The Anonymous Widower

At Last, A Station For Crossrail With Style

With the exception of Canary Wharf and Custom House stations, a lot of the designs have been poorly-received by architectural critics.

So I was surprised and pleased to see this piece on the Crossrail web site describing the new West Ealing station. This picture of the new station building is shown.

West Ealing Station

West Ealing Station

It has style and I also believe that it is designed to fit the purpose for which station buildings are now needed. All a station building needs to be today is a shelter for the barriers, ticket machines, staff and perhaps a retail kiosk or two. Get the people flow through them correct and they can be even smaller and more affordable.

It is interesting to look at the layout of the lines. This Google Map shows the situation at present.

West Ealing Current Layout

West Ealing Current Layout

Note the Greenford Branch curving away to the North. This branch is probably an operational headache for rail managers, as the trains currently have to join the line to get to their terminus at Paddington station. After West Ealing station has been rebuilt, there will be a bay platform for trains on the branch. It is shown in this drawing I found on the Internet.

West Ealing New Layout

West Ealing New Layout

You have to wonder if the Greenford Branch will be developed and Wikipedia has a section on the branch’s future. Should it be electrified and should as Ealing Council have suggested the line be extended to Clapham Junction via the West London Line?

Undoubtedly, it should be electrified and the published plan of four trains per hour would certainly improve matters. But as with many things, we’re waiting for Crossrail and the plans for Old Oak Common to be vcompleted.

It does seem to me that the design for West Ealing station has set a new standard for Crossrail stations.

But as the first comment received has shown, there is a problem with access to the station from the South. This Google Map shows an enlarged view of the current station.

An Enlarged View Of West Ealing Station

An Enlarged View Of West Ealing Station

Note how the supermarket and the car parks, backed by the two fast lines of the Great Western Main Line create a barrier that is impenetrable to any access to the station. Even if access were possible, it would be a long walk between Alexandria Road and the new station.

It strikes me that the only way better southern access to the station could have been enabled, would have been if the new station had been designed in conjunction with the supermarket, when that was developed.

It should be noted that at present West Ealing station has no car parking and do many of the locals feel that this should be provided in the new station?

To sum up, West Ealing station has problems in resolving some design issues, as it was not properly designed, when the supermarket and the land south of the railway was developed.

In my view, it illustrates one of the problems of the surface sections of Crossrail, They have been left to rot for years, when they should have been upgraded well before construction of the line started.

June 20, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Freight At Maryland Station

I had to catch a train from that ruin in the East, Maryland, this afternoon. When I took pictures of all the stations before they are taken over by Crossrail, I gave Maryland a score of 2/10. As these pictures I took today, show of a freight train passing through, I think I was generous.

Sorting this dump out will need a real top quality architect with imagination. This Google Earth image shows the station and the roads around it.

Maryland Station

Maryland Station

The following problems will challenge the design team.

1. The site is cramped and surrounded by busy roads.

2. The access to the station is along narrow pavements, even if they opened up the entrance on the South side.

3. The Crossrail platforms on the South side of the station are too short for the new trains and selective door opening will have to be used.

4. There would also appear to be few redeeming features in the current station. There isn’t any Victorian ironwork to preserve.

This is what is shown at present on the Crossrail web site.

Proposed Design

Proposed Design

At least the number of trees has been increased!

I wish the architects the best of luck, but I sometimes feel that the only way to improve the station, would be to put a concrete raft over the whole area and build some tower blocks on top. At least they’d have good access to the rail system.

But then what do I know about architecture?

June 4, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Freedom Pass Map

This document on the Transport for London web site, is the latest definitive map of where I can roam with my Freedom Pass.

The big addition for me is Shenfield, as although I don’t go there often, I could use it as the station to get my train for football at Ipswich.

I would have to change trains twice, but I could still arrive on the same 13:43 train into Ipswich.

But by using TfL Rail to Shenfield and then Abellio Greater Anglia from there, my Saturday Off-Peak Return, drops from £26.25 to £16.75, which is a saving of £9.50.

Similar savings even occur for a Tuesday evening match, as the cheapest fare drops from £28.70 to £19.35. It would also appear that you just buy an Off Peak Return, which is a saving in aggravation.

I’m only working on the current timetable, but I suspect that a new Anglia franchisee in a couple of years time, might stop all of the Ipswich and Norwich trains at Shenfield for Crossrail. It will probably be quicker to go from Liverpool Street, but there will be a lot of possibilities for saving money.

I also suspect that, when Crossrail opens, then Reading, like Heathrow and Shenfield, will appear on the Freedom Pass map, so instead of going to Paddington, will I join trains to Wales and the West Country at Reading.

The biggest effect on the economy of the spreading of the Freedom Pass, will be that more and more retirees will move into the capital, thus fuelling the rise in house prices.

So perhaps the best way to spend that pension pot is to buy a place in London.


June 4, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Abbey Wood Explained

In my post on Crossrail at Abbey Wood Station, I expressed some puzzlement on how it will all be arranged. I said this.

It’s still not totally clear to me, where the tracks and platforms will go in Abbey Wood station. But so long as Crossrail and its contractors know, who cares?

So I’m pleased to read a full explanation in this article in Rail Engineer. They say this about the layout at Abbey Wood station.

Under Crossrail, the two existing platforms will both be rebuilt as island platforms by having a track each installed on the ‘back side’ of them. The northerly island, currently the Down platform to Kent, will be the Crossrail terminus while the current Up platform will become the one for the North Kent line.

In this picture that I took from a footbridge to the East of the station, North is to the left.

Looking West From The Footbridge

So Crossrail will be the two lines on the left and the North Kent Line will be on the right.

It isn’t perfect, as it means there is no cross-platform interchange between the two lines.

If you read the article in Rail Engineer, all will be explained.

June 2, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

TfL Rail Starts To Appear

It is not until next Sunday, the thirty-first, that Transport for London take over the Shenfield Metro services that will become part of Crossrail, but the signs are starting to appear.

It would appear that the only different between the Abellio Greater Anglia and TfL Rail version of the station nameplate, is the banding at the top.

May 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Thank You Transport for London

On the 31st May 2015, Transport for London take over the lines out of Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt, Chingford and Shenfield and two days ago they published this press release on their web site, which is entitled Passengers set to benefit as key commuter rail services transfer to TfL.

So what does that mean?

1. The services currently operate with National Rail pay as you go fares, which are generally higher than TfL fares. When services transfer, over 80 per cent of current rail journeys will reduce in price and TfL concessions will apply – giving customers substantial savings. The remaining 20 per cent of fares will remain unchanged.

2. All TfL concessions and discounts that currently apply to London Underground, the Docklands Light Railway, and London Overground will apply on the rail services transferring to TfL. I think that means I can travel free to Brentwood and Shenfield using my Freedom Pass.

3. There are a few other technical things that seem beneficial, like Brentwood being moved into Zone 9.

4. I suspect too, that the level of customer service will be better under TfL than Abellio Greater Anglia.

I can’t see any average passengers complaining about this package. Except perhaps those who commute on lines like c2c into London, where there are no fare reductions.

So it’s probably a big thank you to Transport for London.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Accessible Crossrail Sites

By accessible in this article, I don’t mean construction sites, where anybody could go and get around no matter what disability they have, but ones where anybody who could walk at least a few steps or be pushed in a wheel-chair can go to have a good look at the progress of London’s largest construction project.

Some sites worth visiting are stations, that are being rebuilt, at the same time as being fully operational.

Abbey Wood Station – Quite a large modern station is being created.

Hanwell Station – A Victorian gem is being improved and modernised.

Custom House Station – A new station is being built by the DLR station

Whitechapel – A massive project to create the Jewel of the East

There are also other places, where you can see a lot.

Eynsham Drive Bridge in Abbey Wood – It is over the top of the work at Abbey Wood.

Pudding Mill Lane DLR Station – In the middle of a Crossrail portal.


May 21, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

Crossrail Works At Abbey Wood Station

After taking the pictures from the Eynsham Road Bridge, I walked back to Abbey Road station taking pictures as I walked and crossed the line on a rusty footbridge.

As the pictures show, there’s not much left of the original station. On the other hand, the contractors seem to be doing a good job of rebuilding a station, which is still being fully used by passengers.

It’s still not totally clear to me, where the tracks and platforms will go in Abbey Wood station. But so long as Crossrail and its contractors know, who cares?

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

Crossrail Works From Eynsham Drive Bridge, Abbey Wood

Just to the East of Abbey Wood station a bridge carries Eynsham Drive over the North Kent Line and the new Crossrail tracks. This Google Earth image shows the area.

Eynsham Drive To Abbey Wood Station

I took these pictures of and from the road bridge.

The Crossrail tracks are the ones with no third conductor rail and they are on the North side.

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | 2 Comments

Walking To The Eynsham Drive Bridge At Abbey Wood

My walk yesterday to take the pictures of Crossrail at Eynsham Drive and Abbey Wood station started at Plumstead station, where I crossed the High Street and then found the end of the Ridgeway, which is on top of the Southern Outfall Sewer. I took these pictures as I walked to Harrow Manor Way, that led into Abbey Wood, where I turned off into Eynsham Drive..

It is mostly, a typical estuarial industrial landscape with a quantity of uninspiring housing, although the space between the Ridgeway and the rail lines is going to be transformed, as Crossrail sidings are being built here.

You can understand why Stanley Kubrick shot Clockwork Orange in the area.

May 20, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment


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