Transport Watch – November 2012

 

It may be hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon us, even though the shops have been trying to tell so us for weeks. But for the rail industry, planning for Christmas starts a year or more in advance. Passenger numbers fall dramatically over the Christmas and New Year period and it is an ideal chance for major engineering projects to make headway. This year is no exception and this year the line from Paddington through Ealing comes in for major attention by the Crossrail engineers. They plan to construct a “dive under” between Ealing and Acton to allow Crossrail trains to run unimpeded by the heavier, slow moving freight trains crossing to the Acton Yard and to Willesden Junction which will remain at ground level. To do this they must first move the existing lines and overhead wires to one side so that excavating the “dive under” can start.

 

The impact on local services will be enormous with Acton Mainline, West Ealing, Hanwell and the Greenford Line bearing the brunt of the disruptions. They will lose their services from around 10.00pm on Monday 24th December until the morning of January 2nd. Other stations in the Borough will over the same period receive a greatly reduced service so it goes without saying, “check before you travel”. First Great Western are producing helpful pamphlets setting out the changes and will be displaying posters at all the stations. EPTUG has asked whether a Greenford to Hayes service could run enabling passengers on the Central Line to change at Greenford and Southall instead of Ealing Broadway for trains to Slough.

 

FGW have also agreed to come along to a meeting arranged by EPTUG on Monday 26th November at Christ Church Hall in New Broadway, W5 at 7.00pm where there will be chance to speak directly to their local management and to collect one of the brochures mentioned. It is hoped that representatives from Crossrail will also be there ready to talk about the new railway which is, so far, on schedule and on budget. Admission to the meeting is free but non members may wish to make a small donation towards the cost of the meeting. The annual general meeting of EPTUG will follow the open meeting.

 

Bus Users UK is a very active organisation looking after bus users outside London. They often hold “surgeries” in towns across the country where operators and users come together to make complaints, complements and suggestions about services in the area. Now London Travel Watch has persuaded TfL to do the same and a transport users “surgery” is being held on the 10th November between 10.00am and 1.00pm. Subject to permission being obtained a bus will be parked in the pedestrian precinct near Harrow on the Hill Station with representatives from the transport providers in attendance. Once Tfl is convinced of their usefulness EPTUG would like to see similar “surgeries” being held at centres in the Borough.

 

Passengers generally welcome new trains and buses and we eagerly await news of new vehicles coming to the services we use, but on the 13th January next year steam trains and Victorian slam door carriages return to the London Underground. It is all part of TfL’s plan to mark the 150th anniversary of the World’s first underground railway. During the year a wide ranging list of events is planned, ranging from posters and exhibitions to the issue of a special Oyster Card and a new £2 coin entering circulation.  Some of the events will be held at London Transport’s overflow museum store at Acton.

 

If you are over 60 and resident in London then if you have not already done so apply now for a 60 plus Freedom Pass. It costs nothing and you never know when it will come in useful. Full details can be found on the TfL website, www.tfl.gov.uk/60pluslondon.

 

Crossrail’s progress suffered a minor blip on the morning of September 27th when a giant hopper at the Westbourne Park site collapsed and had to be rebuilt. But the engineers claim good progress is still being made. Phyllis is now under Hyde Park and approaching Bond Street whilst Ada, her sister tunnelling machine is now approaching Paddington. Meanwhile the fascinating exhibition of items found during construction of the line across London is temporarily closed until Tuesday 13th November to allow an even more interesting and updated exhibition to be installed. The free exhibition, From Bison to Bedlam, is in St Giles Street adjacent to Tottenham Court Road Station.

 

Ealing Fields Residents Association have joined forces with EPTUG to petition Heathrow Connect to lower fares and so attract more Heathrow Passengers and baggage away from the overcrowded Piccadilly Line trains.

 

What’s in a name? A lot say developers and others who would like to rename South Acton to “Acton Gardens”. But “Just a waste of money”, is how most local residents see the matter. So will London Overground agree to a change? If they do, it won’t be the first station in the Borough to receive a new name. Hanwell was once Hanwell and Elthorne, and protected Brunel designed platform signs still declare this fact. But did you know, in December 1838, Ealing Broadway Station was known as “Ealing Haven”?