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London's "Elizabeth" Tube Line to Finally Open...

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Aug 9th, 2018, 02:48 PM
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London's "Elizabeth" Tube Line to Finally Open...

The long-awaited opening of Cross Rail a 60-mile long east-west Tube line cutting thru the heart of London and extending far out beyond London proper: London's version of Paris' RER lines I guess) will finally open December 2018 they say. Hopefully it will alleviate many overcrowded older Tube lines. One branch will serve Heathrow terminals making it a fast cheap way for air travelers to reach many points in central London now poorly service by the Tube from the airport.

https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-informatio...elizabeth-line
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Aug 10th, 2018, 08:18 AM
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It will still, for the first year, mean changing at Paddington, but once that through connection is made, it will be a substantial improvement.

For people like me, on the other side of London, it will knock an hour off the transit time to Heathrow.

It has been a massive project, almost beyond superlatives:
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Aug 10th, 2018, 08:23 AM
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Yes I read about all the unexpected things they encountered like buried things of architectural value and having to be careful skirting foundations, etc. Certainly one of most expensive public works projects in Europe ever I would think and long overdue-lots of car services from Heathrow will seem to suffer?
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Aug 10th, 2018, 11:51 AM
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It might take some business away from car services, but plenty of people using Heathrow come from much further afield than are within easy reach of the new line. And even those who aren't might still want the convenience of door-to-door transport.

But the Heathrow Express will obviously be redundant fairly quickly. Hard to imagine the new line being so overcrowded or journey times so much longer as to be uncompetitive.

BTW, anyone interested in the staggering size of the project may well find it useful to follow through both series of the documentary The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway (I posted the first episode above, but I think the rest are on Youtube somewhere).

Last edited by PatrickLondon; Aug 10th, 2018 at 11:54 AM.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 12:04 PM
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I don't see the link on my screen.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 12:38 PM
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It's there. If you can't see it you must have images/photos disabled. (it isn't a 'link' its a video)
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Aug 10th, 2018, 07:06 PM
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I think it's fantastic that the British will spend the money on new transport infrastructure. Good public transport is an enormous plus in any city. In Melbourne (Australia), where I'm originally from, they are still arguing after 60+ years over whether to build a rail link between the international airport and the city. Presently there is a bus or taxis. The people who approve such things in Melbourne, unfortunately only see things in the short term.

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Aug 10th, 2018, 09:19 PM
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There is a lot of grumbling about how much spending ends up benefitting London, when more modest sums elsewhere are equally or more needed.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 10:21 PM
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It's the same debate everywhere. Imagine some of the grumbling in rural France when Paris started its "Grand Paris Express" project with 4 new metro lines and 68 new stations.
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Aug 11th, 2018, 12:31 AM
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What a project, this is the first I've heard if it and I've been in the UK for over five months! Not London though....I've started watching the video, it's very interesting, thanks for posting.
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Aug 11th, 2018, 01:22 AM
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Schnauzer, that's what those massive building sites around Tottenham Court Road and Bond St stations are all about! For those who remember what TCR used to be like, the new concourse and street entrances are already another world.
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Aug 11th, 2018, 01:27 AM
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There are some extraordinary ironies about the revolution in SE England's public transport system. A revolution, of course, as much about ticketing systems and communication as new lines and new buses/rolling stock

- We used to moan about it obsessively: now it's manifestly the finest such system in the world, apart from Berlin. Paris is clunky, shabby and low-tech: Shanghai and Beijing have inefficient ticket gates and endless security checks making journey times often twice what they should be. The rest of Europe is just a bit behind (compare the clunky bureaucracy of Holland's chipkaart with our simple use of contactless bank cards): the New World clearly locked in the mid 20th century

- It wouldn't have been possible without the active participation of RATP, SNCF, Deutsche Bundesbahn, and umpteen other second-division public transport authorities. They've brought both their skills and their cash: we've been able to afford the revolution the old-fashioned capitalist way by attracting other partners. Amazing that the alleged "home of free enterprise" hasn't even tried to attract foreign investors to its stone-age systems. Or if it has, not got anywhere. The problem's as true, btw, of Dem administrations as Repubs: America has just lost interest in the future.

- Better signalling transforms public transport more than new lines. On many London Underground lines now, trains are one a minute at peak times: on some above-ground conventional suburban railways one every two minutes. Often all down to upgraded signalling.

-It's scarcely dawned on most Britons. London Bridge station has been famous recently for the teething troubles of its extension. But no publicity at all for what's s now a slick, space age marvel. Like Reading, or London Farringdon or St Pancras or - well, almost anywhere these days. Even my nanotown (pop 2,700) has seen its station doubled, and frequencies quadrupled.

- Credit for much of this has to be given to Britain's two greatest tossers: Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson. While possibly the most poisonous imbeciles ever to hold political office, they've brought about a complete miracle in London's transport: by contrast their competent, level-headed (and in many important ways, visionary) successor has done almost nothing. Yet another way Ken & Boris ressemble Mussolini.

- And all this for "subsonic" services. The 200 mph lines, apart from the line to the Channel coast, will probably never happen: they'd never have improved services much, they'd have ruined the countryside and they'd have cost a fortune. It's now clear that all these HS2/3/4 etc projects are no more likely to happen than Heathrow's third runway or Britain's really leaving the EU

And, though the system outside the SE hasn't improved as much, try taking a train from the West Midlands to Merseyside. Apart from the infrastructure improvements, the choice of operator and the complexity of the network offers far faster journeys by choosing different routes. From my MIL's flat next to the Royal Liverpool golf club to Banbury (an alternative railhead for the North Cotswolds), I can get a tube to Liverpool or to Chester and then connections via several different Birmingham-area stations on different operators.

It's half the time it took when I was a student 50 years ago. There was a train every two hours then: there are at least four an hour now.

All down to the privatisation of our above-ground inter-city train operators: held back, sadly, by keeping the rail infrastructure under State control. And practically every single scandal over the past five years has been the result of the catastrophic mismanagement of our rump State-owned railway infrastructure.
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Aug 11th, 2018, 04:00 AM
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It is fair to say that the London public train system is pretty good and about the same size as that provided to the rest of the UK. The down side of the growth of London is that is consumes a lot of infrastructure just to stay in the same place, the new north south line is just going into planning https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-t...for-the-future note cross rail 2 down at the bottom and all this capital will just about keep up with the expectation of Londoners.

Meanwhile getting to Manchester from Leeds remains a joke, 36 miles takes an hour.. now a TGV manages 350 mph would barely have time to get up to speed.

On the other hand I stand with flanner on the fantastic delivery of train services in the UK since privatisation, nearly all the train operators seem to have lost their shirts but the expansion of services are fantastic, if I compare how "passengers" used to be treated under BR it is gold and copper. Under BR passengers were not allowed to be warmed in the winter (only staff were allowed heating in many stations) while useless trains just used to give up, as a kid one train dumped me in the middle of the New Forest when trying to get to Poole, the train had broken down and the staff wanted to go home..... incredible.
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Aug 11th, 2018, 08:53 AM
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Oh the horror stories I had on British Rail back years ago - legendary ineptitude.

Train from Edinburgh to Blackpool - first train soon after leaving had some kind of breakdown - sat for 30 mins or so then got going and near Preston head lights on train went out and since they were required to have lights in day they said we limped into Preston with a guy holding yellow flags out driver's compartment windows. Never saw anything like that on Continent.

And the train once going to Brighton overran the station and stopped about 200 yards further on - lots of folks wanted to get off there but train said it could not back up and continued to next station telling passengers who wanted first station to cross the tracks via overhead walkway and take next train back to xxxxx - why could that train not backed up and why did it overrun station so poorly.

Scores more such stories.
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Aug 11th, 2018, 10:55 AM
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<< now a TGV manages 350 mph >>

Oh, you flatter the TGV, bilboburglar. We are happy that it just gets up to 350 km/h.
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Aug 11th, 2018, 02:39 PM
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And on about horrors of old British Rail - staff was often surly - I saw so many rude staffers and things like shouting matches. Daily at Crystal Palace station I saw ticket checkers get in verbal spats with folks on cheap tickets who dared try to enter the platform even a few minutes before 9:30 after which such tickets could be used.

And many had dirty torn uniforms - have not been on privatized railways recently but I assume all that has changed.

Few countries have I understand seen the leap in ridership that UK has in recent years and I guess the aging inadequate infrastructure is stressed - do plans for true high-speed lines radiating out from London ever get past drawing board? It's still about 5 hours London-Edinburgh when true TGV type speeds of 350 km/hr not mph could slice that in about half and push airlines off the route.
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Aug 12th, 2018, 12:24 AM
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guys you are right, kph, still it is a bit weird to be able to get to London in double the time it takes to get to Manchester from Leeds.
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Aug 12th, 2018, 08:56 AM
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Yes why is UK so so far behind Continent in high-speed rail links?
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Aug 12th, 2018, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Yes why is UK so so far behind Continent in high-speed rail links?
Because we'd already developed not-quite-so-high-speed trains that could deliver major improvements in journey times on existing track (the Intercity 125s). In France and Spain they took a much bigger leap later. Given the density and proximity of the population centres in Britain likely to use higher-speed services, the feeling was that there wouldn't be enough additional benefit over the the existing "fast enough" services, in terms of shorter journey times, for the much more massive investment needed for, and disruption caused by, completely new track for French or Spanish style TGVs. HS1 to speed up the Eurostar to the coast was one thing; HS2 to the Midlands and north, now in development, is already in trouble for soaring costs and there are plenty of voices arguing that 20 minutes off the journey to Birmingham just isn't worth the diversion of funds from less eye-catching but much more necessary improvements to existing tracks and rolling-stock. France and Spain are much bigger and more spread-out countries, and many rural parts were crying out to get the high-speed network to have a stop near them, where there just isn't the groundswell of demand in Britain for a whole new network tearing up the countryside.
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Aug 12th, 2018, 11:54 AM
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Yes I've heard all that and makes sense but seems one HS like HS2 to Edinburgh thru midlands cities would be great -glad to hear one is being built - maybe. And yes UK is a large country but population centered in relatively small area. Understood.
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