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.
The Deutsches Architektur Museum was recommended in my guide book.
It cost me nine euros to enter to see a presentation of photographs of the main modern buildings of Frankfurt with descriptions.
There is no directly similar museum in London, although Crossrail have recently put on some excellent free displays of both their archaeology and architecture.
I wouldn’t return to this museum, unless I was travelling with an architect, who thought it a must-see!
We may not build the tunnel boring machines any more, but we certainly know how to dig holes better than most, as Crossrail is showing.
We also seem blessed with a geology that in many places, has the consistency of Emmental cheese.
So it is not a surprise that a news item in Modern Railways has reported that Network Rail are planning on creating the access into Heathrow from the West using a 5 km tunnel from between Iver and Langley to the airport.
This Google Earth map shows the area.
The blue line is the Piccadilly Line at the airport and the red arrow indicates Langley station. Iver station is towards London just before the M25. I would assume that the new tunnel will vaguely follow the M25 and link up to the airport at Terminal 5. It would probably be dug from Langley with a lot of the route directly under the motorway, so the work would not affect any sensitive sites.
I doubt it’s a plan, that will stir up much opposition, except in the area, where it leaves the Great Western Main Line. This Google Earth image shows the area in detail.
A quick look at this image, would appear to show that it’s mainly farmland with no housing, for quite a bit of the way between Langley and Iver stations.
Another plus point of this plan, is that the Class 345 trains being developed for Crossrail could probably be used on the new line to connect it to Reading and/or Oxford, if the Heathrow station was built to Crossrail dimensions and standards.
It is in some ways a pity, that Crossrail wasn’t designed to go to Terminal 5 at the airport and then on to Reading in the first place. But then some of the design of the western end of Crossrail had more to do with making sure that British Airways and Heathrow Airport didn’t get upset. It doesn’t matter if they do, as they are secondary to all the passengers and staff who use the airport. After all if the passengers aren’t happy with Heathrow, after Crossrail/Thameslink opens, they can easily get to Gatwick and Luton.
I think that this is a very sound plan and if it could be routed to serve all terminals at Heathrow by perhaps going back-to-back with the current Crossrail line being built to the airport, we’d get a much better service to London’s main airport.
So if we end up with effectively a new Crossrail loop line, that leaves the Great Western at Airport Junction, goes round all the Heathrow terminals and then after Terminal 5 connects to the Great Western between Langley and Iver, what are the consequences.
1. The plan rectifies the big fault of Crossrail not serving Terminal 5.
2. It gives passengers what they want. Going to any terminal at Heathrow from either the West or London, you just get on a Crossrail train that is using the Heathrow loop line and get off at Terminal 1/2/3, Terminal 4 or Terminal 5. Some journeys to Heathrow now sometimes need a change of train at the airport.
3. Crossrail will be used to transfer between terminals.
4. A plan like this, is the last nail in the coffin of Heathrow Express, which will probably be on permanent life support after Crossrail opens anyway. Another nail will be driven, when Old Oak Common station opens as a major transport interchange.
5. When Heathrow Express is dropped, Network Rail will be pleased, as it will free up two platforms at Paddington, for long distance services to Wales and the West Country.
6. There will also be new platform space at Heathrow Terminal 4 and 5, as if all Crossrail trains to Heathrow are going straight through, there will be no need for terminal platforms under the airport. These platforms could be used for the new Crossrail loop line.
7. All rail traffic to and from the Airport will be controlled by Transport for London. This can only be a good thing for reasons that are too numerous to list.
8. British Airways will be livid at the loss of Heathrow Express and the handing of all rail transport to TfL. So be it! There are lots of other airlines!
9. Heathrow Airport may or may not be expanded. But surely a rail line passing under most of the airport would be much easier to fit into new terminals.
10. If you are going to Heathrow 123 today from Tottenham Court Road station, it takes 55 minutes by tube all the way. The Crossrail journey should take 30 minutes and it will be fully accessible. I doubt that Transport for London would close the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow, but I can see it becoming a very quiet way of getting to and from Heathrow.
So I think it is true to say that creating a direct tunnelled link into Heathrow from the West should please everybody, except those who feel that the dinosaur that is Heathrow Express should be preserved.
I have just read this article on the BBC web site, which is entitled Crossrail: Who wants to work in a tunnel?
It contains interviews with those that work underground and shows how Crossrail has gone out of its way to create jobs for those living locally and give them training if required.
It is a classic illustration of how you use a large infrastructure project for which there is an urgent need to get people workimng and give them skills.
I wonder if the Northern Hub and the Borders Railway are having similar effects. If they aren’t, I blame the management and the politicians for not using the right employment model.
On Tuesday, I’m off to Malta from Heathrow on the 11:25 flight.
I’ve just consulted Transport for London’s journey planner. If I go anywhere and especially west of Kings Cross on the Piccadilly line, I generally take a 141 bus from the corner by my house to Manor House station and get the line from there.
I’ve just seen how long it takes from Manor House to Heathrow Terminal 4, where my flight leaves. It takes 67 minutes if you take the Underground all the way and ten minutes less if you take a route using Heathrow Express, which involves a several changes of train including one at the airport to get to Terminal 4.
So for a saving of ten minutes, I pay a lot of money and have a lot more hassle.
The Underground may be unsexy, but it is generally reliable and a lot more convenient.
Crossrail will be faster and probably save me upwards of half-an-hour getting to Heathrow, unless I want to go to Terminal 5.
I took these pictures today.
Compare them with those taken six weeks ago.
Progress seems to be happening, with some stairs and the tunnel towards London now showing themselves.
ITV have published this web article entitled The £1bn Crossrail where you can’t spend a penny.
It’s a catchy headline, but is the article just knocking copy to get views or rival politicians making a point.
At present, the Class 315 trains that run from Shenfield to Liverpool Street, do not have toilets. The journey takes up to forty three minutes. So does anybody get taken short on a train?
I discussed this with a customer support guy, that I met at Tottenham Court Road. We thought that some Underground journeys would be longer. I’ve just looked up Cockfosters to Heathrow, which is a journey that if I still lived in the area where I grew up, I’d probably do occasionally. It takes ninety minutes.
So if toilets were to be provided on Crossrail Class 345 trains as some journeys will take nearly an hour, they should probably be provided on long distance Underground services.
In my chat at Tottenham Court Road, I was reminded about the version of the iconic tube map that shows the location of toilets. It actually shows, whether toilets at stations are inside or outside the gate line.
Surely, a much better and more affordable solution would be to update the ribbon maps in all Underground and Crossrail trains to show if the station had toilets, in the same way, they show the step free access. Some extra signs on stations showing the status and location of toilets would also be a good idea.
London has a chance to set high standards in this area, without putting toilets on any trains.
Although saying that, Thameslink’s Class 700 trains will have toilets, but then Brighton to Peterborough might take two hours plus.
Perhaps, ITV should stick to reporing the news they do best, like I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
There is an article in the Brentwood Gazette, entitled Shenfield to London slow trains to get refresh before end of year, which illustrates how Transport for London aim to hit the ground running, when they take over the Shenfield Metro services in May this year.
1. The Class 315 trains will be refreshed. I took these pictures.
I think that TfL could spend billions on these trains and they wouldn’t be that much better, as in their current state, they do the job they were built for of moving people in and out of London, reliably and with enough comfort for those with seats. So fixing the seat covers, perhaps getting rid of the awful pink colour and asking Aggie and her ilk to give them a good clean, and they’ll last until the Class 345 trains arrive.
2. Staff will be on duty when trains are running.
3. The stations will be fully integrated into TfL’s information and brought up to their standards.
I wonder if their other big acquisition in May;the Lea Valley Line services will get the same treatment.