Yesterday (19th April), friends and I took a short day trip to view some of the Crossrail progress. A slow speed travel card from Strood started it for me. The works were first seen a surprising distance before Abbey Wood, where it appeared that preparations are under way for an additional two tracks. Our train arrived at the new North Kent up platform, and there was work all around, but especially for the new North Kent down line that will presumably serve the other side of the island on which our up train had arrived, freeing the existing North Kent down line track for Crossrail use.
Our next train took us past the extensive works making the route to the Thames Tunnel entrance, with many new sidings being used. Two of the industrial works locomotives were in view, together with a Unimog road-railer, and many road-rail plant items.
All quiet then until the approaches to London Bridge, where it is becoming possible to see which route is staying up and which is going under to accommodate Thameslink, with much activity and just one 66 hauled works train parked on the main line.
Got off at Charing Cross where Crossrail work intervened in that it was partly responsible for the closure of Paddington Bakerloo, so we took the Circle from Embankment – at least on that route you pass you still see a fairly obvious route to a coal yard!
At Paddington there is still a barricade around the Crossrail box site in Eastbourne Terrace, but a leaflet claimed that removal of the tower crane is imminent. There seems to be no direct evidence of Crossrail in the station. The big thing there was the evidence of the GWR livery on HSTs and on a DMU, together with an excellent range of GWR maps and timetables.
To observe as much as possible stopping at all stations was desirable, so we caught the Greenford branch to West Ealing, Heathrow Connect to Hayes & Harlington, and an “ordinary” train on to West Drayton. Once out of Paddington station it is evident that all signs of the goods station and its approaches have totally disappeared but work still progresses west of the tunnel entrance, where a white Schoma (6844 of 2015?) was working. The dive under to Acton yard appears to be near complete, but there is still much going on.
Nothing to report for Ealing Broadway Station itself, but there is work between the National Rail and the Tfl lines.
West Ealing has plenty going on with the conversion of the milk dock at the west end into the Greenford Branch Terminus.
Really good to see the GWR Hanwell & Elthorne running in boards still in situ.
At Hayes & Harlington Crossrail work is occupying the branch track and platform area.
The return from West Drayton was considerably enhanced by being in the comfort of a previously first class end of coach with one other in it and a load of empty seats in a crowded train, possibly due to the somewhat diminutive size of the notice saying that this area is for the use of second class ticket holders.
Nothing much to report about the rest of the return journey, except the sighting of two Jung(?) and two Clayton locos.
All in all, this journey showed more activity on the railway than I can ever remember.