nema
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Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:53 am

So this huge underground railway station was completed (except for track) years ago and never been used. I wonder why?

Well its no secret now!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35617315
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AirbusA6
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:03 am

Well it's not that secret actually 

It will be used for future rail services, e.g. the western access to Reading, it's a rare care of actually thinking ahead and building something before it's needed, when it's easiest to do, rather than having the nightmare of having to squeeze the station in afterwards!
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nema
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:07 am

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 1):
It will be used for future rail services, e.g. the western access to Reading,

Will that include continuation into London from the West do you think?
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Lofty
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:54 am

This is not the first time they have planned ahead. Before T5 was built if you went on the Underground from T4 to T1 you could see the T5 platform on your left this was long before T5 had the go ahead.
 
BestWestern
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:06 am

There is an Underground station in Dublin T1 which opened in the 1970s. Considering there is still no rail link to the airport, this demonstrates how far in advance airports have to think.
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AirbusA6
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:03 pm

Quoting nema (Reply 2):
Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 1):
It will be used for future rail services, e.g. the western access to Reading,

Will that include continuation into London from the West do you think?

There might be. One plan was Airtrack from Waterloo approaching LHR from the south, though issues with level crossings seem to have stalled that idea. Another idea is through trains, such as Reading/Slough to Paddington via LHR

Network Rail is planning the Western Route into LHR, if the 3rd runway is approved, I imagine this would have to be built first
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drgmobile
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:52 pm

Montreal Mirabel's terminal had an area built where the station would have been for the train that never came. Now Trudeau Airport also has a train station area for a future train to the city. It's in the connector area between U.S. transborder and international sections.
 
kdhurst380
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:23 pm

I believe there is also a station underground that was built as part of the new Terminal 2. I suppose it's easier to do these things whilst the ground is already dug up than to do it in 20 years time when its actually needed. It's surprisingly forward thinking for Britain...
 
Andy33
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:50 pm

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 1):
Well it's not that secret actually

Spot on. It's a bit of a give-away that the Heathrow Express platforms at T5 are numbered 3 and 4, and the Piccadilly Line platforms are 5 and 6.

[Edited 2016-02-20 06:57:11]
 
bluenose5
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:54 pm

Then it must be pretty close to the existing underground station at Heathrow Central? Probably 100 m away?
 
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TedToToe
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:40 pm

Quoting Lofty (Reply 3):
This is not the first time they have planned ahead. Before T5 was built if you went on the Underground from T4 to T1 you could see the T5 platform on your left this was long before T5 had the go ahead.

Are you sure? I have never used the Piccadilly Line to T5, but I'm pretty sure it was built as a spur and platforms 5 and 6 are terminator platforms, not through platforms.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:59 pm

Got to love British units of measure - 'end to end this measures 33 double-decker buses'. Do they not think that anyone can envisage the size of a conventional unit of measure (e.g. foot/yard/metre)?!
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:03 pm

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 11):
Got to love British units of measure - 'end to end this measures 33 double-decker buses'. Do they not think that anyone can envisage the size of a conventional unit of measure (e.g. foot/yard/metre)?!

And not all double decker buses are the same length, so it's a pretty meaningless unit of measure as well.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:13 pm

Quoting TedToToe (Reply 10):
Are you sure? I have never used the Piccadilly Line to T5, but I'm pretty sure it was built as a spur and platforms 5 and 6 are terminator platforms, not through platforms.

I thought so too. I remember in the mid 2000s the Terminal 4 station on the Piccadilly line was closed for a good 12-18 months to allow the rail junction for the T5 station to be built. There was a substitute bus service from Hatton Cross.
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nema
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:13 pm

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 11):
Got to love British units of measure

Well isnt Heathrow about the size of Wales?
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readytotaxi
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:38 pm

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 13):

yep, that's right.

Map here of track.
http://wikitravel.org/en/File:Heathrow_layout.png
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TedToToe
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:38 pm

Quoting nema (Reply 14):

Well isnt Heathrow about the size of Wales?

T2 alone, is the size of three football pitches!
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:03 pm

When the new IND terminal was built, they set aside right of way for a light rail line.

However, Indianapolis decided to go the lower-cost BRT route for their rapid transit plan.
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:12 pm

Quoting TedToToe (Reply 16):
T2 alone, is the size of three football pitches!

Or 2 cricket ground, to make it more British.

Using double decker units for measuring anything is not the best choice, but anyway our American friends can't handle the international metric system also,   

Actually in the video does not look so huge, it seems quite small compare with many other train stations in London.

I think the T-4 of Madrid was planned to have HSR trains but so far that has never happened so far, Even Ciudad Real promotor wanted HSR to Madrid.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:29 pm

I was unaware that we were already at 1st April.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:30 pm

I wonder if there'll be a geo restrictions on the radio documentary the clip is meant to promote, as otherwise it sounds like something to listen to.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:06 pm

Quoting migair54 (Reply 18):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35617315

Actually a to of us Americans can handle Metric. Just the powers that be stopped the conversion in its tracks in the late 70's. I think tool company lobbyist were behind it. After all we all have to buy 2 sets of tools 1 standard & 1 Metric just to wrk on one car. Keeps them in business.
 
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readytotaxi
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:33 pm

Some standard British measurements.

1. as long 4 double decker buses. (The Routemaster)
2. as long as 2 football pitches.
3. a pinch of Salt.
4. a knob of butter.
5. a Yard of Ale.

  
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YULWinterSkies
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:32 pm

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 11):


Got to love British units of measure - 'end to end this measures 33 double-decker buses'. Do they not think that anyone can envisage the size of a conventional unit of measure (e.g. foot/yard/metre)?!

Well, then in this case, let's just use meters!
Then, I'll gladly raise a pint (US or UK, that is the question???) to the further adoption of the metric system.
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rtfm
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:40 pm

Quoting YULWinterSkies (Reply 23):
Well, then in this case, let's just use meters!

Or even metres...     
 
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ro1960
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:10 pm

Quoting rbavfan (Reply 21):
Actually a to of us Americans can handle Metric. Just the powers that be stopped the conversion in its tracks in the late 70's. I think tool company lobbyist were behind it. After all we all have to buy 2 sets of tools 1 standard & 1 Metric just to wrk on one car. Keeps them in business.

Millimeters and grams are actually used alongside inches and ounces, no? Fractions are not all that precise.
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ro1960
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:18 pm

Paris Orly airport has a never used metro station. It was built at the same time as the South terminal (late 50s). It's actually just an empty concrete box.

The current Line 14 is supposed to be extended to the airport but I don't know if the empty box will be used.
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lhrnue
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:34 pm

There are more basements safeguarded for future use, e.g. under Terminal 2.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:35 pm

Quoting nema (Reply 14):
Well isnt Heathrow about the size of Wales?

Blue whales? That's another favourite UOM from the BBC, along with football pitches. I remember Johnny Vaughn on the Big Breakfast used to joke about this topic often equating things to the size of dolphins - very funny.
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starrymarkb
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:05 am

Another example is the Canal Tunnels linking the Thameslink line at St Pancras to the East Coast Route from Paddington. The tunnels were built when the area St Pancras was being dug up for High Speed One (2007 IIRC) as bare shells because it was easier to dig them then and leave them until 2018 when the East Coast commuter services from Kings Cross switch to being Cross City services.

You can see the Trackless Tunnel Entrance here - I understand it's now been fitted with track but until the work at London Bridge is finished there isn't the capacity in the Thameslink core to start using it yet. http://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/K...73c4dcd:0x616f11fed05d6bb9!6m1!1e1

[Edited 2016-02-20 16:05:26]
 
Viscount724
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:37 am

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 11):
Got to love British units of measure - 'end to end this measures 33 double-decker buses'. Do they not think that anyone can envisage the size of a conventional unit of measure (e.g. foot/yard/metre)?!

That's common everywhere. In North America you often see "as big as 6 football fields" do describe the area of something, or "hail the size of golf balls." It's easier to quickly relate to something you're familiar with when it's not important to be precise.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:16 am

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 11):
Got to love British units of measure - 'end to end this measures 33 double-decker buses'. Do they not think that anyone can envisage the size of a conventional unit of measure (e.g. foot/yard/metre)?!

Yes, everything on this side of the pond is related to the size of football fields !
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threepoint
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:21 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 30):
That's common everywhere. In North America you often see "as big as 6 football fields" do describe the area of something, or "hail the size of golf balls." It's easier to quickly relate to something you're familiar with when it's not important to be precise.

It's common, yes, but increasingly useless information. Example: discussing volumes of liquid in such terms as "enough to fill twelve Olympic-sized swimming pools". Comparisons like this only leave me more confused.
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:49 am

I do find it amusing when people are shocked that businesses plan ahead for possibilities when making massive capital expenditures. It is not uncommon. These sorts of big projects only happen once in a blue moon so it's generally cheaper to build such spaces even if they aren't going to be used for another couple decades.

Another example is down here in NZ. The long term plan for Auckland includes an underground rail loop. There are currently some buildings being torn down and replaced right on the route for the loop. So the city council is putting in the first parts of the tunnel many years before track will ever be laid.

There is quite possibly a selection bias that we only hear about and remember the cases where organizations forget to plan ahead for likely possibilities. Then have to shoe horn it in later.
 
Max Q
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:15 am

Quoting ZaphodHarkonnen (Reply 33):
I do find it amusing when people are shocked that businesses plan ahead for possibilities when making massive capital expenditures. It is not uncommon.

Well it is over here, that sort of forward planning is rarely done in the US with a few exceptions, like the massive amount
of land set aside for the huge expansion of the DFW airport over the decades.


Generally though, most infrastructure here is built with today in mind and no thought to the future, roads are over used and congested as soon as they're finished, cities don't have adequate parking, airports are mostly far too small, bridges are falling apart all over the country, etc, etc.


America is falling apart and nothing's being done about it.
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ro1960
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:02 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 34):
America is falling apart and nothing's being done about it.

Isn't Trump going to make America great again?  
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ro1960
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:09 am

Quoting ZaphodHarkonnen (Reply 33):
I do find it amusing when people are shocked that businesses plan ahead for possibilities when making massive capital expenditures. It is not uncommon. These sorts of big projects only happen once in a blue moon so it's generally cheaper to build such spaces even if they aren't going to be used for another couple decades.

I don't think people on this thread are shocked. They're just commenting on interesting facts. Sometimes the ahead planning comes to fruition, sometimes not. For various reasons (financial, political, technological...).

But I agree, thinking ahead and thinking global transportation is definitely a plus.
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AirlineCritic
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:09 pm

Is there a way to visit this underground railway station? I'd love to tour it...

Quoting ZaphodHarkonnen (Reply 33):
I do find it amusing when people are shocked that businesses plan ahead for possibilities when making massive capital expenditures. It is not uncommon. These sorts of big projects only happen once in a blue moon so it's generally cheaper to build such spaces even if they aren't going to be used for another couple decades.

Well, not sure people are so shocked, but unfortunately good planning *is* rare. It is more common to cater for the immediate costs, to raze down historic sites, etc. than to do the sensible thing. Unfortunately.

There are of course exceptions. But even with those, you don't always get lucky. In Helsinki, Finland, there are several built-but-never-used underground metro station spaces. Unfortunately, they are built to an older style, not the deep-in-the-ground style that actually got used. Or they are simply at the wrong place where the lines never ended up going to. And probably never will. Still, those too would be nice places to visit for an underground-enthusiast like myself...

Anyway, it seems like this thread needs badly some adventure. I give you Steve Duncan and his tours under New York, and in the abandoned and not-so-abandoned subway stations. Crazy stuff:

plain link: http://vimeo.com/18280328
secure link: https://vimeo.com/18280328
 
seat64k
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 3:54 pm

I don't think it's unreasonalbe to be surprised. While living in Paddington, the commuter part of the station was overhauled, with the new taxi rank/concourse. What they did in the station is a textbook example of a missed opportunity. Instead of improving the layout, they put the gates next to platform 12 (where the Heathrow Connect stops) causing absolute carnage during rush hour, and many missed airport trains. I understand that they needed the paid area separated from the lift/escalator to the taxi, but they could have shortened platforms 11 and 12 so they end in line with platofroms 1-10, and extended the gates in line with the gates at platforms 1-10. This would have given many many more gates, it would have allowed commuters to go around the end of the platform and move away from the taxi lift/escalator. Such an easy change, for the cost of covering maybe 20m of existing track.

Another thing that bugs me endlessly is that they saw it fit to make T5 an change from the Heathrow Connect (and vice versa for T4 and the Heathrow Express, if I remember correctly). Why on earth didn't they connect T4 and T5, and let both trains loop through Heathrow Central, T4 and T5? This would save a lot of waiting time!

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 11):
Got to love British units of measure - 'end to end this measures 33 double-decker buses'. Do they not think that anyone can envisage the size of a conventional unit of measure (e.g. foot/yard/metre)?!

Well given that brits put liters of fuel in their car and then express their consumption in miles per gallon, maybe referring to physical objects makes more sense  
 
ZaphodHarkonnen
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:02 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 34):
Generally though, most infrastructure here is built with today in mind and no thought to the future, roads are over used and congested as soon as they're finished, cities don't have adequate parking, airports are mostly far too small, bridges are falling apart all over the country, etc, etc.

Roads are a poor example as induced demand is fairly well known for them. You can build expecting an x% increase in traffic but then you get an x + y% increase. Parking is another interesting one as we are finding you cannot have a dense urban area that supports lots of varied business and have loads of parking. Airports are operated by companies that want to maximise their income so will operate the things as close to 100% capacity as is possible and only upgrade if it appears they will lose revenue to a competitor. And the bridges in the US are a case not of building with the future in mind but an inability to maintain what is actually there, could even be an argument that less bridges are needed so they can be maintained properly.

Infrastructure building and planning is damn hard. You almost never get it perfectly right as people and society is involved. So you never know when something unexpected will happen and the whole premise that something was built for is now totally invalid. See what ArlineCritic said about some stations in Helsinki.

Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 37):
There are of course exceptions. But even with those, you don't always get lucky. In Helsinki, Finland, there are several built-but-never-used underground metro station spaces. Unfortunately, they are built to an older style, not the deep-in-the-ground style that actually got used. Or they are simply at the wrong place where the lines never ended up going to. And probably never will. Still, those too would be nice places to visit for an underground-enthusiast like myself...
 
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TedToToe
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:28 pm

Quoting seat64k (Reply 38):

Another thing that bugs me endlessly is that they saw it fit to make T5 an change from the Heathrow Connect (and vice versa for T4 and the Heathrow Express, if I remember correctly). Why on earth didn't they connect T4 and T5, and let both trains loop through Heathrow Central, T4 and T5? This would save a lot of waiting time!

Additionally, Crossrail will replace Heathrow Connect on the slow tracks out of Paddington and will terminate at T4. This means that passengers travelling between Canary Wharf (amongst many other stations) and LHR T5, will need to change trains! This is all because HAL wants to maintain its 'premier' service (Heathrow Express) between Paddington and LHR T5.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:57 pm

While on the subject of airport rail links, LAX is an airport that can certainly use one. Not one a few miles away.
 
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:32 am

Actually the rail link near AMS has such an unused provision as well. The first of the two railway tunnels has a widening taper, towards the southwest end just before the ramp going back to the surface. This was an option to extend the tunnel in case runway 18C-36C were ever extended to the south, which never happened. You can still see it when arriving from the south (e.g. Leiden/The Hague/Rotterdam), just after entering the tunnel, on your right. This tunnel was planned and built in the 70s, this particular stretch opened in 1981. When the second tunnel was built about 10 years later (to the northwest of the existing one), no such provision was included.
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SelseyBill
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:29 am

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 1):
Well it's not that secret actually

It will be used for future rail services, e.g. the western access to Reading, it's a rare care of actually thinking ahead and building something before it's needed, when it's easiest to do, rather than having the nightmare of having to squeeze the station in afterwards!

This station certainly wasn't kept a secret; it was well documented in the (lengthy) planning process and public consultation.

What of course is total nonsense is why trains aren't already serving this station to towns along the Thames Valley to Reading, given the ridiculously high levels of road congestion around the M25/M4/M40 corridors. Further testament to the woeful rail service planning witnessed @ LHR as discussed in other threads.
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:56 am

Quoting TedToToe (Reply 40):
Additionally, Crossrail will replace Heathrow Connect on the slow tracks out of Paddington and will terminate at T4. This means that passengers travelling between Canary Wharf (amongst many other stations) and LHR T5, will need to change trains! This is all because HAL wants to maintain its 'premier' service (Heathrow Express) between Paddington and LHR T5.

At some point HEx will cease, as the number of people using it will surely dwindle. Why pay extra to catch a train to Paddington, then fight for a taxi, when for far less you can catch a direct train across London to far more useful destinations
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richierich
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:00 pm

Quoting BestWestern (Reply 4):
There is an Underground station in Dublin T1 which opened in the 1970s. Considering there is still no rail link to the airport, this demonstrates how far in advance airports have to think.

At what point does it go from "thinking ahead" to simply "plans that were never realized?" I'm guessing if they have not built a train link to DUB by now, then it may never happen!

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 1):
It will be used for future rail services, e.g. the western access to Reading,

That would be amazing! Taking a bus to Reading from LHR is not my favorite.
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r2rho
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RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:35 pm

Quoting migair54 (Reply 18):
I think the T-4 of Madrid was planned to have HSR trains but so far that has never happened so far,

Not really, it was planned to have suburban rail, which was added a few years ago, but the platforms were already built from the beginning. The HSR idea is to convert one of the suburban rail tracks to dual-gage, enabling some HSR trains to continue to MAD, but if it happens it will be a very patchwork/improvised solution and will be able to add a limited service at best (single track, trains end in MAD and need to turn back, conflicting with the suburban rail traffic, and the platforms are too short for most long distance trains).

Quoting ro1960 (Reply 26):
Paris Orly airport has a never used metro station. It was built at the same time as the South terminal(late 50s). It's actually just an empty concrete box.

And instead, the stupid Orlyval was built to bail out Matra... ORY could have had a real metro all along, but politics got in the way.

Quoting ZaphodHarkonnen (Reply 33):
I do find it amusing when people are shocked that businesses plan ahead for possibilities when making massive capital expenditures. It is not uncommon.

Perhaps it is common in NZ, I don't know. But it is certainly not common 21st century US or most of the EU. Some countries, like Germany, used to be very good at it, but even they have "lost it". So yes, it is shocking and surprising (in a good way) whenever someone actually does think ahead.

Quoting ZaphodHarkonnen (Reply 39):
Airports are operated by companies that want to maximise their income so will operate the things as close to 100% capacity as is possible and only upgrade if it appears they will lose revenue to a competitor.

In most parts of the world, airports are actually public or semi public, so this criteria does not necessarily apply - many provide a public service and do not exist to maximize profits (if any). And whoever owns the airport, any expansion of it is a political decision, not a commercial one.
 
Andy33
Posts: 2473
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:30 am

RE: Heathrow's Secret Underground Railway Station

Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:58 pm

Quoting richierich (Reply 45):
At what point does it go from "thinking ahead" to simply "plans that were never realized?" I'm guessing if they have not built a train link to DUB by now, then it may never happen!

Oddly enough, if you'd said that a year ago, many people would have agreed with you. But in September the Irish Government finally gave approval to a Metro line linking the airport to the city centre, which will be underground in the airport area. Construction may take up to 10 years.

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