Transport Watch – March 2013

 

Another month has passed and still Crossrail has not revealed its plans for developing stations in the Borough necessary to cope with anticipated increases in traffic. Fears are mounting that scaled down plans will be disclosed only when it is too late for local amenity groups and others to comment saddling us with inadequate stations for generations ahead. 

 

Surely our councillors should now be demanding full details of Crossrail’s plans and we should be emailing MPs and councillors to remind them of their obligations.

 

Last month the many recommendations about improving local bus services which members of EPTUG  made were forwarded to London Buses. Nothing has been heard in reply and there will be no consultation with local users. But TfL say, by giving us the chance to comment they have fulfilled their legal obligation to consult. They will now carry on drafting tender documents and issuing contracts. 

 

First there were three, now there are four and soon there will be five. When London Overground took over the line through Acton Central the trains were three coaches in length but the improved Overground service soon led to increase frequencies and longer trains in order to cope with the rise in traffic. Now London Overground, part of TfL, have announced the introduction of five coach trains by 2015. The introduction of a fifth coach also entails lengthening some platforms and major redesigning of train depots.

 

Passengers on the Piccadilly Line, tired of tripping over baggage on the overcrowded Heathrow trains, are busily adding names to the joint Ealing Fields Residents Association and  EPTUG petition calling for a reduction in fares charged on the Heathrow Connect which deters many passengers from using it. If you have not already signed, or if you would like to organise a petition please see the entry on our Home page.

 

EPTUG is trying to find out why passengers travelling to Ealing Hospital can no longer alight or board in the hospital grounds. Work has been going on in the bus station but progress seems to  be unnecessarily slow. An on-site inspection by EPTUG volunteers does suggest that with a little common sense and co-operation buses and their passengers could still be accommodated.

 

London Underground have confirmed that the installation of a lift at Greenford Station will go ahead. Work should start in May or June and take up to 18 months to complete. At the same time other enhancements have been promised. Controversially work on an earlier lift installation stopped when Boris Johnson became Mayor and introduced cost cutting measures though it is understood that the cost of removing work in hand and restoring the station fabric cost more than completing the work.

 

Residents close to the terminus of route 94 have been complaining about its siting  but, say TfL, the terminus has been there since at least 1920 so it is unlikely to be moved now. The situation at the terminus is however made worst by thoughtless and selfish parking by car drivers. Perhaps the yellow lines should be brought back even if it means the council losing parking revenue.

 

When Crossrail starts, the Greenford to Paddington service will cease and a Greenford to West Ealing shuttle introduced running at 15 minute intervals. Network Rail should be able to reveal more about this important cross borough link. Will two bays be provided at West Ealing in order to enable a higher frequency service? Should the line be transferred to London Underground? If adopted by London Underground, should it be extended to West Ruislip enabling Northolt residents to reach Crossrail in one step?

 

Major works on the Paddington Line will be taking place over the Easter Holiday. This work includes more work on the Acton “Dive Under”, work at Stockley Park and importantly this holiday a major change at Reading where virtually a complete new station is being built. This will affect all services passing through Ealing so please do check before travelling.

 

As one rail official put it, “In spite of our best efforts, satisfaction with rail services has reached an all time high”. Passenger Focus report an 85% passenger satisfaction level and elsewhere the influential trade magazine, Modern Railways, reports car mileage falling whilst railway passenger figures are now at an all time high. Passenger figures are now over 70% higher than they were in 1949, pre Beeching and pre mass car ownership. Even the beleaguered Southall passengers now say overcrowding is easing.