Transport Watch – December 2014


There is no need to remind anyone that Christmas is approaching but whilst most of us will spend Christmas and the New Year doing what we want to do the railway engineers will be out in the cold busily improving the rail network. And no where more so than on the Great Western Line. Though it's hard to believe if you are passing through any London mainline station as Christmas approaches, there is a massive fall off in the number of travellers from Christmas Eve and this makes it an ideal time to carry out major works.


Local FGW train services will start to change from 3.00pm on Christmas Eve and there will be no FGW services on Christmas or Boxing Day. On the 27th services will not commence until 11.00am so if a visit to the sales is planned think of alternative routes to the shops. In fact best advice throughout the holiday season on all routes is to check and check again to see if your train is operating.


Between Christmas and the New Year a reduced service will operate and you may find diversions adding to your journey time. But for New Year party goers some good news: FGW will be running their traditional overnight services on New Year's Eve and additional early morning services on New Year's Day.  


Much of the Great Western line work centres on the construction of the second flyover at Airport Junction as well as electrification and re-signalling works further west. Incidentally the first bit of Crossrail track will come into use early next year when the new flyover at Airport Junction comes into use.


Central Line and Jubilee Lines are both stopping at Bond Street again bringing this useful interchange back into use. TfL expect passenger numbers at Bond Street to rise from 155,000 passengers per day to 225,000 per day once Crossrail opens there in 2018. New lifts and escalators have been installed to meet the anticipated flow. Even before Crossrail starts operating passenger numbers using TfL are booming. In one week in September a total of 76.1 million journeys were made, 26.1 million of them by Tube. These record figures top those recorded during the Olympics.


However, a word of warning to Central Line users: Tottenham Court Road Station will be closed to Central Line passengers for most of 2015 to enable further Crossrail-related work to progress.


London Buses are seeking views about a proposed change to route 224. This would see buses on the 224 proceeding via Twyford Abbey Road, Lakeside Drive and Coronation Road before heading towards Wembley Stadium. If adopted, Abbey Road and Park Royal Road will no longer be served by the route. The consultation ends on the 23rd December.


December 14th is the day train operators make the most changes to their timetables and those being made by Chiltern do not make comfortable reading for residents in the north of the borough who would like to use the fast service into Marylebone. However it is proposed that the last train serving Sudbury Hill will be timed later but still not late enough for Wembley Stadium concert-goers.


The new design for Southall Station is now being discussed by Crossrail and Ealing Council. The new look station will see the closure of the existing entrance on the bridge and a new entrance being constructed alongside Platform 4 using the former Royal Mail train’s siding. The platforms will be able to accommodate the longer Crossrail trains but there are no plans to extend the platform covers to provide protection against the weather. They will however endeavour to reduce the huge gap between the train and Platform which has been known to prevent the less agile passengers from boarding.


In the Spring London Buses announced plans to re-locate most bus stopping points at Haven Green and the Broadway. Over 400 replies were received mostly we are told, in support. TfL are now pressing on with the changes, changes which will see the loss of the 65 dropping off point to the East of the Green and the merging of the two stops used by buses travelling towards Boston Manor and Northfields (stop F).  Route 226 will now drop off and pick up at stop D, the 297 and E10 will pick up at Z4, the western-most stop. Routes E7 & E8 will now share stop F.  Meanwhile, the many pleas to have the westbound 207/427/607 Ealing Broadway stop restored to its previous pre-bendybus position closer to the station, has been ignored.


EPTUG has long advocated cleaner fuelled buses and would like to see more hybrid or all electric vehicles introduced into this badly air polluted borough. But for the moment we reserve judgement about a new experimental bus introduced last month onto the streets of Bath. It is powered by human waste! At least passengers waiting at the bus stop can declare, “Here comes the number 2”.