Western Rail link to Heathrow delayed again

Status
Not open for further replies.

JamesT

Established Member
Joined
25 Feb 2015
Messages
1,373
‘Eeyore’ Clifton was on South Today this lunchtime saying the decision on this project had been postponed again. Apparently the business case hasn’t been produced yet and was likely to be worse now with the drop in both rail and air passengers due to COVID. He finished off by suggesting it might never happen.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Meerkat

Established Member
Joined
14 Jul 2018
Messages
5,674
‘Eeyore’ Clifton was on South Today this lunchtime saying the decision on this project had been postponed again. Apparently the business case hasn’t been produced yet and was likely to be worse now with the drop in both rail and air passengers due to COVID. He finished off by suggesting it might never happen.
Spend the budget on the Southern link that has much wider benefits than just the airport.....
 

Horizon22

Established Member
Associate Staff
Jobs & Careers
Joined
8 Sep 2019
Messages
4,345
Location
London
Spend the budget on the Southern link that has much wider benefits than just the airport.....

Such a scheme you would hope would have some foresight to potentially connect with a Western one.

It is not as dramatic of course that the Western is delayed, the journey time being affected by around 45-60 mins.
 

Meerkat

Established Member
Joined
14 Jul 2018
Messages
5,674
Such a scheme you would hope would have some foresight to potentially connect with a Western one.

It is not as dramatic of course that the Western is delayed, the journey time being affected by around 45-60 mins.
It would connect at Heathrow, but just build the southern one and it will connect at OOC.
 

JamesT

Established Member
Joined
25 Feb 2015
Messages
1,373
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-54252585 is now up as an article.
Plans for a rail link between the Great Western mainline and Heathrow Airport will be delayed by up to two years.
A planning application for the long-anticipated scheme, which would allow people living to the west of Heathrow to travel direct to the airport, had been expected this year.
But Network Rail said the proposal had been delayed by the impact of Covid-19.
Reading Borough Council's lead for transport Tony Page described the delay as "deplorable".
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
3,079
Equally, never a better time to bury the M25, dig tunnels around Heathrow, close the NR station to build out the shell etc etc etc... infrastructure should always be the go-to in a depression.

But yes there are a lot of other worthy cases. HS2 rages forward, EWR somewhat... and it's good to see Ely being looked at. Less glamorous, but key to so much.
 

Class 170101

Established Member
Joined
1 Mar 2014
Messages
7,148
I would agree now is the time to build as demand is less and fewer people are affected. Demadn will return eventually its how that is met and managed that needs sorting out.
 

goldenarrow

Member
Joined
28 Sep 2019
Messages
47
Location
London
The delay is a shame, but hopefully the suppressed demand that the global aviation industry is experiencing means that this project can still be brought into use in good time.

We are notorious procrastinators in this country when it comes to decisions on big infrastructure and all that has served to do is push up final costs. I hope this project doesn’t fall victim to the same kind of short sightedness that has blighted other sound railway projects.
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
21,936
Surely project was only going to proceed if the prime beneficiary (Heathrow) contributed? One assumes they don’t have much cash to throw about at present.
 

camflyer

Member
Joined
13 Feb 2018
Messages
701
Shame to hear - I thought the Western Link was a virtual no brainer, relatively cheap and non-controversial.
 

stevetay3

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2011
Messages
353
Location
Maidenhead
Would GWR be prepared to divert there fast trains via Heathrow with the time penalty to the timetable, more time delays will be picked up at the new Old Oak station, if it’s ever built.
 

Kingham West

Member
Joined
17 Oct 2017
Messages
78
Would GWR be prepared to divert there fast trains via Heathrow with the time penalty to the timetable, more time delays will be picked up at the new Old Oak station, if it’s ever built.
One thing that has been learned in this pandemic, is there were too many trains, running between Reading and Paddington .
Timekeeping is now fantastic.
Till March I thought it was a good idea, now I think the best Option is OOC, and change , and a route to the Southern, much more straightforward and possibly, a private sector scheme.
There simply is no room for the extra trains, and it may be time to quietly shelve this one.
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
22,443
Location
Nottingham
Would GWR be prepared to divert there fast trains via Heathrow with the time penalty to the timetable, more time delays will be picked up at the new Old Oak station, if it’s ever built.
I doubt there is the capacity to do that, and a train making two stops at Heathrow would lose about 15min between London and Reading.
 

JamesT

Established Member
Joined
25 Feb 2015
Messages
1,373
Would GWR be prepared to divert there fast trains via Heathrow with the time penalty to the timetable, more time delays will be picked up at the new Old Oak station, if it’s ever built.

Wouldn’t the Heathrow services be more likely to be provided by TfL Rail rather than GWR? So they’d be extensions of the current trains running through Heathrow rather than finishing there.
 
Joined
18 Oct 2017
Messages
161
OOC is already under construction, so I think we can bank on most is not all GWML trains stopping there in future.
I presumed that WRATH wasn't to facilitate "fast" (or inter-city) services adding an LHR stop. I'd assumed it'd be a case of change at Reading or Maidenhead (for example) to pick up a "local" (e.g. Crossrail) service that thence "looped" through LHR en route to London. Discus.
ISTR the last attempt to add a "southern" rail link into LHR foundered because it required some level crossing to be closed for huge amounts of time each hour and they could find a "fix" for it....?
 

coppercapped

Established Member
Joined
13 Sep 2015
Messages
2,832
Location
Reading
Would GWR be prepared to divert there fast trains via Heathrow with the time penalty to the timetable, more time delays will be picked up at the new Old Oak station, if it’s ever built.
The plans are/were for the west-facing end to join the Relief lines between Iver and Langley, a connection to the Mains was never seriously proposed.

A brief examination shows there to be at least three major issues:
  • If all the trains running on the Mains were diverted then there would be no space for Crossrail or Heathrow Express. In fact there wouldn't be enough platform capacity at Heathrow to cope with the flow.
  • If only some of the trains are diverted then the frequency of service from the outlying ends of the routes falls. Airports deliver passengers to the railway in smallish, but continual, numbers over time. These passengers have diverse destinations and a wait of half an hour or an hour after a long flight is not acceptable - they will choose an alternative mode. After all, in an hour they could have flown from Munich...! The same is true in the reverse direction. The answer is, as Dave_Cardboard posted in #18 , to have frequent services to a node giving a wider choice of routes and times.
  • As others have already posted, the time cost of diverting the Main Line trains would be at least 15 minutes with stops at Terminal 5 and Heathrow Central so not quite doubling the Reading - Paddington journey time. A textbook example of how to throw your competitive advantage away - the Reading - Paddington time would revert to the 40 to 45 minutes of my youth - when the trains were hauled by Halls and Castles. Such would be progress. :'(
 
Last edited:

camflyer

Member
Joined
13 Feb 2018
Messages
701
Wouldn’t the Heathrow services be more likely to be provided by TfL Rail rather than GWR? So they’d be extensions of the current trains running through Heathrow rather than finishing there.

The Network Rail page on the project only mentions services from Reading via Slough and Maidenhead not any direct services to points further west

 

JN114

Established Member
Joined
28 Jun 2005
Messages
3,032
I always thought the plans were akin to how Gatwick Express operates now - existing Heathrow Express services would either wholly or in part be extended, semi-fast to Reading, along with possibly the Heathrow T5 terminating Crossrail trains.

Diverting much more via Heathrow isn’t practical - there are rules on how many trains can be between escape shafts, which dictate the signal sections, which in turn dictates the frequency of trains. The number of signal sections down there is already at maximum - they can’t resignal it for higher capacity without boring more escape shafts - and 10tph is close to the theoretical maximum the tunnels between Airport Junction and Heathrow Central can handle.
 

Mollman

Member
Joined
21 Sep 2016
Messages
939
One thing that has been learned in this pandemic, is there were too many trains, running between Reading and Paddington .
Timekeeping is now fantastic.
Till March I thought it was a good idea, now I think the best Option is OOC, and change , and a route to the Southern, much more straightforward and possibly, a private sector scheme.
There simply is no room for the extra trains, and it may be time to quietly shelve this one.
What is really needed is HSGW running between around OOC and Reading via a new Heathrow HS station. This would take intercity services off the GWML freeing up the fasts for semi-fast/outer suburban services and then the slows for CrossRail and freight
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
3,079
The idea was that services would churn at Heathrow. Folks jump off, new folks jump on heading west, semi-fast to Slough, Maidenhead and Reading - at least initially. Maybe one day, Didcot/Oxford and Newbury. The existing services would remain best for existing through journeys.

It does complicate a very delicate operation. Keeping reliefs helps that (more trains drop off the reliefs at Hayes than the fasts, if HEx remains).

If HEx left, as I understand it, those paths might be taken up by either fast shuttles to Reading/Newbury, or new services via Basingstoke. However, the HEx services do literally protect the Slough stop on the Oxford fasts, which would be greatly missed in both directions. A lot of jobs in Slough.

Maybe a return to the Staines plan?
 

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
15,216
I always thought the plans were akin to how Gatwick Express operates now - existing Heathrow Express services would either wholly or in part be extended, semi-fast to Reading, along with possibly the Heathrow T5 terminating Crossrail trains.

Diverting much more via Heathrow isn’t practical - there are rules on how many trains can be between escape shafts, which dictate the signal sections, which in turn dictates the frequency of trains. The number of signal sections down there is already at maximum - they can’t resignal it for higher capacity without boring more escape shafts - and 10tph is close to the theoretical maximum the tunnels between Airport Junction and Heathrow Central can handle.

And only so fast you can load/unload passengers with luggage at Heathrow Central, especially if it becomes a load of Reading/Western passengers alighting, then a load of Paddington-bound passengers getting on.
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
22,443
Location
Nottingham
The idea was that services would churn at Heathrow. Folks jump off, new folks jump on heading west, semi-fast to Slough, Maidenhead and Reading - at least initially. Maybe one day, Didcot/Oxford and Newbury. The existing services would remain best for existing through journeys.
For that reason, if a southern link to Heathrow is built then it should take the extended HEx paths and the western link should terminate (at T6 if there is no way to get it to T123). The southern link provides through-Heathrow journeys such as Staines to Old Oak, but the western one is only any good for journeys starting or ending at Heathrow so there is no passenger benefit from through-routeing it. Operational issues are probably similar whichever service is through-routed.
Maybe a return to the Staines plan?
The Staines extension is relatively easy compared with the rest of the Southern link. Just terminating there would have some useful benefits, giving a large area south and west (including Reading) access to Heathrow with only one change, and much of it would similarly gain access to OOC.
 

PeterC

Established Member
Joined
29 Sep 2014
Messages
3,481
I must confess to being suprised by the announcement. I have heard the "change at OOC" matra so often that I assumed that the scheme had already been scrapped.
 

Paul Kelly

Verified Rep - BR Fares
Joined
16 Apr 2010
Messages
3,978
Location
Reading
the Slough stop on the Oxford fasts, which would be greatly missed in both directions. A lot of jobs in Slough.
But these trains don't stop at Slough in the morning peak heading towards Paddington nor in the evening peak heading away from Paddington. So it's not much use for getting to/from a job in Slough unless you are coming from the London direction. But maybe that's what you meant.
 

cle

Established Member
Joined
17 Nov 2010
Messages
3,079
For that reason, if a southern link to Heathrow is built then it should take the extended HEx paths and the western link should terminate (at T6 if there is no way to get it to T123). The southern link provides through-Heathrow journeys such as Staines to Old Oak, but the western one is only any good for journeys starting or ending at Heathrow so there is no passenger benefit from through-routeing it. Operational issues are probably similar whichever service is through-routed.
So are you saying Crossrail to Waterloo, basically? Or Paddington mainline to Waterloo (via LHR) ?
 

Bald Rick

Veteran Member
Joined
28 Sep 2010
Messages
21,936
For that reason, if a southern link to Heathrow is built then it should take the extended HEx paths and the western link should terminate

AIUI the plan is (was) for Southern link services to Woking be extensions of HEx, Southern link services ex Waterloo to terminate at T5, and Western link to be extensions of EL, which then go on to Reading.

Of course, Southern Link services need more infrastructure than just the Southern link.
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
22,443
Location
Nottingham
So are you saying Crossrail to Waterloo, basically? Or Paddington mainline to Waterloo (via LHR) ?
AIUI the plan is (was) for Southern link services to Woking be extensions of HEx, Southern link services ex Waterloo to terminate at T5, and Western link to be extensions of EL, which then go on to Reading.

Of course, Southern Link services need more infrastructure than just the Southern link.
I was just thinking of extending from T5 to Staines and terminating there (probably with provision to build the rest of the link later). Then anyone with access to the various services that pass through Staines could have an easy change for Heathrow or OOC. Maybe link them with Waterloo services, but that would need either more capacity or less service to some other destination.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top