SideTracked - ਸਾਊਥਾਲ (Southall)
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Southall railway station, is in Southall in west London, England. The station is in Travelcard Zone 4 and passenger services are provided by First Great Western from London Paddington to Reading, Oxford and Newbury, and by Heathrow Connect from Paddington to Heathrow Airport. Southall is one of three stations in England which have bilingual station signage, the others being Wallsend, on the Tyne and Wear Metro (which has signs in Latin), and St Pancras International (French). Station signs on the platforms bear "Southall" and also "ਸਾਊਥਹਾਲ" in Gurmukhī, a script commonly used for Punjabi. In addition, some station information notices have also been provided in Punjabi, because many Punjabi-speaking people live in the station's catchment area.
The Great Western Railway opened Southall railway station on 1 May 1839, nearly one year after it opened its first railway line on 4 June 1838, between London Paddington and Maidenhead Bridge (the latter now known as Taplow). In 1859 the Brentford Branch Line to Brentford Dock was opened for freight, a passenger service ran on the branch from 1860 until 1942, using the unnumbered platform at the south of the station (the line serving this platform is now only used as a relief line). From 1 March 1883 to 30 September 1885 (when the service was discontinued as uneconomic) the Metropolitan District Railway ran trains between Mansion House and Windsor which called at the station. The goods platforms opened as part of the original station and were closed and dismantled in 1967.
Layout and facilities
Southall railway station has five platforms, one of which is unnumbered and used only for freight and special events. Access to all platforms is only by stairs. In normal circumstances platforms 1 and 2, on the fast lines, and the unnumbered platform are not used by passengers; platforms 3 and 4 are used by all trains serving the station. The station building, above the fast lines, has a ticket office and a newsagent's shop. A footbridge gives access to platforms 3 and 4, while a gate prevents access to the other three, under normal circumstances.
Oyster "pay as you go" has been available since October 2008 for journeys to or from Southall. Although Southall is a busy station, automatic ticket barriers have not replaced manual ticket checks and standalone card readers, making the station vulnerable to fare evasion.
On 16 March 2010, the Crossrail Specialist Scrutiny Panel recommended that consideration should be given to potential future regeneration developments in the area, including the Southall Gas Works development and the landscaping of unused work sites.
In May 2011 Network Rail announced that it would make various alterations to prepare the station for Crossrail:
Accidents and incidents
- New station building with a new larger enclosed ticket hall with level access from South Road
- Step-free access
- Platforms 1 – 4 extended
- Improved passenger facilities including increased lighting and information and security systems
On 19 September 1997, a Great Western Trains passenger train from Swansea to London Paddington failed to stop at a red signal and collided with a freight train, killing 7 people and injuring 139 others. The train driver, Larry Harrison (who had bent down to pack his bag), was charged with manslaughter, but the case against him was dropped. Great Western Trains was fined £1.5 million for the crash. Following this accident and the more serious Ladbroke Grove Rail Crash some miles east, First Great Western requires all its trains to have their ATP switched on at all times. If the equipment is faulty the train is stored out of use.
In 2007, analysis by First Great Western after several deaths at Southall station found that a third of railway suicides on English and Welsh railways occurred on the line between Slough and Paddington.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum