Western Access to Heathrow

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swt_passenger

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£500m mentioned in a written statement on aviation today, I wonder what route that will pay for?

£500m towards a western rail link to Heathrow, which is in addition to £1.4bn already being invested to improve surface access to airports, including £44m towards upgrading Gatwick Airport station and a new fleet of thirty electric trains already improving services on the Stansted Express. In addition the Government is pressing ahead with HS2 which will significantly improve access to airports such as Birmingham and Manchester...

Editors note: The Western Rail Access to Heathrow project will be included in the Government’s forthcoming High Level Output Specification for the railways (HLOS) announcement. The project is subject to a satisfactory business case and the agreement of acceptable terms with the Heathrow aviation industry.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/press-releases/dft-press-20120712b

The CP5 enhancement proposals had this:

The study will review options for constructing the link, including:

extension from the Terminal 5 station in a tunnel under the western boundary of the
airport, connecting to the Colnbrook branch to a new junction West of West Drayton on
the GWML; and

extension from Terminal 5 in a tunnel to Richings Park, Iver, with a new junction
between Iver and Langley stations on the GWML.

Further options may be identified by the design consultant. No decisions have been taken
about service provision over the loop, but options include a completely new service, re-routing
Crossrail services and extending Heathrow Express and / or Heathrow Connect services to
Reading.
 
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SwindonPkwy

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As far as extending Heathrow Express and/or Heathrow Connect, isn't it the case that these services will be replaced by Crossrail? Or is it possible that this scheme could be up and running first?

Also, presumably, this pretty much kills off any further talk of Airtrack Lite.
 

LE Greys

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As far as extending Heathrow Express and/or Heathrow Connect, isn't it the case that these services will be replaced by Crossrail? Or is it possible that this scheme could be up and running first?

Also, presumably, this pretty much kills off any further talk of Airtrack Lite.

They're not mutually-exclusive, it depends on signalling at what will presumably be West Airport Junction.

Whatever happens, its a good step in the right direction, but it's about time that NR bought the airport branch and HEX was included in FGW. It might then be possible to combine it with the Oxford Flyer and the Bedwyn service, making better use of the paths out of London and freeing capacity for Crossrail. It would also be a lot cheaper and easier to use, as ticketing would be integrated with everywhere else. The stopping pattern would be Paddington-Heathrow Central-Heathrow T5-Slough-Reading-Wherever.
 

Waverley125

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could this be combined with the proposed AirTrack scheme for access to Heathrow from the Waterloo lines? If so, given the 'regional metro' outline plan for crossrail 2, Heathrow could be served on both Crossrail 1 & 2, with 2 services running through to Maidenhead/Reading.
 

swt_passenger

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could this be combined with the proposed AirTrack scheme for access to Heathrow from the Waterloo lines? If so, given the 'regional metro' outline plan for crossrail 2, Heathrow could be served on both Crossrail 1 & 2, with 2 services running through to Maidenhead/Reading.

No, because Airtrack, as developed until they were about to apply for a TWA order, has been completely cancelled. The fundamental issue of level crossings in SW London means no-one wants any extra services at all, so that's why Airtrack lite is being proposed by the relevant local authorities. But it is a fundamentally different scheme to Airtrack, because it only diverts existing services.

Once a service is running, that will be the time to transfer it to Crossrail 2 if possible.

In the mean time, a simple extension from Heathrow to a terminal bay platform at Staines would tick a lot of boxes except for a change being needed.

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

As far as extending Heathrow Express and/or Heathrow Connect, isn't it the case that these services will be replaced by Crossrail? Or is it possible that this scheme could be up and running first?

The current official line is that only Connect is replaced by Crossrail, but at double the present frequency, ie 4 tph.

HEx transfer to Crossrail is still only a proposal for later years, as part of the London and SE RUS solution for GW fast line capacity.

It may well be that next weeks HLOS will come down in favour of HEx transferring to Crossrail as well - but that is not existing policy. There are those who believe BAA/HAL will never allow HEx to finish - but I'm not so sure now...
 
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Wolfie

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They're not mutually-exclusive, it depends on signalling at what will presumably be West Airport Junction.

Whatever happens, its a good step in the right direction, but it's about time that NR bought the airport branch and HEX was included in FGW. It might then be possible to combine it with the Oxford Flyer and the Bedwyn service, making better use of the paths out of London and freeing capacity for Crossrail. It would also be a lot cheaper and easier to use, as ticketing would be integrated with everywhere else. The stopping pattern would be Paddington-Heathrow Central-Heathrow T5-Slough-Reading-Wherever.

My bold

Given the profits BAA make from HEX and the length of their operating permit taking over the rail service would be far from cheap. Purchasing the infrastructure of "the airport branch" would likely be even dearer.

Who is going to pay for it? I certainly can't see DafT taking less from/increasing payments to (I am not sure about where the franchise is at financially) FGW so that they can recoup purchase costs for the HEX franchise and increase access payments to Network Rail.....

HEX will, I suspect, continue until 2020+ and BAA will continue to own the "airport branch" at least until then. Ultimately this is a niche service and limited funds could be put to better use.
 

WatcherZero

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Saw this mentioned in the paper this morning, £500m to create a western link to Heathrow for passengers from Bristol, Cardiff and the South West for direct services to Heathrow without having to change in London. Presumably it will be part of the Great Western franchise.

A London western bypass has been something ive been calling for for a long time, hopefully this will connect up to the HS2 spur and allow through services avoiding London for the North too.
 

SussexMan

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As reported by the BBC...
"From 2021 they will no longer need to travel via London Paddington.

The next stage will be looking to the industry on a proposed route and it should be in operation by early 2020," he said.

It is part of government plans and could be operational by 2021.

How we managed to build the infrastructure for the Olympics in 7 years yet this will take 8 or 9 years... Whilst we obviously need a planning system, sometimes we should just find a way to move things forward a little bit quicker.
 

LE Greys

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My bold

Given the profits BAA make from HEX and the length of their operating permit taking over the rail service would be far from cheap. Purchasing the infrastructure of "the airport branch" would likely be even dearer.

Who is going to pay for it? I certainly can't see DafT taking less from/increasing payments to (I am not sure about where the franchise is at financially) FGW so that they can recoup purchase costs for the HEX franchise and increase access payments to Network Rail.....

HEX will, I suspect, continue until 2020+ and BAA will continue to own the "airport branch" at least until then. Ultimately this is a niche service and limited funds could be put to better use.

This just happens to be one of my personal bugbears, BAA using Heathrow Express as a cash cow and taking up four paths per hour in each direction plus the lack of integrated ticketing. What manner of clot would ever have permitted that? (Answer, the same transport minister who set up the current privatisation system :roll: ). Still, given the length of time for construction, we will probably reach 2020 before we see any sort of westbound service, by which time there will be a complete timetable recast.
 

cle

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To be fair, they did pay for it. I understand people want to just take it on as it does make sense, but it's a bit like Repsol in Argentina - reclaiming something which isn't theirs.

I hope NR/DfT buys it from BAA of course, but they will need to compensate quite heavily.
 

SwindonPkwy

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swt_passenger said:
In the mean time, a simple extension from Heathrow to a terminal bay platform at Staines would tick a lot of boxes except for a change being needed.

I know that this is unlikely to happen, but if they six track from Airport Junction to the NLL, then you could have 4tph Watford Junction - Staines. Two of which could start in Milton Keynes.
 

bluenoxid

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http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2012/07/13-new-rail-link-in-governments.html

Other possible rail links mentioned at the end. I think Leeds Bradford needs a link - either tram or train. Which line is nearest / best to do this from? How long would a spur be?

LBA is doing very well - many new flights / new operators flying from there.


It is not the length of the spur that is the problem. It is the gradient, which would be testing most train fleets as any service tries to climb out of Horsforth and towards Leeds Bradford. I would expect housing to be affected if the station was to be located anywhere near the terminal.

My suggestion would be to take advantage of any short term electrification towards Horsforth and push a bus or the car park buses north on a special road that joins Scotland Lane.

Another option is extending the new trolley bus and running express services on this route.

I wouldn't be going for a train for Leeds Bradford.
 

tbtc

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http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2012/07/13-new-rail-link-in-governments.html

Other possible rail links mentioned at the end. I think Leeds Bradford needs a link - either tram or train. Which line is nearest / best to do this from? How long would a spur be?

LBA is doing very well - many new flights / new operators flying from there.

It'd have to be from the Harrogate line (near Horsforth), but I'm not sure how best to do it (given all the other potential improvements in Yorkshire)
 

bluenoxid

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It'd have to be from the Harrogate line (near Horsforth), but I'm not sure how best to do it (given all the other potential improvements in Yorkshire)

I have a new idea

Cablecar or that ULTra thing they have at Heathrow Airport T5

Or we could just make them walk.
 

Class 33

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Great news. But I do wonder how they're going to be able to path these services in once electrification is complete and the two additional services per hour from Bristol Temple Meads-London Paddington are running, as well as the services from Cheltenham/Gloucester, Oxford, and Worcestor/Great Malvern.

How often will these services run? And what will the stopping patterns likely to be? The services from Bristol, if half hourly "metro" services calling all stations between Bristol and Bath are running, it would be practically impossible to have the Heathrow services running via Bath. So they'd have to go via Bristol Parkway. So it would make sense for these to call as per the normal HST stops to Reading. And have one of the South Wales-London services per hour running non-stop between Bristol Parkway and Reading.
 

swt_passenger

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.

How often will these services run? And what will the stopping patterns likely to be? The services from Bristol, if half hourly "metro" services calling all stations between Bristol and Bath are running, it would be practically impossible to have the Heathrow services running via Bath. So they'd have to go via Bristol Parkway. So it would make sense for these to call as per the normal HST stops to Reading. And have one of the South Wales-London services per hour running non-stop between Bristol Parkway and Reading.

There's absolutely nothing official suggesting trains will run through from Heathrow beyond Reading. It's mainly local media speculation following what was a pretty sketchy announcement last week, that was capable of all sorts of interpretations. It referred to 'faster journey times', and that doesn't rule out changes at Reading, it only has to be faster than the rail air coach...

However, following Reading rebuild there will be more paths available at least as far as Reading. which is really the main constraint on current frequencies.

How about trains running Basingstoke > Reading > Heathrow (on fast lines) > Paddington?
 

gwr4090

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Great news. But I do wonder how they're going to be able to path these services in once electrification is complete and the two additional services per hour from Bristol Temple Meads-London Paddington are running, as well as the services from Cheltenham/Gloucester, Oxford, and Worcestor/Great Malvern.

How often will these services run? And what will the stopping patterns likely to be? The services from Bristol, if half hourly "metro" services calling all stations between Bristol and Bath are running, it would be practically impossible to have the Heathrow services running via Bath. So they'd have to go via Bristol Parkway. So it would make sense for these to call as per the normal HST stops to Reading. And have one of the South Wales-London services per hour running non-stop between Bristol Parkway and Reading.

Frankly I think it unlikely that services from West of Reading will call at Heathroiw. There will be a significant time penalty on overall journey time.. Instead my expectation is that the 4tph Heathrow Express will be replaced by a fast (125mph) service from Paddington calling only at Heathrow then fast to Reading, and maybe terminating at Basinsgtoke as suggested in the London & SE RUS. Passengers from points further west will change at Reading for Heathrow. All other trains serving Heathrow will be CrossRail trains running on the relief lines only.

This assumes of course that BAA will play ball, or sell out to Network Rail so that the Heathrow loop can be fully integrated into the National Network.

David
 

cle

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How would it get to Basingstoke?

Signs seem to point to this LHR line being connected to the relief lines - which at Reading (especially future Reading) - is about six lines north of the Basingstoke branch.

The fasts might be easier as the westbound one wouldn't need any kind of flyover or diveunder I guess. Hopefully all sorts of services will emerge - I think Oxford definitely has potential. Basingstoke - maybe?
 

swt_passenger

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How would it get to Basingstoke?

Signs seem to point to this LHR line being connected to the relief lines - which at Reading (especially future Reading) - is about six lines north of the Basingstoke branch.

There will be connections available from all four relief line platforms to the Basingstoke line at Reading. The various sketches available of the remodelling generally don't show the full track layout.
 

LE Greys

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How would it get to Basingstoke?

Signs seem to point to this LHR line being connected to the relief lines - which at Reading (especially future Reading) - is about six lines north of the Basingstoke branch.

The fasts might be easier as the westbound one wouldn't need any kind of flyover or diveunder I guess. Hopefully all sorts of services will emerge - I think Oxford definitely has potential. Basingstoke - maybe?

The Oxford Flyer is currently timed for 90mph diesel stock. Re-time it for 125 diesel or 100 electric and allow it to take up a Heathrow Express path (making sure it's always formed of at least eight coaches) and you would have a neat combination service.

The ULTra also leaves open the possibility of a cheap alternative. Extend it to West Drayton and stop a lot more trains there. Alternatively, a version of the Terminal 5 shuttle to there, combined with extra car parks perhaps, and achieves a more limited aim for a lower cost.

Wouldn't that be the saintly Michael Portillo who gave the go-ahead to BAA?

Most likely - that's one of many reasons I never watch Great Railway Journeys.
 

WatcherZero

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I would imagine something like 1 train every 2 hours from Cardiff diverted to Heathrow, 1 new service every 2 hours from Bristol and 2ph from Reading for a combined 2tph, supplemented by extension of some of the current local Heathrow services to Reading, possibly a intermittent service from Devon every three or four hours.

The line would need around 4tph at least to be profitable.
 

tbtc

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I would imagine something like 1 train every 2 hours from Cardiff diverted to Heathrow, 1 new service every 2 hours from Bristol and 2ph from Reading for a combined 2tph, supplemented by extension of some of the current local Heathrow services to Reading, possibly a intermittent service from Devon every three or four hours.

The line would need around 4tph at least to be profitable.

It's a problem - the frequent GWML services (four an hour from Bristol and Oxford, two an hour from Cardiff) mean that the time penalty for diverting anything via Heathrow would probably mean being overtaken by the train behind from the same origin station (like Northampton on the WCML).

I'm not sure how best to serve Heathrow at the Reading end with a through service (divert an existing service via there and you get criticism for slowing the time to London down).
 

burty76

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It's a problem - the frequent GWML services (four an hour from Bristol and Oxford, two an hour from Cardiff) mean that the time penalty for diverting anything via Heathrow would probably mean being overtaken by the train behind from the same origin station (like Northampton on the WCML).

I'm not sure how best to serve Heathrow at the Reading end with a through service (divert an existing service via there and you get criticism for slowing the time to London down).

The plan is for 4 Bristol - London trains per hour (presumably 2 via Bath and 2 via Bristol Parkway). Diverting 1 of the Parkway ones via Heathrow would be beneficial without attracting criticism for slow journey times, as there would be three other direct trains every hour.
 

tbtc

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The plan is for 4 Bristol - London trains per hour (presumably 2 via Bath and 2 via Bristol Parkway). Diverting 1 of the Parkway ones via Heathrow would be beneficial without attracting criticism for slow journey times, as there would be three other direct trains every hour.

Lets assume for a moment that these are going to be leaving Paddington every fifteen minutes - would running a service via Heathrow mean being overtaken by the Bristol service behind?

The linespeed through Heathrow wouldn't be that fast, plus the stop would have to be for a few minutes due to passengers with luggage etc.
 

burty76

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Lets assume for a moment that these are going to be leaving Paddington every fifteen minutes - would running a service via Heathrow mean being overtaken by the Bristol service behind?

The linespeed through Heathrow wouldn't be that fast, plus the stop would have to be for a few minutes due to passengers with luggage etc.
Obviously just an example...

They could have the via Bath trains leaving at xx00 and xx30, and the via Parkway trains at xx10 and xx40. Assuming a 15 min time penalty for going via Heathrow, if the xx10 was sent that way it would still be 5 mins ahead of the xx30 following it.
 

tbtc

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Obviously just an example...

They could have the via Bath trains leaving at xx00 and xx30, and the via Parkway trains at xx10 and xx40. Assuming a 15 min time penalty for going via Heathrow, if the xx10 was sent that way it would still be 5 mins ahead of the xx30 following it.

I appreciate we are being hypothetical, I'm just trying to get my head round whether the time penalty for serving Heathrow would be so high that it would make journeys from Cardiff/ Bristol to London too slow to remain competitive.

For example, no services from London/ Birmingham to Manchester divert into Manchester Airport en route to Piccadilly.

But then would a separate Heathrow - Bristol service be busy enough to work (with no "London" traffic on board)?

Is the answer just to have a shuttle from Heathrow to Reading and Basingstoke?
 

burty76

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I appreciate we are being hypothetical, I'm just trying to get my head round whether the time penalty for serving Heathrow would be so high that it would make journeys from Cardiff/ Bristol to London too slow to remain competitive.

For example, no services from London/ Birmingham to Manchester divert into Manchester Airport en route to Piccadilly.

But then would a separate Heathrow - Bristol service be busy enough to work (with no "London" traffic on board)?

Is the answer just to have a shuttle from Heathrow to Reading and Basingstoke?
I dont think diverting some of the Off-Peak EUS-MCP via Wilmslow trains via Manchester Airport would cause too much uproar as there are already two fast services via Stoke.

You couldnt divert Bham - MCP trains that way as theyre only 4/5 carriages and it would mean hideous overcrowding on the on trains not serving the Airport.

But anyway, Heathrow is a far bigger airport with a much greater potential market than Manchester.

My suggestion would be to divert one of the 4 Bristols (leaving 3 fast trains, more than enough), and 1 from Oxford every hour (assuming at least 3 trains to Oxford per hour, the other two would be fast). This could then be suppemented by a half hourly London - Heathrow - Reading - Basingstoke.

Giving 4 trains westbound out of Heathrow to Reading and beyond.
 
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