Project : London orbital services

Publication date 26 October 2020
Other possible services added 07 January 2022

Crossrail, or Crossrail 2, circular service via Reading

All services outlined in this article are circular. We will commence by describing two possible Crossrail circular services via Reading. Then we will describe a possible Crossrail 2 circular service via Reading, whilst recognising that the Crossrail 2 project was suspended in November 2020.

All of these can be followed on our summary diagrammatic map :

Summary diagrammatic map : our projects in relation to one another (opens in new window or tab, click with magnifying glass).

We suggest that any circular service described here would contribute to a reduction in car dependency and of congestion on the M25 motorway, that is, significant modal shift to rail.

All three circular services described here depend on east west rail at Watford. At an earlier stage this was proposed by our project : "East west rail - Oxford to Cambridge" but where east west rail at Watford is now regarded as a future possibility.

Other possibilities for circular services not depending on east west rail at Watford are listed later in this article.

Referenced projects are listed later in this article.

Firstly, a Crossrail circular service via Reading and Woking. With reference to our project : "ECML two track section between Knebworth and Welwyn", we hypothesise Crossrail services on to the East Coast Main Line (ECML). The Heathrow Southern Railway proposal connects Heathrow terminal 5 to Woking. Our project : "Camberley" connects Woking to Reading. These proposals, if brought to fruition, provide a route for a Crossrail circular service. The service would operate clockwise and anti-clockwise on the following route :

Broxbourne, Tottenham Hale, (Stratford West), Liverpool Street, Paddington, Heathrow terminal 5, Woking, Brookwood, Camberley, Wokingham, Reading, Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Rickmansworth, Watford Junction, London Colney, Stevenage, Ware and Broxbourne.

Secondly, a Crossrail circular service via Reading not via Woking. The service would operate clockwise and anti-clockwise on the following route :

Broxbourne, Tottenham Hale, (Stratford West), Liverpool Street, Paddington, Reading, Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Rickmansworth, Watford Junction, London Colney, Stevenage, Ware and Broxbourne.

Thirdly, a Crossrail 2 circular service via Reading and Woking. The service would operate clockwise and anti-clockwise on the following route :

Broxbourne, Tottenham Hale, St Pancras, Victoria, Clapham Junction, Wimbledon, Surbiton, Weybridge, Woking, Brookwood, Camberley, Wokingham, Reading, Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Rickmansworth, Watford Junction, London Colney, Stevenage, Ware and Broxbourne.

Without Crossrail 2, a modified version of such a service might operate from London Waterloo to either Kings Cross or Moorgate or Liverpool Street.

Referenced projects :

Project : East west rail - Oxford to Cambridge

Drawings (diagrammatic maps) are displayed full size for clarity.



East west rail in Hertfordshire and environs

In addition to a line from St Albans Abbey and from St Albans City via London Colney to Hatfield and a line from Watton at Stone to Ware, we also propose a Bletchley to Luton connecting chord, illustrated above.

East west rail at Watford, necessary for the services listed earlier, is now regarded as a future possibility rather than a current proposal.

 

Project : ECML two track section between Knebworth and Welwyn

Crossrail to WAML and to ECML, East west rail in Hertfordshire and environs, Bedford to Cambridge via Tempsford and Bassingbourn.

We hypothesise Crossrail services on to the ECML via the West Anglia Main Line (WAML). Crossrail services on the ECML could replace some existing services to Kings Cross thereby taking pressure off the two track section between Knebworth and Welwyn Garden City.

 

Project : Camberley
Rail network in the Camberley area

We are proposing a direct London commuter service via Camberley.

 

Project : Domestic and international high speed rail
An introduction to Aylesbury Interchange on High Speed 2

We are proposing a station stop Aylesbury Interchange (AI) on High Speed 2 in the vicinity of Aylesbury.

 

We will now list the dependencies of specific circular services on specific projects.

A Crossrail circular service via Reading and Woking is dependent on these projects :

Project : "East west rail - Oxford to Cambridge"
Project : "ECML two track section between Knebworth and Welwyn"
Heathrow Southern Railway or equivalent
Project : "Camberley".

A Crossrail circular service via Reading, not via Woking, is dependent on these projects :

Project : "East west rail - Oxford to Cambridge"
Project : "ECML two track section between Knebworth and Welwyn".

A Crossrail 2 circular service via Reading, and which is necessarily also via Woking, is dependent on these projects :

Project : "East west rail - Oxford to Cambridge"
Project : "Camberley".

In all three cases, our project : "Domestic and international high speed rail" proposes a station stop Aylesbury Interchange (AI) on High Speed 2 in the vicinity of Aylesbury and, in this case, any or all circular services would be routed via the Swindon express link and Aylesbury Interchange rather than via Oxford, Bicester and Aylesbury.

Other possible circular services via Reading

Since originally writing this article, we have added to our project : "East west rail - Oxford to Cambridge" a facility for services eastwards from Bedford to join the ECML at Tempsford. We have also added a Bletchley to Luton chord. East west rail at Watford is now regarded as a future possibility rather than a current proposal.

Additional or alternative circular services can be envisaged. All three earlier services change direction at Stevenage. Instead, services can be envisaged via Reading, Oxford, Bicester, Bletchley, Bedford, Tempsford, Stevenage and Ware.

By reference to our project : "ECML two track section between Knebworth and Welwyn", a variation of the above continuing directly from Tempsford to Ware would be possible but would miss the opportunity to call at Stevenage. The project also hypothesises a circular service via Stansted Airport : Stansted Airport, Crossrail, Heathrow, Woking, Camberley, Reading, Oxford, Bicester, Bletchley, Bedford, Tempsford, Stansted Airport.

Additionally or alternatively, changing direction at Stevenage, services can be envisaged via Reading, Bletchley, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, St Albans City, London Colney, Stevenage and Ware. Additionally or alternatively, these services could connect on to the Hitchin to Cambridge line then via Ware or Stansted Airport.

Additionally or alternatively, although obstructed by Radlett Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) as proposed and by reference to both our earlier and current diagrammatic maps included in our project : "ECML two track section between Knebworth and Welwyn", services can be envisaged via Watford Junction, St Albans City, Bedford, Tempsford, Stevenage and Ware. Additionally or alternatively, directly from Tempsford to Ware or via Stansted Airport.

There will never be more than limited capacity for services to change direction at Stevenage. A Watford to Hertford East service as proposed in our project : "East west rail - Oxford to Cambridge" is a priority.

An Outer London rail consortium could be created for the purpose of defining and progressing a Crossrail, or Crossrail 2, circular service.

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