diamond geezer

 Sunday, August 28, 2016

When Crossrail's finally up and running, where will the trains be going? Yes, to Reading and Heathrow, and to Shenfield and Abbey Wood. But not all the trains are going all the way, some of the stations are being skipped, and some of the branches won't link up, which may not be quite what you're expecting.

Last week TfL launched a minor consultation, a legal technicality to ensure that freight services won't be diverted through Crossrail tunnels. It's not especially important, nor indeed interesting, except that on page 8 of the documentation there's a map showing "the proposed service specification", or in other words how many trains are planned to go where. [click to enlarge]

The darker lines show the off-peak pattern, while the lighter lines show how this will be topped up by extra services in the peak. Thick lines indicate four trains an hour, and thin lines mean two. Which means, assuming everything goes as planned, this is the list of trains that Crossrail will be running...

Off-peak servicesAdditional peak services
4tph Shenfield - Paddington
2tph Shenfield - Maidenhead*
2tph Shenfield - Reading*
4tph Shenfield - Paddington
4tph Gidea Park - Liverpool St
4tph Abbey Wood - Heathrow T4 
4tph Abbey Wood - Paddington
2tph Abbey Wood - Paddington
2tph Abbey Wood - West Drayton* 

I'll explain the asterisks later. But one thing you might already have noticed is that half the trains are terminating at Paddington and not going going all the way. Another thing you might have noticed is that very few trains are going to Reading. And another thing you might have noticed is that trains from Shenfield won't be going to Heathrow, and trains from Abbey Wood won't be going to Slough and Reading. I wonder which of these will surprise future passengers the most.

Here's another way of looking at the service pattern, which might help make things clearer. Suppose you're at one of the central stations, somewhere between Paddington and Whitechapel. Here are the destinations you'll be able to reach from the eastbound platform.

Shenfield (every 7½ mins)
Abbey Wood (every 7½ mins)
Shenfield (every 5 mins)
Abbey Wood (every 5 mins)

This is straightforward and relatively simple... half the trains will run along each branch. And because the trains alternate, this means one train on the central section every 4 minutes off-peak and every 2½ minutes at peak times. It might not be as frequent a service as you're expecting, certainly compared to the tube, but then most tube trains aren't two football pitches long.

Switching to the westbound platform, again anywhere between Paddington and Whitechapel, this is what you'll get.

Paddington (every 7½ mins)
Heathrow T4 (every 15 mins)
Maidenhead (every 30 mins)
Reading (every 30 mins)
Paddington (every 4 mins)
Heathrow T4 (every 15 mins)
West Drayton (every 30 mins)
Maidenhead (every 30 mins)
Reading (every 30 mins)

This is more complicated. Half the trains will terminate at Paddington, indeed more than half at peak times. If you're going no further than Paddington, that's a train every 4 minutes off-peak and every 2½ minutes at peak times. But if you're going further, Heathrow only gets a train every 15 minutes, much like the Heathrow Express today. Trains as far as Slough and Maidenhead will also run every 15 minutes, whereas for Reading it could be a half hour wait. Obviously other trains will continue to run these destinations from upstairs at Paddington, but from down below not many services are passing through.

Coming back into town from out west, the destination board will look like this.

READINGShenfield (every 30 mins)Shenfield (every 30 mins)
SLOUGHShenfield (every 15 mins)Shenfield (every 15 mins)
WEST DRAYTONShenfield (every 15 mins)Shenfield (every 10 mins)
HEATHROWAbbey Wood (every 15 mins)Abbey Wood (every 15 mins)

Notice how the peak service and off-peak service are identical, apart from a few extra trains from West Drayton. And see the very clear division in what goes where - the Reading branch runs only to Shenfield, and the Heathrow branch runs only to Abbey Wood.

Coming back into town from the east it'll look like this.

Paddington (every 15 mins)
Heathrow T4 (every 15 mins)
Paddington (every 7½ mins)
Heathrow T4 (every 15 mins)
West Drayton (every 30 mins)
SHENFIELDPaddington (every 15 mins)
Maidenhead (every 30 mins)
Reading (every 30 mins)
Paddington (every 7½ mins)
Maidenhead (every 30 mins)
Reading (every 30 mins)
Paddington (every 15 mins)
Maidenhead (every 30 mins)
Reading (every 30 mins)
Paddington (every 7½ mins)
Maidenhead (every 30 mins)
Reading (every 30 mins)
Liverpool Street (every 15 mins)

Again travelling west looks a lot more complicated. In good news there'll be trains at least as far as Paddington every 7½ minutes off-peak and every 4 minutes at peak times. But if you're on the Abbey Wood branch and want to get to Berkshire you'll have to change, and (more annoyingly) if you're on the Shenfield branch and want to get to Heathrow you'll have to change. I can imagine the angry Evening Standard headline in 2019 even now.

Did you spot that mysterious mention of Liverpool Street at the bottom of the final column? In peak times Crossrail will be running extra trains between Gidea Park and Liverpool Street, in one direction only, to help keep northeast London moving. And that's the existing Liverpool Street station, along the existing TfL Rail tracks, rather than entering the new tunnel at Pudding Mill Lane. This means Crossrail trains will be serving two different Liverpool Streets, one new and one old, with the latter described as Liverpool Street (High Level) on the latest map. Could that get confusing? Yes it might.

Now let's return to those asterisks, because there's one more peculiarity of the service pattern which may particularly annoy west London residents - semi-fast trains. Every Crossrail train which heads past Paddington will skip at least one of the stations that follows. There's only so much space on these busy Great Western tracks, so missing out a station will help to keep other services running on time. Every Crossrail train will stop at Ealing Broadway, Southall and Hayes and Harlington. But Acton Main Line, West Ealing and Hanwell aren't going to be so lucky.

 HayesSouthallHanwellW EalingEaling BActon ML
HEATHROW branchstopstopstop stopstop
READING branchstopstop stopstop 
W DRAYTON (peak)stopstop  stop 

Crossrail trains to Heathrow won't be stopping at West Ealing. Meanwhile Crossrail trains to Maidenhead and Reading will be stopping at West Ealing, but won't be stopping at Acton Mainline and Hanwell. As for those rare peak-only West Drayton trains, they're not going to be stopping at any of the three. This means lots of announcements to ensure that passengers for these stations board the right train. And it also means it won't be possible to ride between Hanwell and West Ealing on a Crossrail train, even though these two stations are adjacent on the line.

If you're still following me, it's now time for the caveats. This is a proposed service pattern, so may not turn out to be precisely what happens in 2019. It doesn't cover trains during what's described as the “quiet” period (pre-0700 and post-2100). And the consultation map clearly states there'll also be "occasional peak only services" between Shenfield and Heathrow, and Abbey Wood and Reading/Maidenhead, so it's not true to say that these particular journeys will never happen.

I should also point out that I didn't spot the consultation in the first place, that was the eagle-eyed folk on the excellent District Dave's Forum. You should very much be following them if you're interested in how the Underground really works, and what's going on where behind the scenes. And so we're indebted to snoggle for noticing the consultation and for realising the importance of the map, and to other members of the community for discussing the implications. Thank them, not me.

But if you'd like some headline scare stories, which are only 99% true...
» Crossrail services will run less frequently than the tube
» Over half of Crossrail trains won't get as far as West London
» Every Crossrail train will miss out one or more West London stations
» Going to Heathrow? From Stratford (and points east) you'll have to change!

Despite which, obviously, Crossrail'll still be excellent.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards