Brentford Branch potential re-opening

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MatthewRead

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Quoted loosely from the most recent issue of Today's Railways UK

The single track GWR line from Southall could now re-open to passengers as a Crossrail feeder. Trains would run from Southall to a new station at Transport Avenue near where the M4 and Heathrow Piccadilly line branch cross over with a possible extension to Brentford in the future.

Currently the line is single track and has not seen passenger services since 1942 but is still used for the occasional aggregates train but could see passenger services reinstated as early as 2020 would the line have to be doubled if passenger services are revived and what trains would be used?
 
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Busaholic

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Sounds an ideal candidate for a tram line, I would have thought. Think Wimbledon to West Croydon.
 

ian959

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As much as I would encourage relatively "easy" reopenings, this one has the feeling of "why bother"? I just don't see the point... there cannot be much traffic that would be generated by this reopening.
 

Nippy

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The latest plan I've heard is that the line would be doubled as far as the M4 bridge, single through the bridge, then two adjacent single lines, one to aggregates terminal/waste and one to a new Brentford station by the A4 road. No word on stock as yet. But could be AC although the listed Three Bridges structure is a bit of an issue with that!
 

Dr_Paul

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At the present the Brentford branch peters out in a fairly uninhabited area to the north of the Great West Road; the bridge over that road was demolished when the road was widened, and would cost a lot to reinstate. I'm not sure how much passenger traffic there might be even if the line was rebuilt back to Brentford, how many people would need to travel between Southall and Brentford, and the line itself does not go through much in the way of built-up areas in between those two towns.
 

fflint

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Well done MarkyT you always do good layout maps with good explanations:D
 

Nippy

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I think the idea of it is to serve the Sky facility.
 
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450.emu

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Not bad... but has any S7 stock gone down the line to Northfields and is there sufficient clearances (the dive-under the depot line at Northfields heading towards Boston Manor could be an issue) :roll:

That map looked so official and legit, I thought TfL were actually considering it :lol:
 

Mutant Lemming

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Unlikely now but it would have been far better to build the Heathrow tunnels for the District and send the more spacious trains down there.
 

mr_jrt

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It's apparently one of the biggest regrets of one of the TfL bods in charge in the 1970s that they didn't build the extension from Hatton Cross to SSL gauge. The track on the rest of the branch has been raised in the intervening 40 years, but lowering it back would be the least of their worries if they tried to get the District to Heathrow...

...that said, given LU's funding in the 1970s it probably just wouldn't have been built at all. We all know about the constraints they were working under - case in point the missing escalators on the new Victoria Line, the fact it was built as a tube line rather than a full-sized one, the Fleet Line's missing eastern half, etc.

Had it been built to SSL gauge though, I think there would have been a strong case to push on through the T5 station and run to either Staines (a-la Airtrack) or Slough (a-la WRAtH), with the Piccadilly just serving Richmond and maybe providing the local service to Northfields.

...and rather fanciful, maybe then the District could have got a new express tunnel under the A4 between Hatton Cross and Osterley so the local Piccadilly service could have been extended to Hatton Cross from Boston Manor. All-stations Slough to Hatton Cross, Osterley (or Boston Manor?), Acton Town, Hammersmith, then all-stations from Earl's Court, with the Piccadilly providing the local service, just like the Metropolitan with the Jubilee in the north.

...such a shame.
 
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DynamicSpirit

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Quoted loosely from the most recent issue of Today's Railways UK

The single track GWR line from Southall could now re-open to passengers as a Crossrail feeder. Trains would run from Southall to a new station at Transport Avenue near where the M4 and Heathrow Piccadilly line branch cross over with a possible extension to Brentford in the future.

Currently the line is single track and has not seen passenger services since 1942 but is still used for the occasional aggregates train but could see passenger services reinstated as early as 2020 would the line have to be doubled if passenger services are revived and what trains would be used?

Whom has this suggestion been attributed to? Is it something like TfL or Network Rail suggesting concrete plans, or is it merely some group of people writing a wish list?
 

AndyHudds

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As much as I would encourage relatively "easy" reopenings, this one has the feeling of "why bother"? I just don't see the point... there cannot be much traffic that would be generated by this reopening.

It's London, so they can have it and no doubt will have it. Just out of interest does this line run anywhere near Brentford's new ground?
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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There are a lot of large employers along this stretch of the Great West Road, so potentially lots of traffic in the peaks at least. Syon Lane station currently has a lot of commuters getting off in the morning and getting on in the evening.
 

Class 170101

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Neither the Piccadilly nor District Lines could cope with an additional western branch I would suggest as it would dilute the frequency of service on the existing branches.

Unfortunately the branch faces west and not east otherwise I would have suggested extending Crossrail to it using some of the services that are expected to terminate at Paddington from the east.
 

DynamicSpirit

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Hounslow Council.

Ah. I guess that puts reopening in the 'not particularly likely' category in that case, since I don't get the impression borough councils have that much influence on these matters.

I have to admit, looking at the area on the map, I'm struggling to see how a Brentford-Southall shuttle could attract that many passengers. The need to change at both ends wouldn't exactly help demand.

I'm trying to think of a way that you could cast services so as to improve connections and make such a service viable. The best I could come up with would be to simultaneously reopen the Brentford-South Action line to passengers. Then you could recast the Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo circular route as:
1. Waterloo-Brentford-Southall (with connections to Heathrow)
2. Waterloo-Hounslow-Brentford-Old Oak Common (Overground platforms) - Willesden Junction

I would imagine that would be a game-changer in terms of the new journey opportunities it would open up, and would see significant use. Probably wouldn't require that much extra infrastructure either, above that required to reinstate Southall-Brentford as a shuttle. The main issue would be capacity on the Overground bit.
 
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judethegreat

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Good posts Mutant Lemming and mr_jrt.
Marky T - I had always thought something similar, or perhaps branching off the Waterloo Hounslow loop instead.
Alternatively, what about just running straight ahead across the Thames? Only just thought of this and haven't eyed up a map yet, but possibly light rail to Wimbledon...*

* Always reluctant to convert lines to light rail if it stops the possibillity of freight, though

Edit - Hadn't noticed DynamicSpirit's suggestion which could be good..
 
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Kite159

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Neither the Piccadilly nor District Lines could cope with an additional western branch I would suggest as it would dilute the frequency of service on the existing branches.

Unfortunately the branch faces west and not east otherwise I would have suggested extending Crossrail to it using some of the services that are expected to terminate at Paddington from the east.

Faces West onto the main lines so any reopening will probably be limited to an Upminster - Romford style shuttle in my eyes to avoid conflicts with the GW IEPs

Unless it is extended to join up with the other Brentford station on SWT
 

Dr_Paul

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It's London, so they can have it and no doubt will have it. Just out of interest does this line run anywhere near Brentford's new ground?

No, it's right at the other end of Brentford. And, as I pointed out earlier, the line was truncated north of the Great West Road, and runs through very lightly-inhabited land most of the way to Southall. The Bees' new ground, I believe, is next to Kew Bridge station.

Rather than resurrecting a hopeless venture -- passenger services on the GWR branch were never successful, as the line was built primarily for freight down to Brentford Dock, hence the junction facing the way it did at Southall -- a better venture would be to develop Kew Bridge station as an interchange between the South-Western and the North London Line. There still are platforms on the junction that could be revived to serve NLL trains, which could alternate with Richmond services down from Willesden.
 

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The link between Willesden and Richmond would be reduced to an unacceptably low level if some services were diverted to Kew Bridge.
 

450.emu

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Ah. I guess that puts reopening in the 'not particularly likely' category in that case, since I don't get the impression borough councils have that much influence on these matters.

I have to admit, looking at the area on the map, I'm struggling to see how a Brentford-Southall shuttle could attract that many passengers. The need to change at both ends wouldn't exactly help demand.

I'm trying to think of a way that you could cast services so as to improve connections and make such a service viable. The best I could come up with would be to simultaneously reopen the Brentford-South Action line to passengers. Then you could recast the Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo circular route as:
1. Waterloo-Brentford-Southall (with connections to Heathrow)
2. Waterloo-Hounslow-Brentford-Old Oak Common (Overground platforms) - Willesden Junction

I would imagine that would be a game-changer in terms of the new journey opportunities it would open up, and would see significant use. Probably wouldn't require that much extra infrastructure either, above that required to reinstate Southall-Brentford as a shuttle. The main issue would be capacity on the Overground bit.

As for Brentford to Southall, there's the 195 bus, so I can't see this scheme running, though an Overground link from Hounslosw and Brentford would be ideal, using the branch line (Kew Bridge junction?) that runs toward South Acton. Not sure if that is electrified with 3rd rail, I doubt we'll see wires from Brentford to Acton Central :roll:
 

Class 170101

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As for Brentford to Southall, there's the 195 bus, so I can't see this scheme running, though an Overground link from Hounslosw and Brentford would be ideal, using the branch line (Kew Bridge junction?) that runs toward South Acton. Not sure if that is electrified with 3rd rail, I doubt we'll see wires from Brentford to Acton Central :roll:

South Acton to New / Old Kew Jns isn't electrified.
 

Busaholic

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Seeing as how the Greenford branch will be an embarrassment in the post-electrification and post-Crossrail era, why not think in terms of a light rail link from Ealing Broadway to Brentford via Greenford and Southall? Slightly tongue-in-cheek, but not entirely.
 

mr_jrt

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In time, the Greenford branch will be used to provide a Crossrail feeder service from High Wycombe to West Ealing. It will get wired up when the rest of that line is.
 

contractador

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To give this a bit more detail of this scheme as someone who lives and works in the area, the rail connection serves part of a much larger scheme called the Golden Mile. It is quite a significant brownfield regeneration scheme in Brentford. Although there are several big employers in the area, there is (according to Hounslow Council) an opportunity to create c30,000 jobs through the whole scheme.

Due to the severe traffic congestion on the M4 and other local roads, the branch line is quoted as one of the key requirements to being able to achieve the project.

The essence of the plan is to run a shuttle service starting from Southall using the un-numbered Southern Platform and terminating at a new station which would be built on the North side of the Great West Road in between Transport Avenue and Shield Drive - pretty much at the heart of the development.

www.brentfordtw8.com/default.asp?section=info&page=gwcorridor001.htm
This is the full details of the issue
(to be honest this is fairly lengthy. Page 9 shows the area in question, page 14 shows the transport options being explored)

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/new-southall-brentford-rail-link-11197980
This article highlights the latest development. It seems to suggest that the council could even self-fund. Not sure how that might influence proceedings however. Not sure if anyone on this forum can shed any light on that?
 
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anthony263

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I think it will be a good idea. I know how bad the local roads as well as the M4 & A4 can be during peak times (I have the misfortune of driving National Express coaches into London regulary)

As for those who say the branch is not really serving alrge populated area's the Greenford and Romford branches can be very quiet a large part of the days however playa role in the larger game
 

MatthewRead

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Thanks. I think I may have meant Brentford rather than Colnbrook, but I suspect the answer it the same re: electrification, i.e., not gonna happen (probably rightly).
There are plans to restore passenger services on the Brentford branch.
 
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