Overcrowding on the Piccadilly Line (Heathrow Branch)?

Discussion in 'London Underground' started by Peregrine 4903, 28 Jan 2020.

  1. Peregrine 4903

    Peregrine 4903 Member

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    One benefit of Crossrail that I haven't seen mentioned often is that it will provide some desperate relief for the Piccadilly Line Heathrow Branch which suffers from some severe overcrowding, particularly during peak hours and is very busy throughout the day.

    I commute to Hounslow Central and the train are consistently very full on the Heathrow Branch. The problem of overcrowding is made worse by all the luggage from Heathrow passengers which blocks standing space. I have frequently seen passengers being left behind at Northfields and South Ealing Stations. The situation is also worse as I'm pretty sure during rush hour the 3 Northfields starters don't run, meaning the branch overall has a service reduction as those trains would normally be able to pick up and clear Northfields and South Ealing platforms of passengers.

    The Heathrow branch could desperately do with a frequency increase, which I know won't be possible until the Piccadilly Line upgrade.

    But otherwise hopefully Crossrail will take away the majority of Heathrow passengers from the Piccadilly line and provide some much needed relieft for commuters using the line.
     
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  3. kevin_roche

    kevin_roche Member

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    I'm not sure that it will have the expected effect. It will cost more so may not draw the number of passengers you would like. It will also be quite a while before trains will run to Heathrow through the tunnels.
     
  4. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Have to agree with this, HEx barely seemed to have any effect on the Picc Line, plus the Picc serves a number of hotel areas.
     
  5. Dstock7080

    Dstock7080 Established Member

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    A 5min service is provided throughout the day, with no peak enhancement from Heathrow T2&3 to Northfields.
    During off-peak hours an additional 20min service is run from Northfields through Central London, during the peak these trains provide extra services to Uxbridge.
     
  6. jamesst

    jamesst Member

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    Probably the underground line I dislike the most, I've never got a Piccadilly tube that hasnt been rammed.
     
  7. Ethano92

    Ethano92 Member

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    Is the end goal for the Piccadilly line 36tph. I think with the new trains the initial increase will be to 24tph and later to 27tph with new signalling, this seems inadequate. I've used the branch first hand in peaks, 5 minute gaps really aren't helpful on a line running through such densely populated SW London. TFL are cash strapped so I suppose we won't get much for a while beyond the new trains order.
     
  8. trebor79

    trebor79 Established Member

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    24tph is a 2.5 minute service interval, not 5 minutes.
     
  9. Mojo

    Mojo Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    5 minutes refers to the current frequency on the Heathrow branch. Whilst the line operates to 24tph this is the target for both am and pm peak of the number of trains passing Leicester Sq on each road, this is a 5 minute frequency on both branches.
     
  10. USBT

    USBT Member

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    Ultimately, when the Purple trains run through central London I see relief for the Piccadilly line. Yes it will cost more but not an extortionate amount, and the end to end journeys (to most places) will be substantially quicker.

    It will help if Heathrow Airport properly advertise the purple trains (when through running starts). Currently in the terminals all the advertising is for the HEX and kiosks sell tickets at the extortionate walk up fares.

    And they (HAL) could draw some tourists away from the tube today if they (and the airlines) publicized the cheap advance HEX fares, now available for any train on the specified day of travel. Yes they require 90 days (£5.50) or 60 days (£7.50) to get a really good deal but some will bite.

    I live in the US and fly to/from Heathrow 2-3 times a year. And I use the tube (sorry). But I’ll likely use the Purple line when it’s completely fully operational.
     
  11. mrmartin

    mrmartin Member

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    Agreed, for nearly every destination west of Paddington Elizabeth line will be way quicker. Eg: Liverpool Street to Heathrow:

    Pic line via holborn approx 75mins, £5ish
    Heathrow express with change at paddington, 60 mins, £27
    Elizabeth line direct, 33mins, £10ish (and counts towards zone 1-6 daily cap)

    Time/money savings get even more attractive to Canary Wharf etc.
     
  12. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    Actually it's a 10 minute service in the daytime to any terminal at Heathrow. One service serves T4, the other T23 and then T5. Although the T4 service is advertised as also serving T23, it takes so long to get round the loop (it also takes its terminal dwell time at the T4 platform, sometimes 5 minutes or more) that it will be overtaken by the T5 train following, even if there is an Uxbridge train in between them.

    I do however find it convenient to take a non-Heathrow service in central London, and change at Acton or Northfields, as the Heathrow trains are commonly much fuller even as far in as Green Park.

    This seems to come as a surprise to some operators, that when you provide a service for air passengers to an airport they actually want to take luggage with them. A bit like train/bus operators who provide services to a shopping centre but then find the fact that people are actually bringing shopping home with them to be a "nuisance" for their seating/standing calculations.
     
  13. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    Thenkfully, the 1973 stock was built specifically with larger than normal 'stand-back' spaces at the doors. And additional mixed-use spaces (with bumrest) were created when the stock was refurbished in the late 1990s, when the transverse seating was also removed.
     
  14. Dstock7080

    Dstock7080 Established Member

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    So what is the service frequency from Heathrow T2&3 to Northfields in the daytime?
    (as I tried to imply in my post)
     
    Last edited: 3 Feb 2020
  15. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    From the Piccadilly line working timetable (WTT 58), it is every five minutes - but in that direction only. In the opposite direction, it's every ten minutes - with a similar frequency going around the loop to Terminal 4, pausing and then continuing on to T2&3 and back to Central London.

    Screen Shot 2020-02-03 at 22.02.28.png
    Image shows an excerpt from the Piccadilly line working timetable, showing service frequency between pairs of stations.
     
  16. Mojo

    Mojo Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    A bit unnecessarily pedantic? It was quite clear what he meant.
     
  17. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    Who is that aimed at?
     
  18. si404

    si404 Member

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    Too many in this thread are thinking solely about airport passengers as that's the only place where both serve the same stations.

    When I used to use the Piccadilly to Northfields evening peak, the large number of people who got off and then got a bus north via West Ealing was eye-opening re: how transformative Crossrail will be when it takes people beyond Paddington.

    Instead of people heading south to the Piccadilly, people in that corridor will head north to the Liz when it's plumbed in. No fare difference, but a big speed difference.

    The reduction in demand from stations east of Hounslow will be a bigger help for the Piccadilly line than the reduction in demand from Heathrow. Both would be useful, though the fares issue will not reduce Heathrow as much as it could, and the numbers involved are smaller.
     
  19. Snow1964

    Snow1964 Member

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    I lived near the line in mid 1990s, and used Hounslow East. At first could get a seat, but as they refurbished the trains (and cut seating) it became lot harder to get one in morning peak.

    I think the problem is a lack of trains and quite uneven frequency (which has varied over time), think it used to be one Uxbridge, one Rayners Lane or Ruislip, one Northfields, one to T4, two to T5

    But presumably only having a train to T4 about every 12 minutes has changed things, may be more even now but its definitely less trains to airport.

    To some extent some punters at stations Boston Manor to Acton might switch to Hanwell to Ealing Broadway etc if live between stations, when full Elizabeth line opens. At least it will have same zonal fares. In fact this was part of the justification for Crossrail (relieving Piccadilly line in Southern Ealing area)
     
    Last edited: 5 Feb 2020
  20. kevin_roche

    kevin_roche Member

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    There was some talk about the need for new signalling on the Piccadilly Line at the London Assembly transport committee meeting yesterday. Mike brown was appearing to answer questions for the last time. A question was asked as the whether the fares freeze was the cause of a delay in funding an upgrade to the signalling. Mike Brown insisted that it was not as the cost of new signalling was much greater than the cost of the fares freeze.

    They mentioned that better signalling would allow trains to be 2.5 minutes apart which would double the capacity.



    Ignore the starting image which is for another meeting.
     
  21. si404

    si404 Member

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    They already run at 2.5 minutes apart in the peak, and every 2.5-3 in the off-peak.

    I believe this round of signals work is relatively minor and would boost it to 27tph (future work will redo it all and get it to 33-36tph), with the key factor for capacity boost being the new trains - they are designed to hold a lot more people and are needed to run the more frequent service*. The doubling would be 33tph on the new trains, vs 24tph on the old trains, I'd imagine.

    *I guess they could do what they've done on the Central line to boost core capacity - reduce fringe frequency freeing up trains to turnback earlier.
     
  22. Snow1964

    Snow1964 Member

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    The facts are there is only 87.5 current Piccadilly line trains (a 3 car set with experimental electronic control was later converted to standard, which explains the half)

    The new trains are now delayed until 2024-2026 and some work is therefore having to being done on existing trains as stopgap (so actually bit less trains available as upgrades are done). Only 94 new trains have been ordered (which allows 27 trains per hour instead of 24 tph)

    No Options have been exercised yet, but 33-36tph will require about 20-30 more trains depending on where turning back is timetabled (don't all need to go to end of branches). I'm sure the TfL Board papers (public part) have not confirmed funding for the new signalling yet (just some interim funding for design and specification)

    So short term the upgrade work (on existing fleet) actually reduces number of trains available

    The new trains will be walk through, but the current layout has low numbers of seats, so I suspect crush load capacity will not go up much. A few extra people squeezed in a tube car with 100 people is not much capacity increase. To put some figures on it TfL info shows a new capacity (with 36tph) is 160% of current (with 24tph), but of course the frequency increase takes it to 150% so only 6.66% capacity increase per train.
     
  23. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    One of my friends lives outside hanwell station he still refuses to take the TfL rail because of the £6 fare instead going from Boston manor. The fare seems a deterrent
     
  24. si404

    si404 Member

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    To Heathrow - and it is absurd that it costs 4x the price (off-peak) to use TfL Rail rather than the Piccadilly line.

    Commuting isn't as extreme as weekly caps for the journey come in quickly due to the high single fare - zone 4-6 cap comes in on the 4th or 5th journey Hanwell-Heathrow, making 10 trips a week come in at £2.99 each - whether peak or off-peak.

    It is, however, Central London traffic that will shift from heading south to the Piccadilly to heading north to the Elizabeth line when that service takes them to more useful places than Paddington. Prices are the same for those journeys.
     
  25. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    Heathrow which he would only be going for going on holiday not commuting journeys . The TfL rail also has a reputation still from being unreliable from hanwell as a hang over from the Heathrow connect days
     
  26. Snow1964

    Snow1964 Member

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    TfL Board papers (Programmes and Investment committee 5 March)

    There is section on New Piccadilly line trains (page 134 on) will be 9 car trains, 7m longer than existing trains, will carry 9.5% more

    New Rolling Stock
    4.3 The train concept design stage was completed in November 2019, and detailed design is now underway. The new trains will be of 9-car formation, with an increase in overall train length of 7 metres compared with the existing 6- car trains.
    4.4 The new train design will be fully accessible and feature walk-through interiors, saloon air-cooling (for the first time on a deep Tube train), all double-doorways to improve boarding and alighting, as well as modern audio/visual communication systems, a new CCTV system covering the platform and train interface for the train operator to view within the cab and improved customer information.
    4.5 The new trains will provide a 9.5 per cent increase in passenger capacity, compared with the existing Piccadilly line trains at today‟s service level. This will increase peak trunk capacity from 99,000 passengers at today‟s service level, to 122,000 passengers with a 27 tph peak service; this represents a 23 per cent overall increase in peak service capacity on the line.
    4.6 The new trains will be more energy efficient, being capable of regenerative braking (to recover energy from braking as electrical energy for use by other trains). This will be enabled once the existing fleet is fully replaced, to reduce annual energy consumption by nearly 20 per cent when operating a 27 tph peak service.
    4.7 Train production is on target to start from August 2021, to ensure that the first new train can be introduced into service from Autumn 2024. All the existing Piccadilly line trains will be replaced by mid-2026.
    4.8 Stakeholder engagement on the train interior design has commenced with concept designs shared with the Independent Disability Advisory Group (IDAG) and the TfL Accessibility Forum in January to elicit feedback and inform the finalised train design.

    http://content.tfl.gov.uk/pic-20200305-public-agenda-documents.pdf
     
  27. evergreenadam

    evergreenadam Member

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    24tph not sufficient for the core during the peaks, there are heavy flows into and out of Central London from the west due to Heathrow Airport passengers and Hammersmith being a major office location. Some very crowded trains into Green Park from the west in the evening peak for example. Much lower capacity than other Central London tube lines due to shorter trains and lower peak frequency. I seem to remember 27tph were scheduled in the late 80s but not sure how this was achieved, maybe it was too unreliable given the age of the signalling.
     
  28. Peregrine 4903

    Peregrine 4903 Member

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    I completely agree with you. I live on the northern end of the Piccadilly Line and that end also has some bad overcrowding, perticularly between Caledonian Road and Hoborn, which I think is the worst section for overcrowding on the Piccadilly Line. The one advantage for the northern end of the Piccadilly Line is the Finsbury Park flat interhange to the Victoria which provides a lot of relief for the Piccadilly Line, although causes mass overcrowding on the Victoria Line. Ultimately I think the Piccadilly Line despite being overcrowded in the morning does have some slack to take some extra passengers mainly on the northern section. But not many though.

    Also the incredibly crowded Piccadilly trains heading into Green Park in the evening is almost always because of how busy Knightsbridge station is at that time. The train almost always becomes full or crush loaded at Knightsbridge. This particularly where the extra capacity is needed.

    However I will say the overcrowding on the Piccadilly Line is I feel like an easy fix, as even if the capacity were slightly increased that would provide enough relief in the short term, after coronavirus.
     
  29. Dstock7080

    Dstock7080 Established Member

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    WTT23 introduced 18 May 1988 had peak service of 73 trains.
     
  30. evergreenadam

    evergreenadam Member

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    Current WTT is 78 trains in peak service. But the extra trains in peak service now may be accounted for by better services on the outer extremities including the T5 extension and longer dwell times. Of course on the other hand the Aldwych shuttle no longer runs so that saves one unit.
     

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