Yesterday, TfL got a little bit larger, when it took over the staffing of a number of train stations in Berkshire from Great Western Railway.
It’s all part of the run up to the launch of the Elizabeth Line launching in exactly one year’s time.
TfL took over the staffing of 11 stations between Acton Main Line and Taplow (excluding Slough) on Sunday 10 December, although Network Rail is still showing them as GWR managed stations. They are now managed by MTR Crossrail, the company that runs the TfL Rail services out of Liverpool Street station.
From today, the stations between Acton Main Line and Hayes & Harlington will also be staffed all day. Current staffing arrangements will remain at stations from West Drayton through to Taplow until the Elizabeth line serves those stations in December 2019.
At the same time, TfL awarded a contract to deliver step-free access and station improvements at Hanwell, Iver, Langley and Taplow to J. Murphy & Sons Limited.
Iver will also get a new ticket hall with modern information screens, replacing the current structure that dates back to the 1920s.
From May 2018, TfL Rail will take over over from the existing Heathrow Connect and part of the Great Western inner suburban service running into Paddington.
As has already been commented on, the takeover announcement from TfL included some extra details about the launch of the Elizabeth line, which will start next December as three distinct services.
Elizabeth line 1: Paddington (main line) to Heathrow
Elizabeth line 2: Paddington (underground) to Abbey Wood
Elizabeth line 3: Liverpool Street (main line) to Shenfield
A person arriving at Heathrow for next Christmas and wanting to go to Shenfield would be able to catch an Elizabeth line train from Heathrow to Paddington, probably arriving at platform 4, then they’ll cross the station to the new Elizabeth line platforms just outside the mainline station to switch to the underground to complete their trip. Then they’ll arrive at Liverpool Street, and back up to the surface, to catch another train from the mainline station.
This rather convoluted affair wont last long though, with the full Elizabeth line service due to come into service a year later, in December 2019, which is also when the Heathrow section will be extended to include Terminal 5.
While the Elizabeth line is mainly taking over existing mainline services, and adding a few extra trains per hour, the main benefit of the new line will be mostly felt in the centre of London where it adds a huge amount of capacity to the overcrowded London Underground network.
As such, the peculiar arrangement next December wont be a downgrade, just a bit weird for the probably relatively few people who wont be surprised to need to change trains at Paddington, but will be surprised by the fact that two apparently separate services share the same name.