Crossrail have put up this time-lapse video of the building of the structure of Custom House station.
If you want to read the full details, it’s here on the Crossrail web site.
I believe the station is a major advance in the construction of buildings.
One of the engineers working on the station, told me that compared to traditional methods of pouring concrete on site, the quality is a lot better.
As Crossrail are claiming the whole structure was put together in a year and a day, it would appear to be quicker too!
On my way back from Oxford, I was able to get these pictures of Airport Junction, which has been updated to take Crossrail to Heathrow.
It would appear to be almost complete.
Some reports say that trains will be using the new upgraded flyover this year.
Some of the overhead electrification installed in recent decades has been rather less than robust. These pictures show some of the structures on the Great Western Main Line and Crossrail.
If you compare these pictures with those that I took at Eccles in October 2013, they do seem to be of a similar standard.
Hopefully, this current electrification won’t have some of the problems of projects that were done earlier.
It’s only a couple of months before the Shopping Centre above Canary Wharf Crossrail station opens.
It looks like it will make it!
Today’s pictures add a few of the Crossrail line as it runs along by the side of the Docklands Light Railway to the Connaught Tunnel.
This area of the line is now starting to look like a railway. The bridge at Prince Regent station must have some of steepest and longest steps on the DLR, but once you’re up there you get good views of the rebirth of the Connaught Tunnel and Crossrail as it goes back to Custom House station and the portal to the tunnel to the west of that station. This Google Earth image shows the location of the station by the Excel Exhibition Centre.
You can clearly see the buttresses in the Connaught Tunnel, that are also visible in the gallery, to the east of Prince Regent station and above the train on the Docklands Light Railway.
The Connaught Tunnel must curve southwards to link up with Crossrail’s Thames Tunnel.
I passed through Shenfield station this morning and took these pictures of the work that has started to create an additional Platform 6 at the station for Crossrail.
The work would appear to be not causing too many problems for rail passengers. This Google Earth image shows the station.
The platform will slot into the green area to the north of the current Platform 5, which is the odd platform of five, as 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 are all arranged on either side of an island platform. This is how the work is described in Wikipedia.
Ten-carriage Crossrail trains will run over the pair of ‘electric lines’, rather than the mainlines, replacing the existing eight-carriage “metro” trains and allowing Crossrail to serve all stations between Shenfield and Liverpool Street, continuing west towards Reading and London Heathrow Airport. At peak hours the frequency of service will increase from eight trains per hour to 12, necessitating the construction of a new 210-metre long platform 6, which will be built to the north of platform 5, replacing one of the existing three western sidings. The two remaining western sidings and three new eastern sidings will also be used by Crossrail. It is estimated that Crossrail will cut morning peak journey times by up to seven minutes although there will be no reduction to some journey times.
As the new Platform 6 will be paired with Platform 5, which is already step-free with a lift, this be one of the more simpler station upgrades for Crossrail.
I can’t help feeling that when Crossrail is open, that Shenfield will become a major interchange for passengers travelling between Crossrail stations in Central and West London and stations on the Great Eastern Main Line like Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich.
Crossrail is not a high-speed line, but the increase in connectivity the line will bring, will change the lives of everybody who use it or live within a few miles.
Some pilots consider flying low an ultimate thrill.
So look at this report on the BBC web site.
The East London Line currently runs at 16 trains per hour, but changes to the signalling and lengthened platforms will allow 24 6-car trains per hour, in the near future.
In my speculation about tram-trains in Croydon, I realised that you could get from Dalston Junction to Hayes with just one change at New Cross, in about 64-67 minutes with a delay of about 10-15 minutes caused by the change, although the change going south is just walking across the platform.
So in a few years time, when ERTMS allows us to run trains closer together would it be a good idea to use some of the extra capacity in the East London Line to run trains direct from Dalston Junction to Hayes via New Cross and Lewisham. I believe even two trains an hour would make a lot of difference.
1. Timings between Dalston Junction and Hayes would drop to about 52-54 minutes.
2. It would give people who live North of the Thames easy access to Lewisham, which is well-connected to Kent. Otherwise you need to go to one of the terminals that serve the area. And often that is the dreaded Victoria.
3. Once Crossrail opens, it will also give those South of the Thames a second route to the line by going direct to Whitechapel, instead of going to either Abbey Wood or Woolwich.
4. Hayes to Heathrow by Crossrail changing at Lewisham and Abbey Wood will be around 1:56, whereas just changing at Whitechapel will be 1:33. What also illustrates the speed of this route is West Croydon to Heathrow via Whitechapel and Crossrail could be about 1:26.
5. It would surely give an alternative route under the river and enable people to get home when problems exist on the primary routes.
The East London Line has very much been a quiet success, that has been enjoyed by those who live in the area it serves. So why shouldn’t we widen its catchment area?
Crossrail will bring a tremendous amount of extra passengers into London. So we must develop the infrastructure that links it to as much of London as possible. Thameslink is being upgraded and to many, the East London Line is just as valuable as a North South route.
If you link Hayes to the East London Line, why not link Orpington to it via Lewisham. Two trains per hour to Orpington, would give an excellent four trains an hour to Lewisham.
I obviously don’t know Transport for London’s passenger figures, but in the four years since the East London Line reopened, I’ve only gone to New Cross once, where I wasn’t going to catch a train on from the station.
So is New Cross the least used direct southern destination on the East London Line? Also, was it only included in the East London Line for historic reasons, as it had been a Metropolitan Line destination?
If so, it might be an idea to see if extension of the four trains per hour services terminating at the station is possible. Perhaps two could go Hayes and two to Orpington, which would double the frequency to both places from New Cross.
I think the only objectors would be Southastern.
If nothing else, this analysis shows how complicated London’s rail network is and how difficult it is to get the train patterns right.
Some weeks ago Transport for London (TfL) launched a consultation on transport links and stations in the Old Oak Common area of West London.
A report in the Kilburn Times has said that the public have said that they’d prefer Option C of the TfL consultation, which involves two new Overground stations.
2. Hythe Road on the West London Line.
This TfL map shows their locations.
And this is a Google Earth image.
As TfL are saying that service frequencies on the West London Line will be four trains per hour, which is the same as that of trains to Heathrow on Crossrail, it strikes me that these two new stations will greatly ease access to Heathrow from South London and beyond.
From where I live in Dalston, the two station idea has the benefit that if I want to get on Crossrail to go to Reading or Heathrow, it is just a single change at either of the two stations, depending on where my westbound North London Line train is going. Old Oak Common would appear to be a shorter walk however.
But surely, if you are doing a big development as at Old Oak Common, you need as many connections as you can reasonably afford.
I took these pictures today.
The works are showing how long the Crossrail stations will be. As a Crossrail engineer said to me a few months ago, you may get complaints about all the walking the two hundred metres from one end of the train to the other. As she was female, I suspect she was thinking high heels and not her sensible work boots.