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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8167990.stm

Airlink application lodged by BAA


A formal application has been submitted to the government for a rail link between Heathrow Airport and stations in Berkshire and Surrey.

Heathrow operator BAA is seeking permission to build, operate and maintain the new Airtrack line.

Airtrack will connect Heathrow's Terminal 5 to London Waterloo, Reading and Guildford. Some Heathrow Express services will be extended to Staines.

Spelthorne MP David Wilshire said it was good for travellers and residents.

Two rounds of public consultation were held last year.

Residents and two local councils, Richmond and Runnymede, expressed concerns about longer waiting times for road traffic at level crossings along the route.

They said additional rail services would increase waiting times at Egham, Addlestone, Barnes, Mortlake and North Sheen.

BAA said following the objections more work was being done with local authorities, Network Rail and the highway authorities to look for solutions at level crossings.

It said designs for the proposed depot at Feltham would limit light and noise pollution and include landscape screening.

It promised to cause as little disruption as possible to residents and businesses in Staines town centre, but Egham Chamber of Commerce said it was not reassured.

"The railway line cuts the town in two and it has no bridges or tunnels," said spokeswoman Meher Oliaji.

"We have four level crossings and they are planning to put 16 trains an hour instead of eight on the line.

"We will just have more traffic jams. They will have to budget for giving us some way to cross this railway line."

Mr Wilshire said: "Getting the Airtrack project to the point where a formal application can be made has taken a long time and a great amount of hard work and lots of negotiations.

"A few problems remain to be solved - including redesigning the level crossings south of the Thames.

"Hopefully BAA will be able to come up with solutions that we will be able to accept."

BAA's plans are on display at local libraries. Comments must be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport within 56 days.

A decision will then be made on whether a public inquiry should be held, which is likely to be at the beginning of 2010.
 

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It promised to cause as little disruption as possible to residents and businesses in Staines town centre, but Egham Chamber of Commerce said it was not reassured.

"The railway line cuts the town in two and it has no bridges or tunnels," said spokeswoman Meher Oliaji.

"We have four level crossings and they are planning to put 16 trains an hour instead of eight on the line.
The railway line is already there in Staines you stupid bitch!!!

And she's moaning about rail services doubling, including direct trains to Heathrow and some taking her to Paddington in less than 25 minutes?

Some people... :eek:hno:

(Great news, by the way... especially some HEX trains continuing to Staines)
 

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(Great news, by the way... especially some HEX trains continuing to Staines)
How's that going to work? According to the latest edition of London Railway Atlas by J. Brown, the Airtrack and HEX lines don't meet...
 

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The railway line is already there in Staines you stupid bitch!!!

And she's moaning about rail services doubling, including direct trains to Heathrow and some taking her to Paddington in less than 25 minutes?

Some people... :eek:hno:

(Great news, by the way... especially some HEX trains continuing to Staines)
She's a petrol head, what do you expect Tubeman. All they are interested in is driving their cars everywhere.
 

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:rofl:

Will HEX services become Crossrail?
Heathrow Connect definitely will, Heathrow Express more than likely will, although I don't think that's official yet. There have been talks though and no one would ever pay for an express train to Paddington anymore when there are trains just a minute or two slower that take you into central London.
 

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Connect to Ealing Bdy then Crossrail makes more sense than HEX to Paddington so the solution should be HEX becomes part of Crossrail instead of Connect (if it's going to be one) otherwise HEX will become redundant and Crossrail more crowded. clearly one or the other has to become Crossrail because of the tracks.
 

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Connect has to become part of Crossrail for capacity reasons. It's likely that HEx will as well, because nobody would use it if there was a cheaper service that took you direct to the City and Canary Wharf instead of having to change in suburban nowhere...

Adding HEx would also mean terminating fewer Crossrail trains in Paddington, which has got to be a good thing.
 

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Totally agreed. So this would mean we'd see Staines on the Crossrail route map potentially? Would be good news for the town, and certainly a cheapish way of expanding Crossrail's reach and purpose.

Platform capacity at T5 station would be increased, leaving space for that western curve towards Slough (Airtrack 2?)
 

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Yes making both services Crossrail is a likely outcome. Obviously if Connect was going to be taken over by Crossrail it wouldn't be going on to Paddington all stations. Either way this would presumably mean some GWML suburban trains could stop all stations to Paddington instead of connect.
 

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I don't see why that follows: I'd expect to see something more like:

* 4tph Terminal 5 to Abbey Wood, non-stop between T123 and Paddington
* 4tph Terminal 4 to Shenfield, stopping all stations to Paddington

...possibly maintaining premium fares between LHR and Paddington for the non-stop service.
 

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How's that going to work? According to the latest edition of London Railway Atlas by J. Brown, the Airtrack and HEX lines don't meet...
LOL Airtrack is only represented as a proposal in that fine body of work... I'd read that allowance had been made for separate Airtrack platforms when T5 was built, so represented this... originally due to incompatible electrification I don't think HEX and Airtrack were intended to be linked initially.

I guess there'll be the terminating platforms I've depicted to the south of the HEX platforms, plus the HEX platforms will become through platforms toward Staines, with a link in between (not shown).

I'll rectify in the 3rd edition (hopefully u/c by then) :)
 

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I don't see why that follows: I'd expect to see something more like:

* 4tph Terminal 5 to Abbey Wood, non-stop between T123 and Paddington
* 4tph Terminal 4 to Shenfield, stopping all stations to Paddington

...possibly maintaining premium fares between LHR and Paddington for the non-stop service.
My point was more about the consequences of any Connect services being replaced by Crossrail bearing in mind these trains don't stop between Ealing and Paddington (admittedly only 1 stop). Connect is already slower than HEX but Crossrail won't exactly be slow or uncomfortable and will of course continue eastwards. As it's only one more station via Crossrail compared to Connect (Acton ML) it won't make much difference thinking about it.

Hex is a different matter. I'm not sure Crossrail express services is necessary or likely. The fact is if no one wanted HEX once Crossrail takes over Connect then why bother having express services as part of Crossrail if HEX gets taken over too?

HEX was mentioned some time ago for Crossrail takeover and concern was voiced about an express service being replaced by one stopping at intermediate stations (6 I believe, and in future another would likely be added between Acton ML and Paddington).

Then there's Airtrack end to end at T5. Airtrack will head for Staines and Guildford, potential Crossrail destinations, but what with it also going to Reading via a different route and back into central London via SWML it's not all suitable for Crossrail, so all a bit up in the air at the moment.

Expect 4 tph (former connect) Crossrail to Heathrow T5 initially then increase of frequencies and extension of some services to Staines and possibly Guildford.
 

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I don't think Crossrail will ever get to Guildford - the trains are being built for overhead electrification only. I'd imagine there would be some overlap where Crossrail/HEx gets out to Staines, and Airtrack gets in to Heathrow T5, but no further.
 

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The railway line is already there in Staines you stupid bitch!!!

And she's moaning about rail services doubling, including direct trains to Heathrow and some taking her to Paddington in less than 25 minutes?

Some people... :eek:hno:

(Great news, by the way... especially some HEX trains continuing to Staines)
It is easy for people who do not know the town not to realise how the railway already cuts the town in two

Airtrack proposes two trains an hour each to waterloo, Reading and Guildford. Addtionally during the consultation process. BAA proposed extending Crossrail to Staines. This required a new curve to cut across the town centre. The original proposal required a new station in the heart of the town and the rebuilding of the old station so Crossrail could terminate there.

The main criticism from locals had been the station plans, mainly by people living next to the proposed sites, and more importantly the effect on the three level crossings, across the river from Staines in Egham. Due to the tight curve of the track from the thames rail bridge down to ground level there is little opportunity to grade separate these crossings without large scale residential demolition.

Rail had an article describing the problem of how long crossing already stay closed and how much worse they would be with the extra trains. Due to the nature of the signalling in the area, curved track and that the schedule often has trains approaching from opposite directions at nearly the same time means that the worst crossing would be closed for 38 minutes out of each hour.

The local council originally supported the plans because it thought the trade off for worse road congestion was worth the the better access for commuters from the south and West to the town centre. Unfortunately in the second round consultation BAA have decided to drop the new high street station to cut costs and and avoid the fight with local residents. Big mistake, it totally removes the benefits for the town centre and its commuters as people from Reading and Guildford airtrack services will no longer be able to get off at Staines. The council is unsurprisingly now opposed to the proposals as it gets a lot of pain for little gain.
The effects of severance will be severe. I supported Airtrack at the stage one consultation when there was a new train station in the town, now that has been dropped the new trains won't stop in the town, just go straight through it. The extra congestion might have been worth if it drew off long distance commuters to the town.

They have not given any reason why they dropped the high street station and it is this that has caused the local council to now oppose the scheme.

If these trains are not going to the town anymore they should route it alongside the M25. I'm going to be interested in their new traffic projections. As only 1/3 of passengers using the new trains were expected to actually travel to the airport Staines was expected to a major destination in its own right.

If they can install more signals to reduce the length of time the barriers have to stay down for each train to pass then maybe they can get it through. It is a lost opportunity if they don't restore the High street station.
 

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But surely the proposal is for Crossrail / HEX trains to terminate at Staines station (i.e. the OHLE runs to there) while the DC Airtrack trains run through the town via a reinstated west curve without stopping? Yes the route does cut the townin two, but it has done for over 150 years... In the centre of Staines the railway crosses over roads anyway
 

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What stations do you think Airtrack trains will be calling at?

I'm kind of hoping that they will stop at Addlestone as I go towards Heathrow quite a lot :)

I also share the sentiment that not building the Staines High Street Station is a lost opportunity.
 

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I think a good compromise would be to ditch the Airtrack Reading service. It's slow and not that useful.

This would cut 4tph from the level crossings through Egham etc... and only really benefit Bracknell, Wokingham and Ascot people who could change either at Staines to a service from Waterloo, or Ascot for one coming from Guildford.

To compensate, BAA should invest, with Network Rail, in the western curve asap. They could then have at least 2tph and possible 4 (taking the HeX paths which would have turned off - although HSTs catch them uparound Hayes so these trains would need to get going pretty quick when they join the GWML.)

These trains would get to Reading much quicker, serve Slough, Didcot and Oxford too, and potentially head towards Bristol/Cardiff. Would be a lot more lucrative and direct. It would help the M4 traffic more, and get rid of those coaches.
 

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What is the HEX/connect capacity limit on the Heathrow branch itself - including T4? Reason I ask is because for a small cost a west-facing curve could be put in and Crossrail trains run to Reading. Whether this is a good idea or not I don't know but it would suit Reading-Heathrow journeys better.
 
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