The Sleeper's Blog

03.01.17

Putting passengers first at Paddington

Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigation at London TravelWatch, highlights how new integrated planning was adopted to minimise passenger disruptions in the capital this winter. 

Over the festive period multiple engineering projects took place, closing some of the busiest parts of Britain’s rail network. One of these was the closure of Paddington station and two of the four tracks between London and Reading for electrification and Crossrail works. Such closures are an annual part of the transport scene in London, but in the past have not always gone according to plan, with passengers suffering as a consequence, such as at Finsbury Park in 2014. 

Although this article was written before the festive period, it highlights some of the planning that took place beforehand which will hopefully have ensured that the work went smoothly and that lessons from past years were learned. 

Great Western Railway (GWR) was acutely aware of the problems at Finsbury Park in December 2014 and problems in previous years, and set up a specific project team to plan and manage both this closure and their input into simultaneous closures elsewhere at the same time. This team, led by Andy McRae and Ian Mundy, took the decision to involve transport watchdogs London TravelWatch and Transport Focus at an early stage in the planning for the closures, and were able to benefit from their extensive knowledge of passenger needs, the complex transport network in London and their contacts with local agencies and other transport operators.

The closure of Paddington meant that passengers were required to use alternative rail routes such as the new Chiltern route to Oxford, South West Trains to Reading, Virgin West Coast and London Midland to Birmingham and, crucially, London Underground between Paddington and Ealing Broadway. 

This latter journey is quite complex under normal circumstances, but as the watchdogs pointed out, the simultaneous engineering closure of the District Line between Gloucester Road and Acton Town would make things even more difficult for passengers. This was particularly the case as the alternative Piccadilly Line would also have to cope with all of the demand to and from Heathrow Airport in the absence of Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect. Ealing Broadway also has no step-free access. 

Therefore it was really important to make sure that arrangements were even more comprehensive, and able to respond to incidents on the day. 

As a result of the watchdogs’ interventions, a number of changes were made to plans, including: 

  • Providing spare train sets and crew, operationally ready in the event of service disruption, ready to cover any train service from Ealing Broadway likely to be affected by earlier disruption elsewhere
  • Additional staff from all operators at London Paddington and from GWR at Ealing Broadway
  • A comprehensive information campaign by GWR and TfL to ‘intercept’ passengers before they got to Paddington or Ealing Broadway
  • Large-scale vinyls on existing Crossrail building works at Ealing Broadway to alert local passengers to the disruption (see photo above)
  • Provision of refreshments and things to mitigate cold or wet weather at Ealing Broadway
  • Engagement of local businesses to ensure that they were aware of the closure and any opportunities 

In addition, Network Rail was able to bring forward the opening of an additional footbridge at Ealing Broadway so that a one-way system could be introduced to cope with the additional passengers expected at the station. We look forward to reviewing the effectiveness of the work that took place over the festive period in early 2017.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

Humbug   03/01/2017 at 13:23

Lugging two laden suitcases up and down the staircases at Ealing Broadway is not my idea of pre-Christmas fun. Staff were lovely, but perhaps lifts would be an improvement? Humbug

Jak Jaye   04/01/2017 at 09:25

Ealing Broadway Station is a dump,platforms too small,the stairs down to the down platform are a joke and as for the masterstroke of closing the District line,best not to go there the station needs to be demolished and rebuilt.oh but i forgot there's a massive office complex on top,more brilliant forward thinking eh

Jak Jaye   14/01/2017 at 10:16

London Travel Watch? arent they the people who think running 12 car DOO Trains is safe,and if they are so concerned about 'putting passengers first at Paddington' how about getting rid of the cash cow that is First Group they don't give a monkeys for their customers

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Almost 1.5 million eTickets sold six months after introduction

27/03/2017Almost 1.5 million eTickets sold six months after introduction

Newly released figures of eTicket sales have shown that over one million have been sold since the modern system was first implemented last year. ... more >
Southern completes Class 377 modifications for extreme winter weather

27/03/2017Southern completes Class 377 modifications for extreme winter weather

Southern’s Class 377 fleet has been given a major upgrade to make it more resilient to frost and snowy weather this winter. Engineers ... more >
First MTR joint venture awarded South Western franchise

27/03/2017First MTR joint venture awarded South Western franchise

First MTR South Western Trains Limited (First MTR) has been awarded the new South Western franchise by the government, which will see the introdu... more >

editor's comment

08/03/2017A celebration of rail achievement

Welcome to this special UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA) review issue of RTM. The fourth edition of the prestigious awards took place on 9 February at London’s Battersea Evolution and, once again, was a huge success.  With over 1,100 rail decision-makers in attendance, the black-tie event was a great place for networking and celebrating the success of the rail industry in the last 12 months. To see who won at this year’s... read more >

last word

Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful

Ahead of the major imminent reforms to the apprenticeship system, Simon Rennie, general manager of the National Training Academy for Rail, outlines the industry’s reasons to be positive about the future of skills. Those of a particular age will recall with a warm glow the prestige of the British Rail Apprenticeship scheme and how this formed a bedrock of a life-long career. Then it all came crashing down with the (albeit disputed)... more > more last word articles >
board2

'the sleepers' daily blog

Raising wall work at Linlithgow heritage railway site completed

24/03/2017Raising wall work at Linlithgow heritage railway site completed

Work has been completed to raise the height of walls bordering the railway heritage site at Royal Terrace and Union Road in Linlithgow, as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). A total of £650k has been put into the project to ensure the boundary of the railway is compliant with safety standards for an electrif... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Overcoming the challenges of e-ticketing

23/03/2017Overcoming the challenges of e-ticketing

Justin Stenner, head of technology for Heathrow Express, considers the  benefits and drawbacks of implementing e-ticketing on rail services.... more >
Breathing life back into the Connaught Tunnel

23/03/2017Breathing life back into the Connaught Tunnel

Linda Miller, former Crossrail project manager, Connaught Tunnel, reflects on the challenges of widening and deepening the vital Victorian tunnel... more >
The case for rail integration

23/03/2017The case for rail integration

Jeremy Long, CEO of European Business at MTR Corporation, reflects on how stronger integration of train and track could benefit major rail infras... more >
Getting fire testing standards right

23/03/2017Getting fire testing standards right

Richard Nowell, rolling stock engineer at the RSSB, discusses the ‘EN 45545-2 Fire testing of materials and components for trains’, a... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Intertrain: ready for the future

23/02/2017Intertrain: ready for the future

RTM recently attended Intertrain’s ‘Driving for Success’ event in Doncaster, where leaders from major players such as Carillion... more >
Tackling regulation at its routes

24/01/2017Tackling regulation at its routes

John Larkinson, the ORR’s director of railway markets and economics, speaks to RTM about the move to regulating Network Rail at a route lev... more >
Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

15/11/2016Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, speaks to RTM’s Luana Salles about the recently-published ‘Investing in the Fut... more >