please empty your brain below

I always wondered what the point of those handful of Central Line trains with a cab in the middle was. Did they ever have a purpose until now?'s Hainault Depot and not Grange Hill Depot!

Andrew Bowden...the extra cabs were bought insurance in case a cab car was damaged. Otherwise a single cab car out of service because of damage would hold a whole train out of service. The fleet is made up of two car units. Just over half have a cab at one end and the other (just under) half don't have a cab at all.
Presumably the 4-car train is substituted by an 8-car train in order to do some planned maintenance.

This highlights one of the insidious effects of a delayed Crossrail.

First, I believe this was intended to happen sooner but a delayed opening of Crossrail meant they wanted not to reduce services on the Central line. Eventually it became clear that Crossrail wasn't opening any time soon and they had to get on with it.

Second, if I recall correctly, the plan was to remove two trains at a time to get the work done quicker but, again, the delay with Crossrail meant that they had to change their plans.

Third, the intention was to strengthen services at the eastern end and reduce them to Ealing Broadway - the latter is expected to have a dramatic drop in demand on the Central line once Crossrail opens. Instead, due to overcrowding as a result of Crossrail not opening, the opposite has happened.

[Substitute 'Elizabeth line' for 'Crossrail', or not, according to preference]
I expect the shuttle trains will pull out just as the other trains pull in.
I feel inspired to try the 4 car trains on the shuttle. I've never been on Central Line between Woodford and Hainault.
Old guy - I guess in some instances this will probably be inevitable as a roughly 5 minute service feeds into a 20 minute one.

This topic has been discussed at length on District Dave's forum, with comments that 4 car trains could become "gapped" (i.e. areas of the line where the pick up shoes don't always coincide with a current rail). It is even postulated that the shuttle could go ahead as an 8 car train, rather defeating the object I would have thought.
I understand from District Dave's site that, because the staff rosters are based on the new timetable the shuttle will have to go ahead even if 8 car trains have to be used until the gapping issues are resolved. Another problem is that all the de-icing units are cabless, meaning that an 8 car train has to be used if ice has to be cleared from the line - LU apparently not having forseen that such a thing might be necessary in a timetable to be introduced in January.
How many people used to go to that section via Hainault (on the direct trains) rather than changing at Woodford?

Yes it avoids having to change trains, but especially going into London I imagine most people would head to Woodford and use the cross platform interchange.
I wonder if the new timetable will increase the wait time and overcrowding on services to/from Newbury Park when the Norwich to Liverpool Street line is part closed due to engineering works (usually resulting replacement coaches from Ingatestone or Witham to Newbury Park).

dg writes: It won't.
Possibly a case of time telescoping with advancing age, but it only feels like recently that the Hainault shuttle was done away with in favour of a direct service to London.

I have always felt 6pth to Epping was very slightly generous (vs, say, 4tph to Amersham, a town of similar size - though the top end of the Central line does have a catchment that extends to Harlow and beyond).
The Hainault shuttle ended at around the time the 1992 stock was introduced.
Amersham has a Chiltern service, though. Epping has only the Central line.
One train fewer, damn it, not one less train!

(I don't often get to challenge DG on grammar)
4-car trains of 1992 stock are not unique. They have been running on the Waterloo & City Line since 1993
I remember when Amersham had 2 trains an hour (and maybe 1 on Sunday?)
Shuttle has been introduced.

At Hainault
Signs directing passengers to platform 1 for Woodford and platforms 2 and 3 for central London.
Every onward connection now requires using the subway.
Signs on platform 1 saying trains "depart from this end of this platform" or "depart from far end of this platform", even though half-length trains haven't yet been introduced.

At Woodford
No signs or messages.
Specifically, no signs saying which end of the platform to wait.
I still think of the Central line trains as being new, because I can remember their predecessors, so I don't mind saying it brought me up short to realise how old they (and therefore I) actually are.
If I ever went to live in East London next to Central line, it would not be past Leytonstone.

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