please empty your brain below

On the west London stations, Isn't it West Ealing, not West Acton?

dg writes: fixed thanks.
It seems that the service pattern for the Great Western Mainline is locked in, whereas if anything a fast frequent service service to actual Central London will pull in more punters.

The walk from the suburban platforms at Paddington to the tube, usually followed by another change to get anywhere useful is a continual drain on morale.
Thick lines mean 4 tph (not 2 - para 3)

dg writes: fixed thanks.
It's hard to think of a way that the service patterns could be more screwed up than this for what should have been a very simple railway to operate. Plenty of capacity going to waste, and Heathrow appallingly served, presumably still at high prices. That's twice the taxpayer has paid for the infrastructure for premium services for Heathrow, then been hit by exorbitant fares as well.
Crossrail? Surely you mean...
A neat summary. And it's good to pick up, and discuss, all the "negative" points about the proposed service right now, and get them out of the way. So in theory no-one can claim, later, that they are a surprise.

It's a bit confusing to discuss, because some of the services offered are completely new (you cannot travel today without changing from Canary Wharf to Ealing Broadway, for instance), whereas some of them are replacing (sometimes supplementing) existing services (Shenfield to Liverpool Street, for instance, where the only improvements are longer, slightly-faster trains, but at similar intervals to today).
All trains terminating at Paddington MAY allow for 'all trains terminating at Tring', on the West Coast main line in the future, i.e. when High Speed 2 eventually gets built and they need the extra capacity at Euston.

Crossrail should be thought of as two lines which happen to share tracks through the core.
Changing, where necessary, will be very simple - just wait on the same platform, anywhere between Whitechapel and Paddington, for the next train. Passengers on what used to be called the Metropolitan Line, but is now sensibly called by three different names for the three different services, will be familiar with the concept, as will users of Thameslink, or most German S-bahnen.

I can't imagine that there are many people who take the train just the one stop from Hanwell to West Ealing. Over that distance, the greater frequency of buses, and the greater density of stops, trumps the faster station to station speed.
And then there will be signal failures.
So do 'we' know if there will be a 'night'-Crossrail?/24hr Heathrow to central London service? Can tube trains be diverted on the tracks? Will the rolling stock have toilets? What about bicycles? Dogs? Permitted or not? All these questions and more I hope will be answered soon. And when is the official date to stop calling Crossrail...Crossrail? Or 'we' going to stand 'our' ground and call it what the 'people' will call it...
@Doug Alternatively, send all Paddington outer-suburban services through Crossrail, send all Long distance Paddington services into a larger HS2 terminus at Euston, and close down Paddington Station completely.
I'm guessing what'll surprise most people will be the high number of trains terminating at Paddington. I've always thought this to be a waste. Perhaps Doug is correct and some may eventually be extended to Tring. I'm guessing that if HS2 ever gets built with a station at Old Oak Common some Paddington terminators may be extended.

I never realised the proposed service pattern included virtually no trains from the Shenfield Branch to Heathrow. 4tph to Heathrow seems a little mean too.

Martin, what else could it be? I'm kinda hoping dg isn't the only one to ignore spurious alternative suggestions. I did notice, although, that the Substandard had fallen for a particularly ill conceived and unwieldy recommendation.
@Grumpy Anon The rolling stock will not have toilets.
@ Doug - the extension of Crossrail trains from Old Oak Common (future stn) to Tring has been axed by the government as "not value for money". It is worth saying that if the new station at Old Oak Common is built then trains currently shown as terminating at Paddington (Westbourne Park sidings in reality) will instead run to Old Oak Common.

@ Grumpy Anon - no toilets on Crossrail trains. Toilets in the stations will be provided instead. Why would dogs be banned? They're not banned today on trains and certainly not guide or assistance dogs. Bicycles we shall have to wait and see but I'd expect them to be permitted off peak and folding bikes at all times. Tube trains have no means of reaching the Crossrail tracks so that's a "no". Tube trains also don't have the same performance as the new Crossrail trains so would interfere with the service. As for 24 hour trains then no official announcements about that yet. If I was to speculate I would guess that TfL might offer a weekend service on the infrastructure it will own - i.e Paddington to Abbey Wood. This mirrors what is proposed for the Overground (Dalston - New Cross Gate). As soon as you try to run on Network Rail or HAL tracks you run into access charges and long standing possession rules that are there for engineering and inspection purposes.

We know the owners of Heathrow are playing games about the level of access charges for Crossrail trains into the airport. Their initial attempt at "daylight robbery" has been rejected but I doubt the issue is resolved. If TfL try to run a 24 hour service into the airport expect the cash registers to start ringing very loudly.

As with all of the above we shall, as you say, get the final position as we get closer to the service starting.
it's similar, in a way, to the current situation on the Central line. I live on the Epping branch, and nearly all the trains go to the West Ruislip branch. When I need the Ealing branch, I simply change somewhere central, staying on the same platform. This seems quite basic and obvious and passengers (customers?) will get used to it, though it may seem slightly inconvenient.
In general an excellent summary with just one mistake I can see.

Trains terminating at Paddington in the peak will not be every four minutes - a couple of reasons why this cannot be true. First of all, if they were then you would have 25tph westbound and 24tph eastbound. Secondly, the trains run at 2½ minute intervals so clearly "every 4 minutes" cannot happen.

dg writes: The average interval for trains running at least as far as Paddington will be 3¾ minutes, but I chose to round it up, sorry.

Trains will terminate at Paddington every 5 minutes with a couple of extra services per hour that will also do so giving the occasional 2½ minute gap instead of a 5 minute gap.

It would be nice, for symmetry purposes, if the two rogue Paddington terminators could terminate at West Drayton but there is simply not the track capacity west of Paddington for that to be done and there is really no operational need for this.

In a short response to some of the criticisms, it would take far too long to explain fully but actually an awful lot of thought has gone into this and it is hard to see how to produce a workable scenario that is better than what they have come up with.

Other points briefly:

- in addition to PC's points, there is nothing official but the Crossrail team's thoughts are working on the basis that a Friday and Saturday all night service will be demanded by a Mayor sometime after opening and the system settling down. Realistically it is only expected to operate east of Paddington or - at best - west of Paddington to Heathrow.

- the reason for the occasional Shenfield-Heathrow service and other non-standard services is because there will actually be a high peak and a shoulder peak as well as off-peak and you can't go from one to the other easily without some non-standard workings.

- Not mentioned because it is out of the hours covered but trains will also terminate at Paddington high level in the very early morning and very late evening in order to provide an extended airport service after the main central tunnel has shut down for the night for maintenance
All the more reason to have separate Crossrail branding, since if people expect this to be like a tube service they'll be disappointed. Will "Elizabeth Line" (sorry!) muddy the waters?
@Grumpy Anon

Can Tube Trains be diverted onto the tracks? No. For a bajillion different reasons. 1. Powered by overhead 25kV AC 2. Signalling? 3. Don't think there's any direct links

Toilets? Nope.

With regard to the airport, I think what would make most sense is for Heathrow Airport Group to not run any services (ie hand over the Heathrow Express and Connect) and just levy an access charge. Now I realise this will be a lot, although it's not unheard of for cities to charge more for travel to/from the airport zone. But then TfL can run all services into the airport and charge the same price for each, and people can then use the most appropriate service - this would hopefully mean that more tourists with lots of baggage go on the HEX or Crossrail where there is room, and the locals/workers can use the Picc.

And regarding the name... well all the covered over signs around the network (eg Bond Street, TCR) say Crossrail, so I guess that must be the name. I mean changing all the signs and publicity material because of some dumb plan by a former mayor would be expensive and a complete waste, surely?
I was aware that there will be no direct trains from Shenfield to Heathrow. As I live in Harold Wood it's a bit of a shame, but having to jump off half way and wait on the platform for a few minutes isn't a great hardship given how much easier it will make the journey as a whole.
My bigger concern is whether Oyster/Travelcards will be valid to Heathrow, unlike the existing Heathrow Connect service.
Why do some of the stations on the map have double circles, and others have straight lines? Perhaps the circles show stations with interchanges with other lines? But surely there are interchanges at some of the non-circle stations too (eg Acton Main Line)?

And why do the lines for the stations at Taplow and Burnham have little red bits?

(I suppose I should read the consultation...)
Having to change to get to Heathrow from the Shenfield section of the line will be a slight disappointment that's for sure.

As for Reading, I have to say that walking *up* from the Bakerloo line platforms at Paddington is a very nice journey as you get to see the lovely roof of the train shed when you come up the stairs into the platform area and it's a short walk to the GWR express section from there.

That does beg the question, however, about Oyster coverage. What zone are you going to stick Reading in? Will pre-pay Oyster be valid on the GWR services i.e. the HST/IEP trains?

Thanks for pointing out about District Dave's Forum. Looks great!
Some tfl staff i have spoken to are embarassed about Boris changing its name just ao he can get a knighthood. Crossrail is its name and i shall always call it that ...

Also. Trains will AUTO REVERSE themselves at paddington using driverless technology. Just thought i'd drop that one in there ...
Ok, read the consultation, page 8, so answering my own question. Lines are non-interchange stations. (But what prevents, say, Acton Main Line being designated as an interchange?)

The red line shows "calls peak only". (For some reason, the key has a green line, not used it seems, showing "off-peak only", and also an unused "6tph" line thickness).
Auto reverse or not, they may have trouble chucking everyone off before the next train is due in. It works ok at Bank on the DLR because it's the end of the line, whereas Paddington isn't. It will be as if Thameslink wanted to turn back the Kentish Town terminators at St Pancras instead. I see problems in the evening peak when the bulk of people may want to stay on until Paddington before changing, mixed up with a few unweary wondering what's going on. My theory is that it will get so bad that it brings forward reasons for developing Old Oak so that there can be dedicated terminator platform(s) there.
No on-board toilets?! Considering many users will be of a 'certain age'/families with babies/infants/young children i think that is a disgrace in these 21st century times. So much for customer 'service' What else will it be lacking? Wi-Fi? Air-conditioning?
Love the reference to 'Plubstead Stablings' in the consultation. Perhaps it's somewhere near Waltamstow, although Google thinks it should be 'Plumstead Stabbings'.
I hope the other two Maidenhead trains can be extended to Reading. More frequent connections between the Thames Valley towns will drive growth here, rather everything being solely about London.
Surprised to see that only 8/10 tph in off/peak at Ealing. What about that side means so much fewer trains than on the other side?

I hope they favour the Heathrow branch more than this, either in all-stopping at the cost of something to West Drayton or alternating stops on alternate trains, other than Ealing Broadway, between Paddington and Heathrow.

Grumpy Anon it's not meant to be used for long distance. If you're at Shenfield, Ilford, Straford, Ealing Broadway, Slough, Maidenhead or Reading there'll be more direct trains to zone 1. All with toilets.
@ Grumpy Anon - I understand there will be wifi on these trains. They are also air conditioned. No point going on about toilets even though, as I get older I understand the point people make, because the trains are not going to have them and that's not going to change. People will need to use station facilities (incl at all new stations). This point is raised with Crossrail "top dogs" every time they appear in front of the Assembly T'port Cttee. Every year they give the same answer (as above).

@ ReadingonThames - worth bearing in mind there are also two GWR semi fast trains an hour from Paddington to Reading filling in the gap between Crossrail trains beyond Maidenhead. As has been explained above there are real issues about track capacity west of Paddington due to lots of freight trains and the need to run frequent Inter City and Heathrow Express trains on the fast lines. The answer would be 6 tracks but there is not the space for them through places like Ealing.

@ Silent Hunter - TfL are currently modernising the Oyster system to make it more flexible. This has to be delivered by 2018 so that the system can cope with more difficult pricing rules that apply the further out you go on National Rail. The system will also be able to cope with more destinations than at present. It's entirely possible that there will be no zones beyond Zone 6 and that a revised "by station" pricing arrangement will apply (complete speculation on my part btw!). This would also allow Heathrow to be priced "commercially" as no doubt demanded by HAL / BAA. It also remains to be seen as to who will have pricing responsibility for particular stations. I certainly cannot see TfL setting the fares at Reading! - DfT would never allow that because of the ramifications over a very wide area on multiple franchises. I also suspect that other routes that currently have Oyster PAYG but where fares are "mangled" to cope within the current system structure will be "adjusted" to allow a more sensible pricing (if you're the operator or DfT!). I suspect the Mayor will not have much say over this because it's the TOCs who set (PAYG) fares to Watford, Hertford East / Broxbourne, Dartford, Grays and Gatwick Airport.
@Grumpy Anon
Toilets, particularly the wheelchair-accessible variety which are the only type allowed these days, take up a huge amount of space on a train. Most new trains being ordered for inner suburban services (e.g those for the Windsor and Chingford services, as well as the new trains on the Metropolitan Line) have no toilets.
maybe if the incontinence lobby were as influential as the wheelchair lobby things might be different, but the railways have decided, for now that they cannot afford to give up nearly a third of a carriage for one toilet.

@Grumpy Anon
Can tube trains be diverted on the tracks?
No - the Underground works on a dc electricity supply fed by live rails. Both the Shenfield and Heathrow lines use Network Rail's standard ac supply fed from overhead cables, and the rest of the Crossrail network is being built to work on the same system

"what prevents, say, Acton Main Line being designated as an interchange" Probably beacsue there is no other line serving that station. West Ealing and Romford should both be shown as interchanges though, with the Greenford and Upminster shuttles respectively.
Looks like i'll have to 'go' before/if i go on a Crossrail service.

Though for me that means Crossrail not going to be all that "excellent" as DG signs it off as.

Though then enters the question... will the station toilets be 'free'/ open at all times?
Oh,so many comments! How bad the service will be,how infrequent,how many times you may have to change trains to get east to west,etc. Calm down! At least you will have some more trains. As if you didn't have enough that side of the river. Now, if I can get to Abbey Wood without at least two changes of trains,there would be no problem for me getting to Paddington or wherever. Hey ho! This is the week they changeover the trains serving,London Bridge,Cannon Street,Waterloo and Charing Cross. Now,just got to remember which is going where,or,more importantly which are not! 😳😳
Surely if you are anywhere on the South Eastern network (as I assume you are) you already can get to Paddington with just one change of trains (at Charing Cross or Cannon Street or Victoria)

@"As if you didn't have enough that side of the river."

perhaps that's why the service pattern will be as it is - both the Shenfield/ Berkshire and Heathrow/Abbey Wood services will cross the river, thereby allowing TfL to tick a box!
However, it is strange that Berkshire will be better served by TfL than at least three London boroughs!
@ JoW

Calm down! Calm down?!

You can if you like...but I can't if need a toilet! And with (so we are told) a increasingly 'aging population' who will have to work on for longer I think more consideration should be given to certain aspects of future 'services'.
Re: night services, GWR already run services between London and Reading overnight, all week. Crossrail could potentially take these over, at least on Fridays and Saturdays.

Also regarding services west of Paddington, it isn't clear to me whether the Western Access to Heathrow will provide a through link or not. I suspect this is an issue yet to be sorted with LHR operators but it would make sense, once Hex's "licence" expires, to run at least some trains between Paddington and Reading via Heathrow, some of which could be Crossrail.
The map shown on page 8 of the documentation (and reproduced in dg's post) has been squashed horizontally to fit the width of the page. This distorts it quite a lot. If anyone wants to see the map in its correct proportions I've put a PDF version of it here:
Grumpy Anon,

Though then enters the question... will the station toilets be 'free'/ open at all times?


maybe not everywhere in the central section (not sure) which would be no different from London Underground.

There will be toilets at Farringdon which will be an improvement from today.

I do think you are, um, misguided on this issue. Do you seriously think that you would be able to get to the toilet on a Crossrail train if there were one. And if you could, could you then be sure that it was free. Far better to know there is a frequent service and you can get off at a station, use a decent toilet and get on the next train.
There are no toilets on TfL Rail trains and the 165s on GWR services do not have disabled toilets.
I have not been following Crossrail closely, but I'm surprised to see that it does not serve Heathrow Terminal 5, given that this is by far the busiest terminal (it gets 3 times the number of passengers as T4, for instance).
Based on this proposal the claimed travel times on the Shenfield branch to Heathrow will be a lie as you will need to change and this will add additional vital minutes to the travel times
I'm surprised that all Heathrow trains will be skipping West Ealing, given that that's where Greenford branch trains will be terminating. So not only do the (very few) travellers on the branch lose their direct services to central London, they also lose their one-change trips to the airport that's barely five miles from them (currently Heathrow Connect services skip Acton rather than West Ealing). I suspect most people in the area will start using Hanwell station instead.

If, as is suspected by many, the truncated branch gets taken over by TfL's rail department, then you'll have the odd situation of trains skipping a tube map interchange station.

I do wonder if the services into Liverpool Street NR will appear on the tube map though. They don't need to, because it could be said that all that's happening is the train is not stopping at Whitechapel and terminating early at Liverpool Street. But that might mislead passengers into trying to change for the Northern line at Moorgate (which you can do from the far end of the "Liz line" platforms) and being faced with a 10-minute walk through the station concourse and across Finsbury Circus.
re Timbo
"maybe if the incontinence lobby were as influential as the wheelchair lobby"
Disabled people fighting for their rights are the "wheelchair lobby" eh?

And re the "incontinence lobby" - your comments fall apart with Crossrail: TfL don't need the extra space really do they? the trains are (a) as long as two football pitches and (b) very frequent - meaning that they should be provision for this. It's a sign of modern civilised travel.

Have you traveled with young children? Do you have elderly relatives that go by train? Have you been on a train at midnight with all those people (of all ages) dying to use the loo as soon as they get on?

I suppose all these people (children and the elderly) should just get off at the next stop and find a public toilet somewhere and then get back on the train (and buy a new ticket as well). Same with a wheelchair user - its not right that they should expect that kind of provision is it?

Think of the millions of commuters who could be asked to stand in that space. Have you ever traveled with a baby on a train and needed to change a nappy? The great thing about the toilets is that they double up as a nappy changing area.

In trains without toilets I've been forced to lie a baby down on a seat and change the babies nappy there and then. Too bad for the smell and sight of poo isn't it? Next time I'll say to other passengers "it wasn't right to provide this kind of provision for parents with children on trains, the disabled or the elderly - whilst the train company struggled to make a decent profit and find space for more passengers - so sorry about the smell". As for the late night drinkers, well they should jolly well have a wee before getting on the train and no expect the hard-pressed TOC to find a space in the longest trains in London, running every couple of minutes for them.

re Pedantic
"Far better to know there is a frequent service and you can get off at a station, use a decent toilet and get on the next train."

But you're not sure about this are you? And what do you advise parents to do with a child who needs a nappy changed? The nappy has to be changed or the baby screams? This is a most regressive idea all round - which I've seen you write about on LR. I notice the discussion on this was also closed down. You, like the other writer refuse to accept the needs of the wheelchair users, the elderly, and parents with babies.
A train every 30 minutes to Berkshire, but you're still complaining? Honestly, you London types.
This is a democracy. I was not suggesting there is anything wrong with people campaigning for (lobbying for) what they believe they have a right to expect. Nor was I taking sides - and I have indeed travelled with with young children, elderly relatives, and at midnight with all those people (of all ages) dying to use the loo as soon as they get on.

"you'll have the odd situation of trains skipping a tube map interchange station"
Not unique though - neither the Met nor Chiltern call at the interchange station at West Hampstead, this being left to the stopping service provided by the Jubilee Line. Likewise, not all met services call at Wembley Park. This is no different in principle from the Abbey Wood - Heathrow line skipping West Ealing and only the Shenfield/Reading line calling there.
Plenty of other examples - not all trains calling at New Cross, Clapham Junction, Finsbury Park etc.

Sooner or later someone at TfL will wake up to the fact that Crossrail is a railway on which two "lines" operate - just as the Baker Street- Liverpool Street leg of the former Metropolitan Railway carries three lines. No-one thinks it odd that there is no direct service from Aldgate East to Finchley Road.
Families get way too much as it is. Too many "family friendly" policies and the like. Why do the rest of us have to suffer families or children around us?
@ PoP

...or better still, in a 21st century, world class, progressive city that London proclaims to be there should be the choice of both options. Toilets at the station(s) and on the train(s)...thus more likely to be able to use one if needed to. Misguided are those who have decided to do otherwise...
Recently I was thinking of using Crossrail from Stratford to get to Heathrow when I was going to Aussi. What was I thinking?
Well that's interesting. Looks like I don't have a direct line to Heathrow. But it's clearly not "cross" rail, nor the Elizabeth "line", but clearly two distinct lines, sharing a common tunnel under London. Perhaps the Charles Line split off may occur one day.
Two lines indeed: let's call them Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II.
CrossRail 2, asap!
@Keppoch69 - we're not talking about pubs here. We're talking about a major rail line!

I don't see how hard it would be to provision a toilet in the carriage that also has the wheelchair accessible space. What is this, 1/4 of a carriage? A fraction of the train...

And that would mean that people who may need the toilet can have some dignity. Babies, children and the elderly in particular. And imagine the savings on cleanup when they run a night service on it and people have a place to vomit...

Still, who wants a Duke of Edinburgh line split off when TfL wake up to the fact it is two lines as they plan to configure it?
What about introducing line numbers? The whole system would be called Crossrail. It consits of the following lines:

C1 Heathrow - Abbey Wood (4 tph)
C2 Paddington - Abbey Wood (4 tph off-peak, 6 tph peak)
C3 Paddington - Shenfield (4 tph off-peak; 8 tph peak)
C4 Reading - Shenfield (2 tph)
C5 Maidenhead - Shenfield (2 tph)
C6 West Drayton - Abbey Wood (2 tph)
C7 Liverpool St High Level - Gidea Park (4 tph peak)

With this, there would be no lines branching out or trains terminating earlier than others, because all services have different identifiers. If this is too much for TfL, they could try grouping C1, C2, C6 and C3, C4, C5, C7 to two lines.

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