TfL ‘makes case’ to Government for more Elizabeth line trains and station change

By Staff

TfL has ‘made the case’ to the Government to procure more Elizabeth line trains in order to make sure there is enough capacity for customers at the £19billion railway line’s new stop in West London. Old Oak Common (OOC) station is expected to function as HS2’s ‘temporary terminus’ before the firm’s Euston interchange is built.

London transport officials say they have been working with HS2 and the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation to ensure OOC can operate as a terminal, support growth as outlined in the mayor’s plans, as well as cope with passengers on existing services. Documents from the most recent meeting of TfL’s board state that bosses have communicated with the Government over the procurement of new Elizabeth line stock.

In addition, officials say they would like to see progress as to ensuring the new station has step free access.

READ MORE: London Euston staff ‘threatened to punch passenger’ amid ‘dangerous’ crowds

Papers state: “To help us meet these challenges, at the end of 2023 we made the case to the Government to procure additional Class 345 Elizabeth line trains to ensure sufficient capacity for passengers disembarking HS2 services and continuing their journey into central London, as well as level boarding to the Elizabeth line. We have taken part in the DfT-led Strategic Working Group and Strategic Steering Group meetings on Old Oak Common which are also looking into the interface with surface transport modes, specifically the bus station and highway connections on Old Oak Common Lane.

“We have continued to highlight that significant changes to local plans and forecast growth in housing and jobs should be accounted for in HS2 Ltd.’s designs.”

TfL ‘funding and buying trains’

As regards level boarding, TfL told MyLondon in January that they are working closely with HS2 and Network Rail to get them to see what might be possible. At the same time, Network Rail said that TfL would need to fund and buy the trains.

The operator added that it would only get involved ‘right at the end’ when it comes to timetabling the extra trains should they appear.

Peter Gow, HS2’s project client director, said in January: “There’s a workstream between the Department for Transport and Transport for London to agree exactly the number [of additional Elizabeth line trains needed] and exactly when they come into service. So that’s very much in hand.

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“We’re also looking, obviously, at Old Oak Common now, given the recent announcement [the the northern leg of the project between Birmingham and Leeds being scrapped] of how the passenger movements will take place at Old Oak Common. So we’re reassessing all of that.

“But very much, there’s clear plans in place to make sure that when we start operations at Old Oak Common and for the future have sufficient services to get passengers away from Old Oak Common, on the Elizabeth line and Great Western Mainline and Heathrow Express.”

Number of extra trains would depend on predicted station usage

Asked if he knew how many more Elizabeth line trains would be needed, Mr Gow said he did not have that information to hand. But this was ‘in discussion’ and subject to how many people will use the station.

On level boarding, the director added that currently there are no plans for it to be installed at the interchange. But, there are ‘separate conversations’ between the DfT and Network Rail about ‘how they could potentially look to enable that’.

First, officials would have to navigate ‘serious technical challenges’ around how they allow all the rolling stock through the station.

Mr Gow also said engineers are ‘trying to find a technical solution’ and, if it is possible and supported by industry buy in, bosses would ‘look to implement that where they can’.

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