The Heathrow Express opened in March 2008; BAA have a 25 year agreement (until 2023) for the exclusive use of platforms 6&7 at Paddington and track access on the fast lines as far as Airport Junction.

    From Airport Junction the route is privately owned by BAA (now Heathrow); my understanding the (high) ticket charges are to allow BAA to recover their £1 Billion investment costs.
    http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/heathrow-express/

    Crossrail is due to take over the present 2tph Heathrow Connect service (slow lines) from Paddington overground station from May 2018; the replacement Crossrail service will eventually be 4tph all the way to T4. At some stage the service will move from the overground platforms to the new underground station.

    The real question is whether HEx will be allowed the continued use of the mainline station and the fast lines after 2023, or whether this service will also be taken over Crossrail.

  20. Southern Heights says:

    There is always talk about extending Crossrail to Reading, but there is another (and very obvious) extension to Southend Victoria taking over all services on that line. That would also link in Southend Airport, giving it direct access to the city.

  21. Graham H says:

    @windsorian – please see my (and others) earlier posts on the HEX question. The real question is not at all whether HEX will be allowed into the mainline station but whether it will exist. The GWML bidders are lining up to tell DfT that HEX 4 fast paths can be better used to improve, say the Oxford/ N Cotswolds, or provide a better service to the West Country. XR doesn’t get a mention in this bidder narrative as a prospective user of fast paths; whether XR would increase the Heathrow service on the slow lines is a different issue altogether. The argument is clear, HEX is a waste of capacity in terms of numbers. That is why DfT will be caught between a rock (dealing with angry, overcrowded punters) and a hard place (HAL throwing very public tantrums). Same issue as Gatwick really, probably Stansted, too. Dedicated airport links may just be a concept whose time has passed…

  22. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham H

    Dedicated airport links may just be a concept whose time has passed…

    Do you say this on the basis that they are wasteful of scarce track / platform capacity or that the service concept is somehow flawed / not popular enough with passengers?

  23. Capital Star says:

    Windsorian, it was 1998 that HEx opened.

    Amazing that it’s £21 single for a 15 minute journey, can’t imagine anyone uses it apart from on expenses and maybe tourists who don’t know any better.

  24. answer=42 says:

    Graham
    There is surely no way that HEx will cease to exist before Crossrail, so are we talking about an early cessation of Heathrow’s rights (on which Windsorian corrected me) some time during the five years before 2023?

  25. Windsorian says:

    @ Capital Star – 1998 correct; my mistake; 25 years to 2023

    @ Graham H – I was just trying to make the point there is a contract in place between BAA / British Rail and the rail infrastructure from Airport Junction to T5 is privately owned; also I’m aware of the Western options included in the June 2009 L&SE RUS.

    What I have not been able to find is the BAA/British Rail contract to see if there is any reference to extending the contract or BR (or successor) taking over the infrastructure.

    If the present owners (Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd) do not agree to either handing over or opening up their infrastructure, then compulsory purchase may be required with compensation being paid.

  26. ngh says:

    Re Windsorian 24 January 2014 at 11:27
    I had a detailed look at HEx etc a while ago and that matches what I found too. I would note that other contracts* connected to HEx end earlier than 2023 i.e. from 2017 onwards so it gets progressively easier (cheaper) for HEx to be wound up after 2017 if someone provides the money to pay off the last debt.

    * Rolling Stock Leases, Rolling stock maintenance contracts etc.

    Graham H’s point was that Great Western bidders are already effectively pricing up buying out the fast paths and Paddington platforms 6/7 early.

    The cost of buying out HAL (i.e. debt repayment cost) when crossrail begins full operations is just less than the DfT shortfall – interesting???

  27. IslandDweller says:

    @Capital Star (1218 comment). Most readers of this site know that HEx is painfully expensive, and not especially handy for most of central London. But many tourists (“guided” by tourism books written by people who don’t know anything about London’s transport network) arrive into LHR and assume that HEx is the best option. I suspect Heathrow’s owners do very well from that ignorance,

  28. James H says:

    re: Dedicated Airport Links

    From an academic point of view, it’s been long documented that transport infrastructure has been increasingly partitioned off and in favour of links that connect privileged globalised ‘nodes’, the most visible manifestation being airports. This is certainly different to either the commercial equilibrium (which would want to generate the most revenue), the welfare equilibrium (those who need it most, usually suburban routes), or the political equilibrium (foreign airport travellers don’t even vote and slip through the consultation net!). What we’ve seen increasingly is the government bowing down to these perceived global forces; the imperative to remain competitive on the international scale trumps all other objectives, including sadly, the welfare of their own electorate.

    Even in the face of severe capacity constraints (of which the Brighton Main Line is the most worrying), I find it almost impossible to think that the DfT – in coordination with the Treasury – would permit the ‘non-stop link’ to be compromised, particularly with regards to the UK’s flagship airport. The perception that Heathrow is only 15 minutes from Central London is more important than the rational actuality. The Gatwick Express was originally invented to overcome the perception that Gatwick was in the middle of nowhere (despite a pittance of a journey time decrease). Stansted Airport is as far from London as Southend Airport is, but everyone overestimates the latter due to lack of a fast train. It’s easy for us to be rational engineers and planners and identify the optimum distribution of capacity use, but sadly humans – and especially the forces of globalisation – are far from rational.

  29. Windsorian says:

    @ ngh

    HEx opened 1998 & is operated by the Heathrow Express Operating Authority, a wholly owned subsidiary of Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd (HAH) – previously BAA Ltd.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathrow_Express

    Heathrow Airports Ltd (HAL) is another subsidary of HAH, involved in running Heathrow but not HEx.

    I understand BAA and HAL made separate responses to the 2009 L&SE RUS; quoting from 20.2.12 postings on RailUK Forum -

    There are many responses to the London and SE RUS available on the DfT’s website which show that BAA are not actually objecting to the plans in the RUS, as long as the HEx replacement is suitably speeded up compared to the normal Crossrail service west of Padington, so I think it is all very much open to negotiation, and things may change well before the HEx track access end date.

    On the other hand a separate response to the RUS by ‘Heathrow Airport Ltd’, seems to have a different view to that of BAA, which is weird – because you’d expect them to have the same view…
    … BAA is a holding company which will have a number of subsidiaries. Two of these operate HEX and Heathrow Airports respectively. They do not necessarily have the same interests …..

  30. Graham H says:

    @James H/WW – Yes – I don’t expect rational thinking to win necessarily.
    @Windsorian – I think two quite separate issues are getting tangled here: (a) who owns the infrastructure, and (b) what happens to the operating rights. The former doesn’t matter – HAL may continue to own the infrastructure with operators using it against a toll; I assume that that’s what will happen when XR runs in anyway. Access will be regulated at the very least on the backs of the need to travel over NR tracks to get into the airport.* As ngh notes, the operating and other rights begin to deconstruct soon – within the horizon of the next GW franchise. If the bidders can persuade DfT to include the HEX paths in the GW franchise when they come to an end, then HAL will have to argue with the regulator like any other open access operator – it will be fascinating to see (to pick up James H’s points) what arguments HAL can find.

    * What I am not clear is whether the actual operation over the HAL infrastructure itself is also regulated – there are plenty of precedents for ORR regulation of operations over non-NR assets – St P, and Hatch End, for example. (It doesn’t really matter for the purposes of the argument because the HAL assets aren’t stand-alone.)

  31. T33 says:

    Dedicated Airport links should be a thing of the past. HEX and GatEx are both consuming much needed infrastructure for other services.

    HEX is obvious for Crossrail replacement when that is running, hopefully they will not wait to 2023 to do this to release infrastructure for the GWML. If they don’t I expect the Heathrow Connect replacements will be very full with Heathrow Passengers who have joined from Central London Crossrail stations – I’d expect many people off the Thameslink routes will use Farringdon to swap rather than a terminus and then underground to Paddington.

    Equally GatEX’s days should be numbered as in 2018 regular fast Thameslink trains will connect from the City and London Bridge (picking up Crossrail passengers from Farringdon) so people will swap from Victoria. Perhaps in 2018 Thameslink should run the Brighton services non-stop from London Bridge to Gatwick to replace the GatEX trains and create a faster service to Brighton than current.

  32. Castlebar (Peoples’ Popular Front for Fulwell Chord Liberation) says:

    @ Island Dweller

    You wrote “But many tourists (“guided” by tourism books written by people who don’t know anything about London’s transport network) arrive into LHR and assume that HEx is the best option.”

    So, HEx very kindly help them out, with a few “jollys”, wines & dines, free tickets etc etc etc, usw, et cie. The author is very appreciative of the information received from the kind HEx people who has ensured that the other options have also been shown to their worst advantage such as getting to Paddington via Picc & changing at Gloucester Road, a taxi along the A4 in the rush hour with the traffic flow etc etc etc

    No wonder, surprise surprise, when the book comes out it appears rather biased to those who know better.

    (There is a better way from Sunbury to Twickenham, Richmond and Putney but SWT don’t like people to know about it, so it is “removed” from maps. Control the presses and you control the sheeple. It works for “unbiased, independent” travel guides too. Horsham – Dorking was ‘accidentally’ removed from the national network map some years ago)

  33. ngh says:

    Re Windsorian 24 January 2014 at 13:35

    Previous reply written in slight haste before heading for lunch so not as detailed on the different Heathrow companies as it could have been as you have pointed out. The current Heathrow company structure was outline in one of my previous LR posts in detail about 8 months ago.
    The debt effectively resides with HAH who care about paying it off when due and HEO currently provides them the income to do that with. It does that by operating HEx as well as the Connect as a JV with FGW. The Rolling stock leases etc. are with HEO.

    If HAH has an alternative source of money to repay the debt they could dispatch HEO without any significant costs, it therefore only really makes sense after all the original long term HEO contracts have expired (rolling stock leases etc) to reduce the costs of ending those early.

  34. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Castlebar (whatever the current cause is)

    Horsham – Dorking was ‘accidentally’ removed from the national network map some years ago

    Yes that was a pathetic attempt. Shame on them. Congratulations are in order though to “them” for recently not merely managing to remove it from the map but to do the job properly and remove it in reality – although it has now been partially restored.

    It clearly the most useless section of line imaginable. The only real purpose is as a diversionary route to the line the people really want to use – the Brighton Main Line. And then during Christmas engineering works when the Horsham-Dorking line was supposed to rise in its moment of temporary glory due to the planned closure of the Brighton Main Line it totally lets us down and forces everyone to use the bus for at least part of the journey to get from London to Gatwick.

  35. Fandroid says:

    If DfT threatens to ‘take over’ the 4tph fast paths, then expect HEO to get the lawyers in straight away. A contract is a contract, and terminating it early would cost DfT a large sum of money. HEO may be very happy to settle on a sum that pays off the construction debt and possibly also compensates them for the loss of the non-stop link. Whatever we say, that loss will reduce the number of pax using Heathrow, so it will cost HAH something.

    Even if the train leases and maintenance contracts are up soonish, the lease company is unlikely to say ‘we want our trains back!’ when they can get a nice extra penny or two for written-off stock. Similarly, the maintenance contract can be extended. HEH is a private company. It can do what it likes in procurement (no EU rules to follow). Methinks the cards are all in Heathrow’s hands (until 2023).

    The ‘globalised node’ theory is all very fancy, but how many other hub airports have this uniquely private premium rate rail access? None of the usual European suspects – Schiphol, Frankfurt, CDG. They are all connected to the public rail systems and none has anything like HEx. At Frankfurt, you have (1) the frequent but relatively ancient S-Bahn, often crammed to the doors when it arrives or (2) a non-stop IC or ICE at irregular intervals with all the confusion of the DB fares systems (ICE costs more than IC but it doesn’t get you to Frankfurt Hbf any faster).

    My suspicion is that GatEx could be transformed into a semi-fast service without affecting Gatwick much. The main thing is to improve access to the trains at Gatwick and to provide some decent stock with big doors and luggage space!

    Does anyone know of any hub airports anywhere else in the world where they have premium rate express rail?

  36. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – I very much doubt if DfT would use the stick, carrot perhaps – and even ROSCOs have their price, particularly as the market in emus is hardly long for the foreseeable future.

    Premium airport expresses – perhaps CAT in Wien (but only a smallish hub and it’s b—– difficult to find it and even more so to pay for it in the airport station – gave up and got a cab after 30 minutes of fruitless trying to set up the relevant ticket machine; the client paid anyway). A propos CDG, we were asked to give some advice on that for a client a few years back and when I inquired about the likelihood of getting paths, the client replied that”The managing director of RFF and I are both polytechniciens, so there should be no problem at all…. only in France.

  37. answer=42 says:

    Premium airport expresses –
    Kuala Lumpur. Airport express is slightly more expensive than the local but still very cheap.
    Stockholm Arlanda – local cheaper train is newer than the express

  38. answer=42 says:

    @Graham
    “The managing director of RFF and I are both polytechniciens, so there should be no problem at all….” only in France.
    So true … Go out to dinner with a bunch of middle-aged French professionals in the same field who don’t know each other and the whole evening will be spent on the “Do you know …” game.

  39. Bryn Davies says:

    Premium airport express = Narita Skyliner

  40. Fandroid says:

    I vaguely recollect that Rome Fiumicino airport has both an expensive and a cheap rail connection. I’m sure that Stimarco could help here.

  41. Castlebar (Peoples’ Popular Front for Fulwell Chord Liberation) says:

    @ PoP

    Horsham – Dorking

    It (the duplicity) gets worse

    At a meeting in Arundel about 6 years ago, a “spokesperson” for Southern told his audience that Horsham – Dorking was “saturated” (NO pun intended). When reminded that in that case it meant just 1 x train per hour each way, the argument was immediately changed to “the embankment is unstable and cannot take more traffic”. When reminded that they had had the trees cut down because of leaf fall, and killing off all the tree roots is what led to the embankment’s instability, he came out with “The government does not want the unacceptable loss of fuel duty that would occur if alternative rail routes took traffic off the A27″. I was sitting next to our MP’s private secretary who was amazed to be told this, (our MP was a government minister at that very time), and this was treated with some scepticism even by the most ardent sheeple. These statements were witnessed and have been noted.

    Apparently, (according to Southern, 2007) ALL the current rail problems can be solved by having longer trains. Did you know that? Longer trains are the answer to everything. So more money, please and we’ll phone Porterbrook

  42. Windsorian says:

    On 12.1.14 I posted this link on – Piccadilly: mind the gap

    http://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/lhr_underground.htm

    About 2/3rd way down is a price comparison of Heathrow travel options

    I’ve no idea if it is up to date.

  43. Greg Tingey says:

    PoP
    Construction is easy. It is all more-or-less predictable using well-established methodologies.
    Ahhh, like Edinburgh Tram, you mean?
    /snark

    Graham H
    Oh that’s easy … tell the hordes of overcrowded angry punters to get stuffed & grovel nicely to HAL – after all they are the people with the $BIG_MONEY & air travel is so fashionable & chic!
    /more snark
    [ See also James H on: globalised priveliged nodes - an excellent point ]

  44. Snowy says:

    Interesting that the CAA has decided Heathrows contribution should be less, I wonder if they feel guilty about the competition commissions ruling?

    I expect this decision has also made the finance department at DfT nervous about the western access project, presumably Heathrow can say they have already built the passive provision for access, why should they contribute anymore if the airport is already at saturation & no new passengers will be gained. I hope DfT were not expecting a hefty contribution as I expect it will now be considerably smaller.

  45. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Fandroid – Airport Express in HK is premium priced. The main airport station has no ticket gates but the rest of the line is fully sealed off from all other MTR services. Passing through the separate gatelines at the other stops on the route charges the premium fare / expects to see an Airport Express ticket.

    Narita has several different services from different operators and I think three of those charge some form of premium fare – JR Narita Express, Keisei Skyliner, Keisei Access Express and Keisei Main Line Express. Only the latter has no premium fare but it is, of course, slow. The three Keisei services all use just one platform at Narita station while NEX uses the one opposite.

    Graham H mentioned a proposed Paris CDG express service. IIRC this was planned to run from Gare De L’Est to the airport as a dedicated service. The project has just been relaunched after attempts to build it as a private venture failed.

    There is also Flytoget in Oslo, the Malpensa Express in Milan and also the Leonarado express service to Rome Fiumicino. I think these all charge a premium fare.

  46. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Oyster on Heathrow (and Gatwick) Expresses was studied by TfL and BAA a few years ago, but ultimately rejected by BAA.

    See https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/oyster_pay_as_you_go_on_heathrow#incoming-243086

    for details

  47. Caisleán an Bharraigh (Castlebar) says:

    When (or IF) Dublin airport gets ANY rail link………………..

    ………….I will know we have had another miracle.

  48. Fandroid says:

    @Castlebar. Don’t worry, Berlin Tegel airport soldiers on without a rail link (we, and all Berlin, are still waiting for someone to finish the new ‘Willy Brandt’ airport). In the meantime we have all learnt to love the TXL bus.

    Edinburgh airport will have a tram soon! (same price as the local buses, I hear)

  49. Josh says:

    How much interest would Heathrow have in WRATH anyway? Would they still be hoping that something via the South West network could take off. Those extra platforms at Terminal 5 aren’t going to use themselves.

  50. straphan says:

    Putting all the comments about DfT or bidders forcing HEx to shut shop in some sneaky way or another, I personally doubt the Airport will want to maintain HEx in one shape or another. Having worked on the timetabling aspects for Crossrail earlier on, the Crossrail journey time from Heathrow T123 to Paddington Low Level was 22.5 minutes if memory serves me right. So if Crossrail is only 7.5 minutes slower than HEx between Heathrow and Paddington, that would be a huge blow to demand for HEx. Who would choose to pay so much money just for the 7.5 minutes journey time difference? Especially since HEx would carry on terminating at the buffers, whereas Crossrail would offer passengers a seamless journey right through to the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.

    I think HEx will lose so much demand and revenue when Crossrail opens that the Airport will choose to shut it down much before the 2023 date, and fork out a few extra bob for 4tph Crossrail trains to T5…

  51. timbeau says:

    Would HAH really accept the non-sop service being replaced by an all-eight-stations stopping service, even if it does continue beyond Paddington? (after all, it’s only ten stops to Earls Court on the other route). Gatwick – only two stops from central London even if all trains call at CJ and EC – would be delighted!

    My favourite rail-air link is Ronaldsway! Yes, I have used it.
    http://iomsrsa.com/imr-stat/59-rons-halt

  52. Graham H says:

    @straphan – and if you factor in a fairly standard mainline interchange penalty of 15 minutes at Paddington for the existing service, XR direct is going to be an improvement for the great majority of punters.

  53. Anon5 says:

    How many hourly services are there currently between Paddington and Heathrow on HEx and HC combined? If both were scrapped how many could serve Crossrail a) the core and b) destinations on the eastern branches to still fit into the predicted number of Crossrail trains?

    Any idea what would happen to the current stock? The Desiros to Great Eastern, the HEx to Northern? Just thinking of class familiarity.

    If Crossrail extends to Reading is there scope for a new Heathrow Connect (for want of a better description) between the airport and Reading, allowing an interchange hub with the West Country services, rather than making people travel into Paddington and back out again? Or is the junction only pointed in one direction – towards London?

  54. Alan Griffiths says:

    Southern Heights @ 24 January 2014 at 11:52

    “another (and very obvious) extension to Southend Victoria”
    It may seem obvious to you, but I’m wondering how and where such trains might switch between lines at the busiest times of day. It will always be possible to change trains at Stratford.

  55. Alan Griffiths says:

    Fandroid @ 24 January 2014 at 15:33

    ” Rome Fiumicino airport ” has a train to Roma Termini that is non-stop, but not fast.
    http://rometoolkit.com/airport/fiumicino_airport_train.htm

  56. Windsorian says:

    This is a Steer Davies Gleave review for the CAA covering the quinquenium 2014-2019

    http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/78/Heathrow%20Other%20Opex%20-%20Final%20Report%20Issue%203%20v08%20PUBLIC.pdf

    The section covering Heathrow rail (HEx, HC leading to CR) is on pages 45 – 57

  57. Graham H says:

    @southern heights – last year only 970000 people used Southend Airport, which makes it a less well used destination than most other stations in S Essex. Attractive or what?

  58. stimarco says:

    Fiumicino has a similar setup to Gatwick:

    The express service, named the “Leonardo Express” – because nobody can decide exactly what the bloody airport is called, so all the motorway signs call it “Fiumicino”, but the big banner signs at the airport itself call it “Leonardo da Vinci” – costs about €14, and terminates at Roma Termini.

    An RER-type cross-Rome stopping service forms the (FL1 line, running right through the city and out the other side, which means skipping Termini as that’s on a stub branch. (FYI: Rome’s Metro Line B has a station at Roma Tiburtina, which was recently rebuilt and hosts all the High Speed services now. Lots of buses from there too.)

    You do pay a surcharge even for this line if using Fiumicino Airport’s own station, but it’s otherwise a standard RER-type route and subject to the usual ticket prices. (The line used to serve the nearby coastal town of Fiumicino, but the remaining stub of track into the town was closed in 2000.)

    The Leonardo Express is only about €3 more than the FL1 service, so it’s nothing like the price gouging of the Heathrow Express service.

  59. stimarco says:

    @southern heights:

    Crossrail is likely to be rammed within months just with the services it’ll be handling. Adding a third branch to the east is a non-starter as there simply won’t be enough capacity to add it. I’ve said repeatedly that Londoners should be talking about Crossrails 3 and 4 by now; Crossrail 1 is arriving far, far too late. The GLA and TfL are desperately playing a game of catch-up, and will continue to do so for some years to come. What we’re seeing is infrastructural firefighting, not real long-term planning.

    Re. the Southend lines…

    I’d argue that diverting the Southend lines onto the District, via a new ramp just west of Limehouse, would make much more sense, but that’s venturing dangerously deep into Crayonista territory.

  60. Mark Townend says:

    @T33, 24 January 2014 at 13:49

    “Perhaps in 2018 Thameslink should run the Brighton services non-stop from London Bridge to Gatwick to replace the GatEX trains and create a faster service to Brighton than current.”

    I Can’t see the new operator being very interested in missing out on all the Croydon business, but WITH an E. Croydon stop and the better timings through London Bridge and the core following modernisation, the Thameslink route could easily become the fastest and most attractive Gatwick airport service from a wide area of central London and by far the best connected.

  61. answer=42 says:

    @WW
    IIRC the Express service to Paris CDG was planned to go to Gare du Nord. RER Line B that serves the airport goes there and not to Gare de l’Est; for part of its route, it follows the main line from Gare du Nord.

    @straphan
    I completely agree.

    —-

    I don’t follow the argument that Heathrow is supposedly making that it does not need to provide better ground access by rail because there will be no extra passengers. While it has two runways Heathrow is flight limited, not (by and large) passenger limited; terminal space is increasing and airlines are theoretically free to use ever larger planes. An increase in the number of pax per plane of about 1.5% per year can be observed.

    Heathrow is also in contravention of EU air quality directives. While replacing car access by rail access might not be the most cost-effective way of improving air quality, it has other positive effects.

  62. Anonymous2 says:

    Re: Hong Kong, there is of course the Tung Chung line which costs $3.50 to get to by crowded bus (used by airport workers and cheapskates – including myself) and the train journey is about 70% less than the Airport Express

    Sydney – premium fare of $13-ish to enter the airport stations although there is nothing premium about the service. In the mornings airport stations dump you onto crowded commuter trains. In comparison, a fare of $9-ish will take you from one end of the network to another, a distance of over 500km – though the ends are only served by 3 trains a day, at the crack of dawn and after sunset.

  63. The other Paul says:

    Prospective GW operators are eyeing up the HeX fast line paths for services further afield, but HAH are protective of the fast, profitable airport service?

    No problem – complete WratH and they can have both – by providing a through service which stops at the airport. Capacity-wise, it’s the sensible approach.

  64. Graham H says:

    @the other Paul – that’s as maybe but the western link isn’t going to be built within the next franchise horizon (or, quite probably, the one or two after that).

  65. Greg Tingey says:

    stimarco
    WRONG SET of “Southend” lines – we were talking GER, not LT&SR …..

    I must admit, the more this discussion goes on, the more sensible moving the whole bloody airport somewhere else becomes ….

  66. Alan Griffiths says:

    Greg Tingey @ 25 January 2014 at 09:21

    “the more this discussion goes on, the more sensible moving the whole bloody airport somewhere else becomes ….”

    Not so much a crayonista, more a copier of Jackson Pollock … …

  67. Alan Griffiths says:

    Greg Tingey @ 25 January 2014 at 09:21

    “stimarco
    WRONG SET of “Southend” lines – we were talking GER, not LT&SR …..”

    I agree. Sometimes, the “Southend and Metro” timetable has included the occasional evening peak stopping train that ran on beyond Shenfield to Southend Victoria. I don’t think that’s the case at the moment, and I’m not sure why it would be a priority to save a handful of people a fairly easy change. On further thoughts, I think post-Crossrail it could be done through platform 5 at Shenfield. However, Greater Anglia and Network Rail are more interested in extra trains from the Southend branch that won’t stop between Shenfield and Stratford. That’s one of the reasons NR is so keen to remodel Bow Junction as soon as Crossrail progress allows.

  68. stimarco says:

    @Greg Tingey:

    If Southend Airport intends to stay roughly as-is, there’s no need for anything more than, say, a 2 tph. service extension from Shenfield, which is something that can be added later if there’s sufficient rolling stock available.

    (If Southend has aspirations to rival airports like Luton, Gatwick or Stansted, they seriously need to stop smoking that stuff.)

  69. Pseudonymous says:

    JFK airport in New York doesn’t have a surcharge as such, but the AirTrain link to Jamaica / Howard Beach (for subway, LIRR, etc) costs an extra $5 on your MetroCard. Sydney’s airport also imposes something like a $AU13 surcharge for entering or exiting at airport stations on top of the normal zonal fare, despite being on a through commuter line.

  70. Anon says:

    Just to counter all the slagging off of HEx, I am an ex-Londoner who pays for it from his own pocket. Now living abroad, I’m in London for 10-15 days a year, and I don’t want to spend any of those on the Piccadilly line.

    Yes, occasionally I can charge back to the office, but sometimes I just fork out.

    At its best, it has seen me get from aircraft door, to my hotel in shoreditch in 1h, 10mins. That’s worth money.

  71. PeteD says:

    Could HEX use the relief lines to some where near Paddington then use the platforms currently used by FGW metro services with new long distance services using the released paths on the fast lines and the vocated HEX platforms at Paddington? Only downside is a 5 min longer journey for HEX. Though this could be reduced off peak by continued use of the fast lines. HEX is a profitable service that is attractive to the well off locals and foriegners (who spend and invest much money in the UK).

  72. Graham H says:

    @anon – you going to just love Crossrail – 20-30m faster than your present best (depending on what you define as “Shoreditch”) and about £10 cheaper…

    @PeteD – there’s no point, even if the paths are available on the reliefs, to clearing a path on the mains between Airport Junction, and, say, Acton Wells; it has to be cleared on the mains all the way back to Paddington.

  73. stimarco says:

    @Anon:

    When I used to live and work in Lewisham, my preferred route to Heathrow was to take the 436 (bendy) bus to Paddington and catch the Heathrow Express from there. Despite the bus having to make its way through some godawful roads, the journey time was still faster than either driving, or taking the Piccadilly. And, of course, the bus was nice and big, had plenty of legroom and space for luggage, and cost a quid.

    (Oh, and there’s no direct access to the Piccadilly from any of the termini serving south-east London anyway, so I saved myself an additional change of train too.)

    Heathrow Express was pricy, but it genuinely saves loads of time. Even though the 436 had to get from Lewisham to Paddington by way of Peckham, Vauxhall, Victoria and Park Lane, it was still quicker than taking a train and the Tube.

    So, while Heathrow Express is expensive, it does offer sufficient value for money even at that price for many passengers.

    Crossrail is likely to change that dramatically, but south Londoners are only likely to benefit if they’re on the post-2018 Thameslink network.

  74. The other Paul says:

    @Graham H
    I think WraTH could be delivered in time for the HeX/main line contract expiration date in 2023 – I also think “buying out” of HeX paths before then feels unlikely as HAH will demand a significant premium for losing them early and having a government department or train operator hand a large sum of money to HAH so that publicly-subsidised trains can use NR-owned infrastructure would be politically very difficult.

    I guess the underlying point is that, to make the best use of this bit of infrastructure and maintain the 4tph frequency and speed, HeX needs to be a longer distance, wider scoped service at either one end or another (or both). Either it needs to be absorbed into Crossrail and perhaps run fast West of Paddington, or it can be maintained as a fast Paddington-terminating service with WRaTH taking it further afield to the west.

    The former option is an ugly solution for Crossrail, GW and HAH; either they have to squeeze the HeX Crossrail trains onto the reliefs, which may obliterate any time saving by running non-stop anyway, or they have to filter ex-Crossrail trains onto the GW mains, with all the complexity and potential for performance pollution that that entails. So I would speculate that all parties involved would prefer the “inter-city express via Heathrow” approach, using WRaTH to run fast or semi-fast trains on the mains via Heathrow, perhaps with a stop at Slough to Reading and Oxford.

  75. Graham H says:

    @the other Paul – no doubt, Wrath could be built in the next few years if the necessary planning, legislation and funding were expedited, but there’s no sign whatsoever of anyone committing to that. It will surely take 5-6 years from firing the starting gun to opening day and I would be surprised if anything were at all possible until after the Davies report (whose absence WRath’s objectors will fasten onto) . So – not very likely.

    I think I agree with you that tacking a fast airport link onto XR is both unlikely and undesirable. It is certainly possible to envisage using the ex-HEX fast paths for an in-and-out service to LHR from the west, but I have to say that the presently available timetable studies make that pretty unappealing – the time loss in running to LHR much more than wipes out the benefits of electrification with all the revenue and cost implications that implies. The most that anyone can envisage from a commercial and operational view seems to diverting a couple of Oxford (semi)fasts that way every hour, as there is more than enough longer distance traffic to mop up these infamous ex-Hex paths – the offers are likely to focus around 2 Temple Meads/Exeters, 1 West of England, I B&H, 2 Parkway/S Wales, I S Cotswolds, I N Cotswolds, and 4 -6 Oxfords*; somewhere in addition to that lot are probably also aspirations for a second B&H fast, and some sort of Parkway terminator(s).

    This is very bad news for the Welsh, of course, but the likelihood is that they will become increasingly familiar with the escalators at Reading…

    *There’s your two WRaTHs per hour perhaps, leaving 4 “proper” direct fasts.

  76. Fandroid says:

    Stopping any semi-fast WRAtH services at Ealing Broadway would potentially provide a linkage into Crossrail that involves less of a vertical interchange than Paddington will. (Are there/will there be lifts at Ealing?).

    My experience of Parkway/South Wales trains (just after the peak finishes) is that they can be standing-room only all the way to Swindon.

    I’m happy with HEx’s speed (I don’t pay!). I just wish they’d stop pretending they aren’t a railway and have no connection to London’s transport system. By the way, their latest internal decor is a sort of retro Star Trek thing complete with mustard-coloured anti-macassars. I wonder how much they paid for that bit of design!

  77. Windsorian says:

    I always thought BAA (now HAH) missed a trick by not extending HEx from T5 to a rebuilt Staines station. This was the only one of the 4 Airtrack routes that did not have a level crossing problem; also it is the L&E RUS as option J3. The cost of around £100M is peanuts compared with WRAtH’s £500M or the full Airtrack at £750M.

    Demonstrating a wider catchment area, it might just have allowed them hang on to their prime Paddington mainline platforms. But hopefully if HAH are not interested then Crossrail will step in. Although Staines is no longer in the metropolitan area, it is still inside the M25 ring.

  78. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – yes, but another time penalty! I haven’t used the S Wales services in the am peak for a bit but what you say tends to reinforce bidders’ ambitions to run at least 2 tph to Cardiff and 2 to TM, more if possible. I suspect that Swindon will be the general loser in all this, in an effort to accelerate services.

    Mustard décor – yuk! (I’m reminded of a colleague’s story about the Royal Train – the designs for the new kit, decked out in the then favoured InterCity “hot” orange were returned from the Palace with a small arrow, in the Royal Hand, pointing at the curtains, accompanied by the words “V horrid”).

  79. The other Paul says:

    @Graham H
    Re: WRaTH delivery dates -

    Thames valley LEP says:

    The Development Consent Order should be concluded towards the end of 2015, with operation of the link expected in 2021

    Slough Borough Council says:

    It will reduce the journey time between Slough and Heathrow to just six minutes, and could be delivered in the early 2020’s.

    Slough Observer says:

    The plans would slash train journey times from Berkshire stations to Heathrow Airport and could be in place by 2021.

    Yes, we can be cynical and say that these timescales always slip and are subject to lots of things being concluded on time and without bother, but the project has government backing, and even allowing for a couple of years’ slippage it would fit in with the HAH contract date.

    Journey times wise, yes the likely Reading-Paddington via Heathrow journey time would seem to be around 40 minutes including stops at T1-3, T5 and Slough, so it would add a good 10 minutes onto today’s Slough-stopping services. Given that this provides extra capacity AND a new service from the West to Heathrow though, I think this could be just about palatable for 4 medium-distance services per hour.

  80. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Fandroid – I doubt HEX are overly worried about the cost of fancy designs for their rolling stock interiors. I have a skim read of the Steer Davies Gleave report that Windsorian linked to. Broadly rail revenues are circa £100m [1] and costs £50-55m per annum. That looks like a handsome margin to me. It’s evident from the report text that they expect Crossrail to have quite an impact on revenues although they’ll some cost elements when the Connect service transfers away.

    [1] mostly from HEX, small contribution from HCon and LU’s payments for the T5 link / station.

  81. Anonymous says:

    @Castlebar

    It’s Feltham, not Sunbury, that has the bus link to Heathrow for quicker journeys to Twickenham, Richmond, Putney, etc., but the bus is a pretty awful service from my experience.

  82. Windsorian says:

    For anyone interested this is how the CAA came to reduce Heathrow’s Crossrail contribution to just £70M

    http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP%201103.pdf

    pages 62 – 69 apply to Crossrail (4.28 – ) & WRAtH (4.47)

  83. Castlebar says:

    @ Anonymous 00:26

    I’m unaware of ever stating that “Sunbury has a bus link to Heathrow”. Am I being misquoted (again)? Sunbury/Hampton DOES have a direct rail link to Twickenham, Richmond & Putney that is disgracefully under used, but that is a “given” and nor anything to do with bus links

  84. Westfiver says:

    In answer to Fandroid, the replacement Ealing Broadway station will have 4 lifts (1 to platform 1 – down main, 1 to p2/3 and 2 to p4 to 9) – there will not be the desired escalators – please note that in the Environmental Statement of the Crossrail Act it said that there would be escalators – more cost saving.

    As mentioned by Windsorian, I am surprised that in the planning approval for Terminal 5 that there was not a condition that the link to Staines be built – if you consider that at the time the M25 was being widened the railway could have been built alongside it at the same time. If it had been built, Heathrow Connect could have operated Paddington to Waterloo, absorbing some or all of the Hounslow loop services.

    What gives the best BCA? Wrath or the Staines Link?

  85. Greg Tingey says:

    West5er
    Err … that would have required joined-up thinking across divisional/departmental boundaries.
    Perish the thought.

  86. Westfiver says:

    Common sense would dictate it should happen!

    Would Thameslink have happened if Network South East did not exist?

  87. Castlebar says:

    @ W5er

    It has been mentioned on here before

    Staines West was BR(W) whilst Staines was BR(S)

    These two would rather have entered discussions with Martians or with red China than ever talk to each other

  88. Fandroid says:

    @WW. Although that Steer Davies Gleave paper shows that HEx has a fairly massive operating margin, don’t forget that the rail connection cost zillions (someone on here quoted £1 billion) and HAH will be expecting to pay that off to some degree.

    Strangely enough, although the paper predicts a ‘significant’ drop in HEx revenue when Crossrail opens, it doesn’t look terribly significant on the graph that they publish.

    The point I was originally making about the retro Star Trek design was really just a scoff at what people will willingly pay for lousy design advice (mustard antimacassars). I’ve seen it in every organisation I have been involved in. Dreadful design probably costs as much as excellent design, when all the customer (us) really wants is a nice refresh of the interior decor in some relaxing neutral colours!

    @Graham H. An extra stop (Ealing) gives a time penalty on WRAtH services, agreed, but there may be a compensatory time advantage for the fairly large numbers who will want to transfer to Crossrail, plus a definite time advantage for those who want destinations more easily accessible from Ealing than from Paddington.

    While a HEx extension to Staines would be great, as far as I know, the M25 widening was done mostly within the existing highway boundaries, so the scope for including a rail link too was just about zero. If land acquisition is needed for a rail line, then it might as well go on the best available route, not give itself extra problems by cuddling up to a motorway! When the M25 was widened, I think the whole Airtrack project was still a definite BAA plan, so no-one was actually thinking of just a Staines link at that time. These things rarely come in the order we would all have liked with our 20/20 hindsight specs on.

  89. timbeau says:

    @Windsorian
    [Terminal 5 -link to Staines] “absorbing some or all of the Hounslow loop services”.
    Who would want to go from Hounslow or Brentford to T5 via Staines when the Piccadilly Line is available? Or do you mean after Whitton send services from the Richmond direction to T5 and Paddington instead of back to Waterloo via Hounslow?

    @Castlebar “Staines West was BR(W) whilst Staines was BR(S) These two would rather have entered discussions with Martians or with red China than ever talk to each other”
    Staines West lost its connection to the Western Region main line in 1981 when the M25 was built, leaving only the connection to the SR that had been built during the war to give an extra cross-London link in case the Luftwaffe got the others, so it was formally part of the SR by then. By the time T5 was in planning it would all have been NSE, if not Railtrack?

    Sunbury as a railhead
    there is a (non-TfL) bus service from Sunbury (Tesco) to Heathrow, routes 555 and 557: but as they don’t call at the station and the other stations on that line are served by the same bus routes or more direct ones I can’t imagine anyone railheading from there.
    Fandroid
    “I just wish they’d stop pretending they aren’t a railway and have no connection to London’s transport system”
    But if they let on there are alternatives, people might just discover there are easier and cheaper ways of getting to many parts of central London.
    @fandroid
    “Edinburgh airport will have a tram soon! (same price as the local buses, I hear)”
    Not what I hear
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/edinburgh-tram-airport-fare-1-more-than-bus-1-3098759

  90. Castlebar says:

    @ timbeau

    I am referring of course to earlier BR days when passenger services were run to Staines West from West Drayton. There was no discussion THEN about the possibilities of through running, (as there could/should/might have been).

  91. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – “they will be expecting to pay that off to some degree” – no, they will be being leant on by the banks to get rid of the funding completely; any rollover will be entirely at the banks’ pleasure, and we all know what that means. In practice, in fact, HEX would have to have an operating ratio of around 200% just to service the capital (typically, in the rail sector, asset finance and maintenance accounts for 60-75% of all costs), so 100% cover, as implied by the figures quoted, wouldn’t be enough.

    On the question of the delays caused by an EBwy stop, we are a bit short of figures here (and hard facts about the future service pattern). I see that EBwy won’t have escalators, which will make interchange that much less attractive, but the basic question remains – what market is WRath supposed to serve – it’s most unlikely to get through trains from all of WoE, Bristol, S Wales, Oxford, Cotswolds, B&H – probably at best, just one of those; everyone else is going to have to change for LHR, and those who want central London will stay on the train. GW operators will not want to add an Ealing Broadway stop to long distance services (especially if they are obliged to call at OOC as well) so who are these EBwy ex-WRath passengers? To answer my own question, possibly punters from S Wales and WoE changing at Reading, but time and fares will determine that – we simply don’t have the data to judge. And won’t until the GWML operation settles down post-Crossrail.

  92. Fandroid says:

    @timbeau. You are absolutely right about the Edinburgh tram fare to the airport. I had heard (correctly) that tram fares are going to be integrated with Lothian Bus fares , but that applies only to the non-airport services, and I had missed that nuance. Trams are planned to connect with Scotrail at the new Edinburgh Park station. I wonder if the airport buses will do the same.

    @Castlebar. I remain totally unconvinced about how useful a link from West Drayton to Staines (SR) would have been. As a wartime back-up, fine. As part of a useful outer orbital in post-war England, mmmm? Don’t forget that when the branch was closed, T5 was still a sewage sludge treatment plant (and remained so for another 37 years!).

  93. timbeau says:

    My information on the difference between Edinburgh tram fares and bus fares was out of date
    http://www.theedinburghreporter.co.uk/2014/01/bus-fares-to-increase-on-airlink-service/
    That’s right – a 14% increase in the bus fare, and it’s still cheaper (and faster!) than the tram will be

  94. Alan Griffiths says:

    stimarco @ 25 January 2014 at 16:37

    “When I used to live and work in Lewisham, my preferred route to Heathrow was to take the 436 (bendy) bus to Paddington and catch the Heathrow Express from there. ”

    Nowadays, wouldn’t it be less trouble to catch the DLR from Lewisham to West Ham or Tower Gateway, then a Hammersmith train as far as Paddington?

  95. Alan Griffiths says:

    timbeau @ 26 January 2014 at 20:20

    “My information on the difference between Edinburgh tram fares and bus fares ………… – a 14% increase in the bus fare, and it’s still cheaper (and faster!) than the tram will be”

    I don’t think you’ve quite understood the value of a Lothian Buses Day Ticket. After 09:30 they cost the price of 2&a half singles. If you make more than 3 journeys during a day, you’re quids in. Still a hell of an argument to get my wife to buy one rather than catching taxis at Festival Fringe time.
    I’ve been know to use one as an example of how a near-monopoly can offer its customers choice. Once got a wry smile from Professor Julian Le Grand.

  96. answer=42 says:

    @Graham H
    You seem convinced that WRAtH will not be built in the medium term. No doubt you have a basis for this viewpoint. ‘Modern Railways’ stated some months ago that WRAtH would be financially profitable, a straightforward investment case could be made and the only discussion was when to start. Now, railway finance is not MR’s strong point and I was a little sceptical when I read their piece. But the difference in your evaluation is still quite striking. Is there anything you can explain?

  97. Graham H says:

    @answer=42 – it’s simply that to finance and build it, the scheme needs a promoter. That promoter then needs to assemble the necessary pelf, get either an Act or TWA Order, find a contractor and negotiate with NR and DfT (and presumably a franchisee). These are not quick processes, even if this fairy godmother had already been identified. NR aren’t planning to do anything in CP5 and DfT hasn’t committed to it; I see no signs of a private sector consortium rushing forward, not even the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund; local authorities are reeling from the cuts imposed in recent years and have a very poor record in delivering rail infrastructure anyway.

    To get it built before the end of the next GW franchise, we ought to be seeing something quite tangible stirring in the woods now. I’d place a v-bet with you that we will still be having this exchange in 2023…

  98. Milton Clevedon says:

    @Graham H
    Look out for the Thames Valley Berks LEP, and with Slough Council already in the lead.
    Some East West Rail stakeholders also interested. That’s far from the whole commitment that I recognise you are looking out for, but watch this space for 2016 and draft ideas for early CP6 delivery (if there is a post-Network Rail nationalisation CP6). I’m sure you know the tendency of schemes which start to accrue 3rd party funding, to begin to peep over the parapet.

  99. HowardGWR says:

    Just a note on Schiphol. There is no premium although there are plenty of non stop trains to Centraal (usually double deck). More relevantly, when discussing XR, there are trains to just about everywhere else in NL and abroad. This is the fundamental weakness with Heathrow, which we are seeing gradually addressed with all sorts of rail sticking plaster.

    The no-brainer of extending XR to Reading must eventually occur, surely – and cheaper too, one notes from NAO.

  100. ngh says:

    The CAA report:
    I found section 4.42 v interesting, apparently DfT managed to shoot themselves in the foot by pointing out to the CAA that most of the crossrail benefit goes direct to passengers not via to the airport or airlines hence the CAA point is that the airport and hence airlines shouldn’t be paying…

    The CAA report (4.29) also mentions and includes Heathrow contributing £40m for station improvements and £50m for decent access from the new T2 to the central station – is this another potential source of misunderstand between DfT and Heathrow as to what was actually included in the “contribution”?

  101. Tom Hawtin says:

    @timbeau The 30 mins quoted for the Airlink bus is wildly optimistic. It doesn’t go that fast. The 35 minute figure for the tram, by contrast, is conservative. There’s unlikely to be much in it.

    Given the poor state of the A8 and desire to go fast, the Airlink ride quality is appalling. My iPad skidded onto the floor when the bus took a roundabout at speed the other week. Replacing that would have cost a fair few returns.

    @Fandroid Edinburgh Park is the newish station someway from the Airlink route, but I believe the local buses go there. Gogar/Edinburgh International Gateway is the new new station opening in 2016, and I assume the Airlink will go there if it is still running.

  102. Greg Tingey says:

    At the risk of becoming repetitive ….
    The only way to get decent airport rail access … is to build a new airport somewhere else.
    OR
    6 tracks as far out as Slough, at least & probably Wrath as well.
    Pick one

  103. Castlebar says:

    In many (20?) years from now, I bet there will be discussion about extending XR from Reading to Newbury.

    Irrespective about what governments tell us about moving things ‘oop north, (HS2 etc, etc), in actuality, people will still want to live in the Thames Valley/M4 corridor.

  104. Graham H says:

    @MC – I Looked at the TVBLEP* website on the subject of WRAth. Very long on words, like many of these newly invented local government talking shops but short on facts, indeed, those filthy words “money/cost/revenue/funding” are not mentioned even once. I dare say it will eventually be built, but many will be disappointed.

    By this I mean that the numbers are likely to be very unattractive – Here’s the back of a fag packet to illustrate. Let’s assume that it costs £250m (it’s a relatively straight forward piece of infrastructure but will have to include some expensive tunnelling and some expensive slewing/fast turnouts. Capex of that size will generate if financed in the private sector, carrying charges and depreciation of around £40m, maintenance and operation probably as much again. So – each year, that’s around £75m to be found. Then there is any loss of revenue from passengers taken for a ride through the airport rather than direct to Paddington – a 15 minute diversion, even on TVBLEP’s figures. Difficult to estimate accurately but let’s say 5% of GW fast service revenue £10-20m?

    Either this money is found by increasing NR and GW subsidy or, if privately financed (as would seem likely) by some sort of toll/access charge. How large is that toll? Well, the GWML is likely to have about about 15tph on the fast lines from 2016 west of Airport Junction – that’s roughly 600 trains a day, or 200 000 trains a year. If IF they all went via the airport, you’d be charging them about £350-400 each for the privilege, but it is unlikely in the extreme that everything would do the side trip. Maybe no more than 2tph, 4tph to be optimistic, so that’s a quarter of the service, so the toll rises to £1600 per train, £3200 for 2tph.

    What would that mean for fares? Again, even if all the passengers on the diverted trains were going to the airport and the trains were nearly full, for the 2tph variant, the toll would be £5 a head. On more likely scenarios for train occupation and O/D patterns, that figure could easily double – if so, that would in itself nearly double many of the special fares offers from the TVBLEP area.

    For most TOCs, in any case, why would they not prefer to get more money out of the punters from the west by taking them to Paddington and back rather than waste time going into the airport?

    My apologies for the length of this post. The scheme is one that looks “natural” and whilst I have only given some back of fag packet figures, they are not likely to be an order of magnitude out and do illustrate that the thing is not perhaps as viable as one might expect without a large helping of public money – alas.

    *To keep LBM happy, TVBLEP is the ugly acronym for an area that used to be called rather more snappily “Berkshire” for the previous 1400 years…

  105. Fandroid says:

    @Castlebar. While your notion that the SE will still be the heart of the UK’s economy in 2034 is probably correct, I somehow doubt that extending Crossrail to Newbury will be discussed by anyone except the uninformed. Newbury commuters want a fast service between Reading and Paddington, not an all-stops Metro like Crossrail. Don’t forget that all those lines will have been electrified for around 17 years by then, and no-one (except diesel freaks) will remember the “good old days” of Thames Turbos. They might want more frequent trains (that stop less) but they will be happy to leave Crossrail to those poor folk who “mistakenly” live in Reading or further east.

    @Graham H. Sad day when Berkshire disappeared. Some of us are also still mourning the loss of occupied North Berkshire aka Vale of White Horse.

  106. Castlebar says:

    @ Graham H

    Your experiences will probably confirm the maxim: >

    “The longer the duration of the waffle shop, the more likelihood of a conclusion that nobody intended at the start of the meeting”

    How do so many strawmen get on to these committees??

  107. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Graham H
    Totally agree that the economics of new schemes aren’t brilliant if you have to do lots of tunnelling, and that Government (+ third party) money will be needed.

    Heathrow’s problem in that respect is that air passenger and aviation staff demand disperses fast to all corners of the compass and it’s not simple to define a scheme which captures enough users/benefits without downsides. Thames Valley and Reading ought to succeed but we weren’t as a country clever enough to build the required transport spine early on (or rather we were, it was called the M4 in that age), so now everything has to be justified on a net additional basis.

    I am personally unconvinced by diverting the GWML fast train volumes via Heathrow – too much disbenefit for passengers to/from Central London etc to show good BCR. Crossrail possibly, as a proportion of Heathrow trains extended onwards to Reading via Slough, but on the relief lines not the fasts where the Western Network Strategy is to go up to 140 mph in due course (another reason why no GW expresses via Heathrow!). If not Crossrail, then a ‘REX’ service à la HEX, serving Reading of course, and other relevant communities that offer useful railheading. Maybe Oxford/Newbury as starting zones for REX, as these will also contain many airport/aviation staff so can secure benefits from a wider group of users – though rail has to be better at 20/7 or 24/7 timetables if shift workers are to be attracted.

    There are various technical reasons for and against a stand-alone vs Crossrail service – the latter case is predicated on overall capital cost efficiencies of avoiding new works, (eg a new platform pair at Heathrow T5), plus the ability to serve the Heathrow Central area as well. Longitudinal seating trains aren’t ideal for a long Home Counties commute and a REX might offer better comfort.

    The core benefit argument for WRAtH, as expressed by the LEP, is actually to do with the fashionable nostrum of GVA and jobs, as shown below. I attach various comments below from the TVBLEP’s draft Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) – against which they are intending to bid for funding support by March 2014. The colour of their money isn’t yet visible and there are lots of aspirations for different infrastructure, people and comms and skilling projects whereas a railway needs a large slug of finance up front. There is at least a strong hint in the text that any rail money in the outline package would be invested in stations and interchanges, not on the core infrastructure where they appear to be looking to Government… While Network Rail includes further development work on WRAtH in CP5, this is not yet a guarantee of project authorisation or funding. This is where greater clarity by 2016 will be important, as that will be the ‘entry date’ for discussions of schemes to be taken seriously in CP6, which in turn will then require further analysis, a DfT slide rule, and funding acceptance by the new Government in the next HLOS around mid-2017.

    The LEP SEP link is here: http://thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/Portals/0/FileStore/StrategicEconomicPlan/TVB%20SEP%20Consultation%20Draft%20low%20res.pdf

    “We welcome the observation from the Office of the Rail Regulator that £3bn (20% of the national total) will be invested on the Western route between 2014 and 2019. We have made the case consistently for investment in Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) and have demonstrated that the short rail link (which needs 4km of new tunnel between Langley and Terminal 5) will deliver economic benefits of over £2 billion and create 42,000 new jobs [MC emphasis]. This project is one that Network Rail is required to deliver; and it is crucial to TVB’s growth ambitions. Also important is the completion of Reading Station; the provision of Crossrail services to Maidenhead (and beyond); and the electrification of the Great Western Mainline beyond Newbury.”

    “Future investment by many firms in TVB is dependent on a positive decision about Heathrow expansion, but for many more, it is critical to get clarity about the airport’s future, rather than further debate.
    » Second, it will be important that central government follows through on the commitments it has already made – including, for example, in relation to Western Rail Access to Heathrow and improvements to the M4 motorway.”

    “In order to deliver our Strategic Economic Plan, we have defined four high level investment programmes:
    » Programme A: Promotion and international positioning of TVB
    » Programme B: Enterprise, innovation and business growth
    » Programme C: Skills, education and employment
    » Programme D: Infrastructure – transport, communications and place-shaping.”

    “Rail
    The government, through DfT and Network Rail, is committed to major investments in the Western Route; as explained on page 16, they amount to 20% of the UK’s national investment programme for Control Period 5 (£3bn) including electrification, new trains, Crossrail, Reading Station, and Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH). These investments are of major importance to sustaining and improving the local, national and international connectivity of TVB, and we value very highly our continued partnership with the railway industry. Our challenge is in designing and delivering local links and interchanges at the key stations. The Western Route is not the only significant railway serving our area: the Reading to London Waterloo and Reading to Gatwick lines are also important, and in need of continued investment. This includes the emerging possibility of a Southern Rail Access to Heathrow. We will continue to work with rail and aviation industry colleagues to compile the evidence to support further investment in these strategic links.”

  108. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar – “I can summon spirits from the vasty deep – Aye, but will they come when you do call them?” should be engraved on the letterheads of all such windshops”. We have been here so often before – remember SWELTRAC, the Teesside Metro, the Avon Metro and all these other local authority-inspired schemes? The numbers actually delivered can be numbered on a something less than the fingers of one hand.

    To answer your question, this month’s experience as a (non-political) parish councillor confronted with the government policies on localism show just how easy it is for any hobbyhorse rider (caballista?) to get onto one of these bodies – we are all enjoined to produce “Neighbourhood Plans” which will be devised and written by “working groups”. These groups are to be populated by self-nominated individuals and can choose and promote their own agendas without any form of democratic or even bureaucratic oversight. Despite this invitation to amateurism, these Plans will eventually have some statutory backing…

  109. Fandroid says:

    Caballista. Now there’s a word. We’ll soon have an entirely new language.

  110. timbeau says:

    @Alan Griffiths
    “I don’t think you’ve quite understood the value of a Lothian Buses Day Ticket. After 09:30 they cost the price of 2&a half singles. If you make more than 3 journeys during a day, you’re quids in. ”

    If I’ve understood this part of the article correctly
    “A £3.50 adult bus day ticket will now also be eligible for tram journeys and passengers can board a tram at the airport and travel on trams and buses all day for £8″
    this means you will pay £4.50 extra to extend the day ticket to be valid at the airport.

    You have to dig quite deep to discover the single fares, but those are what most people taking the tram to the airport, are likely to be using. The Day Ticket is useless for most people travelling to Edinburgh Arport, especially as late as 0930: they are most unlikely to be expecting to use any other Lothian services later the same day!

    And as you say, the day ticket costs more than two singles, so even if you use a bus to connect with the tram it’s still more expensive. Many more will want to connect by train from Haymarket or Edinburgh Park (not Waverley – the nearest tram stop is a long trek).

  111. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    “The numbers actually delivered can be numbered on something less than the fingers of one hand.”
    Really?

    Cambridge busway, Croydon Tramlink, DLR, Edinburgh trams (all right, not quite delivered yet), Jubilee Line extension, Luton busway, Manchester Metrolink, Midlands Metro, Nottingham NET, Sheffield Supertram, Tyne & Wear Metro…………

    How many fingers have you got?

  112. Castlebar says:

    @ Graham H

    Our “Board meetings” used to be weekly, followed by lunch

    When money became tighter, they were referred to not as board meetings, but as waffleshops, because it was only then realised that the thing that was consumed most, was – - -TIME

    The board room then became known as “The Wind Farm”
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    And yes,

    “Despite this invitation to amateurism, these Plans will eventually have some statutory backing…”

    Here in W Sussex, we discovered this with “Community Partnerships”. Even if only 3 human beings are involved in a parish, a Community Partnership designated committee of 3 “hobbyequus cabalistas” can get statutory rubber stamping from the County Council on some quite ‘off the wall’ ideas. Seriously, worth a look!

    ………………..now for the Arundel Chord!!

  113. Chris says:

    If Heathrow Express does continue to use the fast lines between Paddington and Heathrow, presumably that means that the equivalent paths are available west of Heathrow? So an inter-city train from Cardiff/Bristol terminating at Heathrow would have a path to use – although obviously at nothing like the same frequency as HEx.

    In an ideal world a combination of long-distance and more local (Oxford/Newbury/Milton Keynes) services would provide a step change in public transport provision and quality to Heathrow.

  114. Graham H says:

    @timbeau – many. I deliberately excluded those schemes (and my apologies for not making this clear) which were promoted by PTEs, LRT etc as these were bodies that were deliberately set up WITH FUNDING AND POWERS to procure such schemes. Strip these out, and the list shrinks to a normal hand and at least one of those you mention would seem to be a serious mistake. Difficult, if not impossible, to point to any scheme that has been successfully procured by a TVBLEP type talking shop.

  115. Castlebar says:

    @ Graham H

    The new (rarely used) pontoon in the River Arun at Arundel, shows what Community Partnerships (composed of three people) can do with money that bodies can “find” for new projects just before the end of a tax year with the right statutory rubber stamp on it.

    Good fodder for future rail projects, (but don’t tell the crayonistas. Ooops!)

  116. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Graham H / Chris
    LEPs haven’t yet been given lots of money, nor have they any formal powers but rely on existing delivery authorities (eg counties, PTEs etc) to do the legals. Therefore one needn’t yet be unduly harsh on them and their existence.

    By the way, the GLA LEP is giving £27½m to the Lea Valley 3-tracking scheme and Angel Road interchange, which is a notable outcome and almost matching the £30m guaranteed by the East West Rail local authorities for their own railway.

    The LEPs are now being invited to bid by March this year to share in a £12bn 6-year pot. There are 39 English LEPs, so in crude numbers that amounts to £50m p.a. per LEP for a 6-year period. Graham Pendlebury of DfT has said in conferences that this will be a competition, winners and losers, so £50m p.a. is exactly not what they’re guaranteed to get.

    And as noted above the LEPs have a broad agenda, not just infrastructure. However we should see later this year what colour their infrastructure money turns out to be. Trouble is, even 1/6th on transport by each LEP wouldn’t buy a lot of heavy rail infrastructure. Might be better to facilitate other things, like new stations, local capaity enhancements, integrated ticketing, branding and marketing, etc. Would be worth looking at the draft SEPs around the country to see what they are focusing on. TVBLEP example is shown above.

  117. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar – we really need a new word or even quasi-acronym for these creatures. Quango won’t do as these things are not statutory bodies but non-statutory windfarms /outshoots of local government. How about Quangle*? (With apologies to E Lear). Maybe Mr Maud will give us money to have a Quangle cull in due course?

    *QuasiAutonomusNonlocalGovernmentEnterprises

  118. Anonymous says:

    NoGGLE – Non Government Grouped Local Enterprise

  119. Castlebar says:

    @ Graham H

    You said “we really need a new word or even quasi-acronym for these creatures”

    Be careful. A new quango could easily be formed to come up with such a name, reporting to DaFT.

    Formed with such luminaries as Lord Wakeham, Lord Hanningfield and Wayne Rooney and Katie Price.

  120. Graham H says:

    Well at least Katie Price would reduce the average weight and increase the average IQ of that group.

  121. Castlebar says:

    @ Graham H

    Yes, and I understand she’s very good with horses

    Now that we seem to be agreed on the effulgences (Lord Hanningfield will be perfect with assisting for our expense claims), who are your nominations for strawmen??

  122. Graham H says:

    That’s such a tempting prospect that I think I’ll need to lie down all afternoon in contemplation.

  123. straphan says:

    @Graham H: One thing not being brought into consideration, though, is crowding and seating. HEx pretty much guarantees a rather comfortable seat to anyone who travels on it. Crossrail trains will only have a limited number of seats available (I take it they will be arranged longitudinally) and westbound journeys – particularly in the p.m. peak – will most likely be very crowded indeed, making them rather uncomfortable for persons and groups with heavy luggage. It may very well be that – should HEx lower their fares considerably – some people travelling to Heathrow from the West End (and possibly even the City) may choose to take a taxi to Paddington and then a more comfortable train.

    This notwithstanding, I am certain HEx will still take a huge demand hit once Crossrail commences through running to Heathrow.

    In an ideal world, I think the best solution for the area would have been:
    - to run Crossrail to Reading, taking over all Relief Lines services;
    - to replace HEx with more Crossrail services (at least 4tph to T5)
    - to replace current proposals for cascaded 100mph EMUs to places like Bedwyn or Oxford with new 110mph EMUs which would work much better with the 125mph long-distance services on the GWML Main Lines. I appreciate the business case for the electrification of the GWML was predicated on the use of refurbished EMUs, but given the scale and pace of growth of the Northern English, Welsh (OK, this one isn’t growing but is still sizeable) and Scottish electrification programmes the value of any 25 kV EMU carriage (refurbished or otherwise) should slowly be approaching that of gold dust on a per-kg basis…

  124. Fandroid says:

    @timbeau. @Graham H. Add Gosport busway to that list. Which one was a ‘serious mistake’ ?

    Given the serious practical difficulties confronting an LA grouping without powers or funding, I think the success rate has been remarkable. To add in some more: East-West rail has got a commitment, as has Herts CC with the Croxley link. Even WRAtH is now on Network Rail’s ‘to do’ list due to the constant lobbying of those same local authorities. Things are also likely to happen in Avon. Be not offput by councillors waffling. The officers often know what they are doing!

  125. Graham H says:

    @straphan – couldn’t agree more – it’s exactly the same at Gatwick. One bidder for TLK?Southern is said to be musing on having a “Gatwick Express” 4 car set attached/detached to a through service at the Airport to reconcile the problem of comfort/luggage versus line capacity. That won’t work with XR unfortunately, given the nature of the XR sets. I doubt if there is a glib answer to the HEX problem – possibly an o/p only version of HEX on the grounds that the airport’s “busy hour” doesn’t coincide much with the a m peak?

  126. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I see Ealing Council have decided Crossrail stations in its borough are not architecturally exciting enough. They have appointed their own architects to revise / fine tune the proposed station designs. Note the reference to “not significantly increasing costs” – ho hum. I can almost hear the teeth grinding at Crossrail HQ.

  127. Castlebar says:

    “………………….so that it is visually more striking, creates more of a landmark and enhances the surrounding area……………..” > > > We saw a lot of that in the 1960s, (some now already necessarily demolished)

    I also remember that Ealing Broadway was one of the stations so “enhanced” in the early 1960s, until when the District Line had a separate entrance

  128. Graham H says:

    To mention the designs for the Breitspurbahn Hitlers would be malicious but relevant…

  129. Milton Clevedon says:

    @GH Please explain?

  130. Graham H says:

    The Breitspurbahn Hitlers was to have been a very broad gauge (3m) T-shaped system to link Paris to Moscow and Berlin to Istanbul. Double deck trains with saloons the size of large drawing rooms were to call at monumental domed stations that made the O2 look puny – so high that they had their own microclimate. By either Speer or Klee, if I recall correctly. Fearsome 7 m high steam engines were to shunt the stock, although the lines were to be electrified for commercial use. Apart from some attractive watercolours of the interiors of the coaches and architects plans for the new Berlin and one or two other stations, nothing was done, except a wooden bogie and point were constructed. Needless to say planning continued well into 1945. Ealing’s stations would be following in that sort of tradition perhaps?

  131. Graham H says:

    @MC – on second thoughts, perhaps the comment might do better under the OOC thread?

  132. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Milton Clevedon,

    Well I can only presume that Graham H is using an archaic form of the genitive and referring to Hilter’s Breitspurbahn (wide gauge railway). Even the german http://www.breitspurbahn.de website refers to refers to it Hilter’s Breitspurbahn not Breitspurbahn Hitlers. There is also the inevitable wikipedia entry for those interested.

  133. Graham H says:

    @PoP – at the time, such archaicisms were, of course, promoted along with Fraktur, fancy spellings and replacement of Latinisms in vocabulary with their German equivalents. How unlike neu-Deutsch – I recently noted some DB stock going in for “das Freshuplook”.

  134. Malcolm says:

    By Godwin’s law, Ealing Council seem to have won permission already…

  135. Westfiver says:

    I have already submitted my objection to Ealings planning department re Crossrails design of Ealing Broadway. The frontage is cheap and nasty with a ridiculous canopy. Also the platform canopies are sub-standard and inadequate, as they do not extend to the platform edges.

    The design is not future proofed, immediately the replacement station is completed, developers could come along and knock down Villiers House above the station.

    Yes, it would be a good idea to re-open the old district line station.

  136. P Dan Tick says:

    @Graham H. Unfortunately I think you accidentally libelled the memory of Paul Klee. He was described by the Gestapo as a ‘typical Galician Jew’ and left Germany in 1933.

  137. Fandroid says:

    @Malcolm. How can Ealing Council have won permission already? Isn’t it Crossrail’s (or Network Rail’s) application that has to be given planning consent (even with Ealing’s architects contribution)?

  138. Malcolm says:

    No, I wasn’t being wholly serious. Godwin’s law (of internet debate) says that bringing Hitler into a debate can be taken as handing victory to your opponent. Perhaps UK Holocaust Memorial Day was not the best chosen moment for such an attempt at light-heartedness: sorry.

  139. Milton Clevedon says:

    @GH
    Thank you. I was aware of the broad gauge railway scheme but not the intended scale of the buildings. One wonders what Dorpmuller (head of Reichsbahn) thought of having to pander to his masters with such an unlikely use of wartime resources. Interesting to think that his planners were spared the front line while they got on with such proto-crayonism, though mind you, we were developing our equally unaffordable and unjustifiable Railway (London Plan) versions and the 1944 Abercrombie Outer Circle through the Home Counties.

  140. Graham H says:

    @PDANTick – no slur on Klee was intended. (For family reasons, I have a soft spot for Galicians…)

    @MC – wasn’t Dorpmuller the man whom the Nazis used not just to run DR but also to project manage (as we would say today) other infrastructure projects such as the Autobahn programme?

    BTW, the Germans have form in the area of “displacement activities” – At (I seem to recall) a suburban station in the Hamburg area, there is a plaque recording the dissolution there in April 1945 of the Reichsbahn Direktion Posen, several hundred kilometres away – apparently, as the Russians advanced, they simply boarded a special train and went west, presumably busily awhile ordering non-existent railwaymen and trains to do whatever. And the Imperial court in November 1918 was preoccupied with deciding the succession to one of the most insignificant states (Reuss zu …?)

  141. Windsorian says:

    NCE News report 27.1.14 5.15pm:

    Ealing Council has appointed architects HOK and John McAslan + Partners to improve the design of two Crossrail stations.

    HOK has been asked to review and amend plans drawn up by Crossrail for Ealing Broadway in a bid to improve the look and feel of the building.

    At Southall Station, John McAslan + Partners will work with Crossrail to improve the appearance of the station and make it as easy as possible for passengers to use.

    Leader of the council Julian Bell said: “We know that Crossrail will bring huge economic benefits to the borough and accelerate the regeneration already taking place.

    “But the council is also determined to ensure that we get the best possible station designs, because they will be significant buildings in our town centres, and experience shows good design brings greater regeneration benefits.”

  142. Milton Clevedon says:

    @GH
    Yes, the DR ran the Reichautobahnen to the designs of Dr Todt.
    Dr Dorpuller was an experienced professional railwayman having run railways previously in China and elsewhere.

    Major Derek Ezra (now Lord Ezra) interviewed him as part of an army intelligence assessment in 1945, just after the end of the European War, and regarded him as exceptionally skilled, able to lead the management and operational delivery of an entire continental railway under immense pressures, with a geography stretching from the Spanish border to the Russian front. He was not seen as a Nazi, his deputy Albert Ganzemuller was the political appointee.

  143. straphan says:

    I think Ealing Council (and councils along the Great Eastern as well…) are also a little disappointed that Crossrail will not deliver step-free access at all stations. Which – to be fair – would cost peanuts when compared to the overall cost of the scheme.

    @Graham H: I think comparing Gatwick with Heathrow is apples and pears territory. Heathrow is at the end of the line (it remains to be seen for how much longer) and hence allows passengers with luggage to enter an empty train at their own leisurely pace. Gatwick, on the other hand, is a station along what is one of Britain’s busiest railway lines, and the arrangements in the morning peak when you have people with suitcases trying to cram themselves into an already full Class 442 through a door barely wider than said suitcase is – frankly – a joke on wheels. At weekends in the summer Brighton trains are often impossible to board south of the London Terminals (I vividly remember standing on one leg to Brighton in a 12-car 377 last July with the train loaded like a peak-hour tube from Clapham onwards, and lots of people left behind at both East Croydon and Gatwick). I therefore don’t accept the argument that GatEx should be scrapped as a direct non-stop premium service.

  144. Graham H says:

    @straphan – in the end it’s a Benthamite argument – is it worth using scarce capacity for a small number of airport passengers or using it for a greater number of through passengers.? I think the compromise of adding/detaching a dedicated airport set to another 8 through cars is probably as close to a balanced outcome as you can get.

    BTW, not sure I fully understand the argument about LHR being at the end of the line – it is for airport boarding passengers, but, when HEX disappears, passengers boarding in Town will face a train that is already partly filled. I can see the argument that makes for HEX, but – and this is where the parallel with GatEx is exact – HEX uses up capacity that might be used for a greater number of punters from elsewhere. Same consideration but maybe a different solution.

  145. Castlebar says:

    Never mind straphan, on another contemporaneous thread, a new crayonista has suggested extending the Northern Line from Morden to Gatwick. Then it will be a terminal station with empty trains etc., just like LHR

    Good luck to him, his taxes will probably be subsidising our care home fees one day.

  146. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Straphan – if the local authorities are *still* disappointed about mobility impaired access then they are not paying attention. The Mayor, DfT and TfL have agreed to prioritise all of the suburban Crossrail stations for Access for All funding. Sir Peter Hendy explained this at a Plenary session of the London Assembly where some grumpy Assembly members were complaining about the announcement despite it being good news! TfL are looking to find the most cost effective way to provide MIP access based on their experience with other sites given some of the stations have marginal business cases *but* there is an acceptance that the full line needs to offer a common level of service. Sir Peter said the Crossrail Act did not require such provision which he had found surprising.

  147. Graham H says:

    @Castlebar – yes, I’d noticed that too and felt that it was kinder to ignore it; the same “planner” also, I recall, had in mind building a line from Heathrow via Chiswick* and s London to Thamesmead or thereabouts+. I think it was Lord Ashfield who once remarked that the limits to the growth of London were determined by the tolerance of straphangers – something he put at 45 minutes before the war. I suppose you might just reach the edge of London from Gatwick on a tube train on that basis….

    *Yes, I know Chiswick already has a tube line to Heathrow, with or without a change… but geography and reality are not crayonistas’ strong points.
    +Just right to be poised for an extension to Dover, I would have thought, for an onward ferry connexion.

  148. stimarco says:

    @straphan:

    Given that Crossrail 1 is expected to be chock-full of passengers not long after opening, the actual business case for making the platforms any easier to get to is unlikely to be good. Not until a some more infrastructure has been added to the network first.

    Remember, CR1 and CR2 are both old projects. By the time they’re opened, CR1 will have been in what film and TV studios refer to as “Development Hell” for well over 40 years. (At least. The earliest proposal for such a route actually goes back to the 1940s, but the name “Crossrail” first appears in 1974.)

    Even the Thameslink Upgrade that’s still under way (after an ad break for the 2012 Olympics) was originally intended to be completed by 2000. That one’s going to be opening nearly 20 years late.

    London is desperately playing catch-up here. I’ve said it before, but the GLA aren’t building for the future: they’re fire-fighting, just trying to keep up with demand today, let alone tomorrow.

    Mass transit in London by rail has seen precious little real investment: the Victoria Line, Jubilee Line and the DLR are literally the only truly new lines that have been built since before I was even born. All three were built to a price, and the DLR has been paying for that ever since. (Furthermore, despite all the promises, none of those added much useful capacity south of the river, which has serious problems to deal with.)

    The much-vaunted Overground merely reinstated old lines that had lain disused since the 1980s (or, in the case of the Phase 3, rather earlier). This was a very expensive click of the ‘Undo’ button on a couple of line closures; it’s not “new” capacity. That they didn’t even extend the old ELL platforms to a useful length speaks volumes: The Overground was clearly “value-engineered” and, like the first version of the DLR, it’s going to need a big chunk of money in future to fix the problems they had to leave in place.

    If this was a war, we’d call this a rearguard action. This is Dunkirk, not the D-Day landings. We should be talking about the opening of Crossrails 3 and 4 by now, not Crossrail 1.

  149. straphan says:

    @stimarco: so you are saying that in order to reduce congestion at Crossrail stations and on Crossrail trains, disabled passengers should be denied access to some stations? Yes, that argument certainly has a lot of political mileage and appears to be based on sound evidence…

    @Graham H: again, there are some differences between Heathrow and Gatwick that we need to take into account. Heathrow can be reached from Central London by tube or taxi in under an hour. Gatwick cannot be reached from Central London in reasonable time by any other mode of transport than train. Indeed, it has the highest (by far) rail modal split out of all the airports in the UK.

    An airport will require fast, frequent and direct links to the city it serves if it is to serve it properly. If people find they cannot board a train to the airport due to overcrowding (and miss their flight in the process) they will choose to go somewhere else. I did indeed point out myself that Heathrow passengers will have to battle the crowds on Crossrail to get to the airport, but bear in mind they will have a choice of either 4tph Crossrail and 4tph HEx or 8tph Crossrail if HEx folds. That – to me – is a lot of capacity and I cannot imagine that these 8tph are at risk of being full to capacity any time soon (particularly as Ealing, Southall, Hayes, etc. will have the 4tph Maidenhead service as well).

    Gatwick is different. There simply isn’t enough capacity on the railway to have Gatwick passengers share trains with commuters because there is not enough space for air passengers in the peaks, and because air passengers from London have no other (reasonable) means to access Gatwick than rail. Thameslink will add capacity to the route, but if Network Rail’s demand forecasts are correct, we will start hearing the usual moanings about overcrowding before too long…

    The proposal to have a dedicated unit couple to the back of a Brighton (or other) train only solves half of the problem. The key issue (confused passengers at Victoria aside…) is whether this unit will open its doors to passengers at Clapham and Croydon. If yes, then I suggest the bidder goes back to the drawing board…

    For me, the key capacity issue regarding GatEx is that there is nowhere for GatEx to pass other trains that make stops along the way. One of the solutions I was thinking about (before you brand me a Crayonista: I freely admit I do not have the 5 mile diagram of the area or cost estimates to hand) was to change the layout of the Brighton side of the station and incorporate Platforms 16 and 17 into the mainline. By switching platforms over between lines so that you have two platforms in each direction for the fast lines, you would then allow GatEx to overtake trains stopped at Clapham. You could also run other all trains closer together – by allowing one train to pull into the platform as the previous one is still departing from the other.

  150. Graham H says:

    @straphan -However many tph you provide from London to Heathrow, it’s always going to be difficult to guarantee a seat outward bound because the trains will always be well loaded from the east; the other direction is a different kettle of fish.

    As to Gatwick, I believe it has to be recognised that there is no completely satisfactory solution. Even if your overtaking plan works – and one would need to see the graph to get a better view – it will always be the case that that capacity could be used to better effect, or at least to benefit more people. The separate set concept isn’t perfect – and yes, you would have to seal it between Gatwick and Victoria, but it’s no more confusing than the present plethora of portion working that goes on south of the River. It’s a compromise. As stimarco remarks, we are forever playing catch up in this country – made worse by the 20 year holiday in rail planning after privatisation – indeed, we have been lucky to live off work that was already in the pipeline so far, but the cupboard is pretty bare now.

  151. timbeau says:

    The attaching and removal of a unit at gatwick has been tried before – 2HAL units immediately post-war, the “4VEG” units in the early 80s. It can be done, but is logistically complicated – the platform at Gatwick can’t be used for anything else whilst the detached unit is sitting there, and it either has to be shunted from down platform to up platform, or the trains to and from the south have to both use the same platform alternately to reach the platform where the unit is to sit. Clear branding can ensure passengers get in the right part of the train, but passengersto, from, or between intermediate stops can’t easily be prevented from using the Gatwick portion.

  152. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @timbeau,

    Are you sure Timbeau? That may be the situation now but from the middle of next month, when platform 7 opens and all GatEx terminate on the far side of the airport, I would have thought attaching and detaching a doddle.

  153. Castlebar says:

    Are you sure Timbeau?

    Gatwick was effectively closed for years after the war, so 2HAL add-ons at Gatwick were very unlikely.

    My recollections are that Gatwick Airport and Gatwick Racecourse stations only got the “all stations” from Brighton (only one an hour on Sundays in the post war period) and I’m not sure I can remember anyone getting on/off there then. I’m not sure I can remember any splitting at Gatwick, ever, but I can clearly remember it being done at Worthing, Hove and Haywards Heath. I remember the 4VEG. Personally, I cannot remember them being coupled to anything else, except occasionally (a) by accident, or (b) as a “needs must” exercise as nothing else was available

  154. straphan says:

    @Graham H: Re. Heathrow: given we are talking about Crossrail, I’m not too concerned with seats – more with actual room on the train. I understand Crossrail trains will be delivered with all seats arranged longitudinally, so seats will only really be there for the chosen few from Maidenhead or Shenfield (or Abbey Wood).

    Re. Gatwick: I understand that Gatwick Expresses may not benefit as many passengers per path as fast Brighton services, but I am trying to argue that Gatwick Airport relies on GatEx far more than Heathrow relies on HEx because there is no other reasonable way of travelling between Gatwick and Central London in peak hours.

  155. Greg Tingey says:

    stimarco
    1st battle of Alamein, surely? And planning for “Overlord” should be just beginning.

    straphan
    Err – usual problem @ CJ – WHERE are you going to put any extra pl;atforms or passing loops? I don’t think the solum is wide enough, without serious property acquisition / land-take.

  156. timbeau says:

    Slightly mistaken – the HALs were post-war units, but were not dedicated to Gatwick services until 1958
    From the Southern Electric Group
    http://www.southernelectric.org.uk/features/historical-features/fleet_hal.html
    “2693-2699
    War losses to 2 Bil and 2 Nol units caused a shortage of 2-car units so a small batch of 2 Hal units was built at the end of 1948. These units, numbered 2693-2699, were on the same type of underframe and had the same motors and equipment as the 1939 series. However, the new units had all-steel bodies and the front-end profile of post-1945 suburban stock. The DMBTs had …………..larger guard’s vans with a nominal load capacity of 2 tons – …………..
    Large-scale transfers took place in 1958 as the South Eastern Division began to receive new 2 Hap. units in preparation for the Ramsgate electrification. The transferred 2 Hal units replaced the coastal 2 Nol units and enabled a separate Gatwick Airport portion to be provided on semi-fast services from Victoria – the all-steel units 2693-2699 were normally used for this purpose.” [I understand the larger luggage vans was the reason they were selected]
    See also http://www.southernelectric.org.uk/features/historical-features/semifastunit.html
    I thought the 4VEGs worked in the same way, but stand corrected.

    @PoP
    Terminating in/beyond the platform at Gatwick is one thing – having a down through train detach a portion for collection by the next up train is another matter. If the down train is late, the up train has to wait outside the station until it’s gone before it can come in and pick up the portion left behind – or use another platform and leave the detached portion where it is, for collection by a later service – but in the meantime the next down service will have to use a different platform, and leave its own portion blocking that one.
    It can be done, but it has to be slick and is vulnerable to disruption – something similar happened at Bournemouth for twenty years (with a REP detached and a 33 attached, and vice versa), but only once an hour each way, not four times, and they were the only through services using the station apart from the odd inter-regional to Poole.
    Why lock the cars at intermdeiate stations – why should passengers for Clapham and Croydon have to wait for the rest of the train to pull into Gatwick?

  157. Graham H says:

    @straphan – I would agree with both those thoughts – if only there were perfect solutions to both problems. Neither site is ideal in any way for an airport, but at least in the short run, we are where we are. I suppose my underlying message is that I don’t share this enthusiasm for giving airports priority over everything, any more than I believe that fewer air travel opportunities damages the economy: if the business is there, business people will come, grumbling or not. The relatively poor number of air connexions doesn’t seem to be disbenefitting the BRICS economies yet.

  158. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @timbeau,

    I take your point. I was too fixated on a Purley type arrangement where both portions continue on their journey. Nevertheless it would not be as bad as previously with an extra platform to play with. So if the terminating portion of the train did block a platform it wouldn’t cause as much disruption as it would with the currrent arrangement where GatEx trains terminate in platforms 1 and 2.

  159. Josh says:

    Northern line to Gatwick? That sounds amusing. Where was that proposed?

  160. Here. Not sure if tongue-in-cheek or not. Guess we will never know.

  161. stimarco says:

    @Straphan:

    There’s little point in nailing lifts and ramps onto a station if there is minimal demand for such facilities;
    There’s little point in nailing lifts and ramps onto a station if the station sits on a seriously busy arterial road, right on its worst bottleneck, and has multiple side roads to either side, including another busy junction for the neighbouring Sainsburys. Yes, New Cross Gate, I’m looking at you;
    There’s little point in nailing lifts and ramps onto a station which is already at capacity and will need major rebuilding in the near-term;
    There’s little point in nailing lifts and ramps onto a station when there’s no way for them to exit through similar facilities at their destination!

    Most of central London’s core LU stations do not have full step-free access, so it makes little sense to concentrate heavily on fitting facilities at outer suburban stations willy-nilly when most of the really expensive stations haven’t been converted yet. Besides, for many stations, it’s actually possible to phone ahea

  162. stimarco says:

    (Bugger. Premature tab key…)

    d and ask for suitable assistance at stations without suitable facilities. Granted, you typically have to phone about a day in advance, so it’s hardly a ‘turn up and go’ service, but most people with mobility problems already have alternative modes of transport, like Dial-A-Ride, Motability-converted cars, and the like.

    I get the “level playing field” argument, but there are far, far higher priorities to worry about right now. Not the least of which is that you’d have a bloody hard time getting on a train right now during the peaks in large parts of London, whether you use a wheelchair or not.

  163. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Stimarco,

    Far too many completely unnecessary and inappropriate words beginning with ‘b’ recently.

  164. timbeau says:

    ….however, if the seating arrangements on Crossrail are similar to recent TfL offerings (S7, 378) the only way you’re likely to get a seat is if you bring your own.

  165. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Stimarco – just to keep your blood pressure nice and high I would venture to suggest that your new “best friends”, i.e. politicians, really place an enormous emphasis on providing good accessibility for the mobility impaired to public transport. It is an issue that is NEVER going to go away for any political party so it will never go away for public transport operators. Some of the politicians have equality of treatment as a key personal belief while others are no doubt under pressure from lobby groups and constituents. There is, of course, legislation in play as well and as soon as make any sort of substantive change to an asset then you’re likely to trigger compliance.

    I take your point about demand swamping supply but that argument is simply not going to outweigh the demands for improved accessibility. Both have to be dealt with as the decision on Crossrail suburban stations shows.

  166. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Stimarco

    “There’s little point in nailing lifts and ramps onto a station when there’s no way for them to exit through similar facilities at their destination!”

    I disagree. Given the mandated Access for All program, it’s necessary to start as soon as possible with making stations accessible. Suburban stations, being less constrained, above ground etc are the best starting places. But the point is to start the works and to start them before their costs escalate as well. The short-term view may not be practical for destinations in Central London, but as the saying goes A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

    For example, as I have seen on the subway a few times, a wheelchair user uses an escalator to descend to the platforms. Not completely safe, and not something I’d recommend, nonetheless they would have an easier, and safer, exit at the accessible suburban destination.

    As the natural sciences have discovered, even the 10% vision in some animals is an evolutionary advantage over those with less sight.

    Furthermore, additional lifts in stations provide more exit throughput, help those with large bags of shopping etc, providing safety and commercial benefits, to list but two advantages to more abled passengers.

  167. Castlebar says:

    @ Long Branch Mike…..”As the natural sciences have discovered, even the 10% vision in some animals is an evolutionary advantage over those with less sight.”

    There is an old saying, “In the Kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is King”

  168. Westfiver says:

    Longitudinal seats in a Cossrail train?

    I would not like to be on board when the driver applies the emergency brake at 90mph. There’s going to be a lot of people flying around causing untold no of injuries.

    Will the RSSB permit it?

  169. Windsorian says:

    I was working in Hong Kong just before the handover.

    Yes, stainless steel longitudinal seats with no armrests / dividers !

  170. AlisonW says:

    Stimarco: why? Because it is the right thing to do.

    We don’t all have access to those other options you list, and they are impractical in many cases too. Access must be seen to be provided equally for all also because otherwise you might as well invite Rosa Parks.

    AlisonW, disabled freedom pass user!

  171. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Stimarco

    “There’s little point in nailing lifts and ramps onto a station if there is minimal demand for such facilities;”

    To add to my previous post, as the population ages, more and more of us will require assistance, what with bad backs, legs, not to mention those with sports or work injuries.

    There is also the principle of induced demand – that is, we don’t know how many disabled would use a non-accessible station, because they probably would not bother trying. However once made accessible, this will induce those who previously avoided the station to use it.

  172. Melvyn says:

    Those who say trains to Heathrow will be overloaded from the Eaśt forget that many Crossrail trains are currently planned to terminate just past Paddington due to lower demand on Western side of route.

    However, if extension to Reading was made it would be possible for Crossrail to take over services to Reading from Paddington with added advantage that further stations to Reading would be through journey on Crossrail while passengers who change trains at Reading from GWR or Cross Country will have through service to Central London and indeed only 1 change at Farringdon to access Thameslink network !

    I still think extension of Crossrail to a junction with SWT could offer benefits of better links to Heathrow from stations in South west London / surrey.

    A mock up of planned Thameslink train was shown on TV tonight and it seems to have benefit of wider through links between carriages as on overground but also has conventional seating layout in section shown.

  173. Graham H says:

    @Melvyn – er, sorry to say this, but the debate about extension of XR to Reading has been running now for many years and is a frequent and current issue in this forum. The “one railway for the SE with a single interchange at Farringdon” was part of its earliest planning. So, no need for an exclamation mark, really.

  174. Fandroid says:

    Melvyn’s comment about extending Crossrail into SWT territory would make a huge amount of sense. Airtrack does have a serious issue with level crossings (not just with Philip Hammond MP). Given the current plan to terminate Crossrail services at Terminal 4, it might make a lot of sense to take a tunnel to Feltham, rather than Staines. Leave the future Thames Valley links to WRAtH and FGW’s successors.

    In full Crayonista mode, a Feltham link would require about 3.5 km of tunnel. Perhaps Mark Townend could do us a nice drawing?

  175. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – indeed, there’s more than one way to Reading…

  176. Milton Clevedon says:

    @Fandroid
    The Heathrow Terminal 4 inquiry which I attended had presentations from Philip Satchwell BR L&SE advocating a Feltham-T4 spur as a low-cost prelude to a future full-blooded extension to T123, and Ron Brewer for LT advocating a Piccadilly Loop via T4 that also allowed passive provision for a T5 station of the western side of the loop (the location is still there, it was an access adit for the T4 loop construction).

    Ron’s arguments included service reliability and route capacity tests, including assuming that the Piccadilly Line would only operate on average 95% of the planned service, yet there would still be passenger capacity taking passengers largely where they wanted to go within Central London.

    Philip was less confident of his arguments, and was only offering a half-hourly service to start with, I forget which London terminal. He was unfortunate enough after all his evidence and Q&A, to be asked by Inspector Glidewell (an appropriate name), “so is that all you can say in favour of your scheme?” (or very similar to that, it was about 35 years ago so can’t recollect the precise phrase!), in a tone that left no doubt which rail access would be recommended. It was.

    BTW, an Inspector Eyre did the Heathrow T5 inquiry after that.

  177. Graham H says:

    @MC – things hadn’t improved much by the time of the Heathrow Surface Access Study c1991. The Feltham spur with 2 tph to Waterloo was the best the Board could offer, whereas LU looked quite seriously at an express version of the Piccadilly using the four track section between Acton Town and Northfields (possibly to Boston Manor). There was also a suggested VAL Metro starting on elevated stilts at Hyde Park Corner (possibly stimarco would have liked it) and occupying virtually every green space en route. But there was no money for any of that.

  178. Windsorian says:

    The advantage of the T5 – Staines route is it has already undergone two public consultations and was ready for a Transport & Works Act Order. It was BAA’s proposal to construct, operate & maintain this link from T5 to the existing Staines / Windsor rail line.

    As a direct result of the Davies airports Surface Access letter, all options will be open to reconsideration:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/airports-commission-welcomes-surface-transport-improvements

  179. answer=42 says:

    Nothing against an extension to Staines but there were serious problems with the proposed Airtrack services which went beyond level crossings. Of the three services proposed, two (Reading and Waterloo) would give no significant journey time improvements to the terminal stations. Hence most benefits would have been generated by the fact of the increased level of service on the existing lines. And we know what happened to that idea.

    The alternative would have been a shuttle to Staines, plus the third proposed Airtrack service to Guildford. These are not incompatible with WRAtH.

  180. straphan says:

    @stimarco: I think others have said what I wanted to say and more in reply to your post. I rest my case.

    Regarding the issue of southern access to Heathrow, I would expect the best business case to be for a semi-fast service going as far as Guildford or Basingstoke – or possibly even Portsmouth or Southampton. These people have to rely on roads to get to Heathrow, and the M25 section between the junctions with the M3 and M4 is already 5 lanes wide (and barely coping…). Transferring at least some of those people onto the tracks would go a long way towards relieving road congestion there.

  181. Milton Clevedon says:

    @answer=42
    The underlying Southern Airtrack problem – setting aside level Xings which must be addressed – is the slow roundabout route for trains to the West/SW from T5 – a crawl via Staines or something like that and a lot of grief and cost also in the Staines area.

    Better (at marginally higher capital cost but then get 60 year payback) to have a fast route alongside the M25 across the Thames and past Egham, then sort out your junctions (maybe sooner for London via Staines).

    Journey times down by 5-10 minutes per passenger = rather better BCR.

  182. answer=42 says:

    @MC, Strappy

    Very interesting posts. I know that Mayor Johnson has someone working on a ‘rail bagel’ around London. Given his track record on specifying transport infrastructure, not to mention his Heathrow views, I suppose that we should be very afraid. Nevertheless I still live in hope that this initiative will deliver something along the lines that MC suggests.

    The ‘rail bagel’ should also address freight issues, including those related to Heathrow. But I suppose that this would be too much to hope for.

  183. stimarco says:

    @Pedantic of Purley:

    I’m half Northumbrian, and half Italian. The “b” word has the same meaning and ‘strength’ as “sod” up there. It’s like using “bloody” down south: it’s the verbal equivalent of HTML’s “<em>” tag. Or Italian-style gesticulation.

    [I don't care. That wasn't the only word that needed less unnecessary use. Occasionally for emphasis is forgivable. This was coupled with a post that was mainly general criticism about how British society works and so not particularly relevant anyway. Tone it down in future or see the post deleted. The meaning to the writer is irrelevant. It is the meaning to those that read it that matters.

    Surely if it is the equivalent of the "<em>" tag and you are clearly au fait with HTML then the thing to do us is to use the <em> tag! PoP]

    @Long Branch Mike, AlisonW, et al:

    I never said the work should never be done. Just that there are much more important things for TfL to spend their limited budget on right now than catering to a small minority of the system’s users. (A minority that, I should add, also included myself until 2009. I spent most of that year re-learning how to walk and had had mobility problems for some 27 years by then.)

    Given the massive delays in getting any new capacity built into the system – Thameslink Upgrade is 18 years late; Crossrail 1 is forty years late! – I expect TfL to concentrate on those “big picture” projects.

    Also, most of London’s suburban stations are under Network Rail control, not TfL. Most people south of the river only see a TfL roundel when they’re already just a stop or two out from one of the major termini.

    TfL have a finite pot to spend each year. All things considered, “step-free” projects are not – and should not – be high on their to-do list at the moment: there are far more pressing fires to put out.

    If local councils want better stations, they’re welcome to pay for them. It’s not as if they don’t benefit from such enhancements. That way, we can have a rolling programme of station enhancements. But the notion that all stations should be so upgraded as a matter of some – or any – urgency makes no sense to me.

    Improved accessibility to stations dating back to the mid-1800s is nice to have, but it’s not a fundamental human right, despite what some appear to believe.

  184. Windsorian says:

    BAA Airtrack October 2008 Consultation Brochure 2

    page 9 : The Heathrow Express service, which operates from London Paddington, will also be extended through Heathrow Terminal 5 to Staines.

    page 21 : We are now proposing to build a new terminating track and third platform, which will allow trains to terminate at Staines station.

  185. answer=42 says:

    @Windsorian
    And not a level crossing in sight. Yet the project was cancelled by BAA for that reason. Either BAA and the councils could not come to an agreement on BAA’s rational proposal, BAA pulled the circuit-breaker for other reasons (think financial crisis and Ferrovial’s position in particular) or both. You could get all Gregly cynical over this.

  186. Josh says:

    Fandroid, if you’re talking about extending the T4 branch, I believe that it is single bore from Central.

    Come to think of it, will Crossrail be okay with that, just terminating at T4?

  187. Fandroid says:

    Crossrail terminating at T4 is what HAH are saying. I think I got that from the Steer Davies Gleave report, so I guess the single bore tunnel is not an issue. My Trackatlas tells me that the single bore bit is about 1.1 km long, dividing out to two tracks for the Terminal 4 station, so no hindrance to a twin bore continuing to Feltham.

    Crossrail going on to Feltham would obviously have to be a joint TfL & HAH thing. I was not thinking of a connection at Feltham, just an interchange (like Abbey Wood at the other end). It wouldn’t directly serve anyone except the denizens of Feltham, but would provide an interchange to Heathrow and the inner M4 corridor (incl Old Oak & HS2?) for a big chunk of East Berkshire, Northwest Surrey and SW London.

    Airtrack on the cheap, but unlikely to bring out the car-drivers of northwest Surrey in fits of the vapours as Airtrack did.

    (Crayons put to bed now)

  188. Windsorian says:

    The WRAtH tunnel proposal is 3.8km long and costed at about £500M (Grip 2 v2 05.12)

    http://thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/our-project-details

    This should give you an idea of a 3.5km tunnel from T4 to Feltham.

    The Airtrack proposal was to take a surface route alongside the M4 into Staines station and has the advantage that if the level crossing problems can be solved, other routes can fan out from Staines.

  189. straphan says:

    @Fandroid: I think a more sensible option of providing Hounslow with a connection to OOC would be to provide a service from Hounslow via the Kew Curve and the North London Line. Hounslow Borough themselves proposed something similar in their Local Plan: http://www.hounslow.gov.uk/local_plan_chapter10.pdf‎. I know this would involve electrifying the Kew Curve (and with third rail, no less!) and possibly redoubling Old Kew Junction, but that wouldn’t really cost the Earth, would it?

    I think serious investment into airport access will not be made until the Davies Commission makes its final recommendations. But given their initial recommendations, it is highly unlikely that either Heathrow or Gatwick will be wiped off the face of the Earth any time soon (unless Cameron gets hit by a bus and Boris becomes Prime Minister, of course :P), and both will require enhancements to surface access as passenger numbers grow.

  190. Fandroid says:

    @straphan. My thoughts were really about getting people from the south and west to Heathrow. Airtrack wanted to provide a service from Waterloo as well as Reading and Guildford (both the latter via Virginia Water). With Crossrail almost there, Waterloo is not now such a vital destination. For regular business travellers it would not be a great hassle to change from the normal Reading and Windsor line services to an airport service either at Staines or Feltham. I suggested Feltham as an alternative to Staines, as Crossrail is definitely going to Terminal 4, whereas Terminal 5 seems to be reserving itself for HEx and WRAtH. As far as understand, Airtrack intended to terminate at T5, not carry on through the Heathrow tunnel.

    Crossrail connecting to the SW lines would be more useful than HEx doing so, as it would offer just as quick a trip into Heathrow plus more potential destinations, not just HEx’s Heathrow and Paddington (at premium prices).

    I actually got my latest HEx/Crossrail info from an article on HEx and Connect in the February 2014 Modern Railways.

    I see from Mr Wiki that Airtrack was costed at £673 million, but as well as 4 km of connecting line (incl a tunnel out of T5) this included a new west chord at Staines, plus lots of rolling stock and a depot at Feltham (!)

  191. Windsorian says:

    Half the Piccadilly line trains terminate at T5 and the other half loop around T4.

    Surely an extension of the T5 terminators should be considered as options for Southern access, WRAtH or a Heathrow Hub GWML station.

    In 2012 BAA floated the idea of T4 moving into the Toast Rack, reducing the main terminals to just two, West (T5) and East (T2); this would free up the 4thp T4 XR trains.

  192. Anonymous Too says:

    There’s a consensus here that Crossrail should go to Reading.
    Now it may be that I am raw in these matters so don’t all shout at once.

    I travel on trains all over this island and I know that Reading travellers simply love jumping on West Country expresses. True, they are not always guaranteed a seat but they can get a drink, sandwich etc should they wish. It currently takes 25 mins or so.

    Why, particularly in the a.m. peak, will they give that up for a seat on a longitudinal bench. Given the amount of trains starting at Paddington they will also be able to nip down the escalators and be assured of a seat for any onward journey.

  193. Mark Townend says:

    @Windsorian, 29 January 2014 at 19:18

    “Surely an extension of the (Piccadilly) T5 terminators should be considered as options for Southern access, WRAtH or a Heathrow Hub GWML station.”

    To Staines or Slough or this new hub perhaps but certainly no further. Tubes couldn’t get to Reading or Woking without significant new parallel construction, as they couldn’t share existing main line infrastructure as has been proposed for WRATH and previously for Airtrack. There are overrun tunnels to the west of the station however to join a new extension to with minimal disruption for existing services.

    @Anonymous Too, 29 January 2014 at 19:39

    I think we are agreeing the main benefit of extending all stations Crossrail to Reading is to simplify operations on the relief lines and provide sufficient capacity for the burgeoning local traffic along the the Thames Valley, including the significant reverse commuter flow into Reading itself. Despite calling at all stations a Crossrail service could still manage Reading – Paddington in just over 50 minutes.

  194. timbeau says:

    @fandroid
    “With Crossrail almost [at Reading], Waterloo is not now such a vital destination.”

    I think the commuters from Winnersh, Wokingham , Bracknell etc would have something to say about loss of their direct London services though.

  195. Pedantic of Purley says:

    There’s a consensus here that Crossrail should go to Reading

    There is a mischievous little voice in the back of my head telling me I ought to ban any discussion on Crossrail going to Reading on the basis that everyone thinks it is a good idea and therefore all discussion is pointless.

  196. Sean says:

    If a C2C could be diverted after Bromley By Bow Station then go tunnel along side the Sub Surface tunnels passing Bow Road Station and head to the rarely used Mile End sidings where a tunnel portal could be then simply join the GEML to Liverpool Steet could stop. This would stop C2C using Crossrail tracks and could end up closing down Fenchurch Street and Limehouse. Good idea?

  197. Jeremy says:

    @Sean: I’m not sure you’ll find much support for ‘closing down’ a pair of tracks into London in favour of diverting trains into a station that badly needs the capacity that is due to be freed up by Crossrail.

  198. Windsorian says:

    The game changer is since Crossrail was planned, a decision was made to electrify the GWML; there is NOW minimal additional infrastructure costs as the Reading Station upgrade already makes provision for Crossrail.

    The real question is the timetable and routes; the original indicative of 4tph terminating at Maidenhead has obviously passed its sale by date. The Grip 2 WRAtH study questions whether 10 car fixed Crossrail trains can be justified BCR, which brings us back to HeX 5 car trains. And then there is the Heathrow Hub proposal for a GWML station which the Airports Commission will be examining !

    Train length. The operating cost increases significantly if longer trains are operated. For example, if 10-car trains were used (as would be the case if the Western Access service were an extension of Crossrail), the BCR would drop to 1.07

  199. straphan says:

    The other issue with extending Crossrail southwards is the ‘importing’ of delays from yet another part of the rail network. TfL – as we all know – wants the concessionaire to sign up to 95% punctuality in blood and they themselves have found it hard to prove to potential concessionaires that 95% is actually achievable. If you now extend Crossrail to interact with yet another patch then the 95% target becomes even more difficult to achieve.

  200. AlisonW says:

    “spend their limited budget on right now than catering to a small minority of the system’s users”???? Pardon me for living.

    “ban any [further] discussion on Crossrail going to Reading” Makes sense. Whether it is planned to now or not is irrelevant to the fact that eventually it will.

    Western & Southern access at LHR makes sense in so many ways, prime of which is “because it is (not) there”. Just as with looking at removing terminal stations in central London it should be much easier to timetable services *through* LHR. Except, of course, that passengers are more likely to be lost / have tons of luggage / might get on the train in the wrong direction. The delay on saying yes to the extra runway to add there is annoying. And T4 couldn’t move ‘into the ladder’ as there is no room. West and East terminals already fill the space with satellites, though it could move right up to the Hatton Cross end and replace the servicing area, although it has decent access currently which would be a b****r to move.

  201. Windsorian says:

    @AlisonW

    FT 17.2.12 John Holland-Kaye, BAA’s commercial director suggested “For passengers …………. five terminals could become three or even two, depending on whether Terminal 4 stays”.

    To get T4 into the Toast Rack the logical place is the area at present occupied by the Eastern Engineering base; as much planned preventative maintenance is now carried out at remote airfields, this should not be a probem.

  202. Mark Townend says:

    @Windsorian, 29 January 2014 at 22:02

    The 10 car BCR issue for WRATH is interesting and in particular I wonder how the expense of additional station and track infrastructure at Heathrow to accomodate terminating services from both directions is compared to the claimed additional rolling stock cost of through running, even though turnround dwell times would likely be longer for terminating trains from all direction which itself would have an impact on total fleet size.

    If you refer to my sketch here – http://www.townend.me/files/richingspark.pdf I suggested in the service map that 2 Crossrail trains an hour from Reading might run via Heathrow with limited stops west of Langley junction, whilst another 2 go all stations via West Drayton, with a similar overall journey time and thus a fairly even departure interval from Reading. An alternative would be to have all 4 Crossrail trains from Reading go via Heathrow (with the limited calling pattern west of Langley junction again), and have the 2 all stations diagrams per hour via West Drayton turn back at Maidenhead. Whilst that would remove through Crossrail service between Reading and some more minor stations east of Maidenhead, these links could be provided by the local non Crossrail services envisaged to terminate from the west at Slough, and the major Twyford, Maidenhead and Slough calls would be retained by all such Reading Crossrail trains.

    With either pattern the idea would be that these trains could be carrying local Thames Valley travellers along with those going to or from the Airport, hence helping to fill those 10 cars and increasing the benefit of providing them. Effectively part of the relief service would be diverted via the airport, which probably makes sense to provide attractive frequencies on all parts of the corridor, unless an operator was trying to brand the WRATH service as a premium product with special higher fares to the airport and hence would not want people possibly paying less to travel via and through Heathrow on the same trains.

  203. Anonymous Too says:

    Pop 21:31

    Resist sir, resist.

    “Every one” thought the 1955 modernisation plan was a great idea.

  204. Milton Clevedon says:

    …If they didn’t think to look ahead to the brave new world (they didn’t).

    More fairly, it was the large-scale rail staff strike in 1955 which:
    (a) killed a lot of profitable rail goods traffic
    (b) caused the government to decide to spend heavily on trunk roads in order not to be held to such ransom again by the railways (Churchill had favoured more rail investment)
    (c) meant the Modernisation Plan – also re-investing wrongly in what the railways HAD done – had absolutely no chance at all as a medium term financial reconstruction!

  205. Milton Clevedon says:

    @PoP
    29 January 2014 at 21:31
    Get that “mischievous little voice in the back of my head” to try harder, blease (has to be a ‘b’ word somewhere, acccording to some silly views on this site, anyhow orthogonally it’s only an upside-down and mirrored ‘p’).

    Of course it (the great Crossrail to Reading debate) won’t be “pointless”. For example, without points how will the Henley and Bourne End peak trains which Crossrail wants to discard, but are politically important (cf Theresa May 2015 re-election), going to get onto the relief lines in order to get in the way of everything else?

  206. Ian J says:

    @stimarco: Improved accessibility to stations dating back to the mid-1800s is nice to have, but it’s not a fundamental human right, despite what some appear to believe

    A belief shared by the British government, who have signed the UK up to this (note article 20):

    The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

  207. Windsorian says:

    @ Mark Townend

    I think WRAtH is based on 4 tph Heathrow / Reading through trains, either XR or HEx. At one time there was a Piccadilly line extension proposed to Slough – but this appears to have fallen by the wayside.

    The WRAtH promoters are suggesting 4tph at Slough and Reading, with 2 tph at Maidenhead and Twyford. To get a 6 minute travel time from Slough to T5, I don’t think even Langley gets a stop, so WRAtH may be main stations only.

    If WRAtH is to take over any of the existing relief line trains, this begs the question of the (indicative) proposal for 4tph XR from Paddington to Maidenhead being extended to Reading ?

    I agree any Piccadilly line extension from T5 could only be for relatively short journeys and would be unsuitable for Guildford or Reading.
    At one stage I did see a suggestion that it might go to the Heathrow Hub station (between Iver & West Drayton) to provide a landside connection with a Heathrow PRT providing an airside connection

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ULTra_(rapid_transit)

  208. Taz says:

    @ Windsorian 30 January 2014 at 02:56 ” At one time there was a Piccadilly line extension proposed to Slough”
    I believe the H5 station was designed for onward extension to M25 car park area at least.

  209. answer=42 says:

    @Windy
    Heathrow workers are an important market for rail access. Expect to see a local train of some kind.

  210. Fandroid says:

    @timbeau. My wording was not clear. I meant that Crossrail is not far away from reaching Heathrow (not Reading!). I would never suggest stopping direct services from East Berks to Waterloo, just that a link from Heathrow to Waterloo is not so necessary.

  211. Fandroid says:

    @straphan. I thought I made it fairly clear in my thoughts on extending Crossrail to Feltham that it would terminate there. So no importing of delays whatsoever!

  212. straphan says:

    @Fandroid: if all you want is an interchange between Crossrail and SWT at Feltham much along the lines of Abbey Wood, then that’s fine. Whether the thus generated passenger flows justify all the tunnelling, I’m not sure…

    @Anonymous Too and PoP: Well why is it NOT a good idea?

    If Crossrail terminates at Maidenhead, then what happens to Twyford and the passengers off the Henley branch? What is going to serve them? Yet another service? The previous timetable iteration for Crossrail foresaw a shuttle between Slough and Reading. Do you think that is going to be more cost-efficient than just extending Crossrail ‘a few miles up the road’? I’d be interested to hear your arguments rather than just irony.

  213. @Milton Clevedon, @Straphan

    Both of you seem to be suggesting to me that there will be new issues to consider if Crossrail were to go to Reading rather than saying that it shouldn’t. Whilst nothing against discussing that, perhaps it would be better to wait and see if Crossrail does go to Reading and then maybe that is the time to debate the new issues raised.

  214. Milton Clevedon says:

    @PoP
    Yes there ‘would’ be significant issues, WRAtH and the branches being two of them.

  215. Malcolm says:

    Some of the talk about where Crossrail might end seems to miss one particular point. On any line from a London terminus, the point X at which an all-stations service ends gets not only access to that all-stations service (nice but not wonderful) but also it gets (or keeps) a good service of non-stop-to-London trains (generally considered as a prize beyond rubies).

    Sorry if that seems too obvious to mention, but I thought it should be said.

  216. Graham H says:

    @PoP and others – it’s clear from the emerging GW tender documentation that DfT expects the Thames Valley branches to remain just that – no through trains, particularly not if XR goes to Reading. The branches simply can’t take a standard XR 10 car and running something that they can (eg 4 car) through the central core is a recipe for disaster. But – as the politically aware point out – that isn’t going to be made crystal clear until after the next election.

    BTW, grateful for the latest WRath capex figures – @ £500m, the financing, operating, and maintenance costs are going to be well north of £150m pa. With only 5 car trains @ 4 tph, that means roughly 250 000 cars a year, or about 15m seats. Even if full, that implies a toll of £10 per passenger or a whacking subsidy. On typical occupancy rates, the toll will be nearer £20, on top of the fare. Does anyone believe that that is commercially sustainable? Will the Slough airport workers pay that – no, they will not?

  217. timbeau says:

    @malcolm
    in general that’s true – see Orpington, Surbiton, Welwyn, Luton, and of course Reading for examples: but this is only so if there is a decent service between that point and stations further out – very few services from the west call at Bedwyn for example

    @Fandroid 0904 – realised later that was probably what you meant, but there is no way of editing or deleting comments.
    The concept of intermediate stations is often missed by the press though: recent interviews with Twickenhamites about the prospect of CR2 are a case in point
    A comment about a train cancellation on the traffic news many years ago to the effect of “who wants to go to Cleethorpes in February anyway?” – not many; but a significant proportion of the commuting population of Huntingdon relied on that train.

  218. answer=42 says:

    @Graham H
    Well, WRAtH would, I expect, be run with Crossrail trains but this probably won’t make any difference. I would guess you are right in your estimate of 4tph: 2 faster with Reading transfers as the target market and 2 locals. You could imagine 1 tph direct from Bristol but I wouldn’t count on it.
    Airtrack had envisioned an extension to the GW line. Likewise, I think that any link to the SW (Staines, Feltham, whatever) would also use the WRAtH tunnel. At most, a further 4 tph.
    Effectively, no trains from London would terminate at Heathrow.

  219. straphan says:

    @Graham H: bear in mind that there may just be some actual air passengers travelling on that service. At present, a single ticket on the RailAir coach from Reading to Heathrow costs £15 according to its operator – First.

  220. Graham H says:

    @straphang – yes, indeed, but the half-full trains will command a fare of c£25-30 single (£20 in toll, £5+ fare from, say Reading) to be self-financing. Quite how many air passengers will be amongst the assumed 7 1/2 m annual passengers needed to keep the fares down to this level is unclear. I don’t have handy figures for the split in air traffic between passengers from the west compared with elsewhere, but if they divide proportionately to the populations, the catchment from the east/north/south has a population of around 13m, and from the Thames valley westwards less than half that, rest of UK?, so the annual Heathrow max pax for WRath would be about 1/5 of 70m =c14m. May be 20 30% of that would use rail. Even on a generous assumption that rail captured 1/3 of all the WoE market, it would be struggling to find 5m punters a year (Given that broad swathes of the Thames valley are relatively rail-free or require a lengthy access to a station, there will be some downsides to that estimate.

    I wouldn’t, for obvious reasons, die in a ditch for these figures in detail, but they would have to be more than 50% out to change the basic message. One further consideration: for people travelling in groups of two or more, a taxi becomes a direct competitor to rail over a wide area at this sort of fare. From my house to LHR is £60 one way for a journey of about 35 miles by taxi and, of course, that’s door to door at a time when I want. For a larger family sharing a taxi that range increases.

  221. straphan says:

    @Graham H: I was not in any way questioning whether WRAtH was good value for money or not, I only wanted to point out that the fares to Heathrow may not have to be set so low as you initially suggested in order to be competitive.

  222. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Graham H and WRAtH calculations

    2010 CAA stats (still waiting for ATOC to publish its, in such detail!)
    Non-interlining at London main airports (Pax arr/dep): 92.574m

    (airports are LHR, LGW, STN, LTN, LCY – yes another overlapping 3-letter code system, far more international fun than National Rail AGR, btw AGR internationally is Agra in India, sounds more East than West Anglia, but possibly a case for twinning).

    Of that 92.6m pax, LHR was 42.113m

    Of that 92.6m, local/regional access to/from:
    Berkshire 4.914m
    West Mids Mets + Warks 1.505m (forget Worcs, easy to do)
    All South West + All Wales 5.734m

    I make that 12.153m, for ALL of these catchments, to/from ALL main London airports, of which LHR is 45.5%.

    How much of that share might be rail pax? I’ll hazard 50% after WRAtH has made LHR more attractive (and after allowing a bit for diversion from some other airports because of the rail link).

    Could be totally wrong in that guess, which points to 2¾ million air pax using WRAtH per annum. Which I also think is excessive, 20% gets you 1.1m pax which is more believable. Either way you would need to look for a LOT of other users to make it worthwhile.

    Would be different if LHR was an outer London TfL-controlled toll-free interchange, but it’s a bit of a commercial/operational muddle isn’t it?

  223. Graham H says:

    @MC – many thanks for producing the detailed LHR figures; much better than my first fag packet! Still, as you say, it’s difficult to see where all the WRAth punters are going to come from to pay for it. And the fewer there are, the worse the fare problem becomes, of course. I agree that a modal split of 50% looks high, especially for trips from non-London, which is where other modes have significant cost advantages. Gatwick’s modal split is about one third rail, I believe and that may give a better guide to a “more rural” airport modal split; 20% doesn’t sound way out for that reason.

  224. Long Branch Mike says:

    Fear not, London area Airport codes will be in the Glossary/Compendium, plus LU station codes, London Terminals details etc.

    CAA is Civil Aviation Authority. Pax is passengers.

    cf. means “compare to”, and is the abbreviation of the imperative singular form of the Latin verb conferre, used to refer to other material or ideas which may provide similar or different information or arguments. It is mainly used in scholarly contexts such as in academic articles or legal texts, such as this blog!

    That is all.

  225. Graham H says:

    @strapha – actually, having worked on a number of business cases for airport links, I find a common theme is that rail has a difficult market position with its prices squeezed between bus/coach/metro/private car on the one hand, and taxi/limo on the other. The wriggle room to set fares competitively turns out to be fairly limited. HEX has got away with it because the cheaper alternatives are noticeably slower; GATex, too, although those in the know realise that they can get to Town for a fraction of the price at the cost of a few minutes extra travel time (although it’s worth noting that between 1/4 and 1/3 of GatEx sales are through airlines and tours, where the premium price is masked by other things). WRAth won’t enjoy the same advantages.

  226. Fandroid says:

    I use the Railair coach from Reading to Heathrow fairly often and occasionally also in the opposite direction. These trips start at around 08.00 to 09.30. The coaches run every 20 minutes. My experience is that the loadings rarely exceed 15 passengers. It’s a fairly amateurish service with the on-coach screen telling us to change at central terminals for T4, and the drivers always call out for T4 passengers to change at T5! (T5 is reached first). By the way the National Express service from Woking is worse, with buses cancelled without warning.

    From the numbers I have seen WRAtH would have to generate a lot of new transferees to public transport to stand any chance of washing its face.

  227. Milton Clevedon says:

    @All surface access airport aficionados
    A bigger problem is that enunciated by GH, that as a destination the airport is a difficult market for a surface operator to get a secure commercial entry.

    From the Clevedonesque view, from the end of the pier (might be an aircraft pier but somehow I doubt it), the daddy of the problem is just that, that Heathrow is only ever viewed as a highly priced specialist DESTINATION, not a large-scale if not national in importance public transport interchange somewhere in the great western and south western spiral arms of the London galaxy, where it should aim to be highly attractive to interchange in all directions, and within or across the London/Home Counties divides.

    Instead Heathrow tuns out to be a Berlin (sorry, Bedfont) Wall, equally thin in substance but very effective in deterring real accessibility. So how could one change that, if anyone wanted to?

  228. answer=42 says:

    @Graham and others
    I don’t see, from all you have written, how anyone could have come up with the suggestion that WRAtH would be immediately profitable. The article that said so was in the August 2013 Modern Railways, which I don’t have to hand.

    Maybe you are being a little pessimistic, though. There is scope for railheading to any WRAtH station (if the car parks are big enough), as well as scope for long distance travellers to use it by changing trains at Reading. Politically, it would be seen as an inherently ‘Good Thing’ to support.

    I almost always use the Piccadilly line to access Heathrow, occasionally HEx or a coach, such as that from Gatwick. Unless it was very early in the morning, I would do almost anything to avoid accessing the central terminal area by car. Is my reaction so unusual?

  229. Greg Tingey says:

    So the actual numbers, total of real actual passengers USING Heathrow are tiny compared to say Liverpool St, Waterloo or even perhaps Fenchurch St or (sic) Marylebone?

    Why, therefore are we bothering, apart from providing transport for those who work there?
    BCA figures, anyone?
    Or is is simply fashion that the airport s vital & must be served!

  230. Graham H says:

    @answer=42 – not pessimistic but merely pointing out that the thing is going to be heavily lossmaking – would subsidy be a good use of public money? BTW, even if the WRAth trains ran full with car parkers, there would still be a substantial deficit/need to charge very high fares.

  231. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: WRATH would argue that you are greatly overstating the operating costs – they reckon £15 million per year, not £150 million (see <a href="http://thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/Portals/0/FileStore/WRAtH/Forms&Documents/WRAtH-Regional-Growth-Fund-Application-Form.pdf&quot;here): in fact they reckon the scheme can make an operating profit and cover its capital costs. Their numbers seem to come from Atkins rather than applying a ratio to capital expenditure (there can be no realistic estimate of capex yet anyway as the preferred option has not yet been published).

  232. AlisonW says:

    answer=42 – When I used to fly a lot on business I would try to use City airport as it is much easier / faster to get through. Sadly though most destinations I needed went from Heathrow. I am loathe (!) to use the Picc to get there as it just takes.so.long. and anyway it doesn’t run early enough if you need the first flight out of the day at around 6am (so check-in around 5am). Thankfully we had a car service, which meant I could drive my car out to the terminal (25mins at legal speed at that time of day), hand over the keys to a driver in exchange for the tickets, and not have to worry about parking. (On return they watched the actual touch-down time and were ready and waiting outside the terminal. Superb service).

    Now that I don’t have them the only times I’ve used LHR since I have actually paid for the short-term car park for a few days. Booked in advance it worked out effective.

    Thing is, that isn’t a ‘bulk’ solution and if there had been better ‘public’ services I’d have used them. In my present case I’d want a link from the Overground which doesn’t require doubling back and very long staircases.

  233. Graham Feakins says:

    AlisonW and others make interesting comments on how and when they use Heathrow. Personally I have long hated the place and always use Gatwick (or London City) by preference. If forced to use Heathrow, then (from south London) District Line and the Piccadilly from Baron’s Court but only after the streets have aired, so that long-haul flights would always be afternoon departures. HEX never entered the equation.

    Since Eurostar commenced, all my European journeys have been by train, even so far as using the sleeper from Paris to Munich, wishing that one day there might be such a service from London. However, London-Brussels-Frankfurt and onwards is easily and comfortably achieved should one start off in daylight. Most of the way, you can actually see where you’re going as well! Far preferable to flying – just organise the travel around the railway timetables and even take the chance to have an overnight stay if desired en route. (I was the boss, so I could do just that but I ensured that my staff had the same opportunity.)

    Examples: North Dulwich – Basel leaving at 10.18, arr. 19.09 refreshed and watered, with one change in Paris, or from Herne Hill at 08.13, arrive at 17.26, again with a change in Paris. Eurostar + ICE/TGV etc.

  234. Long Branch Mike says:

    Re: rail transport to/from airports, there are very few that I know of that are regular fare: Cleveland’s and Atlanta’s subways. San Francisco and Vancouver both have a much higher fare at their airport stations.

    From a network and zone survey I had done for a French rail magazine about 10 years ago, I recall that some rail lines were built and commissioned as a separate, non-network fare to make a profit (ie OrlyVAL, Sydney’s?) but soon went belly up and were taken over by the public transport operator. In fact it almost seems a business model for some private airport rail line build-operate companies, in lieu of an upfront public subsidy…

  235. peezedtee says:

    Manchester Airport station has no separate/dedicated airport service, just a load of ordinary trains from a wide range of places across the north of England. Much more useful.

  236. peezedtee says:

    @Graham F

    Like you, I always use rail within much of Western Europe. For Eastern Europe, Greece, much of Scandinavia, it is really too slow. The main trouble with international rail in Europe is it always seems to be a lot more expensive than air, otherwise I think more people would do it. (The other trouble is that people are put off by the perceived complexity of booking it. The Man in Seat 61 is a great boon.)

  237. peezedtee says:

    It seems everyone agrees Heathrow is a nightmare, but as AlisonW says there is often no choice if you are going long-haul to e.g. the Far East. If I have to go there I always get the tube to Paddington and then Heathrow Connect. It only takes 10 minutes longer than Heathrow Express, but is much cheaper, and nothing like as wearisome as the Piccadilly line. As I may have said before, it is a mystery to me why anyone uses Heathrow Express, an absurdly expensive service, unless it is that they are simply unaware of Heathrow Connect.

  238. Long Branch Mike says:

    To give some detail to PZT’s comment:

    Manchester’s LRT Metrolink’s next extension is the South Manchester line ending at Manchester International, for even more service. It’ll take longer from central Mcr to the airport but probably cheaper (good for airport workers and flight crews).

    TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) recently added a third platform for trains at Manchester airport, as trains come from all over the north, Liverpool, Leeds, pass through Manchester Piccadilly, and terminate at the airport. These services are popular with some plane travellers. My in-laws live near the rail line to the airport and there never seems to be alot of people on those trains however. Airport service seems to be every 15 minutes all day long.

    Numbers should increase once the Northern Hub rail plan is completed, routing trains through Mcr Victoria and/or Picadilly from all over the North. But I digress.

  239. Graham H says:

    @Ian J – they would say that, wouldn’t they! They are being highly economical with the truth. The cost of borrowing £500m commercially is around 12%pa = £60m; then there’s depreciation – over a 25 or 30 year project life, that’s about another £15m. And that’s before we get onto rolling stock. As to maintenance and operation, the general experience of railway systems in the UK and elsewhere is that they usually equal the amount spent on carrying the capex. So £150m. I rest my case (and wouldn’t ever buy any bonds issued by TVBLEP if they were ever empowered to issue any ). The numbers could be reduced if NR financed it, as their borrowing rate is that for sovereign debt or thereabouts and that would cut the capex carrying cost quite a bit.

  240. Alan Griffiths says:

    peezedtee @ 31 January 2014 at 07:34

    “Manchester Airport station has ………….. a load of ordinary trains from a wide range of places across the north of England.”

    And lots more in less than 5 years’ time

    http://www.networkrail.co.uk/improvements/northern-hub/

  241. Chris says:

    To be fair, the WRAtH document linked above does not include the debt repayment in the operating costs of £15m pa; it lists them as £41m pa (central case). This is set against revenues of £70m pa which (in theory) leads to a comfy profit of £17m pa. Whether these revenues ever materialise is another question of course.

    The fact that the Government is supporting the scheme (Davies Commission notwithstanding) does seem to indicate that the numbers stack up.

  242. answer=42 says:

    @Graham H, MC
    I just redid your calculations on what I think are slightly more optimistic assumptions and including worker trips. I still wind up with almost £50 per return trip premium requirement. I did the calculations again on the basis of a bigger 3-runway Heathrow. I still get £40 return trip premium requirement.

    It’s a question of the costs, not the usage – the annual finance, maintenance, depreciation costs would have to be £45mn to get the return trip premium requirement to be a reasonable £15. Even if we do not accept Graham’s £150mn estimate of annual costs, a figure of less than 10% of the estimated £500mn construction costs must be impossible. So, yes, I am convinced. Oh, and Thames Valley Berkshire are assuming finance is free, unless they are capitalising the financing costs (which would, indeed, change things a bit).

    Is there a case for public support? Well, probably not. WRAtH would reduce local air emissions and so help Heathrow meet its legal requirements but there are cheaper ways to do this. Even if we are simply talking about traffic congestion relief, there must be cheaper ways, at least in the short term.

  243. Fandroid says:

    My experience of Manchester Airport is that the TransPennine Express trains (non-stop to Piccadilly) are quite well used.

  244. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ answer=42
    31 January 2014 at 09:49

    I accept the premise for your numbers, this a ball-park blogzone anyhow!

    It is indeed the starting capital cost and the subsequent financing charges which are the devil to cast out.

    How to do that? Well It might take you 5-10 minutes longer depending where you go in the airport, but save you £400m, if you could build a left-facing spur onto the GW relief lines westwards at Heathrow Junction between Hayes and West Drayton.

    More of a Reading Connect service, but also valid for eventual through running via Waterloo Airtrack etc. Or wait for a lightly-used HS2 Heathrow spur to be authorised and join that cheapish a few years’ later. (Somehow suspect Chiltern might be aspiring to do that as well.)

    Think the Capex etc toll comes down with a Reading Connect approach to a tenner a head, even if opex goes up from £15m pa to £20m, example numbers below:
    Capex £100m (spurs etc near Heathrow Junction, nothing else, take your chance with relief lines timetabling).
    Gives £12m pa financing (GH 12% charge).
    Straight line depreciation, say 30-35 years, plus rebuild is more in real terms = £4m pa.
    Opex – GH nominal would be same again = £16m, I’ll call it £20m as longer route.
    Total charges (not sure if ALL Network Rail asset charges allowed there) = £36m pa.
    Pax? Er, maybe 3-4m if attractive offer (and lower capex charges make for a more affordable fare anyhow so more aviation workers).
    So crudely a tenner a trip for the toll, plus normative rail fare per mile in addition. Sounds £15-20 per Reading trip, so competitive with Reading Flyer Coach.
    I’d buy that.

    Can you keep headline rail journey time down to 30 minutes to Central Heathrow? Probably, though also not an all-stations offer in order to succeed there. Time via AM peak M4 ? 45-60 mins?, maybe a tad less to T5. All train has to do is be slightly quicker than the alternatives in generalised cost and time.

    So can the LRC Armoured Crayon Division now swing into action under General Orders and define the more affordable WARtH in fine (Grip 2H) detail?

  245. Graham H says:

    The problem with making an accurate assessment of the opex for WRAth is that it depends very much on who actually “operates” the infrastructure. £20m for the marginal cost of drivers and guards’ wages, and ECFT*, plus the wages and materials involved in maintaining the track, is very likely to come to about that. That said, NR’s cost structure allocates only about a quarter to one third of all its costs to specific stretches of track; another third is allocated only to regional/area/zone; and the remaining third is not allocated out at all. Nevertheless, if NR were to run the infrastructure, that 2/3 of their costs not directly attributable to WRAth would still need to be recovered – hence the much larger figure for maintenance. Even if someone other than NR ran the infrastructure, NR will still make a charge for managing the interface, and the “standalone” operator is then going to have to finance and operate their own signalling and train control – less expensive, perhaps, than letting NR do it, but not a negligible sum (and a whole lot more grief).

    *For LBM’s sake, that’s “Electric Current For Traction”.

  246. Milton Clevedon says:

    @GH
    Agree about another interface and the extra track, but here the additional infrastructure is small and the rest of the overheads are presumably already divvied over Crossrail/GW relief operations anyhow. If there were re-apportionment to WRAtH trains, someone else (eg Crossrail) should win, and there should be a broadly zero sum game depending who runs what trains.

    So I am unclear why it should really cost a lot more, for largely using that which is there already? Obviously the marginal costs have to be borne, but why should the overheads grow.

  247. Graham H says:

    @MC – they probably don’t but they are recovered by spreading, so if there’s a bigger base over which to spread them, then that’s what happens, as with access charges. Actually, there is a rationale for that – if every increment to the infrastructure was treated as marginal, then, over time, the cost allocation would become unbalanced between “marginal” and “non-marginal” infrastructure. There is also perhaps a more oblique point here. Railway closures are usually triggered by major renewals events and the total savings assume that many shared costs can – eventually – be escaped. Openings are the mirror image of that. The well known step function in railway costs in relation to traffic volume tends to mask the issue, of course, if there is some slack in asset capacity.

  248. answer=42 says:

    @Graham
    Surely operation expenditure and indeed (most) maintenance should be counted in the price of the rail ticket and not the ‘premium’ required over and above the price of a ‘normal’ rail ticket to cover the cost of building and financing the tunnel? And is it fair to state, despite what you have written above, that this ticket price could be similar in terms of £/Km to other fares in the London commuter region?

    @MC
    You mentioned Airtrack as still a possibility. Wikipedia tells me that the estimated cost was around £673 million, of which about £500mn would have come from government subsidy. I can’t find any estimated usage levels but it would have to come in the range of 3-4 times the WRAtH proposal to be financially viable independent of subsidies. I don’t see this level of use but data on pax origin from SW London and Surrey would be welcome.

    Without subsidy, a combined Southern and Western route that cost around £750-£800mn and on my estimates might just be viable with an unsubsidised premium of around £15/return trip. The CAA apparently did a pax/staff survey of use of the ‘full Airtrack’ which was much more positive than my estimates – the premium comes down to around £10. On my more pessimistic assumptions but including the £500mn subsidy, I get the premium to around £12.

    Either way, an integrated Southern + Western project would clearly be better either than WRAtH or Airtrack as stand-alone projects.

  249. Milton Clevedon says:

    @GH Thanks, situation appreciated. Otherwise we’re back to your Treasury friend saying the first passenger pays all! I’m sure we might prefer the other passengers to pay the long run marginal cost while we get away with a bit of extra wear and tear.

  250. answer=42 says:

    Apologies, obviously I did find usage forecasts for Airtrack and didn’t edit properly.

  251. Graham H says:

    @answer=42 – I’m not quite sure of the point you are making – forgive me. The basic argument that I am trying to make is that WRAth is a basket case in financial terms. It isn’t, of course, necessary to recover the deficit from the fare box, it could be done by a slug of public subsidy; the argument would then become one of whether that was good vfm. The same point could be made if just the operational costs were recovered from the farebox (which is what I understood you to be suggesting), leaving the infrastructure cost to be borne by the taxpayer. As to comparable £/km fares – alas, these days, fares are no longer charged on that basis and there is already a wide variation for fares for comparable distances.

  252. timbeau says:

    @Long Branch Mike

    There was discussion recently (sorry, can’t find it now) about Edinburgh’s decision to charge premium rates on the tram connection to the airport, allowing the express bus to undercut it even after its recent price hike – the bus is theoretically faster, as it’s non-stop, but as both services involve street running timings are not 100% reliable. I think the conclusion was that Edinburgh council are being economical with the truth in suggesting that airport services attract a premium – some do (e.g Heathrow Express/Connect, Gatwick Express, and the US examples you cite), and some don’t (e.g Manchester, Gatwick (non-Express), London City, Birmingham (UK – don’t know about Alabama!), Heathrow LU – indeed Zone 5 for Hatton Cross is a bargain compared with similar distances from Central London in other directions)

  253. answer=42 says:

    Graham,

    I agree that WRAtH as a stand-alone project is indeed a ‘basket case’, as you have said all along. I appreciate also that there is market-based pricing within each region, London-region prices being completely different from those in the rest of UK.

    I have been talking about a ‘Heathrow premium’ on top of ‘normal fares’, where ‘normal fares’ represent the approximate level of fares that passengers would expect to pay for similar distances in the same market, assuming the national subsidy regime is unchanged. The ‘Heathrow Premium’ represents the cost required to recover the additional infrastructure and financing costs. Dividing the costs and receipts in this way makes it easier to understand if the project is viable. Under this division, should operational expenditure including maintenance not be excluded from the ‘premium’?

    —-

    The conclusion to my previous post should have been:
    WRAtH alone is a basket case. Airtrack in its original form cannot be done and in its truncated form is probably not viable. An integrated Southern + Western project just might be OK and probably would be if £500mn of government subsidy were available.

  254. ngh says:

    Re Answer=42
    Agree an integrated Southern + Western access proposal should make more sense than stand alone projects especially if they are looking at (local) pollution reduction by having remote park and ride style concepts as well.

    It wouldn’t take to much to max out the existing terminating capacity at Heathrow T4 or T5 so thorough options may make more sense unless substantially rebuilding the Heathrow stations (again) is on the cards.

  255. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ answer = 42

    To respond to your request.
    Restating below Heathrow-only non-interlining pax from CAA 2010 scheduled-only airline data, in terms of surface access catchment (total annual volume to and from catchment, combined, suggest dividing by say 350 for daily 2-way volume):-

    2010 Thousand pax Total scheduled O&D
    via Heathrow 42,113
    GtrLondon 20,946
    WBerks WB,R,Wk,Ox 2,129
    EBerks BF,WM,Slo 1,143
    Surrey 1,961
    Kent 821
    Medway 97
    ESussex 241
    BrightonHv 294
    West Sussex 893
    Hants 968
    Portsmth 188
    Soton 406
    Wight 64
    Bucks 735
    MKeynes 249
    South West 2,941
    Wales 803
    East of England 3,624
    North West 321
    West Midlands 1,088
    of which
    WMid Mets 678
    Warks 134
    Worcs 105
    East MIdlands 1,277
    Yorks & Humber 704
    North East 123
    Scotland 93
    Ireland 4

    BTW
    6 x 9 = 42
    if to base 13.
    Douglas Adams autographed a book with that…

  256. Fandroid says:

    The coming of Crossrail to Heathrow does provide another way of providing access from the west – just think of Hayes and Harlington as a very cheap ‘Heathrow Hub’. Currently, the Connect premium is about £3. With 4tph Crossrail services to T123 & T4, FGW’s successors can choose some appropriate fast or semi-fast services to stop at Hayes and Harlington (the cheapest investment would be to change the name to Hayes for Heathrow Airport). Currently, the time from Reading is around 1 hour to Heathrow, but the ticket price is £19.20. That time could be seriously reduced as the existing connection from Reading relies on a service which has 6 intermediate stops! Knock that down to 2 (Maidenhead and Slough) and advertise it, and the buses might lose some passengers. With First Group in charge of both at the moment, I won’t hold my breath. Anyway, a bit of market testing in this manner might demonstrate whether WRAtH stands any sort of chance.

    I will leave the LR commentariat to demonstrate why stopping some semi-fasts at Hayes for Heathrow will wreck the whole GWML timetable.

  257. timbeau says:

    @Fandroid
    “With First Group in charge of both at the moment, I won’t hold my breath. ”
    conversely, if the railair link is running at a loss (I don’t know – is it?) they could be quite happy to close it and direct passengers to change at H&H instead. (A bus replacement rail service!)

  258. Graham H says:

    @answer=42 – ah, now I see what you mean! The problem with that argument is that the NR element of the opex will still attract their mark up, and the TOCs and ROSCOs will still expect to make a turn on their activities, so the additional allocated cost doesn’t go down. The whole is smaller than the sum of its parts, alas. One of the really unamusing aspects of rail privatisation is that it isn’t a zero sum game. To misquote Mark Twain: [They] earned a precarious living by taking in one another’s washing”, which is why what had been in 1992 a £4 bn industry became, overnight, a £7bn one…

  259. Graham H says:

    @answer=42 – I owe you an apology because I have not shown my rough workings. The first £70-80m figure is the cost of capital and is unavoidable if you pay for new infrastructure. The second £70-80m includes several parties*’ carrying, maintenance and operating costs. The NR element is “invisible” to TOCs because access charges are a cost-pass-through element at best, or in most cases, met directly by grant to NR, so “fares” cover “just” the element that TOCs see. So, in the case of WRAth, the grant to NR to cover access charges would have to go up – or the fares would, over and above what the TOCs need for their own purposes.

    *NR, TOC, ROSCO and even DfT if a premium is paid to them

  260. Fandroid says:

    That misquote of Mark Twain got me into looking up his witticisms. Although some of the writings I discovered made me laugh out loud, it turned out that the ‘taking in each others washing’ line predates Mark Twain (although Victorian writers thought it sounded like him!) The earliest references (1866) seem to apply it to inhabitants of the Isle of Man, although later on, many other species of British islanders were described in the same way.

  261. Graham H says:

    @Fandroid – I thought I remembered a Latin version of the quote, from Martial, but haven’t been able to track it down. Somewhere, there’s a Mark Twain quote relevant to this forum – CrossRail, even – in complaining to the Metropolitan Railway, he said something to the effect that “Saturdays always seem to come as a surprise to you.

  262. Milton Clevedon says:

    @GH. Saturdays indeed. Such as the Saturdays (and Sundays) when the GWML fast tracks will be closed for engineering. So post-HS2 there won’t be enough space on the GW relief lines for Crossrail core + GW fasts east of Old Oak, until Portobello. A future problem. Perhaps never the Twain shall work?

  263. Castlebar (Fulwell Chord U. K. Intensify Timetable!) says:

    Personally, irrespective of witticisms, I’d prefer a couple of hours with Shania Twain.

    But each to their own preferences………..

  264. Fandroid says:

    @Windsorian. Fairly tenuous connection to Crossrail train bid. I would have thought that even the Standard realises the difference between a signalling installation and building trains. Having said that, there will be an on-train component of the signalling systems for the tunnel and for the NR sections to Maidenhead and Shenfield.

  265. Alan Griffiths says:

    timbeau @ 31 January 2014 at 12:45

    ” Edinburgh’s ……………… tram connection to the airport …………… – the bus is theoretically faster, as it’s non-stop, but as both services involve street running timings are not 100% reliable. ”

    The bus

    http://lothianbuses.com/services/airlink

    is express, but it is not non-stop.

    Very little of the tram is street running, except the city centre stretch to the east of Haymarket. http://www.edinburghtrams.com/ Princes Street is already Scotland’s, if not the UK’s, biggest bus lane.

  266. Greg Tingey says:

    Meanwhile it would appear from this piece that DafT have (not) done it again … And that monies hat could & probably should have been spent on transport projects, including CR1 are likely to be returned to HM Treasury.

  267. Fandroid says:

    Greg. You should try reading the article. It says that a £300m underspend by the Highways Agency has allowed DfT to reallocate £200m to other projects, including TfL and Crossrail. So why is DfT to blame for spending more on London’s railways in 2013/4?

  268. Walthamstow Writer says:

    I had a site visit to Crossrail Bond St today. We got a nice briefing on the project and the works at Bond St and then had an aerial view over both ticket hall sites. During the Q&A session someone asked why Hanover Sq was not being linked to Oxford Circus tube. I nearly said “read PoP’s comments on London Reconnections” :-) but instead explained that demand would be unmanageable as would a station complex that combined Oxo and Bond Street. One person on the visit wanted one of the TBMs “rescued” and donated to the Science Museum, another wittily responded that buying the Science Museum a brand new TBM would probably be cheaper than trying to dig any of the working ones out.

    The western ticket hall is now structurally complete inside. The tunnelling contractor is now excavating the adit links from the platform level of the bored tunnels into the station boxes. For some reason I had not appreciated that linking the stations to the tunnels was a separate task or that the running tunnels were a little bit away from the station area. This work is going to take 15-18 months and then the station contractor returns to build the street level station box and do all the fit out. An over station development will follow.

    The view over the Western ticket hall wasn’t terribly exciting as it’s covered over with the ground floor structure or a temporary work deck. We then went to the Hanover Sq eastern ticket hall site for a rooftop view over the site. We entered through a completely unassuming entrance which was akin to one of those secret buildings you see in Bond films. I hadn’t appreciated just how big the eastern ticket hall site was and we got to see one of the big multi level shafts that exist in a few of the Crossrail stations. Again a lot of the site is now covered over or in the process of being. As the western ticket hall is structurally complete the resource is now concentrated on finishing off the Hanover Square box works plus the tunnel to station adit construction. There will then a parallel set of work for ground floor buildings, fit out, commissioning etc. Apparently Bond St will have a “bronze theme” to its internal finishes. I have some photos which will appear on the LR photo pool in a few days.

  269. StephenC says:

    Just noting wrt extending the Terminal 4 branch to Feltham that the branch currently points North East, not south. See section 4 of this blogpost on Heathrow.

  270. MikeP says:

    @WW – Interesting re: Bond St. Having visited TCR last Autumn I thought I’d leave the spaces to others :-). I hadn’t realised prior to my visit that tunneling isn’t counted as civils, and is an entirely separate operation. I guess they couldn’t tunnel the adits until the boxes were complete – nothing to break through into !!

    Glad you were able to take photos – as my visit was much deeper into the works, we weren’t permitted to. But the trip to the bottom of the Northern Line ecscalator decline more than made up for that.

  271. Steven Taylor says:

    @MikeP
    `Glad you were able to take photos – as my visit was much deeper into the works, we weren’t permitted to.`
    I am probably missing something obvious, but why should being `deeper` stop pictures being taken?

  272. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mike P – I asked before our session started if photos were permitted. The young lady from Crossrail seemed rather surprised that I asked but I explained that previous tours had prohibited photography. Sounds like you were on a visit I was scheduled to be on but couldn’t make. Having encountered grief from Crossrail security guards for trying to take photos from the public highway I am somewhat wary about photographing anything to do with Crossrail. To be fair I can understand them wanting to exercise control within the confines of a working site but from elsewhere, such as the public highway, then I’m afraid my understanding disappears very rapidly. As the young lady said “it’s a public project and it’s not a surprise that people are interested in it”. Crossrail do try hard with their public relations and that’s good. They’re less good at ensuring that message has reached the deepest nooks and crannies of the brains of security staff at Crossrail building sites.

  273. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ S Taylor – when I was due to go on a “deep level” visit I asked in advance about photography. This was as much to do with how dusty the environment might be as anything else. I was told in no uncertain terms that while photography was allowed I was not allowed to publish, e.g. on Flickr, anything without Crossrail having reviewed the photos and then approving them. Given I was doubtful that permission would be given for something not taken by an official Crossrail photographer I decided not to bother. On a couple of sites I think photography was completely banned.

    To be fair I can understand a wish to control the “public face” of Crossrail and to avoid unsubtantiated and possibly unfair comment being made on Facebook or Flickr based on something seen on a visit. However why invite the public in to see what is going on and then prevent them from keeping / sharing a record of their visit? Hopefully Crossrail will be good enough to allow uncensored photography on future visits deep inside their stations. I also hope they’ll have “open days” so people can come and snap the station interiors (and possibly back room facilities) to their hearts’ content before the stations open for operational business. We shall see.

  274. Fandroid says:

    @Stephen C. I had accounted for the orientation of the T4 station tunnels in guestimating the length of new tunnels needed to go round a loop to reach Feltham. No worse really than the loop the HEx tunnels do to get from T123 to T4.

  275. Windsorian says:

    My experience of the construction industry is the restriction on photography is to prevent Health and Safety violations etc being published.

    Do you really think tunnelers walk back to the toilet block to relieve themselves ?

  276. Fandroid says:

    @Windsorian. You might be right about the photography ban being there to prevent publication of any H & S nasties. However, I am sure that the concern is about problems far worse than than that of a miner weeing on the spoil conveyor. Tunnelling is still, despite huge efforts to improve it, a dangerous activity.

  277. Windsorian says:

    @ Fandroid

    Much of the groundwater under London is already contaminated from hundreds of years of earth closets and broken drains; a little extra is neither here nor there.

    But it is the possibility of a tunneler in his Crossrail PPE being photographed relieving him or her self, that sends contractors into a blind panic !

  278. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Windsorian / Fandroid – No public site visit has gone down to the levels where the tunnelling work is being done (AFAIK). Obviously the media, top TfL people and the Mayor have done that under controlled conditions and that’s no surprise. The public visits have been within parts of the constructed stations or overlooking them and while not hazard free they are not as dangerous as the tunnels or excavated caverns are. I do understand the concerns about H&S “issues” being misinterpreted by the public but the public are not going to turn up unannounced so the workers will know others will be about and should therefore not indulge in any of the antics that we all know can happen on construction sites.

  279. Steven Taylor says:

    @Walthamstow Writer
    Thanks for explanation re photography. Obviously a balance has to be struck here, namely the issues mentioned and keeping the public informed.

  280. timbeau says:

    @Stephen C

    Feltham is more east than south of Heathrow T4, but the alignment looks like it could be extended to the Whitton triangle area without too many bends quite easily, and hence Waterloo via Whitton or via Hounslow (or both, by splitting the Hounslow loop services)

  281. Fandroid says:

    I meant that a photograph could pick up a real H&S hazard that should have been dealt with and could seriously embarrass the contractor and the client. It has happened so many times with officially sanctioned photos published in construction trade magazines – sometimes on the front page- which are then instantly spotted and remarked upon by the readership.

    ‘Antics’ are very unlikely on a big civil engineering site run by a major contractor, but inadvertent temporary sloppiness occurs all too regularly and a photo could easily pick that up, even if the transgression only lasts a few minutes.

  282. alan blue mountains aust. says:

    Under normal circumstances urine is sterile, but you would not want the site to be potentially contaminated with E Coli strain 157 from other sources

  283. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Fandroid

    Isn’t such crowd sourcing reviews of construction project pictures in fact a good thing in the big picture (sorry I had to)? Finding errors that could cause injury, death, or cost overrun is much more important the contractor’s embarrassment… Such pictures should be published, if only to force contractors and clients to scrutinize their work environment more thoroughly.

  284. Ian J says:

    @Graham H: A few comments:

    “£20m for the marginal cost of drivers and guards’ wages”

    Guards? Not if it’s operated as an extension of Crossrail there won’t be.

    As for the cost of capital, £41m pa debt service allowed for clearly implies a government guarantee so there would be no need to pay anything like 12% p.a. If that’s good enough for Battersea Power Station, it’s good enough for Slough…

    ” the NR element of the opex will still attract their mark up, and the TOCs and ROSCOs will still expect to make a turn on their activities, so the additional allocated cost doesn’t go down”

    If the new service were operated by Crossrail on a concession basis, the new infrastructure were operated by Heathrow on the same basis as the existing rail access to Heathrow, and additional rolling stock is funded by Heathrow out of their regulatory asset base, a lot of these inefficiencies could be eliminated. They are not inherent to the project, just to the insanely expensive way the National Rail network (but not, note, TfL or Heathrow’s networks) is operated.

    It’s worth noting that the application for further funding I linked to was successful, so if as you suggest the Thames Valley partnership are lying, they at least got that one past the Treasury.

  285. Ian J says:

    @StephenC: the branch currently points North East

    Thanks, interesting. In the event that Terminal 4 did move to the Eastern maintenance area, the tunnel is pointing in the perfect direction… and there’s already a Tube station there too.

  286. Windsorian says:

    @ Ian J

    I don’t think the proposal is to actually build T4 on the Eastern Enginering base. Rather the present T4 passengers would use an enlarged T2A and then move by shuttle trains to the appropiate satellite for their destination.

    In the LHR R3 plans T5 will have 2 extra satellites making a total of 4 (T5 already has 2 satellites). However by moving the Northern Fuel farm to the North of the North runway T5 could have a 5th satellite.

    Its the same with T2 where Phase 1 is due to open this July with one satellite; Phase 2 is the demolition of T1 and the construction of an enlarged T2A and a second satellite. When Phase 2 is complete T3 disappears and it looks like HAL have plans for a conference centre and hotel on the site.

    However by encroaching into the Eastern Engineering base T2 could end up with 4 or 5 satellites – enough to cater for the present T4 passengers + some. Think of a LHR with just 2 main terminals T2 (East) and T5 (West). The present T4 loop may be stop for the new engineering base / cargo centre.

  287. timbeau says:

    “”The present T4 loop may be stop for the new engineering base / cargo centre”.

    I would be surprised if the T4 loop or indeed the HEx service were kept just for this – authorised staff would be expected to use the internal airport bus shuttles. The through service from central London to southside is far less important when no passengers (or heir lluggage) need to go there.

  288. Castle Bar over S says:

    L. Underground trains will NEVER be used for areas of an airport to which the public are denied access. This really is a “no brainer”

  289. Fandroid says:

    Judging by T5′s performance, HAL would have to have planned a lot more space into T2 for it to take on T4′s passengers as well as T1 and T3. T5 main building is really quite crowded at the moment, and it’s airport policy to not announce the gate (including the identity of the subsidiary terminal block) until the plane has arrived at the airport. That benefits HAL as the waiting passengers are all exposed to all those retail outlets until the last possible moment.

    I like the idea of the ‘toast rack’ tho. Especially if the underground airside shuttle is extended to the whole length. However, if T2 were big enough and T4 closed, then the Central Terminals station would cater for all except T5 and it would make sense to use the asset they have in that main rail tunnel under the southern runway for a connection to the Windsor, Reading & Weybridge rail services.

  290. Rostopher says:

    @Castlebar

    Its not quite as outlandish as it seems. The Munich S-Bahn calls at the aircargo and maintenance entrance prior to reaching the passenger terminals. Left me and my non-existent language skills a little confused the first time! Perhaps not the way you’d design it but if the accidents of geography end up that way, why not use the capacity? (In this case both the approach alignment of the train and the aircargo centre are to the West of the passenger terminals)

  291. Windsorian says:

    @ Fandroid

    In the FT 17.2.12 BAA floated the idea of 2 extra T5 satellites; it included a proposal to expand T5A (the main building to the South; also moving T4 into the Toast Rack .

    More recently Heathrow published various options for expansion
    Look at page 23/52 which shows an idea of a partially developed Toast Rack.

    http://www.heathrowairport.com/static/Heathrow/Downloads/PDF/a-new-approach_LHR.pdf

    But you have to go to page 29/52 to see the expanded T5A building.

    Also look at the space where the Northern Fuel Farm (those round tanks) to the East (right) of T5C; there is clearly room there for another satellite. Also note T3 has disappeared from all the drawings – it’s no longer required after T2 (Phase 2) is complete.

    To the East (right) of T2A are 2 satellites T2B & T2C (this completes T2 (Phase 2) however there is clearly room for a third satellite and possibly 2 more if the Eastern Engineering base is moved.

  292. timbeau says:

    @Rostropher/Castlebar
    Hatton Cross is another example. But in both that and the Munich example the statoin serving an operational are is an intermediate stop on the way to the passenger terminal. This woulkd not be the case for T4.
    Both are also landside, not within a secure area. Depending how T4 is developed, that might not be the case.
    In the early days buses to T4 used the cargo tunnel, passing through security check points to do so – but there were no stops with the secure area.

  293. c says:

    The Central station would probably need more NR platforms than the current two if the southern (single bore?) tunnel was used for something else. It could probably be kept for depot/storage, if no more interesting extension was planned.

    Would be great to get rid of the Piccadilly line loop and double (at least) T5 frequency. That would also be good for (free) connections between T5 and T2.

    The air train would remain airside of course, and make all connections nice and easy, regardless of alliance/airline.

  294. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Terry Morgan and Andrew Wolstenholme appeared in front of the Assembly Transport Committee this morning. No great shock revelations although the TfL Board are apparently deciding the rolling stock bid winner this morning. No date as to when the public announcement will be but it’s probably imminent. TM confirmed that the Reading issue remains undecided and still under debate.

    The usual litany of complaints came forth from the Committee members and the usual response came back from the project. The issues were disabled access to stations, stations on toilets, service levels, adequacy of station designs and the response was “no change from last time. We only do what the sponsor tells us to do. We are on time and on budget because people are not mucking about with the scope”! All in all a bit disappointing if you were looking for some genuine news. It does look as if the outer area station issue is growing in terms of complaint / concern but I rather suspect the politicians want gradiose gateway stations and there is just no money to create them. It also seems that the words about disabled access to suburban CR stations have not turned into firm commitments so letters will be dispatched from the Committee to DfT and TfL.

  295. Chris L says:

    In the new Rail (5th February) it states that Network Rail have announced the details for the upgrade of Ilford station which gets step free access.

    The scope of the upgrade has been reduced but the ticket hall gets a refresh and extended gate line.

    If the trains are frequent enough will people care about stations?

  296. Alan Griffiths says:

    WRAtH is mentioned on Network Rail website today,
    http://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/news/roundup/articles/2014/02/05/97438-route-unveiled-for-western-rail-access-to-heathrow-wrath-project/
    also on websites of Bracknell, Slough & reading local papers today. First mention says WRAP, which concerned me due a lack of grapes.
    I think the Crossrail connection is a need for Tunnel Boring Machines.

  297. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Chris L – it is absolutely evident that local councillors view stations to be served by Crossrail as “gateways” to their areas. Crossrail is being presented as a revolutionary 21st century railway and yet the stations will most likely look like they did in the 1950s. You have to ask if that is an appropriate “presentation” of such a railway. It wouldn’t matter so much if there wasn’t the “hype” around the world changing nature of Crossrail. People generally expect a common level of service no matter where they start or finish at. I don’t think that is what is being delivered because the budget for the outer area sites was cut. Unfortunately the expectations of local politicians were not cut at the same time.

    Ilford Station is a mess and doesn’t present any sort of “grand entrance” to Ilford. You can say much the same about all the stations along the Great Eastern route and probably west of Paddington too. The risk here is that political discontent delays the planning approval process and thus endangers the deliverability of the scheme. The Transport Committee are going to visit Ealing Broadway, even though they haven’t got an official invite, to see what the problems look like for themselves. I’d not be surprised if other locations are also visited where there is local controversy about the plans. I can also see a similar issue emerging about the actual service to be run – it is clear that some Assembly Members are unhappy about service levels, especially in West London and to Heathrow. I suspect other issues will emerge whenever more operational detail is revealed. If there is then a great big debate about what service level is “right” this then presents real risks about how the operational planning and implementation proceeds. I’d love to know where “political interference” sits on the Crossrail risk register.

  298. Milton Clevedon says:

    Today’s Network Rail statement on the Western Rail Access to Heathrow gives the timescale as by 2018 for a Development Consent Order and 2021 for project completion. Network Rail link here:
    http://www.networkrail.co.uk/news/2014/feb/Proposals-for-a-direct-rail-link-from-the-west-to-Heathrow/

  299. whiff says:

    Castlebar – there is a precedent for a place that the public are denied access to but which is served by regular passenger trains; at Lympstone Commando in Devon passengers are allowed to alight from the train but not leave the station.
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/116642/response/287570/attach/html/3/Final%20reply%20to%2015%2005%202012%20125455%20007.pdf.html

    Waslthamstow Writer – thanks for the updates. I have two further questions which you, or others in the know, might be able to answer. Firstly, by roughly what date do plans for the suburban stations have to be finalised to allow time for the redevelopment work to finish before Crossrail opens. Secondly is there any mechanism by which local councils can contribute extra money towards the costs of the station redevelopments if they are not happy with Crossrail’s plans.

  300. Castlebar says:

    Whiff

    That is not the only example. Singer, IBM etc

    But

    There is a lot of difference between a 2 coach DMU every hour at Lympstone Commando and regular LU stock crammed with people who don’t speak the language. So, what happens at Lympstone Commando actually has no relevance whatsoever to building a L.U. station with countless foreign pax who inevitably will get off at the wrong place, in the middle of a highly secure area at an international airport.

  301. Milton Clevedon says:

    @Castlebar
    Why couldn’t any station entrance be landside on the Perimeter Road/Bedfont Road, and serving Stanwell Village as well as the Cargo Centre?
    It would be the first Piccadilly Line station to be half in Surrey.

  302. Castlebar says:

    @ Milton

    Agreed. But that isn’t what was initially being proposed.

    However, if this is on a “loop service”, air pax are going to be transported in or out of Surrey by this arrangement. And the GLA “border” has been moved before to accommodate the Thiefrow Leviathan.

  303. timbeau says:

    @ Milton
    “It would be the first Piccadilly Line station to be half in Surrey.”

    Wasn’t T4 “half in Surrey” before the boundary was moved?

    Historically several Northern and District statoins were in the old pre-GLC Surrey.

  304. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Whiff – major schemes like Abbey Wood’s rebuild have obtained planning permission and work has started. It looks to me that Crossrail are very keen on getting plans approved now so there is a decent amount of time for construction and then systems integration can follow on seamlessly. I have not seen documents that set out definitive timescales. Andrew Wolstenholme was very keen to stress that Crossrail were doing operational planning which is earlier than is usual on these projects. IME users *always* want to change systems so best to have them involved before you procure them rather than have a project team specify and then someone else spends a fortune on variation orders and upgrades while the user moans about their shiny new toys being useless and couldn’t they just have the latest shiny toy. BTDTGTTS. AW said Crossrail would take 2 years to fit out, commission and test all of its systems so rebuilding stations has to be done by 2017 at the latest.

    I have gone back and rewatched the webcast and it was stated that Crossrail are working with local authorities to try to accommodate their aspirations about “design” and “wow factor”. A few examples of good design agreements were cited – Abbey Wood, Southall and Hayes and Hillingdon. It seems that some local authorities have agreed to contribute some funding for urban realm improvements but, again, Crossrail repeated their “fixed scope, fixed budget” mantra. Terry Morgan said they’d been asked to rebuild a Sikh temple at Southall and clearly that was outside of scope for Crossrail and is matter for the local council and community / London. It seems AW has had to talk face to face with local councils to try to resolve some of the planning issues and aspirations at local stations.

    On a related note but relevant for the Central London stations TM said Crossrail now expected to exceed the £500m target for funding from over station developments. A new development over the recently opened H&C ticket hall at Paddington was announced today.

  305. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ timbeau
    5 February 2014 at 18:52

    Think you’ll find T4 station was in Greater London but that the Piccadilly Line went through Surrey (ex Middlesex) along the loop – and may still do so.

    Stamford Brook was the first station in Middlesex westwards, prior to 1965. The former LCC boundary went along the road outside.

    Historically, the Underground stations now in Merton and Richmond upon Thames would have been in Surrey prior to 1965.

    For Kent, you have to go back to pre-LCC days to find any Underground or virtual Underground stations – principally the East London Line and briefly the City and South London Railway.

  306. Westfiver says:

    From Network Rails Wrath doc: “Currently, passengers wishing to access Heathrow by rail have to travel into London Paddington station before changing to dedicated airport services.”

    Whats wrong with changing at Hayes and Harlington to Heathrow Connect? Don’t NR know their own network.

  307. timbeau says:

    @Milton Clevedon.

    Surrey went a lot further east than you think. Which cricket club’s ground is served by the next station south of Kennington? And what is the name of the station before New Cross and New Cross Gate? The boundary actually hits the Thames at Deptford, and passes to the south of New Cross.

    Oh, and the LCC was formed in 1889, the year before the CSLR opened!

    The T4 loop is now entirely within Greater London, but when it opened the terminal was partly within Surrey – I’m not entirely sure where the station was in relation to the old boundary, but the line certainly crossed it.

  308. Windsorian says:

    @ WW

    It seems that some local authorities have agreed to contribute some funding for urban realm improvements but, again, Crossrail repeated their “fixed scope, fixed budget” mantra.

    I read a report for Slough Borough Council (SBC) where a bridge (without a footpath) was being demolished and rebuilt as part of the Crossrail works. The officers were proposing SBC paid a fixed sum for the addition of a footpath to the new bridge design; they would not be responsible for the long term maintenance costs as the entire new bridge including footpath would be the responsibility of Network Rail.

    I don’t know what the policy is for GWML electrification bridge re-building past Maidenhead; the bridge at Waltham St Lawrence between Maidenhead & Twyford is at present being re-built; the old bridge did not have a footpath.

    These may be cases of robbing Peter to pay Paul, in that government picks up the bill for additional bridge improvements.

  309. Milton Clevedon says:

    @ Timbeau
    Thanks for that, indeed had not appreciated how fast east Surrey ventured, thought Kent originally went as far as the London bridgehead.

  310. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Bombardier have won the contract to build Crossrail’s new rolling stock. Just announced on Breakfast News. Well that saves months of anguish over “buy British” campaigns.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/crossrail-rolling-stock-and-depot-contract-to-be-awarded-to-bombardier

  311. John Bull says:

    There’ll be a post up about that in a minute, so if we could avoid discussion on the rolling stock here that’d be good.

  312. Anon5 says:

    What do we know about the spec of the rolling stock? Is it the new model outlined recently in the Railway Engineer? http://www.therailengineer.com/2014/01/31/exciting-new-aventra/

    One thing for sure the black DLR-style front on the artist’s impression on the DFT website won’t be staying! Is this the first time we’ve seen the Crossrail purple version of the TfL livery?

  313. Anon5 says:

    Sorry! Started writing the post half an hour ago and only just finished it after being caught in the rain! Obviously delete or move to the new post!

  314. straphan says:

    [Post deleted because of request by John Bull (above) not to comment on this yet. Comment will be emailed back to you for resubmission at the appropriate time.PoP]

  315. Littlejohn says:

    @Milton, timbeau. There have been boundary oddities in the LT bus world as well. The old Uxbridge garage (replaced by the current one in 1983) was in Denham and so in the Country Area but only operated Central buses. Conversely, the small Harefield garage (closed 31 December 1935) was in Middlesex, but only operated Country routes.

  316. straphan says:

    @PoP: sorry, should’ve read the postings above more carefully…

    @Littlejohn: The Metroline garage in Potters Bar is much the same – it operates TfL routes only, save for one non-London route (242) and the 84 which connects St Albans with New Barnet (and accepts Oyster).

  317. Castlebar says:

    Middlesex once stretched around to the River Lea

    Thus Edmonton and Potters Bar were both in Middlesex

    The river Lea was once a major tribal boundary (and possibly still is or should be)

  318. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Straphan – Metroline’s 84 does NOT accept Oyster. Acceptance was withdrawn when the service changed from a London Local Service Agreement to a London Service Permit basis. Metroline now offer special season tickets for the 84 for those travelling from Barnet to Potters Bar. This means there is a section of bus route in the Greater London area where Oyster is not available at all. Abellio typically offer a reduced cash fare (Oyster Match) on their routes in SW London where people are travelling solely within Greater London as I believe they do have “freehold” on some roads with no parallel TfL services.

  319. lmm says:

    As a Tottenham resident I’d say the Lea is still a major tribal boundary, separating us from all those weirdos in Walthamstow :P

  320. timbeau says:

    Mea culpa: if the dashed line on this 1870s map is what I think it is, then although New Cross Gate station was indeed in Surrey, New Cross station was in Kent!
    http://www.ideal-homes.org.uk/__data/assets/image/0018/357111/map-01396-800.jpg

  321. @timbeau,

    You have to remember there was a reason why the Surrey Canal and the Surrey Docks were so named.

  322. Steven Taylor says:

    @timbeau
    My house, overlooking Clapham Junction station, when built in 1887, was in Surrey. (please forgive syntax)

  323. Castlebar says:

    @ PoP

    and “Middlesex Street” in the East End, on the border of Hounsditch (Hound’s Ditch) was the boundary of Middlesex and the City which is to the WEST. Middlesex then continued eastwards from Hounsditch to the Lea Valley, inhabited by genetically different tribes on the Essex marshes who grew woad there until recently, when these were replaced by tattoos.

  324. AnonyFA says:

    @Castlebar
    So Arsenal and Tottenham are Middlesex-based and ditto Millwall, or do we have cross-river tribal issues here?

  325. Anonymous says:

    Arsenal and Tottenham are in the ancient Middlesex, not sure about Millwall.

    Remember Middlesex included Paddington and Kensington.

    Russell Grant made a big effort to revive Middlesex in the 1980s and, among other things, had an award of Middlesex Football Club of the Year, which always went to Arsenal, I’m afraid!

  326. AlisonW says:

    but Arsenal were founded in Woolwich so…

  327. timbeau says:

    Arsenal and Millwall have both crossed the river, in opposite directions. Arsenal were in Kent and are now in Middlesex: Millwall were in Middlesex but are now in the ancient County of Surrey.

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In Pictures: Crossrail Site Webcams

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Long-time followers of Crossrail will be aware that for sometime the company has had webcams in place at a number of key construction sites. Over the years these have produced a number of interesting static and time-lapse images such as