Transport Watch – May 2011
by John Beeston - outgoing chair
Crossrail cannot be expected to fund all the improvements needed to stations along its route, said the Minister, Theresa Villiers in the House on Thursday last. De-scoping of stations and less ambitious plans are being drafted she told MPs. But Crossrail will be instructed to work with local councils and they will have to be prepared to use local funds to improve stations to the standard that they require. Ms Villiers did not mention specific stations or councils but all five stations in the Borough will need extensive improvements once the new 10 coach trains operated by Crossrail come into service.
At Ealing Broadway, one of the busiest
stations in the
Ealing Council’s transport planners and EPTUG have always been keen to see a footbridge at the eastern end of the station across all platforms in order to ease the chaos that will inevitably arise when increased numbers of Crossrail passengers transfer to and from the Underground lines. Ealing Central &Acton MP, Angie Bray, is very anxious to ensure that this obvious safety measure is retained in the rebuild plan and she too welcomes letters of support.
Elsewhere on the Crossrail route the increased number of buses needed to serve Southall Station will bring the town’s only North-South route to a complete halt if an off-road stopping place cannot be provided. Also in jeopardy is the provision of a lift at Hanwell. Clearly the council must start taking action now and residents need to kick-start their involvement.
Also in the debate, Philip Hammond, the Transport minister confirmed that there would be no relaxation of the requirement for all train operators to reduce overcrowding by 2014, to a standard set by the previous government. However no mention was made about the provision of extra rolling stock to First Great Western and it would seem that none of our local MPs took the opportunity to question him on this even though FGW trains into Paddington are the most overcrowded in the Capital whilst trains between Southall and Ealing Broadway are even more overloaded but fail to feature in official statistics.
"There is no business case for stopping Piccadilly Line trains at Turnham Green outside the existing ends of the day times". The matter has been investigated many times say London Underground and, in any case, their spokesman added, in the morning eastbound trains are already full when they reach Acton Town so there would be no point stopping at Turnham Green.
The failed PPP concept is now being blamed for the failure to upgrade destination boards at Ealing North and many other stations on the system. The upgrade was part of the PPP but the collapse of Tube Lines has meant a complete re-think about the system to be employed and it could be at least 10 years before the new system is adopted and installed. On the FGW stations poor co-operation between the operator’s contractors and those of Network Rail’s contractors is believed to be one of the reasons why there is no reliable information system available to customers. However the new equipment is now beginning to appear on station platforms.
Once again EPTUG received complaints that no information was available regarding bus routes passing through Southall during the recent Vasakhi celebrations. Following complaints at last year’s event promises to improve arrangements and publicising changes were made but it seems once again it has slipped the TfL memory.
The break in the Circle Line with “Circle”
trains terminating at
Passengers on the District and the
Hammersmith Lines might also have to endure more disruption to services at
weekends and bank holidays for a long overdue contract to install new signalling
has been awarded. However, once complete, the new signalling will increase
capacity on the
Hammersmith and Circle Lines by 65% and on the District Line by
24%. The system already in use in
Bus Users (UK), who closely monitor bus
services outside London say that cuts in subsidies and council spending is
already having a dramatic effect on bus services especially in rural areas but
so far London has remained pretty secure from these cuts. This may in part be
due to the unusual way Transport for
The new roof over platforms 9 to 12 at Paddington could be opened up to view by the end of this month say Network Rail much later than originally intended because serious corrosion problems came to light when engineers gained access. The span, known as Span 4 sits alongside Brunel’s impressive arch and was given Grade 1 listed status in 1990 thwarting plans to demolish it.
Why should improvements to the railway line
between Felixstowe and Nuneaton be of interest to those who travel on the London
Hopefully when you are reading this column you will basking in Summer sunshine but already train operators are planning ahead for the winter weather that we could expect later in the year. Chiltern have been amongst the first to reveal plans. These include running trains through the night to minimise the risk of diesel freezing and hitting the early morning commuter services. Whilst this may seem an obvious step to take, fuel prices rising faster than train fares and the increased wages bill all add to the company’s financial worries. They must also bear in mind that much maintenance work on both track and train has to be carried out overnight.
BAA, owners of