The Crossrail project has been busy applying for thirty year access rights (what they call TAO) to make sure its services can run on existing lines. The Office of Rail Regulation has published its draft decision:
we should approve a TAO; [however] the parties’ proposed TAO should be modified to contain rights to two fewer paths per hour in each direction at weekends and in periods other than the peak, shoulder peak and service start and end periods on weekdays;That upshot is that during the daytime and at weekends they only have rights to run six trains per hour west of Paddington - probably four to Heathrow and two to Maidenhead. On the Shenfield branch, they've only been awarded rights for six trains an hour rather than the eight requested. Peak services are unaffected.
The decision only determines what trains Crossrail has guaranteed long term rights to run. The regulator thinks it's unwise to award them the full set now, in case demand for freight or other passenger services becomes more pressing. If it doesn't, it's entirely possible they'll still be able to run all the trains they asked to, and they have at least 10 years to argue their case.
If you haven't seen the application documents before, they contain all sorts of juicy details like the proposed track layout (west, central and east) and the service frequencies and stopping patterns. West of Paddington it's expected all trains will skip at least one of Acton, Southall, Hanwell and West Ealing; and there'll be half-hourly non-Crossrail diesel trains that skip many more stations, mainly to provide a decent service to Maidenhead and Twyford. The latter are unaffected by the rights decision, so Maidenhead will have a total of four trains per hour to London off peak.
[via Transport Briefing]