Crossrail to Kent: How tough to rebuild new Abbey Wood station?

With a new consultation underway on extending Elizabeth Line services beyond Abbey Wood towards Kent I thought I’d pop over and see how feasible it may be to extend beyond Abbey Wood station.

The station opened in advance of Crossrail’s supposed 2018 opening – which is of course never happened.

Crossrail services will terminate behind this wall

Abbey Wood is still yet to see a single public Crossrail train, though of course Southeastern and now Thameslink services do stop.

From the existing accessible platform it’s possible to peer over and see what would prevent trains from extending on new track towards Kent.

Ticket barriers just about visible

A single Crossrail track does extend for around half a mile beyond the station, though the other faces buffers with progress beyond blocked by a station entrance leading onto Felixstowe Road.

New entrance yet to open runs behind terminating eastbound trains

This entrance will be useful for those living in Abbey Wood including those moving into new flats – some of which are now rising.

Work on tower now underway

To enable through running that entrance would need to be removed.

New tower now rising.

An adjacent industrial estate site is also in line for 600 homes in future.

600 homes planned here

Removing the new entrance serving existing and future residents is not a huge challenge, as users could still climb via stairs or lift to the main entrance facing Harrow Manorway – though certainly less convenient.

Entrance facing flyover

Another obstacle is a ticket office. I expect TfL would like to get rid of that as soon as possible given what’s happened on the tube – so perhaps not a great obstacle in future.

Design changes

The station was to originally see both Crossrail tracks run in the middle of two existing lines, with island platforms permitting cross-platform changes from London-bound national rail to Elizabeth Line services.

Southeastern train on left. Original plan was that Crossrail would use right hand side of this platform

This was changed on cost grounds – and also as a large Plumstead maintenance facility was decided upon just to the west – and thus it was decided to keep both Crossrail tracks north of National Rail lines allowing easier access for Crossrail trains to their depot.

Abbey Wood station with separate Southeastern and Elizabeth Line trains. Not original plan
Many hurdles

While rebuilding Abbey Wood may happen in decades to come it’s very difficult to see it in the mid term – let alone in the next decade.

While it was being built Bexley is Bonkers‘ author spoke to engineers who thought it was too much hassle and expense to happen anytime soon.

Though if Abbey Wood seems tricky, they’ll be some extremely difficult work down the line around Slade Green and Dartford. Combine all that, and of the options in the latest consultation, number 3 looks the most likely.

 

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John Smith

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4 thoughts on “Crossrail to Kent: How tough to rebuild new Abbey Wood station?

  • July 31, 2021 at 12:31 am
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    Extending the Elizabeth Line and rebuilding AW station would be a complete waste of time. It would mean years of disruption for users of the Elizabeth Line and national rail services through Abbey Wood, and what would be the benefit? How many people would travel from London to Ebbsfleet in the Elizabeth Line when national rail trains ate already so much faster into St Pancras?

    Better to have TL trains stop at Erith and Belvedere (and the other stations it now passes through), build a proper pedestrian interchange between Ebbsfleet and Northfleet, and run a fast bus service from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet (maybe stopping at North Greenwich, Woolwich, Dartford and Bluewater for good measure). You would add tonnes of extra connectivity with none of the disruption.

    Reply
  • August 1, 2021 at 5:30 pm
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    The Thameslink needs less stations called at not more, it’s slow enough already.

    Bin Thameslink off the Woolwich line, and onto the Sidcup line, restore the Gillingham semi fasts, extend the stopping services to Gravesend for 4tph to Abbey Wood for the CrossRail connection.

    The Gravesend extension won’t be happening this side of 2050 so May as well find alternatives.

    Reply
  • August 2, 2021 at 8:49 am
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    If we’re to keep Thameslink, at least, I would propose the service to call all stations from Rainham to Gravesend then Greenhithe, Dartford, Slade Green, Abbey Wood, Woolwich Arsenal, Charlton, Greenwich, all stations from London Bridge to St Pancras International, West Hampstead Thameslink, St Albans City, Harpenden, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway & Luton

    Reply
  • August 6, 2021 at 6:55 pm
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    Why Slade Green? It’s a minor station, this should call only at larger and interchange stations only

    Reply

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