die belebende Bedenkung

Stand up for Patrick (between Tring and London)

with 5 comments

David Begg and Patrick McLoughlin

The government has never tired of telling people that HS2 would benefit ‘all those London Midland commuters who have to stand into Euston’. But apparently, they now want to run inner suburban Crossrail 1 trains optimised for standees out as far as Tring.

[‘Government launches study into potential Crossrail extension’,, 7 August 2014]

In a move that would boost ambitious plans to redevelop Euston station for HS2, a feasibility study will look at how passengers from key commuter towns such as Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Harrow and Watford could save up to 15 minutes on their journey times via a new rail link between Old Oak Common and the West Coast Main Line.

The proposed changes would see Crossrail services extended to the county, providing direct journeys into the City and the West End. It would mean passengers would no longer have to change at Euston, making it easier to get on with the massive job of rebuilding the station so it matches the standard of Kings Cross and St Pancras.

The idea of connecting the West Coast Main Line outer suburban or the Watford ‘dc lines’ into London Crossrail 1 has been around for years, and it is surprising that a link into the dc lines to Watford was not included in the approved scheme. The rolling stock on order for Crossrail 1 is of the ac-only inner suburban type, so the Watford dc lines, or the trains, would need to be re-engineered.

Euston approach, sectional appendix, Network Rail

However, the government announcement is focused on linking into the existing ac outer suburban service to Hemel and Tring, to lessen disruption while ‘a more comprehensive development of Euston’ is carried out. Of course, how a WCML / Crossrail 1 connection could be programmed to allow phase one of HS2 to open by December 2026, has not been explained.

So, when is the announcement that HS2 phase one will not be ready to open in 2026, going to be made? And when is the announcement that the Y network cannot be built for “£50 billion”, going to be made?

Extract from London Midland timetable, showing Tring services

Extract from London Midland timetable, showing Tring services


Written by beleben

August 7, 2014 at 11:15 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Tagged with ,

5 Responses

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  1. Alternatively, run all London-Midland trains through the Crossrail tunnel, including those to Birmingham and save £50bn by not building HS2.


    August 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

    • If the Crossrail_X2 concept were implemented, all London Midland trains could run across London.

      The government seems to be belatedly trying to turn Crossrail 1 into ‘Superlink lite’. One might have expected Crossrail 2 to have been designed better, but unfortunately, that looks like another mess in the making.


      August 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm

  2. “Optimised for standees”? If someone who stands is a Stander, then a Standee must be someone who is stood upon!


    August 8, 2014 at 6:22 am

  3. Alternatively connect Milton Keynes to the Midland Main Line near Harlington and send some trains from Northampton / Milton Keynes via Thameslink. This could go from Ridgmont on the Marston Vale Line to Harlington involving about 7 miles of new construction, mostly parallelling the M1 between J13 (Ridgemont) and J12 (Toddington). Alternatively, to avoid the level crossings on the Marston Vale line, it could follow a more direct route between Bow Brickhill and Toddington, passing to the south of Woburn and following (in part) the A5. This would involve about 11 miles of new construction. Cost of either option would be absolutely trivial compared with the £50 thousand million (and rising) HS2 scheme even if some sections needed tunnelling. Perhaps someone could come up with a figure for 10 miles of new double track railway in easy going terrain with few constraints.

    Another 12 mile link from near Harlington across to Letchworth, passing to the north of Hitchin, would provide an onward route to Cambridge. Surely this would offer much better connections and be much cheaper and simpler than routing the East – West link via Bedford which involves the construction of at least 25 miles of new route between Bedford and Cambridge.


    August 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    • How much construction has taken place on the Northampton – Bedford and the Bedford – Hitchen lines ? Would re-opening these 2 be cheaper than new build ?


      August 11, 2014 at 8:39 pm

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