Minutes of Langley Neighbourhood Forum Meeting at East Berkshire College on 27th February 2018
Eleanor Cryer, LNF Chair introduced guest speakers, John Goldsmith of CrossRail and Peter Herridge and Charlotte Isaac of Transport for London (TfL).
John Goldsmith explained that CrossRail, called the Elizabeth Line, was designed to link the Great Western Main Line from Reading, via a tunnel under Central London from Paddington to Whitechapel, with Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in south east London. It would stop at an underground station at Paddington and then serve Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street. A branch from Hayes to Heathrow, serving all 4 terminals, would replace Heathrow Connect. Works undertaken included the Acton dive-under, the Stockley flyover for the link to Heathrow, new sidings in Maidenhead and electrification with more comfortable and more spacious rolling stock, which is being tested through Langley. A new depot was being built at Old Oak Common and work is being undertaken to improve the stations. Elizabeth Line trains would take 24 minutes from Langley to Paddington, 29 minutes to Tottenham Court Road, 35 minutes to Liverpool Street and 43 minutes to Canary Wharf. There would be 2 trains an hour from Reading and two more from Maidenhead with an extra two from Reading in the rush hour. Trains would operate from Heathrow from May 2018, through the tunnel in Central London in December 2018 and from Reading via Langley from December 2019.
Peter Herridge explained that the Elizabeth Line was a jointly funded programme by Transport for London and the Department for Transport who were working alongside CrossRail. There were 7 stations, including Langley, which needed to be made step free. Works at Langley would include construction by the contractor, J Murphy, of a new bridge with lifts to the east of the current bridge and the installation of CCTV. This work would be undertaken at weekends and evenings and would also be undertaken when the line would be closed during Network Rail closures which will take place over the Christmas and Easter periods. They were refurbishing Langley station with repainting, installing new ticket windows and rationalising cabling. The lift is currently at the design stage with surveys during the next 2/3 months with building of the bridge and lifts starting in June/July 2018 with completion in Autumn 2019 in time for the December 2019 start of trains through Langley. MTR will operate the station on behalf of TfL.
There followed a session of Questions and answers:
Q. Will the car park be extended to accommodate commuters’ cars as currently commuters park their cars in the Barton Road/Talbot Avenue area blocking drive ways of local residents?
A. TfL is responsible for the car park. However, as they do not have the answer, they will take concerns back to those at TfL responsible for this issue.
Q. New trains recently introduced are uncomfortable and cramped. Will we get trains like these?
A. The Elizabeth Line will have different rolling stock with sufficient room for more passengers and more comfortable. The trains that were raised were possibly those on Thameslink.
Q. What will be the position for cyclists coming to Langley station?
A. There will be greater space for luggage, wheelchairs and bicycles. However, it has not yet been determined whether bikes will be allowed on trains through the tunnels in Central London.
Q. What about accessibility for those without cars? Can bus routes be altered to stop near the station?
A. They are unaware of any alteration to bus services, but will raise the issue in future. However, TfL is not responsible for buses in Langley, except the 81 which is too far from the station.
Q. Why was parking not already addressed?
A. They hope that more people will walk, cycle or use public transport to approach the station.
Q. When will the line start operating from Langley?
A. Train timetables usually change in December and May. The December change is normally earlier in the month than Christmas. So the line should start at Langley from early December 2019, ie before Christmas.
Q. Will access to the bridge be from the Langley side or the station building side?
A. They will see whether there will be access from the south side, but for safety reasons there needs to be a barrier across the platforms to prevent access to platforms where non-stop trains pass at high speed.
Q. What will be the position regarding the footpath from Mead Avenue?
A. There are no plans to alter it, but it may have to be narrower to take account of access to the bridge, but there will be better lighting.
Q. My garden backs on to the railway. Network Rail has cut back the hedge and as a result it has led to vibration and noise Will Network Rail take action to let the hedge grow and reduce the vibration and noise?
A. Network Rail had to reduce the vegetation for safety reasons. They will still have to cut back from time to time.
Q. Could a sound deadening fence be installed as that would help to reduce noise and vibration?
A. They will contact others in Network Rail and ask them to look into it.
Q. Will we be able to use an Oyster card in Langley?
A. Yes, by December 2019 and possibly earlier.
Q. What will be the situation for disabled users?
A. The new rolling stock will accommodate wheelchairs. Each station will have step free access, but whereas in Central London there will be level access to the trains, this will not be possible at every station. Instead there will be access ramps with increased staffing at each station.
Q. The lack of answers on parking was unsatisfactory. We need an answer. As the intention is to attract more people to the line, the current situation would get worse.
A. They will take the issue back and will provide an answer.
Q. Parking is the main issue for Langley residents. There needs to be better parking.
Q. There is rubbish alongside the railway. Please could they arrange or this to be cleared during periods during Christmas and Easter when Network Rail close the line for works and maintenance, as it can’t be cleared while trains are passing.
A. They will pass on the request.
Q. Is there not an extra area beyond the current car park which can be used for parking?
A. The area was used by Network Rail as a construction site. They will take it back.
Q. What about access for pedestrians? Can there be a pedestrian bridge across Station Road as crossing the road is very dangerous with cars approaching fast under the railway bridge.
A. This is not within current plans.
Q. Why is there not an overall plan for works? You seem to operate as isolated departments.
A. They would like a plan to cover everything, but this is difficult. There is a limit regarding what can be done under CriossRail.
Q. How long has TfL been responsible for running the car park?
A. Since December
Q. Will there be an increased fee for the car park.
A. No answer given.
Q. Langley residents are having to put up with Electrification works, the new Heathrow Express depot, the Western Rail access to Heathrow, closure of Chequers Bridge and Market Lane., mineral extraction and landfill arriving by rail. Could there not be coordination?
A. CrossRail was developed over years. Other issues arose later, some of which may or may not happen. Some times it is necessary to go ahead to be able to deliver.
Q. When the ticket office is closed, passengers need to obtain a ticket from the ticket box to demonstrate that they intend to pay the fare. However sometimes the ticket box isn’t working. What will be done in this respect?
A. Another ticket machine will be installed, but the ticket office will be manned all day. If there is any doubt, look at the situation at Manor Park station in east London.
Q. Who is responsible for the external environment, including hedges?
A. TfL is responsible only for the station and platforms. They will try to contact others responsible elsewhere.
Q. Could plans be sent back to back to the Forum where sound barriers are to be provided?
A. There is nothing to share with them.
Q. Restrictions on use of the gate from Cherry Avenue to the railway apply for it to be used only from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, but it is used by contractors at all hours.
A. They will let Network Rail know