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Author Topic: Network Rail consultation on improving western rail links to Heathrow  (Read 27431 times)
stuving
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« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2016, 08:37:08 pm »

We seem, collectively, to have missed out on the formal consultation on WRAtH (Western Rail Access to Heathrow). This is with the planning inspectorate, who have a page on it here. There's a big scoping report, DfT» (Department for Transport - about)'s reply and the consultation responses, plus some letters provided under the PI's new "openness policy". Note this is leading towards a DCO (Driver Controlled Operation), not a TWA application.

I didn't look very closely at Jacobs' 343-page effort, which is where the maps (of the track, and the newts etc) are. It does entirely exclude the option touted by NR» (Network Rail - home page) of a possible grade-separated link to the Main Lines at Langley. It also says this:
Quote
Once built, the new rail link will provide a train service of four trains per hour in each direction between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Reading station. This could be a new direct service or an extension of planned Crossrail and / or current Heathrow Express services currently operating into Heathrow.
...
There is no planned impact on the existing service between Reading and Paddington.

(This thread continues the other one with WRAtH in its title.)
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 08:54:03 pm by stuving » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2016, 07:23:30 am »

Would this ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03k2wdy ) be a through station to the western link?
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stuving
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2016, 09:17:33 am »

Would this ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03k2wdy ) be a through station to the western link?

Well, it's no real secret that T5 was built to serve a through railway to somewhere. It was an implicit part of Airtrack. What's odd its that that BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) piece didn't mention the operating station, and how the two relate, nor the WRAtH (Western Rail Access to Heathrow) plans as such.

My mental picture was that there were two or three more platforms beside the operating ones, or space for them, connecting to the east. We know there are two tracks that run westwards as far as a wall; they could be from any of the platform tracks.

It's barely mentioned in that WRAtH scoping report - it doesn't need building, of course:
Quote
At the Heathrow end, there will be a cavern containing a rail crossover (which allows
trains to change tracks) which will also be constructed by the cut and cover method.
The last few hundred metres from this cavern will be a tunnel constructed using
spray concrete lining under the A3044 and Western Perimeter Road to connect with
the existing tunnels west of T5 station.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 01:47:18 pm by stuving » Logged
JayMac
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2016, 02:09:54 pm »

There's certainly a lot of space in the T5 station underground cavern.

There are two 'safeguarded' platforms for future westward extension. Initially intended for Airtrack to Waterloo but could be used for WRAtH (Western Rail Access to Heathrow).
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stuving
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2016, 03:01:52 pm »

I think that BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) video piece is rather misleading. The words on the page say this "immense secret station" already has platforms, which is what I'd heard. But the huge caverns they show don't - I think that's spare basement space at the same level. I'd also heard of this basement as another T5 feature - it goes 22 m down, as well as 40 m up. I guess the, actually rather small, unused station space is not shown except maybe a glimpse at the end.

According to the architects' descriptions, the platforms have natural light from skylights in the "plaza". The plaza is at the ends of space between T5 proper and the bus road, and is meant to be a landscaped public space. I'd always just rushed past it and never noticed, like (I suspect) most people. Between the two parts of this plaza are some of those ETFE "plastic bags", forming skylights for the station - and it's not even a Grimshaw building!
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paul7575
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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2016, 05:15:03 pm »

There's certainly a lot of space in the T5 station underground cavern.

There are two 'safeguarded' platforms for future westward extension. Initially intended for Airtrack to Waterloo but could be used for WRAtH (Western Rail Access to Heathrow).

A drawing in the Airtrack consultation showed the broad layout below ground, there are three main line gauge 'starter tunnels' extending westward, the middle one of three aligns with the future platform 2 and existing platform 3 track.

The most Northern extension of the four is the turn back siding for the Piccadilly line, they operate with one arrival and one departure platform, so that tunnel is longer.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 05:21:05 pm by paul7755 » Logged
stuving
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« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2016, 06:16:22 pm »

There's a second NR» (Network Rail - home page) consultation, running from 23 Feb to 4th April. They have a web page, and in addition Heathrow also have one that links to it.

This isn't consulting on what to build so much as how to build it. NR have now chosen the scheme they want, and it doesn't include any link to the Main Lines at Langley.

There isn't really a consultation document as such, nor a list of questions.  There is an environmental study, which says quite a bit about the plans. There are also plans relating to some odd-looking specific points; one is how to build the bridge under the Main Lines, another is whether to put in a crossover west of T5.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2016, 06:57:54 pm »

On my our local radio station (which I call dross FM due to choice of music and inane talk) there was a news article which refered to the proposed rail link from Heathrow to Reading - but I can't find anything new about this ? Have I missed something ?
Quite! How can something be improved when it does not actually exist?
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stuving
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2016, 12:53:20 am »

A drawing in the Airtrack consultation showed the broad layout below ground, there are three main line gauge 'starter tunnels' extending westward, the middle one of three aligns with the future platform 2 and existing platform 3 track.

The most Northern extension of the four is the turn back siding for the Piccadilly line, they operate with one arrival and one departure platform, so that tunnel is longer.

There is a new WRAtH (Western Rail Access to Heathrow) plan of the stub tunnels (though that's not why it's there), showing the connections to a northern railway line. Taken together, this and the Airtrack one make clear what the pre-planned T5 station arrangement is, with three two-sided islands:
P1/P2 do not exist, but would line up with a line to Staines. That line as proposed for Airtrack would use those two and also connect to P3.
P3/P4 is what the current Paddington services use, and WRAtH is proposed to connect onto.
P5/P6 is for the Piccadilly line.

We know there's an ongoing discussion/argument about which service would be extended to Reading, with HEx being keen to do it then going cold on the idea. But otherwise it has to be (1) Crossrail or (2) something additional. In both cases I would expect P1/P2 to be built to provide (or reinstate) terminating platform capacity.

Crossrail do still say they will serve T4 only, though I would have thought BA» (British Airways - about) would like T5 to have trains to Paddington and London. And BA can and do lean quite hard on HAL. Is there any known plan for swapping services around, before or after WRAtH? I don't recall seeing any.

Returning to that WRAtH plan, it shows two options for the track approaching T5 from the west. One has a crossover, the other has none. How this fits into the consultation I couldn't say - I can't see any mention of it. But the crossover shown is a double-slip flat crossing (or diamond), which seems an odd choice. Surely most trains will not be switching track, so will have to wiggle sideways just to go straight on. And that's on top of the reason why these things have been disappearing; AFAIK (as far as I know) that's their worse wear and more difficult maintenance (as shown at Br^tigny-sur-Orge). 
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2016, 09:15:53 am »

Just for clarity that plan shows a double slip connection not a crossover.  I'm a bit supprised as this would constrain services to entry/exit only one at a time Roll Eyes Tongue
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paul7575
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2016, 10:47:02 am »

There would presumably be different optimal layouts if all trains ran through, and if some trains terminated.

If optimised for through running would it be better to have up and down islands, with the down 'WRatH' and up 'Airtrack' crossing somewhere west of the station?   Or would you dedicate the platforms by service pattern?   I'd prefer the former, alternating departures towards Central London from either side of the same island must be easier than missing a train and having to cross to the other island for the next one.

Paul
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 11:02:42 am by paul7755 » Logged
stuving
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« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2016, 07:49:36 pm »

Just for clarity that plan shows a double slip connection not a crossover.  I'm a bit supprised as this would constrain services to entry/exit only one at a time Roll Eyes Tongue

I've had a closer look, and I think that is the expected double crossover, but drawn oddly. If you check the scale, the outer rails are about 5 m apart at closest, which is consistent with a normal track interval of 3.4 m. For comparison, the twin stub tunnel for platforms 2 and 3 is shown as nearly 10 m wide (though of course the shape of the tunnel is unknown). Since the running tunnels are quite far apart, and the two platform tracks even further (well over 20 m), the box would be very long without the tracks curving inwards to almost meet. 
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stuving
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« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2016, 08:12:47 pm »

There would presumably be different optimal layouts if all trains ran through, and if some trains terminated.

If optimised for through running would it be better to have up and down islands, with the down 'WRatH' and up 'Airtrack' crossing somewhere west of the station?   Or would you dedicate the platforms by service pattern?   I'd prefer the former, alternating departures towards Central London from either side of the same island must be easier than missing a train and having to cross to the other island for the next one.

Paul

I'm not sure how much leeway there is, given that BA» (British Airways - about)/HAL are not going to allow any knocking holes in their basement except in the weak filler walls and floors. I remember how adamant they were about "no DC (Direct Current) traction".

I've tried to make sense of the various reports, including this one from The Londonist. The two consultation maps certainly should be reliable, as far as they go (i.e. up to the western end wall), and I'm beginning to suspect that the geometry shown by Trackmaps is also correct (which means that the map on the Londonist's video is wrong).

It all suggests to me that the two tunnel tracks (with a double crossover between them) line up with P2 & P3, and P1 & P4 are/will be reached off them - i.e. as you suggest, an up and a down platform. That seems to be set in concrete, literally, in the shape of the tunnels at both east and west end.

If the box runs between the outer walls of T5 main building and the short-term car park, that's about 260 metres maximum for the platforms, and I don't think that leaves any space for trackwork inside the box. That's certainly true with a maximum-stretch 11-car class 345 (247 m), and I suspect would also be true for something much shorter.

That means the only straightforward option is to stick with just P3/4, as drawn, and extend the terminating service (HEx, without a big change of ideas) to Reading. If 2 out of 4 tph terminate, as initially proposed, they just have to be fairly quick about it. So anyone who prefers central London to Paddington can either change at HXX or PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains), for similar journey times.

Airtrack was proposed as terminating, but with an option of some HEx trains going to Staines. That also fits with T5 as built, and some variations on that might also work - even including WRAtH (Western Rail Access to Heathrow) - subject to looking at the details. Having trains coming in from the south via P1/2 and going to somewhere different, even in London, seems OK too.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #28 on: July 14, 2016, 04:10:56 pm »

Just got myself a ticket for a Maidenhead Chamber of Commerce Event tonight (See their Website)
 , with Mark Langham Western Route Director Network Rail on the Link. Will report back.

Noted length of trains, through running
(Crossrail? TOC (Train Operating Company)?) Possible Airtrack link and no 3rd rail

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